Saturday, June 08, 2002

The following September 11 hijackers all received speeding tickets:

  1. Nawaf Alhazmi

  2. Mohamed Atta - Atta was stopped and received a warning for speeding while there was an arrest warrant outstanding against him for driving without a licence in the next county, a warrant issued because he failed to show up at a hearing with respect to a ticket he received for driving without a licence!

  3. Hani Hanjour

  4. Ziad Jarrah.

There probably weren't all that many of the hijackers who could or did drive. It seems that just about all who did drive got speeding tickets. What did all these people know which led them to draw attention from the authorities with such wild abandon and no concern? Didn't they fear that a routine check of their identities against computer records might have disclosed information that could have led to their arrest and/or deportation and may very well have prejudiced or ended their whole mission? We also have to remember that some of them had extraordinary contact with the INS (Atta had visa problems when he returned from his trip to Spain, and even got into an argument with the INS over the length of al-Shehhi's visa), the FAA (Atta and al-Shehhi abandoned a plane on a runway at Miami airport, an FAA official placed an angry call to their flight school threatening to investigate, and, needless to say, nothing happened), and airport security (Atta arrived at the very last minute, drew attention to himself by pretending not to speak English, and almost missed the plane, and Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, despite being on a CIA watch list, went through airport security without any problems). When Alhazmi got his speeding ticket the officer "ran a routine check on Alhazmi's valid California driver's license but found nothing pending against him on the National Crime Information Center computer system" - you'll have to agree it is quite a 'watch list'!
What allowed all these people to know that routine checks of computerized records would never trip them up? In other words, did they know that all their records had been 'pulled' from central databases, allowing them to move freely through the usual bureaucratic snares while establishing a paper trail to enhance their composite personal identities as terrorists? How could al-Qaeda have managed to interfere with U. S. law enforcement and intelligence computer records?