Skip to comments.Mystery of Longboat Key - Bush, Atta visit same Florida Island resort before September 11
Posted on 08/02/2002 8:17:14 AM PDT by swarthyguy
see a clip NOW!
Just three nights before President George W Bush arrived at the swank Colony Resort on Longboat Key on the evening of Sept 10, 2001, Mohamed Atta was staying at a slightly-less tony hotel just two miles down the beach, the Holiday Inn Hotel & SuitesLongboat Key, according to eyewitnesses who contacted the FBI in the immediate aftermath of the attack.
Predictably, the story went nowhere. So too did early wire reports stating that on the day of the attack Sarasota police said the Secret Service interrogated four Sudanese men after getting a tip that the men intended to harm President Bush during his visit to the city.
The incident was found to be "unrelated" to the attacks, the AP reported, and ended in the release of the men.
But these stories are now being resurrected in the wake of recent reports of a possible Longboat Key assassination attempt against Bush on the morning of the terrorist attack, and they are provoking disturbing questions about how much, or how little, Americans have been told about the events surrounding the attack on their country.
In an exclusive interview with the MadCowMorningNews, the bartender at Marty's Pub at the Holiday Inn, Darlene Sieverts said, "Mohamed Atta sat right on that bar stool, drinking rum and coke."
"I didn't have any real interaction with him. A bartender can tell when a customer doesn't want to talk, and he didn't."
"How do you say 'I'll have what he's having?'"
"About fifteen minutes later he was joined by a second man. When I approached (the second man) and asked what he'd like to drink, he indicated that he didn't speak English, and motioned for Atta to intercede. Instead of ordering something for him, Atta asked for the bill," bartender Sieverts told us.
"He left a $20 bill to cover a $4. tab."
Sieverts recollections of spotting on Longboat Key the most cold-blooded killer of the still-young 21st Centuryjust a few short days before Bush's arrivalwere confirmed to the FBI by other hotel employees, several of whom also recalled seeing Atta on another occasion, dining in the hotel's Gulfstream restaurant with a man identified by the restaurant manager and a waiter as Marwan Al-shehhi.
The two both dined on the hotels featured 'Surf & Turf' buffet.
The revelation of Atta's proximity to Bush, first reported in the local Longboat Observer, deepens the mystery surrounding the pre-dawn warning received by the Secret Service detail protecting the President on his Florida trip in the early morning hours on Sept 11.
Alarmingly, The Colony, which bills itself as "the nation's no. 1 tennis resort," is just two miles of mostly-deserted white sand away from the Holiday Inn Hotel frequented by Atta and Al-shehhi.
Longboat Key is located just outside Sarasota, Fl., itself the home of such curious attractions as the Ringling Bros. Circus, and Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, now running for Congress, the local daughter of a citrus magnate who became internationally-famous overnight in the aftermath of the Presidential election of 2000.
Bush was in Florida to promote his administration's new education bill. His first stop of the day was to be at the Emma E Booker Elementary School in Sarasotaa 25-minute drive from the Colony.
In the warning, Zainelabdeen Omer, a Sudanese national who has since disappeared, told authorities of an immediate threat of a possible assassination attempt and terror attack on America from a friend of his, a man named "Ghandi" who had just arrived in Sarasota to bail someone out of jail.
To bring the day's chronology into focus, a little after 6am on September 11, 2001, according to an AP report, "Bush awoke in the magnificent surroundings of the Colony Beach Resort on Longboat Key, an upscale and relatively-pristine tropical island enclave located directly on the Gulf of Mexico a spindly coral island in the Gulf of Mexico, off Sarasota, Florida."
"The previous evening Mr Bush had dined beachside with his brother Jeb, the governor of Florida, the state that had controversially handed him the presidency. Now, on the morning of his 234th day in office, a light, warm breeze was slipping in from the ocean, and, after breakfast, Bush led his Secret Service crew on a four-mile run around the nearby Serenoa golf links."
"On his return to the Colony, the President showered, changed into a lightweight, dark blue suit, and, still glowing from the morning's exertion, sat down for the first routine intelligence briefing of the day. It was 8am."
"At the same time Atta, was fourteen hundred miles away, making his way onto American Airlines Flight 11 taking off from Boston's Logan International Airport, followed 14 minutes later from the same airport by Al-Shehhi, aboard United Airlines Flight 175."
"No van, no warning? No problem."
The AP story neglects any mention of a van filled with Middle Eastern men attempting to gain access to the President at the same time as Bush is leaving for his morning jog.
And although the story was reported on the local NBC affiliate, the AP also neglects any mention of the pre-dawn warning of an attack.
Instead, the AP's account of Bush briefing that morning states that "The President's briefing appears to have included some reference to the heightened terrorist risk reported throughout the summer, but contained nothing specific, severe or imminent enough to necessitate a call to Condoleezza Rice, his 47-year-old National Security Adviser.
The FBI, too, seemed unimpressed.
"Nationwide the FBI has received over 200,00 such tips, stated FBI spokesman Sarah Oakes, "with more than 5000 of the tips coming into the Tampa office alone."
"Mum's the word in Florida"
Unlike whistleblowers who have come forward in the FBI's Minneapolis and Phoenix offices, to name just two, agents in the Tampa FBI office have maintained their silence.
So too have agents in the Sarasota FBI office.
Does their silence signal valid national security concerns? Or just embarrassment?
Atta and Al-Shehhi's presence on Longboat Key just days before the President's arrival raise a number of disturbing questions.
The most pressing is also the most obvious. What were terrorists doing on Longboat Key?
Still, the Secret Service, no doubt very aware of Atta's suspicious presence on Longboat Key, has dismissed the pre-dawn warning they received as "just coincidence."
This must mean that when, three days later, a van filled with Middle Eastern men attempted to gain entry to Bush's hotel by posing as journalists, it has nothing at all to do with "terrorist ringleader" Mohamed Atta's recent presence on Longboat Key.
It is all just a coincidence.
Nothing to see here. Move along.
This author sounds like the 'Tin Foil Kid' - maybe we can get him a tryout for the Legion of Substitute Heroes...
Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown
Stay Safe !
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