Skip to comments.Possible Terrorist Connection in Tennessee
Posted on 10/07/2001 3:09:01 PM PDT by Brian Mosely
FBI agents have been looking into whether associates of Osama bin Laden may traveled to Middle Tennessee this past summer in search of aircraft that could be used for training pilots, NewsChannel 5 has learned.
The name of one man who spent some time here has made it onto an official list of some 370 possible suspects.
That list was inadvertently released by Finnish banking authorities, who say they received it from American investigators as part of the effort to track down the terrorists' finances.
The list, which includes the names of the now infamous Mohammed Atta and other hijackers, also includes the name of Khalid Alzeedi (also known as Khalid Al-Zeedi and Khaleed Al-Zedi).
Alzeedi's address is listed as 200 Airport Road, Building 5 in Clarksville.
That's the same address as an aircraft sales company.
Airport workers told NewsChannel 5 investigative reporter Phil Williams that Alzeedi and four other Middle Eastern men visited there back in August looking to buy planes.
Their main interest: used single-engine Tampico aircraft, a type of aircraft commonly used to train pilots.
A possible coincidence, the aircraft were previously owned by Embry-Riddle University, a Florida flying school where one of the terrorists involved in the Sept. 11th attacks may have graduated.
Alzeedi identified himself as the owner of Zidi Aviation, a Saudi Arabian company. A prototype web page developed for the company lists "pilot training" among its services and shows the cockpit of commercial jetliners. Zidi was also an authorized distributor of high-tech flight simulation equipment produced by a Boeing subsidiary.
According to FAA records, Alzeedi ended up buying two Tampicos that had been listed on the Internet... aircraft that he told service workers he planned to fly to Morocco in North Africa to train pilots.
FBI agents visited the Clarksville airport after the Sept. 11th attacks and questioned people about Alzeedi's activities.
One airport worker described Alzeedi as a "good family man" and expressed doubt that he would be involved in such a horrible plot.
In addition, NewsChannel 5 has learned that Alzeedi may have had contact with two local FBI agents back in August at the Hilton Suites, just across from Nashville's arena. Alzeedi and his party kept three rooms there for about a month while they waited on the aircraft.
Alzeedi listed Room 412 as his room.
One night, Alzeedi was inside Eddie George's Grill in the hotel, when someone apparently stepped on his foot. That's when, hotel workers say, he identified himself as an Iranian diplomat and demanded that the hotel compensate him for his injuries.
Then, in late August, the hotel locked Alzeedi and his party out of their rooms because of an unpaid bill of approximately $2,500. Inside the rooms, hotel workers found satellite navigation equipment and wet suits.
Suspicious, they called the FBI.
It is believed that agents talked to Alzeedi at that point, but found nothing at that time to justify further investigation. Aviators say, when flying a single-engine plane across the Atlantic, such equipment can be just basic survival gear.
Today, the phone number once listed by Zidi Aviation is out of service, and email sent to Zidi Aviation's publicized address have been returned as "undelivered mail."
All that leaves unanswered questions: were the activities here part of a terrorist plot or just a simple coincidence?
Isn't that the arab translation for condoms?
Maybe they were also scouting for info on special forces.
Yes, wet suits. Actually, they are also known as "survival suits", but are essentially the same thing. The purpose is to keep you alive long enough for a rescue crew to reach you, if you have to ditch the plane. Without it, survival time in cold water is measured in minutes.
When ferrying a small single-engine plane across the Atlantic, long-range navigation gear is required. It used to be a portable Omega receiver, but now GPS units provide less expensive and better guidance.
If they were flying the Tampicos to Morocco, they would need this stuff. If they didn't have it, I'd be more suspicious.
The Beachaven Winery in Clarksville just got a very favorable review in the Wall Street Journal:
Now's a Good Time to Go Visit That Winery Down the Road
1. Beachaven Vineyards & Winery, Clarksville, Tenn. A friend recently dropped into this winery and brought us back a very unusual bottle: "Tennessee Brut. Grand Cuvee Champagne." We opened it on Labor Day weekend to mark the end of summer, and we were quite pleased. It was elegant, with a nice chalky undertone that reminded us a bit of real Champagne.