Skip to comments.Exclusive: Hijacker in City Sept. 10 Used navigation tool to pinpoint WTC site
Posted on 05/22/2002 2:35:36 AM PDT by kattracks
The leader of the Sept. 11 hijackers visited the World Trade Center days before the attack to obtain coordinates for a navigation device, law enforcement officials now believe.Mohamed Atta, who led the 19 hijackers that morning, was in New York on Sept. 10 and perhaps Sept. 9, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation.
The FBI found transactions that show Atta used a credit card in Manhattan the day before the planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Until recently, law enforcement officials could not figure out why he was here.
New evidence has emerged that leads investigators to believe Atta made a last-minute visit to double-check coordinates of the twin towers and plug them into a sophisticated Global Positioning System device bought by the hijackers, the source said.
Investigators suspect Atta's trip to the Trade Center was necessary because they believe the hijackers were too inexperienced to handle the jumbo jets without help. They know the hijackers bought GPS devices in the months leading up to the attack.
The FBI's New York office declined to comment on what the bureau knows about Atta's final hours.
The unusual flight paths of American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 which traveled from Boston and into the twin towers indicates the hijackers used the devices to guide them as they flew across the country toward what was about to become known as Ground Zero, the source said.
Federal prosecutors say that on Aug. 25 three weeks before the attack one of Atta's co-conspirators, hijacker Ziad Jarrah, bought GPS components.
Flying Equipment Bought
Atta himself bought flight deck videos for jumbo jets and several unnamed items from Sporty's Pilot Shop in Ohio in November 2000. Sporty's owners said FBI agents investigating the Sept. 11 attacks asked about a Garmin GPS III Pilot, a hand-held device that simplifies aeronautical navigation.
And Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker now indicted on terrorism charges in the Sept. 11 plot, also tried to buy a GPS receiver, prosecutors have said.
With the coordinates of the twin towers entered as the desired destination, the devices would tell the hijackers when they were off course as they flew thousands of feet above the ground.
Experts noted that the hijackers could have obtained coordinates of the towers from available maps, but visiting the site with the device would ensure that the specific data were pinpoint accurate.
It's not clear how long Atta was in Manhattan before the attack. The source would not discuss the credit card transactions here except to say they took place in Manhattan.
Sometime on Sept. 10, the FBI believes, Atta traveled to Boston and rented a blue Nissan sedan. He and Abdulaziz Alomari then drove to Portland, Maine.
Seen on Video
They checked into a Comfort Inn in South Portland at 5:43 p.m., then visited two bank ATMs and a Wal-Mart, where they were captured on video.
The morning of Sept. 11, they checked out of the motel at 5:33 a.m., arriving at Portland International Jetport in time for a last-minute boarding of a 5:45 a.m. flight to Boston.
They arrived at Boston's Logan Airport just in time to board American Airlines Flight 11, departing at 7:55 a.m., fully fueled, with a scheduled destination of Los Angeles.
Sometime during the flight as the plane headed west over upstate New York the FBI believes Atta, Alomari and three others hijacked the jet and turned it south toward the towers of New York.
5:33 a.m.: Atta and Alomari checked out of the Comfort Inn.
5:40 a.m.: The 2001 blue Nissan Altima rental car, bearing Massachusetts license 3335VI, entered Portland International Jetport Airport parking lot. It was parked on the first floor directly across from the airport entrance.
5:43 a.m.: Atta bought a one-way ticket from Portland, ME, to Los Angeles, with a stopover in Boston. Atta and Alomari checked in at US Airways counter.
5:44 or 5:45 a.m.: Atta and Alomari went through airport security, Portland, ME.
6:00 a.m.: Colgan Air plane took off for Boston. The two men sat behind one another on the plane.
This man was part of the plot...........'allegedly' in my opinion.
You can believe what you want.......
All that I have read about Flight Simulator is that MS delayed the release of 2002 because of sensitivities related to the attack. They also issued a patch for 2000 that removed the towers from the NYC skyline. I have read nothing that indicates that MS changed the lat/long in any of the sims or recalled games.
We _could_ do that, yes. BUT... The pilots navagate using GPS (do you really want to confuse a pilot unless you're ABSOLUTELY sure?) By the time you know for sure what's going on, it's likely too late. I've heard the 9/11 air traffic control recordings: the time between hijack confirmation and crash was seconds. And on a clear day with proper maps, jamming GPS won't do any good - the hijacker/pilot of the 4th 9/11 plane was following freeways.
[general rant] Stop this BS of clever "might work" cures - let the pilots carry guns so they can stop the b@$t@rds DRT.
This feature already exists, it was built into the system.
How soon until John McCain sponsors legislation closing the "loophole" in GPS system shows?
This story reports Atta rented the car on 9/10 (contrary to all other reports I've read). Assuming that the 9/9 car rental and stay in Boston can be documented with receipts, my guess is that someone else used Atta's credit card in New York, and it sounds as if the visit to WTC is simply a theory. (Or this entire story is hogwash).
Wasn't it the RATs' "Soccor Moms", in the weeks following 911, who tried to get American women to show their support for the adherants of "The Religion of Piece" by wearing a VEIL one day a week?
if he didn't bargain then he is safe. The real terrorists were penny pinchers.
Location: The Comfort Inn is located off exit 7 of I-95 (North or South) at 90 Maine Mall Rd. We are 1 mile from the Portland International Jetport and offer complimentary airport transportation
I think you answered my question: Who could buy one of these global positioning devices before 9-11?
Who can buy them now?
Sorry, I guess I'm overly sensitive today because I posted something yesterday and got visciously attacked (it ended up what posted was not accurate).
I have a lesson tommorrow, I'll check with my flight instructor for details.
On a related point, the instuctor told me that a 16 year old kid came in for lessons and knew all the approaches to the local airports and landmarks from the air before taking off. He had flown the area so often with Flight Simulator that he had memorized everything!
There were earlier reports of Atta being in New York that weekend. See the linked timeline.
I do. First he said he knew nothing about it. Then he said he knew about it, but it belonged to a friend of his. Sorry...he changed his story so many times I lost track. Some goofy NYC judge let him go due to lack of evidence. I believe he was deported on an immigration violation I think, meaning he probably appealed the deportation and is still in this country somewhere.
Anybody. Check hunting, marine catalogs, auto stores (GPS mapping computers), even sold as optional equipment on some cars (I believe) and boats and private planes.
Who can buy them now?
Anybody. For now.
What I posted was actually from rough notes I prepared a few months ago. There were several sources, including the FBI. (The one uncertain time in my list is because I did find published references to both times, but they're only a minute apart.)
Anyway, I don't think I have anything on the earlier information that you posted. But it's probably in denydenydeny's superb timeline; that would be an excellent resource to check.
I don't see how that would have made any difference. Even a severely degraded GPS signal would get you to within visual range of the WTC, or any other large target that the Muslimaniacs would find attractive. Nonetheless, I think you are absolutely right that the same Idiotarian mind-set that thinks outlawing guns makes people safer will think that degrading civilian GPS signals will also make us safer.
Like, as if, once in New York City, they couldn't have hit the towers being off 300 ft from SA.
Yeah, 9/11 was a VFR atrocity.
By all accounts the wogs' flying skills were nowhere near the level needed to hit the towers reliably under instrument conditions. Moreover, on a clear day like 9/11, the TV coverage would be much better! I'm sure they were paying close attention to the weather forecasts. Doubtless, if the 9/11 weather had been less than excellent, they would have postponed the attack.
Does anyone familiar with the autopilots on these airplanes know if they are good enough to be programmed to hit the towers automatically?
Gee, think how much money you could have made if you'd got to Spatula City in time to pick up a few of those ploot pits last year!
On a nice day like 9/11, can't you see Manhattan off in the distance from the point at which the planes turned south?
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