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March 27, 2006

Moussaoui Testifies He And Shoe-Bomber Richard Reid Were To Crash Fifth Airplane Into White House

The AP report.


Al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui testified Monday that he and would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid were supposed to hijack a fifth airplane on Sept. 11, 2001, and fly it into the White House.

Moussaoui's testimony on his own behalf stunned the courtroom as he disclosed details he had never revealed before. It was in stark contrast to Moussaoui's previous statements in which he said the White House attack was to come later if the United States refused to release a radical Egyptian sheik imprisoned on earlier terrorist convictions.

Moussaoui testified Monday he lied to investigators when arrested in August 2001 because he wanted to let the attacks of Sept. 11 go forward.

"Yes, you can say that," Moussaoui said when the prosecution asked if that was why he misled them. The statement was key to the government's case that the attacks might have been averted if Moussaoui had been more cooperative following his arrest.

He told the court he knew the attacks were coming some time after August 2001 and bought a radio so he could hear them unfold.

Specifically, he said he knew the World Trade Center was going to be attacked, but asserted he was not part of the plot and didn't know the details.

Taking the stand in his own defense in his death-penalty trial, Moussaoui said he declined to become a suicide pilot in some future attack when asked by a senior al-Qaida official in 1999.

So... he's admitting he knew about the attack, and was asked to be part of the attack, but refused?

This is pretty pathetic:

Just before Moussaoui took the stand, the court heard testimony that two months before the attacks that a CIA deputy chief waited in vain for permission to tell the FBI about a "very high interest" al-Qaida operative who became one of the hijackers.

The official, a senior figure in the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit, said he sought authorization on July 13, 2001, to send information to the FBI but got no response for 10 days, then asked again.

As it turned out, the information on Khalid al-Mihdhar did not reach the FBI until late August. At the time, CIA officers needed permission from a special unit before passing certain intelligence on to the FBI.

The official was identified only as John. His written testimony was read into the record.

"John's" testimony was part of the defense's case that federal authorities missed multiple opportunities to catch hijackers and perhaps thwart the 9/11 plot.

His testimony included an e-mail sent by FBI supervisor Michael Maltbie discussing Moussaoui but playing down his terrorist connections. Maltbie's e-mail said "there's no indication that (Moussaoui) had plans for any nefarious activity."

I wonder if that guy has been fired. I bet $1000 he hasn't been.


Jenifer Loven will soon file a "news analysis" piece about Moussaoui's dynamite admissions, in which she examines Bush's use of the "appeal to authority" logical fallacy in his speeches.


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posted by Ace at 12:50 PM

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