Prelude 9/11 morning Flight 11 hijacked Flight 175 hijacked WTC 1 hit Flight 77 hijacked WTC 2 hit Flight 93 hijacked Pentagon hit WTC 2 collapses Flight 93 crashes WTC 1 collapses WTC 7 collapses Epilogue

Claim

The 19 “hijackers” were all identified within 72 hours. How is that possible, if there was no prior knowledge of the attack and the 19 persons0?

Background

If it is impossible to identify the persons in question within the given time frame, it must mean that the authorities actually had prior knowledge of the attack and the 19 persons.

Facts

When plane hijackings are investigated, and there is doubt about the hijackers’ identity and background, you examine the passenger lists1 and check each passenger’s background in order to eliminate them, one by one, until you have a list of suspects.

The following information is collated in the publication “A Post September 11th Analysis” af Systems Research and Development2.

When the passenger lists were examined, it was discovered that these persons were on a watch list at the immigration authorities:

  • Khalid al-Midhar, Flight 77, possible terrorist
  • Nawaf al-Hazmi, Flight 77, possible terrorist
  • Ahmed al-Ghamdi, Flight 175, illegal/expired visa

There were good reasons to check out these three persons.

The first person on the list Khalid al-Midhar ordered a ticket to Flight 77, gave a contact address, and used a Frequent Flyer account, where you gain points by flying often.

This contact address was also used by the following persons to order seats on the planes:

  • Mohamed Atta, Flight 11
  • Marwan al-Shehhi, Flight 175
  • Waleed al-Shehri, Flight 11
  • Wail al-Shehri, Flight 11

The Frequent Flyer account was also used by a passenger aboard Flight 77: Majed Moqed.

When Mohamed Atta ordered his ticket, he gave a telephone number in Florida. This phone number was also used by the following persons for their tickets on the planes:

  • Fayez Banihammad, Flight 175
  • Mohand al-Shehri, Flight 175
  • Abdulaziz al-Omari, Flight 11

The second person on the immigration authorities’ list, Nawaf al-Hazmi, ordered his ticket to Flight 77 and gave a contact address. This address was also used by the following persons for their tickets on the planes:

  • Ahmed al-Ghamdi, Flight 175
  • Hamza al-Ghamdi, Flight 175
  • Salem al-Hazmi, Flight 77

Two of the persons on the immigration authorities’ list, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, were living together with Hani Hanjour, who was on the passenger list for Flight 77.

Wail al-Shehri, who were on the passenger list for Flight 11, lived together with Satam Al Suqami, also on the passenger list for Flight 11.

The third person on the immigration authorities’ list, Ahmed al-Ghamdi, ordered his ticket to Flight 175 and gave his address for the plane ticket. This address was also used by Hamza al-Ghamdi, Flight 175.

Hamza al-Ghamdi had lived together with the following persons:

  • Saeed al-Ghamdi, Flight 93
  • Ahmed al-Haznawi, Flight 93
  • Ahmed al-Nami, Flight 93

Ahmed al-Haznawi had lived together with Ziad Jarrah, Flight 93.

There were now 19 persons, on the four hijacked planes, who were all connected to each other.

It took the FBI several days to investigate all passengers on the four planes, but on September 14th, 2001, the list of suspects was announced3. The FBI knew that they had all the suspects on board, since it was not possible to connect any of the other passengers, crew, or pilots in the same manner4.

It should be pointed out that it was only later in the criminal investigation that it was possible to build on the suspicion, e.g. by pointing to connections to the terror organization al Qaeda. This is thoroughly documented by the FBI, who has mapped the travels of the terrorists in the months leading up to the attack, e.g. in two reports5, and how they were financed6. There is also technical evidence, like identity papers, recordings from surveillance cameras, and audio recordings from the cockpits after the planes were hijacked7.

Since all aboard died in the terror attack, the 19 persons are legally only suspects and not guilty, but there is no evidence that speaks against that it was these 19 who carried out the terror attack.

Logic

If it was known that the 19 would have been on board, it should not have taken three days to “identify” them. It could have been announced far earlier who the suspects were believed to be, and thus improved the reputation of the FBI, which was not exactly top notch in the days after the terror attack.

There is nothing legal that presupposes that suspects must be identified within 72 hours. The time frame is thus completely arbitrarily chosen, from personal preferences. Naturally, this cannot be used to suspect criminal activities; Ordinary citizens do not make up the criteria by which persons must be suspected from, that is solely the responsibility of the police and, finally, the prosecution.

Conclusion

The claim is therefore:

  • False
  • Undocumented
  • In conflict with applicable legal principles

Sources

  1. “The 19 “hijackers” were all identified within 72 hours. How is that possible, if there was no prior knowledge of the attack and the 19 persons?”
    “De 19 “flykaprere” blev alle identificeret inden for 72 timer. Hvordan er det muligt hvis ikke man havde noget forh√•ndsviden om aktionen og de 19 personer.”
    Rasmus Kristensen, email til redaktionen

  2. Passenger manifests, fact sheet
  3. A Post September 11th Analysis, Systems Research and Development (PDF)
  4. FBI Announces List of 19 Hijackers, FBI.gov
  5. How FBI determined the 19 hijackers’s identities
  6. 9/11 and Terrorist Travel, Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
  7. Monograph on Terrorist Financing, Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
  8. No plane hit the Pentagon

    Q & A