- The Washington Times - Monday, October 15, 2001

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The FBI is searching anew for a Saudi pilot it first inquired about more than two weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, and who purchased two small planes and left Tennessee shortly before the suicide hijackings, officials said.
Khaled Alzeedi's name appears on a list of 370 persons that emerged overseas earlier this month. Most are wanted for questioning in the attacks investigation, officials have said.
Since the attacks, the FBI has questioned employees of a Nashville hotel where Mr. Alzeedi stayed, as well as the broker who sold the two planes, and seized records of Mr. Alzeedi's company, Zidi Aviation.
It's at least the second instance in which the FBI is known to have asked questions in the weeks prior to Sept. 11 about someone who later became a figure in the FBI's terrorism investigation. However, a top FBI official said yesterday that the bureau doesn't believe Mr. Alzeedi had any connection to the Sept. 11 hijackings.
In another case, Zacarias Moussaoui, a French-Algerian, was detained Aug. 17 in Minnesota after he aroused suspicions by seeking to learn how to steer but not land planes. Mr. Moussaoui is not cooperating with investigators.
Mr Alzeedi and two or three other men stayed about three weeks in August at the Hilton Suites hotel in downtown Nashville, according to a law-enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In the same period, Mr. Alzeedi was arranging the aircraft purchase from Outlaw Aircraft Sales of Clarksville, Tenn., about 60 miles northwest of Nashville.
Mr. Alzeedi bought two Tampico TB-9 airplanes small, single-engine, European-made aircraft often used for pilot training and by flying clubs.
Federal Aviation Administration records show the planes were registered Aug. 16 to Zidi Aviation Corp., which Mr. Alzeedi incorporated last year in Delaware.
It's not clear why Mr. Alzeedi was brought to the FBI's attention in August.
The law-enforcement source said only that the Hilton hotel's management alerted authorities. Hotel general manager Mark Moravec would only say that Mr. Alzeedi "acted peculiar."
The telephone number in Saudi Arabia listed on Zidi Aviation's Web site does not work, and e-mail sent to an address listed on the site was returned as undeliverable. The company's Web site showed the cockpit of commercial jetliners and listed services, including pilot training and private shuttles.

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