- The Washington Times - Friday, October 5, 2001

Two of the hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks on America got cash at two ATMs in Portland, Maine, the night before they boarded a commuter flight to Boston to catch the jetliner they later crashed into the World Trade Center, the FBI said yesterday.
Agent Charles S. Prouty, who heads the FBI's Boston field office, said Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari also stopped at a gas station, a Wal-Mart and a Pizza Hut during their one-night visit to Portland before leaving for Boston's Logan International Airport to board American Airlines Flight 11 the first to hit the World Trade Center.
Their movements were captured on videotape and surveillance photographs Mr. Prouty made public to generate additional information on the movements of Atta and Alomari during their pre-attack stay in Portland.
Meanwhile, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III yesterday said the bureau is pursuing an "unprecedented" 260,000 leads, half of which have come through the FBI's hot line and Internet site.
He also said lab and forensics experts are examining 3,000 pieces of evidence from the crash sites and other searches.
Mr. Mueller said the FBI is working with financial institutions and federal and international authorities to "dry up the reservoir of funds" on which terrorists draw to support their operations.
He said the seizure so far of $6 million in assets and accounts worldwide is "critical to sapping the strength of terrorism worldwide."
In Portland, Mr. Prouty said Atta and Alomari checked into the Comfort Inn on Sept. 10 at 5:43 p.m. and were seen about two hours later at a nearby Pizza Hut.
He said they were photographed at 8:31 p.m. at a Key Bank drive-up ATM in South Portland and at 8:41 p.m. at a Fast Green ATM, also in South Portland.
At 9:15 p.m., Mr. Prouty said, Atta was at the Jetport Gas Station in South Portland and the Wal-Mart in Scarborough, Maine, at 9:22 p.m., where he spent about 20 minutes. He said Atta wore a half-dark, half-light-colored shirt with light-colored slacks.
On Sept. 11, the two men checked out of the Comfort Inn at 5:33 a.m. and their 2001 blue Nissan Altima rental car, with Massachusetts license plate 3335VI, entered the Portland International Jetport parking lot less than a mile away at 5:40 a.m.
Atta and Alomari checked in at the airport counter at 5:43 a.m. and passed through airport security at 5:45 a.m., Mr. Prouty said.
They departed the Portland airport at 6 a.m. aboard a Colgan Air commuter plane bound for Boston, where they caught American Airlines Flight 11.
One piece of luggage carried by Atta never made it aboard his flight to Boston.
It contained a four-page, handwritten document in Arabic that contained instructions for the pending suicide attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as religious references.
Atta, 33, an Egyptian, is believed to have been the pilot aboard the American Airlines jet and has been described as the leader of the 19 hijackers who commandeered the four planes used in the attacks. He has been connected by German police to an Islamic fundamentalist group in Hamburg that planned attacks on U.S. targets. Alomari, 38, is believed to be a Saudi national. Authorities said they also suspect he was a pilot.
During a Justice Department briefing, Mr. Mueller said a decision not to authorize a search warrant for the hard drives of a man held in Minnesota after he sought questionable flight lessons came after it was determined that agents lacked sufficient probable cause to justify the warrant.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide