Fri, Nov 07, 2003
It could have been a lot worse...
At least, that's the take at a number of newsrooms.
One network reports, aside from the 19 al Qaeda suspects
involved in the September 11th attacks that destroyed the World
Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, several other Osama bin
Laden loyalists tried unsuccessfully to get into the country. Had
they made it, ABC reports they would have tried to hijack more than
the four aircraft involved in the attacks.
ABC News quotes Roger Cressey, the former director for
counterterrorism for the National Security Council, as saying, "Our
assumption at the White House at the time was that there were more
attacks planned. Maybe not on 9/11 but certainly afterward. [Osama]
bin Laden and his people think strategically."
One document used by prosecutors in the
Zacarious Moussaoui case and only recently declassified says "as
late as August 2001 al Qaeda was still trying to insert new
hijackers into the September 11th attacks."
The identities of those who tried but failed to expand the
attacks were discovered in caves during the fall of the Taliban in
Afghanistan. The names were compared to a list of visa applications
from people who wanted to come to America.
Some of the terrorists have been captured. Others have been
killed. But one is still on the loose and officials are worried he
may still be in the United States.
As Many As Ten Jets Were Planned For Takeover
The theory by law enforcement is corroborated to some extent by
Khalid Sheikh Mohammad. He's the 9/11 mastermind arrested last
March in Pakistan. He's reportedly been cooperating ever since. ABC
reports Mohammad told investigators up to ten passenger jets were
targeted for take-over, including five flights originating in Los
Angeles International and San Francisco.
But al Qaeda ringleader Osama bin Laden reportedly trimmed that
plan because it was getting too complicated.
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