Confounding those who thought it impossible, the FBI’s already-tattered credibility was shredded still further last week with revelations of deliberately concealed evidence in the 9.11 investigation, as well as malfeasance in the probe of the execution-style slaying in Florida of SunCruz Casino Czar Gus Boulis, increasingly the focus of the investigation into disgraced Republican lobbyist-cum-bagman Jack Abramoff.
In a major development in the 9.11 investigation which passed almost-unnoticed, jurors in the death penalty trial of Zacharias Moussaoui heard testimony from aviation officials about a previously-undisclosed incident…
In February of 2001, almost two months after the FBI says Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi left Huffman Aviation in Venice Florida for the bright lights of Miami, the two men were still flying a single-engine plane registered to Venice Florida flight school Huffman Aviation.
The story offers further confirmation of allegations in “Welcome to TERRORLAND" that the FBI systematically covered up evidence showing Atta using Huffman Aviation in Venice as his base of operations for the entire year before the 9.11 attack.
If the FBI’s chronology of events is a tissue of half-truths, distortions and outright lies, it is a very serious matter; the Bureau’s investigation was exclusively relied on by both the Congressional Intelligence Committee 9.11 probe and the 9.11 Commission, neither of which fielded independent investigators.
Moreover, the incident also contradicts sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee by Huffman Aviation’s Rudi Dekkers, who stated emphatically that Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi left Huffman for the last time just after Christmas in 2000.
The cover-up lasts until we say different
The Clearwater incident began, jurors were told, after a police aide and night watchman noticed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi practicing takeoffs and landings at night, which is highly unusual, as the the tiny Clearwater airstrip is closed after dark.
A Clearwater aviation official testified the airport prohibited take-offs and landings after sunset. Planes landing after 9 p.m. were even supposed to be grounded until the next morning.
The disdain with which the two terrorist pilots treated American aviation regulations is already well-known, because of the now-famous incident in which Atta and Marwan walked away from a stalled plane and abandoned it in the middle of an active runway at Miami International Airport.
Dan Pursell, a former chief flight instructor at Huffman Aviation, testified that a Clearwater police aide at the tiny Clearwater Airpark called Huffman Aviation and left a voice message complaining that Atta and Marwan were breaking airport rules by taking off and landing after dark.
Pursell told the St. Petersburg Times, which first broke the story, that when they returned to Venice the next morning, he and another flight instructor at Huffman spoke with Atta and al-Shehhi about the Clearwater incident.
How really brief "really brief" can be
"Hey, we got a phone call, you've been identified in Clearwater," Pursell remembers telling Atta and al-Shehhi. "This is like, the last straw. If that happens again, we're going to have to look at this a little harder."
He called the exchange "really brief."
When we phoned Pursell to question him about why he hadn't brought to light sooner an incident he must have known had significance to the FBI's timeline, we found him to be a man of few words.
"I told the FBI all about it at the time," he told us. "They knew."
We asked the obvious question. "So why did they continue to lie about how much time Atta spent in Venice?"
Pursell said nothing. So "really brief" described our exchange as well.
Could government attorney Carla J. Martin’s improper tampering with witnesses, which briefly derailed the Moussaoui trial, have been designed to prevent just such disturbing new disclosures?
The answer, of course, as with so much else, is: "We may never know."
A sordid feat breaks a record in a state with a sordid past
In sworn testimony Rudi Dekkers insisted his relationship with the terrorist ringleader ended in December, nine months before the attack.
“On July 1st, 2000,” Dekkers told a Congressional Committee, “Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi arrived at Huffman Aviation in Venice, Florida to inquire about taking flying lessons. On July 3rd, 2000, Atta and Al-Shehhi came back to Huffman Aviation to sign up for lessons.”
“On December 24th, 2000, Atta and Al-Shehhi rented a Warrior from Huffman Aviation for a flight… one to two days later Atta and Al-Shehhi returned to Huffman Aviation to make final payments on their outstanding bills. Because they were not taking any more flying lessons, they were asked to leave the facility due to their bad attitudes and not being liked by staff and clients alike. Huffman never heard about or from them again until September 11th, 2001.”
Dekkers' testimony, which has clearly now been rendered "inoperative," also appears to open him to accusations of perjury. Or at least should…
One of the three alleged Mob hit men on trial for the murder of Florida Casino Czar Gus Boulis, which has increasingly become the focus of the probe into disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, was an FBI informant at the time he is alleged to have been masterminding the murder plot.
The international heroin trafficking aspect of the 9.11 investigation has also gone unreported, except by the MadCowMorningNews, which has extensively covered the inconvenient discovery of 43 pounds of heroin aboard the Lear jet of the owner of Huffman Aviation during the same month Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al Shehhi arrived to attend his flight school.
As Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi began flying lessons at Huffman Aviation, in July of 2000, the school’s owner suffered a major embarrassment when his Lear jet was seized by DEA agents who found 43 pounds of heroin aboard.
Authorities called it the biggest seizure of heroin ever in central Florida, which, given the state’s sordid past, is no mean feat.
One stop shopping for all your last-minute criminal needs
One of the alleged hit men going on trial in Florida for the murder of gambling czar Gus Boulis, killed gangland-style after getting muscled out of SunCruz Casinos by Republican bagman Jack Abramoff, has been an informant for the FBI for more than a decade, including at the time when Boulis was killed.
The Miami Herald, which broke the story, said that at the same time New York mobster Anthony Moscatiello was allegedly plotting the slaying of gambling tycoon Boulis, he was spying on fellow gangsters and snitching to the FBI.
“Big Tony” Moscatiello, whose duties included ‘cooking’ the books for Mafia don John Gotti’s Howard Beach crew, was caught up in a major heroin prosecution which included then-acting Mob Boss Gene Gotti, John Gotti’s brother, as well as assorted other members of the Gambino Family.
He became a confidential informant for the Bureau after federal trafficking charges against him were mysteriously dropped in 1989.
The day after police announced arrests in SunCruz Casino founder Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis' murder, Adam Kidan, Jack Abramoff’s titular “President” of SunCruz, paid Big Tony a jailhouse visit at Rikers Island in New York City.
Um…a catering business at Rikers' Island? A donut shop in Sing Sing?
Adam Kidan is the only person outside “Big Tony” Moscatiello's family and attorneys allowed in to visit the alleged mob associate in his first weeks behind bars. What do you think they found to talk about?
In any other organization, this kind of developing pattern of illegality might prompt calls for a RICO investigation. Not of the Gambinos… of the FBI.
'Big Tony' Moscatiello, former advisor to crime boss John Gotti and star defendant in the gangland-style hit on Konstantinos 'Gus' Boulis…was an informant for the FBI at the time the crime was committed.
Assuming he's found guilty, we wonder: did he have to ask his FBI handler for permission to do the hit?
Or… was it an assignment?