We Demand a Retraction from the SARASOTA HERALD TRIBUNE

 For at least the past three years, news accounts published in the MadCowMorningNews and in my book “Welcome to TERRORLAND” have asserted, through evidence developed from interviews with Amanda Keller, an eyewitness the Sarasota Herald Tribune has gone to great lengths to discredit, that while he was in Venice and Southwest Florida, several of terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta’s closest associates were, surprisingly, not Arab nationals, but German or Swiss.

Today the Associated Press is reporting that the FBI has a terror alert in the South Pacific for one of these men, Wolfgang Bohringer, a German pilot with whom Atta was “inseparable” during his frequent visits to Southwest Florida.

It is Amanda Keller, who lived for several months with terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta at the Sandpiper apartments in Venice—despite what amounts to a campaign by the Sarasota Herald Tribune to deny it—who ultimately deserves the credit for identifying an individual who may pose a serious threat to this country.  

It was she who stated that “Wolfgang,”  whose last name she did not know, but which our investigation discovered to be “Wolfgang Bohringer,” as someone who had known, and been close to, Mohamed Atta for what she said appeared to have been, based on their familiarity with each other, a long time.

Paper has proven history of getting it wrong

In recent denigrating, demeaning, and most of all UNTRUE  stories about the terrorist presence which flourished in the Sarasota Herald Tribune local coverage area, the newspaper, which is owned by the New York Times, has repeatedly referred to me, insultingly, as a “conspiracy theorist,” which might come as a shock to the New York Time’s own eminent and august William Safire, who for the past few years has been receiving, at his own request, notices on our latest stories as soon as they appear.

I have identified numerous previously unknown individuals  who were involved with the terrorist conspiracy, through the simple expedient of interviewing eyewitnesses who were there, and then verifying their accounts.

The result is a portrait of the terrorists which is much different, and far more accurate, than that which has been presented to the American people so far.

The Sarasota Herald Tribune has, so far, identified none.

So the truth is that, instead of being a “conspiracy theorist,” I am a better investigative reporter than the entire staff of the Sarasota Herald Tribune…combined.  

Demand for Retraction… and more.

Today we call on the paper publicly to retract what was (even then) ridiculous; the so-called  “Fifth Pilot” story published two weeks after the 9/11 attack; and also their several recent attempts to discredit the truth by attacking me.

Moreover, more than just failing the American people by completely falling down on the job of providing an accurate account of a terrorist presence which flourished right under its nose, the paper has made it a priority to attempt to discredit my efforts by dismissing  the eyewitnesses whose accounts I have faithfully relayed.

I have every right to feel I have been personally insulted, not by a single reporter, but by the Sarasota Herald Tribune itself as a matter of editorial  policy.

But there is a much larger issue involved, which goes to the heart of the matter. Had the Sarasota Herald Tribune only investigated and thoroughly examined the terrorist presence, this country’s citizens would have been far better informed than they were about the nature of what happened, and our nation’s conduct would have been changed.


Finally, the Sarasota Herald Tribune has yet to report—more than five years later—the fact, not conspiracy theory, but fact, that during the same month Mohamed Atta arrived to attend his flight school in Venice, Huffman Aviation, the owner of that flight school, Wallace J. Hilliard, had his Lear jet confiscated on a runway at Orlando Executive Airport by DEA agents who found 43 pound of heroin onboard.

It was, said the Orlando Sentinel, the “biggest drug bust in Central Florida history,” which is a distinction that I’m sure the editors of the Sarasota Herald Tribune appreciate was gained against formidable competition.

I am urging everyone who read this to demand an answer—through email, letters, and/or phone calls—to this question:

How much heroin would Mohamed Atta’s flight school owner’s plane have had to be carrying before the Sarasota Herald Tribune deemed it worthy of mention?

If you agree with this demand for retraction, as well as a demand that this New York Times-owned newspaper begin to accurately inform the citizens of this country the real news of what happens every day in its coverage area, please take a moment and email one, or several, or all of the individuals whose emails are listed below.

For our part, we feel a certain quiet satisfaction. We knew all along that Amanda Keller was telling the truth about Atta; for one reason, there were a good half-dozen other witnesses who said the same thing.

But we aren’t gloating.  Nor do we plan to engage in any  I-told-you-so finger wagging.

Not because we’re better than that. We’d like to think we are… But we do sometimes have our suspicions.)

But because there’s 3000 people dead. And more than five years on we’re still far from having anything like a coherent narrative to explain how it was they came to die on a sunny September morning when, in the blink of an eye… everything changed.


Daniel Hopsicker

Daniel Hopsicker is an investigative journalist and the author of two books on transnational crime, Welcome to Terrorland and Barry & the Boys.