EXCLUSIVE— Despite earlier
denials, terrorists in the Sept. 11 attacks received training at secure
U.S. military bases, a Defense Department spokesman admitted in an interview
Three days after the WTC
disaster, Newsweek, the Washington Post and the Knight Ridder newspapers
reported claims that five of the terrorist hijackers in the Sept 11 attacks
received training at secure U.S. military installations during the 1990s.
The reports also claimed three of the terrorists had listed their address
as the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., and had participated in military
exchange programs for foreign officers at the Pensacola Naval Air Station
In an interview with a reporter
questioning the vaguely-worded Sept 16 Pentagon denial, the Defense Dept
spokesman was asked to explain the particulars of fuzzy statements in which
officials said "name matches may not necessarily mean the students were
the hijackers, and that discrepancies in biographical data indicate "we
are probably not talking about the same people." (Italics added.)
Pressed repeatedly to provide
specifics, the spokesperson finally admitted, "I do not have the authority
to tell you who (which terrorists) attended which schools."
So it appears certain that
at least some of the previous denials have been rendered inoperative, and
that a list exists in the Defense Dept which names Sept 11 terrorists who
received training at U.S. military facilities, a list the Pentagon is in
no hurry to make public. This admission has significant import.
Consider: Foreign nationals
training at secure U.S. facilities do so almost solely at the behest of
governments considered friendly to the United States.
Gaining admittance to the
International Officer’s School at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery—which terrorist
ringleader Mohamed Atta was reported to have attended—would have required
Atta to be someone well-connected with a friendly Arab government. (For
the record, the spokesperson denied that the International Officer’s
School attendee named Mohamed Atta is the same Mohamed Atta who piloted
a passenger plane into the WTC, while repeatedly declining requests for
biographical details about a second Arab pilot with the same name as the
Take the (online) resume
of someone who indisputably did attend the U.S. Air Forces’ International
Officers School, for example, as an illustration of just how connected
these foreign nationals must be.
Colonel and Staff Pilot Mohammed
Ahmed Hamel Al Qubaisi is currently a Defense Military Naval & Air
Attache at the United Arab Emirates Embassy U.S. embassy, after previous
stints in his country’s Embassy & Security Division as Chief of Intelligence,
and in the UAE’s Security Division/Air Force Intelligence & Security
Directorate Security Officer/Air Force Intelligence & Security Directorate.
Arab Emirate-wise, International
Officer's School graduate Al Qubaisi is a homeland-security kind of guy.
A former Navy pilot quoted
in Newsweek’s Sept 15 report stated that during his years on the Pensacola
base, "we always, always, always trained other countries' pilots. When
I was there two decades ago, it was Iranians. The shah was in power. Whoever
the country du jour is, that's whose pilots we train."
The "country du jour" at
U.S. military installations during the 1990’s, according to numerous
reports, was Saudi Arabia. Newsweek’s prematurely "dis-credited" report,
for example, states that according to a Pentagon source at least two of
the terrorists trained at U.S. military facilities were former Saudi Air
Force pilots. Mohammed Atta had a Saudi passport, early reports also indicated.
Waleed Alshehri and Marwan Alsherhri had been living in Saudi Arabia before
they arrived in Florida to train for their missions.
Alleged associates had listed
Arabian Airlines’ post office box in the Saudi city of Jeddah as their
home address on their commercial pilots' licenses. And some of the pilots
had licenses indicating they were sponsored or employed by Saudi Arabian
Airlines, owned by the Saudi government.
Then, too, Crown Prince Abdullah
of Saudi Arabia told Washington 10 days before the September 11 terror
attacks that US policy towards the Arab-Israeli conflict had become untenable.
And the Oct 12 Times of London reports that the White House is frustrated
with the lack of help from Saudi Arabia in freezing Osama bin Laden’s
assets and tracking those behind the September 11 hijackings, and that
the Saudi regime has so far refused to clamp down on the assets of bin
Laden or other al-Qaeda figures, despite repeated requests from Washington.
This official admission—that
the "Terrorist 19" have suspicious connections that are still-unexplored—puts
even more of a spotlight on the two Dutch-owned flight schools in Venice,
Florida which were the initial "port of entry" for terrorist pilots inducted
into the U.S. flight training program.
The Two Venice Dutch Boys
There are over 200 flight
schools in Florida. Every terrorist pilot chose one of the two in Venice,
Florida. The two Venice flight schools were the terrorist’s American
Rudi Dekkers’ Huffman Aviation
was the terrorist’s Omaha Beach.
What made these two schools
so popular with the terrorist cadre?
Some flight schools may be
slightly more equal than others, as it happens...
"Some schools are authorized
by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to issue highly coveted I-20M
immigration forms that help foreign students acquire visas to enter the
United States as vocational students," read one early report about the
Florida flight schools.
Guess who had one of those
"highly-coveted" "vocational status" visas?
Mohammed Atta, the alleged
mastermind of the most vicious terrorist attack in the history of the world...
Guess who gave it to him?
Rudi Dekkers’ flight school, Huffman Aviation.
Under the glare of TV lights
on the apron of the Venice airport the day after the tragedy, Dekkers had
denied any responsibility for the terrorists student visas, saying "foreign
students must apply through Immigration and Naturalization Services, which
he believes performs background checks.
"We send them the paperwork
and they go to their embassies," said Dekkers. But Richard Nyren, a British
classmate of the terrorist pilots in Venice, had told reporters at the
same time that it's not all that easy to get a student visa, even with
the help of the school.
How did Mohamed Atta happen
to get so ‘lucky’ in the mangrove swamps of Southwest Florida?
He got his "highly-coveted"
I-20M immigration because "some" schools are authorized by the Immigration
and Naturalization Service to issue them.
Not "all" schools. "Some"
schools. Schools like Rudi Dekkers’ Huffman Aviation.
The question is: what made
Dekker’s school so special?
In a wire service report
three days after the WTC disaster, Dekkers was quoted saying, "I can tell
you that there's definitely some flaws in the system." It has been one
of his few completely truthful statements.
FACT: Some of the terrorists
had enough ‘juice,’ enough access, to have gained admittance to training
at secure U.S. military facilities. That argues official government complicity—leaving
aside exactly which government for the moment—at a level the current
FBI investigation has not even hinted at.
So far, the investigation
conducted around the world since Sept. 11 has resulted in a finger being
pointed directly at an obscure outfit most people had never even heard
of, and their Taliban backers. Did Al Qaeda and the Taliban bring down
the World Trade Center towers all by themselves?
Or should the FBI’s investigators
be looking at other, larger groups and even nations?
When the FBI was actively
looking for "international networks" which assisted and harbored the terrorists,
were any suspects overlooked? Were any protected from scrutiny?
Were Rudi Dekker and Arne
Kruithof acting as "cut-outs" for a U.S. intelligence operation at the
Venice, Florida airport? Were they ‘funneling’ Arab pilots into further
If the past 40 years of American
history serves as any guide, we will very likely never know.
NEXT: "SPOOKS, SAUDIS, AND