The Hull Thread
Chronology of Events From July 2002 - December 2002
(Articles from news sources have been placed
within for educational, research, and discussion purposes
only, in compliance with "Fair Use" criteria established in Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976.)
July 5, 2002 Newsmax.com Report: El Al Plane
in Near Missile Miss
Israeli Minister of Transportation Ephraim Sneh announced Friday afternoon (Israeli time) that he debriefed the pilot of the El Al flight who reported seeing a surface-to-air missile explode near his plane Thursday night, according to the Israeli news service Arutz Sheva.The El Al aircraft was in international air space over Russia at the time."Sneh, a retired IDF brigadier-general explained the El Al pilot is a veteran Israel Air Force fighter pilot, a person who knows how to differentiate between aeronautical or weather entities and a missile," Arutz Sheva said. The transportation minister said that although the missile exploded only kilometers from the plane, he suspects it was an accident - and not a deliberate attempt to bring the El Al plane down.
July 5, 2002 Posted: 9:11 AM EDT (1311 GMT) CNN
KIEV, Ukraine -- Israel and the Ukraine have downplayed an El Al pilot's report that he saw an air-to-surface-missile explode as he flew over the former Soviet state. The pilot of the Israeli national airline said he saw the missile during a flight between Tel Aviv and Moscow, Israel's Transport Minister said on Friday. The reported incident comes nine months after a Russian plane was downed by a Ukrainian missile as it flew over the Black Sea during a journey from Tel Aviv to Siberia, killing 78 people. The Ukraine military regime initially denied responsibility for that incident before admitting it had been one of its missiles that had accidentally been fired. The El Al pilot, in the latest incident, is an experienced combat veteran of the Israeli air force. A Ukrainian pilot also reported seeing a bright light in the sky over the Ukraine on Thursday, Interfax Ukraine quoted an unidentified source in the Transport Ministry Department for Aviation as saying. But both the Ukrainian and Israeli authorities were stressing the El Al plane did not come under attack on Thursday. Israeli Transport Minister Ephraim Sneh said the Israeli plane was never in danger and voiced doubt it had come under attack, Reuters reported. Amos Shapira, El Al's Managing Director, told Army Radio: "The (El Al) pilot saw a flash ... It was at least 10 to 100 miles (16 to 160 km) away. The plane was in no danger." The Ukrainian Defence Ministry said its army had not conducted any missile launches since last October's disaster. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, quoted by Interfax Ukraine in Copenhagen, where he is attending an EU meeting, called the suggestion that the incident involved a Ukrainian missile "absurd." Konstantin Khyvrenko, a Ukrainian Defence Ministry spokesman, said the reported sighting "could be anything -- something from the natural world, like a sudden change of temperature (or) lightning strike." Despite that, Israel Radio said Israeli security authorities had asked the United States for any satellite data indicating a missile had been launched over Ukraine on Thursday.
July 5, 2002 http://www.debka.com|
Hashem Mohamed Hadayat, 41, who gunned down Yakov Aminov, 46, and Vicky Hen, 25 - both from Los Angeles - on the 4th of July at the El Al terminal of Los Angeles, and wounded 7 others, is revealed by DEBKAfile's intelligence and counter-terror sources as a Muslim extremist. During his ten years in the United States, he was a secret operative of the Egyptian Jihad who maintained undercover links to the same Jihad cell in Brooklyn, New York, as the "blind sheikh" Abdul Rahim Rahman and Ramzi Yousef. Both are doing time for perpetrating the first attack on the New York World Trade Center in 1993. Hadayat is also believed to have abetted a previous, contrived airline disaster: On October 31, 1999, an Egyptair Boeing 767 Flight 990, which also took off from Los Angeles airport for Kennedy, New York. After Kennedy, the plane bound for Cairo plunged into the Atlantic off the Nantucket Island, Mass. coast, killing all 217 passengers and crew. In a special probe, the US National Transportation Safety Board found that the copilot Gameel el-Batouty was at the controls when the plane went into its dive. His voice was recorded shouting, "I put my faith in Allah!" Our sources affirm that Hadayat, who lived in Irvine, California, 70 km south of Los Angeles, knew Batouty well. There are also indications that, in the years 1998 and 1999, Hadayat was in touch with a group of high Egyptian air force officers and helicopter pilots posted at the time at Edwards Base north of Los Angeles. They were there to learn how to install command and control centers in Egypt's air defense systems, operate anti-air missile batteries and fly Apache gunships. Most of those officers were on the doomed Egyptian airliner after completing their courses. Hadayat's murderous attack on El Al flight 106 passengers points back to the Egyptair 990 disaster of 1999, reviving the many questions left open by that earlier, half stifled inquiry, which carefully stepped round any suggestion of terrorism. It also raises the question of how many sleeper cells the Egyptian Jihad, al Qaeda's primary operational arm, maintains in American cities.
Hadayat struck the El Al ticket line on his 42nd birthday. The initial FBI inquiry found through records of his fingerprints at the Department of Motor Vehicles, which issued him with a limousine license, that he was married with at least one child, and had lived in Irvine for the last two years, working on a green card. Since the attack, the possibility that he arrived in America as a sleeper terrorist must be seriously addressed. US investigators realize he was not a lone operative and are seeking his accomplices in such matters as setting up the hit, providing the guns he carried and intelligence on the security situation at the Tom Bradley terminal. DEBKAfile's Middle East intelligence sources report that early Friday, Egyptian intelligence officers picked up Hadayat's relatives and associates in Cairo, to try and trace the identities of his fellows in the American Jihad cell.
July 7, 2002 http://www.debka.com
Hesham Mohamed Hadayat was no stranger to El Al's Los Angeles airport office. According to DEBKAfile's counter-terror sources, the man who murdered two Israelis on the El Al ticket line at Los Angeles airport on July 4th worked for the American Mercury ground service company from 1993 (one year after he arrived in the US) until 1998, when he left to set up his own limousine service for air passengers. Exactly what he did at Mercury is vague, but during his five years in their employ, this former bank clerk from Cairo was free to move around Los Angeles international airport. Our sources reveal that during that time, he aroused the suspicions of El Al security personnel who warned airport security. When no action was taken, they put him under surveillance. El Al asked Mercury to rearrange Hadayat's shifts for periods when none of its planes were scheduled, which Mercury agreed to do. After the 4th of July attack, in order not to clash directly with the US authorities which refused to identify it as a terrorist assault, El Al and Israeli security spokesmen said that even if the Egyptian gunman was not a proven member of a terrorist group, his crime ranked as an act of terror. However, Sunday, July 7 the influential Arabic London-based Al Hayat followed the original DEBKAfile disclosure of July 5 - that Hadayat was a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad - and took it a step further. According to the Arabic paper, the Egyptian gunman met Dr. Ayman Zuwahri, the Jihad Islami chief who is Osama bin Laden's deputy, twice in California - once in 1995 and again in 1998. According to DEBKAfile's sources, it was at that second encounter that Hadayat was told to leave his job with Mercury and given capital to set up his small limousine firm, so as to take advantage of his access to airport facilities and airline personnel contacts, while at the same time shaking off any watchers. The Al Hayat report places Dr. Zuwahri in California unobserved less than three years before the 9/11 hijacking attacks in America and a year and a half before the Egyptair disaster. The Hadayat family lives in Cairo. His father, a retired Egyptian army general, and his uncle, a former minister of science, admit that Hesham was a fervent Muslim who did what he could to encourage everyone to read the Koran. They say he was happy in Irvine, California. His neighbors in that Los Angeles suburb tell a different story, that he hated Israelis and Jews and asked one of them to take down the American and US Marine flags put up after 9/11. From all the foregoing, our counter-terror experts cite Hesham Hadayat as a classical a Qaeda plant. He was positioned at Los Angeles airport in the early 1990s to bide his time for the right moment to carry out a terrorist attack against an El Al flight. When Hayat's handlers saw he was under observation, they made him lower profile. His assignment was revised to fit his role as a limousine driver familiar to the Tom Bradley terminal staff and free to move around - namely to shoot down a line of passengers waiting to board an El Al flight.
July 8, 2002
By Kelly Patricia O'Meara an investigative reporter for Insight
The deadliest U.S. airline disaster prior to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon was the July 17, 1996, midair explosion that destroyed TWA Flight 800 off the coast of Long Island, N.Y. Six years later, while the official investigation has been closed (or forever forgotten in "inactive pending" status), the nature of the explosion that killed the 230 passengers of the Paris-bound jumbo jet is very much on the radar of independent investigators. Indeed, investigators now have used the government's own regulations to petition the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for a reconsideration and modification of official findings. Having spent more than two years and $40 million, federal authorities had concluded that the probable cause for the crash of Flight 800 was an explosion within the aircraft's center-wing fuel tank. The investigators admitted that neither the ignition source nor its location within the tank "could be determined from the available evidence." On the sixth anniversary of the downing of the jumbo jet, the Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization (FIRO), a nonprofit international group made up of professionals, engineers, scientists, former crash investigators and survivors of those killed in the explosion, believe the evidence of what happened now is clear. Based on physical evidence and eyewitness accounts, both those considered during the investigation and many that were not considered, FIRO is convinced it can prove the official determination was wrong. Tom Stalcup, a physicist who is chairman of FIRO, tells Insight that it was "during a meeting with former NTSB chairman Jim Hall that we became aware of the federal regulation that allows us to file the petition [for reconsideration]. Hall met with us and said if we had more questions we should send them to him. We did have more questions, but our letters went unanswered. Then Hall left the NTSB and Chairwoman Carol Carmody responded to our letters, basically saying that we weren't going to get answers to the questions that it wasn't in anyone's interest even to correspond with us." Having established that the NTSB was unwilling to cooperate with FIRO, Stalcup challenged the ruling under NTSB Regulation 845.41(a)) and put together a 20-page petition, plus 70 pages of attachments. "The criteria for the petition," explains Stalcup, "is that you have to show that, based on the evidence, their findings were erroneous and that there was evidence that wasn't considered that there is new evidence. We met each of these criteria and made at least 100 other points." The petition, which can be found at www.flight800.org, touches on nearly every aspect of the official investigation, including eyewitness statements, the cockpit voice recorder (CVR), radar analysis and recently declassified FBI reports about the wreckage. One of the major points of the petition cites "the Brookhaven [National Laboratory] report [that] was classified by the FBI as 'secret'" and never was made part of the NTSB public docket. It contains the laboratory results of wreckage items of "unknown origin" that were sent to an external laboratory for examination. The secrecy undermined the NTSB's ability to conduct a thorough analysis of the physical evidence. According to senior NTSB investigator Hank Hughes, group chairman of the Airplane Interior Documentation Group, "there are still unanswered questions concerning evidence sent for examination." Stalcup says, "One of the interesting points in the 'secret' report is that there were investigators complaining that they hadn't been given enough information about the wreckage," saying there was "little forensic documentation or guidance on large-body-aircraft missile engagements." According to Stalcup, "More than that, we have information that shows that 20 unusual 0.2-inch-diameter round pellets that were found in bodies were withheld from the NTSB but analyzed by the FBI and found to have been made of aluminum titanium matrix and other elements like zirconium, barium and cerium. These are pyrotechnics or incendiary devices, and the matrix structure of these objects is consistent with pellets used in antiaircraft missiles." The FIRO chairman continues: "In fact, I found a quote in National Defense magazine that was referring to warheads that said 'pellets imbedded in titanium matrix' are used in antiaircraft warheads. The 'secret' [Brookhaven] report analysis concluded that the origin of the pellets is 'unknown' and that one of the pellets was submitted for identification because of its dissimilarity in appearance with TWA 800 debris. ...'" While the petition winds its way through the bureaucratic maze at the NTSB, a lawsuit also has been brought by FIRO against the FBI for failure to release information duly requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Graeme Sephton, a member of FIRO, brought the action in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts because of the FBI's refusal to produce information. "The essence of the problem," explains Sephton, "is that Dr. Wetli [the Suffolk County Medical Examiner] will confirm that the FBI never shared with him any of the forensic information even though it was taken from him during autopsy, and it is he who must have all the available information to make the determination of the cause of death." Sephton continues: "One of the reasons for a safety investigation is to find out what is flying around inside the plane so they can eliminate those things in another crash that maybe people will survive. What we're looking for is the list of shrapnel that shouldn't have been in the aircraft, and the hope is that the FBI will explain these unknown foreign bodies and ultimately bring us closer to finding out what caused the explosion." Apparently the FBI didn't feel compelled to share this information with the NTSB investigators and, short of a court order, it is unlikely to be provided to FIRO. Stalcup says, "I'm not convinced that the petition will go anywhere. Not because it doesn't have merit, but because the NTSB doesn't have the guts to honestly search for and report the truth."
July 22, 2002 New York Times
The Iranian government organized and carried out the bombing of a Jewish community center here eight years ago that killed 85 people and then paid Argentina's president at the time, Carlos Saúl Menem, $10 million to cover it up, a witness in the case has said in sealed testimony. According to the witness, a high-level defector from Iran's intelligence agency who gave his name as Abdolghassem Mesbahi, Mr. Menem, who was president from 1989 to 1999, benefited for years from his ties to Iranian intelligence officials. They courted him as a valuable contact, Mr. Mesbahi said, for his combination of rising political power, Muslim ancestry and connections to Argentina's small but influential Syrian-Lebanese community. Iranian officials in Tehran have denied involvement in the bombing. Officials at the Iranian Embassy here declined to discuss the case by telephone and did not respond to a request for comment by fax. Mr. Mesbahi, the Iranian defector who provided the testimony, met with Argentine investigators in Germany in 1998 and again in Mexico in 2000, speaking at various times in Persian, English, German and French with a Spanish-language translator present. Argentine officials say that they are not sure of his current whereabouts, except that he remains under Germany's protection, and that they do not know if the name he gave is his real name. Argentine and German officials describe him as a senior operative who has provided valuable information about Iranian terrorist operations in Europe and Asia through the mid-1990's. He defected to Germany in 1996, reportedly because he was upset at his agency's involvement in the killing of dissident intellectuals in Iran and abroad.
Mr. Mesbahi said the planning for the attack in Buenos Aires began in 1992, led by Mohsen Rabbani, cultural attaché at the Iranian Embassy at the time, and supervised by Hamid Naghashan, a senior official of the Iranian intelligence agency. One cell focused on "cooperating with members of the Argentine police, corrupting them or threatening them to collaborate with the attack," Mr. Mesbahi said, according to the transcript. "Another devoted itself to obtaining the explosives" in Brazil, he said. Immigration and Foreign Ministry records here confirm, the officials said, that several Iranians who were said to have been involved in the plot visited Argentina in the months preceding the bomb attack. Mr. Mesbahi said that after the attack, negotiations took place in Tehran with an emissary, a bearded man of about 50, sent by Mr. Menem. The result was that "$10 million was deposited into a numbered account that Menem had indicated," Mr. Mesbahi said, paid from a $200 million Swiss account controlled by Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was Iran's president at the time, and by a son of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. In return, Mr. Mesbahi said, Mr. Menem agreed to "make declarations that there was no evidence against Iran that it was responsible." The Menem government initially blamed Iran, but the cumulative effect of later statements, arguing that there was insufficient proof, has been to sow uncertainty about responsibility for the bombing. After the bombing, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who succeeded Ayatollah Khomeini as Iran's supreme leader and still holds that post, publicly expressed his approval. "By gathering together groups of Jews with records of murder, theft, wickedness and hooliganism from throughout the world," Ayatollah Khamenei said, "the Zionist regime has created an entity under the name of the Israeli nation that only understands the logic of terror and crimes."
In his testimony, Mr. Mesbahi said Iran's contacts with Mr. Menem began in the mid-1980's when he was the governor of La Rioja Province. Because Mr. Menem was of Arab descent and they believed him to share their anti-Jewish sentiments, the Iranians covertly funneled money to Mr. Menem in hopes that he would be elected president and pursue policies favorable to Iran, Mr. Mesbahi said. "The companies that worked for Menem sold their products at a high price to Iran, which accepted those prices because it knew what those high prices were paying for," Mr. Mesbahi said, according to the transcript. "A lot of money went to the companies that supported the Menem campaign." After Mr. Menem became president in 1989, he consolidated his power by packing the Supreme Court with close political associates including a former law partner and by placing loyalists in key posts in the national security and intelligence apparatus. But he enraged the Muslim countries that hoped to take advantage of his rise, which included Libya as well as Syria, where he and his wife at the time both had relatives. Mr. Menem instead pursued what he called "a carnal relationship" with the United States, apparently yielding to pressure from Washington not to sell weapons or advanced technology to Iran, Libya or Syria, and became the first Argentine head of state to visit Israel. Argentine officials say the bombing at the Jewish community center was strikingly similar to an attack on the Israeli Embassy here in 1992, in which 28 people died. In both cases a car bomb was used, the targeted building was undergoing repairs and police officers on a security detail inexplicably vanished just before the explosion. In what he said was a demonstration of his intention to get to the bottom of the Israeli Embassy attack, Mr. Menem put the Argentine Supreme Court in charge of the investigation. But that inquiry was botched so badly that it now figures in the list of offenses in impeachment proceedings against the justices and, critics say, encouraged the attack two years later on the community center. "The inaction of the Argentine state, the absolute absence of investigation, showed terrorists that they could act in Argentina without the slightest fear of consequences," Sergio Widder, South American representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in an interview here. He said the inaction had "inspired a level of confidence" that made the attack on the commnity center possible. After the second attack, Mr. Menem had the cases handed over to an investigative magistrate, Judge Juan José Galeano, rather than the Supreme Court. But Judge Galeano's conduct of the inquiry, which is continuing, at least on paper, has been so bizarre and brought so much criticism that he is now himself being investigated on charges of improper behavior that could lead to his removal from the bench. "From the start the Argentine government, especially in the person of Judge Galeano, has never shown a will to investigate and clear up this matter," said Alberto Zuppi, a lawyer and former Justice Minister who now represents Memoria Activa, an association of the families of bombing victims. "Everything has been done so as not to get to the bottom of this matter," Mr. Zuppi said, "and the result is that much time and evidence have been lost." Questions have been raised in particular about an unusual videotape of a meeting between Judge Galeano and Carlos Alberto Telleldín, a car thief who was jailed shortly after the community center attack because he had briefly owned the van used in the bombing. The videotape, stolen from Judge Galeano's office and later broadcast on television, shows the two men discussing a $400,000 payment that Mr. Telleldín says he received. At various times officials have said Judge Galeano and Mr. Telleldín were negotiating a book contract or discussing a reward for information. But in testimony in open court in May, Mr. Telleldín said that "Judge Galeano had promised to free me by October 1997" and to give him the money if he would agree to accuse a group of Buenos Aires Province police officers in the case. Judge Galeano declined numerous requests for an interview. But Claudio Lifschitz, formerly Judge Galeano's chief investigator, said the judge Galeano had been acting to protect his patrons in the intelligence service, who reported to Mr. Menem, particularly from the testimony of the Iranian defector, Mr. Mesbahi, who was known as Witness C. "That's why Mr. Galeano has made the testimony of Witness C secret and refuses to allow any follow-up interviews with the Iranian, because that testimony became dangerous the minute it implicated Menem," said Mr. Lifschitz, a lawyer who is the author of a book called "Why the Investigation Was Made to Fail." "There are another 300 files that he is keeping apart from the main proceeding and that no one but he has access to," Mr. Lifschitz added. According to Ms. Garré, a former deputy interior minister who is now a member of Congress, 66 cassettes of intercepted telephone conversations disappeared simultaneously from the offices of the Federal Police and intelligence services. She also said police logbooks had been altered and electronic address books and planners of various suspects erased as part of an official cover-up. "Not only has there been no support for getting to the bottom of this case, you can also say that some government organs have actively sabotaged the investigation," Ms. Garré said. "State intelligence and the federal police are clearly involved," she added, "but there is also evidence pointing to the involvement of agencies ranging from Immigration to the Foreign Ministry." In addition, Judge Galeano appears to have steered away from some areas of inquiry that other investigators think might have yielded useful information. "If the Iranian track has hardly been looked at," said Ariel Said, the lead investigator of a congressional committee looking into irregularities in the case, "the local Islamic community, which is predominantly Syrian-Lebanese and directly linked to Menem, has been looked at even less." After more than seven years of delays, a trial finally began here last September and is expected to continue until the end of this year. But of the approximately 20 people who could face long prison terms if convicted, not one is accused of having organized or of having been directly involved in the attack. Instead all, like Mr. Telleldín, who maintains that he is innocent, are charged in connection with the theft of the van or the alteration of its engine and identifying documents. Several others are low-level members of the Buenos Aires provincial police, a force that has often been at odds with both the national intelligence service and the Federal Police. In his testimony in early May, Mr. Telleldín said he had been subjected to "pressures coming directly from the Casa Rosada," the seat of government. Mr. Menem, he contended, sent an emissary in 1995 who offered him a $2 million payment if he would blame a group of Lebanese immigrants then being detained in neighboring Paraguay in conection with the attack. "Menem was running for re-election, and he wanted to close the circle," Mr. Telleldín said of the visit from a former military officer with close ties to the presidential palace. Mr. Telleldín said he had also been visited by representatives of the national intelligence agency who urged him to shift some blame to the Buenos Aires provincial police so as to damage Mr. Menem's main rival, Eduardo Duhalde, who was then governor of the province but is now Argentina's president. Even as the trial and the investigation have dragged on, survivors of the attack and relatives of the victims assemble every Monday morning just before 10 o'clock in front of the main courthouse here. After a minute of silent prayer, a shofar is blown, speeches honoring the dead are offered and protesters waving placards and photographs of the victims chant, "We demand justice!" "Argentina has lost an opportunity to contribute to the international body of knowledge about terrorism that could have helped other countries avoid or better confront terrorist actions," Mr. Widder said recently after one such gathering. "What happened here is the model of what not to do in confronting international terrorism, and it leaves the door open to a third attack."
July 26 - August 1, 2002 LA Weekly The I-40 connection
between Zacarias Moussaoui and Mohamed Atta by Jim Crogan
What happened at the nondescript motel outside Oklahoma City was just a fleeting encounter during the twisted cross-country odyssey of the terrorists who would carry out the September 11 attacks. Mohamed Atta, alleged leader of the plot, and two companions wanted to rent a room, but couldn't get the deal they wanted, so they left. It was an incident of no particular importance, except for one thing. The owner of the motel remembers Atta being in the company of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called "20th hijacker," who was arrested prior to September 11 and now faces conspiracy charges in connection with the terror assaults. If this recollection is correct, the entire incident, and its absence from the public record, raises new questions about the FBI investigation of Moussaoui and even the 1995 destruction of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Already the FBI has endured a withering political and media critique for failing to aggressively investigate Moussaoui and his contacts during his four weeks in custody prior to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Some FBI officials have responded by characterizing Moussaoui as only a minor player. But the report from the motel owner, if proven, could change that. And it also could force the FBI to reopen its investigation of Middle Eastern connections to the 1995 Oklahoma City blast, because convicted bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols reportedly stayed at the same motel, interacting with a group of Iraqis during the weeks before the bombing.
At press time, the erratic Moussaoui, who is representing himself, was attempting to plead guilty and bring his trial to a close. The 34-year-old French citizen of Moroccan descent had previously filed some 94 hand-scrawled, rambling motions attacking the government's case and its right to prosecute him. But that circus obscures a conundrum of a different sort. The government's case, as outlined in its new six-count conspiracy indictment, is largely circumstantial, lacking any definitive link between Moussaoui and the 19 hijackers identified by federal authorities. All of which makes the apparent shelving of the Moussaoui-Atta sighting all the stranger. In fact, even though multiple sources contend that the FBI interviewed the motel owner, there's no indication that prosecutors were told. It's possible that the FBI found the motel owner's identifications wrong or his story unreliable. But it's still odd that, in interviews with the Weekly, Justice Department prosecutors seemed to know nothing about the motel encounter, especially because agents reportedly told the motel owner they would pass the information on to Moussaoui's defense team. The motel co-owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the incident occurred around August 1, 2001, just six weeks before 9/11. "They came in around 10 or 11 a.m. and started talking to my desk clerk," he said. Even though he was working about 10 feet away from the trio, the owner didn't really pay any attention at first. "They were asking my clerk, who no longer works here, about a weekly rate for our rooms." (The former clerk could not be reached for comment.) The motel, explained the owner, sets aside some rooms with small kitchenettes to rent on a weekly basis. "But they were all taken." He said the clerk explained the situation, but the visitors were persistent. "Finally, my clerk asked me to talk to them." The motel owner said that Moussaoui and a man who appeared to be Marwan al-Shehhi -- who helped crash a jetliner into the south tower of the World Trade Center -- were friendly and said a few things, but Atta was clearly the leader. "He did most of the talking and seemed very serious," said the owner, adding, "I was standing face to face, about two feet away from Atta, and talked to the three of them for about 10 minutes. Atta asked if he could rent one of the other rooms at a weekly rate, and I told him no. "I asked him what they were doing here in the area. And Atta told me they were going to flight school. I thought he meant [Federal Aviation Administration] training in Oklahoma City. But Atta told me no, they were taking flight training in Norman. "I said I didn't understand why they wanted to rent one of my rooms, since we were about 28 miles from Norman and there are a lot of reasonably priced motels a lot closer. But he said they had heard good things about my place and wanted to stay there. I told them I was sorry, but we couldn't accommodate them. Atta finally said okay. Then they all thanked me for my time and left." After the attacks, said the motel owner, he recognized his visitors in photos from television reports. "I was really stunned," he said. Then he decided to call the FBI hot line. The motel owner said he didn't hear right back from the FBI. In the interim, he also spoke to a former law-enforcement officer who was investigating reported sightings of Mujahid Abdulquaadir Menepta at the same motel during the mid-1990s. Menepta, reportedly a friend of Moussaoui's, was arrested 30 years ago in Colorado for aggravated robbery and served more than three years in prison. After September 11, Menepta publicly defended Moussaoui, calling him a "scapegoat." The FBI arrested him as a material witness and subsequently charged Menepta with a federal gun violation. He pleaded guilty and in April 2002 was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. He was never charged with any terrorism-related crime. But during the preliminary hearing on the gun charge, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agent Jeffrey Whitney testified that a confidential source placed Menepta at a meeting of a radical Islamic group in St. Louis where he allegedly threatened to shoot any police officer who entered the mosque. Menepta's attorney challenged the credibility of this report in court. A former desk clerk at the motel -- a different clerk from the one who purportedly dealt with Atta and Moussaoui -- told the Weekly that he remembered Menepta because in 1994 and 1995 -- prior to the Oklahoma City attack -- Menepta frequently visited the motel office. There, he bought coffee and talked for hours to this clerk. The clerk and his wife, who both formerly worked at the motel, said they picked Menepta's picture out of a photo lineup prepared by a law-enforcement officer who had interviewed the motel owner. This officer, who also spoke to the Weekly on condition of anonymity, said that after the motel owner told him about the Moussaoui sighting, he contacted a member of Oklahoma's Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes the FBI. The FBI finally acted on the tip. The motel owner said that on December 19, 2001, he went to FBI offices in Oklahoma City for a formal interview, where he was debriefed by an FBI agent and by Oklahoma City Police Sergeant Jerry Flowers. "We talked for several hours, and I told them everything I knew." The motel owner said he would have taken a polygraph exam but was not asked to do so. The Weekly's law-enforcement source corroborates the December 19 interview. The motel owner never heard from prosecutors in Moussaoui's case but got one more call from the FBI several weeks later. "The agent told me they had passed on a copy of my statement to Moussaoui's defense team, and I might be getting a call from them. But I was under no obligation to talk to them. However, I don't know if that was the truth. Since then, I have never heard from anyone connected to Moussaoui's case."
One reason for the FBI's apparent lack of interest might be this motel's alleged connection to Timothy McVeigh and a group of Iraqis who worked in Oklahoma City. According to the motel owner and other witnesses and investigators interviewed by the Weekly, McVeigh and several of these Iraqis were motel guests in the months preceding the 1995 bombing. Witnesses also claimed they saw several of the Iraqis moving barrels of material around on the bed of a truck. The motel owner said the material smelled of diesel fuel and he had to clean up a spill. Diesel fuel was a key component of the truck bomb that blew up the Federal Building. The motel owner said he and his staff reported this information to the FBI in 1995. "We did have an ATF agent come out and collect the originals of the room registrations for that period, but we never heard back from them. And I never could get the registrations returned." He added that his previous experience with the FBI made him reluctant to contact them about Moussaoui. "But I decided it was my duty to tell them what had happened. So I did." Former Oklahoma City TV reporter Jayna Davis also interviewed motel staff and former guests. In the process, she collected signed affidavits about their contacts with McVeigh and the Iraqis. She tried twice to give the Bureau this information, but the FBI refused to accept her materials. (The Weekly first reported on her investigation in an article published in September 2001.) The Weekly's law-enforcement source said he has reviewed Davis' material and considers it credible. "Last December I personally took the documents to the Joint Terrorism Task Force," he said. "I told them they should do their own investigation." The response was not encouraging. He said he was later informed that the Bureau brought in an analyst, "but I was told it would probably go nowhere. They were afraid the whole Oklahoma City bombing can of worms would be opened up and the FBI would have to explain why they didn't investigate this material before." The Weekly contacted numerous local and federal investigators and agencies, including the Oklahoma task force, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI and the Justice Department. All declined to comment. Prosecutors on the Moussaoui case also declined official comment, but their reactions suggested they knew nothing of the motel encounter. After being told about the motel owner's interview and allegations, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Spencer responded with a one-word question about the sighting: "When?" Spencer then declined further comment. Another Moussaoui prosecutor, David Novak, also declined comment. But Novak wanted to know the name of the motel owner.
Other substantial connections already tie the Sooner state to Moussaoui and, separately, several 9/11 hijackers. According to the Moussaoui indictment, on September 29, 2000, Moussaoui made e-mail contact with Airman Flight School in Norman. Then, on February 23, 2001, he flew from London to Chicago and then to Oklahoma City. What he did in the next few days is unknown or at least not accounted for in the indictment. But on February 26, Moussaoui opened a bank account in Norman, depositing $32,000. From February 26 to May 29, he attended flight school in Norman. Then he suddenly quit the school. Between July 29 and August 4, Moussaoui made calls from public pay phones in Norman to Germany. On August 1 and 3, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh wired Moussaoui a total of about $14,000 from two train stops in Germany to somewhere in Oklahoma. This wire transfer does imply a connection to terrorist plotters because al-Shibh, an alleged al Qaeda member, wired money to other hijackers. On August 3, Moussaoui purchased two knives in Oklahoma City. And on August 10 or 11, an acquaintance drove Moussaoui from Oklahoma to Minnesota for enrollment in a new flight school. Authorities arrested Moussaoui in Minnesota on August 17 on an immigration violation. As has been widely reported, Moussaoui attracted attention because he said he was interested in flying a plane but not learning how to take off or land. He was in federal custody when the 9/11 attacks occurred.
As for the terrorists who took part in 9/11, Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi visited the Airman Flight School in Norman in July 2000, according to the Moussaoui indictment. (The motel owner identifies al-Shehhi as the third person with Atta and Moussaoui when they allegedly inquired about a room.) And on April 1, 2001, Nawaf al-Hazmi, who helped hijack American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon, was stopped for speeding in Oklahoma and given two tickets. The Oklahoma state trooper found no outstanding warrants and turned al-Hazmi loose. The media has since reported that the CIA had been tracking al-Hazmi, but never told the immigration service or the FBI that he was a suspected terrorist during his 21-month U.S. stay. Authorities have never publicly accounted for Atta and al-Shehhi's whereabouts during the time of the alleged motel encounter. The Moussaoui indictment lays out a tantalizing possible association between Atta and Moussaoui, but never puts the two in the same place at the same time. The link could exist, however, along a dusty Oklahoma roadside, off Interstate 40, at a small motel that is indistinguishable from hundreds of others, except for its possible connection to terrorists.
July 27, 2002; Page B02 Washington Post
For Renny Rogers, it was strange enough that military jets were flying low over his home in Waldorf in the middle of the night. It was what he thinks he saw when he headed outside to look early yesterday that floored him. "It was this object, this light-blue object, traveling at a phenomenal rate of speed," Rogers said. "This Air Force jet was right behind it, chasing it, but the object was just leaving him in the dust." Military officials confirm that two F-16 jets from Andrews Air Force Base were scrambled early yesterday after radar detected an unknown aircraft in area airspace. But they scoff at the idea that the jets were chasing a strange and speedy, blue unidentified flying object. "We had a track of interest, so we sent up some aircraft," said Maj. Douglas Martin, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado, which has responsibility for defending U.S. airspace. "Everything was fine in the sky, so they returned home." At the same time, military officials say they do not know just what the jets were chasing, because whatever it was disappeared. "There are any number of scenarios, but we don't know what it was," said Maj. Barry Venable, another spokesman for NORAD. "It was a routine launch," said Lt. Col. Steve Chase, a senior officer with the wing, which keeps pilots and armed jets on 24-hour alert at Andrews to respond to incidents as part of an air defense system protecting Washington after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Rogers remains convinced that what he saw was not routine. "It looked like a shooting star with no trailing mist," he said. "I've never seen anything like it."
July 31, 2002
Homeland Security- US intelligence agencies have issued an alert that Islamic terrorists have managed to smuggle shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles (SAMs) into the US. Reportedly, these are Russian-made SA-7s and/or Pakistani-built copies of similar Chinese missiles. The CIA's counter-terrorism center has a new operational commando unit dedicated to preemptively attacking and destroying terrorist cells. Only the president can order the unit to conduct an attack, which would technically be murder or at least a non-judicial execution. --Stephen V Cole
August 2, 2002 Letter to Marion Blakely, Head of NTSB
Ex NTSB board member wrote to Marion Blakely requesting that investigation into TWA 800 be reopened based on information provided by Flight 800 Research Organization. Click to read letter.
August 20, 2002 The Philadelphia Inquirer
MONOCACY STATION, Pa. - It was probably the most impressive catch either had ever fished out of the Schuylkill. So it wasn't surprising that two fishermen posed for photographs with the live military rocket they found Sunday in shallow water in this Berks County community, about 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia, before taking it to police. Michael Nagy, of Stowe, and Jeremy Lloyd, of Boyertown, found the rusted, two-foot-long rocket in a shallow area of the river and dragged it to shore, police said. There, the men posed for photographs. "It was confirmed as an active military device, an RPG Rocket," West Pottsgrove police officer Steven Ziegler said. "It had the firing pin still in it. That's how we knew it was live." The surface-to-air missile was designed to be launched out of a weapon, such as a bazooka, Ziegler said. The Montgomery County Sheriff Bomb Disposal Unit detonated the device at a remote location in Amity. "It's not recommended that people who find devices like this transport them anywhere," Dave Eichelberger, an Amity police officer, said. It is unclear how the missile ended up in the river. A similar explosive device was found in the Schuylkill about six months ago, police said. That device had been discarded.
September 19, 2002 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SB-02-31
NTSB SCHEDULES PUBLIC INVESTIGATIVE HEARING ON CRASH OF AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 587 FOR OCTOBER
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Transportation Safety Board will convene its public investigative hearing on the crash of American Airlines flight 587 on October 29, 2002. The hearing is expected to last four or five days. The hearing, which is open to the public to observe, will convene at 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, October 29, at the NTSB Board Room and Conference Center, 429 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W., Washington, D.C. It will be available by webcast on the Board's website, www.ntsb.gov. "The crash of flight 587 was a great tragedy," NTSB Acting Chairman Carol Carmody said, "not only for those who were directly affected - the loved ones of those aboard the aircraft and those who lost their lives on the ground - but for the city of New York, still reeling from the attacks of September 11, and the entire nation. This hearing is part of the fact-finding phase of our investigation of the second deadliest aviation accident in United States history." On November 12, 2002, American Airlines flight 587, an Airbus A300-600 on a scheduled flight to Santo Domingo, crashed into a neighborhood in Belle Harbor, New York shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 260 persons aboard and 5 on the ground. The plane's vertical stabilizer and rudder and both engines separated from the aircraft before it impacted the ground. Safety issues to be examined at the hearing are:
* The certification standards for the vertical stabilizer and rudder;
* Continuing airworthiness inspection procedures;
* Airplane manufacturers' rudder system design philosophies;
* Pilot training; and
* The potential role of wake turbulence in the accident sequence.
This will be an "en banc" hearing, meaning that all Board Members will participate, with Acting Chairman Carmody presiding. Technical witnesses will be called to offer testimony addressing one or more of the identified issues. They will be questioned by the Board Members; a technical panel made up of investigators from the NTSB and its counterpart agency in France, the BEA (Bureau D'Enquetes et D'Analyses pour la Securite de L'Aviation Civile); and representatives of the parties to the investigation, including the Federal Aviation Administration, Airbus, American Airlines, and Allied Pilots Association. Also on the first day of the hearing, the Safety Board will open its public docket on the investigation, which will include hundreds of pages of factual reports and supporting documentation. Factual reports from the docket will be available on the Board's website, www.ntsb.gov <http://www.ntsb.gov>. The entire docket on CD ROM may be ordered from the Board's Public Inquiries Branch at (202) 314-6551.
(Note from website author: This is the group that supported the proposition - Noseless 747s can fly! It will be a rerun of the TWA800 hearing in which we had testimony on what the NTSB said......that the FBI said .....that the eyewitnesses said..... without one eyewitness being permitted to speak and a lot of "expert" witnesses allowed to speak 'en banc' on deadly Center Wing Tanks and faulty wiring. This hearing will have "expert" withesses speaking 'en banc' on deadly tail structures and faulty composite materials but the eyewitnesses can be heard from here)
October 22, 2002 London Evening Standard
The FBI is under pressure from the highest political levels in Washington to investigate suspected links between Iraq and the Oklahoma bombing. Senior aides to US Attorney-General John Ashcroft have been given compelling evidence that former Iraqi soldiers were directly involved in the 1995 bombing that killed 185 people. The methodically assembled dossier from Jayna Davis, a former investigative TV reporter, could destroy the official version that white supremacists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were solely responsible for what, at the time, was the worst act of terrorism on American soil. Instead, there are serious concerns that a group of Arab men with links to Iraqi intelligence, Palestinian extremists and possibly al Qaeda, used McVeigh and Nichols as front men to blow up the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
Davis, who was one of the first reporters on the scene after the blast, has spent seven years gathering evidence of a wider conspiracy. But it is only as America prepares to wage war on Iraq and Saddam Hussein that her conclusions are being taken seriously at the highest level. Finally, she says, the authorities are examining the idea "that the Oklahoma bombing might not simply be the work of two angry white men".
After hearing her evidence, several senior members of Congress have called for a new probe.
What triggered Davis's investigation was a report immediately after the Oklahoma explosion of Middle-Eastern looking men fleeing in a brown Chevrolet truck only minutes earlier. The FBI launched an international hunt for the men but later cancelled the search. Within days McVeigh and Nichols were arrested, and the case seemed to be one of home-grown terrorists, motivated by a hatred for authority. But the case has always had loose ends. In particular, several witnesses in Oklahoma City that April morning saw a third conspirator with McVeigh. The elusive dark-haired suspect became known as "John Doe 2".
Terry Nichols, now serving life for conspiracy in the bombing and involuntary manslaughter, was the original "John Doe 1" but, with his arrest, the FBI claimed that the case had been wrapped up. They eventually concluded that "John Doe 2" was Nichols all along. Davis thought otherwise. Early on, she found that a brown Chevrolet truck almost identical to that once hunted by the FBI had been seen parked outside the offices of a local property management company several days before the bombing. The owner was a Palestinian with a criminal record and suspected ties to the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Later she found that the man had hired a number of former Iraqi soldiers. He had recruited them to carry out maintenance on his rental properties, but several were later discovered to be missing from work on the day of the bombing. Eyewitnesses have told Davis that they saw several of them celebrating later that day.
But what increasingly drew her attention was another Iraqi living in Oklahoma City, a restaurant worker called Hussain Hashem Al Hussaini, whose photograph was almost a perfect match to the official sketch of "John Doe 2". Al Hussaini has a tattoo on his upper left arm, indicating he was once a member of Saddam's elite Republican Guard. Since then, Davis has gathered hundreds of court records and the sworn testimony of two dozen witnesses. Several claimed to have seen a man fitting Al Hussaini's description drinking with McVeigh in a motel bar four days before the bombing. Others positively identified former Iraqi soldiers in the company of McVeigh and Nichols. Two swore that they had seen Al Hussaini only a block from the Murrah building in the hours before the bombing. With the case against McVeigh and Nichols seemingly watertight, the FBI has until now consistently refused to reopen it. McVeigh went to his death in the execution chamber two years ago, insisting he alone was responsible. Davis thinks he may have done so out of loyalty to his family, not wishing to go down in history as a traitor to his country.
But she has evidence that up to 12,000 Iraqis were allowed into America after the Gulf war. Some of these, she suspects, are using their status as refugees for cover. "They are here," she said. "And they are highly trained and motivated." The renewed interest in Washington is clearly linked to America's case against Saddam as broker of world terror. And there is more. Al Hussaini, who entered the US from a Saudi refugee camp, worked after the Oklahoma bomb as a cook at Boston's Logan Airport - from where the two hijacked aircraft that hit the World Trade Center took off. There is another confirmed incident that suggests something more sinister. Two of the 11 September conspirators held a crucial meeting at a motel in Oklahoma City in August 2001. The motel's owner has since identified them as ringleader Mohammed Atta and Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker, who has known links with shoebomber Richard Reid. The motel is unremarkable - except for one thing. It is where a number of Davis's witnesses are sure they saw McVeigh drinking and perhaps plotting with his Iraqi friends.
October 20, 2002, at 4:20 p.m. EDT, FOX 23 News videographer
Brandon Mowry, was filming a weather segment for WXXA-TV in Albany, New York. While the camera was still running, he lifted the camera 180 degrees to get another shot of a plane taking off. He caught seven frames (1/3rd second) of digital videotape of the jet airliner passing out of upper right corner and a strange, missile-like, unidentified aerial object rapidly passing through sky and seemingly through cloud estimated to be at 5,000 feet or more. Videotape © Fox 23 News WXXA, Albany, New York. View video
October 29, 2002 Albany, N.Y.
On Sunday, October 20, 2002, at 4:20 p.m. EDT, FOX 23 News videographer, Brandon Mowry, was filming a weather segment for WXXA-TV in Albany, New York. While the camera was still running, he lifted the camera 180 degrees to get another shot of an airliner taking off. He did not know at the time that he caught ten frames (1/3rd second) of digital videotape of the jet airliner passing out of the upper right corner and a strange, missile-like, unidentified aerial object rapidly passing through sky and seemingly through a cloud estimated to be at 5,000 feet. He discovered the rapid object in the editing room and showed it to his colleagues. Someone called the police who went to the edit room, saw the tape, and promptly called the FBI. Here now is Brandon Mowry, the cameraman, with his story about what happened that day and with the FBI.
Brandon Mowry, Videographer, Fox 23 News WXXA, Albany, New York:
Last Sunday, nine days ago (Oct. 20, 2002), I was shooting a weather shot for the news that evening. I was at the Albany International Airport at the end of a runway. It was 4:30 p.m. EDT and I was filming a plane taking off towards me and eventually heading directly over my head. As I was following the plane, it came directly above me, I had to adjust the camera 180 degrees and catch the plane taking off away. It was during that adjustment when I wasn't looking through the viewfinder that this UFO, or ?, flew by. Like I said, I didn't notice it until I got back to the station. I drove directly back to the station, threw it into the edit machine and was checking the stillness of the shots, seeing which one would be best to use and saw this thing fly by. It was very, very fast. I saw it. I rewound it and paused it to see what it was. I saw something very, very strange. And very, very interesting. Then I grabbed the person closest to me who was an editor and showed him. He couldn't believe it. Then I began showing everybody else at the station. At that time, I decided that I needed to go out and shoot an accident. So, I left immediately and went and shot an accident. A half an hour later when I got back to the station, there were police there checking out the footage. They were in the process of calling their Captain to come in to check it out. Also, when the Captain got there, he took one look at it and called the FBI and the FBI was at the station within the hour.
WHAT IS ON YOUR VIDEOTAPE?
It's very distinct, even when you don't blow it up. We zoomed in on it and kind of cleaned it up to take a closer look at it. It's a very thin rod or cylinder-shaped, round cylinder rod, dark, with two sets of wings. One set in the front and one set in the back. And the wings were white. Small little appendages. It looks a lot like a missile.
I SAW A FRAME SOMEBODY E-MAILED ME AND I THOUGHT IT WAS EXTREMELY STRANGE IN STRUCTURE. BUT WHAT REALLY IMPRESSED ME WAS HOW ALMOST TRANSPARENT IT SEEMED.
Right. I don't know. We talked with some ex-military personnel because a lot of people are saying this thing looks like a missile. A lot of people think it is some kind of secret military craft. He looked at it and said that it doesn't look like any missile he's ever seen before. But still, a lot of people are saying it looks like a missile. It resembles more of a missile than anything else. But it could be anything, you know. The SR-17 Blackbird, I understand, and the B-2 bombers the technology was there and we had those, the military had those 20 years before the public knew about them. Maybe this is something the military has that no one knows about. But it's just as possible that it could be a UFO.
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THE FBI GOT THERE? WHAT KIND OF QUESTIONS DID THEY ASK AND WHAT HAPPENED?
OK. The FBI got to the station. Talked to me about half an hour in the break room and had me meet three other FBI agents up at the airport to show them exactly where I shot this thing, where it came from, what direction, where the plane was and everything like that. Then they confiscated my tape. It was the original tape. I said, 'I would like to keep this. I shot it.' They said, 'Well, it's evidence. You have to give it to us.' I didn't throw any punches or anything. I was a little upset, but I just did it. They took it and that tape is in Washington right now being analyzed, from what I can understand.
AT THE FBI.
Right. Then two days later, the FBI called me up in the morning and asked me to come down. They needed to ask me a couple of questions that they forgot to ask me. So, I went down and they talked to me in a little room for about an hour.
THIS IS IN ALBANY?
Right, in FBI headquarters here. And after they were done talking to me, then they said, 'You know what's next.' I said, 'What's that?' They said, 'We're going to ask you if you will take a polygraph test.' And I didn't have anything to hide so I said, 'Sure, I'll take one.' They took me to the New York State Police Department where there was a polygraph examiner and I went upstairs with him into a room. He told me how it worked, everything like that. They ran a couple of pre-tests on me to see if I was able to be polygraphed. I guess one out of ten people aren't. I was, though, according to them. Then they told me the questions that I was going to be asked. I was really nervous, but then they asked me and we ran through a kind of pre-test of everything they were going to ask me and then we did the actual test. And that took about three hours in this room with this guy.
WHAT KIND OF QUESTIONS DID THEY ASK YOU?
The first and last questions were: 'Do you live in the United States?' That was the first question. The last question was: 'Do you live in Canada?' And all the questions in between were like, 'Have you ever lied to the FBI? Have you ever committed a felony? Did you tamper with that tape?' And one strange question was, 'Did you receive $500 from a Clifford somebody that used to work at Fox that wanted revenge on FOX because he got fired from there?' I checked that out at the station and nobody has ever worked there named Clifford. So, I don't know what that was about. Then another, I went through with everything. Granted, I was nervous and my heart was pumping even through those questions like, 'Do you live in the United States?' My heart just started racing even though I had nothing to hide. Then they told me that after the test, they came and sat down in front of me and told me I didn't do too well. I said, 'What do you mean I didn't do too well?' They go, 'Well, you failed.' I said, 'What? I failed? That can't be!' He said, 'You're lying. You're not telling us something. It just doesn't add up, Brandon. There's too many coincidences here.' I just couldn't believe it. He kept pushing me and pushing me and saying, 'You're going to lose your job. This is going to be on the front page of the paper. You were on the radio show this morning. People are going to think you are insane. You are going to give FOX a bad name and you're going to lose your job. So, you better tell us what is going on.' And I just kept telling them. And he goes, 'What do you think is going to happen when that tape comes back and it says you tampered with it?' I said, 'That's impossible! I guarantee 100% when that tape comes back, it will not it will say I did not tamper with it.' I just looked at him and he drove me to tears. He was just pushing me and pushing me and I did not know what was going on. He drove me to tears and then got up and grabbed the polygraph papers and left the room. I was in there for fifteen minutes by myself and all I could say over and over was, 'What's going on?' I couldn't believe it. What's going to happen? I'm not lying, you know? Then, a few minutes later, he comes back in and tells me, 'I'm sorry. I apologize. I re-examined the polygraph and it turns out you were telling the truth and I can't say I'm sorry enough.'
WHEN DID THIS OCCUR?
This was last Tuesday, a week ago today. I think it was a whole game. I think that was their whole plan to do exactly what they did to intimidate me and try to make me admit to something I didn't do and maybe it would go away.
COULD YOU GO BACK TO THE EDITING ROOM WHEN THE FBI FIRST SHOWED UP BECAUSE YOU WERE THERE, RIGHT?
WHAT WAS THE DEMEANOR WHEN THEY CAME INTO THE EDITING ROOM AND WHAT WERE THE FIRST THINGS THEY DID AND SAID AND ASKED THEN?
They came in. There was only one guy at first and he came in and it was he just kind of looked at it. You could tell, he was like, 'Wow!' look on his face. But it wasn't like anyone else who had seen it before who were like 'Wow, what is that?' He just kind of kept to himself. He had a notebook and he looked at it over and over and over. It was business after that. You could tell that this was something that is a problem or needs attention. And he went right at it and interviewed me and wrote down everything he asked me. He asked a bunch of questions about my past, stuff like that.
HOW OLD ARE YOU?
AND YOU'VE BEEN WORKING IN TELEVISION FOR ABOUT 2.5 YEARS.
SO, YOU'VE REALLY GONE FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO WORK WITH A COUPLE OF YEARS IN COLLEGE.
SO, FOR THEM TO QUESTION EVEN YOUR BACKGROUND, THERE REALLY ISN'T MUCH FOR THEM TO QUESTION BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN WORKING AS A VIDEOGRAPHER FOR 2.5 YEARS RIGHT OUT OF SCHOOL?
Right, yeah. They were asking people around at work when I wasn't around what kind of a person is Brandon? Would he ever do something like this? Does he seem like a person who would make up something like this? I don't see how maybe they are doing their job. And that's good that they are covering all the bases. I hope they would do that. But this is on tape and the time line is documented. 4:20 I told them I shot that plane. The plane that was in the shot, they checked the airport and found out that that plane took off at 4:20. I was back at the station at 5 or before discovering this thing and showing it to everybody. So, that's 40 minutes I had to supposedly doctor this tape. Thirty of those minutes were spent in the news car on the way to the station. All I have in that news car is a scanner and a cell phone.
YOU ARE SAYING WITHOUT QUESTION THAT YOU DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THAT THIS WAS ON THE TAPE UNTIL YOU SCREENED IT IN THE STATION?
Exactly. I wasn't even looking through the viewfinder when this thing flew by. It's been 9 days now and we haven't heard anything. This tape has been in Washington for a week now and we haven't had any explanation as to what this thing is.
YOU HAVE A GOOD DUB OF IT?
Yeah. It's a 2nd generation dub, but this is digital video. I think the big thing about this is that we shot it on really good equipment, a $20,000 camera, whereas most, a lot of, UFOs are shot on home videos. And this thing what saved me here people have said this is an insect. 'It's an insect close to the screen.' Or, 'It's an error in the tape.' But that's all discredited because if you see the whole video, there is one cloud in the upper left hand corner and this thing goes behind that cloud. It's so easy to see. That's not an insect, you know!
IT'S SOMETHING AS FAR AWAY AS THE CLOUD AND GOES BEHIND IT AND HAS THIS VERY STRANGE, LONG, MISSILE-LIKE STRUCTURE WITH THESE APPENDAGES AT THE FRONT AND BACK AND HAS WHAT SEEMS TO BE ALMOST AN EFFORT TO CLOAK ITSELF IN A KIND OF INVISIBILITY THAT REFLECTS THE BLUE SKY.
I never thought of it like that but I guess you could say that. Yeah. I guess you could say that.
I'M ALSO CURIOUS IF IN THAT FIRST ARRIVAL OF THE FBI IN THE EDITING ROOM, DID THE FELLOW WHO WAS TAKING NOTES ASK TO YOU OR ANYONE ELSE AT THE STATION ABOUT THIS BEING AN UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT IN THE CONTEXT OF SOMETHING EXTRATERRESTRIAL?
No, no, they never said anything like that. There was a lot of talk around the station like that. But, no the FBI never said anything like that. But I would like to add that this thing that is flying through the screen it's only we checked what the cloud ceiling was that day. And the cloud ceiling was 5000 feet. This thing was at least 5,000 feet in the air and it was almost as long as that plane, which is about 300 feet in the air, from that (longer) distance. And it's only on the screen for about 7 frames. We shoot, those cameras shoot 30 frames a second. So this thing was in the screen for a third of a second. And it's that far away. When you see like a jet up there flying, it looks like it's a snail because it's so far away because of our perception, it looks like it's going slow. But this thing is just a third of a second through that frame and it's gone at least 5,000 feet in the air. I mean, I don't know of anything that can go that fast that's on earth.
HOW BIG IS IT REALLY?
Exactly. It looks huge and it's so far away. It's got to be hundreds of feet in length and going thousands of miles an hour.
WHEN YOU WERE LAST TUESDAY SUBJECTED TO THAT LIE DETECTOR TEST FOR THE THREE HOURS AND ALL OF THE QUESTIONS THAT WERE ASKED, DID ANYONE IN THAT PROCESS EVER EVEN BRING UP THE LETTERS 'UFO' OR 'EXTRATERRESTRIAL?'
No. No. Not at all.
DID THEY BRING UP ANY WORDS AT ALL THAT WOULD SUGGEST THEY EVEN HAD AN IDEA WHAT IT MIGHT BE?
No. What was weird was at the end. I had tears in my eyes when I came back down. The agent who brought me to the New York State Police Dept. He was downstairs and the other guy who administered the test looked at the agent and he said, 'Brandon is a little upset with me.' Tears are rolling down my face. He's like, 'I told him that I misread the polygraph test and I told him that he didn't pass and he got a little upset with me, but he did OK.' And then the guy just looked at me, the FBI agent, and smiled and goes, 'I knew you would pass. I knew you would do it. I just knew you were telling the truth." And he was shaking my hand. But he said, 'We still don't know what this thing is and I'm going to need your help to find out what this thing is.' And I just looked at him. In the heat of the moment, I was so upset. It was close to one of, on the top of the list, of one of the worst days in my life emotionally. He looks at me and says, 'I'm going to need your help. I'm going to give you a call. You still need to help us figure out what this is.'"
November 28, 2002 The Associated Press Filed at 8:33 a.m.
BEN GURION INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Israel (AP) -- Passengers targeted in Thursday's failed missile attack on an Israeli aircraft said they heard a loud "boom" just after takeoff, but were told by the crew it was a technical problem. Kerry Levy, 25, said the aircraft's wheels had just lifted off the runway at Mombasa airport in Kenya shortly after 8 a.m. when she felt a rattle."It felt like something fell off the wing," she said after the plane landed safely at Ben Gurion International Airport later Thursday. Two missiles were fired toward the plane from a white four-wheel-drive vehicle parked more than a mile from the airport, said Kenyan police spokesman King'ori Mwangi. The three men in the vehicle escaped, Mwangi said. The jet's captain, Rafi Marek, said the crew felt a "kind of bump" on the plane and initially believed they hit a bird. He and some passengers saw two white vapor trails on the left side of the aircraft. "The passengers saw the white vapor trails. We calmed them down,'" Marek said at a news conference at the airport near Tel Aviv. ``There was no unnecessary excitement. The passengers were very calm." After the missile attack, the pilot considered an emergency landing in Nairobi, Kenya, to check whether the plane was damaged, but after consultations it was decided to continue to Israel, he said at the news conference.