Monday, November 27, 2006

Three Abdul Alomaris?

The cases of confused identity regarding the alleged hijackers are many and well-covered elsewhere. Here I'll cover on telling case I haven't seen anyone else take on. Not that I've really looked. I'd rather keep my illusion of a "hot exclusive story:" the tale of the three Abdul Alomaris.

This case of mistaken identity arose in the first days after the attack. The BBC reported on September 13th that the trail of evidence led investigators from a rental car left behind in Maine to two houses in Vero Beach, Florida. One house had been rented by two brothers from Saudi Arabia, Adnan and Ameer Bukhari, both certified pilots and clearly suspects at this early stage. According to the landlord, Adnan Bukhari and another man who lived in the house next door “had described themselves as Saudi pilots.” They gave as addresses Saudi Arabian Airlines PO boxes in the Kingdom. [1] A CBS News report from the following day explained that agents were questioning Adnan Bukhari, whom they described as a 41-year-old flight engineer. He was at the time a student at Flight Safety Academy, a Miami-area flight school, as had been “an apparent relative of Bukhari, Ameer Bukhari,” until he was killed in a mid-air collision exactly a year before Tuesday's attack.” [2] If by “exactly a year” they mean that Ameer, a man linked with the 9-11 hijackers through direct evidence, died in a mid-air collision on September 11, 2000, that seems more than a little spooky to me. And that it allegedly happened at a place called “Flight Safety” is less spooky than ironic.

The BBC piece states that Bukhari’s unnamed neighbor was also a Flight Safety student, also involved with Saudi aviation. Both men lived there “with their wives and children.” [3] CBS’ report from the 15th explained that this neighbor was one “Abdul Alomari.” [4] An article from the same day in the Florida paper, the St. Petersburg Times, referred to him as “Adbulrahman Al Omari.” [5] Direct evidence from the hijackers’ leavings had led investigators to this man “who lived with his wife and four children.” [6] They clarify that this was indeed one of the hijackers, seated next to Atta on Flight 11, and he apparently had not yet shown up to clarify his innocence. [7] But he was living with his family; this is something we’ve never heard of any the hijackers doing. What could be behind this bizarre identity mix-up? Did the hijacker steal the name of the happily married Abdulrahman Alomari, change it somewhat, and then commit his horrific act? Was the family rented, and the name an alias?

The U.K. paper the Telegraph reported that a man named Abdulaziz Alomari, an engineer from Riyadh, had taken flight training in the U.S. – in Denver during the early 1990s - at which time his passport was stolen. He said he went back home in 2000 and was working for the government, at the Saudi telecommunications authority in Riyadh, and was at his desk there when the 9-11 attack occurred. “They gave my name and my date of birth,” he said, “but I am not a suicide bomber. I am here. I am alive.” Along with a Saudi Airlines pilot named Saeed Al-Ghamdi, Alomari told the Telegraph he was, as they put it, “furious that the hijackers' "personal details" - including name, place, date of birth and occupation - matched their own.” [8] Same name. Same locations and DOB. Still alive. Presuming this was double-checked, and the Saudis are notoriously secretive, it would be a clear indication that the man pegged as the hijackers had stolen their identities, and somehow, a Saudi Government employee’s identity had been tacked onto one of the government-identified hijackers – by who exactly and for what purpose is unclear.

Left: The real Abdulaziz Alomari, a Government employee in Saudi Arabia: “I am here. I am alive.” Right: Official mugshot of the hijacker with the same name and birthdate.

Unlike this living man, the other two Abdul Alomaris wound up in Florda. The 9/11 Commission’s Final Report gave as facts about hijacker Alomari: he was a late-arriving “muscle” hijacker, and thus required no flight-training. All the muscle hijackers, including Alomari, were between 20 and 28 years old. Alomari “had graduated with honors from High School, had attained a (university) degree… was married, and had a daughter.” [1] The report does not mention if this daughter was his only child, or one of four, nor does it either confirm or deny that his wife and daughter lived with him in the U.S. or whether he was a trained pilot. [11] The “Abdulrahman Alomari” from Vero Beach that immediate evidence indicated was one of the hijackers does not seem to be the same person. The St. Petersburg Times found, by looking at Florida records, that their Alomari was 38 years old, not “20-28,” and a trained pilot, working for Saudi Airlines, and receiving further training in Florida. Although the 9/11 Commission paints him as a late arrival, the St. Petersburg Times found that he had first gotten a Florida driver’s license in 1994. [12]

So on reviewing this evidence, it appears there may be three Abdul Alomaris:
- Abdulaziz Alomari – Alive and well, employed by the Saudi Government, received flight training in the U.S. years ago (not Florida), marital status unknown.
- Abdulrahman Alomari – Long-time resident of Florida since 1994, a trained pilot, married with four children, living and training in Florida in 2001, apparently disappeared around 9-11.
- Abdulaziz Alomari – alleged hijacker, obviously dead, married with one child, first arrived in the U.S. in mid-2001, presumably did not live with his family, presumably not a trained pilot.
Of course this is all very top-secret, so most of us will likely never know who these men were – or if they even existed. What’s disturbing is when it sometimes seems like the authorities don’t know either, or don’t care.

[1], [5], [12] “Names of hijackers.” St. Petersburg Times (Florida). September 15, 2001. Accessed November 2. 2004 at:
[2], [7] “Focus On Florida.” CBS News. September 14, 2001. Copied November 2, 2004 from:
[3], [4], [6] “Evidence trails lead to Florida.” BBC News. September 13, 2001. Accessed October 30, 2004 at:
[8] Harrison, David. “Revealed: the men with stolen identities.” The Telegraph. September 23 2001. Copied Nov 3, 2004 from:
[9] “Hijack 'suspects' alive and well” BBC News. September 23, 2001. Accessed November 3, 2004 at:
[10] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. The 9-11 Commission Final Report. Authorized Edition. New York. W.W. Norton. 2004. Page 232
[11] 9/11 Commssion Final Report. Page 231.

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