Thursday, November 30, 2006



One question I’ve always had regarding the 9/11 hijackers is if you’re going to attack America, why train there? Why run the risk of getting caught? Why not train somewhere friendly, and then go to America and commit the attack quickly and quietly? What was so special about training in the U.S. that they had to sleep in the “lion’s den” for over a year in some cases?

A possible answer seems to have been provided just days after the attack. At least five men with names matching the five hijackers were reported to have been trained at various military bases in the U.S., notably the Naval Air Station in Pensacola Florida. This was according to Pentagon documents turned over to the FBI and reported on by mainstream news outlets, notably Newsweek and the Washington Post. Newsweek reported just four days after the attack

“U.S. military sources have given the FBI information that suggests five of the alleged hijackers of the planes that were used in Tuesday’s terror attacks received training at secure U.S. military installations in the 1990s.
Three of the alleged hijackers listed their address on drivers licenses and car registrations as the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla.—known as the “Cradle of U.S. Navy Aviation,” according to a high-ranking U.S. Navy source.
Another of the alleged hijackers may have been trained in strategy and tactics at the Air War College in Montgomery, Ala., said another high-ranking Pentagon official. The fifth man may have received language instruction at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tex. Both were former Saudi Air Force pilots who had come to the United States, according to the Pentagon source.”

The Washington Post reported on September 16 seven cases of confused identity: “Two of 19 suspects […] have the same names as men listed at a housing facility for foreign military trainees at Pensacola. Two others […] have names similar to individuals listed in public records as using the same address inside the base.” Another matched a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in San Antonio. Finally, “men with the same names as two other hijackers [...] appear as graduates of the U.S. International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and the Aerospace Medical School at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, respectively.”

But the identities were not exact: Newsweek explained: “there are slight discrepancies between the military training records and the official FBI list of suspected hijackers—either in the spellings of their names or with their birthdates.” The Post noted: "Some of the FBI suspects had names similar to those used by foreign alumni of U.S. military courses," the Air Force acknowledged in a statement. "However, discrepancies in their biographical data, such as birth dates 20 years off, indicate we are probably not talking about the same people." One military source told Newsweek it was possible that the hijackers stole the identities of the foreign students, but hijacked identities are primarily based on names and birthdates, which have to be the same, neither off by decades nor even “slightly discrepant.”

So does this fact fall under the “stolen identities” heading, under the “military training of suicide hijackers under slight pseudonyms” category, or in the realm of true and odd coincidences? It’s certainly clear which way the official story evolved. The documents were eventually seen as verifying that nearly a quarter of the hijackers had probably stolen identities, all conveniently available to the Pentagon’s leadership, and eventually just taken as a further verification of the terrorists’ existence. Investigative reporter Daniel Hopsicker tried to clear this up by asking an Air Force Public Relations Officer about the two Mohammed Attas. She asserted that “biographically, they’re not the same [person],” but when Hopsicker asked if he could meet the Air-Force trained Mohammed Atta, she told him she didn’t think he was "going to get that information.”

What if news revealed that five men matching names of five hijackers had received training in Iraq in the 1990s? In that context, such a connection would be seen as a smoking gun, but in this case, it’s just smoke and mirrors I don’t know why the Pentagon would have been looking through lists of its own trainees immediately after the attack. Did they suspect it the work of their own? Perhaps it really was a glimpse of Shadow 9-11, the work of high-level whistleblowers, whose story was simply too big for most people to comprehend. Or maybe this is another government-sponsored seam, a red herring designed to encourage conspiracy theorists and confuse the rest of us. And of course, even more so than with the other oddities I've lookedat,coincidence remains a distinct possibility. The miliatry trains a lot of people and there are plenty of Arabs with only so many names between them.

So anyway, here is the list of hijackers with curiously similar identities to US-trained operatives: the four foreign nationals training in Pensacola were mostly related and shared names with the equally related Saeed Alghamdi (#17), Ahmed Alghamdi (#8), Hamza Alghamdi (#9) and Ahmad Alnami (#19). That would be quite a coincidence. An “Abdulaziz Alomari (#5),” with curious and little-noted identity entanglements with three different individuals, had attended aerospace Medical School at Brooks Air Force Base in Texas. A Saeed Alghamdi (#17) had been to the Defense Language School in Monterrey, California - possibly the same man who bunked with the others in Pensacola, or perhaps a different person again. A Mohammed Atta (#1 of course) had attended International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery Alabama, the student of “strategy and tactics” at the base’s Air War College. If these identities were stolen the leader of the group picked the right pedigree, his strategically patsy-like actions while on his globetrotting terror mission belie the training.

[1] Alleged Hijackers May Have Trained at U.S. Bases
[1] George Wehrfritz, Catharine Skipp and John Barry. "The Pentagon has turned over military records on five men to the FBI." Newsweek. September 15 2001. Accessed at:
[2] Guy Gugliotta and David S. Fallis. "2nd Witness Arrested: 25 Held for Questioning." Washington Post. September 16, 2001; Page A29. Accessed at:
[3] Hopsicker, Daniel. "Did Terrorist Pilots Train at U.S. Military Schools?" Original Link: Accessed at:

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