Clearly the U.S. government knew, and had been reminded, that suicide pilots presented a serious threat. But if they’d been watching for Bojinka, they’d have seen 9/11. Murad’s “more trained pilots” would be widely reported to be training inside the U.S. in the months before the attacks, in Minneapolis, Phoenix, and elsewhere, but these reports would go ignored and buried. One famous arrest was made, but no leads beyond that were followed, and all evidence points to purposeful top-down counter-counter-terrorism.
The three out of four 9/11 suicide pilots that trained in Jeb Bush’s Florida were apparently never even reported or noticed at all, even as their plot, it seems, took a serious turn there. In fact, they didn’t seem to know what they were doing at first. While they pursued flight training for big jets, or anything they could get enrolled for, they also were looking at buying their own small planes.
As ABC News reported, ringleader Mohammed Atta, supposedly financed by Saudi billionaires, went to the United States Department of Agriculture in Spring 2001 for a $600,000 loan to buy their first crop-duster. He was turned down, which might have had something to do with his dozen or so not-so-subtle hints he dropped to the loan agent that he wanted to use the plane to attack America. The agent, one Johnelle Bryant, described Atta’s eyes as “black” and “evil,” and she passed a polygraph test. Her superiors placed some sort of gag order on her, but she bravely defied it to sit down and tell her story to ABC (“Face to Face with Evil”). Perhaps it was Atta’s alleged threat to slit Bryant’s throat and steal the money that had something to do with getting turned down, but luckily it didn’t get him reported. She didn’t say a word until after she saw his face on the news in mid-September.
The ABC story explained:
“Being turned down for the loan altered the hijackers' plans. According to law enforcement officials, packing twin-engine planes with explosive chemicals, making it a flying bomb, had been the terrorists' plan since the mid-1990s. When Atta reported to his group that he could not get a loan to buy smaller planes, the plan was switched to hijacking passenger jets, according to what Abu Zabaydah, a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, has told American interrogators since his capture.”
We are to believe the evolution from Bojinka to 9/11 happened right there, in front of Johnelle Bryant’s USDA office in mid-2001, as the plotters regrouped from their failure to fund the project with American government loans. One can only wonder how Johnelle feels about this, or whether she even believes her own story or Zabayadah’s extracted confession.
Source: Ross, Brian. “Face to Face With a Terrorist: Government Worker Recalls Mohamed Atta Seeking Funds Before Sept. 11.” ABC News. June 6, 2002. http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/DailyNews/ross_bryant020606.html