9/11 Hijackers Used Public Libraries; House Subcommittee Reviews Patriot Act Powers against Terrorists
Byline: Audrey Hudson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Terrorists used public libraries for Internet access to check airline reservations prior to the September 11 attacks, a federal attorney yesterday told the House panel looking into renewing the USA Patriot Act.
Kenneth L. Wainstein, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, told the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security oversight that investigators traced some of the hijackers' activities on four separate occasions in August 2001.
Internet accounts registered to Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar were accessed from a state college library in New Jersey. The two men were on the American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon.
"The computers in the library were used to review and order airline tickets on an Internet travel reservations site," Mr. Wainstein said. "The last documented visit to the library occurred on August 30, 2001. On that occasion, records indicate that a person using Alhazmi's account used the library's computer to review September 11 reservations that had been previously booked."
Investigators also discovered that three hijackers on the planes that hit the World Trade Center visited the Delray Beach, Fla., public library in July 2001 and asked to use the library's computers to access the Internet.
Mr. Wainstein said witnesses identified the men as Wail M. Alshehri and Waleed M. Alshehri, who were aboard American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the North Tower, and Marwan Al-Shehhi, the man who took control of United Airlines Flight 175 that crashed into the South Tower. …