By Greg Gordon
The Seattle Times
WASHINGTON — Two numbers scrawled in a notebook that belonged to terrorism suspect Zacarias Moussaoui could have given the FBI a chance to identify several of the Sept. 11 hijackers before they struck six years ago, according to officials familiar with the bureau's investigation of the attacks.
The notebook entries recorded the control numbers for two Western Union wire transfers in which suspected al-Qaida coordinator Ramzi Binalshibh, using an alias, sent Moussaoui $14,000 from Germany in early August 2001, before he went to a Minnesota flight school to learn to fly a Boeing 747 jumbo jet.
A check of Western Union records probably would have uncovered other wires in the preceding days for similar sums of money to Binalshibh — who had been turned away at the U.S. border four times because he was a suspected terrorist — from an al-Qaida paymaster in Dubai. On one of those receipts, the paymaster listed a phone number in the United Arab Emirates that several of the hijackers had called from Florida.
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