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January 09, 2002
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Hijacker Got a Speeding Ticket

by The New York Times

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 ? A leader of the Sept. 11 hijackings aroused no suspicion when he was stopped for speeding in Maryland two days before the attacks, a state police official said today after releasing a videotape of the encounter with a state trooper.

The hijacker, Ziad al-Jarrah, who investigators believe was a pilot on United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania apparently after passengers had tried to thwart the hijacking, was given a ticket for driving at 90 miles an hour in a 65- mile-an-hour zone on Interstate 95.

The ticket had a $270 fine.

Col. David Mitchell of the state police said the trooper, Joseph Catalano, had found after checking records that Mr. Jarrah's Virginia driver's license and rental car registration were valid.

Colonel Mitchell said the trooper saw nothing in Mr. Jarrah's demeanor and nothing in the vehicle to warrant further investigation.

"Catalano observed that Jarrah was extremely calm and cooperative throughout the entire traffic stop," Colonel Mitchell said. "Both times that our trooper approached the vehicle, he scanned the interior. There was nothing evident that gave any hint of what Jarrah was about to be involved in."

Mr. Jarrah's rental car was later found at Newark International Airport, where Flight 93 departed, bound for San Francisco.

The authorities have said the speeding ticket was found in the glove compartment.

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