Some Sept. 11 Hijackers Stayed in Fairfield Six Months Before Attacks
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Four of the Sept. 11 hijackers stayed at the Fairfield Motor Inn six months before the terrorist attacks and met with a Bridgeport man now charged with providing false identification to at least 50 illegal aliens, the Connecticut Post reported.
The four hijackers who stayed at the motel were Hani S.H. Hanjour, Nawaf Alhazmi, Ahmed Alghamdi and Majed M. GH. Moqed, all of whom died in the attacks, the newspaper reported in Wednesday's editions, citing sources it did not identify.
During their four-day stay in Fairfield, the men reportedly met with Eyad M. Alrababah, 29, a Jordanian national who lived in Bridgeport. Alrababah was arrested Dec. 7, accused of producing and helping others obtain false identification documents in violation of federal law.
Federal authorities do not allege directly that Alrababah provided documents to the terrorists. Instead, they say he was part of a growing enterprise that obtained bogus Virginia drivers' licenses for illegal Arab aliens.
Alrababah told the FBI he met with the four hijackers in both Connecticut and Virginia. However, he denied knowing at the time that they were terrorists planning to hijack airplanes.
Hanjour, a Saudi Arabian national who moved to the United Arab Emirates in 1999, was aboard the airliner that crashed into the Pentagon. He arrived in the United States in December 2000 on a student visa, but he never attended school.
Authorities believe Hanjour obtained a Virginia identification card and later helped Moqed obtain one.
The FBI believes that Moqed and Alhazmi were also aboard the jet that hit the Pentagon.
Alghamdi was listed as one of the hijackers of the flight that crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
Two and a half weeks after the terrorist attacks, Alrababah told authorities in New York that he recognized several of the hijackers from photographs that had appeared in the newspapers, court documents show. The documents do not describe the nature of Alrababah's relationship with the hijackers.
The court records also said Alrababah admitted collecting money to help at least 50 Arabic-speaking immigrants from New Jersey and Connecticut obtain fraudulent Virginia DMV documents between early 2000 and September 2001.
Alrababah allegedly exploited a loophole that allowed people to obtain identification from the Virginia DMV using a sworn statement in place of proof of identity or residency. The loophole was closed 10 days after the attacks.
Several of the 19 suspected hijackers had fraudulent Virginia IDs bearing the same address used by a man who allegedly received a fake ID from Alrababah.
Fairfield police said they were never called to the Fairfield Motor Inn in response to any complaints about the terrorists and have no involvement in any investigation concerning them.
Joe Macy, owner of the Fairfield Motor Inn, said Tuesday he couldn't comment because of the ongoing investigation. He said the FBI had been at the motel and had collected "a lot of information."
>From Sept. 30 until his arrest in December, Alrababah was held in detention in New Haven by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Alrababah had been in the United States on a five-year visa that expired Feb. 11.
Alrababah's lawyer, Frank Salvato, did not return telephone calls Monday and Tuesday. The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on the case. The FBI in Connecticut and Assistant U.S. Attorney James Glasser, who heads the state's anti-terrorist task force, declined comment on the investigation.