U.S. Says Card Links
By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
A BUSINESS card found in the wreckage
of United Airlines Flight 93 in the Pennsylvania
countryside provides a link between the Sept. 11
hijackers and alleged conspirator Zacarias
Moussaoui, federal prosecutors said
The card may be the first concrete evidence of contact
or association by Moussaoui with any of the 19 hijackers
who commandeered four airplanes and killed more than
3,000 people. The indictment charging Moussaoui, 34, with
conspiring with the hijackers was scant on details that
would connect him with the terrorists.
But prosecutors revealed a link yesterday in arguing
that cockpit voice recordings from Flight 93 should be
played at Moussaoui's trial in January. In court papers,
the lead prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A.
Spencer, said Moussaoui had called a phone number
that investigators found written on a business card they
tied to Ziad Jarrah, one of the Flight 93
Spencer said the tapes would help prove the identities
of the terrorists aboard the flight. He wrote that
Jarrah's voice can be identified by one of his classmates
at a Florida flight school.
"Jarrah's role as a hijacker on Flight 93 is important
to the government's evidence linking defendant
[Moussaoui] to the conspiracy," Spencer wrote,
"because a telephone number that defendant called during
the conspiracy was scrawled on a business card belonging
to Jarrah, which was found at the crash site in
Spencer's brief does not say to whom the phone number
belonged or whether the person or business is relevant to
the conspiracy. It also is not clear whether the card had
Jarrah's name on it or was found among his
The brief also does not state specifically when
Moussaoui called the phone number. The indictment alleges
that the conspiracy began in 1989, when Osama bin
Laden and Mohammed Atef formed al Qaeda.
Moussaoui, a French national who at one time lived in
London, has said in court that he is a member of al Qaeda
but was not involved in the Sept. 11 plot.
The indictment states that in the spring and summer of
2000, an unindicted co-conspirator, Yemeni national
Ramzi Binalshibh, repeatedly tried to get a visa
to enter the United States. It also says Jarrah tried to
enroll Binalshibh in a Florida flight school.
After Binalshibh's third failed attempt to gain a U.S.
visa, in September 2000, Moussaoui began making inquiries
about attending flight school in Oklahoma. In December,
the indictment alleges, Binalshibh flew to London while
Moussaoui was there. In February 2001, Moussaoui flew
from London to the United States, declared he was
carrying $35,000 in cash and enrolled in a flight school
in Norman, Okla.
Moussaoui took numerous flight lessons in Oklahoma but
failed to get a pilot's license. In August 2001, the
indictment alleges, Binalshibh wired $14,000 from Germany
to Moussaoui in Oklahoma. Moussaoui then moved to
Minnesota to take more flying lessons. He was arrested
there Aug. 16, 2001, after attracting the suspicion of
the school's staff.
The indictment also says Binalshibh wired money to
Marwan al-Shehhi, one of the hijackers on a plane
that hit the World Trade Center, and to an unspecified
flight school in Florida.
Binalshibh was arrested this month in Pakistan and
taken out of the country by U.S. authorities. He is said
to be a planner of the Sept. 11 attacks who roomed and
worked with Mohamed Atta, believed to be the
operational leader of the plot.
Spencer outlined the prosecution's link between
Moussaoui and Jarrah in court papers written to persuade
U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema to let
prosecutors play voice recordings from Flight 93 and from
a private jet that recorded
some of Flight 93's transmissions.
On Sept. 13, Brinkema wrote that she had listened to
the tapes and was concerned that "the recordings appear
to have marginal evidentiary value while posing unfair
prejudice to the defendant."
Spencer noted that the government is required to prove
that a hijacking occurred as part of the prosecution of
Moussaoui. "There is no better evidence of the hijacking
than the actual words of the hijackers during the course
of the hijacking," Spencer wrote.
The prosecutor said "the tapes support the
indictment's allegation that the hijackers were Islamic
"The violent acts depicted on the CVRs [cockpit
voice recordings] assist the jury in determining the
means the hijackers used to overtake the crew and
passengers," Spencer wrote, "a fact that may be critical
in putting into context some of the evidence regarding
the defendant's conduct."
Prosecutors also must prove that Flight 93 was
"destined for a target in Washington, D.C.," Spencer
wrote, and therefore "will have to prove that the
passengers of Flight 93 fought back against their
attackers," aborting the terrorist mission. "As such, the
CVRs complete the story of the indictment and should be
admitted."© 2002 The Washington
to the sound clip (MP3 format) of air traffic control
receiving communications from Flight 93 on the morning of
here for the clip