March 28, 2006


Moussaoui Says He Was to Fly 5th Plane: White House Attack Planned for 9/11, Terrorist Testifies (Jerry Markon and Timothy Dwyer, March 28, 2006, Washington Post)

Zacarias Moussaoui took the stand at his death penalty trial yesterday and declared that he was supposed to hijack a fifth airplane on Sept. 11, 2001, and crash it into the White House in the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. [...]

His words were as stunning as the way in which he delivered them. When he pleaded guilty to conspiring with al-Qaeda last year, Moussaoui denied involvement in Sept. 11 and insisted that he was to be part of a second wave of attacks. He then launched into one of his rambling courtroom outbursts, ending it by screaming, "God curse America!"

The familiar Moussaoui was gone yesterday. In his place was a hardened terrorist operative who spoke calmly and methodically, looking straight at his questioners as he voiced his hatred for the nation that had put him on trial for his life. [...]

The extraordinary spectacle of an admitted al-Qaeda member testifying about the deadliest terrorist attack in American history was later matched by something equally unusual. Defense lawyers read into the record evidence gathered in the United States' secret and controversial detention system, telling jurors what Khalid Sheik Mohammed, a key planner of Sept. 11, would have said had he taken the stand.

And Mohammed's words, given to interrogators at the undisclosed location where he is being held, contradicted Moussaoui's testimony.

He said Moussaoui had been slated for a second wave of attacks that would have included targets not hit on Sept. 11, such as the White House and the Sears Tower in Chicago. Mohammed noted that the Sept. 11 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon proceeded on schedule despite Moussaoui's arrest while taking flying lessons in Minnesota.

Even if Moussaoui's precise role is never certain, what was clear yesterday was the damage that his testimony, given over the strenuous objections of his lawyers, had done to his defense.

Does anyone really care which he's executed for?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 28, 2006 7:51 AM

Not really. I also wouldn't believe anything he says (including "a" and "the") unless he can provide operational details that can be independently verified and likely known only to the hijackers.

Posted by: Rick T. at March 28, 2006 8:57 AM


No, he wouldn't have any of that. What he does have is so many similar behavior patterns to the hijackers prior to his arrest that it's logically certain he was going to be one of them, most likely the 20th.

Posted by: oj at March 28, 2006 9:07 AM

What a great case! A law professor's dream!

Great substantive criminal law issues on conspiracy and attempts. Most of these are by the board because of the guilty plea, of course, but we could still talk about them.

Why this enemy is on trial as a civilian defendant rather than as a war criminal should escape us. That move bespeaks a certain confusion or even weakness of nerve.

An excellent outcome would be trial by a war crimes tribunal immediately after the civilian trial. No, double jeopardy does not apply.

All the tribunal would need for evidence would be the civilian trial transcript, so its proceedings could be over in a mattter of days.

This would serve as an expression of will and power, telling the enemy and telling the world that this is war.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 28, 2006 9:08 AM

For Ginsburg's sake, she better not fall asleep during the Hamdan hearing tomorrow. Even the liberal hive media will chide her for that.

And to think that Moussaoui is what tens (hundreds) of thousands 'impressionable' youts aspire to be - shouting at an American judge and cursing the Stars and Stripes. Well, he can curse when he starts down hallway to his reward, too.

Posted by: ratbert at March 28, 2006 9:20 AM

Actually, the guy is pretty clever: he's created a case where his lawyers can say, "Only an insane person will admit to THIS MUCH, so you must declare him incompetent and free him!"

Posted by: Ptah at March 28, 2006 9:41 AM

He's plead guilty, so he's not going free no matter what happens. The real problem is that he wants to be a martyr, and executing him accomplishes that. The cruel and unusual punishment will be to keep him alive next to Ted Kaczynksi and Manuel Norriega. Maybe we'll even get lucky and the Left will try to turn him into another Peltier or Mumia.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 28, 2006 10:12 AM

All you need is a lamp-post and a 1" manila line coated with bacon grease.

Posted by: Mike Morley at March 28, 2006 10:16 AM

"The real problem is that he wants to be a martyr, and executing him accomplishes that."

As the saying goes, that's not a bug, it's a feature! He gets what he wants and we get to send him to hell. A win, win.

Posted by: Bob at March 28, 2006 10:16 AM

He's so crazy that even AQ recognized it. I thought there was some other dude the gov't claims was supposed to be the 20th hijacker, but was denied an entry visa?

At any rate, the plane that hit the Pentagon was the one that was supposed to hit the White House.

Posted by: b at March 28, 2006 11:34 AM

Kill him and bury him with a pig. That will end the martyr crap.

Posted by: AllenS at March 28, 2006 11:43 AM


They tried several other guys...unsuccessfully.

Posted by: oj at March 28, 2006 11:44 AM

Bin al-Sheibh couldn't get into the country.

Why not put Zacarias in a pen with some Corsican boars?

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 28, 2006 12:50 PM

If nothing else, this does throw the emerging Bush Derangement Syndrome storyline for a loop -- for the growing group of delusionists who were making more and more noise that the U.S. (and its Zionist masterminds) either knew and/or were behind the WTC attacks, Mossaoui now becomes another person they have to diiscredit as a result of Monday's testimony.

That doesn't mean his story about a fifth plane and his association with Richard Reid may be made up out of whole cloth, but it means his earlier denials of being a participant in the 9/11 plot -- which likely is also a fabrication -- can't be taken at face value by the anti-U.S. conspirarists without having to deal with his new statements.

Posted by: John at March 28, 2006 12:58 PM

Interesting observation, John.

Posted by: Ptah at March 28, 2006 8:49 PM

He was wearing a stun belt.

Posted by: Shlink Lincoln at March 29, 2006 7:34 PM


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference IT'S NOT LIKE THEY WOULD HAVE TOLD HIM THE TARGET AHEAD OF TIME::

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Confessed al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui took the witness stand in his own defense for the [Read More]