Binalshibh as a Possible Fifth Hijacker

Federal officials investigating the September 11 attacks are publicly speculating that five, not four attacks were planned for September 11, and that Ramzi Binalshibh, the former roomate of Mohammed Attah arrested a few weeks ago in Pakistan, may have been the intended fifth pilot. The speculation is that he would have led a fifth team in an attack on the White House.

This is quite a change from the Government's prior theory that Binalshibh was supposed to be the 20th hijacker on one of the four September 11 flights until he couldn't get a visa, which resulted in Moussaoui being picked to take his place. The new theory has Binalshibh as the leader of a fifth hijacking group intending to attack the White House but the plan was aborted when Binalshibh couldn't get his visa.

The sources for the new theory are John Walker Lindh and other detainees, but not Binalshibh.

"...Mr. bin al-Shibh's role in the plot was a main topic of his interrogation at a secret military base abroad. Military officials have asked Mr. bin al-Shibh about organizational changes in Al Qaeda since the Sept. 11 attacks and about plans for further attacks."

"The officials said Mr. bin al-Shibh has provided only fragmentary information about the hijackings and Al Qaeda's activities since the war in Afghanistan. The officials said Mr. bin al-Shibh had not said he planned to lead another hijacking group."

Sounds to us like the Government is still grasping at straws trying to fit Moussaoui and Binalshibh in the September 11 picture.

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