Original 9/11 Plan Involved 10 Planes

The following article is from The Guardian looking at how the original plan for the terrorist attacks were even wider in scope and not just to target the U.S. but also targets in Asia. The original article can be found at http://www.guardian.co.uk/september11/story/0,11209,1047014,00.html.

Original 9/11 plan 'involved 10 planes'
By Oliver Burkeman
September 22, 2003
The Guardian

The man believed to have organised the September 11 terrorist attacks has told his US interrogators that the original plan was to hijack 10 American planes and simultaneously hijack or bomb aircraft in south-east Asia.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said the had plan changed from 1996, when he first proposed to Osama bin Laden an attack in which terrorists would "hijack 10 planes in the United States and fly them into targets", according to reports seen by Associated Press.

Mr Mohammed has confirmed that he was involved in the failed Bojinka plot to blow up 12 planes in Asia in the mid-90s, AP said, and at one point planned a similar approach with US airlines.

But visa problems for the initial volunteers, and Bin Laden's doubts about synchronising attacks in the US and Asia, led to a change of plan.

An international team of hijackers was replaced by Saudis because Mr Mohammed learned that "there was a large group of Saudi operatives that would be available to participate in the plot to hijack planes in the United States", one report says.

US intelligence sources have said this might have been because the close relations between the two countries would make it easier for them to enter the US.

The AP said the investigators had been able to corroborate much of what they have been told by Mr Mohammed, who was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, in March and is being held at an undisclosed location, where he is being questioned by the CIA.

The interrogation reports apparently show that he and al-Qaida were planning strikes against western targets at least as late as earlier this year.

Mr Mohammed reportedly said that he had communicated by means of internet chat software with two hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, upon their arrival in California, and suggested that they were more crucial to the plot than Mohamed Atta, previously seen as the ringleader.

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