We Saw Terrorists Spying at Airport Way Before 9/11: Witnesses

Reports of al-Qaeda operatives surveying Logan were allegedly ignored
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2014 10:40 AM CDT
We Saw Terrorists Spying at Airport Way Before 9/11: Witnesses
In this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo, two men identified by authorities as suspected hijackers Mohamed Atta, right, and Abdulaziz Al-Omari pass through airport security in Portland, Maine.   (AP Photo/Portland Police Department, File)

Three American Airlines employees reported spotting 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and at least one other man snooping around and videotaping security checkpoints at Boston's Logan Airport in May 2001—but no one did anything about it, according to newly released court papers cited in the New York Post. The troubling court testimonials only recently made it to the light of day in the wake of a settled lawsuit by the family of Mark Bavis, who was killed on Flight 175 out of Logan. Technician Stephen J. Wallace testified that he observed a man later IDed as Atta and another man studying the flight board and main security checkpoint on May 11, 2001; one was taking pictures and videotaping, while the other "was talking loudly in Arabic on a cellphone."

Wallace said when he started questioning them, "one of them … called me a rather nasty name in Arabic," he says, adding that he understood the slur because "I swear in Arabic." Wallace says he told authorities, who reportedly never followed up. Then there was Theresa Spagnuolo, a Logan passenger screener who says she saw Atta videotaping the main security checkpoint in May 2001, but when she reported it to her supervisor, James Miller Jr., he "informed her it was a public area and nothing could be done about it"; Miller, for his part, says he asked his own supervisors and they were the ones who said "there was nothing they could do about it." The Post notes that just two months before these reported sightings, airlines (including American) had been alerted by federal authorities that terrorists usually "conduct surveillance before attacking a target." (Read more 9/11 attacks stories.)

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