Months after 9/11, Richard Reid boarded American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami, planning to blow it up with a shoe bomb. His plan was foiled when a flight attendant caught him trying to light a fuse emerging from his shoe, and he was tackled by passengers. Now, he says "it wasn't supposed to happen, not because it was displeasing to God," but because that was God's plan. In letters to criminologist Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco cited by NBC News, Reid explains, "It was not either my time to die nor that of those on the plane with me, and he had other plans for me which include my staying in prison and other matters which I may not be aware of as of yet."
He adds, from the supermax prison in Colorado, "I do have some tactical regrets of a sort which I won't go into here, but I don't regret losing my freedom." He also writes about more recent terrorist acts. "I do not see what happened at Charlie Hebdo as a tragedy," he says. "Rather the tragedy is that people think it is OK to demean the sacred and belittle that which is more beloved to we Muslims than their own souls." Mehlman-Orozco—who is planning to write a book and has also corresponded with Jihad Jane, NBC News reported last month—says Reid's letters shows how terrorists hold tightly to their interpretation of Islam. "It withstands the cost versus the benefit, it withstands the will to live, it withstands years in the toughest prison in America," she says. (Read more shoe bomber stories.)