You think you know all that happened in Portland because the FBI presented many photos and details of Atta’s and Al Omari’s movements on September 10 and 11 in this town? Well, be surprised there are innumerous unanswered questions. Sorry, if this is really long and detailed but some people like to know details. Otherwise simply followe the bold stuff or the comments in italics in order to see if you can find something interesting here!

A timeline 

The FBI effort in Greater Portland is part of the most intensive and high-stakes investigation in the agency's history , the kind of mobilization not seen since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.”
(Portland Press Herald, 10/14/01)

“’It is a criminal investigation,’ said Lee Colwell, director of the University of Arkansas System's Criminal Justice Institute and former second-in-command of the FBI. ‘The goal of the investigation must be to establish as clearly as possible exactly what happened, how it happened, who was involved, who assisted and who abetted the effort in any way.’”
(Portland Press Herald, 10/14/01)

Then let’s see if this goal was achieved!

Since April 2000: 
“Portland police interviewed two employees at the Portland Public Library who are sure they saw Atta on several occasions. Spruce Whited, head of security at the library, said he first saw a man he is convinced was Atta in April 2000. He said the man came to the library several times, using the computers. "I only recognized him because he'd been here a few times," he said.”
(Portland Press Herald, 10/5/01)

And he did not only see Atta: 
“’I remember seeing (Atta) in the spring of 2000,’ he said. ‘I have a vague memory of a second one who turned out to be (Atta's) cousin.’” 
(Boston Herald, 10/5/01)
This might be Marwan Alshehhi.

”Kathy Barry, a reference librarian, also reported seeing Atta, whose photograph has been distributed widely through the media since the Sept. 11 attacks.
(Portland Press Herald, 10/5/01)
“’It was either him or his twin brother,’ Barry said.”
(Newsday, 11/18/01)

This all seems to be very interesting and witness accounts that might help to figure out why Atta and Al Omari chose Portland to begin 911. But apparently this is not interesting for the FBI:
“Whited said no investigators have asked to look at the library's computers.
He said the FBI had not interviewed him.” 
(Portland Press Herald, 10/5/01)

Comment: (from Paul Thompson’s Timeline): According to the official story, Atta doesn't arrive in the US until June 3, 2000. (Miami Herald, 9/22/01, Australian Broadcasting Corp. 11/12/01) 

But there are many more people who believe to have seen Atta or Al Omari in Portland before 911:
“Investigators have received hundreds of calls from Portland, Maine, residents who claim to have spotted Atta several times earlier in the year, the Portland Press Herald reported last month.”
(New York Post, 10/5/01)

“There were other reported sightings, too, including a worker at Micucci's Grocery on India Street who is convinced he saw Atta in late August ; former state Rep. Herb Adams, who believes he saw Atta at the Big Apple convenience store on Park Street this summer ; and an employee at the Convention and Visitors Bureau on Commercial Street, who reported seeing two men she believed to be Atta and Alomari.
(Portland Press Herald, 10/5/01)

"There were sightings all over," (Portland Police Chief Michael) Chitwood said. "At the library, the Chamber of Commerce. There was a report that they were seen in the City's old port drinking.
(Newsday, 11/18/01)

Nonetheless it is later concluded:
“But without hard evidence, there is no way to corroborate the sightings. "No credit card receipts, no phone records, nothing to document it," Chitwood said.”
(Newsday, 11/18/01)

August 28, 2001: 
“Suspected hijacker Mohamed Atta bought tickets for a connecting flight from Portland, Maine, to Boston and for American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston on Aug. 28, two weeks before Flight 11 hit the World Trade Center.”
(Dayton Daily News, 9/14/01)

“His (Al Omari’s) first connection to Atta is his purchase of his airline ticket with Atta's American Advantage card and his credit card.”
(Cox News, 10/4/01)

A week before 911: 
“On Wednesday, new reports surfaced about another potential terrorist link to Portland. A Saudi pilot, who is on an FBI watch list for people wanted for questioning about possible terrorist ties, told a Moroccan newspaper that he had left a small plane at the Portland jetport.
Khaled Alzeedi, owner of an aviation company that operates in Delaware, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, had bought two small planes in Tennessee in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks. Alzeedi and three of his assistants later flew one of the planes to Portland. 
Alzeedi said he dropped the plane at the jetport because he realized it needed a bigger fuel tank. He then left the country and said he planned to return, but could not because of the terrorist attacks.
The FBI says that Alzeedi, who is now in Morocco, is not believed to have any connection to the attacks.
Yet, the FBI refuses to say why they want to speak with Alzeedi or why his plane is under surveillance at Northeast Airmotive Co., Portland's general aviation contractor.
Portland Police Chief Michael Chitwood says he has a lot of unanswered questions about the plane and the Saudi pilot. He sent two detectives to Northeast Airmotive on Thursday, but employees there said the FBI told them not to talk with anyone about the plane.
"The FBI is saying there's no connection with this plane to Atta or Sept. 11, but they're not sharing why they want to talk with the pilot," Chitwood said. "It bothers me. If there's no big deal to this, then why the hell didn't the FBI tell us about this six weeks ago?" 
(Portland Press Herald, 10/21/01)

Comment: Another strange coincidence. For more info see below: Alzeedi. 

September 7-9, 2001: 
“Dr. Mohamed Atta and his new wife, Sophie, spent the weekend before the terror attacks in New York City, arriving on Friday, Sept. 7 and staying until Sunday, Sept. 9, when they returned to Maryland. (…)
But this Mohamed Atta was not the hijacker who crashed a jumbo jet into the World Trade Center. The New York City visitor was a soft-spoken kidney specialist from Maryland whose horrible case of mistaken identity has led to months of harassment.”
(New York Post, 5/28/02)

September 9, 2001: 
“Just before the suicide mission, Newsweek reports that Atta returned a rental car in Pompano Beach, Fla. , on Sept. 9, and even took the time to remind the dealer that the car needed to be serviced.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/23/01)

Comment: But on the same day Atta is also very active in Boston. Is there any proof that Atta flew from Florida to Boston on this day? New York Times 5/10/01 states that Atta and Al Omari flew to Boston but gives no details. 

“Meanwhile, another investigator was interviewing a manager of Alamo Rent A Car at the jetport. A search of the company's computer records showed Atta had rented a blue Nissan Altima Sept. 9 in Boston and that it was due back Sept. 11 by 6 p.m. It was listed as overdue.”
(Portland Press Herald, 10/14/01)

“Using credit card receipts and telephone records, the FBI traced their whereabouts almost to the minute. Records show they rented a blue Nissan at an Alamo office in Boston on Sunday, Sept. 9 and checked into the motel at 5:43 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 10.”
(Newsday, 11/18/01)

Comment: But it’s not clear who actually rented the car. Some accounts say Atta, some say Atta and Al Omari and some are cautious. 

“A blue 2001 Nissan Altima that someone, maybe both of them, had rented in Boston.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/23/01)

September 10, 2001: 

Afternoon: “Sometime on Monday afternoon, September 10, 2001, ATTA and AL-OMARI departed Boston, Massachusetts, and arrived in Portland later that same day.”

Comment : But it’s not clear actually if both were inside the Nissan. 

Comment: Is there any proof that Atta and/or Al Omari not already departed on September 9? Is the detail that they departed on September 10 only based on the next known fact, their arrival at the Comfort Inn? 

“It is not clear when the two arrived in South Portland, or if they even arrived there together.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/23/01)

5:43 p.m.: “Atta and AL-OMARI checked into the Comfort Inn, 90 Maine Mall Road, South Portland, Maine.”

« one of the suspects rented a room at the Comfort Inn in South Portland, McCausland disclosed.”
(AP, 9/13/01 e)

Comment: So only one rented a room. Is there any proof that both stayed at the hotel? Is there any proof that Al Omari wasn’t already in Portland? 

The hotel is a mile from the airport.
(Portland Press Herald, 9/13/01)

“They” took a no-smoking room
(Evening Standard, 10/5/01)

“At reception Atta asked if he could have 15 copies of USA Today, intending perhaps to bulk up his luggage, but had to make do with four copies instead.”
(Independent, 9/8/02)

Comment: The Independent account is very bizarre and has some mistakes. Nonetheless I inserted this. What are all the USA Todays for? 

7:00 – 8:30 p.m.: “There were reports the two were sighted at two nearby restaurants - a Pizza Hut and Weathervane Seafood Restaurant - between 7 and 8:30 p.m.”
(New York Post, 10/12/01)

Comment: The second Restaurant is not mentioned by the FBI! 

“A waitress at Weathervane said two Middle Eastern-looking men – one who resembled Atta - dined at the restaurant that night and asked for the details of how the fish and chicken were cooked.

Sue Paquette, a spokeswoman for Weathervane, said the two men may have been part of a group of five Muslim men - wearing traditional Middle Eastern dress, including turbans - who dined at the restaurant two nights before, on Saturday.”
(New York Post, 10/12/01)

Comment: A group of five. We will meet them again!
Remark that only Atta is recognized. Who is the second person? 

After 8 :00 p.m. : “Sometime between 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm, two Middle Eastern males were seen at Pizza Hut, 415 Maine Mall Road, South Portland, Maine, for approximately fifteen (15) minutes.”

Comment: This is the only time the FBI doesn’t say Atta and Al Omari but “two Middle Eastern males”. 

“Employees at a Pizza Hut in South Portland, Maine, recall seeing two Arab men that could have been Atta and Alomari stop in between 8 and 9 p.m. They stayed only 15 minutes.”
(Cox News, 10/4/01)

The following statement hints at but does not prove that they paid with credit card:
“Larry Ponemon of Privacy Council, a Dallas consulting firm, said in an interview in June that one study reportedly done on the 19 airline hijackers involved in the Sept. 11 attacks found a pattern in their orders for pizza. 
"Most college kids order pizza all the time," Ponemon said. "But most people pay cash for pizza. These guys paid with a credit card. That was an odd thing. That became one of the correlates for doing a profile."
(San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/3/02)

“Employees at the Wal-Mart and Pizza Hut have been instructed by the F.B.I. not to comment on what the men bought or ordered. (…)Today in South Portland and Scarborough, employees at the Comfort Inn, Pizza Hut and other places in the chronology said they had been told not to talk. Most said they had no recollection of the men anyway.”
(New York Times, 10/5/01)

Comment: It’s rather difficult to see what kind of national security is at stake if we know if Atta eat “Pizza Hawai” or preferred more the Mexican style? 

Comment: Atta and Al Omari seem to have been very hungry. But they most likely went to another restaurant, too. 

“They (agents) checked Dimillo's floating restaurant, where a waitress reportedly served the men the night before the attack.”
(Portland Press Herald, 10/14/01)

“Steven DiMillo, the owner of DiMillo's Floating Restaurant in Portland, said an FBI agent last Saturday interviewed about 40 of his employees. DiMillo said he was busy at the time and did not learn why the agency was interested in talking to his workers.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/21/01)

Comment: This makes three restaurants in one and a half hour! 

8:31 p.m.: “ATTA and AL-OMARI were photographed by a Key Bank drive-up ATM located at 445 Gorham Road, South Portland, Maine. They were driving a 2001 blue Nissan Altima rental car bearing Massachusetts license 3335VI.”

Comment: But this photo is not released by the FBI on their homepage. 

8:41 p.m.: “ATTA and AL-OMARI were photographed by a Fast Green ATM located in the parking lot of UNO's restaurant, 280 Maine Mall Road, South Portland, Maine.”

Comment : This seems to imply that they demanded twice money at a bank machine within ten minutes. What did they need all this cash for? And why not once simply take the whole amount of money one wishes to have?

Time unknown : « An official at the Kittery Trading Post told The Associated Press that he turned over surveillance tapes made the night before the attacks showing two men inquiring about items, including knives and rubber bullets.
(Portland Press Herald, 9/20/01)

“They (Agents) checked out the Kittery Trading Post, where some men from the Middle East had reportedly sought to buy knives and rubber bullets.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/14/01)

Comment: Why did the FBI not release the photos of this surveillance tape?
And if theses are not Atta and Al Omari then who else (who has strong resemblance to the hijackers) is interested in knifes on 910? 

9:15 p.m.: “ATTA and AL-OMARI were at Jetport Gas Station, 446 Western, Avenue, South Portland, Maine. ATTA was wearing a half dark, half light colored shirt with light colored slacks.”

“(T)hey asked directions to the local Wal-Mart.”
(New York Times, 10/5/01)

9:22 p.m.: “ATTA was at Wal-Mart, 451 Payne Road, Scarborough, Maine, for approximately twenty minutes.”

“Atta spent 17 minutes in the store.
One security picture appears to show him in the store's electronics department. 
He is seen leaving at 9:39 p.m., carrying a plastic bag with his purchases.
The FBI refused to say what Atta bought during one of his final encounters with American capitalism. 
A store manager and a Wal-Mart spokesman at the company's Arkansas headquarters refused to give details of Atta's visit, and said only that they are cooperating with the FBI.”
(New York Post, 10/5/01)
(Cox News, 10/4/01)

Comment: Why is it a secret what Atta bought?
Why does Atta spend much time in the electronic department? Why is this photo not released? Would it imply what (else) he bought? 

“In South Portland, Atta and Alomari had found a Wal-Mart and were on a spending spree. They blew about $ 200 on T-shirts alone, and Atta was so impressed with one of the sports shirts he had bought that he put it on before he left the store.
(Independent, 9/8/02)

Comment: Most likely this account is simply BS as the security photos show Atta leaving (alone) Wal Mart with his black and white shirt on. Did the “Independent” make up the story about the buying of a T-Shirt as well? 

One week later the workers at Wal-Mart finally reveal a piece of info:
“Staff members at the Wal-Mart in South Portland told The Post yesterday that Atta bought the $1.84 boxcutters he used to hijack American Airlines Flight 11 less than 12 hours before he commandeered the plane.
He got there just in time. The store closed for the day at 10. 
The staffers, who asked not to be identified, said they had been warned not to give details.
"We all know what he bought," one of them said. "We're just not allowed to talk about it." 
The staffer was surprised the hijackers had not made their deadly purchase earlier.
"It's unbelievable they would leave it to the last minute," the staffer said. 
Wal-Mart spokesman Tom Williams refused to talk about what Atta purchased.”
(New York Post, 10/12/01)

Comment: So, to make this clear: The hijackers wait till the very last second before buying the central weapon of their suicide mission and are even so little prepared that they have to ask the way to the Wal-Mart?
Why are the workers not allowed to talk at all? Then a bit but their chief remains completely silent?
Or is there another possibility? The staffer inventing the boxcutter story because it seemed plausible knowing Atta bought something else? How else to explain that they say what he bought and at the same time telling the journalist Atta bought cutters? 

"It was shocking to the employees that they were in the parking lot and in our store, but nobody has come out and said they saw anyone ," said Cheryl Giordano, a photo lab technician at Wal-Mart.”
(New York Times , 10/5/01)

Comment: Nobody saw anyone. Too bad although Atta had this eye-catching shirt. 

Comment: But the secrecy surrounding Atta and Al Omari and their activity on September 10 goes even further: 

“The FBI has ordered a blackout on how much money the men withdrew from the bank and what they bought at the Wal-Mart.” 
(Evening Standard, 10/5/01)

“The banks have not released how much or even if Mr. Atta and Mr. Alomari withdrew money from the A.T.M.’s” 
(New York Times, 10/5/01)

“Today in South Portland and Scarborough, employees at the Comfort Inn, Pizza Hut and other places in the chronology said they had been told not to talk. Most said they had no recollection of the men anyway.”
(New York Times, 10/5/01)

Comment: Again: Why this secrecy? 

Time unknown: “Comfort Inn manager Laura Wale said that she recalled nothing unusual about Atta and Alomari and that she didn't believe they had any visitors in their hotel room.”
(New York Post, 10/5/01)

Comment: The journalist speaking to Laura Wale two years later stressed that Wale didn’t see the hijackers personally. (Portland Press Herald, 9/9/03) Is this believable in view of above mentioned quote? 

September 11, 2001: 
3:40 – 4:00 a.m.: “Chris Lyons of Brunswick, a newspaper delivery driver, said he saw four or five men he described as Middle Eastern near the entrance to the jetport terminal between 3:40 a.m. and 4 a.m., near where he parks his car to drop off papers.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/22/01)
“"They stuck out because usually no one is around at that hour," Lyons said.” (…)
Four or five men got out of the car. "They had a tremendous amount of luggage," Lyons said. "About 10 bags." 
The men were dressed well in sweaters and leather jackets and used a 
skycap cart to haul their luggage inside the airport. Lyons, who says he lived in Malaysia for nearly eight years, believed that a couple of the men were Egyptian and two others, Iranian.
Lyons walked by the men twice as he filled his newspaper racks. "They were talking Arabic and I said 'hi' to them and they looked surprised and then all clammed up.
Lyons talked to the FBI three weeks ago about the incident. "They asked me to repeat my story over and over," he said. 
The FBI had Lyons look at several photographs of Middle Eastern men. He didn't recognize any of the men in the pictures. 
"I don't think any of the guys I saw was Atta," Lyons said. "I'm more concerned that these guys were support people, who helped the operation out somehow.
"It's just too much of a coincidence that this group of businessmen was leaving Portland the morning of the terrorist attacks."
(Portland Press Herald, 10/21/01)
“Portland police said they checked his tip and did not think it was connected to the attacks because the behavior varied from the pattern shown by the terrorists.
(Portland Press Herald, 9/22/01)

Comment: Another surprising coincidence on 911! There are many accounts of four or five Eastern men that day! Keep in mind the group seen in Weathervine a few days earlier. 

5:33 a.m.: “ATTA and AL-OMARI checked out of the Comfort Inn.”

5:40 a.m.: “The 2001 blue Nissan Altima rental car, bearing Massachusetts license 3335VI, entered Portland International Jetport Airport parking lot. It was parked on the first floor directly across from the airport entrance.”

“Inside the car were parking receipts showing that the men had arrived at the garage at 5:40 a.m., just minutes before their flight was scheduled to leave.”
(Portland Press Herald, 10/14/01)

Comment: Actually it is only assumed that the Nissan went from the Confort Inn to the jetport. It could have come from somewhere else as well. The fact that Atta and supposedly Al Omari checked out and then their Nissan entered the parking lot seven minutes indicates but doesn’t prove that they are in the car as well. 

5:43 a.m.: “ATTA and AL-OMARI checked in at US AIRWAYS counter.”

Comment: “Even if Portland offered an easy way into the system, the layout of Logan required the two hijackers to pass through security a second time when they changed to American Airlines Flight 11, said Jeffrey Monroe, Portland's director of transportation.” 
(Portland Press Herald, 9/18/01) 

5:45 a.m.: “ATTA and AL-OMARI passed through airport security.”

Comment : This time is in dispute ! Keep in mind that on the video stills two different times are given! Moreover it seems hard to see how they can manage to park the car till they passed the security in 5 minutes (keep in mind that they had two bags). 
The photo is actually of no help trying to establish who passed the security check. 

5:45 a.m.: “at 5:45 the next morning, flew from Portland International Jetport to Boston.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/14/01)

“Despite a clear sky, the 5:45 American Airlines flight from Portland was slightly delayed. Not until 6:00am did the men board the plane for the one-hour trip to Boston.
(Financial Times, 9/15/01)

Comment: The official take off time is of course 6:00 a.m. But still it’s worth pointing out that according to some accounts Atta and Al Omari simply wouldn’t have made their flight if it wouldn’t have been delayed! 

5:53 a.m.: “Their photographs were taken at 5:53 a.m.”
(Grand Forkes Herald, 9/13/01)

“The images were taken at 5:53 a.m., seconds after the two men had passed through an airport security gate, (Portland Police Chief Michael) Chitwood said.”
(The Record, 9/13/01)
(London Times, 9/13/01)

6:00 a.m.: “ATTA and AL-OMARI departed on Colgan Air en route to Boston, Massachusetts.”

“US Airways Flight 5930, a commuter plane with 19 seats that left at 6 a.m. for Boston, Portland Transportation Director Jeff Monroe said.”
(AP, 9/13/01 e)

“Airline ticketing information obtained by the Dayton Daily News shows Atta's name is on the tickets along with a second man, Abdulaziz Alomari. 
The ticket information shows the two men were to fly out of Portland at 6 a.m.”
(Dayton Daily News, 9/14/01)

“The 19-seat Beech 1900 (…) took off a few minutes late.
(Portland Press Herald, 9/23/01)

Comment: Take off time is in dispute!
Portland Press Herald, 9/15/01 even gives 5:30! 

At the gate and inside the plane they’re seen by Roger Quirion, his colleague Brian Guerette and Jane Isenberg. Inside the plane also Vincent Meisner witnesses them.
So we do know 6 passengers of 8.
Quirion and Guerrette are later on Delta 1989 and made an emergency landing in Cleveland.
Vincent Meisner was diverted to Chicago.
Nothing is known about Jane Isenberg’s connecting flight (if she took one)

Comment: While there is a contradiction in the accounts of Quirion, Isenberg’s description also differs slightly from the Guerette’s and Quirion’s: Here the hijackers are in a hurry. Moreover Isenberg seems to imply to me that the hijackers would have missed the flight if it would have been in time? This corresponds to the “Financial Times” observation. 
More Info. See: “Guerrette, Quirion and Meisner”. 

“Mr. Atta traveled to Boston on a commuter airline from Portland, Me., with Mr. Alomari. Mr. Alomari was assigned seat 3C; Mr. Atta, seat 8D.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/16/01 b)

Comment: If one keeps in mind that Vincent Meisner states to have been seated behind Atta: how is it possible that a machine with 19 seats has nine rows?

Comment: Why does nobody talk to the media about his experience of having been seated next to a hijacker?

Comment: There is much reason given for the suspicion that actually there is no Colgan commuter flight connecting Portland and Boston. 
Was this plane out of schedule? 

6:30 a.m.: “Atta and Marwan (Al Shehhi) rented a Mitsubishi sedan, which they left at Logan Airport in Boston.”
(London Times, 9/13/01)

Comment: Besides owning a Pontiac, how many cars did Atta rent? Is this a trace to follow in order to figure out if in the last days before 911 there are more than one Atta? 

Late afternoon: “Late Tuesday afternoon, federal agents and local police converged on the Portland airport and began a lengthy search for a car they were trying to locate, officials said.”
(The Record, 9/13/01)

Time unknown: That evening, just hours after the attack, Portland and South Portland police were canvassing area hotels, trying to learn where the men had stayed.
(Portland Press Herald, 10/14/01)

Time unknown: “The two officers spent four hours looking at every one of the 700 or so cars in the parking garage.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/16/01)

7:00 p.m.: Laura Wale, manage of Comfort Inn “got a phone call from the hotel. An FBI agent was on the other line.
“Your hotel has had direct involvement in 9/11. We need you to come in,” the agent told her, according to Wale.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/9/03)

Comment: So the very first object of interest on 911 is not Atta’s apartment nor Bukhari’s but the Comfort Inn in Portland.
Why is the FBI agent so sure (while even the press accounts were cautious at the beginning)? 

Laura Wale has some interesting questions:
“Her story veers off into conspiracy theories. 
How did government agents know to storm the Comfort Inn only hours after the Twin Towers fell? Why did the FBI release surveillance video of Atta and Alomari at various locations in South Portland, but not the lobby of the Comfort Inn? 
What, she wonders, is on that tape?
(Portland Press Herald, 9/9/03)

Comment: Hearing theses questions one seriously doubts the journalist who states “She never met Atta or Alomari.” (Portland Press Herald, 9/9/03). 

“She also made sure to keep photocopies of Atta’s hotel receipt and an inventory of items the FBI took out of his hotel room.” 
(Portland Press Herald, 9/9/03)

Comment: Why?
Laura Wale’s behaviour seems to imply that there have been two guys who reserved room 233 but that physically they are different from September 14 photos and apparently something is wrong with their name as well. Otherwise why does she mention that she kept the photocopy of the hotel receipt?
She seems to imply that Atta and Al Omari didn’t stay at her hotel. But why does she not say it straight forward? Fear? But then why does she implies it? 
Comment: After the FBI praised her for her help Wale got problems. 
“But perhaps the biggest blow came when she discovered on Sept. 26 that the federal government had cited her in court records in its case against the alleged 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/9/03)
Wale’s lost her job and ended up having a nervous break down and was hospitalised. 

9:00 p.m.: “Portland's link in the macabre chain of events began to emerge Tuesday night, as federal investigators compared the passenger manifests of the hijacked jets with those of connecting flights coming into Boston. (…) Investigators matched two names from American Flight 11 and a US Airways flight that left Portland on Tuesday at 5:45 a.m.
State police arrived at the Comfort Inn on Maine Mall Road in South Portland about 9 p.m.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/13/01)

Night: “The Dumpster needed to be moved,” she (Laura Wale) said. “The picture of (Atta’s) shirt on the FBI Web site? They pulled that out of our Dumpster at the Comfort Inn.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/9/03)

Comment: How strange after Atta was easily recognizable thanks to this shirt (and thus allowed the FBI to follow his traces in Portland) he throws it into a dumpster before leaving. Looks once again like assuring one’s traces are found! 

“Several employees at Portland area hotels said that FBI agents and local investigators had looked at registration and credit card records Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
The investigators had several names they were looking for, certain license plate numbers, as well as the numbers of a particular Visa credit card and another bank debit card, several hotel employees said.
(The Record, 9/13/01)

Comment: Why “several names”? Why weren’t they only looking for Atta and Al Omari? No sense looking for other hijackers in Portland! 

Time unknown: “Atta seems to have surfaced last Friday afternoon at Shuckum's, a neighbourhood bar in Hollywood, Florida. On Tuesday, in the hours following the atrocity, a barmaid was visited by FBI agents who showed her pictures of two Middle Eastern men.” 
(London Times, 9/13/01)

11:30 p.m.: “The rental car, a blue 2001 Nissan Altima, was identified at 11:30 p.m. in a parking lot at the airport, said Portland Police Chief Michael Chitwood.”
(AP, 9/12/01 j)

“FBI and state police declined to comment on what may have been found in the car that was seized at the Portland airport.”
(AP, 9/13/01 d)

Comment: Again: Why this secrecy? But we know partly what’s in the car nonetheless: 

“(Portland Police Officer Robert) Burke noticed a broken cigarette on the ground, on the painted line of the parking space, alongside the passenger door. He saw a few maps in the car and what looked like loose tobacco — as if a cigarette had broken and spilled some out — on the console, between the two front seats.” 
(Portland Press Herald, 9/16/01)
(New York Times, 10/5/01)

Comment: This is maybe not important but somebody who smokes in his car also would take a smoking room, wouldn’t he. But Atta and Al Omari went for a non-smoking room in the Comfort Inn. 

The car was found like this: “The hotel typically requires guests to provide their vehicle registration numbers, and the suspects' Massachusetts license plate number was forwarded to investigators at the jetport.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/13/01)

“The car (…) had been rented from Alamo somewhere in Boston, Chitwood said.”
(The Record, 9/13/01)

September 12, 2001: 

Night: “In Coral Springs, witnesses said about 50 FBI agents and police officers Tuesday night blanketed the apartment complex that Atta had listed with the motor vehicle division as his last address.”
(Boston Herald, 9/13/01)

3:30 a.m.: “The FBI's evidence recovery team was busy at Logan, so the car was taken by flatbed to the Maine State Police crime lab in Augusta at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/13/01)
(AP, 9/12/01 j)

5:00 a.m.: “FBI agents swooped down on two houses in Vero Beach, Fla., about 5 a.m. Wednesday, taking a man named Adnan Bukhari into custody, neighbors said.
They had a SWAT team and they just took him away, neighbor Phyllis Cromer said.”
(Grand Forkes Herald, 9/13/01)

Comment: On September 12 Adnan and Ameer Bukhari are believed to have been suicide hijackers. When Adnan turns out to be still alive while Ameer already dead for one year Adnan is considered an associate in the media and some unspecified evidence that was found in the Nissan linked him/them to the hijackers.

7:30 a.m.: “In North Jersey, a dozen FBI agents and sheriff's officers arrived before 7:30 a.m. in Fort Lee , where they searched Mail Boxes Etc., a private postal storefront in Linwood Plaza on Fletcher Avenue. They left 12 hours later carrying several small boxes; they declined to say what they were looking for.
“I asked them if there was something going on and they said it was a national security problem and they weren't at liberty to talk about it," said Dave Mesa, manager of Kings Supermarket in the same plaza.”
(The Record, 9/13/01)

Comment: Anybody an idea why the FBI was there? 

Morning: “In Bangor, the FBI focused their attention on a cell phone company, where agents interviewed employees at Unicel's corporate office on Union St., next to the Bangor International Airport.
Rick O'Connor, senior vice president, said the agents were interested in knowing more about several men who attempted to buy cell phones recently. O'Connor said the company did not sell phones to them.
He said he didn't know how the FBI knew about the incident, but agents appeared at the office Wednesday morning. "No one had called them," he said. 
(AP, 9/12/01 j)

Comment: The Bangor “connection” seems pretty interesting especially as again there are many eyewitness accounts of people who believe to have seen Atta and others. But without any further explication the case is closed as the case of the terrorists passing the Canadian border. 

Time unknown: “And in Halifax, the provincial capital, which is 200 miles northeast of Yarmouth, Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers impounded a car at the international airport there, officials said.
"I can confirm that we did seize a vehicle today at Halifax International," RCMP Sgt. Wayne Noonan said Wednesday in a phone interview from Halifax, declining to elaborate on the action. "I can't discuss any investigation in a public forum.”
(The Record, 9/13/01)

PRESS: The first article is published. But no names given. “Agents also interviewed workers at the Comfort Inn near the airport, where news reports indicated the terrorists may have stayed before the flight.” 
(AP, 9/12/01 j)
(AP, 9/13/01 f)

On the reports about the Nissan: “Jim Osterrieder, the FBI chief in Maine, declined comment on the reports. The FBI's Boston office also declined comment.”
(AP, 9/12/01 j)

“FBI agents were at the airport and reviewed surveillance tapes, which captured the two suspects on video on Tuesday, Chitwood said.”
(AP, 9/12/01 j)

Comment: I find this rather surprising. They can’t have any photo of Abdulaziz at that moment. Moreover the video is very flue. Especially Al Omari is very hard to recognize on it. I believe the FBI assumed that theses are the two suspects because they recognized Atta and by somehow logical conclusion that the two had left the hotel and parked the car at the airport. But somehow the name creates a problem. Otherwise how explain they disclosed Atta’s name only on September 13 (although his name was already in the press one day earlier - but not in connection with Portland). And Al Omari later. 

September 13, 2001: 

Time unknown: “The FBI arrived at (the) home (of Dr. Mohamed Atta, a kidney specialist from Maryland, and his wife) on Sept. 13.”
(New York Post, 5/28/02)

Comment: It was this Mohamed Atta by the way who spend the week-end from September 7 – 9 in New York. 

PRESS: Atta’s identity is revealed but not the one of Al Omari:
“One of the two suspects who boarded a flight in Portland was Mohamed Atta, 33, a Saudi national who had received training as a pilot in Florida. The other suspect's name was not disclosed by investigators.” 
(AP, 9/13/01 d)

Some AP articles of that day still don’t disclose Atta’s identity.
(AP, 9/13/01 f)

Portland Press Herald is strangely vague: “ Two of the terrorists who crashed jets into the World Trade Center may have taken a flight from Portland.” 
(Portland Press Herald, 9/13/01).

Comment: Why the doubt? Why “may”? In the same account: “Portland's link in the macabre chain of events began to emerge Tuesday night, as federal investigators compared the passenger manifests of the hijacked jets with those of connecting flights coming into Boston. (…) Investigators matched two names from American Flight 11 and a US Airways flight that left Portland on Tuesday at 5:45 a.m.”
So, why if the two name matches does this incertitude remain? 

“Gov. Angus King said the men probably drove from Massachusetts instead of crossing the Canadian border like some speculated. State police also sought to discount theories that the men came into Maine from Canada.”
(AP, 9/13/01 d)

“The 2001 Nissan Altima used by the men came from the same Boston rental location as another car used by additional suspects that contained incriminating materials when it was seized at Boston's Logan Airport.”
(AP, 9/13/01 d)

“"It was an Alamo rental with Massachusetts plates," he said, although officials are uncertain where it was rented.”
(Union Leader, 9/13/01)
“Kelly (commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety) said the FBI has names and, ‘They have drivers' licenses showing them out of New Jersey.’”
(Union Leader, 9/13/01)

“Atta and Marwan rented a Mitsubishi sedan, which they left at Logan Airport in Boston. When the abandoned car was found by the FBI, it contained flight manuals written in Arabic.
The two men separated for a final time in Boston, taking early flights that took off within a minute of each other, bound for Los Angeles.”
(London Times, 9/13/01)

“Law enforcement officials speaking on condition of anonymity said they were investigating whether the hijackers crossed the Canadian border to enter the United States. They said the FBI was seeking passenger manifests from two ferries that travel between Nova Scotia and Maine.”
(AP, 9/13/01 f)

“It remained unclear Wednesday how the terrorists came into Maine, but attention focused on Canada.” 
(Portland Press Herald, 9/13/01)

Comment: Why is this unclear? It is as clear or unclear on September 13 as it is today: the Nissan was rented on September 9 and on September 10 Atta is in Portland. That’s all we know. So, why at that time the uncertainty and why today the certainty what happened, the certainty e.g. that they didn’t pass the Canadian border? 

“One theory is that some of the hijackers entered the United States from Canada, possibly by a tourist ferry to Portland, Maine. American officials claim they have hard evidence that Atta did enter the United States from Canada. They believe 22-year-old Ahmad Ibrahim Ali-al Hazoumi, and the two Al Shehris might have used the same route. A gold Malibu rental car from Avis at Halifax airport has been searched by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.” 
(London Times, 9/13/01)
(Edmonton Journal, 9/14/01)

“The two men are thought to have taken a ferry from Nova Scotia, Canada, this week.”
(Grand Forkes Herald, 9/13/01)

“The terrorists may have been divided into separate, self-contained groups, some recently crossing into this country from Canada. Others may have been here for some time, law enforcement authorities said.”
(Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/13/01)

”Chitwood said the men stayed in Greater Portland for at least one night.
(Portland Press Herald, 9/13/01)

Records show that Atta once had a driver's license in Egypt. 
The FBI in Miami also was looking for two cars. Florida Division of Motor Vehicle records show that one of them, a 1989 red Pontiac, was registered to Atta.” 
(Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/13/01)

Comment: Why then is Atta so active to rent cars? 

”The rented Nissan led police to Adnan Bukhari, who lived near Vero Beach Municipal Airport in Florida until two weeks ago.”
(London Times, 9/13/01)
(Edmonton Journal, 9/14/01)

September 14, 2001: 
Finally both names are revealed: 
“(Abdul !) Alomari and Mohamed Atta, both believed to be pilots, boarded a flight at the Portland International Jetport and then made a connection Boston for an American Airlines flight that was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center, investigators said.”
(AP, 9/14/01 e)

“police chief in Portland, Maine, Michael Chitwood, said two of the suspected hijackers spent the night before the attack at a Comfort Inn in South Portland, where a billboard now says, "God Bless America." He said the FBI believes the two were Atta and Abdulrahman Omari.
(London Times, 9/13/01)

But the regional press is still cautios: 
While they said in the header:
“Mohamed Atta and Abdulatif A. Al-Omari spent the night at the Comfort Inn in South Portland on Monday”. 
Later in the article it is:
“Atta, 33, whose name has been on a list of people associated with terrorist groups, checked into the Comfort Inn on Monday night with another man.
(Portland Press Herald, 9/14/01)

Note already here the two different versions of Al Omari’s name!
But the Portland Press Herald coming quite close with “Abdulatif A Al-Omari” (a version a few other newspapers used as well) gives the following the info:
“Al-Omari's most recent address was Vero Beach, Fla., in a neighborhood called Treasure Trails.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/14/01)

Many thinks still remain unclear: 
“State officials said the men probably drove to Portland from Boston, where they had rented their car.”
(AP, 9/14/01 e)

“Investigators don't yet know exactly when Atta and Al-Omari arrived in Maine , but they know that someone, perhaps Atta, recently rented a blue Nissan Altima from Alamo Rent A Car in Boston, and that the two drove it to Portland.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/14/01)

Had Al Omari a girl friend in Portland? 
“The disclosure that a Portland woman may have had a relationship with one of the suspects in the attack on the World Trade Center raised new questions Friday about the city's role in the attacks.”
(AP, 9/14/01 e)

Roger Quirions witness account gets in the news: 
“On Friday, the suspects aboard US Airways Flight 5930 were described as clean-cut and aloof by one of the passengers.
"They were very serious. They didn't make eye contact with other people. They were almost attached to the hip, even in the terminal while waiting to board," said Tammy Quirion of Winslow, whose husband was on the plane.
Her husband, Roger Quirion, was on the flight with fellow state worker Brian Guerette of Oakland and described the suspects to her. Neither could be reached immediately for comment on Friday because they were driving back from California, where they were stranded.
The two state workers nearly ended up on American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the World Trade Center, but that flight was too expensive. Instead, they flew to California on a Delta flight, Tammy Quirion said.”
(AP, 9/14/01 e)

September 15, 2001: 
“FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz, reached in Boston, would not confirm Friday night that two of the terrorists traveled on US Airways Flight 5930.” 
(Portland Press Herald, 9/15/01)

September 16, 2001: 
The story becomes more definite: 
“Investigators believe Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari spent Monday night at the Comfort Inn in South Portland, arriving there in a rental car.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/16/01 b)

The story about Al Omari having a girl friend changes: 
“Among the investigative leads in Portland is one involving a man who claimed to be a member of a hated terrorist organization before he disappeared a month ago.
A local woman has told police she was romantically involved with the man, who has not been identified. She said he claimed to be from Turkey, routinely flashed large sums of money despite having no steady job, and kept a gun under his pillow.
The woman, who has not been identified, said she met the man at Maine Mall in South Portland, where he briefly worked selling beads.
"I'm absolutely not allowed to make any comment whatsoever," said Jerre Bryant, general manager of the Maine Mall, when asked if he had been questioned by investigators.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/16/01 b)

Comment: I would assume that the FBI showed the woman a photo of Al Omari. And if on Friday she was convinced that her love had the body of Al Omari how come then that two days later it’s simply an unknown but very suspicious person? 

September 18, 2001: 
Problem with a name: 
Portland Press Herald uses “Abdulatif A. Al-Omari” (Portland Press Herald, 9/18/01 b) while in another article using “Abdulaziz” (Portland Press Herald, 9/18/01)

New doubts if Atta drove alone: 
“The two men who flew out of Portland had to go out of their way. Atta rented a Nissan Altima from an Alamo rental agency in Boston and drove here. It is unclear whether Atta met Alomari in Maine or if the two traveled here together.
(Portland Press Herald, 9/18/01)

Comment: Apparently Atta rented the car alone. So this implies that there is no way of knowing if Al Omari didn’t already stay in Portland. This seems plausible as he might have had a girl friend and was seen several times in Portland. 

September 20, 2001: 
Now Atta and Al Omari have no connection to Portland: 
“"As far as we know, neither man had any connection with this city, or Greater Portland or the state of Maine other than arriving here to catch a flight."
Chitwood and other investigators arrived at that conclusion belatedly, as they initially received local tips that a man believed to be Alomari may have spent time in Portland before the attack. Authorities later decided there was no evidence to support that idea.
(Portland Press Herald, 9/20/01)

Comment: And all the eyewitnesses? 

And later even the news of Al Omari possibly having an affair with a local women is now only “a rumour”!
(Newsday, 11/18/01)


New Jersey driver licence: “The two men apparently were using New Jersey driver licenses but little else was known about them, (Gov. Angus) King said.”
(AP, 9/12/01)

“Investigators believe the occupants of the car used New Jersey drivers' licenses to rent it from an Alamo rental center, state officials said.”
(Portland Press Herald, 9/13/01)

”Maine Gov. Angus King said the men were using New Jersey driver's licenses. But Col. Carson Dunbar, head of the New Jersey State Police, said that was not so.
"We have no known connection to New Jersey," Dunbar said.”
(The Record, 9/13/01)

“Kelly (commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety) said the FBI has names and, ‘They have drivers' licenses showing them out of New Jersey.’”
(Union Leader, 9/13/01)

The FBI has said it wants to talk to Alzeedi in connection with a matter "totally unrelated" to the hijackings. Alzeedi is a pilot who owns Zidi Aviation, a company with offices in Saudi Arabia and Morocco. In August, he was in Nashville, Tenn. to arrange for the purchase of two Tampico TB-9 airplanes. He told reporters that he flew one of the planes to Portland and left it at Northeast Airmotive Co. to be outfitted with an extra fuel tank. Alzeedi said he planned to bring both planes to Morocco.
(Newsday, 11/18/01)

Mark Goodwin, a spokesman for Northeast, said the plane arrived about a week before the Sept. 11 attacks and that the company routinely outfits small planes going overseas with auxiliary tanks. He said the work is done in accordance with FAA regulations. Goodwin said this was the first time the company had been asked to do work by Alzeedi. He declined to say whether the company had done business with other Middle Eastern companies.
(Newsday, 11/18/01)

Portland in the news again: 
On Nov. 7, Portland was in the news once more. In a crackdown on financial networks suspected of funneling money to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida organization, federal agents raided the offices of two companies with offices in the United States - Al Barakaat, a money-wiring company based in Somalia, and Al Taqwa, a money-management company with offices in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the Bahamas and Italy.
The government targeted offices in Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle and Columbus, Ohio. The government froze the assets of 11 people and groups alleged to have ties to the two companies and arrested a principal of Al Barakaat, Mohamed M. Hussein, who runs the company with his brother, Liban.
Court papers say that in March 2000 Liban Hussein opened an account for Al Barakaat at Key Bank in Portland and applied for approval to wire up to $50,000 from Key Bank to the company's account at Emirates Bank International Ltd. in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. According to the court papers, $974,000 was transferred to the bank in UAE between March 17, 2000 and Aug. 1 of this year. 
The tradition of sending money to family members in Africa and the Middle East is common practice among immigrants. Al Barakaat's executives vehemently have denied that the company has ties to terrorists.
"This is all lies," the company's chairman Ahmed Nur Ali Jim'ale said in an interview with the Associated Press. "I was really upset. We have a lot of enemies who would say anything."
Citing customer confidentiality, Therese Meyers, a spokeswoman for Key Bank, declined comment on the Al Barakaat account.
(Newsday, 11/18/01)

Why all this contradictions and unanswered questions? Maybe the local police is wondering as well!
“And while the FBI will not discuss its activities — even with local police, in many cases”.
(Portland Press Herald, 10/14/01)

“That angers Chitwood, who has been outspoken in his criticism of the FBI for not keeping him informed.”
(Newsday, 11/18/01)

As shown in "Meet the four unknown hijackers" the FBI was looking in the first days after 911 not for Abdulaziz Al Omari but for Abdul Rahman Al Omari. This already is strange enough but how can it be explained that several witnesses in Portland came up after 911 and said that they had seen Al Omari in the city? We have to assume that the FBI showed a photo of Abdulrahman when looking for witnesses.

How can it be explained that people saw Abdul Rahman? 
He had already left the US before 911.

Seven months before he hijacked a U.S. jetliner and flew it into the World Trade Center, Mohamed Atta and two associates tried to get jobs with Lufthansa Airlines that would have granted them access to secure areas of the busy international airport in Frankfurt, Germany, according to a new book.

The 33-year-old Egyptian national applied for a job with Lufthansa on Feb. 15, 2001, according to "Netzwerke des Terrors (Networks of Terror)," a book published last month by Juergen Roth, one of Germany's top investigative reporters.

By the time he sought work in Frankfurt, Atta had already been to the United States and attended flight training school in Florida. Weeks later he would move out of the apartment he shared with fellow suspected terrorists in Hamburg, Germany.

Atta did not know that Lufthansa's personnel division had access to law enforcement files that indicated he had once been under investigation for petty drug crimes and falsifying phone cards while a student at the Technical University at Hamburg-Harburg in 1995, the book reports, citing federal law enforcement sources. 

Atta didn't get the job. Neither did an Iranian citizen who dropped Atta's name while applying for the job three days later, not realizing an internal decision had already been made rejecting Atta. Nor did a third applicant who showed up on March 5, 2001, with Atta at his side. The three, according to the book, were members of an Islamic study group at the university in Hamburg. One of the two told Lufthansa's personnel division that he had been a pilot in the Pakistani air force, according to the book.

Lufthansa's U.S. spokesman Tom Tripp yesterday said he couldn't confirm or deny the report. 

(Newsday, 1/24/02)

Best guess about Atta in Portland is that he used it as a switch point, swapping with someone else who took over his identity. Portland is a good choice because it's so close to the Canadian border. One of the Attas could have been over the border before the 9/11 attacks were even done.

Below are the pictures of Hani Hanjour going through the Washington airport, released by the Associated Press around July 2004. Accounts of him and what can be seen in his head and chest shots shows a man who's thin and wispy. Yet this person going through the airport seems pretty bulky to me.

Hanjour is supposed to be the guy at the bottom in the dark shirt. Maybe they're the same person, maybe not.