FBI Agent Tells Of Vast
Probe Into 911 Attacks
By Adam Tanner

HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Before carrying out their plot to hijack four passenger planes, the Sept. 11 pilots diligently wired back surplus money they no longer needed, an FBI agent told a court Tuesday.
FBI special agent Matthew Walsh, 33, gave a broad overview of the U.S. investigation into last year's attack during his testimony at the trial in Hamburg of Mounir El Motassadeq, the first suspected Sept. 11 conspirator to stand trial.
Walsh told how a stewardess on the first flight headed for the World Trade Center in New York called in details of the hijack shortly before the crash, the first of four that killed a total of about 3,000 people.
"On the telephone she said she saw these people stabbing a passenger as well as other flight crew," he said. "The passenger in 10B had stabbed the passenger in front of him. She thought the passenger was already dead."
"I believe he had his throat cut," he said. "She also stated it was very hard to breathe, so we assume that mace or another gas was used."
The ringleader of the attacks, Mohamed Atta and two other pilots lived in the northern German port city of Hamburg during the 1990s. Moroccan student Motassadeq is charged with serving as the paymaster of the al Qaeda cell based in Hamburg which is accused of masterminding the attacks.
Walsh told the court that the suspected pilot of the second plane into the World Trade Center, Marwan Al Shehhi, received more than $10,000 in cash transfers from Ramzi Bin Al-Shaibah, an ex-Hamburg resident who is suspected of playing a major role in the plot and is now in U.S. custody.
Another man in the United Arab Emirates transferred about $110,000 to an account in Florida that several of the hijackers used, the FBI agent said.
In the end, the plotters apparently had funds left over. "In the days leading up to September 11 it seems that the hijackers were returning the money they no longer needed," Walsh said.
UAE authorities have previously said three hijackers sent $15,000 back before the 2001 attack.
The FBI contacted every flight school in the United States as part of its biggest investigation ever and researched all of the passengers on the plane to seek common links, Walsh said.
"On the whole all the hijackers as students were reserved and kept to themselves, rarely spoke to anyone else including teachers," he said. "They were not widely known, at least these four, as being good pilots."
"After Atta and Al Shehhi had gotten their licenses for propeller planes, they went to a simulation center where they practiced flying large jet aircraft," Walsh said. "Instructors who taught those sessions said they were only interested in turns and approaches."
The plotters also went on several flights in preparation.
"They took several trips across country from New York, Boston and Washington out to California. On all these trips they used the same type of aircraft that was used on September 11," Walsh said.
During the testimony, Motassadeq mostly listened quietly, taking notes from time to time.
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