June 07, 2002

MOHAMMED ATTA sought a government loan to buy a spray-equipped airplane and get started in the "crop dusting business" according to this report.

She said she rejected Atta for a loan because he was not a U.S. citizen. Before he left, Atta tried to buy a panoramic photograph of Washington, D.C., that hung on her office wall. He pointed specifically to the White House and Pentagon and called the photo "one of the prettiest" he had ever seen of the capital. . . .

"His look on his face became very bitter at that point," Bryant said. "I believe he said, 'How would America like it if another country destroyed that city and some of the monuments in it' like the cities in his country had been destroyed?"

She also remembers Atta mentioning al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden, saying bin Laden "would someday be known as the world's greatest leader."

The good news is, these guys (who were presumably among Al Qaeda's finest) weren't exactly slick about maintaining their cover. The next guys will have to be a lot slicker. I hope.

This also makes me wonder about Al Qaeda's resources. A government loan? Either Al Qaeda didn't have the money, or they weren't allocating a whole lot to this mission. Both seem like interesting bits of information.

Or perhaps they simply thought it poetic to let American taxpayers subsidize an attack.

UPDATE: Reader Phil Fraering has this interesting observation:

Just wondering, but you reported he said something along
the lines of "how would Americans feel if their cities
and monuments had been destroyed, like the ones in my
country were?"

I thought he was from _Egypt_?

Hmm. Interesting point.