FBI Investigates Possible Fla. Links
By Brendan Farrington, Associated Press Writer
Thursday September 13 10:41 PM ET
MIAMI (AP) - Three men spewed anti-American sentiments in a bar and talked of impending bloodshed the night before the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, a Daytona Beach strip club manager interviewed by the FBI (news - web sites) said Thursday.
``They were talking about what a bad place America is. They said 'Wait 'til tomorrow. America is going to see bloodshed,''' said John Kap, manager of the Pink Pony and Red Eyed Jack's Sports Bar. Kap said they made the claims to a bartender and a patron.
Federal agents were investigating on several fronts in Florida on Thursday after searching homes and rental car documents and poring over flight school student records across the state.
Kap said he told FBI investigators the men in his bar spent $200 to $300 apiece on lap dances and drinks, paying with credit cards. Kap said he gave the FBI credit card receipts, photocopied driver's licenses, a business card left by one man and a copy of the Quran that was left at the bar.
The FBI asked him not to reveal the men's names publicly, Kap said. He said they lived in three central Florida communities between Daytona Beach and Orlando.
While investigators pieced together evidence, two former Florida flight school students were identified by German authorities as terrorists aboard the two planes that smashed into the World Trade Center.
Hamburg investigators said Mohamed Atta, 33, and Marwan Alshehhi, 23, had studied at the Technical University in Hamburg and were from the United Arab Emirates. Both men received pilot training at Huffman Aviation, a flight school in Venice, Fla., where FBI investigators are examining student records.
FBI investigators learned that Atta and Alshehhi also took two three-hour courses at SimCenter Inc. in Opa-locka, said Brian George, son of flight school owner Henry George.
``We were completely stunned and shocked,'' Brian George said Thursday. ``My father said that if he didn't have a family to support he would stop teaching tomorrow. To think that someone would take what he taught them and turn it into a weapon.''
Both men trained on a Boeing 727 full-motion simulator, he said.
The Boston Globe reported on its Web site Thursday that it had obtained a copy of the complete manifest list of the two planes hijacked from Boston.
According to the manifest, Atta was assigned seat 8D in business class on American Airlines Flight 11, the Globe said. Seated next to Atta in seat 8G was Abdul Alomari. FBI investigators have searched Alomari's home in Vero Beach.
The Globe reported the passenger list for United Air Lines Flight 175 shows that a Marwan Alshehri got on the plane that left Boston and slammed into the World Trade Center in New York.
The FBI issued a bulletin for authorities to look out for a silver 1996 Chrysler Plymouth and its possible driver Amer Kamfar, a flight engineer who listed a Saudi Airlines post office box as his address in FAA (news - web sites) records and lived in Vero Beach, about 70 miles north of West Palm Beach.
Agents were questioning Saudi flight engineer Adnan Bukhari, 41, whom a county sheriff's official said was cooperating with FBI inquiries. Bukhari was a student at Flight Safety, which trains commercial jet crews.
FBI officials in Washington and Miami would not comment Thursday.
Agents searched four Vero Beach homes, including Bukhari's and the house next door, where another Flight Safety student, Abdulrahman Alomari, lived with his wife and four children.
An apparent relative of Bukhari, Ameer Bukhari, was a student pilot at Flight Safety Academy when he was killed in a mid-air collision exactly a year before Tuesday's attack.
Kamfar, 41, was listed as living at the same address as Alomari at different times. He previously was issued a driver's license in Venice, Calif.
Landlord Lonny Mixel said Thursday that Alomari arrived in July 2000 and told him he was a commercial pilot from Saudi Arabia and was in Vero Beach to attend Flight Safety Academy. Alomari said he would be out of the house by the end of August. Then he pushed the date back until Sept. 3 and moved out that day.
FBI agents were also interviewing three Saudi flight engineers who are taking classes at Flight Safety Academy, company spokesman Roger Ritchie said Thursday. He declined to identify the students.
The school does not have simulators for Boeing 767 and 757 aircraft such as the ones involved in Tuesday's attacks, Ritchie said.
Thomas Quinn, a New York-based spokesman for Saudi Arabian Airlines, said many of the airline's pilots came to the United States for flight training. Foreign students must be sponsored by an airline to attend Flight Safety.
FBI agents also sought information on a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, The News-Journal of Daytona Beach reported.
Citing two unidentified law enforcement sources, the newspaper reported that Waleed Al Shehri, 25, was listed as a passenger on the American Airlines flight that left Boston and crashed into the World Trade Center.
Al Shehri graduated from Embry-Riddle in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical science, the university's commercial pilot training degree, and is listed as having a commercial pilot's license.
German investigators believe Atta and Alshehhi belonged to a terror group formed ``with the aim of carrying out serious crimes together with other Islamic fundamentalist groups abroad, to attack the United States in a spectacular way through the destruction of symbolic buildings,'' chief federal prosecutor Kay Nehm told a press conference in Karlsruhe.
There was no immediate link to Osama bin Laden (news - web sites), but they did have links to other terror cells abroad, Nehm said.
© 2001 Associated Press
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.