background image
pilot's license. Several more months of training yielded him a commercial pilot
certificate, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in April 1999.
He then returned to Saudi Arabia.
Hanjour reportedly applied to the civil aviation school in Jeddah after
returning home, but was rejected. He stayed home for a while and then told
his family he was going to the United Arab Emirates to work for an airline.
Where Hanjour actually traveled during this time period is unknown. It is pos-
sible he went to the training camps in Afghanistan.
The fact that Hanjour spent so much time in Arizona may be significant.A
number of important al Qaeda figures attended the University of Arizona in
Tucson or lived in Tucson in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Some of Hanjour's
known Arizona associates from the time of his flight training in the late 1990s
have also raised suspicion.
FBI investigators have speculated that al Qaeda may
have directed other extremist Muslims in the Phoenix area to enroll in avia-
tion training. It is clear that when Hanjour lived in Arizona in the 1990s, he
associated with several individuals holding extremist beliefs who have been the
subject of counterterrorism investigations. Some of them trained with Han-
jour to be pilots. Others had apparent connections to al Qaeda, including train-
ing in Afghanistan.
By the spring of 2000, Hanjour was back in Afghanistan.According to KSM,
Hanjour was sent to him in Karachi for inclusion in the plot after Hanjour was
identified in al Qaeda's al Faruq camp as a trained pilot, on the basis of back-
ground information he had provided. Hanjour had been at a camp in
Afghanistan for a few weeks when Bin Ladin or Atef apparently realized that
he was a trained pilot; he was told to report to KSM, who then trained Han-
jour for a few days in the use of code words.
On June 20, Hanjour returned home to Saudi Arabia. He obtained a U.S.
student visa on September 25 and told his family he was returning to his job
in the UAE. Hanjour did go to the UAE, but to meet facilitator Ali Abdul
Aziz Ali.
Ali opened a bank account in Dubai for Hanjour and providing the initial
funds for his trip. On December 8, Hanjour traveled to San Diego. His supposed
destination was an English as a second language program in Oakland, Califor-
nia, which he had scheduled before leaving Saudi Arabia but never attended.
Instead, as mentioned earlier, he joined Nawaf al Hazmi in San Diego.
Hazmi and Hanjour left San Diego almost immediately and drove to Ari-
zona. Settling in Mesa, Hanjour began refresher training at his old school,Ari-
zona Aviation. He wanted to train on multi-engine planes, but had difficulties
because his English was not good enough.The instructor advised him to dis-
continue but Hanjour said he could not go home without completing the
training. In early 2001, he started training on a Boeing 737 simulator at Pan
Am International Flight Academy in Mesa.An instructor there found his work
well below standard and discouraged him from continuing.Again, Hanjour per-
Final 5-7.5pp 7/17/04 11:46 AM Page 226