In April 1998, Zacarias Moussaoui received extensive training at an al Qaeda terrorist camp in Afghanistan. In September 2000, Moussaoui, then an al Qaeda trained operative, inquired about training at a flight school in Norman, Oklahoma via a Malaysian email account. A few months later, Moussaoui arrived in Chicago, effortlessly passed through United States customs after declaring $35,000 in cash, and proceeded to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he attended flight-school classes. In August 2001, Moussaoui paid almost $9,000 for flight simulator training on a Boeing 747 at Pan Am Flight School in Eagan, Minnesota. Typical qualifications for flight training on a Boeing 747 flight simulator include a FAA Airline Transport Pilot rating or the foreign equivalent, employment by a commercial airline, and several thousand flight hours; Moussaoui had none. After Moussaoui’s behavior at flight school raised a veteran airline pilot and flight instructor’s suspicions, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) field office in Minneapolis initiated an intelligence investigation on August 15, 2001, which eventually led to Moussaoui’s arrest for immigration violations the next day. Twenty-five days later, on the morning of September 11, 2001, al Qaeda members hijacked four passenger commercial airplanes and crashed them into various targets, including the World Trade Center Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing thousands of innocent men, women, and children.
During those twenty-five days preceding the attacks, FBI agents with knowledge of Moussaoui’s potential terrorist connections and radical ideas attempted, but failed, to secure a warrant to search the contents of Moussaoui’s laptop. Experienced federal agents plead with their superiors to search Moussaoui’s laptop because they anticipated that it contained valuable information. Agents did not obtain the warrant, however, until the September 11th attacks provided additional incentives to search his laptop. A federal district judge eventually issued the search warrant, despite the fact that agents included no new information related to Moussaoui, other than the current terrorist attack on the United States. . . .