Moussaoui Says Fifth 9/11 Plane Planned for White House

Zacarias Moussaoui dropped a bombshell in open court today:

Zacarias Moussaoui testified in Federal District Court here today that he knew of Al Qaeda’s plans to fly jetliners into the World Trade Center and that he was to have piloted an airliner into the White House on Sept. 11, 2001. Taking the stand before the jury that will determine whether he is put to death or spends the rest of his life in prison, Mr. Moussaoui related in calm, measured language that he was to have been accompanied on his death-dive into the White House by Richard C. Reid, the so-called shoe bomber, among others.


Asked whether he was to have been the fifth hijacker on the jet that crashed in southwestern Pennsylvania, Mr. Moussaoui told his lawyer, “No, I was not.” The three other jets hijacked on Sept. 11 were each seized by crews of five hijackers, while the one that went down in Pennsylvania was taken over by only four hijackers, who faced a rebellion by the doomed passengers. “I was supposed to pilot a plane to hit the White House,” Mr. Moussaoui said. He added that “one definite member” of his hijacking crew was to have been Mr. Reid.

One suspects this will not make the jury sympathetic to his cause. Of course, President Bush isn’t all that popular in Fairfax County right now. . . .

And Mr. Moussaoui disputed the suggestion by the chief federal prosecutor, Robert G. Spencer, that he was “a big shot in Al Qaeda,” as Mr. Spencer put it in his cross-examination. “Intermediate,” Mr. Moussaoui described himself.

This defense is on par with “I shot the sheriff, but I didn’t shoot the deputy.”

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. flydiveski says:

    “I shot the sherriff” is a much better defense. Clear case of self-defense. Frankly, I think this guy is disturbed. Probably got let in early, then cut off when Atta realized what a nut-case he was. Too nutty for a kamikaze, now that’s nutty!