Fri, Mar 10, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Plotter dreamed of flying into White House


An artist's rendition of Zacarias Moussaoui, center, his lawyer, right, and his mother, left, during Moussaoui's sentencing trial on Wednesday. It also shows a videotape of Moussaoui, serving as his own lawyer, in the lower right hand corner of the screen, cross-examining former Jemaah Islamiyah treasurer Fauzi Bafana.


Prosecutors seeking the death penalty for Zacarias Moussaoui played a videotaped statement on Wednesday in which a member of an Islamic radical group testified that Moussaoui visited him in Malaysia in 2000 and said he had a dream to fly an airplane into the White House.

In the videotape, Fauzi Bafana, the former treasurer of the al-Qaeda linked Jemaah Islamiyah group said that Moussaoui, who introduced himself as John and stayed at Bafana's home in Kuala Lumpur, also asked for materials to make explosives and help in arranging flight training.

Prosecutors are presenting evidence in the sentencing trial of Moussaoui, 37, who is the only person to be charged in a US court with involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Moussaoui has pleaded guilty to charges that expose him to the death penalty, so the sole issue before the jury is whether he should be sentenced to death or to life in prison.

Moussaoui did not participate in the attacks, having been arrested three weeks earlier on immigration violations in Minnesota, where he was taking flight lessons. Prosecutors say he should die because he was part of al-Qaeda's plans to fly planes into buildings. They have said his concealment of such plans contributed to the nearly 3,000 deaths on Sept. 11.

The videotaped deposition was taken in 2002. Bafana had been arrested in Singapore in November 2001 for plotting to blow up US military facilities there. He said Moussaoui visited him in 2000 and came with references that he had been sent by Osama bin Laden.

Bafana said that in a conversation one night in the bedroom he had offered to his guest, John told him of a dream he had to fly an airplane into the White House as part of his jihad and that he believed it was necessary to kill Americans to improve life for Muslims.

The account of Moussaoui's travels in Malaysia has been described in previous documents. But the videotape shown on Wednesday provided a vivid portrayal for the jury of Moussaoui's activities and political views before the Sept. 11 attacks from something other than government reports.

The most compelling part of the testimony, however, was something that Moussaoui has freely acknowledged and has even used in his defense. He has said in court that he was indeed training and hoping to fly a plane into the White House on some as-yet-unformed plan, but that he was not involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.

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