Niaz Khan

What Are Your Feelings About Niaz Khan?

We speculate about the identities of the hijackers, whether or not there were any, whether or not they were affiliated with any alphabet agencies, and whether or not they were somehow duped into boarding those planes.

What about Niaz Khan? He was supposedly trained in Pakistan, using a "mock cockpit" of a 767 (something you wouldn't expect to find in a cave, or a "terrorist hideout"), to fly, and hijack planes.

April 2000: Would-Be Hijacker Tells FBI About Plot to Fly Plane into US Building


Niaz Khan. [Source: NBC via Banded Artists Productions]

Niaz Khan, a British citizen originally from Pakistan, is recruited into an al-Qaeda plot. In early 2000 he is flown to Lahore, Pakistan, and then trains in a compound there for a week with others on how to hijack passenger airplanes. He trains on a mock cockpit of a 767 aircraft (an airplane type used on 9/11). He is taught hijacking techniques, including how to smuggle guns and other weapons through airport security and how to get into a cockpit. In April 2000 he flies to the US and told to meet with a contact. He says, “They said I would live there for a while and meet some other people and we would hijack a plane from JFK and fly it into a building.” [London Times, 5/9/2004] He has “no doubt” this is the 9/11 plot. However, Khan slips away and gambles away the money given to him by al-Qaeda. Afraid he would be killed for betraying al-Qaeda, he turns himself in to the FBI. For three weeks, FBI counterterrorism agents in Newark, New Jersey interview him. [MSNBC, 6/3/2004; Observer, 6/6/2004] One FBI agent recalls, “We were incredulous. Flying a plane into a building sounded crazy but we polygraphed him and he passed.” [London Times, 5/9/2004] A former FBI official says the FBI agents believed Khan and aggressively tried to follow every lead in the case, but word came from FBI headquarters saying, “Return him to London and forget about it.” He is returned to Britain and handed over to British authorities. However, the British only interview him for about two hours, and then release him. He is surprised that authorities never ask for his help in identifying where he was trained in Pakistan, even after 9/11. [MSNBC, 6/3/2004] His case will be mentioned in the 2002 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report, but the plot apparently will be mistakenly described as an attempt to hijack a plane and fly it to Afghanistan. [US Congress, 9/18/2002]

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