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The Pilot of One of the Hijacked 9/11 Airliners Was In Custody, but Released At President Reagan's Or President Clinton's -Fiction!




bulletSummary of eRumor:
The email says that in 1986, a pilot named Atta was captured and imprisoned in Israel for blowing up a bus.  As a part of the famous Oslo Accords, Israel was to release "political prisoners," but was reluctant to let any prisoners go free who had "blood on their hands."  One version says it was at the insistence of President Ragan and Secretary of State George Shultz, Atta was freed.  Another says it was insisted upon by Bill Clinton and Warren Christopher.
bulletThe Truth:
According to several news sources, including the Boston Globe, which was among those that originally published the story, this turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.  An article from 9/19/01 says that Second Circuit Court of Appeals records showed that the man arrested in connection with the bus attack in Israel used an alias that was the same as the name of the hijacker, Mahmoud Atta.  Even that suspect, however, was not in custody so where the story about Reagan the Oslo accords came from, we don't know.  The Oslo accords were signed in 1993 and Ronald Reagan left office in 1989.  Additionally, we've not been able to find any provisions in the Oslo accords as described.  There were provisions for the release of a large number Palestinian prisoners.

The original version of the eRumor included the Reagan connection.  Someone along the way decided to pin the blame on Bill Clinton and a new, revised version started circulating with his and Warren Christopher's names inserted.
Some examples of the story as it has been circulated:

Example #1:

Subject: A Useful historical lesson

A terrorist pilot, named Atta blew up a bus in Israel in 1986. The Israelis soon captured, tried and imprisoned him. As part of the Oslo agreement Israel had to agree to release so called "political prisoners". However, the Israelis would not release any prisoners with "blood on their hands". So a well meaning American President and his Secretary of State insisted that they all be released. Thus Mr. Atta was freed and eventually thanked us-the USA-by flying an AMERICAN airplane into tower one of the world trade center.

This was reported by many of the networks at the time the terrorists were first identified, but it was missing (deleted) from later reports. This "kindly" president was Ronald Reagan and George Schultz was the Secretary of State.

Partisan poltics aside, the importance of this lesson, differentiating between "political prisoners,"--activists for another cause, and "terrorist"--those with the blood of the innocents on their hands, SHOULD NOT BE FORGOTTEN. We have paid dearly in learning this lesson and hopefully we will not repeat the mistake.

Example #2

      Terrorist pilot Mohammad Atta blew up a bus in Israel in 1986.  The
Israelis captured, tried and imprisoned him. 
      As part of the Oslo agreement with the Palestinians in 1993, Israel
had to agree to release so-called "political prisoners."  However, the
Israelis would not release any with "blood on their hands." 
      The American President at the time, Bill Clinton, and his Secretary
of State, Warren Christopher, "insisted" that all prisoners be released.
      Thus Mr. Atta was freed and eventually "thanked the US" by flying an
airplane into Tower One of the World Trade Center.  
      This was reported by many of the American TV networks at the time
that the terrorists were first identified. 
      It was censored in the US from all later reports. 
      The American public must be made aware of this fact. 


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