October 13, 2001 The FBI has traced and cleared the only woman to surface as a subject of investigation into the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
The 21-year-old American college student, identified in Spanish newspapers as 'Julie B.,' checked into the Hotel Casablanca in the Spanish resort of Salou July 16, minutes after Mohammed Atta checked in.
In a telephone interview, 'B' told CNN that she had been on vacation in Spain last summer, traveling with a friend, and happened to check into that hotel.
Spanish police have showed a photograph of a dark-haired woman to hotel keepers and others in Salou. 'B' confirmed to CNN that the photograph matches her description.
Nine days ago, FBI agents arrived on the campus of the East Coast school she attends looking for her. After questioning her, FBI agents told her she had been cleared of any involvement.
However, authorities in Spain are continuing to search for two men who also arrived at the hotel at the same time.
American investigators, confirmed by Spanish authorities, say Atta made two trips to Spain this year, the first in January for one week, and the second in July.
He arrived in Madrid July 8 from Miami via Zurich, Switzerland, traveling under his own name, and police are still trying to trace his movements. They know he rented a car at Madrid airport, and returned it with 1,181 miles on it.
Police in Spain are also investigating a visit Atta made to a provincial jail in Tarragona on the weekend of July 14-15. He arrived with another man, now a fugitive, to see Jague Cristiane Homaren, an Algerian accused of attempted murder after a knife fight the week of July 2. Homaren also has a record for document forgery.
Because he had not applied a week in advance for permission to visit the prisoner, Atta was not allowed to see him.
However, the clothes he had taken to the prison were given to Homaren.
Atta sat for 20 minutes in a waiting room watched by prison guards, while the second man went to see Homaren.
Published: October 3, 2001 Mr. Atta checked into the Casablanca, a whitewashed three-star hotel, and his three associates checked in over the next 15 minutes. Hotel employees said one of the three was a woman. All appeared to be of Arab descent. They were all asked to pay $50 cash for rooms in advance, a common practice of hotels in the area that fear poor Arab and African immigrants will leave in the morning without paying.
The police keep asking about three people apart from Atta, said Antonio Banyeras, the owner of a place where Mr. Atta stayed on July 17. They have two photos they asked us to look at. One of the pictures was of Atta. The other was of a man with a mustache and a beard who was heavier. They carried a list of four names, including that of Atta. All the names were Arab.
Spanish officials are investigating whether the two men Mr. Atta met in Salou, a beachfront town with strips of inexpensive hotels, were Waleed M. Alshehri and Wail M. Al-Shahri, who are suspected of being hijackers who perished on the plane that plowed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, Spanish officials in Catalonia said. The two men, along with the woman, carried American passports that may have been forged, these officials said.