Aircraft Guaranty “owned” a plane (N11ZD) discovered sitting unattended at the Portland Airport on September 11, 2001. It had been left there by Khalid Alzeedi, a shadowy Saudi who owned Zidi Aviation, who was wanted for questioning by the FBI.
FBI agents have been looking into whether associates of Osama bin Laden may traveled to Middle Tennessee this past summer in search of aircraft that could be used for training pilots, NewsChannel 5 has learned.
The name of one man who spent some time here has made it onto an official list of some 370 possible suspects.
That list was inadvertently released by Finnish banking authorities, who say they received it from American investigators as part of the effort to track down the terrorists' finances.
The list, which includes the names of the now infamous Mohammed Atta and other hijackers, also includes the name of Khalid Alzeedi (also known as Khalid Al-Zeedi and Khaleed Al-Zedi).
Alzeedi's address is listed as 200 Airport Road, Building 5 in Clarksville.
Airport workers told NewsChannel 5 investigative reporter Phil Williams that Alzeedi and four other Middle Eastern men visited there back in August looking to buy planes.
Their main interest: used single-engine Tampico aircraft, a type of aircraft commonly used to train pilots.
Alzeedi identified himself as the owner of Zidi Aviation, a Saudi Arabian company. A prototype web page developed for the company lists "pilot training" among its services and shows the cockpit of commercial jetliners. Zidi was also an authorized distributor of high-tech flight simulation equipment produced by a Boeing subsidiary.
According to FAA records, Alzeedi ended up buying two Tampicos that had been listed on the Internet... aircraft that he told service workers he planned to fly to Morocco in North Africa to train pilots.
FBI agents visited the Clarksville airport after the Sept. 11th attacks and questioned people about Alzeedi's activities.
In addition, NewsChannel 5 has learned that Alzeedi may have had contact with two local FBI agents back in August at the Hilton Suites, just across from Nashville's arena. Alzeedi and his party kept three rooms there for about a month while they waited on the aircraft.
Alzeedi listed Room 412 as his room.
“One night, Alzeedi was inside Eddie George's Grill at the Hilton Suites, just across from Nashville's arena,” Mosely reported in the evening newscast.
“Someone apparently stepped on his foot. Hotel workers say Alzeedi then identified himself as an Iranian diplomat, and demanded that the hotel compensate him.”
“(Later) the hotel locked Alzeedi and his party out of their rooms because of an unpaid bill of approximately $2,500. Inside the rooms, hotel workers found satellite navigation equipment and wet suits.”
By Ann S. Kim, The Associated Press This story was published on Oct. 19, 2001 on Page B1 in all editions of the Bangor Daily News PORTLAND – A small plane flown to Portland International Jetport before the Sept. 11 attacks is owned by a Saudi pilot sought by the FBI’s terrorism investigation, and was placed under surveillance after the attacks, authorities said Thursday.
The single-engine Tampico TB-9 in Portland is one of two purchased in August in Tennessee by Khaled Alzeedi, owner of an aviation company based in Saudi Arabia. The FBI wants to question Alzeedi in connection with its terrorism investigation, but has said Alzeedi is not suspected of any connection to the Sept. 11 attacks.
A London-based Arabic-language newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat, reported Tuesday that it had interviewed Alzeedi by telephone from Morocco, and that Alzeedi expressed amazement at the investigation, saying he had already answered investigators’ questions.
According to the newspaper, Alzeedi said he left the plane in Portland for installation of extra fuel tanks, and that the Sept. 11 attacks disrupted his plan to return to pick up the plane. Alzeedi said he planned to bring both planes to Morocco, the newspaper reported.
Portland airport officials learned several days after the terrorist attacks that an airplane at the general aviation terminal was under FBI surveillance.
“We received information several days after Sept. 11 that the FBI was watching this airplane and if anyone called on the airplane or was seen accessing it, that the FBI was to be immediately notified,” Jeff Monroe, the city’s transportation director, said Thursday.
Security at the Portland International Jetport has been increased since Sept. 11, when two suspected terrorists took a flight to Boston and boarded American Airlines Flight 11, the first jet to crash into the World Trade Center.
The FBI and officials from the airport’s general aviation terminal did not immediately return calls seeking comment Thursday. The Federal Aviation Administration referred calls to the FBI.
Portland Police Chief Michael Chitwood said the FBI never alerted his department about the plane, but he said his detectives later learned about it from the federal government.
“Once again, it’s a case of information not being shared,” said Chitwood, who has criticized the FBI in the past for its unwillingness to share details of its investigation with local police.
A stop in Maine wouldn’t be unusual for a pilot planning to cross the Atlantic, according to Rick Voorhis, president of Van Nuys Flight Center in California. The Northeast is also a common place to get an extra fuel tank before a trans-Atlantic trip, Voorhis said.