Report: Suspect's E-Mail to Flight School

Feb. 8, 2002 -- In an e-mail to a Minnesota flight school, terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui wrote that "my 'Goal' my dream," would be to "pilot one of these Big Bird," a newspaper reported today.

Moussaoui, who investigators believe was meant to be the 20th hijacker on Sept. 11, wrote on May 23 to the Pan Am International Flight Academy in suburban Minneapolis seeking flight lessons. A copy of the e-mail was obtained by The New York Times.

"I need to know if you can help to achieve my 'Goal,' my dream," he writes in broken English. Moussaoui acknowledges that his qualifications for training "could be better," but says he is "sure that you can do something."

"After all," he writes, "we are in AMERICA, and everything is possible."

Moussaoui arrived at the flight school in mid-August, and soon raised the suspicions of flight school employees. He paid in cash, peppered instructors with questions about protocols for communicating with flight towers, and was determined to learn fast how to fly a large jetliner.

"The cash, the Middle Eastern accent, the fact that he had very little pilot training and wanted a significant amount of training in ground school and on the simulator — all of these things together pointed to the fact that this was a significant concern," John Rosengren, director of operations for the company's training center, told the Times.

In his initial message, Moussaoui says he is interested in learning to fly one of the "big airliners," and goes on to list several models that he is considering. "It will depend on the cost and which is easiest to learn," he writes.

"The level I would like to achieve is to be able to takeoff and land, to handle communication with [air traffic controllers], to be able to successfully navigate from A to B (JFK to Heathrow for example)."

The school alerted federal authorities to their suspicions and, on Aug. 15 the FBI arrested Moussaoui on visa violation charges.

Moussaoui, 33, is charged with conspiracy in the Sept. 11 attacks. His trial is scheduled to begin in October.