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Police Stopped Two Hijackers In Days Leading Up To Attacks

By Manuel Roig-Franzia and Patricia Davis
THE WASHINGTON POST -- One of the hijackers aboard the plane that crashed into the Pentagon was stopped for speeding within a few miles of the military headquarters six weeks before the attack, police confirmed Tuesday.

Hani Hanjour, who is believed to have piloted the hijacked plane into the Pentagon, was ticketed Aug. 1 for driving 55 mph in a 30 mph zone in the 1800 block of South George Mason Drive, Arlington, Va., police said.

The revelation came on the same day that Maryland State Police released a videotape of a trooper pulling over another of the hijackers, Ziad Samir Jarrah, in Maryland two days before the attacks.

Hanjour, Jarrah and five other hijackers fraudulently obtained Virginia identification cards, federal officials say.

Hanjour was driving a beige Chrysler van with New Jersey license plates when Arlington police pulled him over at 3:19 p.m. Hanjour presented a Florida driver’s license that indicated that he lived in Miramar, Fla., though other records show he had a New York address.

“If (the officer) has a crystal ball and he could look forward into time, it would have been a good catch,” said Detective Jim Page, an Arlington police spokesman.

Three weeks after the stop, Hanjour mailed in a money order to pay a $70 fine and $30 in court costs, Arlington General District Court Clerk Kimberly Reazey said Tuesday.

More is known about Jarrah’s traffic stop because it was videotaped by a camera mounted in a Maryland state trooper’s patrol car. Jarrah’s voice cannot be heard nor can his face be seen on the eight-minute videotape.

The tape began with the shimmering glow of the headlights on Jarrah’s rented red 2001 Mitsubishi Gallant as he pulled to the side of Interstate 95 at 12:05 a.m. on Sept. 9 in Cecil County.

A country music crooner could be heard on the patrol car’s stereo as Trooper Joseph Catalano called a dispatcher with the car’s New Jersey license plate: LJE87L. Seconds later, Catalano came into the frame, striding up to the idling car, swinging a flashlight. Passing trucks rumble as Catalano, a trooper for three years, opened the passenger side door, asked, “How are you doing?” and requested Jarrah’s driver’s license.

A copy of Jarrah’s speeding ticket shows that his driver’s license stated that he lived in Springfield, Va., in the 6600 block of Quicksilver Drive. The ticket was found after the attacks in the glove compartment of his car at Newark International Airport, State Police Superintendent David Mitchell said. The ticket and the videotape were released after a public records request by The Washington Post and other media organizations.