The '20th hijacker' had been a suspect for years - but he was ignored by intelligence agencies

By Ian Burrell, Andrew Gumbel and Kim Sengupta

11 December 2001

Since 11 September, US officials have sought to minimise Mr Moussaoui's role. They are holding him as a material witness, but have yet to file charges – in part because he has refused to co-operate with their investigation. Some officials have also told US newspapers they do not believe he played more than a marginal part in the 11 September plot.The French, meanwhile, have leaked their own information to the media to play up the fact that they were on to Mr Moussaoui but that their warnings were ignored. French intelligence informed the Americans about his al-Qa'ida links on 1 September, and again in a bilateral meeting of intelligence agents in Paris on 5-6 September. According to an account of that meeting in Le Monde, US participants said Mr Moussaoui's case was in the hands of the immigration authorities and was not a matter for the FBI.

Click here: Independent News

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