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Maryland police release hijacker traffic stop video

Ziad S. Jarrah was stopped for speeding shortly after midnight September 9.
Ziad S. Jarrah was stopped for speeding shortly after midnight September 9.  

PIKESVILLE, Maryland (CNN) -- Maryland State Police released a videotape Tuesday of a traffic stop involving hijacker Ziad S. Jarrah two days before the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The state trooper's dashboard-mounted camera did not capture any images of Jarrah, one of the hijackers aboard United Airlines Flight 93. But the officer was wearing a wireless microphone, and the audio track captured the driver giving simple "yes" and "no" answers to the trooper's questions.

Trooper 1st Class Joseph Catalano stopped Jarrah for speeding on northbound Interstate 95 shortly after midnight on September 9. The policeman can be seen approaching the car, obtaining the driver's license and registration, and returning to the patrol car for a radio check of the credentials.

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The trooper is then seen returning to the driver's car, and is heard explaining the citation as he obtains a signature on the ticket.

Maryland State Police Col. David B. Mitchell said that Catalano recorded Jarrah driving 90 mph in a 65 mph zone -- a $270 fine -- on a rural section of Interstate 95 in Cecil County, near the Delaware state line. Catalano reported that he looked over the car both times he approached it, and saw "nothing evident that gave any hint of what Jarrah was about to be involved in," Mitchell said.

Jarrah's Virginia driver's license gave his address as 6601 Quicksilver Drive in Springfield, and he can be heard verifying that address to Catalano on the tape.

Registration showed that the red 2001 Mitsubishi Gallant Jarrah drove that night was owned by Garden State Car Rental at Newark, New Jersey International Airport. The car was found at the airport after the September 11 hijackings, and the citation written by Catalano was still in the glove box.

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley has said local law enforcement officials should have been told by the FBI that Jarrah was on a CIA watch list. The FBI disputes his criticism, which came during O'Malley's testimony at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last fall.

O'Malley repeated his criticism during remarks at a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington.

Ziad Jarrah
Ziad Jarrah  

Mike Clemens, assistant special agent in charge of the Maryland-Delaware FBI office, said Tuesday that Jarrah was "not on the radar screen" on September 9 and a watch list was not available at that time.

Mitchell said the traffic stop was handled professionally, and he saw no reason to change state police procedure because of the incident.

Catalano said the incident was "a regular, routine traffic stop, no different from any other traffic stop."

Flight 93, the last of the four hijacked planes, crashed in rural Pennsylvania. Authorities have said they believe several passengers and flight crew members, alerted via cell phones conversations about the fates of the other three planes, rebelled against the hijackers.

A month after the hijackings, U.S. authorities discovered a letter written by Jarrah to his girlfriend in Germany and postmarked September 10. In the letter -- which was mistakenly addressed and returned to the United States, where authorities found it -- Jarrah told his girlfriend he had done his duty.

"I have done what I had to do," he wrote. "You should be very proud, it is an honor, and you will see the result, and everyone will be happy."




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