Skip to main content
Search
Services
LAW CENTER

Moussaoui ferried away in dead of night

Al Qaeda conspirator 'reluctantly compliant' to go to Supermax

From Terry Frieden
CNN

story.moussaoui.filer.jpg
Al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS

Zacarias Moussaoui
September 11 attacks

(CNN) -- Convicted al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui had no idea they were coming when federal marshals showed up in the middle of the night to take him to the nation's highest-security federal prison to begin serving his life sentence Saturday.

It was Friday night, shortly before midnight, when federal marshals showed up without notice at Moussaoui's holding cell in Alexandria, Virginia, said a U.S. Marshals Service official who requested anonymity because he is not a spokesman.

"Get on your feet," Moussaoui was told before being shackled and whisked away in his green jumpsuit to a small jet waiting for him at a suburban Virginia airport, the official said.

Moussaoui was the only prisoner aboard the Joint Prisoner Air Transportation System plane, which holds 10-12 people, the official said.

The flight arrived early Saturday in Florence, Colorado, home of the only federal "Supermax" prison, aka the "Alcatraz of the Rockies." (Watch this look at Supermax -- 1:37)

"He can best be described as reluctantly compliant," said the official, who is familiar with details of the prisoner transfer.

Moussaoui was given water and crackers on the three-and-a-half-hour flight, and remained mostly silent.

The plane landed in Colorado about 2 a.m. (4am ET), and Moussaoui was handed over to the Federal Bureau of Prisons shortly before 4 a.m. (6 a.m. ET).

The al Qaeda conspirator was ordered to change into a khaki prison uniform before being led to the cell where he is expected to spend the rest of his life.

The Supermax prison houses a veritable who's who of notorious criminals, including Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bombing accomplice Terry Nichols and Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

"It is a place of extraordinary security, 23 hours a day in cells, one hour of recreation," CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said earlier this month. "It is as close to permanent solitary confinement as exists in our prison system."

Moussaoui, a Frenchman of Moroccan descent, pleaded guilty more than a year ago to six counts of terrorism conspiracy connected to the September 11, 2001, attacks, but he was not charged with direct involvement in the plot.

The government sought to impose the death penalty, but a jury sentenced him instead to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Get up-to-the minute news from CNN
CNN.com gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
Top Stories
Get up-to-the minute news from CNN
CNN.com gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.

City:
Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines