Unraveling 9-11 Was in the Bags

Luggage that didn't get put on hijacked jet provided information about terrorists, say former investigators.


Flagg and the former prosecutor, however, said it was the second bag that identified all 19 hijackers.

"That was the one that became the Rosetta stone," Flagg said.

Tracking the hijackers

Luggage left at Portland airport enabled investigators to quickly identify the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers, including leader Mohamed Atta and conspirator Abdulaziz Alomari.

1. Atta and Alomari check out of a Comfort Inn in Portland, Maine at 5:33 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001.

2. 5:45 a.m.: They drive to Portland airport, arriving at about 5:45 a.m., for a scheduled flight to Boston.

3. They board a 6 a.m. commuter flight from Portland to Boston's Logan Airport.

4. Atta and Alomari board American Airlines Flight 11, for an 8 a.m. flight from Boston to Los Angeles.

5. Atta, Alomari and others hijack Flight 11 at 8:14 a.m.; they crash it into the World Trade Center's North Tower at 8:46 a.m.

6. Atta's luggage fails to make it onto Flight 11. The bag, left at Portland, contains evidence that helps investigators identify the hijackers.

About the reporter

Michael Dorman, an Opinion editor for Newsday who covered the civil rights movement for the paper in the 1960s, is also the author of 17 books, including "The Secret Service Story" and "The George Wallace Myth."

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