According ?Staff Statement No. 1 - Entry of the 9/11 Hijackers into
the United States? by the The National Commission on Terrorist
Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 Commission),
none of the 9/11 attackers entered or tried to enter the United States
illegally through land borders.
?As we know from the sizable illegal traffic across our land borders,
a terrorist could attempt to bypass legal procedures and enter the
United States surreptitiously. None of the 9/11 attackers entered or
tried to enter our country this way. So today we will focus on the
hijackers? exploitation of legal entry systems."
Some relevant excerpts:
?Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, the chief tactical planner and coordinator of
the 9/11 attacks, was indicted in 1996 by Federal authorities in the
Southern District of New York for his role in earlier terrorist plots.
Yet, KSM, as he is known, obtained a visa to visit the United States
on July 23, 2001, about six weeks before the 9/11 attacks.?
?Beginning in 1997, the 19 hijackers submitted 24 applications and
received 23 visas. The pilots acquired most of theirs in the year
2000. The other hijackers, with two exceptions, obtained their s
between the fall of 2000 and June 2001. Two of the visas were issued
in Berlin, and two were issued in the United Arab Emirates. The rest
were issued in Saudi Arabia. One of the pilots, Hani Hanjour, had an
application denied in September 2000
for lack of adequate documentation. He then produced more evidence in
support of his student visa application, and it was approved. Except
for Hanjour, all the hijackers sought tourist visas.?
The 19 hijackers entered the United States a total of 33 times. They
arrived through ten different airports, though more than half came in
through Miami, JFK, or Newark. A visitor with a tourist visa was
usually admitted for a stay of six months. All but two of the
hijackers were admitted for such stays. Hanjour had a student visa and
was admitted for a stay of two years, and Suqami sought and was
admitted for a stay of 20 days. The four pilots passed through INS and
Customs inspections a total of 17 times before
9/11. Hanjour came to the United States to attend school in three
stints during the 1990s. His final arrival was in December 2000,
through the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport. The other three
pilots, Atta, al Shehhi, and Jarrah, initially came in May and June
2000. They arrived for the last time between May and August 2001. All
made a number of trips abroad during their extended stays in the
United States. Of the other 15, only Mihdhar entered the United
States, left, and returned. Nawaf al Hazmi arrived in January 2000
with Mihdhar and stayed. Al Mihdhar left in June 2000
and returned to the United States on July 4, 2001. Ten of the others
came in pairs between April and June 2001. Three more arrived through
Miami on May 28.
?Of the five hijackers who entered the United States more than once,
three of them violated immigration law.
Ziad Jarrah entered in June 2000 on a tourist visa and then promptly
enrolled in flight school for six months. He never filed an
application to change his immigration status from tourist to student.
Had the INS known he was out of status, they could have denied him
entry on any of the three subsequent occasions he departed and
returned while he was a student.
Marwan al Shehhi came in through Newark in late May 2000, followed a
week later by Mohamed Atta. Both were admitted as tourists and soon
entered flight school in Florida. In September they did file
applications to change their status. Before 9/11, regulations allowed
tourists to change their status at any time, so they were in
compliance. But both overstayed their periods of admission and
completed flight school to obtain commercial pilot licenses. Atta and
al Shehhi then left within a few days of one another and returned
within a few days of one another in January 2001, while their change
in visa status from tourist to student was still pending.
Atta and al Shehhi did get some attention when both said they were
coming back to finish flight school. Primary inspectors noticed with
each that their story clashed with their attempt to reenter on tourist
visas. The rules required them to get proper student visas while they
had been overseas, since their earlier pending applications for a
change of status were considered abandoned once they left the United
States. Atta and al Shehhi were each referred by the primary
inspectors to secondary inspection.?
?Flight 93 hijacker Saeed al Ghamdi was referred to secondary
immigration inspection when he arrived in late June 2001. He had no
address on his I-94 form.?
Entry of the 9/11 Hijackers into the United States
Staff Statement No. 1
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States
Download this document here:
The 9-11 Commission has released its final report, available below in PDF format.
For additional details read Chapter 7 - The Attack Looms
Hijackers terrorists 9/11 entered the United States
I hope the information provided is helpful!