Agent Faults FBI on 9/11:
"The man who caught Zacarias Moussaoui testifies that higher-ups blocked his efforts to determine whether there was a larger plot.
by Richard A. Serrano
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia - The FBI agent who arrested Zacarias Moussaoui weeks before Sept. 11 told a federal jury Monday that his own superiors were guilty of 'criminal negligence and obstruction' for blocking his attempts to learn whether the terrorist was part of a larger cell about to hijack planes in the United States.
During intense cross-examination, Special Agent Harry Samit — a witness for the prosecution — accused his bosses of acting only to protect their positions within the FBI.
His testimony appeared to undermine the prosecution's case for the death penalty. Prosecutors argue that had Moussaoui cooperated by identifying some of the 19 hijackers, the FBI could have alerted airport security and kept them off the planes.
Moussaoui is the only person to have been convicted in the United States on charges stemming from Sept. 11. His sentencing trial began several weeks ago, but the prosecution's case was nearly gutted when it was learned that a lawyer for the Transportation Security Administration had improperly coached key aviation security witnesses. U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema decided to allow the government to present a limited amount of aviation testimony and evidence.