ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Accused Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui expressed kinship with Usama bin Laden in court filings unsealed Monday and said the government's case against him is based on unproven speculation that bin Laden was the mastermind of the attacks.
In a handwritten motion filed last week, Moussaoui called bin Laden "my brother in Islam and my Father in Jihad" and declared, "May Allah protect him." He said both his court-appointed lawyers and U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema have endorsed the government theory that the attacks were a bin Laden operation.
"They, the government, the appointed lawyers, and Leonie Brinkema DJ are trying to deceive me [and everybody else] by turning a speculation, an assumption, an hypothesis into a proof or theory, namely that Sept. 11 is an Usama bin Laden operation," Moussaoui wrote. The DJ reference was shorthand for district judge.
Moussaoui suggested that if such speculation is accepted as fact, the government would only have to prove he was in Afghanistan, which he already has admitted, to ensure his conviction.
The motion was one of a dozen by Moussaoui that were unsealed Monday. Prosecutors responded to several of his pleadings, including one in which he claimed the government watched the 19 hijackers before Sept. 11 and facilitated their movements in and out of the country.
"The U.S. government did not facilitate the movement of any of the 19 hijackers," Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Spencer said in response to Moussaoui's claim. "The U.S. government did not have any of the 19 under surveillance while they were in the U.S."
Prosecutors said any information U.S. intelligence agencies had about the hijackers before Sept. 11 had been provided on a classified basis to Moussaoui's court-appointed lawyers.
Moussaoui, who is acting as his own attorney, has maintained the government knows he had nothing to do with the attacks because federal officials had him under surveillance since his residence in London was raided by British authorities several years ago.
During his arraignment last week on charges of conspiring to help the 19 hijackers and bin Laden's terrorist network plot the September attacks, Moussaoui asked Brinkema to require FBI Director Robert Mueller to certify under threat of perjury that Moussaoui was not being watched by U.S. officials before his arrest last August.
Prosecutors said Moussaoui is not entitled to such a certification. Spencer said, however, the U.S. government did not conduct any physical or electronic surveillance of Moussaoui before his arrest and knows of no such surveillance by any foreign government.
The government said it had no objection to Moussaoui's request for an independent examination of his belongings that were seized during his Aug. 16, 2001, arrest to determine if any electronic surveillance devices had been planted in them.
In the motion describing the government's case as speculation, Moussaoui said prosecutors must prove that bin Laden ordered and organized the 19 hijackers and that he participated in the conspiracy.
"So I am a Mujahadeen, if Allah accept me, I am a terrorist in your eyes [as terrorism is like beauty, it is in the eyes of the beholder.]" Moussaoui wrote. "But it does not mean that I took part in Sept. 11. And the FBI knows it as they were monitoring all my movement and communications for quite a long time in the U.S. and abroad."