BOSTON – The man accused of trying to blow up an airliner with explosives in his shoes told FBI interrogators he was driven by anger over the treatment of Muslims in Israel, transcripts of the interrogations show.
Richard Reid, 29, a British citizen and convert to Islam, told investigators that he traveled in June 2001 to Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque, and was angered to see "Jews with guns" inside.
"His trip to Jerusalem further emboldened him to act against the west when he witnessed the many checkpoints and travel restrictions on Muslims," one interrogation transcript says.
Asked why he didn't choose to attack Israel, Reid told investigators, "America is the problem, without America there would be no Israel." He also said he was worried Palestinian groups would be too paranoid to trust him.
The disclosures were part of a motion filed in court Wednesday by prosecutors arguing they did not violate the law when they seized e-mail from Reid's Hotmail Internet account shortly after he was arrested Dec. 23.
Reid is charged with attempting to detonate explosives aboard American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami on Dec. 22. Crew members and passengers had subdued him, and the flight was diverted to Boston. His trial is set for Nov. 4.
In the interviews, Reid insisted he acted alone. When Reid was indicted in January, prosecutors said he was trained in Afghanistan by the Al Qaeda terrorist network.