Clever Conman in Canada

This story has flown under the radar of the mainstream news in the United States, but a U.S. citizen in custody in Canada claims to be a U.S. Naval intelligence offer who had foreknowledge of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The stories about this man claim that sometime in August he put his warning about a terrorist attack in writing in a sealed court document.

It turns out, though, that the document is not under seal and uses a pretty obvious technique to predict a terrorist attack — predict and predict often.

A JPEG of the man’s handwritten note can be found here. The man lists seven separate targets, including vague ones like “Water supplies” along with more specific targets like the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Sears Tower.

Given that a) both the Pentagon and World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been targeted by terrorist before September 11, and b) that the man would likely spend several years in detention in Canada as extradition proceedings grind on, predicting those targets as well as “water supplies” or the “Royal Bank Toronto” is hardly proof that this man had any sort of inside knowledge.

Finally, note that this exhibit wasn’t entered into evidence until October 7, 2001. Until then it was apparently held in a supposedly sealed envelope held by someone at the jail where the man was being kept. Gee, there are only about a couple hundred ways to pull the “sealed envelope” trick on an unsuspecting mark.

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