The 9/11 Problem That Was Not Fixed
Twenty years later, it appears they are still there.
Had you driven through a certain intersection on Leesburg Pike in Falls Church, Virginia, yesterday or today, you would have seen a group of men -- some standing, some sitting, but all waiting in the shade, apparently hoping someone would drive up and hire them to do some work.
Twenty years ago, two Saudi nationals, Hani Hanjour and Khalid Almihdhar, drove up to that very location looking for someone to help them do something illegal.
What happened then was described in a "Statement of Facts" that the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia presented in federal court in the case of the United States of America v. Luis A. Martinez-Flores.
"At all times material to this case, the defendant was a citizen and national of El Salvador living in the United States unlawfully," the statement said.
"On or about the evening of August 1, 2001, the defendant was seeking day labor from passersby in a parking lot at a 7-11 store in Falls Church, Virginia," it said.
"On that same date, Hanjour and Almihdhar drove a van with out-of-state license plates into the same parking lot while the defendant was there," it said. "Once in the lot, Hanjour and Almihdhar told the day laborers who approached their van that they needed someone to certify that they were Virginia residents on a DMV form."
Not everyone there was ready to cooperate.
"When the first two laborers who approached Hanjour and Almihdhar refused to help the men, the defendant came forward and agreed to help Hanjour and Almihdhar in return for a cash payment of $100," the statement said.
At that time, a person could get an identification from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles even if they did not produce a document that demonstrated they did, in fact, live in Virginia. Instead, they could get a third party to swear to a document called a DL51, which certified that they did live at a Virginia address.