...Mohammed Atta, supposed ringleader of the 9-11 hijackers, was a regular visitor to [Jack] Abramoff's Casino Ship.
This could be true, but the evidence isn't quite as definitive as some people would have you believe. Here are three reports used as support for this claim.
SunCruz Casinos has turned over photographs and other documents to FBI investigators after employees said they recognized some of the men suspected in the terrorist attacks as customers.
Michael Hlavsa, chairman of the gambling cruise company, said Wednesday two or three men linked to the Sept. 11 hijackings may have been customers on a ship that sailed from Madeira Beach on Florida's gulf coast.
TREASURE ISLAND -- Employees on a SunCruz gambling ship that sails from John's Pass think some of the hijackers in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were gambling on the ship the week before the attacks.
The FBI is investigating. SunCruz Casinos has turned over security videotapes and documents to FBI investigators.
Two or three men linked to the hijackings may have been customers on the SunCruz ship that is based at John's Pass, said Michael Hlavsa, chairman of the gambling cruise company.
The FBI has not confirmed the men's identities, and the cruise line is declining to identify the men being investigated. An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment.
Hlavsa said that in the days after the attack, cruise employees said they recognized some of the hijacking suspects as former customers.
One name on the passenger list from a Sept. 5 cruise is the same as one of the suspected terrorists' names, Hlavsa said. A cash advance was taken out on that passenger's credit card, he said.
"They acted just like normal guests of ours and they were courteous," he said. "There were no issues."
The ship's extensive security systems, which are in place to protect its gaming operations and customers, may help the FBI confirm the men's identifies, Hlavsa said.
The cruise line also is giving the FBI a videotape from a Port Canaveral ship of a former customer that a casino manager thinks resembles one of the terrorists.
SunCruz Casinos LLC has turned over to the FBI surveillance pictures and other records from two Florida gambling cruises on Sept. 5. In both cases, a company official said, there was a passenger who looked similar to one of the hijackers, and the name given by the passenger was either the same or similar to the hijacker's name.
No confirmation that it was Atta here, and in fact there's only one name that matches one of the hijackers (or maybe is just similar, according to the last story).
As for the claim of them being "regular" visitors, this seems to be down to the suspicion that maybe one of them had been on another cruise. Perhaps.
These reports provide the possibility that the ”Atta as regular visitor” claim is true, then, but they certainly don't prove it. It’s the same old lesson: don’t simply believe claims because they look definitive, check any references provided and find out if they’re really supported.