Waleed al-Shehri arrives early
The FBI and other agencies have provided detaied timelines for most of the hijackers, showing when they applied for visas, received them, and first entered the US. However a number of 9/11 researchers have questioned these accounts, pointing to press and other reports that place some hijackers in the country at an earlier date. Waleed al-Shehri, for instance, isn't supposed to be in the US until 2001, however here's what CooperativeResearch say about apparent sightings in 1999 or even earlier:
This sounds definitive enough, although the site concedes the possibility of error later when they write "A man named Waleed Alshehri lived with a man named Ahmed Alghamdi in Virginia and Florida between 1997 and 2000. However, it is not clear whether they were the hijackers or just people with the same name (see 1999)". So are these the same people?
One reason to doubt that these are the hijackers comes from their reported ages. Ahmed al-Ghamdi applied for a US visa with a birth date of 2nd July 1979, for example, while Waleed al-Shehri's visa application gives a birth date of 20th December 1978 (Source). This would put them in the house from around the age of 17 or 18, which seems a little young. It's still possible as students, perhaps, but then further accounts place al-Shehri in the country even earlier:
If this is the same al-Shehri, and the 20th December 1978 birth date is correct, then that's claiming he got a social security number and a Florida driver's licence when he was 15/ 16. Which seems unlikely. Note also that while one account says Ahmed al-Ghamdi lived with al-Sheri, this one says it was Saeed al-Ghamdi, clear evidence of confusion and a good reason not to take these reports as literally true.
As it happens, though, the identification of Waleed al-Shehri as attending Embry-Riddle tells us this is not the same individual as the hijacker. There is a Saudi pilot called Waleed Ahmed al-Shehri, son of a Saudi diplomat Ahmed al-Shehri, but the FBI-named hijacker was Waleed Mohammed al-Shehri, son of Mohammed al-Shehri, and not a pilot at all. Read more on the differences here.
You don't have to take our word for it, of course. As we write, searching for Waleed al-Shehri at Intelius.com] brings up the following:
There's a Waleed al-Shehri who lived in both Vienna and Daytona Beach, then, but he's Waleed Ahmed al-Shehri. And he's 33 as we write (10th July 2007), which would put his birth date around 1974, making him around 20 when he first got a driver's licence: that's a better fit than Waleed Mohammed al-Shehri's 1979 date.
Another report offers an extra detail:
Looks like it's his diplomat father listed as the relative, more confirmation that Waleed Ahmed al-Shehri the pilot is not the same person as Waleed Mohammed al-Shehri the 9/11 hijacker, and so the accounts of an al-Shehri living at this address don't in themselves show that the hijacker arrived earlier than the FBI have claimed.