Atta's Odyssey

How a shy, well-educated young Egyptian became a suspected ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks. The mystery begins to unfold in Germany

Before we get to his dislikes and disorders, his vexations as a child and his entanglements as an adult, let's poke inside Mohamed Atta's brain the night before he helped slaughter 7,000 people. "You have to remind yourself to listen and obey that night, for you will face situations that will require your obedience 100 percent," reads a letter found in Atta's luggage and in the belongings of two other hijackers. Atta would be happy to know that his evil was steadfast.

Though investigators are still excavating the hidden trails that led to Sept. 11, many point to Atta as the...

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