Did Richard Reid Let Mom Know?

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Not Alone: Prosecutors say Reid had allies

Two days before he boarded United Airlines Flight 63 last December 22, accused Al-Qaeda shoe-bomber Richard Reid wrote what federal prosecutors say was a farewell email to his mother. "What I am doing is part of the ongoing war between Islam and disbelief, (and as such a duty upon me as a Muslim)," reads one part of the letter , excerpts of which were disclosed in a brief filed in federal court earlier today by Justice Department prosecutors in Boston. Prosecutors say that Reid wrote, "The reason for me sending you [a "will"] is so that you can see that I didn't do this act out of ignorance nor did I do just because I want to die, but rather because I see it as a duty upon me to help remove the oppressive American forces from the Muslim land and that this is the only way for us to do so as we do not have other means to fight them."

Reid's email squares with what prosecutors say he told FBI agents who arrested him on Dec. 22. According to the brief, Reid said he "decided to choose an American target after the United States began bombing the Taliban in Afghanistan. He further claimed to have chosen to attack an airplane because he believed an airplane attack, especially during the holiday season, would cause the American public to lose confidence in airline security and stop traveling, leading to a substantial loss of revenue, which would, in turn hurt the American economy."

The prosecution brief confirms news reports that investigators are convinced, based on the forensic evidence found by the FBI lab, that Reid had Al-Qaeda confederates. "A human hair was found within the internal components of the explosive device, and a palm print was found on the paper used to make the detonator which was located in the device," the brief says. "Forensic comparisons have ruled Reid out as the source of either the hair or the palm print."

Moreover, the brief says, (again, confirming earlier news reports) that Reid spent thousands of dollars on travel even though had no visible source of funds. The brief says:

"Reid?s British passport reveals, consistent with Reid?s own post-arrest statements, that starting on July 12, 2001, he traveled from Belgium to Israel, to Egypt, to Turkey, and finally to Pakistan, before leaving that country for an unknown destination on August 14, 2001. His passport also indicates a second trip to Pakistan on November 20, 2001, with an exit from that country on December 5, 2001. Airline records disclose that he flew from Karachi to Belgium. On December 18, 2001, Reid purchased a round trip airline ticket on Flight 63 with the cash equivalent of $1,800 (U.S.). Despite the amount of money necessary to fund such travels, Reid had no known source of income during the summer of 2001, or before."

The Justice Department brief was filed in response to a motion filed by Reid's lawyers objecting to constraints on his contacts with his defense team. The prosecutors argued that Reid's communications must be carefully monitored by the government because he "is a committed loyalist who attempted to commit mass murder as part of a terrorist campaign against this nation — a campaign which deploys techniques of stealth and secrecy, including codes and 'hidden messages'."