WASHINGTON -- The government kept hijacking ringleader Mohammed Atta's roommate from entering the United States on at least four occasions but didn't track his money transfers that led directly to the eventual hijackers, law enforcement officials say.
Ramzi Bin al-Shibh -- named in court papers as an unindicted hijacking co-conspirator and the focus of a worldwide manhunt -- intended to join the hijackers on their mission but shifted to providing logistical support when he couldn't get into the country, the officials said.
Officials said the Yemen citizen was refused a U.S. visa four times in 2000 because of suspicions he wouldn't leave America if he was let in.
FBI money tracking experts have reconstructed wire transfers he made from Germany and Yemen, some under an alias, that went to the eventual hijackers and to one of the flight schools where they trained, the officials told The Associated Press.
Two of those transfers went last summer to Zacarias Moussaoui, the man U.S. officials believe was chosen to replace Bin al-Shibh as a hijacker but who was foiled when he was arrested at a Minnesota flight school last August, officials said.
Moussaoui is the lone defendant charged with conspiring with Osama bin Laden, Bin al-Shibh and the hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against him.
Officials said Bin al-Shibh is now listed in the "tip-off" computer system that alerts the State Department and Immigration and Naturalization Service about foreigners who are believed to have ties to terrorist activities, countries and organizations.
But they added the CIA had no information before Sept. 11 linking him to terrorism.
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