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Press Release

EDVA Commemorates the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA), announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will commemorate the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001 with events reflecting on that tragic day, the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, and EDVA’s role in the prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only individual to date to have ever been convicted in a U.S. court in connection with the 9/11 attacks.

“As we approach the somber 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we will never forget the nearly 3,000 innocent lives that were lost, the countless individuals who suffered injuries or have experienced devastating effects from the aftermath of the attacks, and the families of victims and survivors who continue to endure unimaginable pain arising from the horrific events that day,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Our Office continues to reflect on the tragic events of 9/11, which have shaped us as Americans, as public servants, and as individuals. In addition to the loved ones that our staff members, families, and friends lost in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania on 9/11, as the attack on the Pentagon took place within EDVA, these tragedies are deeply personal for our community. In our sadness we also find the resolve to stand together against terror, hatred, and fear. We join with our neighbors in remembering those whom we lost, thanking those who responded to save lives, and honoring those who gave their last full measure of devotion following the attacks to protect and defend our country.”

EDVA’s history relating to 9/11 includes the prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui, who remains the only individual to date to have ever been convicted in a U.S. court in connection with the September 11, 2001 attacks. As he admitted in an EDVA courtroom, Moussaoui knew of al Qaeda’s plan to fly airplanes into prominent buildings in the United States and he agreed to travel to the United States as a member of al Qaeda to participate in the terrorist operation. Moussaoui was arrested weeks before 9/11 on immigration charges after he engaged in suspicious behavior at a flight training school in Minnesota. At the time of his arrest, Moussaoui was in possession of knives, fighting gloves, and shin guards, along with flight manuals for the Boeing 747-400, a hand-held aviation radio, and other items. Moussaoui provided a series of false statements to federal agents to conceal his involvement in the plot and ensure his al Qaeda “brothers” could go forward with the operation. Moussaoui was sentenced on May 4, 2006 to life in prison without parole.

EDVA’s 9/11 20th anniversary commemoration will include the following events:

  • On September 7, Acting U.S. Attorney Parekh will host a virtual fireside chat with Michael J. Morell, the former Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Mr. Morell served for 33 years in the CIA, worked for six different U.S. presidents, and is the only person who was both with President Bush on September 11, 2001 and with President Obama on May 1, 2011 when Osama bin Laden was brought to justice. Mr. Morell will discuss the period leading up to 9/11, share his eyewitness accounts on the day of the attacks, describe the U.S. Government’s response leading up to the Bin Laden operation, and reflect upon counterterrorism efforts since then and going forward.
  • On September 9, Acting U.S. Attorney Parekh will host a virtual panel discussion titled, “Behind the Scenes of the Moussaoui Prosecution,” featuring U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, who presided over the case; former Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Spencer, EDVA’s lead prosecutor on the case; and Edward MacMahon, Moussaoui’s lead defense attorney. The participants will share stories from both inside and outside the courtroom and reflect on the historic nature of the case in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
  • On September 10, EDVA will host an internal virtual remembrance program during which staff members district-wide will have the opportunity to voluntarily share their personal stories and recollections about 9/11, honor the memory of their loved ones, and describe the impact the tragedy had on their decision to enter or continue public service.
  • On September 11, a team from EDVA will participate in the annual Arlington Police, Fire, Sheriff and Emergency Communications Center (ECC) 9/11 Memorial 5K Race. Members from all four of EDVA’s Divisions will participate in either the in-person event in Arlington, Virginia or virtually from other locations. The event raises funds for charities that focus on the healing of military personnel and civilians directly affected by the 9/11 attacks.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Updated September 8, 2021

National Security