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Michael Tuohey was a ticket agent in Portland Maine on 9-11. The crux of his account:
Then his eyes locked on Atta.
“It just sent chills through you. You see his picture in the paper (now). You see more life in that picture than there is in flesh and blood,” Tuohey said.
Then Tuohey went through an internal debate that still haunts him.
“I said to myself, `If this guy doesn’t look like an Arab terrorist, then nothing does.’ Then I gave myself a mental slap, because in this day and age, it’s not nice to say things like this,” he said. “You’ve checked in hundreds of Arabs and Hindus and Sikhs, and you’ve never done that. I felt kind of embarrassed.”
It wasn’t just Atta’s demeanor that caught Tuohey’s attention.
“When I looked at their tickets, they had first-class, one-way tickets — $2,500 tickets. Very unusual,” he said. “I guess they’re not coming back. Maybe this is the end of their trip.”