Former University of Wisconsin lecturer Kevin Barrett said Thursday he will travel to Morocco in an attempt to find and interview a man accused of hijacking an airplane and flying it into the World Trade Center.
Barrett, widely known and criticized for his 9/11 conspiracy theory, announced at the state Capitol that he will head to Casablanca this Sunday and try to locate Saudi Arabian pilot Waleed al-Shehri.
The 9/11 Commission has said al-Shehri stabbed two unarmed flight attendants and crashed a plane into the World Trace Center five and a half years ago. According to Barrett, al-Shehri is alive and working in Morocco as a pilot.
"Since our government won't do its job and investigate what really happened on 9/11, I, as a U.S. citizen, will fly to Morocco and try to find out what's going on," said Barrett, who taught an introductory-level Islam course at UW in fall 2006.
According to a 2001 BBC report, a week after 9/11, al-Shehri visited the U.S. embassy in Morocco to claim his innocence and admitted the photos and the biography of the suicide hijacker were indeed his.
"Indications are that he was hired by the CIA to play a role and be a patsy for 9/11," Barrett said.
He intends to bring al-Shehri back to the U.S. or at least interview him and try to find out his true involvement with 9/11.
Despite criticism, Barrett said he is still hopeful he will prove his conspiracy theory and al-Shehri will come to the U.S. to testify in his favor.
Barrett is publicly associated with Scholars for 9/11 Truth, a private organization that believes the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were an inside U.S. military job.
"I hope that in 10 years I'll be offered a chair in conspiracy theory studies at the University of Wisconsin," Barrett said. "But for now I'm just an unemployed Ph.D."
Barrett said he has applied for a position as a lecturer in UW's English department teaching a 300-level course about The Canterbury Tales. He said he has all the qualifications necessary for the job and is hopeful UW will rehire him for fall 2007.
"The class has nothing to do with Islam and there is no way I would be able to mention any theories," Barrett added.
However, university officials said they have not received Barrett's application.
English department chair Michael Bernard-Donals denied any knowledge regarding the matter, adding he would be the person to know if Barrett had indeed applied.
UW Assistant Director of State Relations Don Nelson confirmed Bernard-Donals' account and added UW "currently has no intention to hire Kevin Barrett."
During the Thursday morning press conference, Barrett challenged Rep. Stephen Nass, R-Whitewater, to a debate regarding 9/11, but the representative was out of the office for the day.
"Barrett's action today proves again why he should not be employed by any university in this state," said Mike Mikalsen, a spokesperson for Nass. "He is only looking for media coverage."
The lecturer also presented Nass with two 9/11 conspiracy books and said he hopes the official accepts his offer to debate or "apologizes and admits he was wrong about 9/11."
"I was hoping [Nass] would show up, but once again he refused to meet me face-to-face," Barrett said.