The legal battle of alleged Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui has
taken a turn into the world of tech, as the case focuses on a missing
Hotmail e-mail account that Moussaoui claims will back up his alibi for
taking flying lessons in Minnesota, according to a report by the
Moussaoui, representing himself in the case, had requested that the
government turn over all records related to his Hotmail.com e-mail address.
Unfortunately for Moussaoui’s case, his Hotmail address,
[email protected], is nowhere to be found, according to the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which supplied U.S. District Judge Leonie M.
Brinkema with a certificate from Microsoft attesting to the fact that the
account does not exist.
The only problem? Microsoft’s recent policy of deleting a Hotmail account
after 30 days of inactivity and freeing the address for others to use after
But Judge Brinkema was dubious that the FBI had not been able to track
Moussaoui’s e-mail trail, given the seriousness of the investigation. The
judge ordered the bureau to explain why it had no records of Moussaoui’s
On Wednesday, Brinkema wrote: “Given the intense law enforcement attention
focused on Mr. Moussaoui after September 11, 2001, we do not understand why
an immediate and thorough investigation into the defendant’s e-mail and
computer activities did not lead investigators to the [email protected]
account, if it existed.”
The judge proceeded to grant Moussaoui’s request for an independent forensic
computer expert, who will seek the information independently.
In addition, Brinkema demanded the prosecutors provide an affidavit from the
FBI, “explaining how and when, if at all, the FBI examined the contents of
the defendant’s computers,” the Washington Post reported.
“The affidavit must indicate why investigators were unable to retrieve any
information from MSN Hotmail and/or any other computers or accounts
searched, and must make clear whether any efforts were made to obtain
forensic expert services of any other government agencies such as the CIA or
NSA to assist in retrieving the information.”