"We were looking for symbols of economic might," he told his captors.Despite the fanatic methods used by these terrorists, they do have an agenda.
"We talked about hitting California as it was America's richest state, and [al Qaeda leader Osama] bin Laden had talked about economic targets." He is reported to have said that bin Laden, who like Mohammed had studied engineering, vetoed simultaneous coast-to-coast attacks, arguing that "it would be too difficult to synchronize." Mohammed then decided to conduct two waves of attacks, hitting the East Coast first and following up with a second series of attacks. "Osama had said the second wave should focus on the West Coast," he reportedly said. But the terrorists seem to have been surprised by the strength of the American reaction to the September 11 attacks. "Afterwards, we never got time to catch our breath, we were immediately on the run," Mohammed is quoted as saying. Al Qaeda's communications network was severely disrupted, he said. Operatives could no longer use satellite phones and had to rely on couriers, although they continued to use Internet chat rooms. "Before September 11, we could dispatch operatives with the expectation of follow-up contact, but after October 7 [when U.S. bombing started in Afghanistan], that changed 180 degrees. There was no longer a war room ... and operatives had more autonomy."They grossly underestimated the response from Bush and the United States.