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Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Broward Bulldog and the London Daily Telegraph on Feb. 18. We are re-posting it here after it was picked up today, March 12, by MSNBC and NBC News4 New York.

By Dan Christensen and Anthony Summers 

A Saudi man who triggered an FBI investigation after he and his family abruptly exited their Sarasota area home and left the country two weeks before 9/11 considered Osama bin Laden a “hero” and may have known some of the hijackers, an informant told the FBI in 2004.