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(CNN) -- Convicted al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui had no idea they were coming when federal marshals showed up in the middle of the night to take him to the nation's highest-security federal prison to begin serving his life sentence Saturday.
It was Friday night, shortly before midnight, when federal marshals showed up without notice at Moussaoui's holding cell in Alexandria, Virginia, said a U.S. Marshals Service official who requested anonymity because he is not a spokesman.
"Get on your feet," Moussaoui was told before being shackled and whisked away in his green jumpsuit to a small jet waiting for him at a suburban Virginia airport, the official said.
Moussaoui was the only prisoner aboard the Joint Prisoner Air Transportation System plane, which holds 10-12 people, the official said.