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Profile: Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash

 
  

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Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash actively participated in the following events:

 
  

January 6-9, 2000: Malaysia Provides CIA with Information on al-Qaeda Summit and Attendees      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Hazel Evergreen, located on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is the condominium complex where the terror summit was held.
At the CIA's request, the Malaysian Secret Service is monitoring an important al-Qaeda summit (see January 5-8, 2000) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and begins passing what it knows to the CIA even before the meeting is over. Media accounts are consistent that the operatives at the meeting are photographed and even videotaped, but there is no wiretapping or other recording of their conversations. [Newsweek, 6/2/02; Ottawa Citizen, 9/17/01; Observer, 10/7/01; CNN, 3/14/02; New Yorker, 1/14/02; Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 10/29/03; Stern, 8/13/03] However, Malaysian officials are not informed what to look for, and focus more on monitoring the local Malaysian and Indonesian hosts who serve as drivers than the visitors attending the meeting. [Associated Press, 9/20/02] Authorities find out what hotel Khalid Almihdhar is staying at and he and his associates are photographed there [Newsweek, 9/20/01; Observer, 10/7/01] , as well as coming and going from the condo where the meeting is held. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] On January 6, the CIA office in Malaysia begins passing details of the meeting to the CIA Counter Terrorism Center (CTC). Cofer Black, head of the CTC, orders that he be continually informed about the meeting, and CIA Director Tenet is frequently informed as well. [Stern, 8/13/03] National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, FBI Director Louis Freeh, and other top officials are briefed, but apparently President Clinton is not. [Bamford, 2004, pp 225-26] On January 7, Khalid Almihdhar and others go shopping, giving Malaysian security ample opportunity to collect information about them. They spend hours at Internet cafes, and after they leave, Malaysian intelligence searches the hard drives of the computers they used. [Australian, 12/24/02; Stern, 8/13/03] The video footage is apparently sent to US intelligence one month later (see February 2000). However, no photos or video and few details from any of this surveillance have been publicly released. It is known that some photos show Khallad bin Attash with Almihdhar, some show Fahad al-Quso next to Almihdhar, and that some photos are of Ramzi bin al-Shibh. By January 9, all the data and footage the Malaysians have collected are in the hands of the CIA. [Stern, 8/13/03; Newsweek, 9/20/01]
People and organizations involved: Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash, Fahad al-Quso, Central Intelligence Agency, Malaysian Secret Service, Louis J. Freeh, al-Qaeda, George Tenet, William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Cofer Black, Khalid Almihdhar, Sandy Berger
          

January 8-15, 2000: CIA Fails to Apprehend Hijackers in Thailand      Complete 911 Timeline

       Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar stay in Thailand. Khallad bin Attash, who flew there with them, is met in Bangkok by two al-Qaeda operatives who give him money. Some of this money is reportedly passed on to Alhazmi and Almihdhar for their upcoming work in the US. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] The CIA is trying to find Almihdhar, since they now know his full name and the fact that he has just come from an important al-Qaeda meeting (see January 5-8, 2000). For six weeks, they look for him in Thailand. However, the search is unsuccessful, because, as one official puts it, “when they arrived we were unable to mobilize what we needed to mobilize.” The CIA only alerts Thailand-based CIA officers to look for these men hours after they had already arrived and disappeared into the city. However, a few days later a CIA official notifies superiors that surveillance of the men is continuing, even though the men's location is Unknown. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] Nevertheless, in February, the CIA rejects a request from foreign authorities to give assistance. The CIA gives up the search in early March when an unnamed foreign government tells the CIA that Nawaf Alhazmi has already flown to the US. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency, Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash
          

January 4, 2001: FBI, CIA Miss Connection Between USS Cole Bomber and Hijackers      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Khallad bin Attash.
The FBI's investigation into the USS Cole bombing (see October 12, 2000) reveals that al-Qaeda operative Khallad bin Attash was a principal planner of the bombing [Associated Press, 9/21/02 (B)] , and that two other participants in the bombing delivered money to bin Attash at the time of the January 2000 al-Qaeda meeting (see January 5-8, 2000) in Malaysia. The FBI shares this information with the CIA. Based on a description of bin Attash from an informant, CIA analysts reexamine pictures from the Malaysian meeting and identify bin Attash with both hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. CIA Director Tenet later testifies that the presence of bin Attash, a known, important al-Qaeda operative, gives the Malaysian meetings “greater significance.” [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] The CIA has already been informed that Alhazmi has entered the US in March 2000, yet once again they fail to watch list either Alhazmi or Almihdhar. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] CNN later notes that at this point the CIA, at the very least, “could have put Alhazmi and Almihdhar and all others who attended the meeting in Malaysia on a watch list to be kept out of this country. It was not done.” [CNN, 6/4/02] More incredibly, bin Attash is not placed on the watch list at this time, despite being labeled as the principal planner of the Cole bombing. (He is finally placed on the watch list in August 2001.) [Los Angeles Times, 9/22/02] CIA headquarters is told what these CIA analysts have learned, but it appears the FBI is not told. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, George Tenet, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Central Intelligence Agency, Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash
          

June 11, 2001: FBI and CIA Hold Shouting Match over Information on Al-Qaeda; CIA Still Withholds Information      Complete 911 Timeline

       A CIA analyst and FBI analyst travel to New York and meet with FBI officials at FBI headquarters about the USS Cole investigation. The CIA analyst has already shown photographs from the al-Qaeda Malaysia meeting (see January 5-8, 2000) attended by hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar to an FBI analyst, but failed to explain what he knows about them. The CIA analyst now shows the same photos to the additional FBI agents. He wants to know if they can identify anyone in the photos for a different case he is working on. “The FBI agents recognized the men from the Cole investigation, but when they asked the CIA what they knew about the men, they were told that they did not have clearance to share that information. It ended up in a shouting match.” [ABC News, 8/16/02] The CIA analyst later admits that at the time, he knows Almihdhar had a US visa, that Alhazmi had traveled to the US in March, that al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash had been recognized in one of the photos, and that Alhazmi was known to be an experienced operative. However, he does not tell any of this to any FBI agent. He does not let them keep copies of the photos either. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] He promises them more information later, but the FBI agents do not receive more information until after 9/11. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] Two days after this meeting, Almihdhar has no trouble getting a new, multiple reentry US visa. [US News and World Report, 12/12/01; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] CIA Director Tenet later claims, “Almihdhar was not who they were talking about in this meeting.” When Senator Carl Levin (D) reads the following to Tenet— “The CIA analyst who attended the New York meeting acknowledged to the joint inquiry staff that he had seen the information regarding Almihdhar's US visa and Alhazmi's travel to the United States but he stated that he would not share information outside of the CIA unless he had authority to do so.” —Tenet claims that he talked to the same analyst, who told him something completely different. [New York Times, 10/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Almihdhar, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nawaf Alhazmi, George Tenet, Carl Levin, Central Intelligence Agency, Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash
          

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