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Profile: US Department of Justice

 
  

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US Department of Justice actively participated in the following events:

 
  

October 1998: Chicago FBI Investigation of al-Qaeda Funding Is Thwarted      Complete 911 Timeline

      
FBI agents John Vincent (left), and Robert Wright (right).
FBI agents Robert Wright and John Vincent, tracking a terrorist cell in Chicago, are told to simply follow suspects around town and file reports. The two agents believe some of the money used to finance the 1998 US embassy bombing in Africa leads back to Chicago and Saudi multimillionaire businessman Yassin al-Qadi. Supervisors try, but temporarily fail, to halt the investigation into al-Qadi's possible terrorist connections. However, at this time, a supervisor prohibits Wright and Vincent from making any arrests connected to the bombings, or opening new criminal investigations. Even though they believe their case is growing stronger, in January 2001, Wright is told that the Chicago case is being closed and that “it's just better to let sleeping dogs lie.” Wright tells ABC: “Those dogs weren't sleeping, they were training, they were getting ready. ... September the 11th is a direct result of the incompetence of the FBI's International Terrorism Unit. ... Absolutely no doubt about that.” Chicago federal prosecutor Mark Flessner, also working on the case, says there “were powers bigger than I was in the Justice Department and within the FBI that simply were not going to let [the building of a criminal case] happen.” Wright will write an internal FBI memo harshly criticizing their decisions regarding the case in June 2001. Al-Qadi is named in a March 2000 affidavit as a source of terrorist funds in Chicago. [ABC News, 12/19/02 (B); ABC News, 12/19/02; ABC News, 11/26/02] He is also on secret US and UN lists of major al-Qaeda financiers. His charity, the Muwafaq Foundation, is allegedly an al-Qaeda front that transferred $820,000 to the Palestinian group Hamas through a Muslim foundation called the Quranic Literacy Institute. (The date of the transfer has not been released.) [CNN, 10/15/01 (B)] Al-Qadi says he shut down Muwafaq in 1996, but the charity has received money from the United Nations since then. [BBC, 10/20/01; CNN, 10/15/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Yassin al-Qadi, Quranic Literacy Institute, Hamas, Muwafaq Foundation, International Terrorism Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mark Flessner, US Department of Justice, Robert Wright, al-Qaeda, John Vincent
          

Early December 1999: US Takes Action to Stop al-Qaeda Millennium Bombing Plot      Complete 911 Timeline

       The CIA learns from the Jordanian government about an al-Qaeda millennium bombing plot. Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke is told of this, and he implements a plan to neutralize the threat. [Clarke, 2004, pp 205, 211] The plan, approved by President Clinton, focuses on harassing and disrupting al-Qaeda members throughout the world. The FBI is put on heightened alert, counterterrorism teams are dispatched overseas, a formal ultimatum is given to the Taliban to keep al-Qaeda under control, and friendly intelligence agencies are asked to help. There are Cabinet-level meetings nearly every day dealing with terrorism [Associated Press, 6/28/02; Washington Post, 4/20/00] All US embassies, military bases, police departments, and other agencies are given a warning to be on the lookout for signs of an al-Qaeda millennium attack. One alert border agent responds by arresting terrorist Ahmed Ressam (see December 14, 1999), which leads to the unraveling of several bombing plots (see December 14-31, 1999). No terror attacks occur. However, Clarke claims the FBI generally remains unhelpful. For example, around this time the FBI says there are no websites in the US soliciting volunteers for training in Afghanistan or money for terrorist front groups. Clarke has a private citizen check to see if this is true, and within days, he is given a long list of such websites. The FBI and Justice Department apparently fail to do anything with the information. [Newsweek, 3/31/04 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Taliban, al-Qaeda, Ahmed Ressam, Central Intelligence Agency, Jordan, Richard A. Clarke, US Department of Justice, William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton
          

March 10, 2000: Review of Counterterrorism Efforts Show Continued Worries      Complete 911 Timeline

       National Security Adviser Sandy Berger chairs a Cabinet-level meeting to review the wave of attempted terror attacks around the millennium. There are counterterrorism reports that disruption efforts “have not put too much of a dent” into bin Laden's overseas network, and that it is feared “sleeper cells” of al-Qaeda operatives have taken root in the US. Some ideas, like expanding the number of Joint Terrorism Task Forces across the US, are adopted. Others, like a centralized translation unit for domestic intercepts, are not. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D)] In July 2004, it is revealed that the Justice Department is investigating Berger for taking classified documents relating to this review effort out of a secure reading room in 2003. Most of the documents are returned, but a few apparently are lost. [Associated Press, 7/20/04; Washington Post, 7/22/04]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Joint Terrorism Task Force, Sandy Berger, US Department of Justice
          

May 10, 2001: Ashcroft Omits Counterterrorism from List of Goals      Complete 911 Timeline

       Attorney General Ashcroft sends a letter to department heads telling them the Justice Department's new agenda. He cites seven goals, but counterterrorism is not one of them. Yet just one day earlier, he testified before Congress and said of counterterrorism, “The Department of Justice has no higher priority.” [New York Times, 2/28/02] Dale Watson, head of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division, recalls nearly falling out of his chair when he sees counterterrorism not mentioned as a goal. [9/11 Commission Report, 4/13/04] In August, a strategic plan is distributed, listing the same seven goals and 36 objectives. Thirteen objectives are highlighted, but the single objective relating to counterterrorism is not highlighted. [New York Times, 2/28/02]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Justice, John Ashcroft, Counterterrorism Division, Dale Watson
          

Summer 2001: Classified al-Qaeda Surveillance Program Curtailed      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to Newsweek, the Justice Department curtails “a highly classified program called ‘Catcher's Mitt’ to monitor al-Qaeda suspects in the United States.” This is apparently because a federal judge severely chastised the FBI for improperly seeking permission to wiretap terrorists. [Newsweek, 3/22/04]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

June 12, 2001: CIA Learns Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Is Sending Operatives to US to Meet Up With Operatives Already Living There      Complete 911 Timeline

       A CIA report says that a man named “Khaled” is actively recruiting people to travel to various countries, including the US, to stage attacks. CIA headquarters presume from the details of this report that Khaled is Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. On July 11, the individual source for this report is shown a series of photographs and identifies Mohammed as the person he called “Khaled.” [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/04; USA Today, 12/12/02] This report also reveals that
al-Qaeda operatives heading to the US would be “expected to establish contact with colleagues already living there.”
Mohammed himself had traveled to the US frequently, and as recently as May 2001.
He is a relative of bomber Ramzi Yousef.
He appears to be one of bin Laden's most trusted leaders.
He routinely tells others that he can arrange their entry into the US as well. However, the CIA doesn't find this report credible because they think it is unlikely that he would come to the US. Nevertheless, they consider it worth pursuing. One agent replies, “If it is KSM, we have both a significant threat and an opportunity to pick him up.” The CIA disseminates the report to all other US intelligence agencies, military commanders, and parts of the Treasury and Justice Departments. The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will later request that the CIA inform them how CIA agents and other agencies reacted to this information, but the CIA does not respond to this. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)] On July 23, 2001, the US consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia will give Mohammed a US visa (he uses an alias but his actual photo appears on his application) (see July 23, 2001). Also, during this summer and as late as September 10, 2001, the NSA will intercept phone calls between Mohammed and Mohamed Atta, but the NSA will not share this information with any other agencies (see Summer 2001).
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Ramzi Yousef, US Department of Justice, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, US Consulate, Jedda, Saudi Arabia Office, US Department of the Treasury, Central Intelligence Agency
          

July 26, 2001: Ashcroft Stops Flying Commercial Airlines; Refuses to Explain Why      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Attorney General John Ashcroft.
CBS News reports that Attorney General Ashcroft has stopped flying commercial airlines due to a threat assessment, but “neither the FBI nor the Justice Department ... would identify [to CBS] what the threat was, when it was detected or who made it.” [CBS News, 7/26/01] “Ashcroft demonstrated an amazing lack of curiosity when asked if he knew anything about the threat. ‘Frankly, I don't,’ he told reporters.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 6/3/02] It is later reported that he stopped flying in July based on threat assessments made on May 8 and June 19. In May 2002, it is claimed the threat assessment had nothing to do with al-Qaeda, but Ashcroft walked out of his office rather than answer questions about it. [Associated Press, 5/16/02] The San Francisco Chronicle concludes, “The FBI obviously knew something was in the wind. ... The FBI did advise Ashcroft to stay off commercial aircraft. The rest of us just had to take our chances.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 6/3/02] CBS's Dan Rather later asks of this warning: “Why wasn't it shared with the public at large?” [Washington Post, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Dan Rather, John Ashcroft, US Department of Justice, al-Qaeda
          

9:25 a.m.: 9/11 Commission's Conflicting Account of Clarke-Led Video Conference Begins at This Time      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to his own account, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, started a video teleconference from the White House's Secure Video Conferencing Center, next to the Situation Room, at around 9:10 a.m.(see (9:10 a.m.)). However, the 9/11 Commission says that logs indicate this conference beginning 15 minutes later than this. Included in the conference are the FBI, the CIA, the FAA, the departments of State, Justice, and Defense, and the White House shelter. The FAA and CIA join at 9:40 a.m. The 9/11 Commission says, “It is not clear to us that the video teleconference was fully under way before 9:37, when the Pentagon was struck.” Furthermore, it states: “We do not know who from Defense participated, but we know that in the first hour none of the personnel involved in managing the crisis did. And none of the information conveyed in the White House video teleconference, at least in the first hour, was being passed to the NMCC [in the Pentagon].” Clarke's video teleconference is not connected into the area of the NMCC from where the crisis is being managed. Consequently, “the director of the operations team-who was on the phone with NORAD-did not have the benefit of information being shared on the video teleconference.” And, “when the Secretary [of Defense Rumsfeld] and Vice Chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Myers] later participated in the White House video teleconference, they were necessarily absent from the NMCC and unable to provide guidance to the operations team.” Clarke, however, gives a specific recollection of Myers speaking over video at 9:28, which is seemingly at odds with the 9/11 Commission's account (see 9:28 a.m.). One witness later recalls: “[It] was almost like there were parallel decision-making processes going on; one was a voice conference orchestrated by the NMCC ... and then there was the [White House video teleconference]. ... [I]n my mind they were competing venues for command and control and decision-making.” [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/24/04, pp. 36 and 463]
People and organizations involved: US Department of State, US Department of Justice, Federal Aviation Administration, US Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Richard A. Clarke
          

October 11, 2001: Ashcroft Takes Over All Terrorist Prosecutions      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Ashcroft-led Justice Department assumes control of all terrorism-related prosecutions from the US Attorneys office in New York, which has had a highly successful record of accomplishment in prosecuting cases connected to bin Laden. [New York Times, 10/11/01]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Justice, Osama bin Laden
          

March 6, 2002: US Officials Deny Existence of Israeli Spy Ring      Complete 911 Timeline

       A Washington Post article, relying on US officials, denies the existence of any Israeli spy ring. A “wide array of US officials” supposedly deny it, and Justice Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden says: “This seems to be an urban myth that has been circulating for months. The department has no information at this time to substantiate these widespread reports about Israeli art students involved in espionage.” [Washington Post, 3/6/02] The New York Times fails to cover the story at all, even months later. [Salon, 5/7/02] By mid-March, Jane's Intelligence Digest, the respected British intelligence and military analysis service, notes: “It is rather strange that the US media seems to be ignoring what may well be the most explosive story since the 11 September attacks—the alleged breakup of a major Israeli espionage operation in the USA.” [Jane's Intelligence Digest, 3/15/02]
People and organizations involved: Susan Dryden, US Department of Justice, "Israeli art students"
          

July 2002: Militants Tied to al-Qaeda and ISI Indicted by US, but Little Effort Is Made to Find Them      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Rajaa Gulum Abbas.
The US secretly indicts Rajaa Gulum Abbas and Abdul Malik for attempting to buy $32 million in Stinger missiles and other military weaponry in an undercover arms-dealing investigation. However, a US official states that Abbas is an alleged member of the ISI, and is thought to have ties to Middle Eastern militant groups and arms-trafficking operations. He also appears to have foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Abdul Malik is said to be Abbas's money man. Abdul Malik is not related to Mohammed Malik, another Pakistani targeted by the undercover operation. The chief US informant in the case, Randy Glass, says that both men also have clear ties to al-Qaeda, and the arms were going to be funneled to al-Qaeda and used against American targets. [Palm Beach Post, 3/20/03; South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 3/20/03] The indictment is not revealed until March 2003; both men still remain missing and are presumed to be in Pakistan. The US says it is still working on capturing and extraditing Abbas and Malik. [MSNBC, 3/18/03] NBC seems to have no trouble reaching Abbas in Pakistan by telephone. [MSNBC, 3/18/03; MSNBC, 8/2/02] The indictment “makes no mention of Pakistan, any ties to Afghanistan's former Taliban regime or the ultimate destination of the weapons.” [Palm Beach Post, 3/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Abdul Malik, Taliban, Randy Glass, US Department of Justice, Rajaa Gulum Abbas, al-Qaeda, Mohammed Malik
          

August 15, 2002: Relatives File Lawsuit Against Alleged Saudi al-Qaeda Financiers      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Deena Burnett, wife of Flight 93 passenger Tom Burnett, speaks on behalf of the victims' relatives suing the Saudis.
More than 600 relatives of victims of the 9/11 attacks file a 15-count, $1 trillion lawsuit against various parties they accuse of financing al-Qaeda and Afghanistan's former Taliban regime. (The number of plaintiffs will increase to 2,500. Up to 10,000 were eligible to join this suit. [Newsweek, 9/13/02] ) The defendants include the Saudi Binladin Group (the company run by Osama bin Laden's family), seven international banks, eight Islamic foundations and charities, individual financiers, three Saudi princes, and the government of Sudan. [CNN, 8/15/02; Washington Post, 8/16/02] Individuals named include Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan, former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal, Yassin al-Qadi, and Khalid bin Mahfouz (Mahfouz denies supporting terrorism and has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint). [Associated Press, 8/15/02; MSNBC, 8/25/02] “The attorneys and investigators were able to obtain, through French intelligence, the translation of a secretly recorded meeting between representatives of bin Laden and three Saudi princes in which they sought to pay him hush money to keep him from attacking their enterprises in Saudi Arabia.” [CNN, 8/15/02] The plaintiffs also accuse the US government of failing to pursue such institutions thoroughly enough because of lucrative oil interests. [BBC, 8/15/02] Ron Motley, the lead lawyer in the suit, says the case is being aided by intelligence services from France and four other foreign governments, but no help has come from the Justice Department. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 8/16/02] The plaintiffs acknowledge the chance of ever winning any money is slim, but hope the lawsuit will help bring to light the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks. [BBC, 8/15/02] A number of rich Saudis respond by threatening to withdraw hundreds of billions of dollars in US investments if the lawsuit goes forward. [Daily Telegraph, 8/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Khalid bin Mahfouz, Osama bin Laden, Yassin al-Qadi, Turki bin Faisal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, US Department of Justice, Ron Motley, Taliban, Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, United States, Sudan, Saudi Binladin Group, al-Qaeda
          

October 5, 2002: FBI Refuses to Allow FBI Informant to Testify Before 9/11 Inquiry      Complete 911 Timeline

       The New York Times reports that the FBI is refusing to allow Abdussattar Shaikh, the FBI informant who lived with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar in the second half of 2000, to testify before the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry. The FBI claims the informer would have nothing interesting to say. The Justice Department also wants to learn more about the informant. [New York Times, 10/5/02] The FBI also tries to prevent Shaikh's handler Steven Butler from testifying, but Butler does end up testifying before a secret session on October 9, 2002. Shaikh does not testify at all. [Washington Post, 10/11/02 (B)] Butler's testimony uncovers many curious facts about Shaikh. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/25/03; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B); US News and World Report, 11/29/02; New York Times, 11/23/02]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Steven Butler, Abdussattar Shaikh, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar
          

December 12, 2002: Most Detainees After 9/11 Released      Complete 911 Timeline

       The vast majority of the more than 900 people the federal government acknowledges detaining after the 9/11 attacks have been deported, released or convicted of minor crimes unrelated to terrorism, according to government documents. An undisclosed number—most likely in the dozens—are or were held as material witnesses. The Justice Department reports that only six of the 765 people arrested for immigration violations are still held by the INS. An additional 134 people were charged with criminal offenses, with 99 found guilty through pleas or trials. [Chicago Sun-Times, 12/12/02; Washington Post, 12/12/02] Newsweek reports that of the “more than 800 people” rounded up since 9/11, “only 10 have been linked in any way to the hijackings” and “probably will turn out to be innocent.” [Newsweek, 10/29/02]
People and organizations involved: Immigration and Naturalization Service, US Department of Justice
          

Late 2002: Informant Details Even More of al-Marabh's Terrorist Ties      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Nabil al-Marabh.
Nabil al-Marabh is serving an eight month prison sentence for illegally entering the US. A Jordanian in prison with al-Marabh at this time later informs against him, claiming that al-Marabh tells him many details of his terrorism ties. The informant, who shows “a highly detailed knowledge of his former cell-mate's associations and movements” [Globe and Mail, 6/4/04] , claims that al-Marabh:
admitted he sent money to a former roommate, Raed Hijazi, who is later convicted of trying to blow up a hotel in Jordan, and that he aided Hijazi's flight from authorities. [Associated Press, 6/3/04]
planned to die a martyr by stealing a gasoline truck, driving it into the Lincoln or Holland tunnels in New York City, turning it sideways, opening its fuel valves and having an al-Qaeda operative shoot a flare to ignite a massive explosion (the plan is foiled when Hijazi is arrested in Jordan in October 2000). [Associated Press, 6/3/04; Toronto Sun, 10/16/01]
trained on rifles and rocket propelled grenades at militant camps in Afghanistan. [Associated Press, 6/3/04]
boasted about getting drunk with two 9/11 hijackers. [Globe and Mail, 6/4/04]
asked his uncle to hide an important CD from Canadian police. [Globe and Mail, 6/4/04]
claimed he took instructions from a mysterious figure in Chicago known as “al Mosul” which means “boss” in Arabic. [Associated Press, 6/3/04]
acknowledged he distributed as much as $200,000 a month to training camps in Afghanistan in the early 1990's. [Associated Press, 6/3/04] FBI agents are able to confirm portions of the informant's claims. In Chicago, US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald drafts an indictment against al-Marabh on multiple counts of making false statements in his interviews with FBI agents. However, Justice headquarters declines prosecution in the name of protecting intelligence sources. Prosecutors in Detroit also develop evidence against al-Marabh but are not allowed to charge him for the same reason. [Associated Press, 6/3/04]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Justice, Patrick Fitzgerald, Raed Hijazi, Nabil al-Marabh, al-Qaeda
          

July 8, 2003: 9/11 Commission Denounces Lack of Cooperation      Complete 911 Timeline

       A status report released by the 9/11 Commission shows that various government agencies are not cooperating fully with the investigation. Neither the CIA nor the Justice Department have provided all requested documents. Lack of cooperation on the part of the Department of Defense “[is] becoming particularly serious,” and the commission has received no responses whatsoever to requests related to national air defenses. The FBI, State Department, and Transportation Department receive generally positive reviews. [Associated Press, 7/9/03] Commissioner Tim Roemer complains, “We're not getting the kind of cooperation that we should be. We need a steady stream of information coming to us ... Instead, We're getting a trickle.” [Guardian, 7/10/03] Chairman Thomas Kean is also troubled by the Bush administration's insistence on having a Justice Department official present during interviews with federal officials. [Associated Press, 7/9/03] The 9/11 Commission is eventually forced to subpoena documents from the Defense Department and FAA (see October-November 2003).
People and organizations involved: US Department of Transportation, Bush administration, Thomas Kean, US Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tim Roemer, US Department of Defense, US Department of Justice, Central Intelligence Agency, 9/11 Commission
          

September 10, 2003: SEC, Others Still Keep Mum About Insider Trading Investigations      Complete 911 Timeline

       Slate reports that two years after the 9/11 attacks, neither the Chicago Board Options Exchange nor the Securities and Exchange Commission will make any comment about their investigations into insider trading before 9/11. “Neither has announced any conclusion. The SEC has not filed any complaint alleging illegal activity, nor has the Justice Department announced any investigation or prosecution. ... So, unless the SEC decides to file a complaint—unlikely at this late stage—we may never know what they learned about terror trading.” [Slate, 9/10/03]
People and organizations involved: Chicago Board Options Exchange, US Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission
          

May 2004: Previously Public Information About FBI Whistleblower Is Now Classified      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Justice Department retroactively classifies information it gave to Congress in 2002 regarding FBI translator Sibel Edmonds. Senator Charles Grassley (R) says, “What the FBI is up to here is ludicrous. To classify something that's already been out in the public domain, what do you accomplish? ... This is about as close to a gag order as you can get.” The New York Times reports that some of the information discussed is “so potentially damaging if released publicly” that it has to be classified. Topics like what languages Edmonds translated, what types of cases she handled, and where she worked is now classified, even though much of this has been widely reported on shows like CBS's 60 Minutes. [New York Times, 5/20/04] In late 2002, the Justice Department invoked the rarely used “state secrets privilege” to limit what she could say. [Salon, 3/26/04]
People and organizations involved: Charles Grassley, Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Department of Justice, Sibel Edmonds
          

June 4, 2004: Victims' Families Listen to 9/11 Phone Recordings      Complete 911 Timeline

       When the recording of flight attendant Betty Ong is played in public before the 9/11 Commission in January 2004, family members demand that the FBI honor the family members' rights under the Victims Assistance Act to hear any and all phone calls made from the hijacked airplanes. So, on this date, about 130 victims' relatives gather in Princeton, New Jersey, and hear previously unavailable calls. But the Justice Department only plays what it decided are “relevant” calls. However, attendees are ordered not to disclose what they hear lest it compromise the prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui. [New York Observer, 6/17/04; CNN, 5/28/04; Associated Press, 6/5/04] Some family members nonetheless later discuss what they have heard. Witnesses describe one recording of two American Airlines managers who are told details of flight attendant Amy Sweeney's call from Flight 11 shortly after the first hijacking has begun. Rather than report news of a possible hijacking to other government agencies so they can learn what to do in case there is a crisis, the managers say things like, “don't spread this around. Keep it close,” and “Keep it quiet” (see 8:21 a.m.) [New York Observer, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Justice, Zacarias Moussaoui, Madeline ("Amy") Sweeney, American Airlines
          

July 2004: Report on FBI's 9/11 Failures Is Completed, But Remains Unreleased Until After Presidential Election      Complete 911 Timeline

       In November 2002, as the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry was finishing its investigation, it had formally asked for a report by the Justice Department (which oversees the FBI) to determine “whether and to what extent personnel at all levels should be held accountable” for the failure to stop the 9/11 attacks. An identical request was made to the CIA (see June-November 2004). [New York Times, 9/14/04] The Justice Department report, titled “A Review of the FBI's Handling of Intelligence Information Related to the September 11 Attacks,” is completed this month. [Washington Post, 4/30/05] It centers on three FBI failures before 9/11: the failure to follow up on the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui in August 2001 (see August 15, 2001), the failure to follow up on FBI agent Ken Williams' memo (see July 10, 2001) warning about Islamic militants training in US flight schools, and the FBI's failure to follow up on many leads to hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. The report provides some new details about miscommunications, inaction, and other problems. [New York Times, 9/14/04] The report remains classified. Senior Senate Judiciary Committee members Patrick Leahy (D) and Charles Grassley (R) call for its release. The senators state, “While the needs of national security must be weighed seriously, we fear the designation of information as classified, in some cases, serves to protect the executive branch against embarrassing revelations and full accountability. We hope that is not the case here.” [New York Times, 9/14/04; Washington Times, 7/12/04] One problem complicating the issuing of even a declassified version is the possibility that the material would taint the criminal proceedings against Zacarias Moussaoui. In early 2005, the Justice Department inspector general's office will ask the judge presiding over Moussaoui's case for permission to release a declassified version of the report. But the judge will turn down the request in April 2005, even after Moussaoui pleads guilty (see April 30, 2005). The report will finally be released in June 2005 without the section on Moussaoui (see June 9, 2005). [New York Times, 2/13/05]
People and organizations involved: Charles Grassley, US Department of Justice, Patrick Leahy, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nawaf Alhazmi, Ken Williams, Khalid Almihdhar, Zacarias Moussaoui
          

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