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Profile: Steven Butler

 
  

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Steven Butler actively participated in the following events:

 
  

Autumn 2000: FBI Informant Fails to Share Valuable Information on Hijackers      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Abdussattar Shaikh.
While hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar live in the house of an FBI informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, the informant continues to have contact with his FBI handler. The handler, Steven Butler, later claims that during summer Shaikh mentions the names “Nawaf” and “Khalid” in passing and that they are renting rooms from him. [Newsweek, 9/9/02; Associated Press, 7/25/03 (B); 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] On one occasion, Shaikh tells Butler on the phone he cannot talk because Khalid is in the room. [Newsweek, 9/9/02] Shaikh tells Butler they are good, religious Muslims who are legally in the US to visit and attend school. Butler asks Shaikh for their last names, but Shaikh refuses to provide them. Butler is not told that they are pursuing flight training. Shaikh tells Butler that they are apolitical and have done nothing to arouse suspicion. However, according to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, he later admits that Alhazmi has “contacts with at least four individuals [he] knew were of interest to the FBI and about whom [he] had previously reported to the FBI.” Three of these four people are being actively investigated at the time the hijackers are there. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The report mentions Osama Mustafa as one, and Shaikh admits that suspected Saudi agent Omar al-Bayoumi was a friend. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; Los Angeles Times, 7/25/03] The FBI later concludes Shaikh is not involved in the 9/11 plot, but they have serious doubts about his credibility. After 9/11 he gives inaccurate information and has an “inconclusive” polygraph examination about his foreknowledge of the 9/11 attack. The FBI believes he has contact with hijacker Hani Hanjour, but he claims not to recognize him. There are other “significant inconsistencies” in Shaikh's statements about the hijackers, including when he first met them and later meetings with them. The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry later concludes that had the informant's contacts with the hijackers been capitalized upon, it “would have given the San Diego FBI field office perhaps the US intelligence community's best chance to unravel the September 11 plot.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The FBI later tries to prevent Butler and Shaikh from testifying before the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry in October 2002. Butler ends up testifying but Shaikh does not. [Washington Post, 10/11/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Osama ("Sam") Mustafa, Steven Butler, Omar al-Bayoumi, William Safire, Abdussattar Shaikh, Khalid Almihdhar, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

October 9, 2002: FBI Agent Handled Hijackers' Landlord      Complete 911 Timeline

       San Diego FBI agent Steven Butler reportedly gives “explosive” testimony to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry. Butler, recently retired, has been unable to speak to the media, but he was the handler for Abdussattar Shaikh, an FBI informant who rented a room to hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. Butler claims he might have uncovered the 9/11 plot if the CIA had provided the FBI with more information earlier about Alhazmi and Almihdhar. [New York Times, 10/22/02] He says, “It would have made a huge difference.” He suggests they would have quickly found the two hijackers because they were “very, very close.” “We would have immediately opened ... investigations. We would have given them the full court press. We would ... have done everything—physical surveillance, technical surveillance, and other assets.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/25/03] Butler discloses that he had been monitoring a flow of Saudi Arabian money that wound up in the hands of two of the 9/11 hijackers, but his supervisors failed to take any action on the warnings. It is not known when Butler started investigating the money flow, or when he warned his supervisors. [US News and World Report, 11/29/02] The FBI unsuccessfully tries to prevent Butler from testifying. [Washington Post, 10/11/02] This testimony doesn't stop the US government from deporting Basnan to Saudi Arabia several weeks later. [Washington Post, 11/24/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Abdussattar Shaikh, Central Intelligence Agency, Steven Butler
          

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