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Profile: Louis J. Freeh

 
  

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Louis J. Freeh actively participated in the following events:

 
  

January-May 1996: US Fails to Capture Mohammed Living Openly in Qatar      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Abdallah al-Thani.
Since Operation Bojinka was uncovered in the Philippines (see January 6, 1995), nearly all of the plot's major planners, including Ramzi Yousef, are found and arrested. The one exception is 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. He flees to Qatar in the Persian Gulf, where he lives openly using his real name, enjoying the patronage of Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani, Qatar's Interior Minister and a member of the royal family. [ABC News, 2/7/03] In January 1996, he is indicted in the US for his role in the 1993 WTC bombing, and in the same month, the US determines his location in Qatar. FBI Director Louis Freeh sends a letter to the Qatari government asking for permission to send a team after him. [Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02] One of Freeh's diplomatic notes states that Mohammed was involved in a conspiracy to “bomb US airliners” and is believed to be “in the process of manufacturing an explosive device.” [New Yorker, 5/27/02] Qatar confirms that Mohammed is there and is making explosives, but they delay handing him over. After waiting several months, a high-level meeting takes place in Washington to consider a commando raid to seize him. However, the raid is deemed too risky, and another letter is sent to the Qatari government instead. One person at the meeting later states, “If we had gone in and nabbed this guy, or just cut his head off, the Qatari government would not have complained a bit. Everyone around the table for their own reasons refused to go after someone who fundamentally threatened American interests...” [Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02] Around May 1996, Mohammed's patron, Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani, makes sure that Mohammed and four others are given blank passports and a chance to escape. Qatar's police chief later says the other men include Ayman al-Zawahiri and Mohammed Atef, al-Qaeda's number two and number three leaders, respectively. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02; ABC News, 2/7/03] Bin Laden twice visits al-Thani in Qatar. [ABC News, 2/7/03; New York Times, 6/8/02]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Mohammed Atef, Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Louis J. Freeh
          

Mid-1999-November 1999: LIWA Data Mining Study Causes Controversy After Connecting Prominent US Figures to Weapons Purchases for Chinese Military      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Hua Di.
A report commissioned in mid-1999 by Rep. Curt Weldon (R) looks into possible Chinese front companies in the US seeking technology for the Chinese military. Dr. Eileen Preisser and Michael Maloof are commissioned to make the report. Dr. Preisser, who runs the Information Dominance Center at the US Army's Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA) and will later become closely tied to Able Danger, uses LIWA's data mining capabilities to search unclassified information. According to Maloof, their results show Chinese front companies in the US posing as US corporations that acquire technology from US defense contractors. When the study is completed in November 1999, the General Counsel's office in the Office of the Defense Secretary orders the study destroyed. Weldon complains about this to Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, and apparently delays the destruction of the report. Weldon also writes a letter to FBI Director Louis Freeh requesting an espionage investigation into these Chinese links, but Freeh never responds to this. [Washington Times, 10/9/05] As part of this report, LIWA analysts had produced a chart of Chinese strategic and business connections in the US. But this data mining effort runs into controversy when the chart apparently shows connections between future National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, former Defense Secretary William Perry, and other prominent US figures, and business deals benefiting the Chinese military. [New York Post, 8/27/05; Washington Times, 9/22/05] The China chart was put together by private contractor James D. Smith, who will come forward in August 2005 to corroborate revelations about the Able Danger unit and its findings (see August 22-September 1, 2005). The New York Post later says there is “no suggestion that Rice or any of the others had done anything wrong.” [New York Post, 8/27/05] However, articles first appear one month later and through 2001 in the conservative publications WorldNetDaily and NewsMax, which connect Perry and Rice to Hua Di, a Chinese missile scientist and possible spy, and question the nature of their relationship with him. [WorldNetDaily, 4/5/00; WorldNetDaily, 12/21/99; NewsMax, 1/24/01] Di defected to the US in 1989 and worked most of the 1990s at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms Control, which was co-directed by Perry. Di later returned to China and is subsequently sentenced to ten years in prison for writing influential articles said to reveal vital Chinese state secrets. [Stanford Report, 2/7/01] However, other accounts claim that he was in fact passing on disinformation through these articles, successfully misleading the US military for a couple of years about the abilities of certain Chinese missile programs. [WorldNetDaily, 12/21/99] Additionally, Hua Di teamed in 1994 with Stanford professor Dr. John Lewis and William Perry to buy an advanced AT&T fiber-optic communications system for “civilian” use inside China that instead is used by the Chinese army. The General Accounting Office later criticized the sale. In 1997, Stanford University investigated Dr. Lewis for his role in it, but Condoleezza Rice, serving as a Stanford provost at the time, apparently stopped the investigation. [WorldNetDaily, 4/5/00; NewsMax, 1/24/01] Able Danger and LIWA's data mining efforts will be severely proscribed in April 2000 as part of the fallout from this China controversy (see April 2000), and the destruction of their collected data will follow shortly thereafter (see May-June 2000).
People and organizations involved: Hua Di, William Perry, China, F. Michael Maloof, Eileen Preisser, Land Information Warfare Activity, Curt Weldon, Louis J. Freeh, Condoleezza Rice, James D. Smith, Eric Shinseki
          

January 4-6, 2000: CIA Fails to Warn FBI About Terrorist's US Visa; Other CIA Agents Are Deliberately Misled About This      Complete 911 Timeline

       The CIA has been tracking Khalid Almihdhar as he travels to Malaysia for the al-Qaeda summit that starts on January 5 (see January 5-8, 2000). The CIA has just received a photocopy of his passport that shows he has a valid visa to travel to the US (see January 2-5, 2000). But not only does the CIA fail to put his name on any terrorist watch list, they deliberately prevent the FBI from learning about this visa. On January 4, a CIA cable containing the photocopy is sent to CIA headquarters. An FBI agent assigned to the CIA's Bin Laden unit sees the cable and attempts to share the information about Almihdhar and his visa with colleagues at FBI headquarters. However, a CIA headquarters desk officer instructs him not to send a cable containing this information. Several hours later, this desk officer writes a cable that is distributed only within the CIA. It is sent the next day and claims that Almihdhar's visa documents were shared with the FBI (when she knows they were not). This officer will later admit she didn't personally share the information with the FBI either, and the 9/11 Commission will not be able to find anyone in the CIA who did share it with the FBI. [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/04, pp 502; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] In 2002, CIA Director George Tenet will allude to e-mails he claims prove the information is passed to the FBI around this time. However, the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry and 9/11 Commission fail to find any evidence of these e-mails. The FBI claims it never received any such e-mails. [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/04, pp 502; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; ABC News, 5/10/04] While the Malaysia meeting Almihdhar attends is still in progress, a CIA agent who had been assigned to the FBI's Strategic Information Operations Center to deal with problems “in communicating between the CIA and the FBI” briefs two FBI agents about Almihdhar's activities. This agent then sends an e-mail to another CIA agent describing “exactly” what he told the two FBI agents. One section reads, “This continues to be an [intelligence] operation. Thus far, a lot of suspicious activity has been observed but nothing that would indicate evidence of an impending attack or criminal enterprise. Told [the first FBI agent] that as soon as something concrete is developed leading us to the criminal arena or to known FBI cases, we will immediately bring FBI into the loop. Like [the first FBI agent] yesterday, [the second FBI agent] stated that this was a fine approach and thanked me for keeping him in the loop.” The two FBI agents are not told about Almihdhar's US visa. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] On January 5 and 6, FBI Director Louis Freeh and other top FBI officials are briefed about the ongoing Malaysia meeting as part of one of their regular daily updates. They are told the CIA is in the lead and that the CIA promises to let the FBI know if an FBI angle to the case develops. But they also are not told about Almihdhar's US visa. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] One FBI official familiar with the case will later complain, “[The CIA] purposely hid [Almihdhar] from the FBI, purposely refused to tell the bureau. ... The thing was, they didn't want John O'Neill and the FBI running over their case. And that's why September 11 happened. ... They have blood on their hands.” [Bamford, 2004, pp 224] Jack Cloonan, an FBI agent who has pursued al-Qaeda members, later says: “If that information [got] disseminated, would it have had an impact on the events of 9/11? I'm telling you that it would have.” [ABC News, 5/10/04]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Khalid Almihdhar, Louis J. Freeh, John O'Neill, Jack Cloonan
          

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. [CNN, 3/14/02; Observer, 10/7/01; Ottawa Citizen, 9/17/01; New Yorker, 1/14/02; Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 10/29/03; Stern, 8/13/03; Newsweek, 6/2/02] 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. [Newsweek, 9/20/01; Stern, 8/13/03]
People and organizations involved: Cofer Black, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Sandy Berger, Khalid Almihdhar, al-Qaeda, Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash, Fahad al-Quso, William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, George Tenet, Louis J. Freeh, Malaysian Secret Service, Central Intelligence Agency
          

January 21, 2001: Bush Administration Takes Over; Many Have Oil Industry Connections      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The Chevron oil tanker named after National Security Advisor Rice.
George W. Bush is inaugurated as the 43rd US President, replacing Bill Clinton. The only Cabinet-level figure to remain permanently in office is CIA Director Tenet, appointed in 1997 and reputedly a long-time friend of George H. W. Bush. FBI Director Louis Freeh stays on until June 2001. Numerous figures in Bush's administration have been directly employed in the oil industry, including Bush, Vice President Cheney, and National Security Adviser Rice. Rice had been on Chevron's Board of Directors since 1991, and even had a Chevron oil tanker named after her. [Salon, 11/19/01] It is later revealed that Cheney is still being paid up to $1 million a year in “deferred payments” from Halliburton, the oil company he headed. [Guardian, 3/12/03] Enron's ties also reach deep into the administration. [Washington Post, 1/18/02]
People and organizations involved: William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Louis J. Freeh, George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Enron, George Tenet
          

Spring 2001: Ashcroft Doesn't Want FBI Director to Talk About Terrorism      Complete 911 Timeline

       Attorney General John Ashcroft talks with FBI Director Louis Freeh before an annual meeting of special agents. Ashcroft lays out his priorities, which according to one participant is “basically violent crime and drugs.” Freeh bluntly replies that those are not his priorities and he talks about counterterrorism. “Ashcroft does not want to hear about it,” says one witness. [Newsweek, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Louis J. Freeh, John Ashcroft
          

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