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Profile: Mohamed Atta

 
  

Positions that Mohamed Atta has held:



 

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Mohamed Atta actively participated in the following events:

 
  

May 15, 1998: Oklahoma FBI Memo Warns of Potential Terrorist-Related Flight Training; No Investigation Ensues      Complete 911 Timeline

       An FBI pilot sends his supervisor in the Oklahoma City FBI office a memo warning that he has observed “large numbers of Middle Eastern males receiving flight training at Oklahoma airports in recent months.” The memo, titled “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” further states this “may be related to planned terrorist activity” and “light planes would be an ideal means of spreading chemicals or biological agents.” The memo does not call for an investigation, and none occurs. [NewsOK, 5/29/02; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)] The memo is “sent to the bureau's Weapons of Mass Destruction unit and forgotten.” [New York Daily News, 9/25/02] In 1999, it is learned that an al-Qaeda agent has studied flight training in Norman, Oklahoma. Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi will briefly visit the same school in 2000; Zacarias Moussaoui trains at the school in 2001.
People and organizations involved: Zacarias Moussaoui, Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

July 7, 1998: Stolen Passport Shows Ties Between Hijackers and Spanish Terrorist Cells      Complete 911 Timeline

       Thieves snatch a passport from a car driven by a US tourist in Barcelona, Spain, which later finds its way into the hands of would-be hijacker Ramzi Bin al-Shibh. Bin al-Shibh allegedly uses the name on the passport in the summer of 2001 as he wires money to pay flight school tuition for Zacarias Moussaoui in Oklahoma. Investigators believe the movement of this passport shows connections between the 9/11 plotters in Germany and a support network in Spain, made up mostly by ethnic Syrians. “Investigators believe that the Syrians served as deep-cover mentors, recruiters, financiers and logistics providers for the hijackers—elite backup for an elite attack team.” [Los Angeles Times, 1/14/03] Mohamed Atta twice travels to Spain in 2001, perhaps to make contact with members of this Spanish support team.
People and organizations involved: Zacarias Moussaoui, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Mohamed Atta
          

November 1, 1998-February 2001: Atta and Other Islamic Militants Are Monitored by US and Germany in Hamburg Apartment      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The Marienstrasse building.
Mohamed Atta and al-Qaeda operatives Said Bahaji and Ramzi Bin al-Shibh move into a four bedroom apartment at 54 Marienstrasse, in Hamburg, Germany, and stay there until February 2001 (Atta is already living primarily in the US well before this time). Investigators believe this move marks the formation of their Hamburg al-Qaeda cell [New York Times, 9/10/02; Los Angeles Times, 1/27/02] Up to six men at a time live at the apartment, including other al-Qaeda agents such as hijacker Marwan Alshehhi and cell member Zakariya Essabar. [New York Times, 9/15/01 (F)] During the 28 months Atta's name is on the apartment lease, 29 Middle Eastern or North African men register the apartment as their home address. From the very beginning, the apartment was officially under surveillance by German intelligence, because of investigations into businessman Mamoun Darkazanli that connect to Said Bahaji. [Washington Post, 10/23/01] The Germans also suspect connections between Bahaji and al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Haydar Zammar. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] German intelligence monitors the apartment off and on for months, and wiretaps Mounir El Motassadeq, an associate of the apartment-mates who is later put on trial in August 2002 for assisting the 9/11 plot, but apparently do not find any indication of suspicious activity. [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02] Bahaji is directly monitored at least for part of 1998, but German officials have not disclosed when the probe began or ended. That investigation is dropped for lack of evidence. [Associated Press, 6/22/02; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] It is now clear that investigators would have found evidence if they looked more thoroughly. For instance, Zammar, a talkative man who has trouble keeping secrets, is a frequent visitor to the many late night meetings there. [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02; Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp 259-60; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Another visitor later recalls Atta and others discussing attacking the US. [Knight Ridder, 9/9/02] 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is in Hamburg several times in 1999, and comes to the apartment. However, although there was a $2 million reward for Mohammed since 1998, the US apparently fails to tell Germany what it knows about him (see 1999). [Newsweek, 9/4/02; New York Times, 11/4/02] Hijacker Waleed Alshehri also apparently stays at the apartment “at times.” [Washington Post, 9/16/01 (B); Washington Post, 9/14/01] The CIA also starts monitoring Atta while he is living at this apartment, and does not tell Germany of the surveillance. Remarkably, the German government will claim it knew little about the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell before 9/11, and nothing directed them towards the Marienstrasse apartment. [Daily Telegraph, 11/24/01]
People and organizations involved: Marwan Alshehhi, Mamoun Darkazanli, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Germany, al-Qaeda, Said Bahaji, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Central Intelligence Agency, Mohamed Atta, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Zakariya Essabar, Mounir El Motassadeq
          

1999: Mohammed Repeatedly Visits Atta, Others in al-Qaeda's Hamburg Cell      Complete 911 Timeline

       Khalid Shaikh Mohammed “repeatedly” visits Mohamed Atta and others in the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. [Associated Press, 8/24/02] US and German officials say a number of sources place Mohammed at Atta's Hamburg apartment, although when he visits, or who he visits while he is there, is unclear. [Los Angeles Times, 6/6/02; New York Times, 11/4/02] However, it would be logical to conclude that he visits Atta's housemate Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, since investigators believe he is the “key contact between the pilots” and Mohammed. [Los Angeles Times, 1/27/03] Mohammed is living elsewhere in Germany at the time. [New York Times, 9/22/02] German intelligence monitors the apartment in 1999 but apparently does not notice Mohammed. US investigators have been searching for Mohammed since 1996, but apparently never tell the Germans what they know about him. [New York Times, 11/4/02] Even after 9/11, German investigators complain that US investigators do not tell them what they know about Mohammed living in Germany until they read it in the newspapers in June 2002. [New York Times, 6/11/02]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Mohamed Atta
          

February 17, 1999: Germans Intercept al-Qaeda Calls, One Mentions Atta's Name      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Said Bahaji, computer expert for the Hamburg cell.
German intelligence is periodically tapping suspected al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Haydar Zammar's telephone. On this day, investigators hear a caller being told Zammar is at a meeting with “Mohamed, Ramzi, and Said,” and can be reached at the phone number of the Marienstrasse apartment where all three of them live. This refers to Mohamed Atta, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, and Said Bahaji, all members of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. However, apparently the German police fail to grasp the importance of these names, even though Said Bahaji is also under investigation. [Associated Press, 6/22/02; New York Times, 1/18/03] Atta's last name is given as well. Agents check the phone number and confirm the street address, but it is not known what they make of the information. [Der Spiegel, 2/3/03]
People and organizations involved: Said Bahaji, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Mohamed Atta, Mohammed Haydar Zammar
          

April 1, 1999: Hijacker Jarrah Photographs Wedding Party      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Friends of Ziad Jarrah taken on April 1, 1999. Third from left in back row is Abdelghani Mzoudi, fifth from is Mounir El Motassadeq; seventh is Ramzi bin al-Shibh; the man on far right in middle row is Mohamed Atta; Atta rests his hands on Mohammed Raji, now a wanted man.
Ziad Jarrah has an unofficial wedding with his girlfriend, Aisel Senguen. Interestingly, a photo apparently taken by Jarrah at the wedding is found by German intelligence several days after 9/11. An undercover agent is able immediately to identify ten of the 18 men in the photo, as well as where it was taken: the prayer room of Hamburg's Al-Quds mosque. He is also able to identify which of them attended Mohamed Atta's study group. He knows even “seemingly trivial details” of some of the men, showing that “probably almost all members of the Hamburg terror cell” has been watched by German state intelligence since this time, if not before. The head of the state intelligence had previously maintained that they knew nothing of any of these men. [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2/2/03]
People and organizations involved: Ziad Jarrah, Mohamed Atta
          

Summer 1999: US Intelligence Links Zammar to Senior bin Laden Operatives, Fails to Share Information      Complete 911 Timeline

       Around this time, US intelligence notes that a man in Hamburg, Germany, named Mohammed Haydar Zammar is in direct contact with one of bin Laden's senior operational coordinators. Zammar is an al-Qaeda recruiter with links to Mohamed Atta and the rest of the Hamburg terror cell. The US had noted Zammar's terror links on “numerous occasions” before 9/11. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] However, apparently the US does not share their information on Zammar with German intelligence. Instead, the Germans are given evidence from Turkey that Zammar is running a travel agency as a terror front in Hamburg. In 1998, they get information from Italy confirming he is an Islamic militant . However, his behavior is so suspicious that they have already started monitoring him closely. [Stern, 8/13/03; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Germany, Mohamed Atta, Italy, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Turkey
          

Late November 1999: Hamburg Cell Members Arrive in Afghanistan for Training      Complete 911 Timeline

       Investigators believe hijackers Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, and Ziad Jarrah and associates Ramzi Bin al-Shibh and Said Bahaji (all members of the same Hamburg, Germany, cell) arrive separately in Afghanistan around this time. They meet with bin Laden and train for several months. [CBS News, 10/9/02; New York Times, 9/10/02] In a 2002 interview with Al Jazeera, bin al-Shibh says, “We had a meeting attended by all four pilots including Nawaf Alhazmi, Atta's right-hand man.” The Guardian interprets this to mean that Alhazmi flew Flight 77, not Hani Hanjour as popularly believed. [Guardian, 9/9/02]
People and organizations involved: William Safire, Said Bahaji, Osama bin Laden, Mohamed Atta, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Ziad Jarrah, Marwan Alshehhi, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

Late 1999: Hijackers Clear Their Passport Records      Complete 911 Timeline

       Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi report their passports missing; Ziad Jarrah reports his missing in February 2000. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01; Der Spiegel, 2002, pp 257-58] Alshehhi receives a replacement passport on December 26, 1999. [Times of London, 9/20/01]
People and organizations involved: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, Ziad Jarrah
          

2000-September 10, 2001: Hijackers Possibly Spend Time in Philippines      Complete 911 Timeline

       The names of four hijackers are later discovered in Philippines immigration records, according to Philippine Immigration Commissioner Andrea Domingo. However, whether these are the hijackers or just other Saudis with the same names has not been confirmed. Abdulaziz Alomari visits the Philippines once in 2000, then again in February 2001, leaving on February 12. [Associated Press, 9/19/01; Philippines Daily Inquirer, 9/19/01; Daily Telegraph, 9/20/01] Ahmed Alghamdi visits Manila, Philippines, more than 13 times in the two years before 9/11. He leaves the Philippines the day before the attacks. [Daily Telegraph, 9/20/01; Arizona Daily Star, 9/28/01] Fayez Ahmed Banihammad visits the Philippines on October 17-19, 2000. [Daily Telegraph, 9/20/01; Arizona Daily Star, 9/28/01] Saeed Alghamdi visits the Philippines on at least 15 occasions in 2001, entering as a tourist. The last visit ends on August 6, 2001. [Daily Telegraph, 9/20/01] Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi may also have been living in the Philippines, and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed occasionally stays there. While in the Philippines, it is possible the hijackers meet with associates of Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, bin Laden's brother-in-law (see December 16, 1994-May 1995). Khalifa has been closely linked with the Philippines chapter of the International Islamic Relief Organization, which gets much of its money from the Saudi Arabian government. The organization has recently been accused of being a front for al-Qaeda. Amongst other connections to terrorism, Khalifa helped fund the Islamic Army of Aden, a group that claimed responsibility for the bombing of the USS Cole. [Boston Herald, 10/14/01] Khalifa has been connected through phone calls to Hambali, a major terrorist who attended a planning meeting for the 9/11 attacks in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000), also attended by two hijackers connected to the Islamic Army of Aden. [Cox News Service, 10/21/01; PBS Frontline, 10/3/02 (C)] (The US had Khalifa in custody for about six months in 1995.) Nothing more has been heard to confirm or deny the hijackers' Philippines connections since these reports.
People and organizations involved: Abdulaziz Alomari, Ahmed Alghamdi, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Saeed Alghamdi, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, Mohamed Atta, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Nurjaman Riduan Isamuddin, Marwan Alshehhi, Ahmed, International Islamic Relief Organization, Islamic Army of Aden
          

Spring 2000: Atta and Alshehhi Rent Rooms in Brooklyn and the Bronx      Complete 911 Timeline

       Mohamed Atta and another of the 9/11 hijackers (presumably Marwan Alshehhi) rent rooms in New York City, according to a federal investigator. These rooms are in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Following 9/11, Atta is traced back to Brooklyn by a parking ticket issued to a rental car he was driving. However, immigration records have Mohamed Atta entering the US for the first time on June 3, 2000 (see June 3, 2000). The Associated Press article on this subject does not specify if Atta first stayed in New York before or after that date. [Associated Press, 12/8/01] According to a brief mention in the 9/11 Commission's final report, in the month of June, “As [Atta and Marwan Alshehhi] looked at flight schools on the East Coast, [they] stayed in a series of short-term rentals in New York City.” [Washington Post, 8/13/05; 9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/24/04, p. 224] Earlier in 2000, a US Army intelligence program called Able Danger identified an al-Qaeda terrorist cell based in Brooklyn, of which Atta is a member (see January-February 2000). Also, a number of eyewitnesses later report seeing Atta in Maine and Florida before this official arrival date (see April 2000; Late April-Mid-May 2000).
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Able Danger, Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta
          

April 2000: Atta in Portland Public Library Before Official Arrival Date      Complete 911 Timeline

       Spruce Whited, director of security for the Portland, Maine Public Library, later says Mohamed Atta and possibly a second hijacker are regulars at the library and frequently use public Internet terminals at this time. He says four other employees recognize Atta as a library patron. “I remember seeing [Atta] in the spring of 2000,” he says. “I have a vague memory of a second one who turned out to be [Atta's] cousin.” Whited also says federal authorities have not inquired about the library sightings. [Boston Herald, 10/5/01; Portland Press Herald, 10/5/01] According to the official story, Atta does not arrive in the US until June 3, 2000. [Miami Herald, 9/22/01; Australian Broadcasting Corp., 11/12/01]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta
          

Late April-Mid-May 2000: Atta Leaves Numerous Clues While Seeking Crop-Dusting Airplane Loan      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Department of Agriculture official Johnelle Bryant.
Mohamed Atta reportedly has a very strange meeting with Johnelle Bryant of the US Department of Agriculture (incidentally, one month before the official story claims he arrived in the US for the first time). According to Bryant, in the meeting Atta does all of the following:
He initially refuses to speak with one who is “but a FEMAle.”
He asks her for a loan of $650,000 to buy and modify a crop-dusting plane.
He mentions that he wants to “build a chemical tank that would fit inside the aircraft and take up every available square inch of the aircraft except for where the pilot would be sitting.”
He uses his real name even as she takes notes, and makes sure she spells it correctly.
He says he has just arrived from Afghanistan.
He tells about his travel plans to Spain and Germany.
He expresses an interest in visiting New York.
He asks her about security at the WTC and other US landmarks.
He discusses al-Qaeda and its need for American membership.
He tells her bin Laden “would someday be known as the world's greatest leader.”
He asks to buy the aerial photograph of Washington hanging on her Florida office wall, throwing increasingly large “wads of cash” at her when she refuses to sell it. [ABC News, 6/6/02]
After Bryant points out one of the buildings in the Washington photograph as her former place of employment, he asks her, “How would you like it if somebody flew an airplane into your friends' building?”
He asks her, “What would prevent [me] from going behind [your] desk and cutting [your] throat and making off with the millions of dollars” in the safe behind her.
He asks, “How would America like it if another country destroyed [Washington] and some of the monuments in it like the cities in [my] country had been destroyed?”
He gets “very agitated” when he isn't given the money in cash on the spot.
Atta later tries to get the loan again from the same woman, this time “slightly disguised” by wearing glasses. Three other apparent hijackers also attempt to get the same loan from Bryant, but all of them fail. Bryant turns them down because they do not meet the loan requirements, and fails to notify anyone about these strange encounters until after 9/11. Government officials not only confirm the account and say that Bryant passed a lie detector test, but also elaborate that the account is consistent with other information they have received from interrogating prisoners. Supposedly, failing to get the loan, the terrorists switched plans from using crop dusters to hijacking aircraft. As of July 1, 2004; the 9/11 Commission has failed to mention any aspect of Johnelle Bryant's account. [ABC News, 6/6/02; Times of London, 6/8/02] This event contradicts FBI Director Mueller's later testimony about the hijackers: “There were no slip-ups. Discipline never broke down. They gave no hint to those around them what they were about.” [CNN, 9/28/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, World Trade Center, Johnelle Bryant, Mohamed Atta
          

June 2000: Hijackers Open Many Bank Accounts in Florida; Transactions Not Followed      Complete 911 Timeline

       Mohamed Atta and other hijackers begin to open bank accounts in Florida. At least 35 accounts are opened, 14 of them at SunTrust Bank. All are opened with fake social security numbers (some with randomly made up numbers), yet none of the accounts are checked or questioned by the banks. [New York Times, 7/10/02] One transfer from the United Arab Emirates three months later totaling $69,985 prompts the bank to make a “suspicious transaction report” to the US Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Apparently, no investigation into this transaction occurs. [Financial Times, 11/29/01]
People and organizations involved: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, SunTrust Bank, Mohamed Atta, Mohamed Atta
          

June 3, 2000: Atta Supposedly Arrives in US for First Time, Despite Evidence of Prior Entries      Complete 911 Timeline

      
A portion of Mohamed Atta's US visa obtained in May 2000.
Mohamed Atta supposedly arrives in the US for the first time, flying from Prague to Newark on a tourist visa issued May 18 in Berlin. [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 11/12/01; Miami Herald, 9/22/01]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta
          

June 10, 2000: Almihdhar Flies from San Diego to Germany; Return Date Unclear      Complete 911 Timeline

       Hijacker Khalid Almihdhar flies from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] Authorities later believe that Almihdhar visits his cousin-in-law Ramzi Bin al-Shibh and bin al-Shibh's roommate Mohamed Atta and other al-Qaeda members in bin al-Shibh's cell. However, since the CIA fails to notify Germany about their suspicions of either Almihdhar or bin al-Shibh, both of whom were seen attending the al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia in January, German police fail to monitor them and another chance to uncover the 9/11 plot is missed. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; Die Zeit, 10/1/02] FBI Director Mueller and the congressional inquiry into 9/11 will claim that Almihdhar does not return to the US for over a year [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/26/02; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] , despite evidence to the contrary. For instance, an FBI agent is told Khalid Almihdhar is in the room when he calls Almihdhar's landlord in autumn 2000. Almihdhar gets a New Jersey ID in December 2000 (see December 30, 2000), and there are indications Almihdhar attends a flight school in Arizona in early 2001. [Arizona Republic, 9/28/01]
People and organizations involved: Germany, Robert S. Mueller III, Mohamed Atta, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Central Intelligence Agency, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Almihdhar
          

June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000: Hijackers Receive $100,000 in Funding from United Arab Emirates Location      Complete 911 Timeline

       Someone using the aliases “Isam Mansour,” “Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi,” “Mr. Ali,” and “Hani (Fawaz Trdng)” sends a total of $109,910 to the 9/11 hijackers in a series of transfers between these dates. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/26/02; Financial Times, 11/30/01; MSNBC, 12/11/01; New York Times, 12/10/01; Newsweek, 12/2/01] The money is sent from Sharjah, an emirate in the United Arab Emirates that is allegedly a center for al-Qaeda's illegal financial dealings. The identity of this moneyman “Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi” is in dispute. It has been claimed that the name “Mustafa Ahmed” is an alias used by Saeed Sheikh, a known ISI and al-Qaeda agent who sends the hijackers money in August 2001. [CNN, 10/6/01] India claims that Pakistani ISI Director Mahmood orders Saeed to send the hijackers the money at this time. [Daily Excelsior, 10/18/01; Frontline, 10/6/01] French author Bernard-Henri Levy claims to have evidence from sources inside both Indian and US governments of phone calls between Sheikh and Mahmood during this same time period, and he sees a connection between the timing of the calls and the money transfers (see Summer 2000). [Who Killed Daniel Pearl? by Bernard-Henri Levy, pp 320-324] FBI Director Mueller's theory is that this money is sent by “Ali Abdul Aziz Ali.” However, of the four aliases used in the different transactions, Mueller connects this man only to three, and not to the alias “Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi.” [Associated Press, 9/26/02; New York Times, 12/10/01; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/26/02] It appears that most of the money is sent to an account shared by Marwan Alshehhi and Mohamed Atta, who would obtain money orders and distribute the money to the other hijackers. [CNN, 10/1/01; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/26/02; MSNBC, 12/11/01] The New York Times later suggests that the amount passed from “Mustafa Ahmed” to the Florida bank accounts right up until the day before the attack is around $325,000. The rest of the $500,000-$600,000 they receive for US expenses comes from another, still unknown source. [New York Times, 7/10/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, United Arab Emirates, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Mahmood Ahmed, Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, Saeed Sheikh, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Robert S. Mueller III, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, al-Qaeda, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi, Fawaz Trdng, Isam Mansour
          

July 2000: Atta and Alshehhi Move to Florida and Enroll in Pilot Classes      Complete 911 Timeline

       Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi move to Venice, Florida, and enroll in pilot classes at Huffman Aviation. [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, Huffman Aviation
          

(Before September 2000): Army Intelligence Unit Said to Discover Hijackers Renting Rooms at New Jersey Motels      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to an anonymous Able Danger official speaking to the Bergen Record, a US Army intelligence unit tasked with assembling information about al-Qaeda networks worldwide discovers that several of the 9/11 hijackers are taking rooms at motels in New Jersey and meeting together there. The intelligence unit, called Able Danger, which uses high-speed computers to analyze vast amounts of data, notices that Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi take a room at the Wayne Inn (see (Before September 2000-12 Months Later)). After the existence of the Able Danger unit comes to light in 2005, Bergen Record columnist and reporter Mike Kelly says, “The connect-the-dots tracking by the team was so good that it even knew Atta conducted meetings with the three future hijackers. One of those meetings took place at the Wayne Inn. That's how close all this was—to us and to being solved, if only the information had been passed up the line to FBI agents or even to local cops. This new piece of 9/11 history, revealed only last week by a Pennsylvania congressman and confirmed by two former members of the intelligence team, could turn out to be one of the most explosive revelations since the publication last summer of the 9/11 commission report.” [Bergen Record, 8/14/05] The other two hijackers said to be present at the meetings, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, periodically live in the town of Paterson, only one mile away from Wayne (see March 2001-September 1, 2001). However, contradicting this account, a lawyer representing members of Able Danger later testifies, “At no time did Able Danger identify Mohamed Atta as being physically present in the United States.” [Mark Zaid Statement, 9/21/05; CNN, 9/21/05] Some media accounts have stated that the Able Danger program determined Atta was in the US before 9/11. For instance, Fox News reported in August 2005, “[Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer] is standing by his claim that he told them that the lead hijacker in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks had been identified in the summer of 2000 as an al-Qaeda operative living in the United States.” [Fox News, 8/17/05]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Marwan Alshehhi, Able Danger, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Mohamed Atta, Anthony Shaffer
          

December 2000-April 2001: Israeli Investigators Deported After Identifying Two Hijackers      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to later German reports, “a whole horde of Israeli counter-terror investigators, posing as students, [follow] the trails of Arab terrorists and their cells in the United States. ... In the town of Hollywood, Florida, they [identify] ... Atta and Marwan Alshehhi as possible terrorists. Agents [live] in the vicinity of the apartment of the two seemingly normal flight school students, observing them around the clock.” Supposedly, around April, the Israeli agents are discovered and deported, terminating the investigation. [Der Spiegel, 10/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks, Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta
          

January 2001-September 11, 2001: Hijackers Witnessed Preparing False IDs in Toronto Photocopy Shop with al-Marabh      Complete 911 Timeline

       Numerous witnesses later recall seeing hijackers Mohamed Atta and/or Marwan Alshehhi in Nabil al-Marabh's Toronto apartment building and photocopy shop owned by al-Marabh's uncle at various times during the year. [Toronto Sun, 9/28/01; ABC News, 1/31/02] Some of the dozens of eyewitness accounts say Atta sporadically works in the photocopy shop. [Toronto Sun, 10/21/01] There is a large picture of bin Laden hanging in the store. [Toronto Sun, 10/21/01] Partially completed fake IDs are found in the store and at al-Marabh's apartment. [Toronto Sun, 10/16/01; Toronto Sun, 9/28/01] “Forensic officers said there are similarities in the paper stock, laminates and ink seized from the downtown store and that which was used in identification left behind by the [9/11 hijackers].” [Toronto Sun, 10/16/01] US and Canadian police later determine that there is a flurry of phone calls and financial transactions between al-Marabh, Atta, and Alshehhi days before the attacks. [Toronto Sun, 11/16/01] US intelligence also intercepts al-Marabh's associates making post-9/11 phone calls praising attacks. [Ottawa Citizen, 10/29/01] US police say al-Marabh is one of their top five suspects in the 9/11 attacks. Canadian police say he is linked through financial and phone records to some of the suicide pilots, and believe he heads a Toronto al-Qaeda cell. [Toronto Sun, 11/23/01]
People and organizations involved: Nabil al-Marabh, Mohamed Atta, Osama bin Laden, Marwan Alshehhi
          

February 2001-April 2001: Atta Said to Scope Out Virginia Naval Base      Complete 911 Timeline

       Newsweek later reports that federal investigators believe Mohamed Atta visits Norfolk, Virginia, site of a huge US Navy base, in February and again in April. “The Feds believe that Atta was scoping out an aircraft carrier as a target.” [Newsweek, 10/25/01; Newsweek, 9/17/01]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta
          

March 2001-September 1, 2001: Hani Hanjour and Other Hijackers Live in Paterson, New Jersey      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The apartment building in Paterson, New Jersey, where some of the hijackers lived.
Hani Hanjour and Salem Alhazmi rent a one-room apartment in Paterson, New Jersey. Hanjour signs the lease. Nawaf Alhazmi, Saeed Alghamdi, and Mohamed Atta are also seen coming and going by neighbors. One unnamed hijacker has to be told by a neighbor how to screw in a light bulb. [Associated Press, 10/7/01 (B); Washington Post, 9/30/01] The 9/11 Commission's account of this differs from previous press accounts, and has Hanjour and Nawaf Alhazmi (instead of his brother Salem) first moving to Paterson in mid-May. Salem Alhazmi, Majed Moqed, Abdulaziz Alomari, Khalid Almihdhar, and probably Ahmed Alghamdi are all seen living there as well during the summer. [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/24/04, p. 230] Other reports have Hani Hanjour and Nawaf Alhazmi living periodically in Falls Church, Virginia, over nearly the exact same time period, from March through August 2001 (see March 2001). During this time, Mohamed Atta and other hijackers live in Wayne, New Jersey, a town only one mile from Paterson (see (Before September 2000-12 Months Later)).
People and organizations involved: William Safire, Salem Alhazmi, Majed Moqed, Mohamed Atta, Nawaf Alhazmi, Saeed Alghamdi, Ahmed Alghamdi, Abdulaziz Alomari, Khalid Almihdhar
          

May-August 2001: Hijackers Take Practice Flights and Enjoy Las Vegas Diversions      Complete 911 Timeline

       A number of the hijackers make at least six trips to Las Vegas. It is probable they met here after doing practice runs on cross-country flights. At least Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Nawaf Alhazmi, Ziad Jarrah, Khalid Almihdhar and Hani Hanjour were involved. All of these “fundamentalist” Muslims drink alcohol, gamble, and frequent strip clubs. They even have strippers perform lap dances for them. [San Francisco Chronicle, 10/4/01; Newsweek, 10/15/01]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, William Safire, Ziad Jarrah, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi
          

May 6-September 6, 2001: Some Hijackers Work Out at Gyms, Some Merely Hang Out      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Ziad Jarrah's computer record at the US1 Fitness gym.
The hijackers work out at various gyms, presumably getting in shape for the hijacking. Ziad Jarrah appears to train intensively from May to August, and Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi also take exercising very seriously. [Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01; New York Times, 9/23/01] However, these three are presumably pilots who would need the training the least. For instance, Jarrah's trainer says, “If he wasn't one of the pilots, he would have done quite well in thwarting the passengers from attacking.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01] For instance, Hani Hanjour, Majed Moqed, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, and Salem Alhazmi work out for only four days in early September. [Associated Press, 9/21/01] Three others—Waleed Alshehri, Wail Alshehri and Satam al-Suqami— “simply clustered around a small circuit of machines, never asking for help and, according to a trainer, never pushing any weights. ‘You know, I don't actually remember them ever doing anything... They would just stand around and watch people.’ ” [New York Times, 9/23/01] Those three also had a one month membership in Florida—whether they ever actually worked out there is unknown. [Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01]
People and organizations involved: Salem Alhazmi, Ziad Jarrah, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Majed Moqed, William Safire, Mohamed Atta, Waleed M. Alshehri, Central Intelligence Agency, Marwan Alshehhi, Satam Al Suqami, Wail Alshehri
          

Summer 2001: NSA Fails to Share Intercepted Information About Calls Between Atta and Mohammed      Complete 911 Timeline

       Around this time, the NSA intercepts telephone conversations between Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Mohamed Atta, but apparently does not share the information with any other agencies. The FBI has a $2 million reward for Mohammed at the time, while Atta is in charge of operations inside the US. [Knight Ridder, 6/6/02; Independent, 6/6/02] The NSA either fails to translate these messages in a timely fashion or fails to understand the significance of what was translated. [Knight Ridder, 6/6/02]
People and organizations involved: National Security Agency, Mohamed Atta, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

July 8-19, 2001: Atta, Bin Al-Shibh, Alshehhi, and Others Meet in Spain to Finalize Attack Plans      Complete 911 Timeline

       Mohamed Atta travels to Spain again (his first trip was in January). Three others cross the Atlantic with him but their names are not known, as they apparently use false identities. [El Mundo, 9/30/01] Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, a member of his Hamburg terrorist cell, arrives in Spain on July 9, and stays until July 16. [New York Times, 5/1/02] Hijacker Marwan Alshehhi also comes to Spain at about the same time and leaves on July 17. [Associated Press, 6/30/02] Alshehhi must have traveled under another name, because US immigration has no records of his departure or return. [Department of Justice, 5/20/02] Investigators believe Atta, Alshehhi, and bin al-Shibh meet with at least three Unknown others in a secret safe house near Tarragona. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02; Associated Press, 6/30/02] It is theorized that the final details of the 9/11 attacks are set at this meeting. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Atta probably meets with, and is hosted by, Barakat Yarkas and other Spanish al-Qaeda members. [International Herald Tribune, 11/21/01] One of the unknowns at the meeting could be Yarkas's friend Mamoun Darkazanli, a German with connections to the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. Darkazanli travels to Spain and meets with Yarkas during the time Atta is there. He travels with an unnamed Syrian Spanish suspect, who lived in Afghanistan and had access there to al-Qaeda leaders. [Los Angeles Times, 1/14/03] The Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia later reports that Atta also meets with fellow hijackers Waleed Alshehri and Wail Alshehri on July 16. [Associated Press, 9/27/01] Strangely enough, on July 16, Atta stayed in the same hotel in the town of Salou that had hosted FBI counterterrorist expert John O'Neill a few days earlier, when he made a speech to other counterterrorism experts on the need for greater international cooperation by police agencies to combat terrorism. Bin al-Shibh arrived in Salou on July 9, which means he would have been there when the counter-terrorist meeting took place. [Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp 135]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Barakat Yarkas, Wail Alshehri, John O'Neill, Mamoun Darkazanli, Marwan Alshehhi, International Herald Tribune
          

Early August 2001: Saeed Sheikh Receives Ransom Money; Sends $100,000 to Atta      Complete 911 Timeline

       The ransom for a wealthy Indian shoe manufacturer kidnapped in Calcutta, India, two weeks earlier is paid to an Indian gangster named Aftab Ansari. Ansari is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and has ties to the ISI and Saeed Sheikh. Ansari gives about $100,000 of the about $830,000 in ransom money to Saeed, who sends it to hijacker Mohamed Atta. [Independent, 1/24/02; Los Angeles Times, 1/23/02] A series of recovered e-mails shows the money is sent just after August 11. This appears to be one of a series of Indian kidnappings this gang carries out in 2001. [India Today, 2/14/02; Times of India, 2/14/02] Saeed provides training and weapons to the kidnappers in return for a percentage of the profits. [Frontline, 2/2/02; India Today, 2/25/02]
People and organizations involved: Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Mohamed Atta, Saeed Sheikh, Aftab Ansari
          

August 4, 2001: Possible 20th Hijacker Denied Entry to US      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Customs agent Jose Melendez-Perez.
A Saudi named Mohammed Al-Qahtani is stopped at the Orlando, Florida, airport and denied entry to the US. Jose Melendez-Perez, the customs official who stops him, later says he was suspicious of Al-Qahtani because he had arrived with no return ticket, no hotel reservations, spoke little English, behaved menacingly, and offered conflicting information on the purpose of his travel. At one point, Al-Qahtani said that someone was waiting for him elsewhere at the airport. After 9/11, surveillance cameras show that Mohamed Atta was at the Orlando airport that day. 9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste says: “It is extremely possible and perhaps probable that [Al-Qahtani] was to be the 20th hijacker.” Al-Qahtani boards a return flight to Saudi Arabia. He is later captured in Afghanistan and sent to a US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Melendez-Perez says that before 9/11, customs officials were discouraged by their superiors from hassling Saudi travelers, who were seen as big spenders. [Los Angeles Times, 1/27/04]
People and organizations involved: Mohammed Al-Qahtani, Mohamed Atta, Richard Ben-Veniste
          

September 8-11, 2001: Last-Minute Money Transfers Between Hijackers and United Arab Emirates      Complete 911 Timeline

       The 9/11 hijackers send money to and receive money from a man in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who uses the aliases “Mustafa Ahmed,” “Mustafa Ahmad,” and “Ahamad Mustafa.” [MSNBC, 12/11/01] This “Mustafa” transfers money to Mohamed Atta in Florida on September 8 and 9 from a branch of the Al Ansari Exchange in Sharjah, UAE, a center of al-Qaeda financial dealings. [Financial Times, 11/30/01] On September 9, three hijackers, Atta, Waleed Alshehri, and Marwan Alshehhi, transfer about $15,000 back to “Mustafa's” account. [Time, 10/1/01; Los Angeles Times, 10/20/01] Apparently the hijackers are returning money meant for the 9/11 attacks that they have not needed. “Mustafa” then transfers $40,000 to his Visa card and then, using a Saudi passport, flies from the UAE to Karachi, Pakistan, on 9/11. He makes six ATM withdrawals there two days later, and then disappears into Pakistan. [MSNBC, 12/11/01] In early October 2001, it is reported that the financier “Mustafa Ahmed” is an alias used by Saeed Sheikh. [CNN, 10/6/01] It will later be reported that Saeed wired money to Atta the month before. These last-minute transfers are touted as the “smoking gun” proving al-Qaeda involvement in the 9/11 attacks, since Saeed is a known financial manager for bin Laden. [Guardian, 10/1/01]
People and organizations involved: Ahamad Mustafa, Waleed M. Alshehri, Marwan Alshehhi, Saeed Sheikh, Mohamed Atta, United Arab Emirates, al-Qaeda
          

September 10, 2001: NSA Monitors Call as Mohammed Gives Final Approval to Launch Attacks      Complete 911 Timeline

       Mohamed Atta calls Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Afghanistan. Mohammed gives final approval to Atta to launch the attacks. This call is monitored and translated by the US, although it is not known how quickly the call is translated, and the specifics of the conversation haven't been released. [Independent, 9/15/02]
People and organizations involved: United States, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Mohamed Atta
          

Before September 11, 2001: Hijackers Drink, Watch Strip Shows on Eve of Attacks      Complete 911 Timeline

       A number of the hijackers apparently drink alcohol heavily in bars and watch strip shows. On September 10, three of them spend $200 to $300 apiece on lap dances and drinks in the Pink Pony, a Daytona Beach, Florida strip club. While the hijackers had left Florida by this time, Mohamed Atta is reported to have visited the same strip club, and these men appear to have had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. [Boston Herald, 10/10/01] Marwan Alshehhi and Mohamed Atta are seen entering the Hollywood, Florida, sports bar Shuckums already drunk. They proceed to drink even more hard alcohol there . Atta and Alshehhi are seen at Sunrise 251, a bar in Palm Beach, Florida. They spend $1,000 in 45 minutes on Krug and Perrier-Jouet champagne. Atta is with a tall busty brunette in her late twenties; Alshehhi is with a shortish blonde. Both women are known locally as regular companions of high-rollers. [Daily Mail, 9/16/01] A stripper at the Olympic Garden Topless Cabaret in Las Vegas, Nevada, recalls Marwan Alshehhi being “cheap,” paying only $20 for a lap dance. [Cox News, 10/16//01] Several hijackers reportedly patronize the Nardone's Go-Go Bar in Elizabeth, New Jersey. They are even seen there on the weekend before 9/11. [Wall Street Journal, 10/16/01; Boston Herald, 10/10/01] Majed Moqed visits a porn shop and rents a porn video. The mayor of Paterson, New Jersey, says of the six hijackers who stayed there: “Nobody ever saw them at mosques, but they liked the go-go clubs.” [Newsweek, 10/15/01] Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar often frequented Cheetah's, a nude bar in San Diego. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Hamza Alghamdi watched a porn video on September 10. [Wall Street Journal, 10/16/01] University of Florida religion professor Richard Foltz states, “It is incomprehensible that a person could drink and go to a strip bar one night, then kill themselves the next day in the name of Islam ... People who would kill themselves for their faith would come from very strict Islamic ideology. Something here does not add up.” [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Almihdhar, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Hamza Alghamdi, Nawaf Alhazmi, Majed Moqed
          

(5:53 a.m.): Two Hijackers Caught on Video as They Board a Flight to Boston      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Abdulaziz Alomari, right, and Mohamed Atta, left (in dark shirt), passing through security in the Portland, Maine, airport. Note the different times on the two time stamps, one in the middle, one at the bottom.
Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari board a Colgan Air flight from Portland, Maine, to Boston, Massachusetts. A security camera captures Atta and Alomari going through security at the Portland airport. [New York Daily News, 5/22/02; Miami Herald, 9/22/01; FBI, 10/4/01; Time, 9/24/01]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Abdulaziz Alomari
          

(6:00 a.m.): Two Hijackers Fly to Boston      Complete 911 Timeline

       Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari's flight from Portland to Boston takes off. [FBI, 10/4/01] Two passengers later say Atta and Alomari board separately, keep quiet, and do not draw attention to themselves. [Washington Post, 9/16/01; Chicago Sun-Times, 9/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Abdulaziz Alomari
          

(6:30 a.m.): Hijackers Cause Scene in Airport, Have Pass to Restricted Airport Areas      Complete 911 Timeline

       A man has an argument with five Middle Eastern men over a parking space in the parking lot of Boston's Logan Airport. He reports the event later in the day and officials discover that the car was rented by Mohamed Atta. Inside the car, police find a ramp pass, which allows access to restricted airport areas. [Miami Herald, 9/22/01; News of the World, 9/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Logan Airport, Mohamed Atta
          

6:50 a.m.: Hijacker's Connecting Flight Arrives in Boston      Complete 911 Timeline

       Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari's Portland-Boston flight arrives on time at Boston's Logan Airport. [Der Spiegel, 2002]
People and organizations involved: Logan Airport, Mohamed Atta, Abdulaziz Alomari
          

(7:45 a.m.): Hijack Suspects' Bags Contain Airline Uniforms      Complete 911 Timeline

       Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari board Flight 11. Atta's bags are not loaded onto the plane in time and are later found by investigators. Investigators later find airline uniforms and many other remarkable items. [Boston Globe, 9/18/01] It is later reported that at least two other hijackers on Flight 11 use stolen uniforms and IDs to board the plane. [Sunday Herald, 9/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Abdulaziz Alomari, Mohamed Atta
          

(Before 7:59 a.m.): Inter Flight Phone Call Between Hijackers      Complete 911 Timeline

       Hijacker Mohamed Atta on Flight 11 calls hijacker Marwan Alshehhi in Flight 175 as both planes sit on the runway. They presumably confirm the plot is on. [Time, 8/4/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta
          

(Before 8:26 a.m.): Hijackers Identified by Seat Locations      Complete 911 Timeline

       Having been told by flight attendant Amy Sweeney the seat locations of three hijackers (see (8:22 a.m.)), American Airlines Flight service manager Michael Woodward orders a colleague at Boston's Logan Airport to look up those seat locations on the reservations computer. The names, addresses, phone numbers, and credit cards of these hijackers are quickly identified: Abdulaziz Alomari is in 9G, Mohamed Atta is in 9D, and Satam Al Suqami is in 10B. 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey notes that from this information, American Airlines officials monitoring the call would probably have known or assumed right away that the hijacking was connected to al-Qaeda. [New York Observer, 2/11/04; ABC News, 7/18/02]
People and organizations involved: Bob Kerrey, Mohamed Atta, Satam Al Suqami, Michael Woodward, Abdulaziz Alomari, al-Qaeda
          

December 17, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Czech Police Chief Jiri Kolar says that there is no evidence that 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta met an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague in April (see April 8, 2001). He also says—contradicting earlier reports—that there is no documentary evidence that Atta traveled to Prague at all in 2001. Additionally, an unnamed Czech intelligence official tells the newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes, that that the person who had met with al-Ani on April 2001 near Prague was not Atta. Another person with the same name had arrived in Prague in 2001 but he “didn't have the same identity card number.” Furthermore, “There was a great difference in their ages, their nationalities didn't match, basically nothing—it was someone else,” the source says. It is also reported that a man named Hassan, described as a businessman and a long-time member of Prague's Arab community, claims to have been a close friend of al-Ani. Hassan says that he believes the Czechs had mistaken another man for Atta, a used car dealer from Nuremberg by the name of Saleh, who often visited Prague to meet al-Ani and and who sold him at least one car. “I have sat with the two of them at least twice. The double is an Iraqi who has met with the consul. If someone saw a photo of Atta he might easily mistake the two,” Hassan says. [Associated Press, 12/16/01; Telegraph, 12/18/01; New York Times, 12/16/01 Sources: Unnamed Czech intelligence officials, Jiri Kolar, Hassan, Unnamed Interior Ministry official] Responding to the report, Gabriela Bartikova, spokeswoman for the Czech Minister of Interior, says that the Czech intelligence agency still believes that Mohammed Atta and al-Ani, the consul and second secretary of the Iraqi embassy met in April 2001. She says, “Minister Gross had the information from BIS (the Czech Republic's Intelligence Agency), and BIS guarantees the information. So we stick by that information.” At about the same time, US officials tell the Associated Press they also still believe the meeting had transpired. [Associated Press, 12/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Stanislav Gross, Mohamed Atta, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani
          

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