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Profile: Richard ("Dick") Cheney

 
  

Positions that Richard ("Dick") Cheney has held:

  • US Vice President
  • CEO of Halliburton, Inc.
  • Secretary of Defense


 

Quotes

 
  

Quote, September 16, 2001

   “There is—in the past, there have been some activities related to terrorism by Saddam Hussein. But at this stage, you know, the focus is over here on al-Qaida and the most recent events in New York. Saddam Hussein's bottled up, at this point, but clearly, we continue to have a fairly tough policy where the Iraqis are concerned.” [White House, 9/16/2001]

Associated Events

Quote, March 16, 2002

   “I think Mr. ElBaradei, frankly, is wrong [about his conclusion that there ‘is no indication of resumed nuclear activities’ ]. And I think if you look at the track record of the International Atomic Energy Agency in this kind of issue, especially where Iraq's concerned, they have consistently underestimated or missed what it was Saddam Hussein was doing. I don't have any reason to believe they're any more valid this time than they've been in the past.... We believe [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” [NBC, 9/15/03, The New Republic, 6/30/03]

Associated Events

Quote, August 26, 2002

   “What he wants is time, and more time to husband his resources to invest in his ongoing chemical and biological weapons program, and to gain possession of nuclear weapons.” [New York Times, 8/26/02]

Associated Events

Quote, September 8, 2002

   “[B]ased on intelligence that�s becoming available—some of it has been made public [referring to the recent New York Times story — ... he has indeed stepped up his capacity to produce and deliver biological weapons, ... he has reconstituted his nuclear program to develop a nuclear weapon, ... there are efforts under way inside Iraq to significantly expand his capability. ... There�s a story in The New York Times this morning ... [I]t�s now public that, in fact, he has been seeking to acquire, and we have been able to intercept and prevent him from acquiring through this particular channel, the kinds of tubes that are necessary to build a centrifuge. And the centrifuge is required to take low-grade uranium and enhance it into highly enriched uranium, which is what you have to have in order to build a bomb. This is a technology he was working on back, say, before the Gulf War. And one of the reasons it�s of concern, ... is ... [that] we know about a particular shipment. We�ve intercepted that. We don�t know what else—what other avenues he may be taking out there, what he may have already acquired. We do know he�s had four years without any inspections at all in Iraq to develop that capability. ... [W]e do know, with absolute certainty, that he [Saddam Hussein] is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment [aluminum tubes] he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon. ... We are trying very hard not be unilateralist, We are working to build support with the American people, with the Congress, as many have suggested we should. And we are also as many of us suggested we should, going to the United Nations, and the president will address this issue. ... We would like to do it with the sanction of the international community. But the point in Iraq is this problem has to be dealt with one way or the other.” [Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 10/27/03, Washington Post, 2/7/03]

Associated Events

Quote, December 2, 2002

   Saddam Hussein is “harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror” and “has had high-level contacts with al-Qaeda going back a decade and has provided training to al-Qaeda terrorists.” [White House, 12/3/02c, Washington Post, 12/3/02]

Associated Events

Quote, March 16, 2003

   “He's had years to get good at it and we believe he [Saddam Hussein] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei [the director of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)] frankly is wrong.” [Sunday Herald, 7/13/03]

Associated Events

Undefined, September 14, 2003

   “With respect to 9/11, of course, we've had the story ... the Czechs alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack, but we've never been able to develop anymore of that yet, either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it.” [Washington Post, 9/29/03, Democracy Now, 9/16/2003]

Associated Events

Quote, June 13, 2005

   “Any suggestion that we did not exhaust all alternatives before we got to that point, I think, is inaccurate.” [MSNBC, 6/14/2005]

Associated Events


 

Relations

 
  

Related Entities:


 

Richard ("Dick") Cheney actively participated in the following events:

 
  

1976      US confrontation with Iran

       President Gerald R. Ford signs a presidential directive giving the Iranian government the opportunity to purchase a US-built nuclear reprocessing facility for extracting plutonium from nuclear reactor fuel. Iran, with support from the US, wants to develop a massive nuclear energy industry that has complete “nuclear fuel cycle” capability so fissile materials can be supplied self-sustaining basis. US companies, chief among them Westinghouse, stands to make $6.4 billion from the sale of six to eight nuclear reactors and parts. The shah has argued that Iran needs a nuclear energy program in order to meet Iran's growing energy demand. Iran is known to have massive oil and gas reserves, but the shah considers these finite reserves too valuable to be spent satisfying daily energy needs. In a 1975 strategy paper, the Ford administration supported this view saying that “introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran's economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals.” Top officials in the Ford administration—including Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Chief of Staff Dick Cheney, and Paul Wolfowitz, who is responsible for nonproliferation issues at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency—are strong supporters of Iran's ambitions. Kissinger will tell the Washington Post 30 years later that the Ford administration was not concerned about the possibility of Iran using the facilities to produce nuclear weapons. “I don't think the issue of proliferation came up,” he says. But Charles Naas, deputy US ambassador to Iran at this time, will tell the Post that nuclear experts had serious concerns about potential proliferation. Naas will explain that the administration was attracted to the nuclear deal “terms of commerce” and interested in maintaining good relations with the shah. [Washington Post, 3/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr, Henry A. Kissinger, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

January 1993: Cheney Releases New Global Domination Strategy      Complete 911 Timeline

       While still serving as Defense Secretary, Dick Cheney releases a documented titled “Defense Strategy for the 1990s,” in which he reasserts the plans for US global domination outlined in the Defense Policy Guide leaked to the press in March 1992 (see March 8, 1992). [Harper's, 10/02] Clinton's inauguration as president later in the month precludes Cheney from actually implementing his plans.
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

(1997-1998)      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       According to Middle East expert Judith Kipper, around this time, Ahmed Chalabi makes “a deliberate decision to turn to the right,” having realized that conservatives are more likely than liberals to support his plan to use force to topple Saddam Hussein's government. Chalabi's aide, Francis Brooke, later explains to the New Yorker: “We thought very carefully about this, and realized there were only a couple of hundred people” in Washington capable of influencing US policy toward Iraq. He also attends social functions with Richard Perle, whom he met in 1985 (see 1985) and who is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Dick Cheney, the CEO of Halliburton. According to Brooke, “from the beginning, Cheney was in philosophical agreement with this plan. Cheney has said, ‘Very seldom in life do you get a chance to fix something that went wrong.’ ” Paul Wolfowitz is said to be enamored with Chalabi. According to an American friend of Chalabi, “Chalabi really charmed him. He told me they are both intellectuals. Paul is a bit of a dreamer.” [New Yorker, 6/7/2004] He also becomes friends with L. Marc Zell and Douglas Feith of the Washington-Tel Aviv law, Feith and Zell. [Salon, 5/5/2004] Chalabi tells his neoconservatives friends that if he replaces Saddam Hussein as Iraq's leader, he would establish normal diplomatic and trade ties with Israel, eschew pan-Arab nationalism, and allow the construction of a pipeline from Mosul to the Israeli port of Haifa, Zell later tells Salon magazine. Having a pro-Israeli regime in Iraq would “take[] off the board” one of the only remaining major Arab threats to Israeli security, a senior administration official says in 2003. It would do this “without the need for an accommodation with either the Palestinians or the existing Arab states,” notes Salon. [Salon, 5/5/2004; Knight Ridder, 7/12/2003 Sources: L. Marc Zell] But Chalabi has a different story for his Arab friends. He tells his friend, Moh'd Asad, the managing director of the Amman, Jordan-based International Investment Arabian Group, “that he just need[s] the Jews in order to get what he want[s] from Washington, and that he [will] turn on them after that.” [Salon, 5/5/2004] Chalabi also says that the Iraqis would welcome a US liberation force with open arms. [Christian Science Monitor, 6/15/2004]
People and organizations involved: Saddam Hussein, Moh'd Asad, Douglas Feith, L. Marc Zell, Ahmed Chalabi, Francis Brooke, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

June 23, 1998: Future VP Cheney Raves About Caspian Sea Opportunities      Complete 911 Timeline

       Future Vice President Cheney, currently running the Halliburton energy company, states, “I can't think of a time when we've had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian. It's almost as if the opportunities have arisen overnight.” [Chicago Tribune, 8/10/00; Cato Institute Library]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

September 2000: PNAC Report Recommends Policies That Need New Pearl Harbor for Quick Implementation      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

      
People involved in the 2000 PNAC report (from top left): Vice President Cheney, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Cheney Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby, Undersecretary of State John Bolton, Undersecretary of Defense Dov Zakheim, and author Eliot Cohen.
PNAC drafts a strategy document, “Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” for George W. Bush's team before the 2000 Presidential election. The document was commissioned by future Vice President Cheney, future Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, future Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Florida Governor Jeb Bush (Bush's brother), and future Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis Libby. [Sources: Rebuilding America's Defenses]
The document outlines a “blueprint for maintaining global US preeminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests.”
PNAC states further: “The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”
PNAC calls for the control of space through a new “US Space Forces,” the political control of the Internet, and the subversion of any growth in political power of even close allies, and advocates “regime change” in China, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iran, and other countries.
It also mentions that “advanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.”
However, PNAC complains that thes changes are likely to take a long time, “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.” [Los Angeles Times, 1/12/03] Notably, while Cheney commissioned this plan (along with other future key leaders of the Bush administration), he defends Bush's position of maintaining Clinton's policy not to attack Iraq during an NBC interview in the midst of the 2000 presidential campaign, asserting that the US should not act as though “we were an imperialist power, willy-nilly moving into capitals in that part of the world, taking down governments.” [Washington Post, 1/12/02] A British member of Parliament will later say of the report: “This is a blueprint for US world domination—a new world order of their making. These are the thought processes of fantasist Americans who want to control the world.” [Sunday Herald, 9/7/02] Both PNAC and its strategy plan for Bush are almost virtually ignored by the media until a few weeks before the start of the Iraq war (see February-March 20, 2003).
People and organizations involved: Aaron Friedberg, Steve Forbes, Elliott Abrams, Francis Fukuyama, Norman Podhoretz, Henry S. Rowen, Vin Weber, Eliot A. Cohen, Hasam Amin, William J. Bennett, Midge Decter, George Weigel, John Ellis ("Jeb") Bush, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Project for the New American Century, Paula J. Dobriansky, Frank Gaffney, Donald Kagan, Steve Rosen, Saddam Hussein, Peter Rodman, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, Dan Quayle, Syria, China, United States, Lybia, North Korea, Iraq, Fred C. Ikle
          

October 5, 2000      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       During the vice presidential debates, both Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney advocate a tough stance toward Saddam Hussein. Lieberman says he and Gore would continue to support Iraqi opposition groups “until the Iraqi people rise up and do what the people of Serbia have done in the last few days: get rid of a despot.” Cheney says it might be necessary “to take military action to forcibly remove Saddam from power.” [CATO Daily Dispatch, 10/6/2000]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Joseph Lieberman
          

End of 2001-early 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld authorizes the creation of a “special-access program,” or SAP, with “blanket advance approval to kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate ‘high value’ targets in the Bush administration's war on terror.” [The New Yorker, 5/15/2004; The Guardian, 9/13/2004] The operation, known as “Copper Green,” is approved by Condoleezza Rice and known to President Bush. [The New Yorker, 5/15/2004 Sources: Unnamed former US intelligence official] A SAP is an ultra secret project, the contents of which are known by very few officials. “We're not going to read more people than necessary into our heart of darkness,” a former senior intelligence official tells investigative reporter Seymour Hersh. [The Guardian, 9/13/2004; The New Yorker, 5/15/2004] The SAP is brought up occasionally within the National Security Council (NSC), chaired by the president and members of which are Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Powell. The former intelligence official tells Hersh, “There was a periodic briefing to the National Security Council giving updates on results, but not on the methods.” He also says he believes NSC members know about the process by which these results are acquired. Motive for the SAP comes from an initial freeze in the results obtained by US agents from their hunt for al-Qaeda. Friendly foreign intelligence services on the other hand, from countries in the Middle East and South-East Asia, which employ more aggressive tactics on prisoners, are giving up much better information by the end of 2001. By authorizing the SAP, Rumsfeld, according to Hersh, desires to adopt these tactics and thus increase intelligence results. “Rumsfeld's goal was to get a capability in place to take on a high-value target—a stand-up group to hit quickly,” the former intelligence official tells Hersh. The program's operatives were recruited from among Delta Force, Navy Seals, and CIA's paramilitary experts. They are given, according to Hersh, “blanket advance approval to kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate high-value targets.” They are permitted to carry out “instant interrogations—using force if necessary—at secret CIA detention centers scattered around the world.” Information obtained through the program is sent to the Pentagon in real-time. The former intelligence official tells Hersh: “The rules are ‘Grab whom you must. Do what you want.’ ” [The Guardian, 9/13/2004] The operation, according to Seymour Hersh, “encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation.” [The New Yorker, 5/15/2004]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Richard B. Myers, George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Colin Powell
          

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
          

January 27, 2001: Al-Qaeda's Role in USS Cole Bombing Triggers No Immediate Response      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Washington Post reports that the US has confirmed the link between al-Qaeda and the October 2000 USS Cole bombing (see October 12, 2000). [Washington Post, 1/27/01] This conclusion is stated without hedge in a February 9 briefing for Vice President Cheney. [Washington Post, 1/20/02] In the wake of that bombing, Bush stated on the campaign trail, “I hope that we can gather enough intelligence to figure out who did the act and take the necessary action. ... There must be a consequence.” [Washington Post, 1/20/02] Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz later complains that by the time the new administration is in place, the Cole bombing was “stale.” Defense Secretary Rumsfeld concurs, stating that too much time had passed to respond. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (B)] The new Bush administration fails to resume the covert deployment of cruise missile submarines and gunships on six-hour alert near Afghanistan's borders that had begun under President Clinton. The standby force gave Clinton the option of an immediate strike against targets in Afghanistan harboring al-Qaeda's top leadership. This failure makes a possible assassination of bin Laden much more difficult. [Washington Post, 1/20/02]
People and organizations involved: William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Bush administration, Paul Wolfowitz
          

January 31, 2001: Bipartisan Commission Issues Final Report on Terrorism, but Conclusions Are Ignored      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Gary Hart (left) and Warren Rudman (right) testify before a Senate committee in 2002.
The final report of the US Commission on National Security/21st Century, co-chaired by former Senators Gary Hart (D) and Warren Rudman (R) is issued. The bipartisan report was put together in 1998 by then-President Bill Clinton and then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Hart and Rudman personally brief National Security Adviser Rice, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and Secretary of State Powell on their findings. The report has 50 recommendations on how to combat terrorism in the US, but all of them are ignored by the Bush administration. According to Senator Hart, Congress begins to take the commission's suggestions seriously in March and April, and legislation is introduced to implement some of the recommendations. Then, “Frankly, the White House shut it down... The president said ‘Please wait, We're going to turn this over to the vice president’ ... and so Congress moved on to other things, like tax cuts and the issue of the day.” The White House announces in May that it will have Vice President Cheney study the potential problem of domestic terrorism despite the fact that this commission had just studied the issue for 2 1/2 years. Interestingly, both this commission and the Bush administration were already assuming a new cabinet level National Homeland Security Agency would be enacted eventually, even as the public remained unaware of the term and the concept. [Salon, 9/12/01; Salon, 4/2/04] Hart is incredulous that neither he nor any of the other members of this commission are ever asked to testify before the 9/11 Commission. [Salon, 4/6/04]
People and organizations involved: Newt Gingrich, US Congress, Donald Rumsfeld, 9/11 Commission, Warren Rudman, Colin Powell, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Bush administration, Gary Hart, Commission on National Security/21st Century, Condoleezza Rice
          

Early February 2001: Clarke Urges Cheney to Take Action Against al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline

       Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke briefs Vice President Cheney about the al-Qaeda threat. He urges decisive and quick action against al-Qaeda. Cheney soon visits CIA headquarters for more information about al-Qaeda. However, at later high-level meetings Cheney fails to bring up al-Qaeda as a priority issue. [Clarke, 2004, pp 227-30; Time, 8/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Richard A. Clarke, Central Intelligence Agency, al-Qaeda
          

Late February 2001: Enron Influences Cheney's Energy Task Force to Help Troubled Dabhol Plant      Complete 911 Timeline

       Vice President Cheney is holding a series of secret energy task force meetings to determine the Bush administration's future energy policy. Starting at this time, Enron leader Ken Lay and other Enron officials take part in a least half a dozen of these secret meetings. After one such meeting, Cheney's energy task force changes a draft energy proposal to include a provision boosting oil and natural gas production in India. The amendment is so narrow that it apparently is targeted to only help Enron's troubled Dabhol power plant in India. [Washington Post, 1/19/02]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Kenneth Lay, Enron, Bush administration
          

March 2001: Cheney's Energy Task Force Eyes Iraq's Oil Reserves      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Cheney's Energy Task Force authors a variety of documents relating to the oil industries of Iraq, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. [New York Times, 1/12/04; CBS News, 1/10/04; Judicial Watch, 7/17/03]
Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield contracts - This document, dated March 5, 2001, includes a table listing 30 countries which have interests in Iraq's oil industry. The document also includes the names of companies that have interests, the oil fields with which those interests are associated, as well as the statuses of those interests. [Sources: Iraq Oil Foreign Suitors, page 2, Iraq Oil Foreign Suitors, page 1]
Map of Iraq's oil fields - The map includes markings for “supergiant” oil fields of 5 billion barrels or more, other oilfields, fields “earmarked for production sharing,” oil pipelines, operational refineries, and tanker terminals. [Sources: Iraq Oil Map]
Other documents - Other documents include oil field maps and project tables for both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates [Sources: UAE Oil Map, Saudia Arabia Oil Map, UAE Oil Project Table, Saudi Arabia Oil Project Table]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

April-May 2001: Bush, Cheney Receive Numerous al-Qaeda Warnings      Complete 911 Timeline

       President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and national security aides are given briefing papers headlined, “Bin Laden Planning Multiple Operations,” “Bin Laden Public Profile May Presage Attack,” and “Bin Laden Network's Plans Advancing.” The exact contents of these briefings remain classified, but apparently, none specifically mentions a domestic US attack. [New York Times, 4/18/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

April 12, 2001: Report on Energy Security Argues US Needs to Review Policy on Iraq      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       A report commissioned by former US Secretary of State James Baker and the Council on Foreign Relations, titled “Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century,” is completed and submitted to Vice President Dick Cheney. The report was drafted by the James A.Baker III Institute for Public Policy. Edward L. Morse, an energy industry analyst, chaired the project, and Amy Myers Jaffe was the project's director. The paper urges the US to formulate a comprehensive, integrated strategic energy policy to address the current energy crisis, which it attributes to infrastructural restraints, rapid global economic expansion, and the presence of obstacles to foreign investment in the oil-rich Middle East. The report says the world's supply of oil is not a factor in the crisis. “The reasons for the energy challenge have nothing to do with the global hydrocarbon resource base. ... The world will not run short of hydrocarbons in the foreseeable future,” the paper insists. One of the report's recommendations is to “[r]eview policies toward Iraq” with the ultimate goal of “eas[ing] Iraqi oil-field investment restrictions.” Iraq, under the leadership of Saddam Hussein remains a “destabilizing influence ... to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East.” It also notes, “Saddam Hussein has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his own export program to manipulate oil markets.” Therefore, the report says, the “United States should conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq, including military, energy, economic, and political/diplomatic assessments.” [Sunday Herald, 10/05/02; Sydney Morning Herald, 12/26/02 Sources: Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century]
People and organizations involved: James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University, Amy Myers Jaffe, Edward L. Morse, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, James Baker, Council on Foreign Relations  Additional Info 
          

April 30, 2001: Wolfowitz in Deputy Secretary Meeting: Who Cares About [bin Laden]?      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Bush administration finally has its first Deputy Secretary-level meeting on terrorism. [Time, 8/4/02] According to counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, he advocates that the Northern Alliance needs to be supported in the war against the Taliban, and the Predator drone flights need to resume over Afghanistan so bin Laden can be targeted. [Clarke, 2004, pp 231] Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz says the focus on al-Qaeda is wrong. He states, “I just don't understand why we are beginning by talking about this one man bin Laden,” and “Who cares about a little terrorist in Afghanistan?” Wolfowitz insists the focus should be Iraqi-sponsored terrorism instead. He claims the 1993 attack on the WTC must have been done with help from Iraq, and rejects the CIA's assertion that there has been no Iraqi-sponsored terrorism against the US since 1993. (A spokesperson for Wolfowitz later calls Clarke's account a “fabrication.”) [Newsweek, 3/22/04; Clarke, 2004, pp 30, 231] Wolfowitz repeats these sentiments immediately after 9/11 and tries to argue that the US should attack Iraq. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage agrees with Clarke that al-Qaeda is an important threat. Deputy National Security Adviser Steve Hadley, chairing the meeting, brokers a compromise between Wolfowitz and the others. The group agrees to hold additional meetings focusing on al-Qaeda first (in June and July), but then later look at other terrorism, including any Iraqi terrorism. [Clarke, 2004, pp 30, 231-32] Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin also attend the hour-long meeting. [Time, 8/4/02]
People and organizations involved: John E. McLaughlin, Taliban, Paul Wolfowitz, al-Qaeda, Northern Alliance, Osama bin Laden, Central Intelligence Agency, Stephen Hadley, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Richard A. Clarke, Promis, Bush administration, Richard Armitage
          

May 2001: Cheney's Energy Plan Foresees Government Helping US Companies Expand Into New Markets      Complete 911 Timeline

       Vice President Cheney's national energy plan is released to the public. It calls for expanded oil and gas drilling on public land and easing regulatory barriers to building nuclear power plants. [Associated Press, 12/9/02] There are several interesting points, little noticed at the time. It suggests that the US cannot depend exclusively on traditional sources of supply to provide the growing amount of oil that it needs. It will also have to obtain substantial supplies from new sources, such as the Caspian states, Russia, and Africa. It also notes that the US cannot rely on market forces alone to gain access to these added supplies, but will also require a significant effort on the part of government officials to overcome foreign resistance to the outward reach of American energy companies. [Japan Today, 4/30/02] The plan was largely decided through Cheney's secretive Energy Task Force. Both before and after this, Cheney and other Task Force officials meet with Enron executives (including one meeting a month and a half before Enron declares bankruptcy in December 2001). Two separate lawsuits are later filed to reveal details of how the government's energy policy was formed and whether Enron or other players may have influenced it, but as of mid-2005 the Bush administration has successfully resisted all efforts to release these documents. [Associated Press, 12/9/02]
People and organizations involved: Enron, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Bush administration
          

May 8, 2001: Cheney Heads Task Force Responding to Domestic Attacks, but No Action Is Taken Before 9/11      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Vice President Dick Cheney on television, May 8, 2001.
Bush entrusts Vice President Cheney to head the new Office of National Preparedness, a part of FEMA. This office is supposed to oversee a “national effort” to coordinate all federal programs for responding to domestic attacks. Cheney informs the press: “One of our biggest threats as a nation” may include “a terrorist organization overseas. We need to look at this whole area, oftentimes referred to as homeland defense.” The focus is on state-funded terrorists using weapons of mass destruction, and neither bin Laden nor al-Qaeda is mentioned. [New York Times, 7/8/02] Cheney's task force is supposed to report to Congress by October 1, 2001, after a review by the National Security Council. Bush states that he “will periodically chair a meeting of the National Security Council to review these efforts.” [Washington Post, 1/20/02] In July, two senators send draft counterterrorism legislation to Cheney's office, but a day before 9/11, they are told it might be another six months before he gets to it. The task force is just beginning to hire staff a few days before 9/11. Former Senator Gary Hart (D) later implies that this task force is created to prevent Congress from enacting counterterrorism legislation proposed by a bipartisan commission he had co-chaired in January. [Salon, 4/6/04; Salon, 4/2/04]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, Gary Hart, al-Qaeda, National Security Council, Osama bin Laden, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Office of National Preparedness
          

June 2001: Enron Shuts Down Expensive Indian Plant Afghan Pipeline Fails to Materialize      Complete 911 Timeline

       Enron's power plant in Dabhol, India, is shut down. The failure of the $3 billion plant, Enron's largest investment, contributes to Enron's bankruptcy in December. Earlier in the year, India stopped paying its bill for the energy from the plant, because energy from the plant cost three times the usual rates. [New York Times, 3/20/01] Enron had hoped to feed the plant with cheap Central Asian gas, but this hope was dashed when a gas pipeline through Afghanistan was not completed. The larger part of the plant is still only 90 percent complete when construction stops around this time. [New York Times, 3/20/01] Enron executives meet with Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans about its troubled Dabhol power plant during this year [New York Times, 2/21/02] , and Vice President Cheney lobbies the leader of India's main opposition party about the plant this month. [New York Times, 2/21/02]
People and organizations involved: India, Donald L. Evans, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Enron
          

August 4-30, 2001: Bush Nearly Sets Record for Longest Presidential Vacation      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush spends most of August 2001 at his Crawford, Texas, ranch, nearly setting a record for the longest presidential vacation. While it is billed a “working vacation,” news organizations report that Bush is doing “nothing much” aside from his regular daily intelligence briefings. [Salon, 8/29/01; Washington Post, 8/7/01; ABC News, 8/3/01] One such unusually long briefing at the start of his trip is a warning that bin Laden is planning to attack in the US (see August 6, 2001), but Bush spends the rest of that day fishing. By the end of his trip, Bush has spent 42 percent of his presidency at vacation spots or en route. [Washington Post, 8/7/01] At the time, a poll shows that 55 percent of Americans say Bush is taking too much time off. [USA Today, 8/7/01] Vice President Cheney also spends the entire month in a remote location in Wyoming. [Jackson Hole News and Guide, 8/15/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

September 10, 2001: Cheney's Domestic Terrorism Task Force Finally Beginning to Hire Staff      Complete 911 Timeline

       The domestic terrorism task force announced by President Bush and Vice President Cheney in May 2001 is just gearing up. Cheney appointed Admiral Steve Abbot to lead the task force in June, but he does not receive his White House security pass until now. Abbot has only hired two staffers and been working full time for a few days prior to 9/11. The task force was to have reported to Congress by October 1, 2001, a date they could not have met. [New York Times, 12/27/01; Congressional Quarterly, 4/15/04]
People and organizations involved: Steve Abbot, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

(8:30 a.m.): Some US Leaders Are Scattered; Others in D.C.      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Secretary of State Colin Powell leaves his Lima, Peru hotel after hearing the news.
Just prior to learning about the 9/11 attacks, top US leaders are scattered across the country and overseas:
President Bush is in Sarasota, Florida. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Secretary of State Powell is in Lima, Peru. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
General Henry Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is flying across the Atlantic on the way to Europe. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Attorney General Ashcroft is flying to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Joe Allbaugh is at a conference in Montana. [ABC News, 9/14/02 (B)] Others are in Washington:
Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Rice are at their offices in the White House. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is at his office in the Pentagon, meeting with a delegation from Capitol Hill. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
CIA Director Tenet is at breakfast with his old friend and mentor, former senator David Boren (D), at the St. Regis Hotel, three blocks from the White House. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
FBI Director Mueller is in his office at FBI Headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta is at his office at the Department of Transportation. [Senate Commerce Committee, 9/20/01]
Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke is at a conference in the Ronald Reagan Building three blocks from the White House. [Clarke, 2004, pp 1]
People and organizations involved: John Ashcroft, Henry H. Shelton, Robert S. Mueller III, Condoleezza Rice, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Joeseph M. Allbaugh, Richard A. Clarke, Norman Mineta, Donald Rumsfeld, David Boren, Colin Powell, George Tenet, George W. Bush
          

(9:00 a.m.): Cheney Perplexed over WTC Footage on Television      Complete 911 Timeline

       Vice President Cheney later says he is in his White House office watching the television images of the first WTC crash wreckage. According to his recollection, he was puzzled. “I was sitting there thinking about it. It was a clear day, there was no weather problem—how in hell could a plane hit the World Trade Center?” His staff members elsewhere in the White House are apparently unaware of the emerging crisis. For instance, his chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, sees the television images briefly, but turns off the television so as not to be distracted from a conversation on another topic. [Newsweek, 12/31/01]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby
          

(9:05 a.m.): Clarke, Cheney, and Rice Talk, Clarke's Recommendation to Evacuate White House Is Ignored      Complete 911 Timeline

       Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke is driving up to a gate outside the White House when an aide calls and tells him, “The other tower was just hit.” He responds, “Well, now we know who we're dealing with. I want the highest level person in Washington from each agency on-screen now, especially the FAA.” He has already ordered this aide to set up a secure video conference, about five minutes earlier. A few minutes later, he finds Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Rice in Vice President Cheney's White House office. Cheney tells Clarke, “It's an al-Qaeda attack and they like simultaneous attacks. This may not be over.” Rice asks Clarke for recommendations, and he says, “We're putting together a secure teleconference to manage the crisis.” He also recommends evacuating the White House (However, evacuation does not begin until 9:45 a.m. (see (9:45 a.m.)), after a critical 40 minutes has passed). Rice notes the Secret Service wants them to go to the bomb shelter below the White House, and as Clarke leaves the other two, he sees Rice and Cheney gathering papers and preparing to evacuate. [Clarke, 2004, pp 1-2; Australian, 3/27/04]
People and organizations involved: Secret Service, Condoleezza Rice, al-Qaeda, Richard A. Clarke, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Federal Aviation Administration
          

(9:10 a.m.): Rice and Cheney Apparently Go to White House Bunker; Other Accounts Have Cheney Moving Locations Later      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke and others, Vice President Cheney goes from his White House office to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), a bunker in the East Wing of the White House, at about this time. National Security Adviser Rice, after initiating a video conference with Richard Clarke in the West Wing, goes to the PEOC to be with Cheney. There is no video link between response centers in the East and West Wings, but a secure telephone line is used instead. [Clarke, 2004, pp 3-4; Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01; ABC News, 9/14/02 (B); New York Times, 9/16/01 (B)] One eyewitness account, David Bohrer, a White House photographer, says Cheney leaves for the PEOC just after 9:00 a.m. [ABC News, 9/14/02 (B)] However, there is a second account claiming that Cheney doesn't leave until sometime after 9:30 a.m. In this account, Secret Service agents burst into Cheney's White House office. They carry him under his arms—nearly lifting him off the ground—and propel him down the steps into the White House basement and through a long tunnel toward an underground bunker. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04; MSNBC, 9/11/02 (B); New York Times, 10/16/01; Washington Post, 1/27/02; BBC, 9/1/02; Newsweek, 12/31/01] At about the same time, National Security Adviser Rice is told to go to the bunker as well. [ABC News, 9/11/02] In addition to the eyewitness accounts of Clarke and Bohrer, ABC News claims that Cheney is in the bunker when he is told Flight 77 is 50 miles away from Washington at 9:27 a.m., suggesting that accounts of Cheney entering the bunker after 9:27 a.m. are likely incorrect.
People and organizations involved: David Bohrer, Secret Service, Condoleezza Rice, Richard A. Clarke, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

(Between 9:16-9:29 a.m.): Bush Works on Speech with Staff; Makes No Decisions      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Bush in a holding room before giving his speech. Communications director Dan Bartlett points to the TV, and the clock reads 9:25.
President Bush works with his staff to prepare a speech he will deliver at 9:29 a.m. (see 9:29 a.m.) He intermittently watches the television coverage in the room. [Albuquerque Tribune, 9/10/02] He also speaks on the phone to advisers, first calling National Security Adviser Rice, then Vice President Cheney, then New York Governor George Pataki. [Daily Mail, 9/8/02] Bush often turns to look at a television screen. He declares, “We're at war.” [BBC, 9/1/02] Bush later claims he makes no major decisions about the crisis until after boarding Air Force One at 9:55 a.m. (see (9:56 a.m.)).
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, George E. Pataki, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

(9:20 a.m.): Mineta Reaches Bunker, Meets Cheney      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.
Transportation Secretary Mineta arrives at the White House bunker containing Vice President Cheney and others. In later testimony, he recalls that Cheney is already there when he arrives. [St. Petersburg Times, 7/4/04] This supports accounts of Cheney reaching the bunker not long after the second WTC crash, but the 9/11 Commission concludes Cheney doesn't arrive until a few minutes before 10:00 a.m.. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Norman Mineta
          

(9:27 a.m.): Cheney Given Updates on Unidentified Flight 77 Heading Toward Washington      Complete 911 Timeline

       Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Rice, in their bunker below the White House, are told by an aide that an airplane is headed toward Washington from 50 miles away. The plane is Flight 77. FAA deputy Monty Belger says, “Well We're watching this target on the radar, but the transponder's been turned off. So we have no identification.” They are given further notices when the plane is 30 miles away, then ten miles away, until it disappears from radar (time unknown, but the plane is said to be traveling about 500 mph and was 30 miles away at 9:30 a.m., so 50 miles would be about three minutes before that). [ABC News, 9/11/02] Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta gives virtually the same account before the 9/11 Commission. [9/11 Commission Report, 5/23/03] However, the 9/11 Commission later claims the plane heading toward Washington is only discovered at 9:32 a.m. (see 9:32 a.m.). [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Norman Mineta, Monty Belger, Condoleezza Rice, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

(9:29 a.m.): Pentagon Command Center Begins High Level Conference Call      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The National Miilitary Command Center, inside the Pentagon.
Captain Charles Leidig is in command of the National Military Command Center (NMCC), “the military's worldwide nerve center.” [CNN, 9/4/02] Telephone links are established with the NMCC located inside the Pentagon (but on the opposite side of the building from where the explosion will happen), Canada's equivalent Command Center, Strategic Command, theater commanders, and federal emergency-response agencies. An Air Threat Conference Call is initiated and it lasts for eight hours. At one time or another, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, key military officers, leaders of the FAA and NORAD, the White House, and Air Force One are heard on the open line. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02; 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] NORAD command director Captain Michael Jellinek claims this happens “immediately” after the second WTC hit. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] However, the 9/11 Commission concludes it starts nearly 30 minutes later, at approximately 9:29 a.m. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Brigadier General Montague Winfield, who later takes over for Leidig, says, “All of the governmental agencies that were involved in any activity going on in the United States at that point, were in that conference.” [ABC News, 9/11/02] The call continues right through the Pentagon explosion; the impact is not felt within the NMCC. [CNN, 9/4/02] However, despite being in the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld doesn't enter the NMCC or participate in the call until 10:30 a.m. (see (10:30 a.m.)).
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, National Military Command Center, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Mike Jellinek, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Federal Aviation Administration, Charles Leidig, Montague Winfield
          

(9:30 a.m.): Dulles Flight Controllers Track Flight 77; Timing Disputed      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Flight controller Danielle O'Brien.
Radar tracks Flight 77 as it closes within 30 miles of Washington. [CBS News, 9/21/01] Todd Lewis, flight controller at Washington's Dulles Airport, later recalls, “... my colleagues saw a target moving quite fast from the northwest to the southeast. So she—we all started watching that target, and she notified the supervisor. However, nobody knew that was a commercial flight at the time. Nobody knew that was American 77. ... I thought it was a military flight.” [MSNBC, 9/11/02 (B)] Another account is similar, saying that just before 9:30 a.m., a Dulles Airport controller sees an aircraft without a transponder traveling almost 500 mph headed toward Washington. [USA Today, 8/13/02] In yet another account, Danielle O'Brien, the Dulles flight controller said to be the first to spot the blip, claims she doesn't spot it until it is around 12 to 14 miles from Washington. [ABC News, 10/24/01; ABC News, 10/24/01 (B)] There are also accounts that Vice President Cheney is told around 9:27 a.m. that radar is tracking Flight 77, 50 miles away from Washington. The 9/11 Commission says the plane isn't discovered until 9:32 a.m.
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Todd Lewis, Danielle O'Brien
          

9:32 a.m.: Cheney Is Notified That Flight 77 Is Headed To Washington      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Vice President Cheney pointing a finger inside the Presidential Emergency Operations Center. Footage of the World Trade Center plays on the televisions in the background (exact time is unknown).
According to the 9/11 Commission, the Dulles Airport terminal control facility in Washington has been looking for unidentified primary radar blips since 9:21 a.m. (see 9:21 a.m.) and now finds one. Several Dulles flight controllers “observed a primary radar target tracking eastbound at a high rate of speed” and notify Reagan Airport. FAA personnel at both Reagan and Dulles airports notify the Secret Service. The identity or aircraft type is unknown. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] However, other accounts place the discovery of this plane by Dulles around 9:24 a.m. (see (9:24 a.m.)) or 9:30 a.m. (see (9:30 a.m.)), and Vice President Cheney is told radar is tracking Flight 77 at 9:27 a.m. (see (9:27 a.m.)).
People and organizations involved: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Secret Service, Washington Dulles International Airport, Federal Aviation Administration
          

(9:35 a.m.): Treasury Department Evacuates; Pentagon and Other Washington Department Do Not      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Treasury Department is evacuated a few minutes before Flight 77 crashes. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] Yet, CNN notes that “after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned the military's air defense command that a hijacked airliner appeared to be headed toward Washington, the federal government failed to make any move to evacuate the White House, Capitol, State Department, or the Pentagon.” [CNN, 9/16/01] A Pentagon representative says, “The Pentagon was simply not aware that this aircraft was coming our way.” Even Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and his top aides in the Pentagon remain unaware of any danger up to the moment of impact. [Newsday, 9/23/01] Senators and congresspeople are in the Capitol building, which is not evacuated until 9:48 a.m. (see 9:48 a.m.) Only Vice President Cheney, National Security Adviser Rice, and possibly a few others are evacuated to safety a few minutes after 9:03 a.m. (see (After 9:03 a.m.)). Yet, supposedly, since at least the Flight 11 crash, “military officials in a Command Center [the National Military Command Center] on the east side of the [Pentagon] [are] urgently talking to law enforcement and air traffic control officials about what to do.” [New York Times, 9/15/01] The White House is evacuated at 9:45 a.m. (see (9:45 a.m.))
People and organizations involved: US Department of the Treasury, 9/11 Commission Report, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, US Department of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, Federal Aviation Administration, National Military Command Center, US Department of State
          

(After 9:37 a.m.): Cheney Tells Bush to Stay Away from Washington      Complete 911 Timeline

       Having learned that the Pentagon had been hit, Vice President Cheney telephones President Bush, who is on his way to the Sarasota airport, and tells him that the White House has been “targeted.” Bush says he wants to return to Washington, but Cheney advises him not to “until we could find out what the hell was going on.” According to Newsweek, this call takes place in a tunnel on the way to the PEOC underground bunker. Cheney reaches the bunker “shortly before 10:00 a.m.” [Newsweek, 12/31/01] The 9/11 Commission's account largely follows Newsweek's. He reaches the tunnel around the time of the Pentagon crash and lingers by a television and secure telephone as he talks to Bush. The commission has Cheney enter the bunker just before 10:00, but they note, “There is conflicting evidence as to when the vice president arrived in the shelter conference room.” [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Indeed, in other accounts, including those of Richard Clarke and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Cheney reaches the bunker before the Flight 77 crash at 9:37 a.m. [Clarke, 2004, pp 3-4; ABC News, 9/11/02; 9/11 Commission Report, 5/23/03 Sources: Norman Mineta, Richard A. Clarke] Regardless of Cheney's location, as Cheney and Bush talk on the phone, Bush once again refrains from making any decisions or orders about the crisis. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

9:44 a.m.: NMCC Conference Thinks Flight 1989, Not Flight 93, Is Fourth Hijack      Complete 911 Timeline

       NORAD briefs the NMCC teleconference on the possible hijacking of Delta Flight 1989. Four minutes later, a representative from the White House bunker containing Vice President Cheney asks if there are any indications of other hijacked planes. Captain Charles Leidig, temporarily in charge of the NMCC, mentions the Delta Flight and comments, “that would be the fourth possible hijack.” Flight 1989 is in the same general Ohio region as Flight 93, but NORAD doesn't scramble fighters toward either plane at this time. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Charles Leidig, North American Aerospace Defense Command, National Military Command Center, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

(Between 9:45-9:55 a.m.): Clarke Initiates Continuity of Government Plans; Hears Shoot Down Talk from Cheney Bunker      Complete 911 Timeline

       At some point after the White House is evacuated, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke institutes Continuity of Government plans. Important government personnel, especially those in line to succeed the president, are evacuated to alternate Command Centers. Additionally, Clarke gets a phone call from the PEOC Command Center where Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Rice are positioned. An aide tells Clarke, “Air Force One is getting ready to take off with some press still on board. [President Bush will] divert to an air base. Fighter escort is authorized. And ... tell the Pentagon they have authority from the president to shoot down hostile aircraft, repeat, they have authority to shoot down hostile aircraft.” However, acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers wants the rules of engagement clarified before the shootdown order is passed on, so Clarke orders that pilots be given guidelines before receiving shootdown authorization. [Clarke, 2004, pp 8-9] Clarke's account that Cheney is giving shootdown authorization well before 10:00 a.m. matches Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta's account of seeing Cheney giving what he interprets as a shootdown order before the Pentagon crash. [9/11 Commission Report, 5/23/03] However, the 9/11 Commission later asserts that Cheney doesn't make the shootdown decision until about 10:00 a.m. (see (Between 10:00-10:15 a.m.)). [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Clarke, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Richard B. Myers, Condoleezza Rice, US Department of Defense, George W. Bush, Norman Mineta
          

(9:52 a.m.): Lynne Cheney Joins Husband in White House Bunker; Vice President Repeatedly Hangs up Clarke Telephone      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Lynne Cheney.
According to the 9/11 Commission, Lynne Cheney joins her husband, Vice President Cheney, in the PEOC (Presidential Emergency Operations Center) bunker below the White House. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] She had been at a downtown office around 9:00 a.m. when she was escorted by the Secret Service to the White House. [Newsweek, 12/31/01] Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke describes the people in the PEOC as “decidedly more political” than those in his bunker below the other wing of the White House. In addition to Cheney and his wife, most of the day the PEOC contains National Security Adviser Rice, political adviser Mary Matalin, Cheney's Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Deputy White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, and White House Communications Director Karen Hughes. Clarke is told later in the day by someone else in the PEOC, “I can't hear the crisis conference [led by Clarke] because Mrs. Cheney keeps turning down the volume on you so she can hear CNN ... and the vice president keeps hanging up the open line to you.” Clarke notes that the “right-wing ideologue” Lynne Cheney frequently offers her advice and opinions during the crisis. [Clarke, 2004, pp 18]
People and organizations involved: Karen Hughes, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Lynne Cheney, Secret Service, Mary Matalin, Joshua Bolten, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Richard A. Clarke, Condoleezza Rice
          

(9:56-10:40 a.m.): Air Force One Takes Off, Then Flies in Circles While Bush and Cheney Argue      Complete 911 Timeline

       Air Force One takes off and quickly gains altitude. One passenger later says, “It was like a rocket. For a good ten minutes, the plane was going almost straight up.” [CBS News, 9/11/02 (B)] Once the plane reaches cruising altitude, it flies in circles. Journalists on board sense this because the television reception for a local station generally remains good. “Apparently Bush, Cheney, and the Secret Service argue over the safety of Bush coming back to Washington.” [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01; Salon, 9/12/01 (B)] For much of the day Bush is plagued by connectivity problems in trying to call Cheney and others. He is forced to use an ordinary cell phone instead of his secure phone. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush, Secret Service
          

(Between 10:00-10:15 a.m.): Bush and Cheney Said to Confer on Shootdown Orders, 9/11 Commission Doubts Their Account      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to a 9/11 Commission staff report, Vice President Cheney is told that a combat air patrol has been established over Washington. Cheney then calls President Bush to discuss the rules of engagement for the pilots. Bush authorizes the shootdown of hijacked aircraft at this time. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] According to a Washington Post article, which places the call after 9:55 a.m., “Cheney recommended that Bush authorize the military to shoot down any such civilian airliners—as momentous a decision as the president was asked to make in those first hours.” Bush then talks to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to clarify the procedure, and Rumsfeld passes word down the chain of command. [Washington Post, 1/27/02] Cheney and Bush recall having this phone call, and National Security Adviser Rice recalls overhearing it. However, as the commission notes, “Among the sources that reflect other important events that morning there is no documentary evidence for this call, although the relevant sources are incomplete. Others nearby who were taking notes, such as the vice president's chief of staff, [I. Lewis ‘Scooter’] Libby, who sat next to him, and [Lynne] Cheney, did not note a call between the president and vice president immediately after the vice president entered the conference room.” The commission also apparently concludes that no evidence exists to support the claim that Bush and Rumsfeld talked about such procedures at this time. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Commission Chairman Thomas Kean says, “The phone logs don't exist, because they evidently got so fouled up in communications that the phone logs have nothing. So that's the evidence we have.” Commission Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton says of the shootdown order, “Well, I'm not sure it was carried out.” [New York Daily News, 6/18/04; 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04 (C)] Newsweek reports that it “has learned that some on the commission staff were, in fact, highly skeptical of the vice president's account and made their views clearer in an earlier draft of their staff report. According to one knowledgeable source, some staffers ‘flat out didn't believe the call ever took place.’ ” According to a 9/11 Commission staffer, the report “was watered down” after vigorous lobbying from the White House. [Newsweek, 6/20/04] An account by Canadian Captain Mike Jellinek (who was overseeing NORAD's Colorado headquarters, where he claims to hear Bush give a shootdown order), as well as the order to empty the skies of aircraft, appears to be discredited. [Toledo Blade, 12/9/01]
People and organizations involved: Lee Hamilton, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, 9/11 Commission, George W. Bush, Mike Jellinek
          

10:02 a.m.: Secret Service Warns Cheney Hijackers Are Headed Toward Washington      Complete 911 Timeline

       Vice President Cheney and other leaders now in the White House bunker begin receiving reports from the Secret Service of a presumably hijacked aircraft heading toward Washington. The Secret Service is getting this information about Flight 93 through links to the FAA. However, they are looking at a projected path, not an actual radar return, so they do not realize that the plane crashes minutes later. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Secret Service, Federal Aviation Administration
          

(After 10:06 a.m.): Bush, Told of Flight 93 Crash, Wonders If It Was Shot Down      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush is told that Flight 93 crashed a few minutes after it happened, but the exact timing of this notice is unclear. Because of Vice President Cheney's earlier order, he asks, “Did we shoot it down or did it crash?” Several hours later, he is assured that it crashed. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

(Between 10:10-10:15 a.m.): Cheney, Told That Flight 93 Is Still Heading to Washington, Orders It Shot Down      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Secret Service, viewing projected path information about Flight 93, rather than actual radar returns, does not realize that Flight 93 has already crashed. Based on this erroneous information, a military aide tells Vice President Cheney and others in the White House bunker that the plane is 80 miles away from Washington. Cheney is asked for authority to engage the plane, and he quickly provides authorization. The aide returns a few minutes later and says the plane is 60 miles out. Cheney again gives authorization to engage. A few minutes later and presumably after the flight has crashed or been shot down, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten suggests Cheney contact President Bush to confirm the engage order. Bolten later tells the 9/11 Commission that he had not heard any prior discussion on the topic with Bush, and wanted to make sure Bush knew. Apparently, Cheney calls Bush and obtains confirmation. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] However, there is controversy over whether Bush approved a shootdown before this incident or whether Cheney gave himself the authority to make the decision on the spot. As Newsweek notes, it is moot point in one sense, since the decision was made on false data and there is no plane to shoot down. [Newsweek, 6/20/04]
People and organizations involved: Joshua Bolten, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush, Secret Service
          

10:14 a.m.: Cheney Gives Engage Order to NMCC to Relay to Fighters      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to the 9/11 Commission, beginning at this time, the White House repeatedly conveys to the NMCC that Vice President Cheney confirmed fighters were cleared to engage the inbound aircraft if they could verify that the aircraft was hijacked. However, the authorization fails to reach the pilots. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, National Military Command Center
          

(10:30 a.m.): Medevac Helicopter Provides Scare for Bunkered Cheney, Others      Complete 911 Timeline

       Vice President Cheney and others in the White House bunker are given a report of another airplane heading toward Washington. Cheney's Chief of Staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, later states, “We learn that a plane is five miles out and has dropped below 500 feet and can't be found; it's missing.” Believing they only have a minute or two before the plane crashes into Washington, Cheney orders fighters to engage the plane, saying, “Take it out.” However, reports that this is another hijacking are mistaken. It is learned later that day that a Medevac helicopter five miles away was mistaken for a hijacked plane. [Newsweek, 12/31/01; 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

10:32 a.m.: Air Force One Threatened? Some Doubt Entire Story      Complete 911 Timeline

       Vice President Cheney reportedly calls President Bush and tells him of a threat to Air Force One and that it will take 40-90 minutes to get a protective fighter escort in place. Many doubt the existence of this threat. For instance, Representative Martin Meehan (D) says, “I don't buy the notion Air Force One was a target. That's just PR, that's just spin.” [Washington Times, 10/8/02] A later account calls the threat “completely untrue,” and says Cheney probably made the story up. A well-informed, anonymous Washington official says, “It did two things for [Cheney]. It reinforced his argument that the president should stay out of town, and it gave George W. an excellent reason for doing so.” [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Martin Meehan, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

(Before 10:36 a.m.): Andrews Fighters Ordered to Shoot Down Threatening Planes Over Washington      Complete 911 Timeline

      
David Wherley.
A Secret Service agent again contacts Andrews Air Force Base and commands, “Get in the air now!” It's not clear if this is treated as an official scramble order, or how quickly fighters respond to it. According to fighter pilot Lieutenant Colonel Marc Sasseville, almost simultaneously, a call from someone else in the White House declares the Washington area “a free-fire zone. That meant we were given authority to use force, if the situation required it, in defense of the nation's capital, its property, and people.” [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 9/9/02] Apparently, this second call is made to General David Wherley, flight commander of the Air National Guard at Andrews, who has made several phone calls this morning, seeking airborne authorization for his fighters. Wherley had contacted the Secret Service after hearing reports that it wanted fighters airborne. One Secret Service agent, using two telephones at once, relays instructions to Wherley from another Secret Service agent in the White House who has been given the instructions from Vice President Cheney. Wherley's fighters are to protect the White House and shoot down any planes that threaten Washington. Wherley gives Lieutenant Colonel Marc Sasseville, lead pilot, the authority to decide whether to execute a shootdown. According to a different account, during this call Wherley is speaking with a woman in the Secret Service's command and control center at the White House. Wherley says, “She was standing next to the vice president (Dick Cheney) and she said, ‘They want you to put a CAP up.’ Basically what they told me, and this is another one of those things that's clear in my mind � ‘We want you to intercept any airplane that attempts to fly closer than 20 miles around any airport around the Washington area. � Attempt to turn them away, do whatever you can to turn them away and if they won't turn away use whatever force is necessary � to keep them from hitting a building downtown.’” President Bush and Vice President Cheney later claim they were not aware that any fighters had scrambled from Andrews at the request of the Secret Service. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04; Air War Over America, by Leslie Filson, 1/04, pp 79] Sasseville and the pilot code-named Lucky will take off at 10:42 a.m. (see (10:42 a.m.))
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Marc Sasseville, David Wherley, Andrews Air Force Base, George W. Bush, Secret Service
          

10:39 a.m.: Cheney Brings Rumsfeld Up to Date, But Errs on Pilot Knowledge About Shootdown Order      Complete 911 Timeline

       Vice President Cheney tries to bring Defense Secretary Rumsfeld up to date over the NMCC's conference call, as Rumsfeld has just arrived there minutes before. Cheney explains that he has given authorization for hijacked planes to be shot down and that this has been told to the fighter pilots. Rumsfeld asks, “So we've got a couple of aircraft up there that have those instructions at the present time?” Cheney replies, “That is correct. And it's my understanding they've already taken a couple of aircraft out.” Then Rumsfeld says, “We can't confirm that. We're told that one aircraft is down but we do not have a pilot report that they did it.” Cheney is incorrect that this command has reached the pilots. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Daniel Mayer, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

(10:42 a.m.): Status of Three Planes Unknown; False Rumors Persist of More Terrorist Activity      Complete 911 Timeline

       Around this time (roughly), the FAA tells the White House that it still cannot account for three planes in addition to the four that have crashed. It takes the FAA another hour and a half to account for these three aircraft. [Time, 9/14/01] Vice President Cheney later says, “That's what we started working off of, that list of six, and we could account for two of them in New York. The third one we didn't know what had happened to. It turned out it had hit the Pentagon, but the first reports on the Pentagon attack suggested a helicopter and then later a private jet.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/17/01] Amongst false rumors during the day are reports of a bomb aboard a United Airlines jet that just landed in Rockford, Illinois. “Another plane disappears from radar and might have crashed in Kentucky. The reports are so serious that [FAA head Jane] Garvey notifies the White House that there has been another crash. Only later does she learn the reports are erroneous.” [USA Today, 8/13/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Federal Aviation Administration, Jane Garvey
          

(12:58 p.m.): Bush Argues with Cheney, Others About Where He Should Go Next      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush spends most of his time at Barksdale Air Force Base arguing on the phone with Vice President Cheney and others over where he should go next. “A few minutes before 1 p.m.,” he agrees to fly to Nebraska. As earlier, there are rumors of a “credible terrorist threat” to Air Force One that are said to prevent his return to Washington. [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

(3:00 p.m.): Bush Meets with Top Officials via Video Conference Call      Complete 911 Timeline

      
President Bush takes part in a video teleconference at Offutt Air Force Base. Chief of Staff Andrew Card sits on his left, and Admiral Richard Mies sits on his left.
President Bush begins a video conference call from a bunker beneath Offutt Air Force Base. He and Chief of Staff Andrew Card visually communicate directly with Vice President Cheney, National Security Adviser Rice, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, CIA Director Tenet, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, and others. [ABC News, 9/11/02; Washington Times, 10/8/02; Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] According to Clarke, Bush begins the meeting by saying, “I'm coming back to the White House as soon as the plane is fueled. No discussion.” Clarke leads a quick review of what has already occurred, and issues that need to be quickly addressed. CIA Director Tenet states that al-Qaeda is clearly behind the 9/11 attacks. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld states that about 120 fighters are now above US cities. [Clarke, 2004, pp 21-22] The meeting ends at 4:15 P.M. [Washington Times, 10/8/02; Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Richard Armitage, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard A. Clarke, Norman Mineta, al-Qaeda, Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Andrew Card
          

September 14, 2001: Conflicting Accounts About Planes Near Flight 93's Crash      Complete 911 Timeline

       Officials admit that two planes were near Flight 93 when it crashed, which matches numerous eyewitness accounts. For example, local man Dennis Decker says that immediately after hearing an explosion, “We looked up, we saw a midsized jet flying low and fast. It appeared to make a loop or part of a circle, and then it turned fast and headed out. If you were here to see it, you'd have no doubt. It was a jet plane, and it had to be flying real close when that 757 went down ... If I was the FBI, I'd find out who was driving that plane.” [Bergen Record, 9/14/01] Later the same day, the military says it can “neither confirm nor deny” the nearby planes. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9/14/01] Two days later, they claim there were two planes near, but that they were a military cargo plane and business jet, and neither had anything to do with the crash. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/16/01] Supposedly, the business jet was requested to fly low over the crash site to help rescuers find the crash site, 25 minutes after all aircraft in the US had been ordered to land. However, the story appears physically impossible since the FBI says this jet was at 37,000 feet and asked to descend to 5,000 feet. [Pittsburgh Channel, 9/15/01] That would have taken many minutes for that kind of plane, and witnesses report seeing the plane flying very low even before the crash. [Bergen Record, 9/14/01] Another explanation of a farmer's plane 45 minutes later is put forth, but that also does not fit the time at all. [Pittsburgh Channel, 9/15/01] Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz states: “We responded awfully quickly, I might say, on Tuesday [9/11], and, in fact, we were already tracking in on that plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. I think it was the heroism of the passengers on board that brought it down. But the Air Force was in a position to do so if we had had to.” [Department of Defense, 9/14/01] The next day, Maj. Gen. Paul Weaver, the director of the Air National Guard denies that any plane was scrambled after Flight 93. [Seattle Times, 9/16/01] That in turn contradicts what Vice President Cheney will say later. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz, Dennis Decker, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Paul Weaver
          

September 15, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       George W. Bush, CIA Director George Tenet, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Paul Wolfowitz, and perhaps other officials as well, meet at Camp David to discuss war plans in Afghanistan. The meeting reportedly begins at 9:30 AM with a prayer. [Vanity Fair, 5/04, pp 232; Washington Post, 1/31/02] There is discussion on a paper submitted by the Defense Department depicting Iraq, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda as priority targets. Paul Wolfowitz pushes for regime change in Iraq, claiming that there is a 10 to 50 percent chance that Iraq was involved in the attacks. [Washington Post, 7/23/04; Vanity Fair, 5/04, pp 232; Woodward, 2002, pp 83] Wolfowitz will later recall in an interview with Vanity Fair: “On the surface of the debate it at least appeared to be about not whether but when. There seemed to be a kind of agreement that yes it should be, but the disagreement was whether it should be in the immediate response or whether you should concentrate simply on Afghanistan first. To the extent it was a debate about tactics and timing, the president clearly came down on the side of Afghanistan first. To the extent it was a debate about strategy and what the larger goal was, it is at least clear with 20/20 hindsight that the president came down on the side of the larger goal.” [Defense Department, /29/2005]
People and organizations involved: Paul O'Neill, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Robert S. Mueller III, Paul Wolfowitz, George Tenet, George W. Bush  Additional Info 
          

September 16, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Vice President Dick Cheney is asked by Tim Russert of NBC's Meet the Press if the US has evidence that Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists. Cheney responds: “There is—in the past, there have been some activities related to terrorism by Saddam Hussein. But at this stage, you know, the focus is over here on al-Qaeda and the most recent events in New York. Saddam Hussein's bottled up, at this point, but clearly, we continue to have a fairly tough policy where the Iraqis are concerned.” [White House, 9/16/2001]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

November 10, 2001      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Vice-President Cheney leads a meeting at the White House to put the finishing touches on a draft Presidential Order establishing military commissions (see November 9, 2001). The meeting includes Ashcroft, Haynes, and the White House lawyers, but leaves out senior officials of the State Department and the National Security Council. Two officials later claim Cheney advocated withholding the document from National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell. According to a former official, Cheney discusses the draft with Bush over lunch a few days later. [New York Times, 10/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, William J. Haynes, John Ashcroft, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

2002-early 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Vice President Dick Cheney, sometimes accompanied by his chief of staff, Lewis Libby, visits the offices of US intelligence analysts working at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia “approximately 10” times. He drills them on their intelligence work on Iraq. Some analysts later complain that Cheney's visits made them feel pressured to provide the administration with conclusions that supported the case for war. Other analysts will say they did not feel pressured. [Guardian, 7/17/03; Sydney Morning Herald, 6/5/03; Bamford, 2004, pp 336; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 242; Washington Post, 6/5/03] According to Ray McGovern, a 27-year veteran CIA analyst, these visits were “unprecendented.” [McGovern, 7/23/2003] Newt Gingrich also makes visits to CIA headquarters in Langley. [Guardian, 7/17/03]
People and organizations involved: Newt Gingrich, Richard ("Dick") Cheney  Additional Info 
          

January 24, 2002: Cheney and Bush Pressure Senator to Avoid 9/11 Inquiry      Complete 911 Timeline

       Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D) later claims that on this day, Vice President Cheney calls him and urges that no 9/11 inquiry be made. President Bush repeats the request on January 28, and Daschle is repeatedly pressured thereafter. Newsweek summarizes one of these conversations: “Bush administration officials might say they're too busy running the war on terrorism to show up. Press the issue ... and you risk being accused of interfering with the mission.” [Newsweek, 2/4/02] Cheney later disagrees: “Tom's wrong. He has, in this case, let's say a misinterpretation.” [Reuters, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Tom Daschle
          

January 27, 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney describes the Guantanamo prisoners: “These are the worst of a very bad lot. They are very dangerous. They are devoted to killing millions of Americans, innocent Americans, if they can, and they are perfectly prepared to die in the effort.” [Fox News, 1/28/2002]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

February 8, 2002      US confrontation with Iran

       Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer meets with US Vice President Dick Cheney and tells him that Israel is concerned that Iran, which Israel believes will have nuclear weapons by 2005, represents a greater threat to Israel than Iraq. “The danger, as I see it, is from a Hezbollah-Iran-Palestinian triangle, with Iran leading this triangle and putting together a coalition of terror,” he tells Cheney. [Ha'aretz, 2/9/2002]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

February 12, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Defense Intelligence Agency issues a report summarizing the February 5, 2002 SISMI report (see February 5, 2002) that suggested that Iraq had struck an agreement with Niger to purchase 500 tons of uranium per year. The report, titled “Niamey signed an agreement to sell 500 tons of uranium a year to Baghdad,” concludes that “Iraq probably is searching abroad for natural uranium to assist in its nuclear weapons program.” It fails to mention the concerns shared by some US intelligence analysts about the credibility of the source. The report is included in a morning briefing to Vice President Dick Cheney (see (February 12, 2002)). [Sources: Report On The US Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq]
People and organizations involved: Defense Intelligence Agency, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

Shortly after February 12, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Director of Central Intelligence's (DCI) Center for Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control (WINPAC) completes a “senior publish when ready” report, an intelligence assessment with limited distribution, which states, “[I]nformation on the alleged uranium contract between Iraq and Niger comes exclusively from a foreign government service report (see October 15, 2001) that lacks crucial details, and we are working to clarify the information and to determine whether it can be corroborated.” The report discusses the details of a recent foreign intelligence report (see February 5, 2002) issued by the CIA Directorate of Operations and says that “some of the information in the report contradicts reporting (see November 20, 2001) from the US Embassy in Niamey, Niger. US diplomats say the French government-led consortium that operates Niger's two uranium mines maintains complete control over uranium mining and yellowcake production.” The CIA sends a separate version of this assessment to Vice President Dick Cheney. Unlike the official version, the copy sent to Cheney names the foreign intelligence agency, which the New Yorker will later reveal is the Italian SISMI. [New Yorker, 10/20/03 Sources: Report On The US Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq] Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern describes Cheney's receipt of this document as “odd.” “[I]n more than two years of briefing then-Vice President George H. W. Bush every other morning, not once did he ask a question about a DIA report or even indicate that he had read one,” McGovern will note. “That this particular report was given to Cheney almost certainly reflects the widespread practice of ‘cherry picking’ intelligence.” [AfterDowningStreet [.org], 7/25/2005]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Ray McGovern, Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control
          

March 2002      US Military

       Retired Lieutenant-General Brent Scowcroft leads a presidential panel which proposes that control of the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency be transferred from the Department of Defense to the director of central intelligence (DCI). The plan is favored by the Congressional 911 joint inquiry but opposed by Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney. For years experts have argued that the US intelligence community's 13 disparate agencies— “85 percent of whose assets reside in the Defense Department” —should be consolidated under the DCI. [Washington Post, 8/19/2004; US News and World Report, 8/12/2002]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Brent Scowcroft
          

March 5, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       In response to a request from Vice President Dick Cheney for an update on the Niger uranium issue made a few days earlier, CIA WINPAC analysts provide an analytic update to Cheney's intelligence briefer stating that the government of Niger has said it is making all efforts to ensure that its uranium will be used for only peaceful purposes. The update says the foreign government service (Italian military intelligence agency, SISMI) that provided the original report “was unable to provide new information, but continues to assess that its source is reliable.” The update also notes that the CIA would “be debriefing a source who may have information related to the alleged sale on March 5.” [Sources: Report On The US Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Central Intelligence Agency
          

March 12, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Vice President Richard Cheney and other senior administration officials receive two CIA reports which cite the aluminum tubes sought by Iraq as evidence that “Iraq ... may be trying to reconstitute its gas centrifuge program.” Neither report mentions the fact that leading centrifuge experts at the Energy Department strongly disagree with the CIA's theory. [New York Times, 10/3/04]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

April 25, 2002: Saudi Prince Said to Meet Suspected Hijacker Associate While Visiting Bush      Complete 911 Timeline

       Osama Basnan, an alleged associate of 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, reports his passport stolen to Houston police. [Newsweek, 11/24/02] This confirms that Basnan is in Houston on the same day that Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Prince Saud al-Faisal, and Saudi US Ambassador Prince Bandar meet with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, and National Security Adviser Rice at Bush's ranch in nearby Crawford, Texas. [US-Saudi Arabian Business Council, 4/25/02] Abdullah's entourage passes through Houston that week en route to Bush's ranch. While in Texas, it is believed that Basnan “met with a high Saudi prince who has responsibilities for intelligence matters and is known to bring suitcases full of cash into the United States.” [Guardian, 11/25/02; Newsweek, 11/24/02] The still-classified section of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry is said to discuss the possibility of Basnan meeting this figure at this time. [Associated Press, 8/2/03]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Colin Powell, Bandar bin Sultan, Osama Basnan, Saud al-Faisal, Condoleezza Rice, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

May 16, 2002: Cheney Warns Democrats Against Criticizing Handling of Pre-9/11 Warnings      Complete 911 Timeline

       In the wake of new information on what President Bush knew, Vice President Cheney states, “[M]y Democratic friends in Congress ... need to be very cautious not to seek political advantage by making incendiary suggestions, as were made by some today, that the White House had advance information that would have prevented the tragic attacks of 9/11.” He calls such criticism “thoroughly irresponsible ... in time of war” and states that any serious probe of 9/11 foreknowledge would be tantamount to giving “aid and comfort” to the enemy. [Washington Post, 5/17/02 (C)]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

May 20-24, 2002: Government Terrorist Warnings Believed Political      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Bush administration issues a remarkable series of terror warnings that many believe are politically motivated. Vice President Cheney warns it is “not a matter of if, but when” al-Qaeda will next attack the US. [CNN, 5/20/02] Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge says the same thing. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says terrorists will “inevitably” obtain weapons of mass destruction. FBI Director Mueller says more suicide bombings are “inevitable.” [Washington Post, 5/22/02] Authorities also issue separate warnings that al-Qaeda militants might target apartment buildings nationwide, banks, rail and transit systems, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. USA Today titles an article, “Some Question Motives Behind Series of Alerts.” [USA Today, 5/24/02] David Martin, CBS's national security correspondent, says, “Right now they're putting out all these warnings to change the subject from what was known prior to September 11 to what is known now.” It had been revealed the week before that Bush received a briefing in August 2001 entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” (see August 6, 2001). [Washington Post, 5/27/02] Remarkably, even Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says the alerts were issued “as a result of all the controversy that took place last week.” [Washington Times, 5/22/02; Village Voice, 5/23/02] Time notes, “Though uncorroborated and vague, the terror alerts were a political godsend for an administration trying to fend off a bruising bipartisan inquiry into its handling of the terrorist chatter last summer. After the wave of warnings, the Democratic clamor for an investigation into the government's mistakes subsided.” [Time, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Tom Ridge, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, al-Qaeda, Ari Fleischer, Robert S. Mueller III, David Martin
          

June 26, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Entifadh Qunbar, a lobbyist for the Iraqi National Congress (INC), sends a memo to the staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in which he provides information about a State Department-funded intelligence program, known as the “information-collection program,” run by the INC. Qunbar, who says he is the overall manager of the group, states in the memo that under the program, “defectors, reports and raw intelligence are cultivated and analyzed,” and “the results are reported through the INC newspaper (Al Mutamar), the Arabic and Western media and to appropriate governmental, nongovernmental and international agencies.” Information is also passed on to William Luti, who will later run the Office of Special Plans (see September 2002), and John Hannah, a senior national-security aide on Cheney's staff, who Qunbar describes as the “principal point of contact.” [Newsweek, 12/15/03; New York Times, 2/12/04 Sources: Memo] The memo provides a description of some of the people involved in the group and their activities. It says that the analytical group includes five analysts with a background in Iraq's military, Iraq's intelligence services and human rights. One person, a consultant, monitors the Iraqi government's alleged efforts to develop banned weapons. The five analysts process information and write reports, which are sent to Al Mutamar, the INC's newspaper, as well as the US government and many mainstream news organizations. Qunbar says that the information-collection program issued 30 reports between August 2001 and June 2002, which were sent to Al Mutamar. According to the memo, the group published 28 private reports in collaboration with the INC's headquarters in London. The memo reveals that between October 2001 and May 2002, information provided by the INC was cited in 108 articles published by a variety of English-language news publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, the New Yorker, CNN, Fox News, and several others. [New Yorker, 6/7/2004; New York Times, 2/12/04 Sources: Memo]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Entifadh Qanbar, Memo, Iraqi National Congress
          

August 7, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Speaking to the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco, Cheney states, “Many of us, I think, are skeptical that simply returning the inspectors will solve the problem. A debate with [Mr Hussein] over inspectors simply, I think, would be an effort by him to obfuscate, delay and avoid having to live up to the accords that he signed up to at the end of the Gulf war.” [New York Times, 8/7/02; Observer, 8/11/02] In the speech, he also tells his audience that Saddam “sits on top of 10 per cent of the world's oil reserves. He has enormous wealth being generated by that,” adding, “And left to his own devices, it's the judgment of many of us that in the not too distant future he will acquire nuclear weapons.” [New York Times, 8/7/02; Observer, 8/11/02]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

August 26, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       In a speech to the Nashville convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vice President Richard Cheney says Saddam Hussein will “seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of a great portion of the world's energy supplies, directly threaten America's friends throughout the region and subject the United States or any other nation to nuclear blackmail.” He also states unequivocally that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,” he says. “There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us ... What he wants is time, and more time to husband his resources to invest in his ongoing chemical and biological weapons program, and to gain possession of nuclear weapons.” Therefore he argues, the answer is not weapons inspections. “Against that background, a person would be right to question any suggestion that we should just get inspectors back into Iraq, and then our worries will be over. Saddam has perfected the game of shoot and retreat, and is very skilled in the art of denial and deception. A return of inspectors would provide no assurance whatsoever of his compliance with UN resolutions.” [New York Times, 8/26/02] Cheney's speech marks the first major statement from the White House regarding the Bush administration's Iraq policy following a flood of criticisms from former officials. Significantly, the speech was not cleared by the CIA or the State Department. [Newsweek, 9/9/02 Sources: Unnamed sources interviewed by Newsweek] Furthermore, Cheney's comments dismissing the need for the return of inspectors, were not cleared by President Bush. [Newsweek, 9/9/02 Sources: Andrew Card] Three days after the speech, a State Department source tells CNN that Powell's view clashes with that which was presented in Cheney's speech, explaining that the secretary of state is opposed to any military action in which the US would “go it alone ... as if it doesn't give a damn” what other nations think. The source also says that Powell and “others in the State Department were ‘blindsided’ by Cheney's ‘time is running out’ speech ... and were just as surprised as everyone else,” CNN reports. [CNN, 8/30/02 Sources: Unnamed source interviewed by CNN]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Richard ("Dick") Cheney  Additional Info 
          

September 4, 2002 or September 5, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Bush administration invites two dozen senators from both parties to the Pentagon to discuss Iraqi policy with Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and George J. Tenet. [New York Times, 9/7/2002]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

September 4, 2002 or September 5, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA Director George Tenet meet with senators Trent Lott (R-Miss), Tom Daschle (S-SD), Dennis Hastert (R-Ill), and Richard Gephardt (D-Mo) and, in the words of Cheney, “share the most sensitive information [on Iraq's alleged WMDs] with them.” [New York Times, 9/7/2002]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Trent Lott, Richard Gephardt, Dennis Hastert, Tom Daschle, George Tenet
          

September 8, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       When asked on NBC's “Meet the Press” how long US troops would be in Iraq after the expected US invasion, how much it would cost, and whether or not the military operation would be a cakewalk, Vice President Dick Cheney insists that “first of all, no decision's been made yet to launch a military operation.” Addressing host Tim Russert's question, he explains, “We clearly would have to stay for a long time,” and admits that it “could be very costly.” [NBC (transcripts), 9/8/02; Daily Telegraph, 3/21/05]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

9:00 a.m. September 8, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Vice President Dick Cheney is interviewed on NBC's “Meet the Press” to discuss the Bush administration's position on Iraq and the alleged threat Iraq poses to the world. “[B]ased on intelligence that's becoming available—some of it has been made public [referring to the recent New York Times story (see (1:00am) September 8, 2002)]— ... he has indeed stepped up his capacity to produce and deliver biological weapons, ... he has reconstituted his nuclear program to develop a nuclear weapon, ... there are efforts under way inside Iraq to significantly expand his capability. ... [H]e now is trying, through his illicit procurement network, to acquire the equipment he needs to be able to enrich uranium to make the bombs. ... There's a story in The New York Times this morning ... [I]t's now public that, in fact, he has been seeking to acquire, and we have been able to intercept and prevent him from acquiring through this particular channel, the kinds of tubes that are necessary to build a centrifuge. And the centrifuge is required to take low-grade uranium and enhance it into highly enriched uranium, which is what you have to have in order to build a bomb. This is a technology he was working on back, say, before the Gulf War. And one of the reasons it's of concern, ... is ... [that] we know about a particular shipment. We've intercepted that. We don't know what else—what other avenues he may be taking out there, what he may have already acquired. We do know he's had four years without any inspections at all in Iraq to develop that capability. ... [W]e do know, with absolute certainty, that he [Saddam Hussein] is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment [aluminum tubes] he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon.” Cheney says the US intends to work with the international community, but hints that the US is willing to confront Saddam without international support. “We are trying very hard not be unilateralist,” he says. “We are working to build support with the American people, with the Congress, as many have suggested we should. And we are also as many of us suggested we should, going to the United Nations, and the president will address this issue. ... We would like to do it with the sanction of the international community. But the point in Iraq is this problem has to be dealt with one way or the other.” [New York Times, 10/3/2004; Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 10/27/2003; Washington File, 9/9/2002; Washington Post, 2/7/2003; NBC News Meet the Press, 9/8/2002]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, White House Iraq Group
          

October 10, 2002: Bush Backtracks on Support for Independent 9/11 Investigation      Complete 911 Timeline

       A tentative congressional deal to create an independent commission to investigate the 9/11 attacks falls apart hours after the White House objected to the plan (it appears Vice President Cheney called Republican leaders and told them to renege on the agreement [New York Times, 11/2/02] ). Bush had pledged to support such a commission a few weeks earlier (see September 20, 2002), but doubters who questioned his sincerity appear to have been proven correct. Hours after top Republican leaders announced at a press conference that an agreement had been reached, House Republican leaders said they wouldn't bring the legislation to the full House for a vote unless the commission proposal was changed. There are worries that if the White House can delay the legislation for a few more days until Congress adjourns, it could stop the creation of a commission for months, if not permanently. [New York Times, 10/11/02] Another deal is made a few weeks later (see November 15, 2002) and the commission goes forward.
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

November 2002-March 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Bush administration disagrees with the United Nations and other member states over what precisely should qualify as a “material breach” of UN Resolution 1441. The UN and other nations believe that only serious violations should count. The US, however, takes the position that any violation, no matter how small, should be considered a material breach and thus sufficient cause for using military force against Iraq. The difference in opinion is acknowledged by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who says, “The US does seem ... to have a lower threshold than others may have” to justify the use of military force. He also says, “I think the discussion in the council made it clear we should be looking for something serious and meaningful, and not for excuses to do something.” President Bush, reflecting the stance of his hawkish advisors, says the Security Council should have “zero tolerance,” implying that even minor infractions could be considered a “material breach.” [Washington Post, 11/17/02 Sources: US and UN officials] Colin Powell and Vice President Cheney contend that the delay of, or omissions and inaccuracies in, Iraq's early December declaration would constitute a breach. And Iraq is warned to this effect. During a dinner meeting on November 18, Hans Blix reminds a close aide to Saddam Hussein that a failure to meet the deadline would be considered by the United States to be a “material breach.” [Independent, 11/20/02; Observer, 12/8/02; US Department of State 11/21/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Kofi Annan
          

December 2, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       In a speech to the Air National Guard Senior Leadership Conference in Denver, Vice President Dick Cheney calls Saddam's government an “outlaw regime” and accuses the leader of “harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror,” asserting that his government “has had high-level contacts with al-Qaeda going back a decade and has provided training to al-Qaeda terrorists.” [Washington Post, 12/3/02; White House, 12/2/02c]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

Early January 2003      US Military

       The Bush administration prepares a “Theater Nuclear Planning Document” for Iraq which includes the possible use of nuclear weapons. According to multiple sources interviewed by columnist and reporter William Arkin, nuclear weapons are being considered for use in an attack against Iraqi facilities located deep underground or to preempt the use of weapons of mass destruction. The planning is being carried out at “STRATCOM's Omaha headquarters, among small teams in Washington and at Vice President Dick Cheney's ‘undisclosed location’ in Pennsylvania,” the Los Angeles Times reports. [Los Angeles Times, 1/26/2003 Sources: Unnamed senior military officials at US Central Command]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Bush administration
          

March 16, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       During an appearance on NBC's “Meet The Press” , Vice President Dick Cheney says: “He's had years to get good at it and we believe [Saddam Hussein] ... has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei [the director of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)] frankly is wrong.” [Sunday Herald, 7/13/03]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

Mid-December 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The existence of a June 2002 memo—revealing that intelligence from the INC was being sent directly to the offices of Dick Cheney and William Luti—is reported in the December 15 issue of Newsweek magazine, which also reports that Francis Brooke, a DC lobbyist for the INC, admits having supplied Cheney's office with information pertaining to Iraq's alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and Saddam's supposed ties to militant Islamic groups. [Newsweek, 12/15/03 Sources: Francis Brooke, Memo] Furthermore, he acknowedges that the information provided by the INC was driven by an agenda. “I'm a smart man. I saw what they wanted, and I adapted my strategy,” he later admits. “I told them [the INC], as their campaign manager, ‘Go get me a terrorist and some WMD, because that's what the Bush administration is interested in.’ ” [New Yorker, 6/7/2004; Vanity Fair, 5/04, pg 230] Brooke had previously worked for the Rendon Group, “a shadowy CIA-connected public-relations firm.” [Mother Jones, 1/04] However, an unnamed Cheney aid interviewed by the same magazine flatly denies that his boss' office had received raw intelligence on Iraq. [Newsweek, 12/15/03 Sources: Unnamed staff aid of Dick Cheney's office]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, William Luti, Francis Brooke
          

July 11, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Referring to Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, CIA director George Tenet says in a written statement, “These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president.” But Tenet denies that the White House is responsible for the mistake, putting the blame squarely on his own agency. And comments by Condoleezza Rice also blame the CIA, “If the CIA: the director of central intelligence, had said, ‘Take this out of the speech,’ it could have been gone, without question. If there were doubts about the underlying intelligence, those doubts were not communicated to the president, to the vice president or to me.” Another senior White House official, defending the president and his advisors, tells ABC news: “We were very careful with what the president said. We vetted the information at the highest levels.” But an intelligence official, also interviewed by ABC, dismisses the claim. [CNN, 7/11/03; The Washington Post, 7/12/03; New York Times, 7/12/03 Sources: Unnamed intelligence official] Following Tenet's statement, a barrage of news reports citing unnamed CIA officials reveal that the White House had in fact been explicitly warned not to include the African-uranium claim. These reports indicate that at the time Bush delivered his State of the Union address, it had been widely understood in US intelligence circles that the Africa-uranium claim had little evidence supporting it. [Knight Ridder Newspapers, 6/12/03; Boston Globe, 3/16/03; New York Times, 3/23/03; Associated Press, 6/12/03; The Washington Post, 7/20/03; Newsday, 7/12/03; Associated Press, 6/12/03; Knight Ridder, 6/16/03; Knight Ridder, 6/13/03] For example, CBS News reports, “CIA officials warned members of the president's National Security Council staff the intelligence was not good enough to make the flat statement Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa.” And a Washington Post article cites an unnamed intelligence source who says, “We consulted about the paper [September 2002 British dossier] and recommended against using that material.” [CNN, 7/10/03; CBS News, 7/10/03; The Washington Post, 7/11/03 Sources: Unnamed intelligence official] White House officials respond that the dossier issued by the British government contained the unequivocal assertion: “Iraq has ... sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa” and that the officials had argued that as long as the statement was attributed to the British Intelligence, it would be technically true. Similarly, ABC News reports: “A CIA official has an idea about how the Niger information got into the president's speech. He said he is not sure the sentence was ever cleared by the agency, but said he heard speechwriters wanted it included, so they attributed it to the British.” The same version of events is told to the New York Times by a senior administration official, who claims, “The decision to mention uranium came from White House speechwriters, not from senior White House officials.” [New York Times, 7/19/03; New York Times, 7/14/03; CBS News, 7/10/03; ABC News, 6/12/03 Sources: Unnamed administration official, Unnamed CIA official] But according to a CIA intelligence official and four members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who are investigating the issue, the decision to include the Africa-uranium claim was influenced by the people associated with the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans (see September 2002). [Information Clearing House, 7/16/03 Sources: four members of the Senate's intelligence committee, Unnamed CIA official]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice  Additional Info 
          

September 12, 2003: Bush Administration Is Sued for Having Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Ellen Mariani.
9/11 victim's relative Ellen Mariani sues the US government, claiming that certain officials had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. “I'm 100 percent sure that they knew,” she says. In doing so, she is ineligible for government compensation from what she calls the “shut-up and go-away fund.” She believes she would have received around $500,000. According to a statement by her lawyer, her lawsuit against President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the CIA, Defense Department, and other administration members “is based upon prior knowledge of 9/11; knowingly failing to act, prevent or warn of 9/11; and the ongoing obstruction of justice by covering up the truth of 9/11; all in violation of the laws of the United States.” As the Toronto Star points out, this interesting story has been “buried” by the mainstream media, at least initially. Coverage has been limited mostly to Philadelphia where the case was filed and New Hampshire where Mariani lives. [Al Jazeera, 12/9/03; Toronto Star, 11/30/03; Village Voice, 12/3/03; Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/3/03; Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/23/03; Associated Press, 12/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Ellen Mariani, Central Intelligence Agency, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush, United States, US Department of Defense
          

September 14, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Vice President Dick Cheney brings up the long discredited claim that Mohammed Atta had met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official in April of 2001. He says, “With respect to 9/11, of course, we've had the story ... the Czechs alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack, but we've never been able to develop anymore of that yet, either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it.” [Washington Post, 9/29/03; Democracy Now, 9/16/03]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

Late March 2004: Clarke Attacked by Republicans      Complete 911 Timeline

       Republicans attack Richard Clarke in the wake of his new book and 9/11 Commission testimony (see March 24, 2004), while Democrats defend him. [New York Times, 3/25/04] Senator John McCain (R) calls the attacks “the most vigorous offensive I've ever seen from the administration on any issue.” [Washington Post, 3/28/04] Republicans on the 9/11 Commission criticize him while Democrats praise him. The White House violates a long-standing confidentiality policy by authorizing Fox News to air remarks favorable to Bush that Clarke had made anonymously at an administration briefing in 2002. National Security Adviser Rice says to the media, “There are two very different stories here. These stories can't be reconciled.” However, in what the Washington Post calls a “masterful bit of showmanship,” Clarke replies that he emphasized the positives in 2002 because he was asked to, but did not lie. [Washington Post, 3/25/04; Washington Post, 3/26/04 (B); Fox News, 3/24/04] Republican Senate leader Bill Frist asks “If [Clarke] lied under oath to the United States Congress” in closed testimony in 2002. [Washington Post, 3/27/04 (B)] However, a review of declassified citations from Clarke's 2002 testimony provides no evidence of contradiction, and White House officials familiar with the testimony agree that any differences are matters of emphasis, not fact. [Washington Post, 4/4/04 (B)] Republican leaders threaten to release his 2002 testimony, and Clarke claims he welcomes the release. The testimony remains classified. [Associated Press, 3/28/04; Associated Press, 3/26/04] Clarke also calls on Rice to release all e-mail communications between the two of them before 9/11; this is not released either. [Guardian, 3/29/04] Vice President Cheney calls Clarke “out of the loop” on terrorism. A Slate editorial calls Cheney's comment “laughably absurd. Clarke wasn't just in the loop, he was the loop.” [Slate, 3/23/04] Even Clarke's later political opponent Rice says Clarke was very much involved. [New York Times, 3/25/04 (D)] Clarke responds by pointing out that he voted Republican in 2000 and he pledges under oath not to seek a post if Senator John Kerry wins the 2004 Presidential election. [Washington Post, 3/24/04] According to Reuters, a number of political experts conclude, “The White House may have mishandled accusations leveled by their former counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke by attacking his credibility, keeping the controversy firmly in the headlines into a second week.” [Reuters, 3/29/04]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Clarke, Bill Frist, Condoleezza Rice, John McCain, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, John Kerry
          

April 29, 2004: Bush and Cheney Privately Meet with 9/11 Commission; Decline to Provide Testimony Under Oath      Complete 911 Timeline

      
There were no pictures allowed of the Bush and Cheney joint testimony before the 9/11 Commission. Here are Commissioners Thomas Kean, Fred Fielding, and Lee Hamilton preparing to begin the testimony.
President Bush and Vice President Cheney appear for three hours of private questioning before the 9/11 Commission. (Former President Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore met privately and separately with the commission earlier in the month. [New York Times, 4/30/04; Washington Post, 4/30/04] ) The commission permits Bush and Cheney to appear together, in private, and not under oath. The testimony is not recorded. Commissioners can take notes, but the notes are censored by the White House. [Knight Ridder, 3/31/04; New York Times, 4/3/04; Newsweek, 4/2/04] The commission drew most of their questions from a list submitted to the White House before the interview, but few details about the questions or the answers given are available. [Washington Post, 4/29/04] Two commissioners, Lee Hamilton and Bob Kerrey, leave the session early for other engagements. They claim they had not expected the interview to last more than the previously agreed upon two-hour length. [New York Times, 5/1/04]
People and organizations involved: Lee Hamilton, Bob Kerrey, 9/11 Commission, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

June 14, 2004: Cheney Repeats Claims of ties Between Saddam and al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Vice President Dick Cheney repeats his insistence that Hussein “had long-established ties with al-Qaeda.” [Associated Press, 6/14/04]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

June 17, 2004: Cheney Refuses to Abandon ‘Praque Connection’ Theory      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       During an interview with CNBC's “Capitol Report,” Cheney says reporters who doubt the Prague Connection are “lazy.” He asserts that “[W]e don't know” if Iraq was involved in 9/11, says no one has “been able to confirm,” or “to knock it down” the claims regarding Atta's alleged meeting in Prague. He also says that he “probably” knows information the commission does not. [CNN, 6/18/04] A few days later, the commission says that after asking Cheney for any additional evidence he might have, they stand by their position. Cheney maintains his position as well. [Los Angeles Times, 7/2/04]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

November 2, 2004: George W. Bush Reelected      Complete 911 Timeline

       President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are re-elected to the US presidency for a second term.
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

June 13, 2005      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Vice President Dick Cheney tells a National Press Club luncheon, “Any suggestion that we did not exhaust all alternatives before we got to that point, I think, is inaccurate.” [MSNBC, 6/14/2005]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

August 27, 2005: Several White House Officials Enjoy Vacation      Hurricane Katrina

       As Katrina barrels towards the Gulf Coast, most of the top White House staff members are on vacation, taking advantage of President Bush's five-week vacation at his Crawford, Texas ranch. Andrew Card, White House Chief of Staff, and a veteran crisis manager who managed the federal response to hurricanes under George H.W. Bush, is vacationing at his lakefront summer home in Maine. Vice President Dick Cheney is vacationing at his Wyoming ranch. Frances Townsend, the White House Homeland Security Advisor who reports to Bush on Homeland Security policy and combating terrorism matters, is vacationing as well. After Katrina sweeps through the Gulf Coast, she will attend several meetings in Washington, before leaving on a previously scheduled trip to Saudi Arabia where she will work on joint counterterrorism projects. Bush will urge Townsend to make the trip despite the unfolding Katrina disaster as a “signal to ... the enemy” that the hurricane has not distracted Bush's attention from terrorists, according to one report. Later, White House representatives will decline to identify the person in charge of preparing for the hurricane in Washington, maintaining that Bush and his aides can run the government just as well from their summer homes. “Andy Card is the chief of staff, and he was in close contact with everyone,” White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan will say at one point. “And the president is the one who's in charge at the White House.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/11/2005] On Tuesday, August 30, when asked to identify the person leading the White House's response to Katrina, McClellan will reply that Joe Hagin, Deputy Chief of staff is the “point person in terms of overseeing efforts from the White House.” [White House, 8/30/2005]
People and organizations involved: Scott McClellan, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Andrew Card, Joe Hagin, Fran Townsend, George W. Bush, Hurricane Katrina
          

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