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Profile: Robert S. Mueller III

 
  

Positions that Robert S. Mueller III has held:

  • Directory of the FBI


 

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Robert S. Mueller III actively participated in the following events:

 
  

1999: Neighbors Report Suspicious Activities to CIA; No Apparent Response      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The Vienna, Virginia, house where Waleed Alshehri and Ahmed Alghamdi lived.
Diane and John Albritton later say they call the CIA and police several times this year to report suspicious activity at a neighbor's home, but authorities fail to respond. [MSNBC, 9/23/01; New York Daily News, 9/15/01] Hijacker Waleed Alshehri is renting the house on Orrin Street in Vienna, Virginia, at the time (three blocks from a CIA facility). [Associated Press, 9/15/01 (B)] He makes his neighbors nervous. “There were always people coming and going,” said Diane Albritton. “Arabic people. Some of them never uttered a word; I don't know if they spoke English. But they looked very focused. We thought they might be dealing drugs, or illegal immigrants.” [New York Times, 9/15/01 (B)] Ahmed Alghamdi lived at the same address until July 2000. [Fox News, 6/6/02; World Net Daily, 9/14/01] Waleed Alshehri lived with Ahmed Alghamdi in Florida for seven months in 1997. [Daily Telegraph, 9/20/01] Albritton says they observed a van parked outside the home at all hours of the day and night. A Middle Eastern man appeared to be monitoring a scanner or radio inside the van. Another neighbor says, “We thought it was a drug house. All the cars parked on the street were new BMWs, new Mercedes. People were always walking around out front with cell phones.” There were frequent wild parties, numerous complaints to authorities, and even a police report about a woman shooting a gun into the air during a party. [World Net Daily, 9/14/01] Other neighbors also called the police about the house. [Associated Press, 9/14/01 (B)] “Critics say [the case] could have made a difference [in stopping 9/11] had it been handled differently.” Standard procedures require the CIA to notify the FBI of such domestic information. However, FBI officials have not been able to find any record that the CIA shared the information. [Fox News, 6/6/02] FBI Director Mueller has said “the hijackers did all they could to stay below our radar.” [Senate Judiciary Statement, 5/8/02]
People and organizations involved: Waleed M. Alshehri, Central Intelligence Agency, Robert S. Mueller III, Diane Albritton, Ahmed Alghamdi, John Albritton, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

April 17, 2000: Arizona FBI Agent Initiates Investigation into Flight School Students, but Faces Delays      Complete 911 Timeline

       Arizona FBI agent Ken Williams gets a tip that makes him suspicious that some flight students might be Islamic militants. [New York Times, 6/19/02] It appears that flight school student Zacaria Soubra is seen at a shooting range with a known jihad veteran. [Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01 (C)] On this day, Williams starts a formal investigation into Soubra. [Arizona Republic, 7/24/03] Soubra is the main focus of Williams's later memo. But Williams's work is greatly slowed because of internal politics and personal disputes. When he finally returns to this case in December 2000, he and all the other agents on the international-terrorism squad are diverted to work on a high-profile arson case. Says James Hauswirth, another Arizona agent, “[Williams] fought it. Why take your best terrorism investigator and put him on an arson case? He didn't have a choice.” The arson case is finally solved in June 2001 and Williams once again returns to the issue of Islamic militant flight school students. His memo comes out one month later instead of some time in 2000. Hauswirth writes a letter to FBI Director Mueller in late 2001, complaining, “[Terrorism] has always been the lowest priority in the division; it still is the lowest priority in the division.” Others concur that the Arizona FBI placed a low priority on terrorism cases. [New York Times, 6/19/02; Los Angeles Times, 5/26/02]
People and organizations involved: Ken Williams, Robert S. Mueller III, James Hauswirth, Zacaria Soubra
          

(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
          

(9:10 a.m.): Clarke Directs Crisis Response through Video Conference with Top Officials; 9/11 Commission and Others Barely Mention the Conference      Complete 911 Timeline

       Around this time, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke reaches the Secure Video Conferencing Center next to the Situation Room in the West Wing of the White House. From there, he directs the response to the 9/11 attacks and stays in contact with other top officials through video links. On video are Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, CIA Director Tenet, FBI Director Mueller, FAA Administrator Jane Garvey, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson (filling in for the traveling Attorney General Ashcroft), Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage (filling in for the traveling Secretary of State Powell), and Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers (filling in for the traveling Chairman Henry Shelton). National Security Adviser Rice is with Clarke, but she lets Clarke run the crisis response, deferring to his longer experience on terrorism matters. Clarke is also told by an aide, “We're on the line with NORAD, on an air threat conference call.” [Clarke, 2004, pp 2-4; Australian, 3/27/04] The 9/11 Commission says of this conference in a staff report: “The White House Situation Room initiated a video teleconference, chaired by Richard Clarke. While important, it had no immediate effect on the emergency defense efforts.” [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] The 9/11 Commission's Final Report covers the conference in greater depth and suggests begins about 15 minutes later than Clarke claims, at 9:25 a.m.(see 9:25 a.m.). Yet, as the Washington Post puts it, “everyone seems to agree” Clarke is the chief crisis manager on 9/11. [Washington Post, 3/28/04 (B)] Even Clarke's later opponent, National Security Adviser Rice, calls him 9/11's “crisis management guy.” [UPI, 4/10/04] The conference is where the government's emergency defense efforts are concentrated.
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, John Ashcroft, Richard Armitage, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Richard A. Clarke, Condoleezza Rice, Richard B. Myers, 9/11 Commission, Larry D. Thompson, Robert S. Mueller III, Jane Garvey, Henry H. Shelton, North American Aerospace Defense Command
          

September 14, 2001: FBI Director Caught in Whopper      Complete 911 Timeline

      
FBI Director Robert Mueller.
FBI Director Mueller describes reports that several of the hijackers had received flight training in the US as “news, quite obviously,” adding, “If we had understood that to be the case, we would have—perhaps one could have averted this.” It is later discovered that contrary to Mueller's claims, the FBI had interviewed various flight school staffs about Middle Eastern militants on numerous occasions, from 1996 until a few weeks before 9/11. [Washington Post, 9/23/01; Boston Globe, 9/18/01] Three days later, he says, “There were no warning signs that I'm aware of that would indicate this type of operation in the country.” [Department of Justice transcript, 9/17/01] Slate magazine later contrasts this with numerous other contradictory statements and articles, and awards Mueller the “Whopper of the Week.” [Slate, 5/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert S. Mueller III
          

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 16-23, 2001: People with Hijacker Names and Identifying Details Are Still Alive      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The Salem Alhazmi on the left [Saudi Gazette, 9/23/01] claims that the FBI pictures of a Salem Alhazmi such as this one on the right [FBI] are of him, from when his passport was stolen.
Reports appear in many newspapers suggesting that some of the people the US says were 9/11 hijackers are actually still alive:
Hamza Alghamdi: No media outlet has claimed that Hamza Alghamdi is still alive, but his family says the FBI photo “has no resemblance to him at all.” [Washington Post, 9/25/01]
Saeed Alghamdi is alive and flying airplanes in Tunisia. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01; Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01; BBC, 9/23/01] He says he studied flight training in a Florida flight schools for parts of the years 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. [Arab News, 9/18/01] The Daily Telegraph notes, “The FBI had published [Saeed Alghamdi's] personal details but with a photograph of somebody else, presumably a hijacker who had ‘stolen’ his identity. CNN, however, showed a picture of the real Mr. Alghamdi.” [Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01] If this account is true, as of mid-2004 the FBI is still using the wrong photograph of Alghamdi.
Salem Alhazmi is alive and working at a petrochemical plant in Yanbou, Saudi Arabia. [Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01; Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] He says his passport was stolen by a pickpocket in Cairo three years ago and that pictures and details such as date of birth are of him. [Saudi Gazette, 9/29/02; Guardian, 9/21/01 (C); Washington Post, 9/20/01]
Ahmed Alnami is alive and working as an administrative supervisor with Saudi Arabian Airlines in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] He had never lost his passport and found it “very worrying” that his identity appeared to have been stolen. [Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01] However, there is another “Ahmed Alnami” who is ten years younger, and appears to be dead, according to his father. [ABC News, 3/15/02] Ahmed Alnami's family says his FBI picture is correct. [Washington Post, 9/25/01]
Abdulaziz Alomari is alive and working as a pilot for Saudi Arabian Airlines [Independent, 9/17/01; BBC, 9/23/01; New York Times, 9/16/01] He claims that his passport was stolen in 1995 while he was living in Denver, Colorado. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] “They gave my name and my date of birth, but I am not a suicide bomber. I am here. I am alive.” [Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01; Times of London, 9/20/01]
Marwan Alshehhi may be alive in Morocco. [Saudi Gazette, 9/18/01; Khaleej Times, 9/20/01] Family and neighbors do not believe he took part in the attacks. [Reuters, 9/18/01]
Mohand Alshehri: The Saudi government has claimed that Mohand Alshehri is alive and that he was not in the US on 9/11, but no more details are known. [Associated Press, 9/29/01 (B)]
The brothers Waleed M. Alshehri and Wail Alshehri are alive. A Saudi spokesman said, “This is a respectable family. I know his sons, and they're both alive.” The father is a diplomat who has been stationed in the US and Bombay, India. [Arab News, 9/19/01; Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] There is a second pair of Saudi brothers named Wail and Waleed M. who may have been the real hijackers. Their father says they have been missing since December 2000. [Arab News, 9/17/01; ABC News, 3/15/02] The still-living Waleed M. Alshehri is a pilot with Saudi Airlines, studying in Morocco. [Associated Press, 9/22/01; Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] He acknowledges that he attended flight training school at Dayton Beach in the United States. [Daily Trust, 9/24/01; BBC, 9/23/01] He was interviewed by US officials in Morocco, and cleared of all charges against him (though apparently the FBI is still using his picture). [Embry Riddle Aeronautical University press release, 9/21/01] The still living Waleed Alshehri is also apparently a pilot. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] He claims that he saw his picture on CNN and recognized it from when he studied flying in Florida. But he also says that he has no brother named Wail. [Ausat, 9/22/01]
Mohamed Atta's father says he spoke to his son on the phone on September 12, 2001. [New York Times, 9/19/01; Chicago Tribune, 9/20/01]
Khalid Almihdhar: On September 19, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. distributes a “special alert” to its member banks asking for information about the attackers. The list includes “Al-Midhar, Khalid. Alive.” The Justice Department later calls this a “typo.” [Associated Press, 9/20/01; Cox News Service, 10/21/01] The BBC says, “There are suggestions that another suspect, Khalid Almihdhar, may also be alive.” [BBC, 9/23/01] The Guardian says Almihdhar is believed to be alive, but investigators are looking into three possibilities. Either his name was stolen for a hijacker alias, or he allowed his name to be used so that US officials would think he died, or he died in the crash. [Guardian, 9/21/01 (B)]
Majed Moqed was last seen by a friend in Saudi Arabia in 2000. This friend claims the FBI picture does not look like Moqed. [Arab News, 9/22/01] The Saudi government insists that five of the Saudis mentioned are still alive. [New York Times, 9/21/01] On September 20, FBI Director Mueller says, “We have several others that are still in question. The investigation is ongoing, and I am not certain as to several of the others.” [Newsday, 9/21/01] On September 27, after all of these revelations mentioned above are revealed in the media, FBI Director Mueller states, “We are fairly certain of a number of them.” [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01] On September 20, the London Times reported, “Five of the hijackers were using stolen identities, and investigators are studying the possibility that the entire suicide squad consisted of impostors.” [Times of London, 9/20/01] The mainstream media briefly doubted some of the hijackers' identities. For instance, a story in the Observer on September 23 put the names of hijackers like Saeed Alghamdi in quotation marks. [Observer, 9/23/01] However, the story will die down after the initial reports, and it is hardly noticed when Mueller states on November 2, 2001, “We at this point definitely know the 19 hijackers who were responsible,” and claims that the FBI is sticking with the names and photos released in late September. [Associated Press, 11/03/02]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Mohand Alshehri, Khalid Almihdhar, Majed Moqed, Waleed M. Alshehri, Wail Alshehri, Marwan Alshehhi, Abdulaziz Alomari, Salem Alhazmi, Saeed Alghamdi, Ahmed Alnami, Hamza Alghamdi, Robert S. Mueller III
          

September 24, 2001-December 26, 2002: Identity of 9/11 Financier Constantly Changes      Complete 911 Timeline

      
This is the fuzzy passport photo of “Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi,” according to the book “The Base” by Jane Corbin.
In 2000, the 9/11 hijackers receive money from a man using “Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi” and other aliases. On September 8-11, 2001, the hijackers send money to a man in the United Arab Emirates who uses the aliases “Mustafa Ahmed,” “Mustafa Ahmad,” and “Ahamad Mustafa.” Soon the media begins reporting on who this 9/11 “paymaster” is, but his reported names and identities will continually change. The media has sometimes made the obvious connection that the paymaster is Saeed Sheikh—a British financial expert who studied at the London School of Economics, undisputedly sent hijacker Mohamed Atta money the month before the attacks, made frequent trips to Dubai (where the money is sent), and is known to have trained the hijackers. However, the FBI consistently deflects attention to other possible explanations, with a highly confusing series of names vaguely similar to Mustafa Ahmed or Saeed Sheikh:
September 24, 2001: Newsweek reports that the paymaster for the 9/11 attacks is someone named “Mustafa Ahmed.” [Newsweek, 9/24/01] This refers to Mustafa Mahmoud Said Ahmed, an Egyptian al-Qaeda banker who was captured in Tanzania in 1998 then later released. [Sydney Morning Herald, 9/28/01; Newsday, 10/3/01]
October 1, 2001: The Guardian reports that the real name of “Mustafa Mohamed Ahmad” is “Sheikh Saeed.” [Guardian, 10/1/01] A few days later, CNN confirms that this “Sheik Syed” is the British man Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh rescued from an Indian prison in 1999. [CNN, 10/8/01; CNN, 10/6/01] However, starting on October 8, the story that ISI Director Mahmood ordered Saeed to give Mohamed Atta $100,000 begins to break. References to the 9/11 paymaster being the British Saeed Sheikh (and the connections to Ahmed) suddenly disappear from the Western media (with one exception [CNN, 10/28/01] ).
October 2001: Other articles continue to use “Mustafa Mohammed Ahmad” or “Shaykh Saiid” with no details of his identity, except for suggestions that he is Egyptian. There are numerous spelling variations and conflicting accounts over which name is the alias. [Washington Post, 10/7/01; Sunday Times, 10/7/01; Associated Press, 10/6/01; New York Times, 10/15/01; Los Angeles Times, 10/20/01; Knight Ridder, 10/9/01; BBC, 10/1/01; Newsday, 10/3/01; Evening Standard, 10/1/01]
October 16, 2001: CNN reports that the 9/11 paymaster “Sheik Sayid” is mentioned in a May 2001 trial of al-Qaeda members. However, this turns out to be a Kenyan named Sheik Sayyid el Masry. [CNN, 10/16/01; Trial Transcript, 2/21/01; Trial Transcript, 2/20/01]
November 11, 2001: The identity of 9/11 paymaster “Mustafa Ahmed” is suddenly no longer Egyptian, but is now a Saudi named Sa'd Al-Sharif, who is said to be bin Laden's brother-in-law. [United Nations, 3/8/01; Associated Press, 12/18/01; Newsweek, 11/11/01]
December 11, 2001: The federal indictment of Zacarias Moussaoui calls the 9/11 paymaster “Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi a/k/a ‘Mustafa Ahmed,’ ” and gives him Sa'd's nationality and birth date. [MSNBC, 12/11/01] Many articles begin adding “al-Hawsawi” to the Mustafa Ahmed name. [Washington Post, 12/13/01; Los Angeles Times, 1/20/02; Washington Post, 1/7/02]
January 23, 2002: As new information is reported in India, the media returns to the British Saeed Sheikh as the 9/11 paymaster. [Daily Telegraph, 1/27/02; Independent, 1/24/02; Los Angeles Times, 1/23/02; Daily Telegraph, 1/24/02] While his role in the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl is revealed on February 6, many articles connect him to 9/11, but many more do not. Coverage of Saeed's 9/11 connections generally dies out by the time of his trial in July 2002.
June 4, 2002: Without explanation, the name “Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif” begins to be used for the 9/11 paymaster, presumably a combination of Saeed Sheikh and S'ad al-Sharif. [San Francisco Chronicle, 11/15/02; Associated Press, 9/26/02; Associated Press, 6/5/02; Independent, 9/15/02] Many of the old names continue to be used, however. [Knight Ridder, 9/8/02; Knight Ridder, 9/9/02; Los Angeles Times, 12/24/02 (B); Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02; Washington Post, 9/11/02; New York Times, 7/10/02; Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02; Time, 8/4/02 (B)]
June 18, 2002: FBI Director Mueller testifies that the money sent in 2000 is sent by someone named “Ali Abdul Aziz Ali” but the money in 2001 is sent by “Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif.” The “Aziz Ali” name has not been mentioned again by the press or FBI (outside of coverage of this testimony in September 2002). [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/26/02]
September 4, 2002: Newsweek says “Mustafa Ahmad Adin al-Husawi,” presumably Saudi, is a deputy to the Egyptian “Sayyid Shaikh Al-Sharif.” However, it adds he “remains almost a total mystery,” and they are unsure of his name. [Newsweek, 9/4/02]
December 26, 2002: US officials now say there is no such person as Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif. Instead, he is probably a composite of three different people: “[Mustafa Ahmed] Al-Hisawi, Shaikh Saiid al-Masri, al-Qaeda's finance chief, and Saad al-Sharif, bin Laden's brother-in-law and a midlevel al-Qaeda financier.” [Associated Press, 12/27/02] Shaikh Saiid al-Masri is likely a reference the Kenyan Sheik Sayyid el Masry. Note that, now, al-Hisawi is the assistant to Shaikh Saiid, a flip from a few months before. Saiid and/or al-Hisawi still haven't been added to the FBI's official most wanted lists. [FBI Most Wanted Terrorists, 2002; Times of London, 12/1/01; Wall Street Journal, 6/17/02] Despite the confusion, the FBI isn't even seeking information about them. [FBI, 2/14/02] Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi is said to be arrested with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Pakistan in 2003, but no photos of him are released, and witnesses of the supposed arrest did not see Al-Hawsawi or Mohammed there (see March 1, 2003). [Reuters, 3/3/03 (C)]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mustafa, Sa'd Al-Sharif, Robert S. Mueller III, Mohamed Atta, al-Qaeda, Sayyid Shaikh Al-Sharif, Ahamad Mustafa, Osama bin Laden, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Daniel Pearl, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, Khalid el-Masri, Mustafa Ahmad Adin al-Husawi, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi, Saeed Sheikh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Mahmood Ahmed
          

January 22-25, 2002: India Tells FBI Director About Saeed Sheikh Connection to 9/11      Complete 911 Timeline

       FBI Director Mueller visits India, and is told by Indian investigators that Saeed Sheikh sent ransom money to hijacker Mohamed Atta in the US. In the next few days, Saeed is publicly blamed for his role with gangster Aftab Ansari in financing Atta and organizing the Calcutta attack (see January 22, 2002). [Press Trust of India, 1/22/02; Daily Telegraph, 1/27/02; Los Angeles Times, 1/23/02; Independent, 2/24/02; Agence France-Presse, 1/27/02] Meanwhile, on January 23, Saeed helps kidnap reporter Daniel Pearl and is later arrested. Also on January 23, Ansari is placed under surveillance after flying to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On January 24, Mueller and US Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin discuss Saeed at a previously scheduled meeting with Pakistani President Musharraf. Apparently Saeed's role in Pearl's kidnapping is not yet known. [Associated Press, 2/24/02] On Mueller's way back to the US he flies to Dubai to pressure the government there to arrest Ansari and deport him to India. Ansari is arrested on February 5 and deported four days later. [Associated Press, 2/10/02; Frontline, 2/16/02; India Today, 2/25/02]
People and organizations involved: Robert S. Mueller III, Saeed Sheikh, Mohamed Atta, Aftab Ansari, Pervez Musharraf, Daniel Pearl, Wendy Chamberlin, India
          

April 19, 2002: FBI Claims Hijacker Computer Use Offered No Evidence      Complete 911 Timeline

       FBI Director Mueller states: “In our investigation, we have not uncovered a single piece of paper either here in the United States or in the treasure trove of information that has turned up in Afghanistan and elsewhere that mentioned any aspect of the September 11 plot.” He also claims that the attackers used “extraordinary secrecy” and “investigators have found no computers, laptops, hard drives or other storage media that may have been used by the hijackers, who hid their communications by using hundreds of pay phones and cell phones, coupled with hard-to-trace prepaid calling cards.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/22/02; FBI speech transcript, 4/19/02] However, before 9/11 CIA Director Tenet told the Senate that al-Qaeda is “embracing the opportunities offered by recent leaps in information technology” [CIA, 03/21/00] ; the FBI broke the al-Qaeda computer encryption before February 2001 [UPI, 2/13/01] ; witnesses report seeing the hijackers use computers for e-mail at public libraries in Florida and Maine [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/16/01 (B); Boston Herald, 10/5/01] ; in October 2001 there were many reports that hundreds of e-mails discussing the 9/11 plot had been found; Moussaoui's laptop was found to contain important information, etc. ...
People and organizations involved: Robert S. Mueller III, al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation, George Tenet
          

May 8, 2002: FBI Could Not Have Foreseen 9/11, Declares Director      Complete 911 Timeline

       FBI Director Mueller states, “[T]here was nothing the agency could have done to anticipate and prevent the [9/11] attacks.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert S. Mueller III
          

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 4, 2002: Bush Acknowledges Agencies Made Mistakes, Continues to Insist That 9/11 Could Not Have Been Prevented      Complete 911 Timeline

       For the first time, Bush concedes that his intelligence agencies had problems: “In terms of whether or not the FBI and the CIA were communicating properly, I think it is clear that they weren't.” [Times of London, 6/5/02] However, in an address to the nation three days later, President Bush still maintains, “Based on everything I've seen, I do not believe anyone could have prevented the horror of September the 11th.” [Sydney Morning Herald, 6/8/02] Days earlier, Newsweek reported that the FBI had prepared a detailed chart showing how agents could have uncovered the 9/11 plot if the CIA had told them what it knew about the hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar sooner. (FBI Director Mueller denies the existence of such a chart. [Washington Post, 6/3/02] ) One FBI official says, “There's no question we could have tied all 19 hijackers together.” [Newsweek, 6/2/02] Attorney General Ashcroft also says it is unlikely better intelligence could have stopped the attacks. [Washington Post, 6/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, John Ashcroft, Robert S. Mueller III, Khalid Almihdhar, George W. Bush, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency
          

June 18, 2002: FBI Director Maintains 9/11 Attacks Could Not Have Been Prevented      Complete 911 Timeline

       FBI Director Mueller testifies before the Congressional 9/11 inquiry. His testimony is made public in September 2002. [Associated Press, 9/26/02] Mueller claims that with the possible exception of Zacarias Moussaoui, “[t]o this day we have found no one in the United States except the actual hijackers who knew of the plot and we have found nothing they did while in the United States that triggered a specific response about them.” [Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/26/02] The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will later conclude near the end of 2002 that some hijackers had contact inside the US with individuals known to the FBI, and the hijackers “were not as isolated during their time in the United States as has been previously suggested.” [Los Angeles Times, 12/12/02] Mueller also claims, “There were no slip-ups. Discipline never broke down. They gave no hint to those around them what they were about.” [Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/26/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Zacarias Moussaoui, Robert S. Mueller III
          

September 25, 2002: FBI Director Denies Moussaoui Leads Could Have Prevented 9/11      Complete 911 Timeline

       In an interview with CBS, FBI Director Mueller states, “I can tell you there are things I wish we had done differently. That there are things we should have followed up on. But the bottom line is I do not believe that we would have been able to prevent 9/11.” Speaking about the Zacarias Moussaoui case, he says, “That took us several months, to follow that lead, and it also required the full support of the German authorities, and it would have been very, I think impossible to have followed that particular lead in the days between the time in which Moussaoui was detained and September 11th.” [CBS News, 9/25/02] This negativism is in sharp contrast to a previous statement he made on May 21, 2002 (see May 21, 2002), as well as the opinion of many rank and file FBI officers, some of whom have made a chart showing how all the hijackers could have been caught if certain leads had been followed. [Newsweek, 6/2/02] Mueller's opinion on the Moussaoui case is contradicted by many, including FBI agents working on that case. [Time, 5/21/02] The media also does not agree. For instance the Independent suggested information on Moussaoui's computer “might have been enough to expose the Hamburg cell, which investigators believe was the key planning unit for 11 September.” [Independent, 12/11/01]
People and organizations involved: Robert S. Mueller III, Zacarias Moussaoui, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

January 10, 2003: Government Employees Responsible for 9/11 Failures Are Promoted      Complete 911 Timeline

       FBI Director Mueller personally awards Marion (Spike) Bowman with a presidential citation and cash bonus of approximately 25 percent of his salary. [Salon, 3/3/03 (B)] Bowman, head of the FBI's National Security Law Unit and the person who refused to seek a special warrant for a search of Zacarias Moussaoui's belongings before the 9/11 attacks, is among nine recipients of bureau awards for “exceptional performance.” The award comes shortly after a 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report saying Bowman's unit gave Minneapolis FBI agents “inexcusably confused and inaccurate information” that was “patently false.” [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 12/22/02] Bowman's unit also blocked an urgent request by FBI agents to begin searching for Khalid Almihdhar after his name was put on a watch list. In early 2000, the FBI acknowledged serious blunders in surveillance Bowman's unit conducted during sensitive terrorism and espionage investigations, including agents who illegally videotaped suspects, intercepted e-mails without court permission, and recorded the wrong phone conversations. [Associated Press, 1/10/03] As Senator Charles Grassley (R) and others have pointed out, not only has no one in government been fired or punished for 9/11, but several others have been promoted:
Pasquale D'Amuro, the FBI's counterterrorism chief in New York City before 9/11, is promoted to the bureau's top counterterrorism post. [Time, 12/30/02]
FBI Supervisory special agent Michael Maltbie, who removed information from the Minnesota FBI's application to get the search warrant for Moussaoui, is promoted to field supervisor. [Salon, 3/3/03 (B)]
David Frasca, head of the FBI's Radical Fundamentalist Unit, is “still at headquarters,” Grassley notes. [Salon, 3/3/03 (B)] Frasca received the Phoenix memo warning al-Qaeda terrorists could use flight schools inside the US, and then a few weeks later he received the request for Moussaoui's search warrant. “The Phoenix memo was buried; the Moussaoui warrant request was denied.” [Time, 5/27/02] Even after 9/11, Frasca continued to “[throw] up roadblocks” in the Moussaoui case. [New York Times, 5/27/02]
President Bush later names Barbara Bodine the director of Central Iraq shortly after the US conquest of Iraq. Many in government are upset about the appointment because of her blocking of the USS Cole investigation, which some say could have uncovered the 9/11 plot. She failed to admit she was wrong or apologize. [Washington Times, 4/10/03] However, she is fired after about a month, apparently for doing a poor job.
An FBI official who tolerates penetration of the translation department by Turkish spies and encourages slow translations just after 9/11 is promoted (see March 22, 2002). [CBS News, 10/25/02] The CIA has promoted two unnamed top leaders of its unit responsible for tracking al-Qaeda in 2000 even though the unit mistakenly failed to put the two suspected terrorists on the watch list (see August 23, 2001). “The leaders were promoted even though some people in the intelligence community and in Congress say the counterterrorism unit they ran bore some responsibility for waiting until August 2001 to put the suspect pair on the interagency watch list.” CIA Director Tenet has failed to fulfill a promise given to Congress in late 2002 that he would name the CIA officials responsible for 9/11 failures. [New York Times, 5/15/03]
People and organizations involved: Pasquale D'Amuro, Michael Maltbie, David Frasca, Khalid Almihdhar, Charles Grassley, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Barbara Bodine, Central Intelligence Agency, George W. Bush, Marion ("Spike") Bowman, Robert S. Mueller III
          

February 26, 2003: Whistleblower Believes FBI Not Prepared for New Terrorist Threats      Complete 911 Timeline

       Coleen Rowley, the FBI whistleblower who was proclaimed Time magazine's Person of the Year in 2002, sends another public letter to FBI Director Mueller. She believes the FBI is not prepared for new terrorist attacks likely to result from the upcoming Iraq war. She also says counterterrorism cases are being mishandled. She claims the FBI and the Justice Department have not questioned captured al-Qaeda suspects Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid about their al-Qaeda contacts, choosing instead to focus entirely on prosecution. She writes, “Lack of follow-through with regard to Moussaoui and Reid gives a hollow ring to our ‘top priority’ —i.e., preventing another terrorist attack. Moussaoui almost certainly would know of other al-Qaeda contacts, possibly in the US, and would also be able to alert us to the motive behind his and Mohamed Atta's interest in crop-dusting.” Moussaoui's lawyer also says the government has not attempted to talk to Moussaoui since 9/11. [New York Times, 3/5/03 (B); New York Times, 3/6/03 (C)]
People and organizations involved: Coleen Rowley, Robert S. Mueller III, US Department of Justice, Zacarias Moussaoui, Richard C. Reid
          

May 20, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       FBI Director Robert Mueller appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee and is asked if the FBI is aware of prisoner abuse by the military or the CIA similar to what happened at Abu Ghraib. Mueller is said to appear “uneasy and unusually hesitant.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein says: “He gave me a kind of gobbledygook answer. At best his answer was confusing and at worst it was obfuscatory.” Mueller's response is that FBI agents “on occasion ... may disagree with the handling of a particular interview.” [Newsweek, 1/6/2005]
People and organizations involved: Robert S. Mueller III, Dianne Feinstein
          

June 25, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       In an “Urgent Report” addressed to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, an FBI official says that an unidentified individual has “observed numerous physical abuse incidents of Iraqi civilian detainees conducted in ... Iraq.” According to the FBI official, the informant said that the abuses included “strangulation, beatings, placement of lit cigarettes into the detainees ear openings, and unauthorized interrogations.” The FBI official also says that the informant provided the name of a person involved in covering up these abuses. The report is later released to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in a heavily redacted state, with several paragraphs blanked out. [Sources: FBI urgent report, 6/25/2004]
People and organizations involved: American Civil Liberties Union, Robert S. Mueller III
          

July 29, 2004: FBI Letter Vindicates Many of Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds' Allegations      Complete 911 Timeline

       A letter by FBI Director Robert Mueller regarding FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds is leaked to the media. Edmonds has made some very serious allegations about the FBI, including claims of important missed 9/11 warnings and the existence of a foreign spy ring inside US government agencies. Mueller's letter reveals that a highly classified Justice Department report on Edmonds has concluded that her allegations “were at least a contributing factor in why the FBI terminated her services.” This report also criticizes the FBI's failure to adequately pursue her allegations of espionage. An anonymous official states that the report concludes that some of her allegations were shown to be true, others cannot be corroborated because of a lack of evidence, and none of her accusations were disproved. [New York Times, 7/29/04]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sibel Edmonds, US Department of Justice, Robert S. Mueller III
          

October 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       The FBI prepares a detailed 300-page report in response to follow-up questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee about Director Mueller's earlier testimony on May 20, 2004 (see May 20, 2004) regarding incidents of abuse known by the FBI. However the Justice Department refuses to release the report saying that it must first review it. [Newsweek, 1/06/2005]
People and organizations involved: Robert S. Mueller III
          

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