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Profile: Ramzi Bin al-Shibh

 
  

Positions that Ramzi Bin al-Shibh has held:



 

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Ramzi Bin al-Shibh actively participated in the following events:

 
  

December 1997-November 1998: Moroccan Man Ties Hamburg and Milan al-Qaeda Cells Together      Complete 911 Timeline

       Records indicate that would-be Ramzi Bin al-Shibh lives at the same Hamburg, Germany, address as a Moroccan named Mohamed Daki during this time. Daki will be arrested in April 2003, and admits to knowing bin al-Shibh and some others in the Hamburg cell. In April 1999 Daki obtains a visa to travel to the US, but it isn't known if he goes there. It is generally assumed by the press that the Hamburg cell keep themselves separate from other al-Qaeda cells in Europe. However, Daki is an expert document forger and a member of al-Qaeda's Milan cell. There is considerable evidence that the Milan cell has foreknowledge of the 9/11 plot. The cell is under heavy surveillance by Italian intelligence before 9/11 (see August 12, 2000) (see January 24, 2001), but apparently the connection between the Milan and Hamburg cells through Daki is not made. German authorities interview him after 9/11, and he admits ties to bin al-Shibh, but he is let go, not investigated further, and not put on any watch lists. He will later come under investigation in Italy for recruiting fighters to combat the US in Iraq. He will finally be arrested and charged for that, and not for his 9/11 connections. [New York Times, 3/22/04; Los Angeles Times, 3/22/04]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Mohamed Daki, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh
          

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 5-8, 2000: Al-Qaeda Summit in Malaysia Monitored by Authorities; Information Passed to US      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Attendees of the Malaysian meeting. From left to right top row: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Left to right bottom row: Hambali, Yazid Sufaat, and Ramzi bin al-Shibh. No pictures of bin Atash or Fahad al-Quso are available, the names of other participants have not been released.
About a dozen of bin Laden's trusted followers hold a secret, “top-level al-Qaeda summit” in the city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. [CNN, 8/30/02; San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/27/02] Plans for the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole (see October 12, 2000) and the 9/11 attacks are discussed. [USA Today, 2/12/02; CNN, 8/30/02] At the request of the CIA, the Malaysian Secret Service monitors the meeting and then passes the information on to the US. Attendees of the meeting include:
Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar - The CIA and FBI will later miss many opportunities to foil the 9/11 plot through Alhazmi and Almihdhar and the knowledge of their presence at this meeting. The CIA already knows many details about these two by the time the meeting begins.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed - A top al-Qaeda leader and the alleged “mastermind” of the 9/11 attacks. The US has known Mohammed is an Islamic militant since the exposure of Operation Bojinka in January 1995 (see January 6, 1995), and knows what he looks like. US officials have stated that they only realized the meeting was important in the summer of 2001, but the presence of Mohammed should have proved the meeting's importance. [Los Angeles Times, 2/2/02] Although the possible presence of Mohammed at this meeting is highly disputed by US officials, one terrorism expert testifies before the 9/11 Commission in 2003 that he has access to transcripts of Mohammed's interrogations since his capture, and that Mohammed admits leading this meeting. [New York Post, 7/10/03; Newsweek, 7/9/03] Many media reports identify him there as well [Independent, 6/6/02; CNN, 11/7/02; Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 10/29/03; CNN, 8/30/02] (for instance, according to Newsweek, “Mohammed's presence would make the intelligence failure of the CIA even greater. It would mean the agency literally watched as the 9/11 scheme was hatched—and had photographs of the attack's mastermind ... doing the plotting.” [Newsweek, 7/9/03]
Riduan Isamuddin, an Indonesian militant better known as Hambali. [BBC, 8/15/03] He was the main financier of Operation Bojinka. [CNN, 3/14/02; CNN, 8/30/02] Philippine intelligence officials learned of Hambali's importance in 1995, but did not track him down or share information about him. He will be arrested by Thai authorities in August 2003. [CBS News, 8/15/03; CNN, 8/14/03]
Yazid Sufaat, - A Malaysian man who owned the condominium where the meeting was held. [New York Times, 1/31/02; Newsweek, 6/2/02] A possibility to expose the 9/11 plot through Sufaat's presence at this meeting is later missed in September. Sufaat will travel to Afghanistan in June 2001 and be arrested by Malaysian authorities when he returns to Malaysia in late 2001. [Australian, 12/24/02]
Fahad al-Quso - A top al-Qaeda operative. [Newsweek, 9/20/01] Al-Quso will be arrested by Yemeni authorities in December 2000, but the FBI is not given a chance to interrogate him before 9/11. He will escape from prison in 2003. [CNN, 5/15/03]
Tawifiq bin Attash - Better known by his alias “Khallad.” Bin Attash, a “trusted member of bin Laden's inner circle,” was in charge of bin Laden's bodyguards, and served as bin Laden's personal intermediary at least for the USS Cole attack. [Newsweek, 9/20/01] He is also thought to be a “mastermind” of that attack. Attash is reportedly planning to be one of the hijackers, but will be unable to get a US visa. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/16/04 (B)] US intelligence had been aware of his identity as early as 1995 [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02] A possibility to expose the 9/11 plot through bin Attash's presence at this meeting is later missed in January 2001. Bin Attash had been previously arrested in Yemen for suspected terror ties, but let go. [Contemporary Southeast Asia, 12/1/02] He will be captured in Pakistan by the US in April 2003. [New York Times, 5/1/03]
Ramzi Bin al-Shibh - Investigators believe he wanted to be the twentieth hijacker. His presence at the meeting may not have been realized until after 9/11, despite the fact that US intelligence had a picture of him next to bin Attash, and had video footage of him. [CNN, 11/7/02; Newsweek, 11/26/01; Die Zeit, 10/1/02; Time, 9/15/02; Washington Post, 7/14/02] German police have credit card receipts indicating bin al-Shibh is in Malaysia at the same time. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Another account noting he was photographed at the meeting further notes that he entered and left Thailand three times in the first three weeks of January 2000. [Los Angeles Times, 10/17/01] Anonymous Malaysian officials claim he is there, but US officials deny it. [Associated Press, 9/20/02] One account says he is recognized at the time of the meeting, which makes it hard to understand why he is not tracked back to Germany and the Hamburg cell with Mohamed Atta and other hijackers. [Der Spiegel, 10/1/02] Another opportunity to expose the 9/11 plot through bin al-Shibh's presence at this meeting will be missed in June. It appears bin al-Shibh and Almihdhar are directly involved in the attack on the USS Cole in October 2000 [Washington Post, 7/14/02; Newsweek, 9/4/02; Guardian, 10/15/01] , so better surveillance or follow-up from this meeting could have prevented that attack as well.
Ahmad Hikmat Shakir - An al-Qaeda agent of Iraqi nationality, may have attended this meeting, according to some documents [Australian, 12/24/02; Newsweek, 10/7/02] , but his presence at the meeting is uncertain. [Associated Press, 10/2/02] After 9/11, he will be linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and 1995 Bojinka plot. Jordan will arrest him and let him go after the US says they don't want to take custody of him (see September 17, 2001).
Salem Alhazmi - He is possibly at the meeting, although very few accounts mention it. [Australian, 12/24/02] US intelligence intercepts from before the meeting indicate that he had plans to attend the meeting. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
Abu Bara al Taizi - A Yemeni al-Qaeda agent, is also said to attend. He is reportedly meant to be one of the hijackers, but will be unable to enter the US due to greater scrutiny for Yemenis. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/16/04 (B)]
More? - Unnamed members of the Egyptian-based Islamic Jihad are also known to have been at the meeting. [Cox News Service, 10/21/01] (The Islamic Jihad had merged with al-Qaeda in February 1998. [ABC News, 11/17/01]
People and organizations involved: Ahmad Hikmat Shakir, Yazid Sufaat, Nurjaman Riduan Isamuddin, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Nawaf Alhazmi, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, al-Qaeda, Malaysian Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Salem Alhazmi, Fahad al-Quso, Mohamed Atta, Khalid Almihdhar, Abu Bara al Taizi, Nurjaman Riduan Isamuddin, Egyptian Islamic Jihad
          

January 6-9, 2000: Malaysia Provides CIA with Information on al-Qaeda Summit and Attendees      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Hazel Evergreen, located on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is the condominium complex where the terror summit was held.
At the CIA's request, the Malaysian Secret Service is monitoring an important al-Qaeda summit (see January 5-8, 2000) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and begins passing what it knows to the CIA even before the meeting is over. Media accounts are consistent that the operatives at the meeting are photographed and even videotaped, but there is no wiretapping or other recording of their conversations. [CNN, 3/14/02; Observer, 10/7/01; Ottawa Citizen, 9/17/01; New Yorker, 1/14/02; Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 10/29/03; Stern, 8/13/03; Newsweek, 6/2/02] However, Malaysian officials are not informed what to look for, and focus more on monitoring the local Malaysian and Indonesian hosts who serve as drivers than the visitors attending the meeting. [Associated Press, 9/20/02] Authorities find out what hotel Khalid Almihdhar is staying at and he and his associates are photographed there [Newsweek, 9/20/01; Observer, 10/7/01] , as well as coming and going from the condo where the meeting is held. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] On January 6, the CIA office in Malaysia begins passing details of the meeting to the CIA Counter Terrorism Center (CTC). Cofer Black, head of the CTC, orders that he be continually informed about the meeting, and CIA Director Tenet is frequently informed as well. [Stern, 8/13/03] National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, FBI Director Louis Freeh, and other top officials are briefed, but apparently President Clinton is not. [Bamford, 2004, pp 225-26] On January 7, Khalid Almihdhar and others go shopping, giving Malaysian security ample opportunity to collect information about them. They spend hours at Internet cafes, and after they leave, Malaysian intelligence searches the hard drives of the computers they used. [Australian, 12/24/02; Stern, 8/13/03] The video footage is apparently sent to US intelligence one month later (see February 2000). However, no photos or video and few details from any of this surveillance have been publicly released. It is known that some photos show Khallad bin Attash with Almihdhar, some show Fahad al-Quso next to Almihdhar, and that some photos are of Ramzi bin al-Shibh. By January 9, all the data and footage the Malaysians have collected are in the hands of the CIA. [Newsweek, 9/20/01; Stern, 8/13/03]
People and organizations involved: Cofer Black, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Sandy Berger, Khalid Almihdhar, al-Qaeda, Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash, Fahad al-Quso, William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, George Tenet, Louis J. Freeh, Malaysian Secret Service, Central Intelligence Agency
          

May 17, 2000-May 2001: Bin al-Shibh US Visas Rejected, Apparently Because of Ties to USS Cole Bombing      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Ramzi bin al-Shibh.
During these months, Hamburg al-Qaeda cell member Ramzi Bin al-Shibh tries five times to get a US visa. In 2000, he tries to a get a visa once from Germany, once from Yemen, and twice using the passport of an Indonesian named Agus Budiman, but all these attempts fail. He makes a little-reported fifth attempt made in May 2001. Bin al-Shibh is in Yemen during the two months before the bombing of the USS Cole in that country, and investigators believe he is involved in that attack (see October 12, 2000). [Los Angeles Times, 10/24/01; Australian, 12/24/02] German authorities believe he is in Yemen at least the day before the attack and stays until four days after, though it isn't clear when they come to this determination. [McDermott, 2005, pp 209] Most media accounts claim that bin al-Shibh is refused a visa on economic grounds based on fears that he would overstay his visa and work in the US. One official suggests it was “only by luck” that he was turned down. [Washington Post, 7/14/02; CBS, 6/6/02] However, other accounts note that, as the London Times put it, he is “turned down on security grounds.” [London Times, 9/9/02] Specifically, it appears the US has suspicions he has ties to terrorism, and especially ties to the USS Cole bombing plot. Newsweek reports, “One senior law-enforcement official [tells] Newsweek that bin al-Shibh's efforts to obtain a US visa [are] rebuffed because of suspicions that he [is] tied to the bombing of the USS Cole.” [Newsweek, 11/26/01] The Los Angeles Times similarly notes that “FBI agents [tell] officials of the Florida flight school” that bin al-Shibh wants to attend that he is “rejected because of unspecified involvement ‘with the bombing of the USS Cole...’ ” Hijacker Ziad Jarrah assists bin al-Shibh with his last two visa applications, and vouches for him. [Los Angeles Times, 10/21/01] Yosri Fouda, an al-Jazeera journalist who reportedly interviews bin al-Shibh and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in 2002 (see April, June, or August 2002), also notes that according to his US intelligence sources, bin al-Shibh's visas are “turned down because he [is] implicated in the USS Cole attack.” The interviewer he tells this to notes, “That's rather odd, because if they knew that and turned him down for that reason, you'd think they would have wondered who else was at that flight school and why? Or, even more to the point they should have issued him a visa just to get him in to the United States and grabbed him for the Cole attack.” [TBS Journal, 10/02] But no other journalist has ever questioned why this information doesn't lead to the unraveling of the 9/11 plot. Not only is there the obvious visa connection to Ziad Jarrah while he is training at a US flight school, but also during this same time period bin al-Shibh wires money to Marwan Alshehhi, Zacarias Moussaoui, and others, usually using his own name. [CBS, 6/6/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Agus Budiman, Ziad Jarrah, Zacarias Moussaoui, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Yosri Fouda, Marwan Alshehhi
          

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

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

October 2000-February 2001: Moussaoui Travels to London and Afghanistan      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Zacarias Moussaoui passing through a London airport (date unknown).
Zacarias Moussaoui had been staying in Malaysia so that he could take flight training classes at the Malaysian Flying Academy in Malacca. However, he is unhappy with the quality of training there. He takes the $35,000 given to him by his hosts, Yazid Sufaat and Hambali, and spends it to buy fertilizer to construct bombs. Then he gives up and travels to London in early December, where he meets with Ramzi Bin al-Shibh (who stays in London from December 2 to 9). Hambali sends a messenger to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Afghanistan to complain about Moussaoui's attitude. On December 9, Moussaoui leaves London. He makes his way to Afghanistan and meets with Mohammed. Mohammed decides to send him to take flight training classes in the US instead. He is given $35,000 in cash to pay for flying lessons by someone in Pakistan. After he enters the US in February, bin al-Shibh wires him another $14,000 from Germany. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; Washington Post, 3/28/03; Knight Ridder, 9/9/02]
People and organizations involved: Yazid Sufaat, Zacarias Moussaoui, Nurjaman Riduan Isamuddin, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

February 23-June 2001: Moussaoui Takes Lessons at Flight School Previously Used by al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline

       Zacarias Moussaoui flies to the US. Three days later, he starts flight training at the Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma. (Other Islamic extremists had previously trained at the same flight school or other schools in the area (see September 1999)). He trains there until May, but does not do well and drops out before getting a pilot's license. His visa expires on May 22, but he does not attempt to renew it or get another one. He stays in Norman, arranging to change flight schools, and frequently exercising in a gym. [MSNBC, 12/11/01; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02] According to US investigators, would-be hijacker Ramzi Bin al-Shibh later says he meets Moussaoui in Karachi (Pakistan) in June 2001. [Washington Post, 11/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Airman Flight School, Zacarias Moussaoui
          

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

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

September 3-5, 2001: Members of Hamburg's Al-Qaeda Cell Leave for Pakistan      Complete 911 Timeline

       Members of Mohamed Atta's Hamburg al-Qaeda cell leave Germany for Pakistan. Said Bahaji flies out of Hamburg on September 3. [Chicago Tribune, 2/25/03] German intelligence already has Bahaji under surveillance, and German border guards are under orders to report if he leaves the country, yet the border guards fail to note his departure. [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2/2/03] German agents later discover two other passengers on the same flight traveling with false passports who stay in the same room with Bahaji when they arrive in Karachi, Pakistan. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Investigators now believe his flight companions were Ismail Ben Mrabete and Ahmed Taleb, both Algerians in their late 40s. Three more associates—Mohammed Belfatmi, an Algerian extremist from the Tarragona region of Spain, and two brothers with the last name Joya—also travel on the same plane. To date none of these people have been located. [Chicago Tribune, 2/25/03; Chicago Tribune, 2/25/03] Ramzi Bin al-Shibh flies out of Germany on September 5 and stays in Spain a few days before presumably heading for Pakistan. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Said Bahaji, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Ismail Ben Mrabete, Karachi, Ahmed Taleb
          

September 6, 2001: Bin Laden Allegedly Informed of Exact Attack Date      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to a later interview with would-be hijacker Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, a courier sent by bin al-Shibh tells bin Laden on this day when the 9/11 attacks will take place. [Australian, 9/9/02] However, there are doubts about this interview (see April, June, or August 2002).
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh
          

April, June, or August 2002: Al Jazeera Reporter Claims to Conduct Interview with 9/11 Masterminds      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Ramzi bin al-Shibh.
It is originally reported that Al Jazeera reporter Yosri Fouda interviews 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and 9/11 associate Ramzi Bin al-Shibh at a secret location in Karachi, Pakistan, in either June [Times of London, 9/8/02] or August. [Guardian, 9/9/02] Details and audio footage of the interview come out between September 8 and 12, 2002. The video footage of the interview al-Qaeda promised to hand over is never given to Al Jazeera. [Associated Press, 9/8/02] Both figures claim the 9/11 attacks were originally going to target nuclear reactors, but “decided against it for fear it would go out of control.” Interviewer Fouda is struck that Mohammed and bin al-Shibh remember only the hijackers' code names, and have trouble remembering their real names. [Australian, 9/9/02] Mohammed, who calls himself the head of al-Qaeda's military committee and refers to bin al-Shibh as the coordinator of the “Holy Tuesday” operation, reportedly acknowledges “[a]nd, yes, we did it.” [Fouda And Fielding, 2003, pp 38] These interviews “are the first full admission by senior figures from bin Laden's network that they carried out the September 11 attacks.” [Times of London, 9/8/02] Some, however, call Fouda's claims into doubt. For example, the Financial Times states: “Analysts cited the crude editing of [Fouda's interview] tapes and the timing of the broadcasts as reasons to be suspicious about their authenticity. Dia Rashwan, an expert on Islamist movements at the Al-Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies in Cairo, said: ‘I have very serious doubts [about the authenticity of this tape]. It could have been a script written by the FBI.’ ” [Financial Times, 9/11/02] Mohammed is later variously reported to be arrested in June 2002, killed or arrested in September 2002, and then arrested in March 2003. After this last arrest report, for the first time Fouda claims this interview took place in April, placing it safely before the first reports of Mohammed's capture. [Guardian, 3/4/03; Canada AM, 3/6/03] Bin al-Shibh also gets captured several days after Fouda's interview is broadcast, and some reports say he is captured because this interview allows his voice to be identified. [Observer, 9/15/02; CBS News, 10/9/02] As a result, Fouda has been accused of betraying al-Qaeda, and now fears for his life. [Independent, 9/17/02] As the Washington Post states, “Now Al Jazeera is also subject to rumors of a conspiracy.” [Washington Post, 9/15/02] Yet after being so reviled by al-Qaeda supporters, Fouda is later given a cassette said to be a bin Laden speech. [MSNBC, 11/18/02] US officials believe the voice on that cassette is “almost certainly” bin Laden, but one of the world's leading voice-recognition institutes said it is 95 percent certain the tape is a forgery. [BBC, 11/29/02; BBC, 11/18/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Yosri Fouda
          

September 11, 2002: 9/11 Planner Ramzi bin Al-Shibh Captured in Pakistan; Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Possibly Killed as Well      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Ramzi bin al-Shibh arrested in Pakistan.
Would-be hijacker Ramzi Bin al-Shibh is arrested after a huge gunfight in Karachi, Pakistan, involving thousands of police. [Observer, 9/15/02] He is considered “a high-ranking operative for al-Qaeda and one of the few people still alive who know the inside details of the 9/11 plot.” [New York Times, 9/13/02] Khalid Shaikh Mohammed called bin al-Shibh “the coordinator of the Holy Tuesday [9/11] operation” in an interview aired days before. Captured with him are approximately nine associates, as well as numerous computers, phones, and other evidence. [New York Times, 9/13/02; Time, 9/15/02] There are conflicting claims that arrested in Pakistan Mohammed is killed in the raid [Asia Times, 3/6/03; Daily Telegraph, 3/4/03; Asia Times, 10/30/02] ; shot while escaping [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/2/03] ; someone who looks like him is killed, leading to initial misidentification [Time, 1/20/03] ; someone matching his general appearance is captured [Associated Press, 9/16/02] ; or that he narrowly escapes capture but his young children are captured. [Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

February 18, 2003: Al-Qaeda Member Convicted in Germany      Complete 911 Timeline

       Mounir El Motassadeq, an alleged member of Mohamed Atta's Hamburg al-Qaeda cell, is convicted in Germany of accessory to murder in the 9/11 attacks. His is given the maximum sentence of 15 years. [Associated Press, 2/19/03] Motassadeq admitted varying degrees of contact with Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Said Bahaji, Ziad Jarrah, and Zakariya Essabar; admitted he had been given power of attorney over Alshehhi's bank account; and admitted attending an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan from May to August 2000; but he claimed he had nothing to do with 9/11. [New York Times, 10/24/02] The conviction is the first one related to 9/11, but as the Independent puts it, “there are doubts whether there will ever be a second.” This is because intelligence agencies have been reluctant to turn over evidence, or give access to requested witnesses. In Motassadeq's case, his lawyers tried several times unsuccessfully to obtain testimony by two of his friends, bin al-Shibh and Mohammed Haydar Zammar—a lack of evidence that will later become grounds for overturning his conviction. [Independent, 2/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Germany, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Mounir El Motassadeq, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Ziad Jarrah, Zakariya Essabar, al-Qaeda, Said Bahaji, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi
          

December 11, 2003: Secret Testimony Leads to Release of Mzoudi      Complete 911 Timeline

       Abdelghani Mzoudi, charged by the German government in assisting the 9/11 plot, is released from custody, pending completion of his trial. Mzoudi is released on bail following evidence submitted by Germany's federal criminal office of secret testimony from an unnamed informant who says that Mzoudi was not involved with the planning for the attacks. The presiding judge in the case identifies captured al-Qaeda operative Ramzi Bin al-Shibh as the likely source of the testimony [BBC, 1/21/04; Chicago Tribune, 1/22/04; Reuters, 1/22/04; Guardian, 12/12/03] Presumably, this information comes from the US government. However, US authorities have repeatedly rejected German attempts to have bin al-Shibh appear in court for his testimony to be examined. [Associated Press, 10/23/03; Agence France-Presse, 1/22/04]
People and organizations involved: Germany, United States, Abdelghani Mzoudi, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh
          

March 3, 2004: US Secrecy Leads to Overturning of Motassadeq Conviction      Complete 911 Timeline

       A German appeals court overturns the conviction of Mounir El Motassadeq after finding that German and US authorities withheld evidence. He had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for involvement in the 9/11 plot. According to the court, a key suspect in US custody, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, had not been allowed to testify. European commentators blame US secrecy, complaining that “the German justice system [is] suffering ‘from the weaknesses of the way America is dealing with 9/11,’ and ‘absolute secrecy leads absolutely certainly to flawed trials.’ ” [Agence France-Presse, 3/5/04] The court orders a new trial scheduled to begin later in the year. [Associated Press, 3/4/04] The release of Motassadeq (and the acquittal of Mzoudi earlier in the year) means that there is not a single person who has ever been successfully prosecuted for the events of 9/11.
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Mounir El Motassadeq, Germany
          

May 11, 2004: Administration Gives Top Prisoner Access to Some, Denies Custody to Others      Complete 911 Timeline

       In a secret agreement with the White House, the 9/11 Commission obtains the right to question at least two top al-Qaeda leaders in US custody. The two men are believed to be Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, two accused masterminds of the 2001 attacks. [Baltimore Sun, 5/12/04] The results of the commission's questioning of these suspects are published in a 9/11 Staff Statement released in June 2004. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/16/04 (B)] However, in an ironic twist, during a 9/11-related lawsuit hearing held in June, US authorities refuse to acknowledge whether or not they have Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in custody. [Associated Press, 6/15/04; Associated Press, 4/23/04] Insurance companies representing 9/11 victims had requested that the US Justice Department serve a summons against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, but a judge rules that the US government does not have to disclose whether it is holding alleged terrorists in custody. [Associated Press, 4/23/04; Associated Press, 6/15/04]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Justice, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, 9/11 Commission, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, al-Qaeda
          

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