The Center for Cooperative Research
U:     P:    
Not registered yet? Register here
 
Search
 
Advanced Search


Main Menu
Home 
History Engine Sub-Menu
Timelines 
Entities 
Forum 
Miscellaneous Sub-Menu
Donate 
Links 
End of Main Menu

Volunteers Needed!
Submit a timeline entry
Donate: If you think this site is important, please help us out financially. We need your help!
Email updates
 


Click here to join: Suggest changes to existing data, add new data to the website, or compile your own timeline. More Info >>

 

Profile: al-Qaeda

 
  

Positions that al-Qaeda has held:



 

Quotes

 
  

No quotes or excerpts for this entity.


 

Relations

 
  

Related Entities:


 

al-Qaeda actively participated in the following events:

 
  

Early 1980: Osama bin Laden, with Saudi Backing, Supports Afghan Rebels      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Osama bin Laden's father, Mohammed Awad bin Laden, was extremely powerful and influential in Saudi Arabia.
Osama bin Laden begins providing financial, organizational, and engineering aid for the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, with the advice and support of the Saudi royal family. [New Yorker, 11/5/01] Some, including Richard Clarke, counterterrorism “tsar” during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, believe he was handpicked for the job by Prince Turki al-Faisal, head of Saudi Arabia's Secret Service. [Sunday Times, 8/25/02; New Yorker, 11/5/01] The Pakistani ISI want a Saudi prince as a public demonstration of the commitment of the Saudi royal family and as a way to ensure royal funds for the anti-Soviet forces. The agency fails to get royalty, but bin Laden, with his family's influential ties, is good enough for the ISI. [Miami Herald, 9/24/01] (Clarke will argue later that the Saudis and other Muslim governments used the Afghan war in an attempt to get rid of their own misfits and troublemakers.) This multinational force later coalesces into al-Qaeda. [Clarke, 2004, pp 52]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Clarke, Osama bin Laden, Turki bin Faisal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, al-Qaeda
          

1985-1989: Precursor to al-Qaeda Puts Down US Roots      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Sheikh Abdullah Azzam.
Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, bin Laden's mentor, makes repeated trips to the US and other countries, building up his organization, Makhtab al-Khidimat (MAK), also known as the Services Office. Branches of the MAK open in over 30 US cities, as Muslim-Americans donate millions of dollars to support the Afghan war against the Soviet Union. Azzam is assassinated in a car bomb attack in late 1989. Some US intelligence officials believe bin Laden ordered the killing. Bin Laden soon takes over the MAK, which morphs into al-Qaeda. His followers take over MAK's offices in the US, and they become financial conduits for al-Qaeda operations. [Lance, 2003, pp 40-41]
People and organizations involved: Abdullah Azzam, Makhtab al-Khidimat, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda
          

August 11, 1988: Bin Laden Forms al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline

       Bin Laden conducts a meeting to discuss “the establishment of a new military group,” according to notes that are found later. Over time, this group becomes known as al-Qaeda, roughly meaning “the base” or “the foundation.” [Associated Press, 2/19/03 (B)] It will take US intelligence years even to realize a group named al-Qaeda exists.
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda
          

1989-May 2000: Hijacker Associate al-Marabh Busy Inside US      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Raed Hijazi.
Nabil al-Marabh moves to Boston in 1989 and apparently lives there as a taxi driver and al-Qaeda sleeper agent for the next ten years. [Boston Herald, 9/19/01; New York Times, 9/18/01] In 1992, he learns to use weapons in an Afghan al-Qaeda training camp with an operative named Raed Hijazi. [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/5/02] He and Hijazi live together and drive taxis at the same company in Boston for several years. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] A mutual friend at the same taxi company is later killed participating in a 1999 al-Qaeda attack. [Boston Herald, 9/19/01] Hijazi participates in a failed attempt to bomb a hotel in Jordan in November 1999 and helps plan the USS Cole bombing in October 2000 (see October 12, 2000). In May 1999, the FBI approaches al-Marabh looking for Hijazi, but al-Marabh lies and says he does not know Hijazi. [Washington Post, 9/4/02] Hijazi is arrested in Syria in October 2000 and imprisoned in Jordan for his bomb attempt there. [Toronto Sun, 10/16/01] He begins to cooperate with investigators and identifies al-Marabh as a US al-Qaeda operative. [New York Times, 9/18/01] Operative Ahmed Ressam gives evidence helping to prove that al-Marabh sent money to Hijazi for the Jordan bombing. [ABC News, 1/31/02; Toronto Sun, 11/16/01] By February 1999, al-Marabh is driving taxis in Tampa, Florida, while maintaining a cover of living in Boston. [Toronto Star, 10/26/01; New York Times, 9/18/01; ABC News, 1/31/02] He apparently lives in Tampa at least part time until February 2000; investigators later wonder if he is an advance man for the Florida-based hijackers. [ABC News, 1/31/02; New York Times, 9/18/01] Al-Marabh is living in Detroit by May 2000, though he maintains a Boston address until September 2000. [Boston Herald, 9/19/01]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda, Ahmed Ressam, Jordan, Syria, Nabil al-Marabh, Raed Hijazi
          

February 15, 1989: Soviet Forces Withdraw from Afghanistan      Complete 911 Timeline

       Soviet forces withdraw from Afghanistan, but Afghan communists retain control of Kabul, the capital, until April 1992. [Washington Post, 7/19/92] Richard Clarke, a counterterrorism official during the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations and the counterterrorism “tsar” by 9/11, later claims that the huge amount of US aid provided to Afghanistan drops off drastically as soon as the Soviets withdraw, abandoning the country to civil war and chaos. The new powers in Afghanistan are tribal chiefs, the Pakistani ISI, and the Arab war veterans coalescing into al-Qaeda. [Clarke, 2004, pp 52-53]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Clarke, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, al-Qaeda
          

1993-1999: Alhazmi and Almihdhar Fight for al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Nawaf Alhazmi (left), and Khalid Almihdhar (right).
Of all the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar have the longest records of involvement with al-Qaeda. CIA Director Tenet calls them al-Qaeda veterans. According to the CIA, Alhazmi first travels to Afghanistan in 1993 as a teenager. In 1995, he travels with Almihdhar to Bosnia and fights against the Serbs. Almihdhar makes his first visit to Afghanistan training camps in 1996, and then fights in Chechnya in 1997. Both swear loyalty to bin Laden around 1998. Alhazmi fights in Afghanistan against the Northern Alliance with his brother, Salem Alhazmi. He fights in Chechnya, probably in 1998. He returns to Saudi Arabia in early 1999 and shares information about the 1998 US embassy bombings. [CIA Director Tenet Testimony, 6/18/02; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02; Observer, 9/23/01; ABC News, 1/9/02]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Salem Alhazmi, Nawaf Alhazmi, Osama bin Laden, Northern Alliance, Khalid Almihdhar, al-Qaeda
          

June 1993-October 1994: 9/11 Funder Saeed Sheikh Joins Al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline

       Saeed Sheikh, a brilliant British student at the London School of Economics, drops out of school and moves to his homeland of Pakistan. Two months later, he begins training in Afghanistan at camps run by al-Qaeda and the Pakistani ISI. By mid-1994, he has become an instructor. In June 1994, he begins kidnapping Western tourists in India. In October 1994, he is captured after kidnapping three Britons and an American, and is put in an Indian maximum-security prison, where he remain for five years. The ISI pays a lawyer to defend him. [Los Angeles Times, 2/9/02; Daily Mail, 7/16/02; Vanity Fair, 8/02] His supervisor is Ijaz Shah, an ISI officer. [Times of India, 3/12/02; Guardian, 7/16/02]
People and organizations involved: Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, al-Qaeda, Ijaz Shah, Saeed Sheikh
          

September 1994: ISI Creates the Taliban, Helps Them Begin Afghanistan Conquest      Complete 911 Timeline

       Starting as Afghan exiles in Pakistan religious schools, the Taliban begin their conquest of Afghanistan. [MSNBC, 10/2/01] “The Taliban are widely alleged to be the creation of Pakistan's military intelligence [the ISI], which, according to experts, explains the Taliban's swift military successes.” [CNN, 10/5/96] Richard Clarke, a counterterrorism official during the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations and the counterterrorism “tsar” by 9/11, later claims that not only does the ISI create the Taliban, but they also facilitate connections between the Taliban and al-Qaeda to help the Taliban achieve victory. [Clarke, 2004, pp 53] An edition of the Wall Street Journal will state in November 2001, “Despite their clean chins and pressed uniforms, the ISI men are as deeply fundamentalist as any bearded fanatic; the ISI created the Taliban as their own instrument and still support it.” [Asia Times, 11/15/01] ISI support of the Taliban is backed by the CIA. A long-time regional expert with extensive CIA ties later says, “I warned them that we were creating a monster.” He adds that even years later, “the Taliban are not just recruits from ‘madrassas’ (Muslim theological schools) but are on the payroll of the ISI.” [Times of India, 3/7/01] The same claim is made on CNN in February 2002. [CNN, 2/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Clarke, Central Intelligence Agency, al-Qaeda, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Taliban
          

January 6, 1995: Pope Assassination and Bojinka Plot to Bomb a Dozen Airplanes Is Foiled      Complete 911 Timeline

      
A 1998 CNN map of likely flights to be hijacked in one version of Operation Bojinka.
Responding to an apartment fire, Philippine investigators uncover an al-Qaeda plot to assassinate the Pope that is scheduled to take place when he visits the Philippines one week later. While investigating that scheme, they also uncover Operation Bojinka, planned by the same people: 1993 WTC bomber Ramzi Yousef and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02; Los Angeles Times, 6/24/02; Independent, 6/6/02] The first phase of the plan is to explode 11 or 12 passenger planes over the Pacific Ocean. [Agence France-Presse, 12/8/01] Had this plot been successful, up to 4,000 people would have been killed in planes flying to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, and New York. [Insight, 5/27/02] All the bombs would be planted at about the same time, but some would be timed to go off weeks or even months later. Presumably worldwide air travel could be interrupted for months. [Lance, 2003, pp 260-61] This phase of Operation Bojinka was scheduled to go forward just two weeks later on January 21. [Insight, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Ramzi Yousef, World Trade Center, al-Qaeda, Operation Bojinka
          

April 3, 1995: Time Magazine and Senator Highlight Author's Flying Bomb Idea      Complete 911 Timeline

       Time magazine's cover story reports on the potential for anti-American militants to kill thousands in highly destructive acts. Senator Sam Nunn (D) outlines a scenario in which terrorists destroy the US Capitol Building by crashing a radio-controlled airplane into it. “It's not far-fetched,” he says. His idea was taken from Tom Clancy's book Debt of Honour published in August 1994. [Time, 4/3/95] High-ranking al-Qaeda leaders will claim later that Flight 93's target was the Capitol Building. [Guardian, 9/9/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Sam Nunn, World Trade Center
          

November 13, 1995: Al-Qaeda Bombing in Saudi Arabia, US Realizes bin Laden Is More Than Financier      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Destruction at the Saudi National Guard training center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Two truck bombs kill five Americans and two Indians in the US-operated Saudi National Guard training center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaeda is blamed for the attacks. [Associated Press, 8/19/02] The attack changes US investigators' views of the role of bin Laden, from al-Qaeda financier to its leader. [Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp 150] The Vinnell Corporation, thought by some experts to be a CIA front, owns the facility that was attacked. [Times of London, 5/14/03]
People and organizations involved: Vinnell Corporation, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Central Intelligence Agency
          

1996: FBI Fumbles Flight School Investigation; Ten al-Qaeda Pilots Training in US      Complete 911 Timeline

       Finding a business card for a US flight school in the possession of Operation Bojinka plotter Abdul Hakim Murad, the FBI investigates the US flight schools Murad attended. [Washington Post, 9/23/01] He had trained at about six flight schools off and on, starting in 1990. Apparently, the FBI closes the investigation when they fail to find any other potential suspects. [Insight, 5/27/02] However, Murad had already confessed to Philippine authorities the names of about ten other al-Qaeda operatives learning to fly in the US, and the Philippine authorities had asserted that they provided this information to the US. An assistant manager at a Schenectady, New York, flight school where Murad trained later recalls, “There were several [Middle Eastern pilot students] here. At one point three or four were here. Supposedly they didn't know each other before, they just happened to show up here at the same time. But they all obviously knew each other.” However, US investigators somehow fail to detect any of these suspects before 9/11, despite being given their names. [Associated Press, 3/5/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda, Abdul Hakim Murad
          

May 1996: Saudis and al-Qaeda Allegedly Strike a Secret Deal      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The Hotel Royale Monceau.
French intelligence secretly monitors a meeting of Saudi billionaires at the Hotel Royale Monceau in Paris this month with the financial representative of al-Qaeda. “The Saudis, including a key Saudi prince joined by Muslim and non-Muslim gun traffickers, [meet] to determine who would pay how much to Osama. This [is] not so much an act of support but of protection—a payoff to keep the mad bomber away from Saudi Arabia.” [Palast, 2002, pp 100] Participants also agree that bin Laden should be rewarded for promoting Wahhabism (an austere form of Islam that requires literal interpretation of the Koran) in Chechnya, Kashmir, Bosnia, and other places. [Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 10/29/03 (C)] This extends an alleged secret deal first made between the Saudi government and bin Laden in 1991. Later, 9/11 victims' relatives will rely on the “nonpublished French intelligence report” of this meeting in their lawsuit against important Saudis. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 8/16/02] According to French terrorism expert Jean-Charles Brisard and/or reporter Greg Palast, there are about 20 people at the meeting, including an unnamed brother of bin Laden and an unnamed representative from the Saudi Defense Ministry. [Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 10/29/03 (C)] Palast, noting that the French monitored the meeting, asks, “Since US intelligence was thus likely informed, the question becomes why didn't the government immediately move against the Saudis?” [Palast, 2002, pp 100]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda
          

May 18, 1996: Sudan Expels bin Laden; US Fails to Stop His Flight to Afghanistan      Complete 911 Timeline

       After Sudan asks bin Laden to leave the country, he moves to Afghanistan. He departs along with many other al-Qaeda members, plus much money and resources. Bin Laden flies to Afghanistan in a C-130 transport plane with an entourage of about 150 men, women, and children, stopping in Doha, Qatar, to refuel, where governmental officials greet him warmly. [Coll, 2004, pp 325; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] The US knows in advance that bin Laden is going to Afghanistan, but does nothing to stop him. Elfatih Erwa, Sudan's minister of state for defense at the time, later says in an interview, “We warned [the US]. In Sudan, bin Laden and his money were under our control. But we knew that if he went to Afghanistan no one could control him. The US didn't care; they just didn't want him in Somalia. It's crazy.” [Washington Post, 10/3/01; Village Voice, 10/31/01]
People and organizations involved: Elfatih Erwa, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Somalia, Sudan
          

Mid-1996-September 11, 2001: Mohammed Travels World; Involved in Many Al-Qaeda Operations      Complete 911 Timeline

       After fleeing Qatar, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed travels the world and plans many al-Qaeda operationss. He previously was involved in the 1993 WTC bombing, and the Operation Bojinka plot. [Time, 1/20/03] And now, he is apparently involved in the 1998 US embassy bombings (see August 7, 1998), the 2000 USS Cole bombing (see October 12, 2000), and other attacks. One US official says, “There is a clear operational link between him and the execution of most, if not all, of the al-Qaeda plots over the past five years.” [Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02] He lives in Prague, Czech Republic, through much of 1997. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] By 1999, he is living in Germany and visiting with the hijackers there. [New York Times, 6/8/02 (B); New York Times, 9/22/02] Using 60 aliases and as many passports, he travels through Europe, Africa, the Persian Gulf, Southeast Asia and South America, personally setting up al-Qaeda cells. [Time, 1/20/03; Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02]
People and organizations involved: USS Cole, al-Qaeda, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

June 25, 1996: Khobar Towers Are Bombed; Culprit Is Unclear      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Destruction at the Khobar Towers, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
Explosions destroy the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American soldiers and wounding 500. [CNN, 6/26/96] Saudi officials later interrogate the suspects, declare them guilty, and execute them—without letting the FBI talk to them. [Irish Times, 11/19/01; PBS Frontline, 2001] Saudis blame Hezbollah, the Iranian-influenced group, but US investigators still believe bin Laden was somehow involved. [Seattle Times, 10/29/01] Bin Laden admits instigating the attacks in a 1998 interview. [Miami Herald, 9/24/01] Ironically, the bin Laden family is later awarded the contract to rebuild the installation. [New Yorker, 11/5/01] In 1997, Canada catches one of the Khobar Tower attackers and extradites him to the US. However, in 1999, he is shipped back to Saudi Arabia before he can reveal what he knows about al-Qaeda and the Saudis. One anonymous insider calls it, “President Clinton's parting kiss to the Saudis.” [Palast, 2002, pp 102] In June 2001, a US grand jury will indict 13 Saudis for the bombing. According to the indictment, Iran and Hezbollah were also involved in the attack. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)]
People and organizations involved: William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, Hezbollah, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda
          

October 1996-early 2002: Arms Dealer Aligns with Taliban and ISI      Complete 911 Timeline

       Russian arms merchant Victor Bout, who has been selling weapons to Afghanistan's Northern Alliance since 1992, switches sides, and begins selling weapons to the Taliban and al-Qaeda instead. [Los Angeles Times, 1/20/02; Los Angeles Times, 5/17/02; Guardian, 4/17/02] The deal comes immediately after the Taliban captures Kabul in late October 1996 and gains the upper hand in Afghanistan's civil war. In one trade in 1996, Bout's company delivers at least 40 tons of Russian weapons to the Taliban, earning about $50 million. [Guardian, 2/16/02] Two intelligence agencies later confirm that Bout trades with the Taliban “on behalf of the Pakistan government.” In late 2000, several Ukrainians sell 150 to 200 T-55 and T-62 tanks to the Taliban in a deal conducted by the ISI, and Bout helps fly the tanks to Afghanistan. [Montreal Gazette, 2/5/02] Bout formerly worked for the Russian KGB, and now operates the world's largest private weapons transport network. Based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bout operates freely there until well after 9/11. The US becomes aware of Bout's widespread illegal weapons trading in Africa in 1995, and of his ties to the Taliban in 1996, but they fail to take effective action against him for years. [Los Angeles Times, 5/17/02] US pressure on the UAE in November 2000 to close down Bout's operations there is ignored. Press reports calling him “the merchant of death” also fail to pressure the UAE. [Financial Times, 6/10/00; Guardian, 12/23/00] After President Bush is elected, it appears the US gives up trying to get Bout, until after 9/11. [Guardian, 4/17/02; Washington Post, 2/26/02] Bout moves to Russia in 2002. He is seemingly protected from prosecution by the Russian government, which in early 2002 will claim, “There are no grounds for believing that this Russian citizen has committed illegal acts.” [Guardian, 4/17/02] The Guardian suggests that Bout may have worked with the CIA when he traded with the Northern Alliance, and this fact may be hampering current international efforts to catch him. [Guardian, 4/17/02]
People and organizations involved: United Arab Emirates, George W. Bush, Russia, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Victor Bout, Central Intelligence Agency, Northern Alliance
          

Late 1996: Bin Laden Becomes Active in Opium Trade      Complete 911 Timeline

       Bin Laden establishes and maintains a major role in opium drug trade, soon after moving the base of his operations to Afghanistan. Opium money is vital to keeping the Taliban in power and funding bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. Yossef Bodansky, Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare and author of a 1999 biography on bin Laden, says bin Laden takes a 15 percent cut of the drug trade money in exchange for protecting smugglers and laundering their profits. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 9/30/01] Another report estimates that bin Laden takes up to 10 percent of Afghanistan's drug trade by early 1999. This would give him a yearly income of up to $1 billion out of $6.5 to $10 billion in annual drug profits from within Afghanistan. [Financial Times, 11/28/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Taliban, al-Qaeda
          

Early 1998: CIA Ignores Ex-Agent's Warning 9/11 Mastermind Is "Going to Hijack Some Planes," Visiting Germany      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Robert Baer.
in December 1997, CIA agent Robert Baer, newly retired from the CIA and working as a terrorism consultant, meets a former police chief from the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. He learns that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was being sheltered by then Qatari Interior Minister Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani in 1996 (see January-May 1996). However, the ex-police chief knows other details, based on what Qatari police and intelligence learned when Mohammed was in the country. Mohammed was leading an al-Qaeda cell in Qatar together with Shawqui Islambuli, the brother of the Egyptian who had killed Anwar el-Sadat. They also were linked to bomber Ramzi Yousef. But what worries the former police chief is that Mohammed and Islambuli are experts in hijacking commercial planes. He tells Baer that Mohammed “is going to hijack some planes.” Further, he is told that Mohammed has moved to the Czech Republic, and has also travelled to Germany to meet bin Laden associates there. In early 1998 Baer sends this information to a friend in the CIA Counterterrorist Center, who forwards the information to his superiors. Baer doesn't hear back. He says, “There was no interest.” [UPI, 9/30/02; Vanity Fair, 2/02; Baer, 2002, pp 270-71] Baer also tries to interest reporter Daniel Pearl in a story about Mohammed before 9/11, but Pearl is still working on it when he is kidnapped and later murdered in early 2002. [UPI, 9/30/02] Baer's source later disappears, presumably kidnapped in Qatar. It has been speculated that the CIA turned on the source to protect its relationship with the Qatari government. [Gertz, 2002, pp 55-58] It appears bin Laden visits al-Thani in Qatar between the years 1996 and 2000. [ABC News, 2/7/03] Al-Thani continues to support al-Qaeda, providing Qatari passports and more than $1 million in funds to al-Qaeda. Even after 9/11, Mohammed is provided shelter in Qatar for two weeks in late 2001. [New York Times, 2/6/03] Yet the US still has not frozen al-Thani's assets or taken other action.
People and organizations involved: Ramzi Yousef, Counterterrorist Center, Qatar, Anwar el-Sadat, Shawqui Islambuli, Daniel Pearl, Osama bin Laden, Persian Gulf, al-Qaeda, Central Intelligence Agency, Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Robert Baer
          

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

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

August 7, 1998: Al-Qaeda Bombs US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Bombings of the Nairobi, Kenya, US embassy (left), and the Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, US embassy (right).
Two US embassies in Africa are bombed almost simultaneously. The attack in Nairobi, Kenya, kills 213 people, including 12 US nationals, and injures more than 4,500. The attack in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, kills 11 and injures 85. The attack is blamed on al-Qaeda. [PBS Frontline, 2001] The attack shows al-Qaeda has a capability for simultaneous attacks. A third attack against the US embassy in Uganda fails. [Associated Press, 9/25/98]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda
          

August 20, 1998: US Fires on al-Qaeda's Afghan Training Camps, Sudanese Facility      Complete 911 Timeline

      
El Shifa Plant in Sudan.
The US fires 66 missiles at six al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and 13 missiles at a pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, Sudan, in retaliation for the US embassy bombings. [Washington Post, 10/3/01 (C)] The US insists the attacks are aimed at terrorists “not supported by any state,” despite obvious evidence to the contrary. The Sudanese factory is hit in the middle of the night when it is unoccupied. About 30 people are killed in the Afghanistan attacks, but no important al-Qaeda figures die. [Observer, 8/23/98; New Yorker, 1/24/00]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Clinton administration
          

Late August 1998: Al-Qaeda Planning US Attack, but Not Yet Ready      Complete 911 Timeline

       The FBI learns that al-Qaeda is planning an attack on the US, but “things are not ready yet. We don't have everything prepared,” according to a captured member of the al-Qaeda cell that bombed the US embassy in Kenya. [USA Today, 8/29/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

October 1998: Chicago FBI Investigation of al-Qaeda Funding Is Thwarted      Complete 911 Timeline

      
FBI agents John Vincent (left), and Robert Wright (right).
FBI agents Robert Wright and John Vincent, tracking a terrorist cell in Chicago, are told to simply follow suspects around town and file reports. The two agents believe some of the money used to finance the 1998 US embassy bombing in Africa leads back to Chicago and Saudi multimillionaire businessman Yassin al-Qadi. Supervisors try, but temporarily fail, to halt the investigation into al-Qadi's possible terrorist connections. However, at this time, a supervisor prohibits Wright and Vincent from making any arrests connected to the bombings, or opening new criminal investigations. Even though they believe their case is growing stronger, in January 2001, Wright is told that the Chicago case is being closed and that “it's just better to let sleeping dogs lie.” Wright tells ABC: “Those dogs weren't sleeping, they were training, they were getting ready. ... September the 11th is a direct result of the incompetence of the FBI's International Terrorism Unit. ... Absolutely no doubt about that.” Chicago federal prosecutor Mark Flessner, also working on the case, says there “were powers bigger than I was in the Justice Department and within the FBI that simply were not going to let [the building of a criminal case] happen.” Wright will write an internal FBI memo harshly criticizing their decisions regarding the case in June 2001. Al-Qadi is named in a March 2000 affidavit as a source of terrorist funds in Chicago. [ABC News, 12/19/02 (B); ABC News, 12/19/02; ABC News, 11/26/02] He is also on secret US and UN lists of major al-Qaeda financiers. His charity, the Muwafaq Foundation, is allegedly an al-Qaeda front that transferred $820,000 to the Palestinian group Hamas through a Muslim foundation called the Quranic Literacy Institute. (The date of the transfer has not been released.) [CNN, 10/15/01 (B)] Al-Qadi says he shut down Muwafaq in 1996, but the charity has received money from the United Nations since then. [BBC, 10/20/01; CNN, 10/15/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Yassin al-Qadi, Quranic Literacy Institute, Hamas, Muwafaq Foundation, International Terrorism Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mark Flessner, US Department of Justice, Robert Wright, al-Qaeda, John Vincent
          

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
          

Late 1998: Taliban Stall Pipeline Negotiations to Keep Western Powers at Bay      Complete 911 Timeline

       During the investigation of the August 7, 1998 US embassy bombings (see August 7, 1998), FBI counterterrorism expert John O'Neill finds a memo by al-Qaeda leader Mohammed Atef on a computer. The memo shows that bin Laden's group has a keen interest in and detailed knowledge of negotiations between the Taliban and the US over an oil and gas pipeline through Afghanistan. Atef's analysis suggests that the Taliban are not sincere in wanting a pipeline, but are dragging out negotiations to keep Western powers at bay. [Salon, 6/5/02]
People and organizations involved: John O'Neill, Mohammed Atef, United States, al-Qaeda, Taliban
          

March 1999: Germany Provides CIA Hijacker's Name and Telephone Number      Complete 911 Timeline

       German intelligence gives the CIA the first name of hijacker Marwan Alshehhi and his telephone number in the United Arab Emirates. The Germans learned the information from surveillance of suspected Islamic militants. They tell the CIA that Alshehhi has been in contact with suspected al-Qaeda members Mohammed Haydar Zammar and Mamoun Darkazanli. He is described as a United Arab Emirates student who has spent some time studying in Germany. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; New York Times, 2/24/04; Deutsche Presse-Agenteur, 8/13/03] The Germans consider this information “particularly valuable” and ask the CIA to track Alshehhi, but the CIA never responds until after the 9/11 attacks. The CIA decides at the time that this “Marwan” is probably an associate of bin Laden but never track him down. It is not clear why the CIA fails to act, or if they learn his last name before 9/11. [New York Times, 2/24/04] The Germans monitor other calls between Alshehhi and Zammar, but it isn't clear if the CIA is also told of these or not (see September 21, 1999).
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Marwan Alshehhi, Mamoun Darkazanli, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Germany, Central Intelligence Agency, al-Qaeda
          

November 30, 1999: Jordan Thwarts al-Qaeda Plot      Complete 911 Timeline

       Jordanian officials successfully uncover an al-Qaeda plot to blow up the Radisson Hotel in Amman, Jordan, and other sites on January 1, 2000. [PBS Frontline, 10/3/02 (C)] A call between al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida and a suspected Jordanian terrorist exposes the plot. In the call, Zubaida states, “The grooms are ready for the big wedding.” [Seattle Times, 6/23/02] This call reflects an extremely poor code system, because the FBI had already determined in the wake of the 1998 US embassy bombings that “wedding” was the al-Qaeda code word for bomb. [Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp 214] Furthermore, it appears al-Qaeda fails to later change the system, because the code-name for the 9/11 attack is also “The Big Wedding.” [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02] This attempt also reveals to investigators the important role of Abu Zubaida in al-Qaeda plots. A January 2001 New York Times article about the attempt will call Zubaida “a crucial link between local initiative and central command.” [New York Times, 1/15/01]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Abu Zubaida, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jordan
          

January 1, 2000-September 11, 2001: Following Release from Prison, Saeed Sheikh Lives Openly; Supports Future 9/11 Hijackers      Complete 911 Timeline

       After being released from prison at the end of 1999, Saeed Sheikh stays in Kandahar, Afghanistan, for several days and meets with Taliban leader Mullah Omar. He also meets with bin Laden, who is said to call Saeed “my special son.” He then travels to Pakistan and is given a house by the ISI. [Vanity Fair, 8/02] He lives openly and opulently in Pakistan, even attending “swanky parties attended by senior Pakistani government officials.” US authorities conclude he is an asset of the ISI. [Newsweek, 3/13/02] Amazingly, he is allowed to travel freely to Britain, and visits family there at least twice. [Vanity Fair, 8/02] He works with Ijaz Shah, a former ISI official in charge of handling two militant groups; Lieutenant-General Mohammed Aziz Khan, former deputy chief of the ISI in charge of relations with Jaish-e-Mohammed; and Brigadier Abdullah, a former ISI officer. He is well known to other senior ISI officers. He regularly travels to Afghanistan and helps train new al-Qaeda recruits in training camps there. [National Post, 2/26/02; Guardian, 7/16/02; New York Times, 2/25/02; India Today, 2/25/02] Saeed helps train the 9/11 hijackers also, presumably in Afghanistan. [Daily Telegraph, 9/30/01] He also helps al-Qaeda develop a secure web-based communications system, and there is talk that he could one day succeed bin Laden. [Daily Telegraph, 7/16/02; Vanity Fair, 8/02] He wires money to the 9/11 hijackers in August 2001 and possibly several other times. Presumably, he sends the money from the United Arab Emirates during his many trips there. [Guardian, 2/9/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Abdullah, Mohammed Aziz Khan, Ijaz Shah, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Osama bin Laden, Saeed Sheikh, Mullah Omar
          

January 3, 2000: Al-Qaeda Attack on USS The Sullivans Fails; Remains Undiscovered      Complete 911 Timeline

       An al-Qaeda attack on USS The Sullivans in Yemen's Aden harbor fails when their boat filled with explosives sinks. The attack remains undiscovered, and a duplication of the attack by the same people later successfully hits the USS Cole in October 2000. [PBS Frontline, 10/3/02 (C)]
People and organizations involved: USS The Sullivans, al-Qaeda, USS Cole
          

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
          

January 8, 2000: Al-Qaeda Summit Ends; CIA Fails to Add Attendees to Watch List      Complete 911 Timeline

       The al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000) ends and the participants leave. Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar fly to Bangkok, Thailand, traveling under their real names. al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash also travels with them and the three sit side by side in the airplane, but bin Attash travels under the false name “Salah Said.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; Associated Press, 9/20/02] The CIA knows that a “Nawaf” has attended the meeting, but does not know his last name. Shortly afterwards, the CIA is told of this airplane flight, and the fact that the person sitting next to Almihdhar on the plane is named “Nawaf Alhazmi.” CIA Headquarters asks the NSA to put Almihdhar on their watch list. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] However, neither Alhazmi nor Almihdhar are placed on a terror watch list. The CIA still fails to tell the FBI that Almihdhar has a valid US visa, and fails to give them Alhazmi's last name. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; Stern, 8/13/03] The CIA searches for the names in their databases but get no “hits.” Yet they don't search the much larger NSA databases, which had vital information on them. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Nawaf Alhazmi, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Almihdhar, National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash
          

February 6, 2000: Apparent Mossad Attempt to Infiltrate al-Qaeda Thwarted      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Ephrahim Halevy is head of the Israeli Mossad from 1998 to 2002.
India's largest Newsweekly reports that it appears a recent Mossad attempt to infiltrate al-Qaeda failed when undercover agents were stopped on their way to Bangladesh by Indian customs officials. These 11 men appeared to be from Afghanistan, but had Israeli passports. One expert states, “It is not unlikely for Mossad to recruit 11 Afghans in Iran and grant them Israeli citizenship to penetrate a network such as bin Laden's. They would begin by infiltrating them into an Islamic radical group in an unlikely place like Bangladesh.” [The Week, 2/6/00]
People and organizations involved: Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks, al-Qaeda
          

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

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

March 25, 2000: Clinton Visits Pakistan Despite Fears of ISI Ties to Al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Clinton visits Pakistan. It is later revealed that the US Secret Service believed that the ISI was so deeply infiltrated by Islamic militant organizations, that it begged Clinton to cancel his visit. Specifically, the US government determined that the ISI had long-standing ties with al-Qaeda. When Clinton decided to go over the Secret Service's protestations, his security took extraordinary and unprecedented precautions. For instance, an empty Air Force One was flown into the country, and the president made the trip in a small, unmarked plane. [New York Times, 10/29/01]
People and organizations involved: Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, al-Qaeda, Secret Service, William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton
          

April 2000: Would-Be Hijacker Tells FBI About Plot to Fly Plane into US Building      Complete 911 Timeline

       Niaz Khan, a British citizen originally from Pakistan, is recruited into an al-Qaeda plot. He is flown to Lahore, Pakistan, and then trains in a compound there for a week with others on how to hijack passenger airplanes. He trains on a mock cockpit of a 767 aircraft (an airplane type used on 9/11). He is taught hijacking techniques, including how to smuggle guns and other weapons through airport security and how to get into a cockpit. He is then flown to the US and told to meet with a contact. He says, “They said I would live there for a while and meet some other people and we would hijack a plane from JFK and fly it into a building.” [Times of London, 5/9/04] He has “no doubt” this is the 9/11 plot. However, Khan slips away and gambles away the money given to him by al-Qaeda. Afraid he would be killed for betraying al-Qaeda, he turns himself in to the FBI. For three weeks, FBI counterterrorism agents in Newark, New Jersey interview him. [MSNBC, 6/3/04; Observer, 6/6/04] One FBI agent recalls, “We were incredulous. Flying a plane into a building sounded crazy but we polygraphed him and he passed.” [Times of London, 5/9/04] A former FBI official says the FBI agents believed Khan and aggressively tried to follow every lead in the case, but word came from FBI headquarters saying, “Return him to London and forget about it.” He is returned to Britain and handed over to British authorities. However, the British only interview him for about two hours, and then release him. He is surprised that authorities never ask for his help in identifying where he was trained in Pakistan, even after 9/11. [MSNBC, 6/3/04] His case is mentioned in the 2002 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report, but the plot is apparently mistakenly described as an attempt to hijack a plane and fly it to Afghanistan. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda, Niaz Khan
          

April 4, 2000: ISI Director Visits Washington and Is Told to Give Warning to Taliban      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed in 2000.
ISI Director and “leading Taliban supporter” Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed visits Washington. In a message meant for both Pakistan and the Taliban, US officials tell him that al-Qaeda has killed Americans and “people who support those people will be treated as our enemies.” However, no actual action, military or otherwise, is taken against either the Taliban or Pakistan. [Washington Post, 12/19/01]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Mahmood Ahmed, Taliban, Pakistan
          

July 2000: Potential Informant Ignored by Australian and US Authorities      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Jack Roche.
Jack Roche, an Australian Caucasian Muslim, tries to inform on al-Qaeda for Australia or the US, but is ignored. In April, Roche returned from a trip to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Malaysia, where he took an explosives training course and met with bin Laden, Mohammed Atef, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and other top al-Qaeda leaders. In Pakistan, Mohammed discussed attacking US jets in Australia and gave Roche money to start an al-Qaeda cell in Australia. Roche also met Hambali in Malaysia and was given more money there. Early this month, he tries to call the US embassy in Australia, but they ignore him. He then tries to contact The Australian intelligence agency several times, but they too ignore him. In September 2000, his housemate also tries to contact Australian intelligence about what he has learned from Roche but his call is ignored as well. Australian Prime Minister John Howard later acknowledges that authorities made a “very serious mistake” in ignoring Roche, though he also downplays the importance of Roche's information. Roche is later sentenced to nine years in prison for conspiring with al-Qaeda to blow up an Israeli embassy. [BBC, 6/1/04; Los Angeles Times, 6/7/04]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Nurjaman Riduan Isamuddin, al-Qaeda, John Howard, Jack Roche, Mohammed Atef
          

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

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

Late September 2000: Able Danger Warns of Increased al-Qaeda Activity in Aden Harbor Shortly Before Attack There      Complete 911 Timeline

       Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer will later claim that Capt. Scott Phillpott, leader of the Able Danger program, briefs Gen. Peter Schoomaker, head of Special Operations Command (SOCOM), that Able Danger has uncovered information of increased al-Qaeda “activity” in Aden harbor, Yemen. Shaffer, plus two other officials familiar with Able Danger later tell the New York Post that this warning was gleaned through a search of bin Laden's business ties. Shaffer later recalls, “Yemen was elevated by Able Danger to be one of the top three hot spots for al-Qaeda in the entire world.” This warning, plus another possibly connected warning from Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst Kie Fallis (see May 2000-Late September 2000), go unheeded and no official warning is issued. The USS Cole is attacked by al-Qaeda terrorists in Aden harbor in October 2000 (see October 12, 2000). Shaffer later claims that Phillpott tells the 9/11 Commission about this warning in 2004 to show that Able Danger could have had a significant impact, but the Commission's findings fail to mention the warning, or in fact anything else about Able Danger (see July 12, 2004). [New York Post, 9/17/05; Jerry Doyle Show, 9/20/05 Sources: Anthony Shaffer] Rep. Curt Weldon (R) will similarly tell Fox News,“[T]wo weeks before the attack on the Cole, in fact, two days before the attack on the Cole, [Able Danger] saw an increase of activity that led them to say to the senior leadership in the Pentagon at that time, in the Clinton administration, there's something going to happen in Yemen and we better be on high alert, but it was discounted. That story has yet to be told to the American people.” [Fox News, 10/8/05]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Peter J. Schoomaker, Scott Phillpott, Clinton administration, Curt Weldon, Able Danger, Osama bin Laden
          

October 12, 2000: USS Cole Bombed by al-Qaeda Militants; Investigation Thwarted      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Damage to the USS Cole.
The USS Cole is bombed in the Aden, Yemen, harbor by al-Qaeda militants. Seventeen US soldiers are killed. [ABC News, 10/13/00]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, USS Cole
          

February 2001: Bin Laden's Sisters Seen Handing Money to al-Qaeda Member      Complete 911 Timeline

       A former CIA anti-terrorism expert later claims that an allied intelligence agency sees “two of Osama's sisters apparently taking cash to an airport in Abu Dhabi [United Arab Emirates], where they are suspected of handing it to a member of bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization.” This is cited as one of many incidents showing an “interconnectedness” between bin Laden and the rest of his family. [New Yorker, 11/5/01]
People and organizations involved: Bin Laden Family, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda
          

May-June 2001: Muslim Convert Inadvertently Learns of 9/11 Plot      Complete 911 Timeline

      
John Walker Lindh.
John Walker Lindh, a young Caucasian man from California who has converted to Islam, travels to Peshawar, Pakistan, in an attempt to fight for Islamic causes. He had been studying the Koran for about six months elsewhere in Pakistan, but otherwise had no particularly special training, qualifications, or connections. Within days, he is accepted into al-Qaeda and sent to the al Faruq training camp in Afghanistan. Seven other US citizens are already training there. He inadvertently learns details of the 9/11 attacks. In June, he is told by an instructor that “bin Laden had sent forth some fifty people to carry out twenty suicide terrorist operations against the United States and Israel.” He learns that the 9/11 plot is to consist of five attacks, not the four that actually occur. The other fifteen operations are to take place later. He is asked if he wants to participate in a suicide mission, but declines. [Mahoney, 2003, pp 162, 216; Bamford, 2004, pp 234-36] Author James Bamford comments, “The decision to keep CIA employees at arm's length from [al-Qaeda] was a serious mistake. At the same moment the CIA was convinced al-Qaeda was impenetrable, a number of American citizens were secretly joining al-Qaeda in Afghanistan—and being welcomed with open arms.” [Bamford, 2004, pp 161]
People and organizations involved: John Walker Lindh, Osama bin Laden, James Bamford, al-Qaeda, Central Intelligence Agency
          

Summer 2001: FBI Neglects Chance to Infiltrate al-Qaeda Training Camp      Complete 911 Timeline

       A confidential informant tells an FBI field office agent that he has been invited to a commando-training course at a camp operated by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The information is passed up to FBI headquarters, which rejects the idea of infiltrating the camp. An “asset validation” of the informant, a routine but critical exercise to determine whether information from the source was reliable, is also not done. The FBI later has no comment on the story. [US News and World Report, 6/10/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda
          

July 4-14, 2001: Bin Laden Reportedly Receives Lifesaving Treatment in Dubai, Said to Meet with CIA While There      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The American Hospital in Dubai.
Bin Laden, America's most wanted criminal with a $5 million bounty on his head, supposedly receives lifesaving treatment for renal failure from American specialist Dr. Terry Callaway at the American hospital in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He is possibly accompanied by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri (who is said to be bin Laden's personal physician, al-Qaeda's second-in-command, and leader of Egypt's Islamic Jihad), plus several bodyguards. Callaway supposedly treated bin Laden in 1996 and 1998, also in Dubai. Callaway later refuses to answer any questions on this matter. [Le Figaro, 10/31/01; Times of London, 11/01/01; Agence France-Presse, 11/1/01] During his stay, bin Laden is visited by “several members of his family and Saudi personalities,” including Prince Turki al Faisal, then head of Saudi intelligence. [Guardian, 11/1/01] On July 12, bin Laden reportedly meets with CIA agent Larry Mitchell in the hospital. Mitchell apparently lives in Dubai as an Arab specialist under the cover of being a consular agent. The CIA, the Dubai hospital, and even bin Laden deny the story. The two news organizations that broke the story, Le Figaro and Radio France International, stand by their reporting. [Le Figaro, 10/31/01; Radio France International, 11/1/01] The explosive story is widely reported in Europe, but there are only two, small wire service stories on it in the US. [Reuters, 11/10/01; UPI, 11/1/01] The Guardian claims that the story originated from French intelligence, “which is keen to reveal the ambiguous role of the CIA, and to restrain Washington from extending the war to Iraq and elsewhere.” The Guardian adds that during his stay bin Laden is also visited by a second CIA officer. [Guardian, 11/1/01] In 2003, reporter Richard Labeviere will provide additional details of what he claims happened in a book entitled “The Corridors of Terror.” He claims he learned about the meeting from a contact in the Dubai hospital. He claims the event was confirmed in detail by a Gulf prince who presented himself as an adviser to the Emir of Bahrain. This prince claimed the meeting was arrange by Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's intelligence director. The prince said, “By organizing this meeting...Turki thought he could start direct negotiations between [bin Laden] and the CIA on one fundamental point: that bin Laden and his supporters end their hostilities against American interests.” In exchange, the CIA and Saudis would allow bin Laden to return to Saudi Arabia and live freely there. The meeting is said to be a failure. [Reuters, 11/14/03] On July 15, Larry Mitchell reportedly returns to CIA headquarters to report on his meeting with bin Laden. [Radio France International, 11/1/01] French terrorism expert Antoine Sfeir says the story of this meeting has been verified and is not surprising: It “is nothing extraordinary. Bin Laden maintained contacts with the CIA up to 1998. These contacts have not ceased since bin Laden settled in Afghanistan. Up to the last moment, CIA agents hoped that bin Laden would return to the fold of the US, as was the case before 1989.” [Le Figaro, 11/1/01] A CIA spokesman calls the entire account of bin Laden's stay at Dubai “sheer fantasy.” [Reuters, 11/14/03]
People and organizations involved: Turki bin Faisal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, Islamic Jihad, Terry Callaway, Larry Mitchell, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden, Central Intelligence Agency, al-Qaeda
          

July 8, 2001: Prominent Prisoner Publicly Warns of al-Qaeda Intent to Export Violence to US Soil      Complete 911 Timeline

       About a month after al-Qaeda prisoner Ahmed Ressam told US interrogators new details of al-Qaeda plans to attack the US (see May 30, 2001), he conveys similar information during a public trial. As the Los Angeles Times reports at the time, “Testifying in the New York trial of an accused accomplice, Ressam said his [al-Qaeda] colleagues are intent on exporting violence to US soil. ‘If one is to carry out an operation, it would be better to hit the biggest enemy. I mean America,’ he told a federal jury. Ressam also identified a number of other Algerian terrorists who had been part of his original attack team [to bomb the Los Angeles airport in 2000], most of whom remain at large.” [Los Angeles Times, 7/8/01]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Ahmed Ressam
          

Mid-July 2001: More G-8 Summit Warnings Describe Plane as Flying Bomb      Complete 911 Timeline

       US intelligence reports another spike in warnings related to the July 20-22 G-8 summit in Genoa, Italy. The reports include specific threats discovered by the head of Russia's Federal Bodyguard Service that al-Qaeda will try to kill Bush as he attends the summit. [CNN, 3/02] Two days before the summit begins, the BBC reports: “The huge force of officers and equipment which has been assembled to deal with unrest has been spurred on by a warning that supporters of Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden might attempt an air attack on some of the world leaders present.” [BBC, 7/18/01] The attack is called off.
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden
          

Late July 2001: Egypt Warns CIA of 20 al-Qaeda Operatives in US; Four Training to Fly; CIA Is Not Interested      Complete 911 Timeline

       CBS later reports, in a long story on another topic: “Just days after [Mohamed] Atta return[s] to the US from Spain, Egyptian intelligence in Cairo says it received a report from one of its operatives in Afghanistan that 20 al-Qaeda members had slipped into the US and four of them had received flight training on Cessnas. To the Egyptians, pilots of small planes didn't sound terribly alarming, but they [pass] on the message to the CIA anyway, fully expecting Washington to request information. The request never [comes].” [CBS News, 10/9/02] This appears to be just one of several accurate Egyptian warnings from their informants inside al-Qaeda.
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Central Intelligence Agency
          

August 2001: Persian Gulf Informant Gives Ex-CIA Agent Information About ‘Spectacular Terrorist Operation’      Complete 911 Timeline

       Former CIA agent Robert Baer is advising a prince in a Persian Gulf royal family, when a military associate of this prince passes information to him about a “spectacular terrorist operation” that will take place shortly. He is given a computer record of around 600 secret al-Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The list includes ten names that will be placed on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list after 9/11. He is also given evidence that a Saudi merchant family had funded the USS Cole bombing on October 12, 2000, and that the Yemeni government is covering up information related to that bombing. At the military officer's request, he offers all this information to the Saudi Arabian government. However, an aide to the Saudi defense minister, Prince Sultan, refuses to look at the list or to pass the names on (Sultan is later sued for his complicity in the 9/11 plot in August 2002). Baer also passes the information on to a senior CIA official and the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center, but there is no response or action. Portions of Baer's book describing his experience are blacked out, having been censored by the CIA. [Baer, 2002, pp 55-58; Financial Times, 1/12/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, al-Qaeda, Saudi Arabia, USS Cole, Robert Baer
          

September 9, 2001: Northern Alliance Leader Massoud Is Assassinated in Anticipation of 9/11 Attack      Complete 911 Timeline

       General Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, is assassinated by two al-Qaeda agents posing as Moroccan journalists. [Time, 8/4/02] A legendary mujahedeen commander and a brilliant tactician, Massoud had pledged to bring freedom and democracy to Afghanistan. The BBC says the next day, “General Massoud's death might well have meant the end of the [Northern] alliance” because there clearly was no figure with his skills and popularity to replace him. [BBC, 9/10/01; BBC, 9/10/01 (B)] “With Massoud out of the way, the Taliban and al-Qaeda would be rid of their most effective opponent and be in a stronger position to resist the American onslaught.” [St. Petersburg Times, 9/9/02] It appears the assassination was supposed to happen earlier: the “journalists” waited for three weeks in Northern Alliance territory to meet Massoud. Finally on September 8, an aide says they “were so worried and excitable they were begging us.” They were granted an interview after threatening to leave if the interview did not happen in the next 24 hours. Meanwhile, the Taliban army (together with elements of the Pakistani army) had massed for an offensive against the Northern Alliance in the previous weeks, but the offensive began only hours after the assassination. Massoud was killed that day but Northern Alliance leaders pretend for several days that Massoud was only injured in order to keep the Northern Alliance army's morale up, and they are able to stave off total defeat. The timing of the assassination and the actions of the Taliban army suggest that the 9/11 attacks were known to the Taliban leadership. [Time, 8/4/02] Though it is not widely reported, the Northern Alliance releases a statement the next day: “Ahmed Shah Massoud was the target of an assassination attempt organized by the Pakistani [intelligence service] ISI and Osama bin Laden.” [Radio Free Europe, 9/10/01; Newsday, 9/15/01; Reuters, 10/4/01] This suggests that the ISI may also have had prior knowledge of the attack plans.
People and organizations involved: Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Northern Alliance, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Ahmed Shah Massoud
          

Shortly After September 11, 2001: Al-Qaeda Accomplices Flee East Coast?      Complete 911 Timeline

       It is later reported that FBI officials believe that a second grouping or cell of “perhaps 20 al-Qaeda terrorists [are] in the United States on Sept. 11 to carry out another attack. Members of this second cell, one official [says], apparently [abandon] apartments they ... rented in Paterson, New Jersey, and Fairfax, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., after Sept. 11, leaving rented furniture and other possessions behind in their haste.” [St. Paul Pioneer Press, 10/7/02] Another article notes, “Police always have had concerns about sleeper agents in the [Brooklyn, New York] area. They particularly were concerned by a story ... from several NYPD sources about an abandoned rental car that was parked in front of a mosque only a few blocks from New Utrecht. The car had been rented under the phony name ‘Bomkr’ from Logan International Airport in Boston shortly before the attacks. Investigators thought the name sounded a lot like ‘bomb car.’ The anonymous party rented several other cars from Logan, all of which either have disappeared or been abandoned. Police suspect the cars were used by al-Qaeda operatives to return to their home bases after the attacks.” [Insight, 9/10/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda
          

September 11, 2001: The 9/11 Attack: 3,000 Die in New York City and Washington, D.C.      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The September 11, 2001 attacks. From left to right: The World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Flight 93 crash.
The 9/11 attack: Four planes are hijacked, two crash into the WTC, one into the Pentagon, and one crashes into the Pennsylvania countryside. Nearly 3,000 people are killed.
People and organizations involved: United Airlines, al-Qaeda, American Airlines, Pentagon, World Trade Center
          

(After 9:00 a.m.): United Flight 23 Hijacking Averted?      Complete 911 Timeline

       Shortly after 9:00 a.m., United Airlines Flight 23 receives a warning message from flight dispatcher Ed Ballinger. Flight 23 is still on a Newark, New Jersey, runway, about to take off for Los Angeles. Apparently in response to Ballinger's message, the crew tells the passengers there has been a mechanical problem and returns to the departure gate. A number of Middle Eastern men (one account says three, others say six) argue with the flight crew and refuse to get off the plane. Security is called, but they flee before it arrives. [CBS News, 9/14/01 (B); Chicago Daily Herald, 4/14/04] Later, authorities check their luggage and find copies of the Koran and al-Qaeda instruction sheets. Ballinger suspects they got away. “When all we have is a photo from a fake ID, the chances of finding [someone] in Afghanistan or Pakistan are rather slim.” [Chicago Daily Herald, 4/14/04] A NORAD deputy commander later says, “From our perception, we think our reaction on that day was sufficiently quick that we may well have precluded at least one other hijacking. We may not have. We don't know for sure.” [Globe and Mail, 6/13/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Ed Ballinger
          

9:53 a.m.: NSA Intercepts al-Qaeda Phone Call Predicting Fourth Attack      Complete 911 Timeline

       The National Security Agency (NSA) reportedly intercepts a phone call from one of bin Laden's operatives in Afghanistan to a phone number in the Republic of Georgia. The caller says he has “heard good news” and that another target is still to come (presumably, the target Flight 93 is intended to hit). [CBS News, 9/4/02] Since the 9/11 crisis began, NSA translators have been told to focus on Middle Eastern intercepts and translate them as they are received instead of oldest first, as is the usual practice. This call is translated in the next hour or two, and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld hears about it just after noon. [Bamford, 2004, pp 54; CBS News, 9/4/02]
People and organizations involved: National Security Agency, Donald Rumsfeld, al-Qaeda
          

(After 10:06 a.m.): Al-Qaeda Agents Heard Saying we've Hit the Targets      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to Newsweek, “shortly after the suicide attacks,” US intelligence picks up communications among bin Laden associates relaying the message: “we've hit the targets.” [Newsweek, 9/13/01]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda
          

September 11, 2001: Planned Rice Speech on Threats Contains No Mention of al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline

       National Security Adviser Rice is scheduled to deliver a speech claiming to address “the threats and problems of today and the day after, not the world of yesterday.” The speech is never given due to the 9/11 attacks earlier in the day, but the text is later leaked to the media. The Washington Post calls the speech “telling Insight into the administration's thinking” because it promotes missile defense and contains no mention of al-Qaeda, bin Laden, or Islamic extremist groups. The only mention of terrorism is in the context of the danger of rogue nations such as Iraq. In fact, there are almost no public mentions of bin Laden or al-Qaeda by Bush or other top Bush administration officials before 9/11, and the focus instead is on missile defense. [Washington Post, 4/1/04 (D); Washington Post, 4/1/04]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Condoleezza Rice, Bush administration, Central Intelligence Agency, al-Qaeda
          

September 17-18 and 28, 2001: Taliban Refuses to Extradite bin Laden      Complete 911 Timeline

       On September 17, ISI Director Mahmood heads a six-man delegation that visits Mullah Omar in Kandahar, Afghanistan. It is reported he is trying to convince Omar to extradite bin Laden or face an immediate US attack. [Press Trust of India, 9/17/01; Financial Times, 9/18/01; Times of London, 9/18/01] Also in the delegation is Lieutenant General Mohammed Aziz Khan, an ex-ISI official who appears to be one of Saeed Sheikh's contacts in the ISI. [Press Trust of India, 9/17/01] On September 28, Mahmood returns to Afghanistan with a group of about ten religious leaders. He talks with Omar, who again says he will not hand over bin Laden. [Agence France-Presse, 9/28/01] A senior Taliban official later claims that on these trips Mahmood in fact urges Omar not to extradite bin Laden, but instead urges him to resist the US. [Time, 5/6/02; Associated Press, 2/21/02] Another account claims Mahmood does “nothing as the visitors [pour] praise on Omar and [fails] to raise the issue” of bin Laden's extradition. [Knight Ridder, 11/3/01] Two Pakistani brigadier generals connected to the ISI also accompany Mahmood, and advise al-Qaeda to counter the coming US attack on Afghanistan by resorting to mountain guerrilla war. The advice is not followed. [Asia Times, 9/11/02] Other ISI officers also stay in Afghanistan to advise the Taliban.
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Osama bin Laden, Saeed Sheikh, al-Qaeda, Mohammed Aziz Khan, Mullah Omar, Mahmood Ahmed
          

September 19, 2001: Al-Marabh Arrested, Given Light Prison Sentence on Non-Terrorism Charges      Complete 911 Timeline

       Nabil al-Marabh is arrested on September 19, 2001, at an Illinois convenience store. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] FBI investigators claim al-Marabh helped the hijackers get false IDs, and helped launder money for al-Qaeda. [ABC News, 1/31/02] The FBI decides not to charge al-Marabh on any terrorism related charge. Instead, on September 3, 2002, Nabil al-Marabh pleads guilty to illegally entering the US, and he is sentenced to only eight months in prison. [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/5/02] Federal prosecutors claim that “at this time” there is no evidence “of any involvement by [al-Marabh] in any terrorist organization,” even though he has admitted to getting weapons training in Afghanistan. [Washington Post, 9/4/02] The judge states he cannot say “in good conscience” that he approves of the plea bargain worked out between the prosecution and defense, but he seems unable to stop it. He says, “Something about this case makes me feel uncomfortable. I just don't have a lot of information.” The judge has a number of unanswered questions, such as how al-Marabh had $22,000 in cash and $25,000 worth of amber jewels on his possession when he was arrested, despite holding only a sporadic series of low-paying jobs. “These are the things that kind of bother me. It's kind of unusual, isn't it?” says the judge. [National Post, 9/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda, Nabil al-Marabh
          

Early October 2001: General Franks Disregards Advice to Open Second Front in Afghanistan      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Washington Post reports in late 2004 that, shortly after Richard Myers officially becomes Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman on October 1, 2001, he raises doubts about the military plan to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan. General Tommy Franks, the chief of US Central Command, plans a single thrust towards the capital, Kabul, from the north. Myers urges Franks to open a southern front. A brigade of the Army's 10th Mountain Division in Uzbekistan and two Marine Expeditionary Forces in the Arabian Sea are prepared and in position for the role. However, Franks does not position a blocking force to meet any retreating forces. The Washington Post reports, “Some Bush administration officials now acknowledge privately they consider that a costly mistake.” Franks later claims that it would have taken too much time to put a force into position and would have antagonized the country's Pashtun majority. Most of al-Qaeda and the Taliban's leaders are eventually able to escape the country. “A high-ranking war planner [later] likened the result to throwing a rock at a nest of bees, then trying to chase them down, one by one, with a net.” [Washington Post, 10/22/04]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, Richard B. Myers, al-Qaeda, Taliban
          

October 16, 2001: Bin Laden Cleared of Insider Trading in Britain      Complete 911 Timeline

       “The Financial Services Authority—Britain's main financial regulator—has cleared bin Laden and his henchmen of insider trading. There has been a widespread suspicion that members of the al-Qaeda organization had cashed in on the US attacks, dumping airline, aerospace and insurance company shares before September 11th. The Authority says that after a thorough investigation, it has found no hard evidence of any such deals in London.” [Marketplace radio report, 10/17/01] On September 24, Belgium's Financial Minister had claimed there were strong suspicions that British markets may have been used for 9/11-related insider trading in early September. [CNN, 9/24/01]
People and organizations involved: Financial Services Authority, al-Qaeda
          

Late October-Early November 2001: Al-Qaeda Fighters, Bin Laden Said to Move into Jalalabad Without Hindrance      Complete 911 Timeline

       Since late October, US intelligence reports began noting that al-Qaeda fighters and leaders were moving into and around the Afghanistan city of Jalalabad. By early November, bin Laden is said to be there. Knight Ridder Newspapers reports that “American intelligence analysts concluded that bin Laden and his retreating fighters were preparing to flee across the border. However, the US Central Command, which was running the war, made no move to block their escape. ‘It was obvious from at least early November that this area was to be the base for an exodus into Pakistan,’ said one intelligence official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity. ‘All of this was known, and frankly we were amazed that nothing was done to prepare for it.’ ” The vast majority of leaders and fighters are eventually able to escape into Pakistan. [Knight Ridder, 10/20/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden
          

Early November 2001: Al-Qaeda Convoy Flees Kabul      Complete 911 Timeline

       Many locals in Afghanistan reportedly witness a remarkable escape of al-Qaeda forces from Kabul around this time. One local businessman says, “We don't understand how they weren't all killed the night before because they came in a convoy of at least 1,000 cars and trucks. It was a very dark night, but it must have been easy for the American pilots to see the headlights. The main road was jammed from eight in the evening until three in the morning.” This convoy was thought to have contained al-Qaeda's top officials [Times of London, 7/22/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda
          

November 14-November 25, 2001: US Secretly Authorizes Airlift of Pakistani and Taliban Fighters      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The main routes al-Qaeda and the Taliban escape US and Nothern Alliance forces.
At the request of the Pakistani government, the US secretly allows rescue flights into the besieged Taliban stronghold of Kunduz, in Northern Afghanistan, to save Pakistanis fighting for the Taliban (and against US forces) and bring them back to Pakistan. Pakistan's President “Musharraf won American support for the airlift by warning that the humiliation of losing hundreds—and perhaps thousands—of Pakistani Army men and intelligence operatives would jeopardize his political survival.” [New Yorker, 1/21/02] Dozens of senior Pakistani military officers, including two generals, are flown out. [PBS Now with Bill Moyers, 2/21/03] In addition, it is reported that the Pakistani government assists 50 trucks filled with foreign fighters to escape the town. [New York Times, 11/24/01] Many news articles at the time suggest an airlift is occurring. [BBC, 11/26/01; Independent, 11/26/01; New York Times, 11/24/01; Independent, 11/16/01; Guardian, 11/27/01; MSNBC, 11/29/01] Significant media coverage fails to develop, however. The US and Pakistani governments deny the existence of the airlift. [State Department, 11/16/01; New Yorker, 1/21/02] On December 2, when asked to assure that the US did not allow such an airlift, Rumsfeld says, “Oh, you can be certain of that. We have not seen a single—to my knowledge, we have not seen a single airplane or helicopter go into Afghanistan in recent days or weeks and extract people and take them out of Afghanistan to any country, let alone Pakistan.” [MSNBC, 12/2/01] Reporter Seymour Hersh believes that Rumsfeld must have given approval for the airlift. [PBS Now with Bill Moyers, 2/21/03] However, The New Yorker magazine reports, “What was supposed to be a limited evacuation apparently slipped out of control and, as an unintended consequence, an unknown number of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters managed to join in the exodus.” A CIA analyst says, “Many of the people they spirited away were in the Taliban leadership” who Pakistan wanted for future political negotiations. US intelligence was “supposed to have access to them, but it didn't happen,” he says. According to Indian intelligence, airlifts grow particularly intense in the last three days before the city falls on November 25. Of the 8,000 remaining al-Qaeda, Pakistani, and Taliban, about 5,000 are airlifted out and 3,000 surrender. [New Yorker, 1/21/02] Hersh later claims that “maybe even some of bin Laden's immediate family were flown out on those evacuations.” [PBS Now with Bill Moyers, 2/21/03]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Taliban, Pakistan, al-Qaeda, Donald Rumsfeld
          

November 15, 2001: Al-Qaeda Leader Reported Dead in Bombing Raid      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Mohammed Atef.
Al-Qaeda leader Mohammed Atef is believed to have been killed in a US bombing raid on Afghanistan. Atef is considered al-Qaeda's military commander, and one of its top leaders. [ABC News, 11/17/01; State Department, 11/16/01]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Mohammed Atef
          

November 16, 2001: Al-Qaeda, Taliban Leaders Reportedly Escape Afghanistan      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to Newsweek, approximately 600 al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters, including many senior leaders, escape Afghanistan on this day. There are two main routes out of the Tora Bora cave complex to Pakistan. The US bombed only one route, so the 600 escaped without being attacked using the other route. Hundreds continue to use the escape route for weeks, generally unbothered by US bombing or Pakistani border guards. US officials later privately admit they lost an excellent opportunity to close a trap. [Newsweek, 8/11/02 (B)] On the same day, the media reports that the US is studying routes bin Laden might use to escape Tora Bora [Los Angeles Times, 11/16/01] , but the one escape route is not closed, and apparently bin Laden and others escape into Pakistan using this route several weeks later (see November 28, 2001). High-ranking British officers will later privately complain, “American commanders had vetoed a proposal to guard the high-altitude trails, arguing that the risks of a firefight, in deep snow, gusting winds, and low-slung clouds, were too high.” [New York Times, 9/30/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, al-Qaeda
          

November 28, 2001: Bin Laden Reportedly Escapes Tora Bora by Helicopter      Complete 911 Timeline

       A US Special Forces soldier stationed in Fayetteville, North Carolina, later (anonymously) claims that the US has bin Laden pinned in a certain Tora Bora cave on this day, but fails to act. Special Forces soldiers allegedly sit by waiting for orders and watch two helicopters fly into the area where bin Laden is believed to be, load up passengers, and fly toward Pakistan. No other soldiers have come forward to corroborate the story, but bin Laden is widely believed to have been in the Tora Bora area at the time. [Fayetteville Observer, 8/2/02] However, other reports indicate that bin Laden may have left the Tora Bora region by this time. Newsweek separately reports that many locals “claim that mysterious black helicopters swept in, flying low over the mountains at night, and scooped up al-Qaeda's top leaders.” [Newsweek, 8/11/02 (B)] Perhaps coincidentally, on the same day this story is reported, months after the fact, the media also will report a recent spate of strange deaths at the same military base in Fayetteville. Five soldiers and their wives died since June 2002 in apparent murder-suicides. At least three were Special Forces soldiers recently returned from Afghanistan. [Independent, 8/2/02]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda
          

Early December 2001: Al-Qaeda Puppet Master Disappears in Britain      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Abu Qatada.
Al-Qaeda leader Abu Qatada disappears, despite being under surveillance in Britain. He has been “described by some justice officials as the spiritual leader and possible puppet master of al-Qaeda's European networks.” [Time, 7/7/02] Qatada had already been sentenced to death in abstentia in Jordan, and is wanted at the time by the US, Spain, France, and Algeria as well. [Guardian, 2/14/02] In October 2001, the media had strongly suggested that Qatada would soon be arrested for his known roles in al-Qaeda plots, but no such arrest occurred. [Times of London, 10/21/01] In November, while Qatada was still living openly in Britain, a Spanish judge expressed disbelief that Qatada hadn't been arrested already, as he has previously been connected to a Spanish al-Qaeda cell that may have met with Mohamed Atta in July 2001. [Observer, 11/25/01] Time magazine will later claim that just before new anti-terrorism laws go into effect in Britain, Abu Qatada and his family are secretly moved to a safe house by the British government, where he is lodged, fed, and clothed by the government. “The deal is that Abu Qatada is deprived of contact with extremists in London and Europe but can't be arrested or expelled because no one officially knows where he is,” says a source, whose claims were corroborated by French authorities. The British reportedly do this to avoid a “hot potato” trial. [Time, 7/7/02] A British official rejects these assertions: “We wouldn't give an awful lot of credence [to the story].” [Guardian, 7/8/02] Some French officials tell the press that Qatada was allowed to disappear because he is actually a British intelligence agent. [Observer, 2/24/02 (B)] It appears that Qatada held secret meetings with British intelligence in 1996 and 1997, and the British were under the impression that he was informing on al-Qaeda (though there is disagreement if he was misleading them or not) (see June 1996-February 1997). Qatada is later arrested in London on October 23, 2002, but has yet to be put on trial or deported. [Times of London, 10/25/02]
People and organizations involved: Algeria, France, Jordan, Spain, Mohamed Atta, Central Intelligence Agency, al-Qaeda, Abu Qatada, Britain
          

April 11, 2002: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Connected to New Bombing in Tunisia      Complete 911 Timeline

       A truck bomb kills 19 people, mostly German tourists, at a synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia. It is later claimed that al-Qaeda is behind the attack, and that the suspected bomber speaks with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed by phone about three hours before the attack. [Associated Press, 8/24/02]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, al-Qaeda
          

April 23, 2002: Spain Arrests al-Qaeda Financier      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Mohammed Zouaydi.
Spanish authorities arrest Syrian-born Spanish businessman Mohammed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi, alleging that he is a key al-Qaeda financier. [Chicago Tribune, 5/6/02] An accountant, Zouaydi is considered to be the “big financier” behind the al-Qaeda network in Europe, according to French investigator Jean-Charles Brisard. From 1996 to 2001, Zouaydi lived in Saudi Arabia and funneled money into a series of companies set up to accept donations. (The source of the donations is unknown.) Around $1 million was then forwarded to al-Qaeda agents throughout Europe, especially to Germany. Mohamed Atta's Hamburg apartment telephone number was saved in the cell phone memory of one of Zouaydi's associates. [Agence France-Presse, 9/20/02] Zouaydi also allegedly sent money to Mamoun Darkazanli, a Syrian-born businessman who has admitted knowing Atta and others in the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. [Chicago Tribune, 5/6/02] One of Zouaydi's employees in Spain visited the WTC in 1997. While there, he extensively videotaped the buildings. Perhaps only coincidentally, while in Saudi Arabia, Zouaydi “was an accountant for the al-Faisal branch of the Saudi royal family, including Prince Mohammed al-Faisal al-Saud and Prince Turki al-Faisal.” [Agence France-Presse, 9/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Mamoun Darkazanli, Mohamed Atta, Syria, World Trade Center, Mohammed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi, Turki bin Faisal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, al-Qaeda, Germany
          

July 16, 2002: Blair Claims Attack on Afghanistan Only Possible After 9/11      Complete 911 Timeline

       British Prime Minister Tony Blair states, “We knew about al-Qaeda for a long time. They were committing terrorist acts, they were planning, they were organizing. Everybody knew, we all knew, that Afghanistan was a failed state living on drugs and terror. We did not act. ... To be truthful about it, there was no way we could have got the public consent to have suddenly launched a campaign on Afghanistan but for what happened on September 11.” [London Times, 7/17/02] In a book released one month later, Clinton's former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger will similarly state, “You show me one reporter, one commentator, one member of Congress who thought we should invade Afghanistan before September 11 and I'll buy you dinner in the best restaurant in New York City.” [Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp 219]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, al-Qaeda, Sandy Berger
          

August 15, 2002: Relatives File Lawsuit Against Alleged Saudi al-Qaeda Financiers      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Deena Burnett, wife of Flight 93 passenger Tom Burnett, speaks on behalf of the victims' relatives suing the Saudis.
More than 600 relatives of victims of the 9/11 attacks file a 15-count, $1 trillion lawsuit against various parties they accuse of financing al-Qaeda and Afghanistan's former Taliban regime. (The number of plaintiffs will increase to 2,500. Up to 10,000 were eligible to join this suit. [Newsweek, 9/13/02] ) The defendants include the Saudi Binladin Group (the company run by Osama bin Laden's family), seven international banks, eight Islamic foundations and charities, individual financiers, three Saudi princes, and the government of Sudan. [CNN, 8/15/02; Washington Post, 8/16/02] Individuals named include Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan, former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal, Yassin al-Qadi, and Khalid bin Mahfouz (Mahfouz denies supporting terrorism and has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint). [Associated Press, 8/15/02; MSNBC, 8/25/02] “The attorneys and investigators were able to obtain, through French intelligence, the translation of a secretly recorded meeting between representatives of bin Laden and three Saudi princes in which they sought to pay him hush money to keep him from attacking their enterprises in Saudi Arabia.” [CNN, 8/15/02] The plaintiffs also accuse the US government of failing to pursue such institutions thoroughly enough because of lucrative oil interests. [BBC, 8/15/02] Ron Motley, the lead lawyer in the suit, says the case is being aided by intelligence services from France and four other foreign governments, but no help has come from the Justice Department. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 8/16/02] The plaintiffs acknowledge the chance of ever winning any money is slim, but hope the lawsuit will help bring to light the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks. [BBC, 8/15/02] A number of rich Saudis respond by threatening to withdraw hundreds of billions of dollars in US investments if the lawsuit goes forward. [Daily Telegraph, 8/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Khalid bin Mahfouz, Osama bin Laden, Yassin al-Qadi, Turki bin Faisal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, US Department of Justice, Ron Motley, Taliban, Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, United States, Sudan, Saudi Binladin Group, al-Qaeda
          

September 17, 2002: Tie Between 9/11 Arrest and bin Laden Family Members      Complete 911 Timeline

       CBS reports that in the days after the arrest of Ramzi bin al-Shibh (see September 11, 2002) and four other al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan on September 11, 2002, “a search of the home of the five al-Qaeda suspects turned up passports belonging to members of the family of Osama bin Laden.” No more details, such as which family members, or why bin al-Shibh's group had these passports, is given. [CBS News, 9/17/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Bin Laden Family
          

September 20, 2002: Saudi Charity in Bosnia Linked to al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline

       A Bosnian government probe connects the Saudi charity Talibah International Aid Association to the funding of Islamic militant groups and an al-Qaeda front group. Talibah has been under investigation since shortly after 9/11 due to a foiled attack in Bosnia that has been connected to Talibah and al-Qaeda. Abdullah bin Laden (bin Laden's cousin and not the bin Laden family spokesman of the same name), is a Talibah officer in its Virginia office. An investigation into Abdullah bin Laden was cancelled in September 1996. The US has been criticized for failing to list Talibah as a sponsor of terrorism and for not freezing its assets. [Wall Street Journal, 9/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Talibah International Aid Association, al-Qaeda, Abdullah bin Laden
          

November 28, 2002: Al-Qaeda Stages Attacks in Kenya      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Destruction at the Paradise Hotel, Mombasa, Kenya.
Three suicide bombers detonate their explosives outside a resort hotel in Mombasa, Kenya. Militants also fire shoulder-launched missiles unsuccessfully at a passenger jet. [New York Times, 11/30/02] The death toll reaches 16. [CNN, 12/1/02 (B)] Al-Qaeda purportedly claims responsibility a few days later. [CNN, 12/2/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda
          

May 1, 2003: Rumsfeld Prematurely Declares an End to War in Afghanistan      Complete 911 Timeline

       Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announces that the 8,000 US soldiers in Afghanistan have ended major combat operations there and will now shift their focus to rebuilding the country. The US talks about reducing the number of troops in 2004 and replacing them with newly trained Afghan soldiers. Rumsfeld's announcement comes on the same day that President Bush declares that combat operations have ended in Iraq (see May 1, 2003). Rumsfeld says that small-scale combat operations will continue to mop up pockets of Taliban and al-Qaeda resistance. [Washington Post, 5/2/03] Over two years later, in June 2005, the New York Times will report that despite periodic predictions of the Taliban's collapse, recent intense fighting “reveals the Taliban to be still a vibrant fighting force supplied with money, men and weapons.” While the Taliban may not be able to hold ground in the “almost forgotten war,” they have enough personnel and weapons to “continue their insurgency indefinitely” and render parts of the country ungovernable. [New York Times, 6/4/05]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, al-Qaeda, Donald Rumsfeld
          

May 12, 2003: Saudi Arabia Bombing Changes Saudi Stance Toward al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline

       Saudi Arabia is attacked by three suicide bombings in the capital of Riyadh. At least 34 people are killed. The Saudi royal family had taken very little action against al-Qaeda prior to this. However, it appears to more aggressively combat al-Qaeda afterward. [Los Angeles Times, 6/20/04]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Saudi Arabia
          

March 7, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       At Guantanamo, shortly before their release, Jamal Udeen, Tarek Dergoul, and the Tipton Three are asked to sign a document confessing to having links with al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Iqbal remembers: “It was along the lines that I was a member of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, however I have since changed. In other words I had changed my mind since I was detained at Guantanamo Bay. It went on to say that if I was suspected of anything at any time by the United States, I could be picked up and returned to Guantanamo Bay.” He is told that signing the document is a precondition for going back to the UK. “I didn't really believe him,” Iqbal later says, and so he refused to sign. [Sources: Composite statement by Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed: Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, 7/26/2004] Jamal Udeen also has a confession statement presented to him by a British official. “This was given to me first by the Americans and then by a British diplomat who asked if I agreed to sign it. I just said ‘No.’ I would rather have stayed in Guantanamo than sign that paper.” [The Mirror, 3/12/2004]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Rhuhel Ahmed, Asif Iqbal, Shafiq Rasul, Tarek Dergoul, al-Qaeda, Jamal Udeen
          

March 11, 2004: Al-Qaeda Bombings in Madrid      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Multiple bombs destroyed this train in Madrid, Spain.
A series of train bombings in Madrid, Spain, kills approximately 200 people. Basque separatists are initially blamed, but evidence later points to people loosely associated with al-Qaeda. Former counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke says later in the month, “If we catch [bin Laden] this summer, which I expect, it's two years too late. Because during those two years when forces were diverted to Iraq ... al-Qaeda has metamorphosized into a hydra-headed organization with cells that are operating autonomously like the cells that operated in Madrid recently.” [USA Today, 3/28/04]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Clarke, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden
          

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
          

'Passive' participant in the following events:

Except where otherwise noted, the textual content of each timeline is licensed under the Creative Commons License below:

Creative Commons License Home |  About this Site |  Development |  Donate |  Contact Us
Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Use