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Profile: TIPOFF

 
  

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TIPOFF actively participated in the following events:

 
  

December 11, 1999: Watch List Importance Is Stressed but Procedures Are Not Followed      Complete 911 Timeline

       The CIA's Counter Terrorism Center sends a cable reminding all personnel about various reporting obligations. The cable clearly states that it is important to share information so suspected members of US-designated terrorist groups can be placed on watch lists. The US keeps a number of watch lists; the most important one, TIPOFF, contains about 61,000 names of suspected terrorists by 9/11. [Knight Ridder, 1/27/04; Los Angeles Times, 9/22/02] The list is checked whenever someone enters or leaves the US “The threshold for adding a name to TIPOFF is low,” and even a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is connected with a US-designated terrorist group warrants being added to the database. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] Within a month, two future hijackers, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, are identified, but the cable's instructions are not followed for them. The CIA initially tells the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry that no such guidelines existed, and CIA Director Tenet fails to mention the cable in his testimony. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; New York Times, 5/15/03]
People and organizations involved: Central Intelligence Agency, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, George Tenet, TIPOFF
          

April 24, 2000: Mohammed and Other Al-Qaeda Put on New Domestic 'No-Fly' List      Complete 911 Timeline

       TIPOFF is a US no-fly list of individuals who should be detained if they attempt to leave or enter the US. There are about 60,000 names on this list by 9/11 (see December 11, 1999). Apparently there had been no prohibition of travel inside the US, but on this day a FAA security directive puts six names on a newly created domestic no-fly list. All six are said to be associates of bomber Ramzi Yousef, including his uncle, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. On August 28, 2001, six more names will be added to this list. Apparently all 12 names are associated with al-Qaeda or other Islamic extremist groups. 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey will later note the discrepancy of the 60,000-name list with the 12-name list and comment, “ seems to me, particularly with what was going on at the time, that some effort would have been made to make—to produce a larger list than [only 12 names].” [9/11 Commission, 1/27/04] On the day of 9/11, two of the 9/11 hijackers will be on the 60,000-name TIPOFF list but not the 12-name domestic list, so airport security does not know to stop them from boarding the planes they hijack that day (see August 23, 2001).
People and organizations involved: Ramzi Yousef, TIPOFF, Bob Kerrey, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Federal Aviation Administration
          

August 23, 2001: Alhazmi and Almihdhar Are Finally Added to Terrorist Watch List      Complete 911 Timeline

       Thanks to the request of an unnamed FBI analyst assigned to the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center, the CIA sends a cable to the State Department, INS, Customs Service, and FBI requesting that “bin Laden-related individuals” Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Ahmad Hikmat Shakir, and Salah Saeed Mohammed bin Yousaf (an alias for Khallad bin Attash) be put on the terrorism watch list. All four individuals had attended the January 2000 al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia. The cable mostly focuses on Almihdhar, briefly outlining his attendance at the Malaysia meeting and his subsequent travel to the US in January 2000 and July 2001. Since March 2000, if not earlier, the CIA has had good reason to believe Alhazmi and Almihdhar were al-Qaeda operatives living in the US, but apparently did nothing and told no other agency about it until now. The hijackers are not located in time, and both die in the 9/11 attacks. FBI agents later state that if they been told about Alhazmi and Almihdhar sooner, “There's no question we could have tied all 19 hijackers together” given the frequent contact between these two and the other hijackers. [Office of the Inspector General, 11/04; Newsweek, 6/2/02; 9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/2004, p. 538] However, in what the Washington Post calls a “critical omission,” the FAA, the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the FBI's Financial Review Group are not notified. The two latter groups have the power to tap into private credit card and bank data, and claim they could have readily found Alhazmi and Almihdhar, given the frequency the two used credit cards. [Washington Post, 7/25/03 (C)] Furthermore, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke and his Counterterrorism and Security Group are not told about these two operatives before 9/11 either. [Newsweek, 3/24/04] The CIA later claims the request was labeled “immediate,” the second most urgent category (the highest is reserved for things like declarations of war). [Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01] The FBI denies that it was marked “immediate” and other agencies treated the request as a routine matter. [Los Angeles Times, 10/18/01; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] The State Department places all four men on the watch list the next day. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] However, this watch list, named TIPOFF, checks their names only if they use international flights. There is another watch list barring suspected terrorists from flying domestically. On 9/11, it contains only 12 names, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and other al-Qaeda figures, and some names are added as late as August 28, 2001. But none of these four men are added to this domestic list before 9/11.(see April 24, 2000). [9/11 Commission, 1/26/04]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Clarke, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash, Counterterrorism and Security Group, Federal Aviation Administration, US Customs Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Central Intelligence Agency, US Department of State, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Khalid Almihdhar, TIPOFF, Nawaf Alhazmi, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

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