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Profile: Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash

 
  

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Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash actively participated in the following events:

 
  

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
          

January 4, 2001: FBI, CIA Miss Connection Between USS Cole Bomber and Hijackers      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Khallad bin Attash.
The FBI's investigation into the USS Cole bombing (see October 12, 2000) reveals that al-Qaeda operative Khallad bin Attash was a principal planner of the bombing [Associated Press, 9/21/02 (B)] , and that two other participants in the bombing delivered money to bin Attash at the time of the January 2000 al-Qaeda meeting (see January 5-8, 2000) in Malaysia. The FBI shares this information with the CIA. Based on a description of bin Attash from an informant, CIA analysts reexamine pictures from the Malaysian meeting and identify bin Attash with both hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. CIA Director Tenet later testifies that the presence of bin Attash, a known, important al-Qaeda operative, gives the Malaysian meetings “greater significance.” [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] The CIA has already been informed that Alhazmi has entered the US in March 2000, yet once again they fail to watch list either Alhazmi or Almihdhar. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] CNN later notes that at this point the CIA, at the very least, “could have put Alhazmi and Almihdhar and all others who attended the meeting in Malaysia on a watch list to be kept out of this country. It was not done.” [CNN, 6/4/02] More incredibly, bin Attash is not placed on the watch list at this time, despite being labeled as the principal planner of the Cole bombing. (He is finally placed on the watch list in August 2001.) [Los Angeles Times, 9/22/02] CIA headquarters is told what these CIA analysts have learned, but it appears the FBI is not told. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, George Tenet, Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash
          

June 11, 2001: FBI and CIA Hold Shouting Match over Information on Al-Qaeda; CIA Still Withholds Information      Complete 911 Timeline

       A CIA analyst and FBI analyst travel to New York and meet with FBI officials at FBI headquarters about the USS Cole investigation. The CIA analyst has already shown photographs from the al-Qaeda Malaysia meeting (see January 5-8, 2000) attended by hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar to an FBI analyst, but failed to explain what he knows about them. The CIA analyst now shows the same photos to the additional FBI agents. He wants to know if they can identify anyone in the photos for a different case he is working on. “The FBI agents recognized the men from the Cole investigation, but when they asked the CIA what they knew about the men, they were told that they did not have clearance to share that information. It ended up in a shouting match.” [ABC News, 8/16/02] The CIA analyst later admits that at the time, he knows Almihdhar had a US visa, that Alhazmi had traveled to the US in March, that al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash had been recognized in one of the photos, and that Alhazmi was known to be an experienced operative. However, he does not tell any of this to any FBI agent. He does not let them keep copies of the photos either. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] He promises them more information later, but the FBI agents do not receive more information until after 9/11. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] Two days after this meeting, Almihdhar has no trouble getting a new, multiple reentry US visa. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02; US News and World Report, 12/12/01] CIA Director Tenet later claims, “Almihdhar was not who they were talking about in this meeting.” When Senator Carl Levin (D) reads the following to Tenet— “The CIA analyst who attended the New York meeting acknowledged to the joint inquiry staff that he had seen the information regarding Almihdhar's US visa and Alhazmi's travel to the United States but he stated that he would not share information outside of the CIA unless he had authority to do so.” —Tenet claims that he talked to the same analyst, who told him something completely different. [New York Times, 10/17/02]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency, Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash, Carl Levin, Nawaf Alhazmi, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

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