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Before 9/11

Warning Signs (228)
Foreign Intelligence Warnings (27)
Insider Trading (36)
Counterterrorism Before 9/11 (181)
Able Danger (39)
Military Exercises (38)
Hunt for bin Laden (73)
Pipeline Politics (54)

Al-Qaeda Members

Al-Qaeda in Germany
Alhazmi and Almihdhar (74)
Other 9/11 Hijackers (48)
Marwan Alshehhi (21)
Mohamed Atta (37)
Ziad Jarrah (9)
Hani Hanjour (15)
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (33)
Zacarias Moussaoui (40)
Nabil al-Marabh (10)

Geopolitics and 9/11

Pakistani ISI (126)
Randy Glass (7)
Sibel Edmonds (6)
Saeed Sheikh (3)
Mahmood Ahmed (3)
Drugs (21)
Saudi Arabia and the bin Laden Family (110)
Bin Laden Family (33)
Israel (33)
Iraq (49)
US Dominance (34)

Day of 9/11

All day of 9/11 events (401)
Flight AA 11 (62)
Flight UA 175 (49)
Flight AA 77 (70)
Flight UA 93 (105)
George Bush (66)
Dick Cheney (24)
Donald Rumsfeld (24)
Richard Clarke (22)

The Post-9/11 World

Afghanistan (49)
Investigations (166)
9/11 Congressional Inquiry (0)
9/11 Commission (0)
Other 9/11 Investigations (0)
Other events (79)
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Complete 911 Timeline: Al-Qaeda in Germany

 
  

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1995-1998: Darkazanli Receives Large Sums From Saudi Intelligence Front Company

       A Saudi company called the Twaik Group deposits more than $250,000 in bank accounts controlled by Mamoun Darkazanli, a Syrian-born businessman suspected of belonging to the Hamburg, Germany, al-Qaeda cell that Mohamed Atta is also a part of. In 2004, the Chicago Tribune will reveal evidence that German intelligence has concluded that Twaik, a $100 million-a-year conglomerate, serves as a front for the Saudi Arabian intelligence agency. It has ties to that agency's longtime chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal. Before 9/11, at least two of Twaik's managers are suspected by various countries' intelligence agencies of working for al-Qaeda. One Twaik employee, who is later accused of helping to finance the financing of the 2003 Bali bombing (see October 12, 2002), repeatedly flies on aircraft operated by Saudi intelligence. In roughly the same time period, hundreds of thousands of additional dollars are deposited into Darkazanli's accounts from a variety of suspicious entities, including a Swiss bank owned by Middle Eastern interests with links to terrorism and a radical Berlin imam. Darkazanli is later accused not just of financially helping the Hamburg 9/11 hijackers, but also of helping to choose them for al-Qaeda. [Chicago Tribune, 3/31/04; Chicago Tribune, 10/12/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, al-Qaeda, Turki bin Faisal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, Mamoun Darkazanli, Twaik Group
          

March 1997: German Government Investigates Hamburg al-Qaeda Cell

      
Mohammed Haydar Zammar.
Investigation of al-Qaeda contacts in Hamburg by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany's domestic intelligence service, begins at least by this time (Germany refuses to disclose additional details). [New York Times, 1/18/03] Telephone intercepts show that a German investigation into Mohammed Haydar Zammar is taking place this month. It is later believed that Zammar, a German of Syrian origin, is a part of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. [Los Angeles Times, 1/14/03] He later claims he recruited Mohamed Atta and others into the cell [Washington Post, 6/19/02] Germany authorities had identified Zammar as a militant a decade earlier. [New York Times, 1/18/03] From 1995-2000, he makes frequent trips to Afghanistan. [New York Times, 1/18/03; Stern, 8/13/03] German intelligence is aware that he was personally invited to Afghanistan by bin Laden. [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2/2/03] Spanish investigators later say Zammar is a longtime associate of Barakat Yarkas, the alleged boss of the al-Qaeda cell in Madrid, Spain. In 1998, Germany is given more evidence of his ties to Islamic militants, and surveillance intensifies. He is periodically trailed, and all his calls are recorded. [Stern, 8/13/03] It is not clear if or when the investigation ends, but it continues until at least September 1999. [Associated Press, 6/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Barakat Yarkas, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Mohamed Atta
          

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

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

August 1998: Germany Investigates Hamburg al-Qaeda Cell Member

      
Mounir El Motassadeq.
A German inquiry into Mounir El Motassadeq, an alleged member of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell with Mohamed Atta, begins by this time. Although Germany will not reveal details, documents show that by August 1998, Motassadeq is under surveillance. “The trail soon [leads] to most of the main [Hamburg] participants” in 9/11. Surveillance records Motassadeq and Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who had already been identified by police as a suspected extremist, as they meet at the Hamburg home of Said Bahaji, who is also under surveillance that same year. (Bahaji will soon move into an apartment with Atta and other al-Qaeda members.) German police monitor several other meetings between Motassadeq and Zammar in the following months. [New York Times, 1/18/03] Motassadeq is later convicted in August 2002 in Germany for participation in the 9/11 attacks, but his conviction is later overturned (see March 3, 2004).
People and organizations involved: Said Bahaji, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Mohamed Atta, Mounir El Motassadeq
          

September 20, 1998: Al-Qaeda Operative Arrest in Germany Leads to New German Suspects

      
Mamdouh Mahmud Salim.
Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, an al-Qaeda operative from the United Arab Emirates connected to the 1998 US embassy bombings, is arrested near Munich, Germany. [PBS Newshour, 9/30/98] In retrospect, it appears he was making one of many visits to the al-Qaeda cells in Germany. [Corbin, 2003, pp 147] US investigators later call him bin Laden's “right hand man.” [New York Times, 9/29/01] However, the FBI is unwilling to brief their German counterparts on what they know about Salim and al-Qaeda, despite learning much that could have been useful as part of their investigation into the US embassy bombings. By the end of the year, German investigators learn that Salim has a Hamburg bank account. [New York Times, 9/29/01] The cosignatory on the account is businessman Mamoun Darkazanli, whose home number had been programmed into Salim's cell phone. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02] US intelligence had first investigated Darkazanli in 1993, when a suspect was found with his telephone number [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] , and German authorities had begun to suspect Darkazanli of money laundering for Islamic militant groups in 1996. Wadih El-Hage, a former personal secretary to bin Laden, is also arrested in the wake of the embassy bombings. El-Hage had created a number of shell companies as fronts for al-Qaeda activities, and one of these uses the address of Darkazanli's apartment. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02] Darkazanli's phone number and Deutsche Bank account number are also found in El-Hage's address book. [CNN, 10/16/01] The FBI also discovers that Darkazanli had power of attorney over a bank account of Hajer, a person on al-Qaeda's supreme council. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Based on these new connections, investigators ask a federal prosecutor for permission to open a formal investigation against Darkazanli. An investigation reportedly begins, at the insistence of the US, though Germany has claimed the request for the investigation was rejected [Agence France-Presse, 10/28/01; New York Times, 1/18/03] German investigators also learn of a connection between Salim and Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who is already identified by police in 1997 as a suspected extremist. [New York Times, 1/18/03; Associated Press, 6/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Mamoun Darkazanli, Wadih El-Hage, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Germany, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, Osama bin Laden, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Deutsche Bank, al-Qaeda
          

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

      
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
          

January 31, 1999: Germany Monitors Hijacker's Calls, Shares Information with CIA

       German intelligence is tapping the telephone of al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Haydar Zammar, and on this date, Zammar gets a call from a “Marwan.” This is later found to be hijacker Marwan Alshehhi. Marwan talks about mundane things, like his studies in Bonn, Germany, and promises to come to Hamburg in a few months. German investigators trace the telephone number and determine the call came from a mobile phone registered in the United Arab Emirates. [New York Times, 2/24/04; Deutsche Presse-Agenteur, 8/13/03; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] German intelligence will pass this information to the CIA about one month later, but the CIA apparently fails to capitalize on it (see March 1999).
People and organizations involved: Marwan Alshehhi, Central Intelligence Agency, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Germany
          

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

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

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

       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
          

April 1, 1999: Hijacker Jarrah Photographs Wedding Party

      
Friends of Ziad Jarrah taken on April 1, 1999. Third from left in back row is Abdelghani Mzoudi, fifth from is Mounir El Motassadeq; seventh is Ramzi bin al-Shibh; the man on far right in middle row is Mohamed Atta; Atta rests his hands on Mohammed Raji, now a wanted man.
Ziad Jarrah has an unofficial wedding with his girlfriend, Aisel Senguen. Interestingly, a photo apparently taken by Jarrah at the wedding is found by German intelligence several days after 9/11. An undercover agent is able immediately to identify ten of the 18 men in the photo, as well as where it was taken: the prayer room of Hamburg's Al-Quds mosque. He is also able to identify which of them attended Mohamed Atta's study group. He knows even “seemingly trivial details” of some of the men, showing that “probably almost all members of the Hamburg terror cell” has been watched by German state intelligence since this time, if not before. The head of the state intelligence had previously maintained that they knew nothing of any of these men. [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2/2/03]
People and organizations involved: Ziad Jarrah, Mohamed Atta
          

Summer 1999: US Intelligence Links Zammar to Senior bin Laden Operatives, Fails to Share Information

       Around this time, US intelligence notes that a man in Hamburg, Germany, named Mohammed Haydar Zammar is in direct contact with one of bin Laden's senior operational coordinators. Zammar is an al-Qaeda recruiter with links to Mohamed Atta and the rest of the Hamburg terror cell. The US had noted Zammar's terror links on “numerous occasions” before 9/11. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] However, apparently the US does not share their information on Zammar with German intelligence. Instead, the Germans are given evidence from Turkey that Zammar is running a travel agency as a terror front in Hamburg. In 1998, they get information from Italy confirming he is an Islamic militant . However, his behavior is so suspicious that they have already started monitoring him closely. [Stern, 8/13/03; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Germany, Mohamed Atta, Italy, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Turkey
          

September 21, 1999: German Intelligence Records Calls Between Hijacker and Others Linked to al-Qaeda

       German intelligence is periodically tapping suspected al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Haydar Zammar's telephone, and on this day investigators hear Zammar call hijacker Marwan Alshehhi. Officials initially claim that the call also mentions hijacker Mohamed Atta, but only his first name. [New York Times, 1/18/03; Daily Telegraph, 11/24/01] However, his full name, “Mohamed Atta Al Amir,” is mentioned in this call and in another recorded call. [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2/2/03] Alshehhi makes veiled references to plans to travel to Afghanistan. He also hands the phone over to Said Bahaji (another member of the Hamburg cell under investigation at the time), so he can talk to Zammar. [Stern, 8/13/03] German investigators still do not know Alshehhi's full name, but they recognize this “Marwan” also called Zammar in January, and they told the CIA about that call. Alshehhi, living in the United Arab Emirates at the time, calls Zammar frequently. German intelligence asks the United Arab Emirates to identify the number and the caller, but the request is not answered. [Der Spiegel, 2/3/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Central Intelligence Agency, Said Bahaji, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, United Arab Emirates
          

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

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

December 1999: CIA Attempts to Recruit Man with Links to Atta and Hamburg Cell

       The CIA begins “persistent” efforts to recruit German businessman Mamoun Darkazanli as an informant. Darkazanli knows Mohamed Atta and the other members of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. US and German intelligence had previously opened investigations into Darkazanli in September 1998. Agents occasionally followed him, but Darkazanli obviously noticed the tail on him at least once. More costly and time-consuming electronic surveillance is not done however, and by the end of 1999, the investigation has produced little of value. German law does not allow foreign governments to have informants in Germany. So this month, Thomas Volz, the undercover CIA representative in Hamburg, appears at the headquarters of the Hamburg state domestic intelligence agency, the LfV, responsible for tracking terrorists and domestic extremists. He tells them the CIA believes Darkazanli has knowledge of an unspecified terrorist plot and encourages that he be “turned” against his al-Qaeda comrades. A source later recalls he says, “Darkazanli knows a lot.” Efforts to recruit him will continue in the spring next year. The CIA has not admitted this interest in Darkazanli. [Stern, 8/13/03; Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Central Intelligence Agency, Mamoun Darkazanli, Thomas Volz, Office for the Protection of the Constitution
          

January-May 2000: CIA Has Atta Under Surveillance

       Hijacker Mohamed Atta is put under surveillance by the CIA while living in Germany. [Berliner Zeitung, 9/24/01; Focus, 9/24/01; Agence France-Presse, 9/22/01] He is “reportedly observed buying large quantities of chemicals in Frankfurt, apparently for the production of explosives [and/or] for biological warfare.” “The US agents reported to have trailed Atta are said to have failed to inform the German authorities about their investigation,” even as the Germans are investigating many of his associates. “The disclosure that Atta was being trailed by police long before 11 September raises the question why the attacks could not have been prevented with the man's arrest.” [Observer, 9/30/01] A German newspaper adds that Atta is able to get a visa into the US on May 18. According to some reports, the surveillance stops when he leaves for the US at the start of June. However, “experts believe that the suspect [remains] under surveillance in the United States.” [Berliner Zeitung, 9/24/01] A German intelligence official also states, “We can no longer exclude the possibility that the Americans wanted to keep an eye on Atta after his entry in the US” [Focus, 9/24/01] This correlates with a Newsweek claim that US officials knew Atta was a “known [associate] of Islamic terrorists well before [9/11].” [Newsweek, 9/20/01] However, a congressional inquiry later reports that the US “intelligence community possessed no intelligence or law enforcement information linking 16 of the 19 hijackers [including Atta] to terrorism or terrorist groups.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] In 2005, after accounts of the Able Danger program learning Atta's name become news, newspaper account will neglect to mention this prior report about Atta being known by US intelligence. For instance, the New York Times will report, “The account [about Able Danger] is the first assertion that Mr. Atta, an Egyptian who became the lead hijacker in the plot, was identified by any American government agency as a potential threat before the Sept. 11 attacks”(see August 9, 2005) . [New York Times, 8/9/05]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Central Intelligence Agency
          

January-March 2000: Hijacker Atta Begins E-mailing US Flight Schools, Seeking Pilot Training

       Hijacker Mohamed Atta, who is under CIA surveillance at this time, begins sending e-mails to US flight schools, inquiring about their pilot training programs. One e-mail states, “We are a small group (2-3) of young men from different arab [sic] countries.” “Now we are living in Germany since a while for study purposes. We would like to start training for the career of airline professional pilots. In this field we haven't yet any knowledge, but we are ready to undergo an intensive training program.” Apparently, multiple e-mails are sent from the same Hotmail account. Some e-mails are signed “M. Atta,” while others are signed “Mahmoud Ben Hamad.” [Chicago Tribune, 2/25/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Central Intelligence Agency
          

2000: Head of Milan al-Qaeda Cell Under Investigation in Hamburg by This Time

      
Abderazek Mahdjoub.
Abderazek Mahdjoub, an Algerian living in Hamburg, Germany, attends the al-Quds mosque and has ties to some of the 9/11 hijackers. According to a senior German intelligence official, Mahdjoub is under observation by German domestic intelligence since at least this year. However, he is also connected to the al-Qaeda cell in Milan and in fact is believed to be the head of that cell. There is considerable evidence that the Milan cell has foreknowledge of the 9/11 plot. The cell is under heavy surveillance by Italian intelligence before 9/11 (see August 12, 2000) (see January 24, 2001). But apparently the connection between the Milan and Hamburg cells through Mahdjoub is not made. He is also tied to Mohamed Daki, another member of the Milan cell periodically living in Hamburg before 9/11. He apparently continues to be a major organizer after 9/11, and the Italian and German governments fail to share information about him. He is suspected of leading European recruitment of those who want to fight the US in Iraq. In late 2003, he will finally be arrested trying to cross the border into Iraq. He is put in German custody. [New York Times, 3/22/04; New York Times, 11/29/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Daki, Germany, Central Intelligence Agency
          

2000: German Intelligence Issues Report on al-Qaeda Connections in Germany

       The BKA, the German counterpart to the FBI, prepares an extensive report on al-Qaeda's connections in Germany. The BKA warns that “Unknown structures” are preparing to stage attacks abroad. However, the German federal prosecutor's office rejects a proposed follow-up investigation. One of the persons named in the BKA report supposedly had contacts with the Hamburg terror cell. [Berliner Zeitung, 9/24/01]
People and organizations involved: Bundeskriminalamt Germany, al-Qaeda
          

Spring 2000: CIA Continues Efforts to Recruit Man Close to Hamburg Cell

       German investigators finally agree to the CIA's request to recruit businessman Mamoun Darkazanli as an informant. An agent of the LfV, the Hamburg state intelligence agency, casually approaches Darkazanli and asks him whether he is interested in becoming a spy. Darkazanli replies that he is just a businessman who knows nothing about al-Qaeda or terrorism. The Germans inform the local CIA representative that the approach failed. The CIA agent persists, asking the German agent to continue to try. However, when German agents ask for more information to show Darkazanli they know of his terrorist ties, the CIA fails to give them any information. As it happens, at the end of January 2000, Darkazanli had just met with Barakat Yarkas in Madrid, Spain. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02] Darkazanli is a longtime friend and business partner of Yarkas, the most prominent al-Qaeda agent in Spain. [Los Angeles Times, 1/14/03] The meeting included other suspected al-Qaeda figures, and it was monitored by Spanish police. If the CIA is aware of the Madrid meeting, they do not tell the Germans. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02] A second LfV attempt to recruit Darkazanli also fails. The CIA then attempts to work with federal German intelligence officials in Berlin to “turn” Darkazanli. Results of that effort are not known. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Mamoun Darkazanli, Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Central Intelligence Agency, Barakat Yarkas
          

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

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

May 22, 2000: German Intelligence Place Two Hijacker Associates on a German Watch List

       By early 2000, German intelligence monitoring al-Qaeda suspect Mohammed Haydar Zammar notice that Mounir El Motassadeq and Said Bahaji, members of al-Qaeda's Hamburg cell with Mohamed Atta, regularly meet with Zammar. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] In March 2000, Germany's internal intelligence service had placed Motassadeq and Bahaji on a border patrol watch list. Their international arrivals and departures are to be reported immediately. On this day, Motassadeq flies to Istanbul, Turkey, and from there goes to an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the border patrol only notes his destination of Istanbul. Bahaji does not travel, and when he finally does the week before 9/11, it isn't noted. [Der Spiegel, 2/3/03]
People and organizations involved: Said Bahaji, Mohamed Atta, Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Mounir El Motassadeq
          

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

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

June or July 2001: Hijackers Plan Attacks from German University

       Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, and an unknown third person are seen in the ground-floor workshops of the architecture department at this time, according to at least two witnesses from the Hamburg university where Atta had studied. They are seen on at least two occasions with a white, three-foot scale model of the Pentagon. Between 60 and 80 slides of the Sears building in Chicago and the WTC are found to be missing from the technical library after 9/11. [Sunday Times, 2/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Pentagon, World Trade Center, Marwan Alshehhi
          

August 14, 2001: Atta's Hamburg Associates Purchase Tickets to Pakistan

       Two apparent associates of Mohamed Atta's Hamburg al-Qaeda cell, Ismail Ben Mrabete and Ahmed Taleb, purchase tickets to fly to Pakistan on September 3, 2001. They will be joined on that flight by cell member Said Bahaji. All three will disappear into Afghanistan thereafter. It is later discovered that Taleb had been in e-mail contact with al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida. [Chicago Tribune, 2/25/03] Note that these purchases occur one day before Zacarias Moussaoui's arrest in Minnesota, suggesting the date for the 9/11 attacks was set before his arrest (see August 15, 2001).
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Taleb, Ismail Ben Mrabete, Abu Zubaida, Said Bahaji
          

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

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

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

      
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
          

September 24, 2001: Bank Accounts of Suspected al-Qaeda Supporters Frozen by US

      
Darkanzali attended Said Bahaji's wedding in October, 1999. A bearded Marwan al-Shehhi stands at the far left, while Bahaji sits at the far left. Others who attended included Ziad Jarrah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Abdelghani Mzoudi, and Zakariya Essabar.
The US freezes the accounts of 27 individuals and organizations, alleging that they had channeled money to al-Qaeda. Included in the list is Mamoun Darkazanli. US officials say Darkazanli took part in a 1996 attack on government troops in Saudi Arabia. According to German investigators, Darkazanli attended Said Bahaji's wedding several years earlier. [New York Times, 9/29/01] The German government also freezes accounts connected to Darkazanli on October 2, 2001. Both governments suspect Darkazanli of providing financial and logistical support to the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. [Agence France-Presse, 10/28/01] Shortly thereafter, Spanish police listening in to Barakat Yarkas' telephone hear Yarkas warn the leader of a Syrian extremist organization that Darkazanli has caught the “flu” going around. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Said Bahaji, Mamoun Darkazanli, Barakat Yarkas
          

October 7, 2001: Stolen 9/11 Documents Appear in Mysterious Circumstances

       On this day, Zeljko E., a Kosovar Serb, enters a Hamburg, Germany, police station and says he wants to turn himself in. He tells the police that he has robbed a business and stolen piles of paper written in Arabic, with the hopes of selling them. A friend of his told him that they relate to the 9/11 attacks. The 44 pounds of papers are translated and they prove to be a “treasure trove.” The documents come from Mamoun Darkazanli's files, which were not in Darkazanli's apartment when police raided it two days after 9/11. “It makes for a great story. A petty thief pilfers files containing critical information about the largest terrorist attack in history and dutifully turns them over to the police. [But German] agents do not buy this story for a minute; they suspect that some other Secret Service was trying to find a way of getting evidence into [their] hands. The question is, whose Secret Service?” Some German investigators later suggest that the CIA was responsible; there are also reports that the FBI illegally monitored Darkazanli after 9/11. [Der Spiegel, 10/27/01; Der Spiegel, 2002, pp 166-67; Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Der Spiegel, Germany, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, Central Intelligence Agency
          

October 27, 2001: Zammar Arrested, Detained by US in Syria

       Suspected al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Haydar Zammar travels from Germany to Morocco. Not long after, perhaps in December, he is arrested by Moroccan police with US assistance. Although he is a German citizen and under investigation by Germany, German intelligence remain unaware of his arrest, and only learn about it from the newspapers in June 2002. He is sent to Syria, where there are formal charges against him. Zammar reportedly now claims he recruited Mohamed Atta and others into the al-Qaeda Hamburg cell. [Washington Post, 6/19/02 (B)] It is widely suspected that the US arranged for Zammar to be sent to Syria so that he could be more thoroughly interrogated using torture. The Germans are angry that the US has been submitting questions for Zammar and learning answers from Syria, but have not informed Germany of what they have learned [Daily Telegraph, 6/20/02; Christian Science Monitor, 7/26/02]
People and organizations involved: Germany, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Syria, Mohamed Atta
          

April 23, 2002: Spain Arrests al-Qaeda Financier

      
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
          

August 29, 2002: Germany Charges Moroccan with Complicity in 9/11

       German authorities charge Mounir El Motassadeq with complicity in the 9/11 attacks. He was arrested in Germany two months after 9/11. He is only the second person in the world to be charged with any crime related to the 9/11 attacks (after Zacarias Moussaoui). He is charged with helping finance Mohamed Atta and others in the Hamburg terrorist cell. [New York Times, 8/29/02; Agence France-Presse, 8/29/02]
People and organizations involved: Mounir El Motassadeq, Mohamed Atta, Germany
          

October 25, 2002: German-US Breakdown in Communications Hampers Anti-Terrorism Measures

       PBS Newshour reports, “[German authorities] say they're not getting the cooperation they need from the authorities in the [US], and they're worried that a political dispute between Washington and Berlin is hampering their ability to protect the public... In Hamburg, the police say that breakdown in communications between the US and German governments has also led to a dramatic reduction in the amount of investigative help they're getting from the [US]” The Bush administration has not spoken to the German government since it won re-election four months earlier while openly opposing Bush's planned war on Iraq. Germans say existing prosecutions of 9/11 suspects are now threatened by the information breakdown. [Online Newshour, 10/25/02] The Germans helped capture suspected al-Qaeda operative Mohamed Heidar Zammar and turned him over to a third country, yet now they're learning very little from his interrogations, even though he has admitted to being involved in a plot to attack a consulate in Germany. A US State Department official denies there is any problem, aside from a few “bumps in the road.” [New York Times, 11/4/02] June 2004, German prosecutor Matthias Krauss, who investigated the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell, will be scheduled to testify before the 9/11 Commission about both pre-9/11 communication problems between German and US intelligence officials and the US government�s cooperation with foreign governments prosecuting suspected terrorists in the post-9/11 period. However, he will unexpectedly cancel at the last minute. [Associated Press, 6/15/04]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Matthias Krauss, Bush administration, Germany, al-Qaeda
          

December 3, 2002: Trial of Motassadeq Reveals Connections with Saudi Embassy Official

       During the German trial of Mounir el-Motassadeq, accused of participation in the 9/11 attacks, a German police officer testifies that the business card of Muhammad J. Fakihi, the chief of Islamic affairs at the Saudi Embassy in Berlin, was found in a raid on Motassadeq's apartment. The raid also turned up a credit card belonging to Mohamed Atta and the password to Atta's e-mail account. Saudi officials deny that Fakihi had ever met Motassadeq. Fakihi is recalled to Saudi Arabia three months later, following demands by Germany that he leave. [International Herald Tribune, 12/4/02; Sydney Morning Herald, 12/5/02; New York Times, 12/8/02; Newsweek, 12/9/02; Der Spiegel, 3/26/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Germany, Muhammad J. Fakihi, Mohamed el Amir
          

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

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

February 25, 2003: More 9/11 Terrorist Plotters Believed to Be in Germany

       The Chicago Tribune reveals that there appear to be many more members of Mohamed Atta's Hamburg cell than previously reported. While many members of the cell died in the attacks or fled Germany just prior to 9/11, up to a dozen suspected of belonging to the Hamburg cell stayed behind, apparently hoping to avoid government scrutiny. Many of their names have not yet been revealed. In some cases, investigators still do not know the names. For instance, phone records show that someone using the alias Karl Herweg was in close communication with the Hamburg cell and Zacarias Moussaoui, but Herweg's real identity is not known. [Chicago Tribune, 2/25/03]
People and organizations involved: Zacarias Moussaoui, Karl Herweg
          

May 9, 2003: Mzoudi Is Charged for Role in 9/11 Attacks

      
Abdelghani Mzoudi.
Abdelghani Mzoudi is charged in Germany for an alleged role in the 9/11 plot. The 30-year-old electrical engineering student from Morocco is accused of accessory to murder and membership of a terrorist organization. He is alleged to have trained in Afghanistan, transferred money, and provided other logistical support to his fellow cell members involved in the 9/11 attacks. Mzoudi had known lead hijacker Mohamed Atta since 1996 and had roomed with Mounir el Motassadeq, another Moroccan who was convicted of the same charges. Mzoudi denies any involvement in the hijacking plans. [Associated Press, 5/9/03; Washington Post, 5/10/03; Washington Post, 8/15/03] In Mzoudi's trial, which begins in August 2003, his lawyers say they may explore theories during the trial about how the 9/11 attacks suspiciously served the foreign policy goals of US conservatives. One defense attorney says, “As I take a close look at the results of the investigations through my glasses, I find anomalies that are immediately apparent. They begin with passenger lists that include the Arabic names of people who are still very much alive today.” [Der Spiegel, 9/8/03; Washington Post, 8/15/03]
People and organizations involved: Germany, Mohamed Atta, Mounir el-Motassadeq, Abdelghani Mzoudi
          

September 17, 2003: Spain Charges Darkazanli, 34 Others with Involvement in 9/11 Plot

       A Spanish judge issues an indictment against Mamoun Darkazanli and 34 others, alleging that they belonged to or supported the al-Qaeda cell in Madrid, which assisted the 9/11 hijackers in planning the attack. Darkazanli's name appears 177 times in the 690-page indictment. He is accused of acting as bin Laden's “financier in Europe.” “The list of those with whom Darkazanli has done business or otherwise exchanged money reads like a Who's Who of al-Qaeda: Wadih El-Hage, bin Laden's one-time personal secretary; Seedi al-Tayyib, the husband of bin Laden's niece and, before 9/11, al-Qaeda's chief financial officer; and Mustafa Setmariam Nasr, the head of a training camp for al-Qaeda in Afghanistan who journeyed to Hamburg to visit Darkazanli in 1996.” [Chicago Tribune, 10/5/03] The CIA had been monitoring Darkazanli sometime before December 1999 and had tried to convince Germany to “turn” him into an al-Qaeda informant. However, the CIA refused Germany's request to share information regarding Darkazanli's terrorist ties in the spring of 2000 (see Spring 2000). [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Spain, Mamoun Darkazanli, Seedi al-Tayyib, Mustafa Setmariam Nasr, Wadih El-Hage
          

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

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

January 22, 2004: Iranian Spy Gives Evidence at Mzoudi Trial; Is Quickly Discounted

       The prosecution in the trial of Abdelghani Mzoudi presents a witness who claims to be a defector from an Iranian intelligence agency. [BBC, 1/21/04] The witness, Hamid Reza Zakeri, does not appear in court himself, but instead Judge Klaus Ruehle reads out his testimony. [Reuters, 1/22/04] According to Zakeri, the Iranian intelligence service was really behind the 9/11 attacks and had employed al-Qaeda to carry them out. Zakeri's claims are widely publicized. However, these claims are quickly discounted, and German intelligence notes that, “he presents himself as a witness on any theme which can bring him benefit.” [Chicago Tribune, 1/22/04; Associated Press, 1/30/04; Reuters, 1/22/04; Deutsche Presse-Agenteur, 1/22/04]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Hamid Reza Zakeri, Iran, Abdelghani Mzoudi
          

January 29, 2004: Extent of German Government Knowledge of Hijackers Is Reported Missing

       A Hamburg, Germany, newspaper reports that a former senior official in the Hamburg state administration named Walter Wellinghausen has taken a “politically explosive” file from the government offices. “The file is said to contain an exact chronology of the knowledge of the [Hamburg] intelligence agency before September 11, 2001 about the people living in Hamburg who should later become the terrorists.” He claims to have not been charged or even questioned about this matter and the file remains missing. [Hamburger Abendblatt, 1/29/04]
People and organizations involved: Walter Wellinghausen
          

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

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

October 14, 2004: Darkazanli Finally Arrested in Germany

       Mamoun Darkazanli, under investigation for ties to al-Qaeda long before 9/11, is finally arrested in Germany. The Chicago Tribune calls him “one of the most elusive and mysterious figures associated with al-Qaeda and the Sept. 11 hijackers.” He has been living openly in Germany since the 9/11 attacks. The reason for the timing of the arrest is unclear, but there is speculation it may be to preempt an attempt by Darkazanli to apply for asylum in Syria, the nation of his birth. Because German anti-terrorism laws were so weak until after 9/11, he cannot even be convicted of financing terrorism. However, he is also wanted in Spain where prosecutors have been building a case against him and his associates. Germany says it intends to extradite him to Spain, but Darkazanli claims he's innocent and is going to fight the extradition. [Chicago Tribune, 10/15/04]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Germany, Mamoun Darkazanli, Spain
          


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