The Center for Cooperative Research
U:     P:    
Not registered yet? Register here
 
Search
 
Current timeline only
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
 



  View mode (info):
  Ordering (info):
  Time period (info):

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 (42)
Alhazmi and Almihdhar
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)
Click here to join: Suggest changes to existing data, add new data to the website, or compile your own timeline. More Info >>

 

Complete 911 Timeline: Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar

 
  

Project: Complete 911 Timeline

Export to XML Printer Friendly View Email to a Friend Increase Text Size Decrease Text Size


1993-1999: Alhazmi and Almihdhar Fight for al-Qaeda

      
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
          

August 1994-July 2001: Possible Terrorist Front Man with Saudi Backing Settles in San Diego

      
Dallah Avco logo.
A Saudi named Omar al-Bayoumi arrives in San Diego, California. He will later become well known for his suspicious connections to both some 9/11 hijackers and the Saudi government, although the 9/11 Commission asserts that it received no evidence that he was involved in terrorism or the 9/11 attacks. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/16/04] Acquaintances in San Diego long suspect he is a Saudi government spy reporting on the activities of Saudi-born college students. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/14/02; San Diego Magazine, 9/03; Newsweek, 11/22/02] Says one witness, “He was always watching [young Saudi college students], always checking up on them, literally following them around and then apparently reporting their activities back to Saudi Arabia.” [Newsweek, 11/24/02] Just prior to moving to the US, he worked for the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation, headed by Prince Sultan. His salary in this job is approved by Hamid al-Rashid, a Saudi government official whose son, Saud al-Rashid, is strongly suspected of al-Qaeda ties (see August 15, 2002). [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Once in San Diego, al-Bayoumi tells people that he's a student or a pilot, and even claims to be receiving monthly payments from “family in India” (despite being Saudi). However, he is none of those things [Wall Street Journal, 8/11/03; Sunday Mercury, 10/21/01] In fact, as he tells some people, he receives a monthly stipend from Dallah Avco, a Saudi aviation company that has extensive ties to the same Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation. [Newsweek, 11/24/02; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] From early 1995 until 2002, he is paid about $3,000 a month for a project in Saudi Arabia even though he is living in the US. According to the New York Times, Congressional officials believe he is a “ghost employee” doing no actual work. The classified section of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report notes that his payments increase significantly just after he comes into contact with two hijackers in early 2000. [New York Times, 8/2/03] The FBI is investigating possible ties between Dallah Avco and al-Qaeda. [Newsweek, 10/29/02] The firm's owner, Saudi billionaire Saleh Abdullah Kamel, has denied the accusation. [Newsweek, 7/28/03]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Saleh Abdullah Kamel, Hamid al-Rashid, Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, 9/11 Commission, Abdullah, al-Qaeda, Saud al-Rashid, Omar al-Bayoumi, Dallah Avco
          

April 1998: Hijacker Associate Receives Saudi Money; FBI Fails to Investigate

       Osama Basnan, a Saudi living in California, claims to write a letter to Saudi Arabian Prince Bandar bin Sultan and his wife, Princess Haifa bint Faisal, asking for financial help because his wife needs thyroid surgery. The Saudi embassy sends Basnan $15,000 and pays the surgical bill. However, according to University of California at San Diego hospital records, Basnan's wife, Majeda Dweikat, is not treated until April 2000. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] Basnan will later come under investigation for possibly using some of this money to support two of the 9/11 hijackers who arrive in San Diego, although the 9/11 Commission has concluded that evidence does not support these charges. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/16/04] Prior to this time, the FBI had several chances to investigate Basnan, but failed to do so. In 1992, they received information suggesting a connection between him and a militant group later associated with bin Laden. In 1993, they received reports that Basnan hosted a party for al-Qaeda leader Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman the year before, but again they failed to investigate. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] According to one US official, Basnan later “celebrate[s] the heroes of September 11” and talks about “what a wonderful, glorious day it had been” at a party shortly after 9/11. [Newsweek, 11/24/02; San Diego Magazine, 9/03]
People and organizations involved: Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia, Osama Basnan, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Majeda Dweikat, 9/11 Commission, Haifa bint Faisal, Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, Osama bin Laden
          

June 1998: Saudi Benefactor Offers Funding for Mosque if Suspected Advance Man Is Retained as Building Manager

       An Unknown Saudi benefactor pays a Saudi, Saad Al-Habeeb, to buy a building in San Diego, California, for a new Kurdish community mosque. However, the approximately $500,000 will only be given on the condition that Omar al-Bayoumi be installed as the building's maintenance manager with a private office at the mosque. After taking the job, al-Bayoumi rarely shows up for work. [San Diego Magazine, 9/03; Newsweek, 11/24/02] This means he has two jobs at once. The people in the mosque eventually begin a move to replace al-Bayoumi, but he moves to Britain in July 2001 before this can happen. [Newsweek, 11/24/02] An anonymous federal investigator states, “Al-Bayoumi came here, set everything up financially, set up the San Diego [al-Qaeda] cell and set up the mosque.” An international tax attorney notes that anyone handling business for a mosque or a church could set it up as a tax-exempt charitable organization “and it can easily be used for money laundering.” [San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/27/01; San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Omar al-Bayoumi, Saad Al-Habeeb
          

Late August 1998: Captured Al-Qaeda Operatives Leads US to Safe House Phone Number

       An al-Qaeda operative involved in the bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi is captured and interrogated by the FBI. The FBI learns the telephone number of a safe house in Yemen, owned by bin Laden associate Ahmed al-Hada, hijacker Khalid Almihdhar's father-in-law [Die Zeit, 10/1/02; Newsweek, 6/2/02] US intelligence also learns that the safe house is an al-Qaeda “logistics center,” used by agents around the world to communicate with each other and plan attacks. [Newsweek, 6/2/02] It is later revealed that bin Laden called the safe house dozens of times from 1996 to 1998 (the two years he had a traced satellite phone). [Sunday Times, 3/24/02; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] The NSA and CIA jointly plant bugs inside the house, tap the phones, and monitor visitors with spy satellites. [Mirror, 6/9/02] The NSA later records Khalid Almihdhar and other hijackers calling this house, including calls from the US. In late 1999, the phone line will lead the CIA to an important al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia. [Newsweek, 6/2/02] It appears al-Qaeda continues to use this phone line until the safe house is raided by the Yemeni government in February 2002. [CBS News, 2/13/02]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed al-Hada, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Almihdhar, al-Qaeda, Central Intelligence Agency, Osama bin Laden, National Security Agency
          

September 1998-July 1999: FBI Conducts Inquiry of Suspected al-Qaeda Advance Man

      
Omar al-Bayoumi.
The FBI conducts a counterterrorism inquiry on Omar al-Bayoumi, suspected al-Qaeda advance man, and possible Saudi agent. The FBI discovers he has been in contact with several people also under investigation. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The FBI is given a tip that he was sent a suspicious package filled with wire from the Middle East, and that large numbers of Arab men routinely meet in his apartment. His landlord notices that he switches from driving a beat up old car to a new Mercedes [Newsweek, 7/28/03] According to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, the FBI notes that al-Bayoumi has “access to seemingly unlimited funding from Saudi Arabia.” For instance, an FBI source identifies him as a person who has delivered about $500,000 from Saudi Arabia to buy a mosque in June 1998 (see June 1998). However, the FBI closes the inquiry “for reasons that remain unclear .” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Also in 1999, al-Bayoumi is working as an employee of the Saudi company Dallah Avco but apparently is doing no work. Someone in the company tries to fire him and sends a note to the Saudi government about this, since the company is so closely tied to the government. However, Mohammed Ahmed al-Salmi, the Director General of Civil Aviation, replies that it is “extremely urgent” his job is renewed “as quickly as possible,” and so he keeps his job. [Wall Street Journal, 8/11/03]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mohammed Ahmed al-Salmi, Dallah Avco, Omar al-Bayoumi
          

Early 1999: NSA Monitoring Hears 9/11 Hijacker Names, This Information Is Not Shared with CIA or FBI

       As the NSA continues to monitor an al-Qaeda safe house in Yemen owned by hijacker Khalid Almihdhar's father-in-law, they find references to Almihdhar and the hijacker brothers, Salem and Nawaf Alhazmi. According to analysts, around late 1999 these men are among their very best sources on al-Qaeda, with “notorious” links to the organization and direct links to the 1998 US embassy bombings. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] In early 1999, the NSA intercepts communications mentioning the full name “Nawaf Alhazmi.” More communications involving the names Nawaf, Salem, and Khalid together and alone are intercepted during 1999. However, this information is not shared with the CIA or FBI. As a result, as an important al-Qaeda meeting approaches in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000), the CIA does not know the last name of the “Nawaf” attending the meeting. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02 (B); 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; Associated Press, 9/25/02] In mid-January, after the Malaysian meeting is over, the CIA reports to the NSA what it has learned about Almihdhar, and asks the NSA for information about him. Some information about him is given back and some is not. The NSA still fails to report Alhazmi's last name. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The NSA continues to monitor calls from these hijackers to this safe house after they move to the US in the first half of 2000.
People and organizations involved: Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Salem Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, National Security Agency, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

April 3-7, 1999: Three Hijackers Obtain US Visas

       Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi, Salem Alhazmi, and Khalid Almihdhar obtain US visas through the US Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)] All three are already “al-Qaeda veterans” and battle-hardened killers. Almihdhar's visa is issued on April 7, and he thereafter leaves and returns to the US multiple times until April 6, 2000. [Stern, 8/13/03] Nawaf Alhazmi gets the same kind of visa; details about Salem are unknown. The CIA claims the hijackers then travel to Afghanistan to participate in “special training” with at least one other suicide bomber on a different mission. The training is led by Khallad bin Attash. The US learns about Almihdhar's visa in January 2000. The Jeddah Consulate keeps in its records the fact that Nawaf and Alhazmi obtain US visas several days before Almihdhar, but apparently these records are never searched before 9/11. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Almihdhar, US Consulate, Jedda, Saudi Arabia Office, Nawaf Alhazmi, Salem Alhazmi
          

June 1999-March 2000: FBI Investigates Muslim Leader

      
Anwar Al Aulaqi.
The FBI conducts a counterterrorism inquiry into imam Anwar Al Aulaqi. From about February 2000, he serves as the “spiritual leader” to several of the hijackers while they live in San Diego, and again in March 2001 when he and they move to the East Coast. During the investigation, the FBI discovers he is in contact with a number of other people being investigated. For instance, in early 2000 he is visited by an associate of Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman. However, as the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry later notes, the investigation is closed “despite the imam's contacts with other subjects of counterterrorism investigations and reports concerning the imam's connection to suspect organizations.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Anwar Al Aulaqi
          

November 1999: Hijackers Said to Lease Apartment in San Diego, Two Months Before Alleged Arrival in US

       The Washington Post refers to hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar when it later reports, “In November 1999, two Saudi Arabian men moved into a ground-floor apartment at the Parkwood Apartments, a town house complex near a busy commercial strip in San Diego .” [Washington Post, 9/30/01] Alhazmi's name is on the apartment lease beginning in November 1999. [Washington Post, 10/01] The Los Angeles Times similarly notes, “A man by [the name Alhazmi] moved to the Parkwood Apartments in San Diego in 1999, according to manager Holly Ratchford.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/15/01] Some reports even have them visiting the US as early as 1996. [Wall Street Journal, 9/17/01; Las Vegas Review Journal, 10/26/01] However, FBI Director Mueller has stated the two hijackers did not arrive in the US until the middle of January 2000, after an important meeting in Malaysia. While some news reports mention that the hijackers first arrive in late 1999 [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] , over time, mentions of the lease beginning in 1999 will slowly fade from media accounts.
People and organizations involved: Robert S. Mueller III, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

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: US Intelligence Learns of Planned al-Qaeda Meeting Involving Future Hijackers

       A Yemeni safe house telephone monitored by the FBI and CIA reveals that there will be an important al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia in January 2000 (see January 5-8, 2000), and that a “Khalid,” a “Nawaf,” and a “Salem” will attend. One intelligence agent notes at the time, “Salem may be Nawaf's younger brother.” It turns out they are brothers—and the future hijackers Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawaf and Salem Alhazmi. US intelligence is already referring to both of them as “terrorist operatives” because the safe house is known to be such a hotbed of al-Qaeda activity. Their last names are not yet known to the CIA, even though the NSA has learned Nawaf's last name. However, Khalid Almihdhar is at the safe house at the time, and as he travels to Malaysia, he is watched and followed. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Salem Alhazmi, National Security Agency, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, al-Qaeda
          

December 4, 1999: Saudi Ambassador's Wife Gives Funds That Are Possibly Passed to Hijackers

      
Prince Bandar (pictures of his wife and Osama Basnan are not available).
Princess Haifa bint Faisal, the wife of Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the US, begins sending monthly cashier's checks of between $2,000 and $3,500 (accounts differ) to Majeda Dweikat, the Jordanian wife of Osama Basnan, a Saudi living in San Diego. Accounts also differ over when the checks were first sent (between November 1999 and about March 2000; a Saudi government representative has stated December 4, 1999 [Fox News, 11/23/02] ). Basnan's wife signs many of the checks over to her friend Manal Bajadr, the wife of Omar al-Bayoumi. [Guardian, 11/25/02; Newsweek, 11/24/02; Newsweek, 11/22/02; Washington Times, 11/26/02] Some later suggest that the money from the wife of the Saudi ambassador passes through the al-Bayoumi and Basnan families as intermediaries and ends up in the hands of the two hijackers. The payments from Princess Haifa continue until May 2002 and may total $51,000, or as much as $73,000. [Newsweek, 11/22/02; MSNBC, 11/27/02] While living in the San Diego area, al-Bayoumi and Basnan are heavily involved in helping with the relocation of, and offering financial support to, Saudi immigrants in the community. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] In late 2002, al-Bayoumi claims he did not pass any money along to the hijackers. [Washington Times, 12/04/02] Basnan has variously claimed to know al-Bayoumi, not to know him at all, or to know him only vaguely. [MSNBC, 11/27/02; ABC News, 11/25/02; ABC News, 11/26/02; Arab News, 11/26/02] However, earlier reports say Basnan and his wife were “very good friends” of al-Bayoumi and his wife. Both couples lived at the Parkwood Apartments at the same time as the two hijackers; prior to that, the couples lived together in a different apartment complex. In addition, the two wives were arrested together in April 2001 for shoplifting. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Osama Basnan, Majeda Dweikat, Omar al-Bayoumi, Haifa bint Faisal, Manal Bajadr
          

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

       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
          

Late 1999: Saudis Claim to Add Two Hijackers to Watch List and Inform CIA

       Former Saudi Intelligence Minister Prince Turki al Faisal later claims that around this time his intelligence agency tells the CIA that hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar have been put on a Saudi terror watch list. Turki says, “What we told [the CIA] was these people were on our watch list from previous activities of al-Qaeda, in both the [1998] embassy bombings and attempts to smuggle arms into the kingdom in 1997.” However, the CIA strongly denies any such warning. [Associated Press, 10/16/03 Sources: Turki bin Faisal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud] Turki admits no documents concerning this were sent to the US, but claims the information was passed via word of mouth. [Salon, 10/18/03] The US does not put these two on their watch list until August 2001.
People and organizations involved: Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

January-February 2000: Secret Military Unit Identifies al-Qaeda ‘Brooklyn’ Cell; Mohamed Atta is a Member

      
A blurry photograph of a 2005 reconstruction of the pre-9/11 Able Danger chart showing Mohamed Atta and others.
A US Army intelligence program called Able Danger identifies five al-Qaeda terrorist cells; one of them has connections to Brooklyn, New York and will become informally known as the “Brooklyn” cell by the Able Danger team. This cell includes 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta, and three other 9/11 hijackers: Marwan Alshehhi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawaf Alhazmi. According to a former intelligence officer who claims he worked closely with Able Danger, the link to Brooklyn is not based upon any firm evidence, but computer analysis that established patterns in links between the four men. “[T]he software put them all together in Brooklyn.” [Government Security News, 9/05; Fox News, 8/23/05; Washington Times, 8/22/05; New York Times, 8/9/05] However, that does not necessarily imply them being physically present in Brooklyn. A lawyer later representing members of Able Danger states, “At no time did Able Danger identify Mohamed Atta as being physically present in the United States.” Furthermore, “No information obtained at the time would have led anyone to believe criminal activity had taken place or that any specific terrorist activities were being planned.” [CNN, 9/21/05; Mark Zaid Statement, 9/21/05] James D. Smith, a contractor working with the unit, discovers Mohamed Atta's link to al-Qaeda. [WTOP News, 9/1/05] Smith has been using advanced computer software and analysing individuals who are going between mosques. He has made a link between Mohamed Atta and Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, ringleader of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. [Government Security News, 9/05; Fox News, 8/28/05] Atta is said to have some unspecified connection to the El Farouq mosque in Brooklyn, a hotbed of anti-American sentiment once frequented by Abdul-Rahman. [Norristown Times-Herald, 9/20/05] Smith obtained Atta's name and photograph through a private researcher in California who was paid to gather the information from contacts in the Middle East. [New York Times, 8/22/05] Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer claims the photo is not the well-known menacing Florida driver's license photo of Atta. “This is an older, more grainy photo we had of him. It was not the best picture in the world.” It is said to contain several names or aliases for Atta underneath it. [Chicago Tribune, 9/28/05; Jerry Doyle Show, 9/20/05] LIWA analysts supporting Able Danger make a chart, which Shaffer describes in a radio interview as, “A chart probably about a 2x3 which had essentially five clusters around the center point which was bin Laden and his leadership.” [Savage Nation, 9/16/05] The 9/11 Commission later claims that Atta only enters the United States for the first time several months later, in June 2000 (see June 3, 2000). [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/24/04, p. 224] However, investigations in the months after 9/11 find that Mohamed Atta and another of the hijackers rented rooms in Brooklyn around this time (see Spring 2000). Other newspaper accounts have the CIA monitoring Atta starting in January 2000, while he is living in Germany (see January-May 2000).
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Able Danger, Marwan Alshehhi, Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, al-Qaeda, El Farouq
          

January 2-5, 2000: CIA Tracks Alhazmi and Almihdhar to al-Qaeda Meeting; Fails to Place Them on Terror Watch List

       Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar travel to an important al-Qaeda meeting (see January 5-8, 2000) in Malaysia. Alhazmi is in Pakistan with a ticket to Malaysia for January 2. CIA and Pakistani officials plan to have his passport scrutinized as he passes through the airport, but he changes his ticket departure date twice. Officials get confused and are not there when he leaves the country, so they still don't learn his last name. Meanwhile, Almihdhar is watched when he leaves a safe house in Yemen. Agents from eight CIA offices and six friendly foreign intelligence services are all asked to help track him, in the hopes he will lead them to bigger al-Qaeda figures. [Stern, 8/13/03] United Arab Emirates officials secretly make copies of his passport as he is passing through the Dubai airport on his way to Malaysia and immediately report this to the CIA. Therefore, by the time he reaches Malaysia, the CIA knows his full name, and the fact that he has a multiple entry visa to the US that is valid from April 1999 to April 2000. Even though the CIA now knows Almihdhar has a one-year visa to the US and presumably plans to travel there, they do not place him on a terror watch list, despite receiving guidelines the previous month on the importance of doing so. [Bamford, 2004, pp 224]
People and organizations involved: United Arab Emirates, al-Qaeda, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency
          

January 4-6, 2000: CIA Fails to Warn FBI About Terrorist's US Visa; Other CIA Agents Are Deliberately Misled About This

       The CIA has been tracking Khalid Almihdhar as he travels to Malaysia for the al-Qaeda summit that starts on January 5 (see January 5-8, 2000). The CIA has just received a photocopy of his passport that shows he has a valid visa to travel to the US (see January 2-5, 2000). But not only does the CIA fail to put his name on any terrorist watch list, they deliberately prevent the FBI from learning about this visa. On January 4, a CIA cable containing the photocopy is sent to CIA headquarters. An FBI agent assigned to the CIA's Bin Laden unit sees the cable and attempts to share the information about Almihdhar and his visa with colleagues at FBI headquarters. However, a CIA headquarters desk officer instructs him not to send a cable containing this information. Several hours later, this desk officer writes a cable that is distributed only within the CIA. It is sent the next day and claims that Almihdhar's visa documents were shared with the FBI (when she knows they were not). This officer will later admit she didn't personally share the information with the FBI either, and the 9/11 Commission will not be able to find anyone in the CIA who did share it with the FBI. [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/04, pp 502; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] In 2002, CIA Director George Tenet will allude to e-mails he claims prove the information is passed to the FBI around this time. However, the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry and 9/11 Commission fail to find any evidence of these e-mails. The FBI claims it never received any such e-mails. [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/04, pp 502; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; ABC News, 5/10/04] While the Malaysia meeting Almihdhar attends is still in progress, a CIA agent who had been assigned to the FBI's Strategic Information Operations Center to deal with problems “in communicating between the CIA and the FBI” briefs two FBI agents about Almihdhar's activities. This agent then sends an e-mail to another CIA agent describing “exactly” what he told the two FBI agents. One section reads, “This continues to be an [intelligence] operation. Thus far, a lot of suspicious activity has been observed but nothing that would indicate evidence of an impending attack or criminal enterprise. Told [the first FBI agent] that as soon as something concrete is developed leading us to the criminal arena or to known FBI cases, we will immediately bring FBI into the loop. Like [the first FBI agent] yesterday, [the second FBI agent] stated that this was a fine approach and thanked me for keeping him in the loop.” The two FBI agents are not told about Almihdhar's US visa. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] On January 5 and 6, FBI Director Louis Freeh and other top FBI officials are briefed about the ongoing Malaysia meeting as part of one of their regular daily updates. They are told the CIA is in the lead and that the CIA promises to let the FBI know if an FBI angle to the case develops. But they also are not told about Almihdhar's US visa. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] One FBI official familiar with the case will later complain, “[The CIA] purposely hid [Almihdhar] from the FBI, purposely refused to tell the bureau. ... The thing was, they didn't want John O'Neill and the FBI running over their case. And that's why September 11 happened. ... They have blood on their hands.” [Bamford, 2004, pp 224] Jack Cloonan, an FBI agent who has pursued al-Qaeda members, later says: “If that information [got] disseminated, would it have had an impact on the events of 9/11? I'm telling you that it would have.” [ABC News, 5/10/04]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Khalid Almihdhar, Louis J. Freeh, John O'Neill, Jack Cloonan
          

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

      
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

      
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

       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 8-15, 2000: CIA Fails to Apprehend Hijackers in Thailand

       Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar stay in Thailand. Khallad bin Attash, who flew there with them, is met in Bangkok by two al-Qaeda operatives who give him money. Some of this money is reportedly passed on to Alhazmi and Almihdhar for their upcoming work in the US. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] The CIA is trying to find Almihdhar, since they now know his full name and the fact that he has just come from an important al-Qaeda meeting (see January 5-8, 2000). For six weeks, they look for him in Thailand. However, the search is unsuccessful, because, as one official puts it, “when they arrived we were unable to mobilize what we needed to mobilize.” The CIA only alerts Thailand-based CIA officers to look for these men hours after they had already arrived and disappeared into the city. However, a few days later a CIA official notifies superiors that surveillance of the men is continuing, even though the men's location is Unknown. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] Nevertheless, in February, the CIA rejects a request from foreign authorities to give assistance. The CIA gives up the search in early March when an unnamed foreign government tells the CIA that Nawaf Alhazmi has already flown to the US. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash, Central Intelligence Agency, Khalid Almihdhar
          

January 15-Early February 2000: Suspected Advance Man Helps 9/11 Hijackers Settle in San Diego

       Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar arrive in Los Angeles and stay there for two weeks. Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent, arrives in Los Angeles and visits the Saudi Consulate there. According to Newsweek, “Law-enforcement officials believe al-Bayoumi may [have] a closed-door meeting with Fahad al Thumairy, a member of the consulate's Islamic and Culture Affairs Section.” [Newsweek, 7/28/03] (In March 2003, al Thumairy is stripped of his diplomatic visa and barred from entry to the US, reportedly because of suspected links to terrorism. [Washington Post, 11/23/03] ) Later that same day, al-Bayoumi goes to a restaurant and meets Alhazmi and Almihdhar. Al-Bayoumi later claims that this first contact with the hijackers is accidental. However, one FBI source later recalls that before he drives to Los Angeles that day he says he is going “to pick up visitors.” [Newsweek, 7/28/03; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Al-Bayoumi returns to San Diego after inviting the two hijackers to move there; Alhazmi and Almihdhar follow him there shortly thereafter. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The FBI's “best source” in San Diego says that al-Bayoumi “must be an intelligence officer for Saudi Arabia or another foreign power.” A former top FBI official working on the al-Bayoumi investigation claims: “We firmly believed that he had knowledge [of the 9/11 plot], and that his meeting with them that day was more than coincidence.” [Newsweek, 7/28/03] Al-Bayoumi helps Alhazmi and Almihdhar settle in the US. After meeting them in Los Angeles and after bringing them to San Diego, he finds them a place to live. Al-Bayoumi lives at the Villa Balboa apartments with a wife and children, and the two hijackers move into the Parkwood apartments directly across the street. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02; Sunday Mercury, 10/21/01] It appears the lease was actually signed by Alhazmi a few months earlier. Al-Bayoumi cosigns the lease and pays $1,500 cash for their first month's rent and security deposit. Some FBI officials claim the hijackers immediately pay him back, others claim they do not. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; Newsweek, 11/24/02] Within days of bringing them from Los Angeles, al-Bayoumi throws a welcoming party that introduces them to the local Muslim community. [Washington Post, 12/29/01] One associate later says an al-Bayoumi party “was a big deal ... it meant that everyone accepted them without question.” [San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/25/01] He also introduces hijacker Hani Hanjour to the community a short time later. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/14/02] He tasks an acquaintance, Modhar Abdallah, to serve as their translator and help them get driver's licenses, Social Security cards, information on flight schools, and more [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/8/02]
People and organizations involved: Modhar Abdallah, Omar al-Bayoumi, Fahad al Thumairy, William Safire, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

January 15, 2000: Hijackers Alhazmi and Almihdhar Travel to US Undetected

       A week after the meeting in Malaysia, hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar fly together from Bangkok, Thailand, to Los Angeles, California. [MSNBC, 12/11/01] Because the CIA has lost track of them in Thailand, no one in the US government realizes they are coming to the US. The CIA will learn this information in early March, but still will take no action. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Central Intelligence Agency
          

Early February-Summer 2000: Hijackers Alhazmi and Almihdhar Live Openly in San Diego

      
Nawaf Alhazmi in the 2000-2001 San Diego phone book.
Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar move to San Diego and live there openly. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Hijacker Hani Hanjour joins them as a roommate in February 2000 but apparently does not stay long. [San Diego Channel 10, 9/18/01; San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/21/01] The hijackers use their real names on their rental agreement [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] , driver's licenses, Social Security cards, credit cards [Newsweek, 6/2/02] , car purchase, and bank account. Alhazmi is even listed in the 2000-2001 San Diego phone book. [Newsweek, 6/2/02; South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01] Neighbors notice odd behavior: They have no furniture, they are constantly using cell phones on the balcony, constantly playing flight simulator games, keep to themselves, and strange cars and limousines pick them up for short rides in the middle of the night. [Washington Post, 9/30/01; Time, 9/24/01 (B); Time, 9/24/01]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Almihdhar, William Safire, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

February 2000-Early September 2001: San Diego Neighbors to Hijackers See Mysterious Late Night Visits and Car Rides

       While Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar live in the Parkwood Apartments in San Diego in early 2000 and then again before 9/11, neighbors note unexplained late night car rides and visits. Time reports that a neighbor, “Nancy Coker, 36, saw them getting into limos late at night, even though the car that neighbors said they drove was a gray Toyota Camry, early '90s vintage. ‘A week ago, I was coming home between 12 and 1 a.m. from a club. I saw a limo pick them up. It wasn't the first time. In this neighborhood you notice stuff like that. In the past couple of months, I have seen this happen at least two or three times.’ ” Note the comment, “a week ago,” which is further evidence the two are living in the Parkwood Apartments again just before 9/11 (see Early September 2001) [Time, 9/24/01 Sources: Nancy Coker] Keith Link, a neighbor with a view of one of the apartments, referring to one of these hijackers, says, “People later in the evening would come and pick him up in really fancy nice cars, brand-new Lincolns. Everybody is friendly in this whole complex, except for that guy. Nobody knew him, nobody spoke to him.” Another neighbor, Sharon Flower, says, “I would see this man being picked up or dropped off at all hours of the day or night.” [San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/15/01 Sources: Sharon Flower, Keith Link] A similar pattern is seen by neighbors when the hijackers live with FBI informant Abdussattar Shaikh in the neighborhood of Lemon Grove in late 2000. Neighbor Dave Eckler later explains, “There was always a series of cars driving up to the house late at night. Sometimes they were nice cars. Sometimes they had darkened windows. They'd stay about 10 minutes.” At the time, Eckler guesses they are selling fake IDs. [Time, 9/24/01 Sources: Dave Eckler] Neighbor Marna Adair says, “People come and go at all hours. We've always thought there was something strange going on there.” Her daughter Denise Adair adds, “We thought it was a little weird, but we never thought this [i.e., the 9/11 attacks].” [Associated Press, 9/16/01 (D) Sources: Marna Adair, Denise Adair] There has never been any media speculation as to the meaning of these late night rides and official 9/11 investigations have never mentioned the issue.
People and organizations involved: Abdussattar Shaikh, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

February 2000: CIA Obtains Videotape of Al-Qaeda Summit Malaysia, But Express Little Interest in It

       About a month after the Malaysia al-Qaeda summit attended by hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and others (see January 5-8, 2000), “The CIA obtain[s] a surveillance videotape” from Malaysian intelligence “that shows men arriving at the meeting, according to a US intelligence official. The tape, he said, has no sound and [isn't] viewed as very significant at the time.” [Los Angeles Times, 10/14/01] Contents of the tape, which might definitively prove who was at the meeting, have never been made public.
People and organizations involved: Central Intelligence Agency, Khalid Almihdhar, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

Spring-Summer 2000: NSA Intercepts Calls Made by Hijacker Almihdhar in US, Fails to Trace Location

       Hijacker Khalid Almihdhar, while living in San Diego, telephones an al-Qaeda safe house in Yemen owned by his father-in-law (note that the facility is not named, but references in the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report are consistent with other mentions of this safe house). This safe house has been closely monitored since 1998, as even bin Laden himself makes calls to it. The NSA intercepts these calls but doesn't realize the “Khalid” calling the safe house is calling from the US (This is only determined by an analysis of phone toll records obtained after 9/11.) The NSA had been aware of a “Khalid,” “Nawaf Alhazmi,” and his brother “Salem” having communications with this safe house in 1999. In summer 2000 there are additional communications to the safe house from “Khalid” and “Salem,” but again the NSA does not realize the meaning or importance of these calls. There may have been more communications—the section of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry dealing with these calls is heavily censored. Some, but not all, of the information about certain calls is passed on to the FBI and CIA. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Nawaf Alhazmi, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Salem Alhazmi, Osama bin Laden, Khalid Almihdhar, National Security Agency
          

Spring 2000: DIA Analyst Believes Malaysia Meeting Attendees Have Connection to Iranian Embassy

       Kie Fallis, a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) terrorism intelligence analyst, later claims that around this time he uncovers an intelligence report about the January 2000 al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia. Public details of his exact knowledge about this meeting have been scant, but it suggests at least some information on the meeting spreads beyond the CIA and FBI not long after the meeting takes place. But apparently, Fallis, who had been researching terror links between al-Qaeda and Iranian intelligence, learns that US intelligence discovered at the time that Malaysian security officials traced some attendees of the meeting to the Iranian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, where they spent the night. Fallis will use this lead along with other leads to suggest a terror warning in late September 2000 (see May 2000-Late September 2000) that he believes might have stopped the USS Cole attack in October 2000 (see October 12, 2000) . [Washington Times, 8/26/02]
People and organizations involved: Kie Fallis, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda
          

Spring 2000: Payments to Suspected Hijacker Associate Increase Significantly

       According to leaks from the still-classified part of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, monthly payments to Omar al-Bayoumi increase significantly at this time. Al-Bayoumi has been receiving a salary from the Saudi civil authority of about $500 a month. However, shortly after hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar move to San Diego, al-Bayoumi's salary increases to about $3,000 to $3,500 a month [New York Times, 7/29/03 (B)] It is not clear whether this pay spike is from his Dallah Avco job, or an additional payment by the Saudi government [New York Times, 7/29/03 (B); New York Times, 8/2/03] , but the pay spike appears to be a separate stream of money, because another report indicates his Dallah Avco job started with $3,000 a month payments and remained consistent. [Wall Street Journal, 8/11/03] It also fits in with his claims to acquaintances at the time that he is receiving a regular government scholarship. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Dallah Avco, Omar al-Bayoumi, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

March 5, 2000: CIA Learn Hijackers Have Entered US; FBI Not Informed

       Thailand tells the CIA that hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi had flown from the January meeting in Malaysia to Los Angeles. Thai intelligence actually knew this the same day they flew to the US, but they didn't share the information until the CIA finally asked them about it around this time. [New York Times, 10/17/02; 9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] According to a senior FBI official, the CIA also learns about hijacker Khalid Almihdhar: “In March 2000, the CIA received information concerning the entry of Almihdhar and Alhazmi into the United States.” [Michael Rolince Testimony, 9/20/02] The CIA disputes this, however. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] A cable is immediately sent to CIA Headquarters noting (at least) that Nawaf Alhazmi has traveled to Los Angeles. The cable is marked “Action Required: None, FYI [For Your Information].” CIA Director Tenet later claims, “Nobody read that cable in the March timeframe.” [New York Times, 10/17/02 Sources: George Tenet] Yet the day after the cable is received, “another overseas CIA station note[s], in a cable to the bin Laden unit at CIA headquarters, that it had ‘read with interest’ the March cable, ‘particularly the information that a member of this group traveled to the US...’ ” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] Yet again, CIA fails to put their names on a watch list, and again fails to alert the FBI so they can be tracked. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] Senior CIA counterterrorism official Cofer Black later says, “I think that month we watch listed about 150 people. [The watch listing] should have been done. It wasn't.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 Sources: Cofer Black]
People and organizations involved: Central Intelligence Agency, Khalid Almihdhar, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Malaysian Secret Service, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

April-May 2000: Alhazmi and Almihdhar Are ‘Dumb and Dumber’ as Pilot Students

       On April 10, 2000, Nawaf Alhazmi takes a one hour introductory lesson at the National Air College in San Diego. Eight days later, he receives a $5,000 wire transfer in from Ali Abdul Aziz Ali in the United Arab Emirates. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/26/02] In May, Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar arrive at Sorbi's Flying Club, a small school also in San Diego. They announce that they want to learn to fly Boeing airliners. [Washington Post, 9/30/01] They are there with someone named “Hani” —presumably hijacker Hani Hanjour—but only the two of them go up in an airplane. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01] Instructor Rick Garza says that the dream to fly big jets is the goal of practically every student who comes to the school, but he notices an unusual lack of any basic understanding of aircraft in these two. When he asks Almihdhar to draw the aircraft, Almihdhar draws the wings on backwards. Both speak English poorly, but Almihdhar in particular seems impossible to communicate with. Rather than following the instructions he was given, he would vaguely reply, “Very good. Very nice.” [Chicago Tribune, 9/30/01] The two offer extra money to Garza if he will teach them to fly multi-engine Boeing planes, but Garza declines. [Washington Post, 9/30/01] “I told them they had to learn a lot of other things first... It was like Dumb and Dumber. I mean, they were clueless. It was clear to me they weren't going to make it as pilots.” [Observer, 10/7/01 Sources: Rick Garza]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, William Safire, National Air College, Sorbi's Flying Club, Rick Garza, Khalid Almihdhar, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali
          

Summer-December 2000: FBI Asset Withholds Information About 9/11 Hijackers Living in His San Diego House

      
Abdussattar Shaikh's house in Lemon Grove, California.
Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar move to the house of Abdussattar Shaikh in San Diego. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/16/01] Shaikh, a local Muslim leader, is later revealed to be a “tested” undercover “asset” working with the local FBI. [Newsweek, 9/9/02] Shaikh inexplicably fails to tell his FBI handler important details about the hijackers and appears to be lying about many matters concerning them. In early media reports, the two are said to have moved in around September [San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/16/01; Wall Street Journal, 9/17/01; South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01] but the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry implies that Shaikh lied about this, and they moved in much earlier. Alhazmi stays until December; Almihdhar appears to be mostly out of the US after June. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Neighbors claim that Mohamed Atta is a frequent visitor, and Hani Hanjour visits as well. [Associated Press, 9/29/01; Chicago Tribune, 9/30/01; Las Vegas Review Journal, 10/26/01; San Diego Channel 10, 9/27/01; San Diego Channel 10, 10/11/01] However, Shaikh denies Atta's visits, the FBI never mentions them, and the media appears to have forgotten about them. [Associated Press, 9/29/01] Echoing reports from their first apartment, neighbors witness strange late night visits with Alhazmi and Almihdhar. [Associated Press, 9/16/01 (D)] For instance, one neighbor says, “There was always a series of cars driving up to the house late at night. Sometimes they were nice cars. Sometimes they had darkened windows. They'd stay about 10 minutes.” [Time, 9/24/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Federal Bureau of Investigation, William Safire, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Abdussattar Shaikh
          

Summer 2000: San Diego Hijackers Meet Atta and Al-Bayoumi

       Anonymous government sources later claim that Mohamed Atta visits fellow hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Omar al-Bayoumi. These same sources claim al-Bayoumi is identified after September 11 as an “advance man” for al-Qaeda. [Washington Times, 11/26/02] Other reports have suggested Atta visited Alhazmi and Almihdhar in San Diego, but the FBI has not confirmed this. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Omar al-Bayoumi, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Mohamed Atta
          

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
          

(Before September 2000-12 Months Later): Mohamed Atta Has Long Term Stay in Wayne, New Jersey; Other Hijackers Seen There

       In 2003, New Jersey state police officials say Mohamed Atta lived in the Wayne Inn, in Wayne, New Jersey, for an unspecified 12-month period prior to 9/11. He lives with one other hijacker who is presumably his usual partner Marwan Alshehhi (Alshehhi is seen eating in nearby restaurants with Atta). [Bergen Record, 6/20/03] In 2004, an unnamed whistleblower involved in the Able Danger program will claim that prior to 9/11, Able Danger discovered that Atta and Alshehhi were renting a room at the Wayne Inn, and occasionally meeting with Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar at the inn or near it (see (Before September 2000)). From March 2001 onwards, other hijackers, including Alhazmi and Almihdhar, live in Paterson, New Jersey, only one mile away from Wayne (see March 2001-September 1, 2001). Nawaf Alhazmi and Salem Alhazmi rent mailboxes in Wayne at some unknown point before 9/11. Nawaf Alhazmi and Hani Hanjour rent cars from a Wayne car dealership between June and August 2001. There is also evidence Nawaf Alhazmi and Marwan Alshehhi shop in Wayne. [CNN, 9/27/01] The 9/11 Commission does not mention any hijacker connection to Wayne. This long-term stay in Wayne is surprising because Atta and Alshehhi have generally been placed in Florida most of the time from July 2000 until shortly before 9/11. However, this discrepancy may be explained by one account which states Atta had “two places he lived and 10 safe houses” in the US (see Mid-September 2001).
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi
          

September 2000: Chart With Mohamed Atta's Photo Presented by Able Danger at SOCOM Headquarters; Meetings With FBI Cancelled

      
Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Lambert.
Members of a US Army intelligence unit tasked with assembling information about al-Qaeda have prepared a chart that includes the names and photographs of four future hijackers, who they have identified as members of an al-Qaeda cell based in Brooklyn, New York. The four hijackers in the cell are Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawaf Alhazmi. The members of the intelligence unit, called Able Danger, present their chart at the headquarters of the US military's Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa, Florida, with the recommendation that the FBI should be called in to take out the al-Qaeda cell. Lawyers working for SOCOM argue that anyone with a green card has to be granted the same legal protections as any US citizen, so the information about the al-Qaeda cell cannot be shared with the FBI. The legal team directs them to put yellow stickers over the photographs of Mohamed Atta and the other cell members, to symbolize that they are off limits. [Government Security News, 8/05; Norristown Times Herald, 6/19/05; Government Security News, 9/05; New York Times, 8/9/05; St Petersburg Times, 8/10/05; New York Times, 8/17/05] Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer later says that an unnamed two-star general above him is “very adamant” about not looking further at Atta. “I was directed several times [to ignore Atta], to the point where he had to remind me he was a general and I was not ... [and] I would essentially be fired.” [Fox News, 8/19/05] Military leaders at the meeting take the side of the lawyers and prohibit any sharing of information about the al-Qaeda cell. Shaffer believes that the decision to side with the lawyers is made by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Lambert (who had previously expressed distress when Able Danger data was destroyed without his prior notification (see May-June 2000)). He also believes that Gen. Peter Schoomaker, head of SOCOM, is not aware of the decision. [Government Security News, 9/05]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, Mohamed Atta, Geoffrey Lambert, Special Operations Command, Anthony Shaffer, Marwan Alshehhi, al-Qaeda, Khalid Almihdhar, Able Danger, Peter J. Schoomaker
          

Autumn 2000: FBI Informant Fails to Share Valuable Information on Hijackers

      
Abdussattar Shaikh.
While hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar live in the house of an FBI informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, the informant continues to have contact with his FBI handler. The handler, Steven Butler, later claims that during summer Shaikh mentions the names “Nawaf” and “Khalid” in passing and that they are renting rooms from him. [Newsweek, 9/9/02; Associated Press, 7/25/03 (B); 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] On one occasion, Shaikh tells Butler on the phone he cannot talk because Khalid is in the room. [Newsweek, 9/9/02] Shaikh tells Butler they are good, religious Muslims who are legally in the US to visit and attend school. Butler asks Shaikh for their last names, but Shaikh refuses to provide them. Butler is not told that they are pursuing flight training. Shaikh tells Butler that they are apolitical and have done nothing to arouse suspicion. However, according to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, he later admits that Alhazmi has “contacts with at least four individuals [he] knew were of interest to the FBI and about whom [he] had previously reported to the FBI.” Three of these four people are being actively investigated at the time the hijackers are there. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The report mentions Osama Mustafa as one, and Shaikh admits that suspected Saudi agent Omar al-Bayoumi was a friend. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; Los Angeles Times, 7/25/03] The FBI later concludes Shaikh is not involved in the 9/11 plot, but they have serious doubts about his credibility. After 9/11 he gives inaccurate information and has an “inconclusive” polygraph examination about his foreknowledge of the 9/11 attack. The FBI believes he has contact with hijacker Hani Hanjour, but he claims not to recognize him. There are other “significant inconsistencies” in Shaikh's statements about the hijackers, including when he first met them and later meetings with them. The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry later concludes that had the informant's contacts with the hijackers been capitalized upon, it “would have given the San Diego FBI field office perhaps the US intelligence community's best chance to unravel the September 11 plot.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The FBI later tries to prevent Butler and Shaikh from testifying before the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry in October 2002. Butler ends up testifying but Shaikh does not. [Washington Post, 10/11/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Osama ("Sam") Mustafa, Steven Butler, Omar al-Bayoumi, William Safire, Abdussattar Shaikh, Khalid Almihdhar, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

Autumn 2000: Hijackers Live and Work in San Diego; Connected with Other Potential Al-Qaeda Operatives

       Hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi works at a gas station while living in San Diego. This is the only apparent instance of any of the hijackers having a job while in the US. He and hijacker Khalid Almihdhar also frequently socialize at the gas station and Alhazmi works there on and off for about a month at some point after Almihdhar has gone overseas. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02; Washington Post, 12/29/01; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The station, Sam's Star Mart, is owned by Osama “Sam” Mustafa. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/25/03] Mustafa was first investigated by the FBI in 1991 after he tells a police officer that the US needs another Pan Am 103 attack and that he could be the one to carry out the attack. He also says all Americans should be killed because of the 1991 Iraq War. In 1994, he was investigated for being a member of the Palestinian organizations PFLP and PLO and for threatening to kill an Israeli intelligence officer living in San Diego. The investigation was closed, but reopened again in 1997 when he was tied to a possible plot in North Carolina. Apparently, it is closed again before 9/11. He also associates with Osama Basnan and others who have contacts with the hijackers. Witnesses later claim he cheers when first told of the 9/11 attacks. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The gas station is managed by Ed Salamah. [Washington Post, 12/29/01; San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/25/03] In January 2000, the brother of a known al-Qaeda operative is under surveillance and is seen chatting with Salamah. The Los Angeles FBI office is investigating this operative, and it calls Salamah about it. Salamah refuses to come to Los Angeles for an interview, and refuses to give his home address to be interviewed there. Faced with a reluctant witness, the FBI drops the matter. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; Newsweek, 7/28/03] The hijackers are living with an FBI informant who is aware of their contact with at least Mustafa, and that informant has given reports about Mustafa to the FBI in the past. However, the informant fails to tell the FBI about their contacts with him. The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry strongly implies that Salamah and Mustafa assisted the hijackers with the 9/11 plot, but the FBI appears uninterested in them and maintains that the hijackers received no assistance from anyone. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Osama ("Sam") Mustafa, Khalid Almihdhar, Osama Basnan, Ed Salamah, Nawaf Alhazmi, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

October 14-November, 2000: Investigation Into USS Cole Bombing Is Thwarted

      
Barbara Bodine at a press conference days after the bombing of the USS Cole.
FBI agent John O'Neill and his team of 200 FBI investigators enter Yemen two days after the bombing of the USS Cole in an attempt to discover who was responsible. However, they are unable to accomplish much due to restrictions placed on them and due to tensions between O'Neill and US Ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine. All but about 50 investigators are forced to leave by the end of October. Even though O'Neill's boss visits and finds that Bodine is O'Neill's “only detractor,” O'Neill and much of his team are forced to leave in November, and the investigation stalls without his personal relationships to top Yemeni officials. [New Yorker, 1/14/02; Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp 237; Sunday Times, 2/3/02] Increased security threats force the reduced FBI team still in Yemen to withdraw altogether in June 2001. [PBS Frontline, 10/3/02 (B)] The Prime Minister of Yemen at the time later claims that hijacker “Khalid Almihdhar was one of the Cole perpetrators, involved in preparations. He was in Yemen at the time and stayed after the Cole bombing for a while, then he left.” [Guardian, 10/15/01] The Sunday Times later notes, “The failure in Yemen may have blocked off lines of investigation that could have led directly to the terrorists preparing for September 11.” [Sunday Times, 2/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Almihdhar, John O'Neill, USS Cole, Barbara Bodine, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

Early December 2000: USS Cole Plotter al-Quso Linked to Hijackers by CIA; Information Withheld from FBI

      
Fahad al-Quso.
Fahad al-Quso is arrested by the government of Yemen. [PBS Frontline, 10/3/02; PBS Frontline, 10/3/02] In addition to being involved in the USS Cole bombing (see October 12, 2000), al-Quso was at the January 2000 Malaysian meeting (see January 5-8, 2000) with al-Qaeda agents Khallad bin Attash and hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. Al-Quso tells Yemeni investigators that he flew from Yemen to Bangkok in January 2000 for a secret meeting where he turned over $36,000 in cash to bin Attash. The FBI asks the CIA for more information about bin Attash and the Malaysian meeting, but later the FBI claims that the CIA does not provide the requested information that could have led them to Alhazmi and Almihdhar as well. [New York Times, 4/11/04 (B)] For instance, there are pictures from the Malaysian meeting of al-Quso next to hijacker Khalid Almihdhar, but the CIA does not share the pictures with the FBI before 9/11. [Newsweek, 9/20/01] Meanwhile, FBI head investigator John O'Neill believes that al-Quso is holding back important information from his Yemeni captors and wants him interrogated by the FBI. However, O'Neill had been kicked out of Yemen by his superiors a week or two before, and without his influential presence, the Yemeni government will not allow an interrogation. Al-Quso is finally interrogated days after 9/11, and he admits to meeting with Alhazmi and Almihdhar in January 2000. One investigator calls the missed opportunity of exposing the 9/11 plot through al-Quso's connections “mind-boggling.” [PBS Frontline, 10/3/02] In April 2003, al-Quso will escape from a Yemeni prison and apparently remains free. [Associated Press 4/11/03]
People and organizations involved: John O'Neill, Fahad al-Quso, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Central Intelligence Agency
          

December 30, 2000: Evidence Almihdhar in New Jersey Area Despite Immigration Records

       According to US immigration records, the FBI, and the 9/11 Commission, hijacker Khalid Almihdhar left the US in June 2000 (see June 10, 2000) and didn't return until July 2001 (see July 4, 2001). However, USAID, a Florida ID firm, confirms in 2005 that Almihdhar was issued a card in New York or New Jersey on this date. Time magazine calls this, “another possible gap in the 9/11 report.” [Time, 8/21/05]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Almihdhar
          

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

      
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
          

March 2001: Hijackers Continue to Associate with Suspicious Imam

      
Dar al Hijrah mosque.
After living together in Phoenix since December 2000, hijackers Hani Hanjour and Nawaf Alhazmi move to Falls Church, Virginia. [Washington Post, 9/10/02 (B); 9/11 Commission Report, 1/26/04] They live only a few blocks from where two nephews of bin Laden with ties to terrorism go to work. They continue to live there off and on until around August. They begin attending the Dar al Hijrah mosque. [Washington Post, 9/10/02 (B)] When they and Khalid Almihdhar lived in San Diego in early 2000, they attended a mosque there led by the imam Anwar Al Aulaqi. This imam moved to Falls Church in January 2001, and now the hijackers attend his sermons at the Dar al Hijrah mosque. Some later suspect that Aulaqi is part of the 9/11 plot because of their similar moves, and other reasons:
The FBI says Aulaqi had closed door meetings with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar in 2000 while all three of them were living in San Diego. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

Police later find the phone number of Aulaqi's mosque when they search “would-be twentieth hijacker” Ramzi Bin al-Shibh's apartment in Germany. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

The FBI was investigating Aulaqi for ties to Islamic militant groups in early 2000.

A neighbor of Aulaqi later claims that, in the first week of August 2001, Aulaqi knocks on his door and tells him he is leaving for Kuwait: “He came over before he left and told me that something very big was going to happen, and that he had to be out of the country when it happened.” [Newsweek, 7/28/03]

Aulaqi is apparently in the country in late September 2001, and claims not to recognize any of the hijackers. [Copley News, 10/1/01]

A week after 9/11, Aulaqi says the hijackers were framed, and suggests Israel was behind 9/11. [Washington Post, 7/23/03]

Aulaqi leaves the US in early 2002. [Time, 8/11/03]

In December 2002, Aulaqi briefly returns and is temporarily detained as part of the Green Quest money laundering investigation. However, he is let go. [World Net Daily, 8/16/03]
By late 2003, the US is looking for him in Yemen. [New Republic, 8/21/03] The FBI appears to be divided about him, with some thinking he is part of the 9/11 plot and some disagreeing [Time, 8/11/03; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The 9/11 Commission later reports that Aulaqi gave substantial help to the two hijackers, that his relationship with them is “suspicious,” and it cannot be discounted that he knew of the plot in advance. [Associated Press, 6/27/04]
People and organizations involved: Central Intelligence Agency, Germany, William Safire, 9/11 Commission, Anwar Al Aulaqi, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Osama bin Laden, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

March 2001-September 1, 2001: Hani Hanjour and Other Hijackers Live in Paterson, New Jersey

      
The apartment building in Paterson, New Jersey, where some of the hijackers lived.
Hani Hanjour and Salem Alhazmi rent a one-room apartment in Paterson, New Jersey. Hanjour signs the lease. Nawaf Alhazmi, Saeed Alghamdi, and Mohamed Atta are also seen coming and going by neighbors. One unnamed hijacker has to be told by a neighbor how to screw in a light bulb. [Associated Press, 10/7/01 (B); Washington Post, 9/30/01] The 9/11 Commission's account of this differs from previous press accounts, and has Hanjour and Nawaf Alhazmi (instead of his brother Salem) first moving to Paterson in mid-May. Salem Alhazmi, Majed Moqed, Abdulaziz Alomari, Khalid Almihdhar, and probably Ahmed Alghamdi are all seen living there as well during the summer. [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/24/04, p. 230] Other reports have Hani Hanjour and Nawaf Alhazmi living periodically in Falls Church, Virginia, over nearly the exact same time period, from March through August 2001 (see March 2001). During this time, Mohamed Atta and other hijackers live in Wayne, New Jersey, a town only one mile from Paterson (see (Before September 2000-12 Months Later)).
People and organizations involved: William Safire, Salem Alhazmi, Majed Moqed, Mohamed Atta, Nawaf Alhazmi, Saeed Alghamdi, Ahmed Alghamdi, Abdulaziz Alomari, Khalid Almihdhar
          

April 1, 2001: Hijacker Gets Speeding Ticket, but His Illegal Status Is Not Noticed

       Hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi is stopped by an Oklahoma police officer for speeding. His license information is run through a computer to determine whether there are any warrants for his arrest. There are none, so he is issued a ticket and sent on his way. The CIA has known that Alhazmi is an al-Qaeda operative possibly living in the US since March 2000, but has failed to share this knowledge with other agencies. [Newsweek, 6/2/02; Daily Oklahoman, 1/20/02] He also has been in the country illegally since January 2001, but this also does not raise any flags. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, Central Intelligence Agency
          

May 2001: Hijackers Take Advantage of New, Anonymous Visa Express Procedure

      
A portion of Salem Alhazmi's New Jersey identification card.
The US introduces the “Visa Express” program in Saudi Arabia, which allows any Saudi Arabian to obtain a visa through his or her travel agent instead of appearing at a consulate in person. An official later states, “The issuing officer has no idea whether the person applying for the visa is actually the person in the documents and application.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02; US News and World Report, 12/12/01] At the time, warnings of an attack against the US led by the Saudi Osama bin Laden are higher than they had ever been before— “off the charts” as one senator later puts it. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02; Los Angeles Times, 5/18/02] A terrorism conference had recently concluded that Saudi Arabia was one of four top nationalities in al-Qaeda. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 5/19/02] Five hijackers—Khalid Almihdhar, Abdulaziz Alomari, Salem Alhazmi, Saeed Alghamdi, and Fayez Ahmed Banihammad—use Visa Express over the next month to enter the US. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] Even 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed will successfully get a US Visa through this program in July (using a false name but real photograph), despite a posted $2 million reward for his capture. [Los Angeles Times, 1/27/04] Only three percent of Saudi visa applicants are turned down by US consular officers in fiscal 2000 and 2001. In contrast, about 25 percent of US visa seekers worldwide are rejected. Acceptance is even more difficult for applicants from countries alleged to have ties to terrorism such as Iraq or Iran. [Washington Post, 10/31/01] The widely criticized program is finally canceled in July 2002.
People and organizations involved: Saudi Arabia, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, Abdulaziz Alomari, Salem Alhazmi, Saeed Alghamdi, Osama bin Laden, Khalid Almihdhar, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

May 15, 2001: CIA Hides al-Qaeda Meeting Information from FBI

       A supervisor at the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center sends a request to CIA headquarters for the surveillance photos of the January 2000 al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000). Three days later, the supervisor explains the reason for his interest in an e-mail to a CIA analyst: “I'm interested because Khalid Almihdhar's two companions also were couriers of a sort, who traveled between [the Far East] and Los Angeles at the same time ([H]azmi and [S]alah).” Hazmi refers to hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi, and Salah Said is the alias al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash traveled under during the meeting. Apparently, the supervisor receives the photos. Toward the end of May, a CIA analyst contacts a specialist working at FBI headquarters about the photographs. The CIA wants the FBI analyst to review the photographs and determine if a person who had carried money to Southeast Asia for bin Attash in January 2000 could be identified. The CIA fails to tell the FBI analyst anything about Almihdhar or Alhazmi. Around the same time, the CIA analyst receives an e-mail mentioning Alhazmi's travel to the US. These two analysts travel to New York the next month and again the CIA analyst fails to divulge what he knows. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nawaf Alhazmi, Central Intelligence Agency, Khalid Almihdhar
          

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

       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
          

July 4, 2001: Hijacker Who Should Have Been on Watch List Re-enters US Without Difficulty

       Hijacker Khalid Almihdhar reenters the US. The CIA and FBI have recently been showing interest in him, but have still failed to place him on a watch list of US-designated terrorists. Had he been placed on a watch list by this date, he would have been stopped and possibly detained as he tried to enter the US. He enters on a new US visa obtained in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on June 13, 2001. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The FBI notes that he returns just days after the last of the hijacker “muscle” has entered the US, and speculates that he returns because his job in bringing them over is finished. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: US Consulate, Jedda, Saudi Arabia Office, Central Intelligence Agency, Khalid Almihdhar, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

July 7, 2001: Random Police Check Almost Uncovers Hijacker Meeting Near New York City

       Police officer Dave Agar in South Hackensack, New Jersey, is searching the parking lots of cheap motels, looking for suspicious cars. He submits the license plate number of a 1988 Toyota parked outside the Jade East motel to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), a computer database frequently used by every level of law enforcement. He discovers that Nawaf Alhazmi owns the car. The computer record shows no outstanding warrants for Alhazmi (though it does give other information, including his address in San Diego). Agar makes a record of his search and continues his patrol. It is later discovered that Abdulaziz Alomari registered a room in the Jade East motel from July 6-13, and Khalid Almihdhar stayed most of that week with Alhazmi at the nearby Congress Inn. It is also discovered that Almihdhar, Alhazmi, and two or three other men had dinner together at a local diner. Police speculate the hijackers were holding a meeting to discuss their plot. One officer later says, “You wonder what would have happened if the check had turned up something on Alhazmi. We certainly would have brought him in for questioning.” [Bergen Record, 5/18/04] In late August, an FBI agent will look for Alhazmi and Almihdhar in the New York City area, but he will fail to check NCIC or car registration records that would have revealed the record of Agar's search mentioning Alhazmi's name (see August 29, 2001).
People and organizations involved: Dave Agar, Abdulaziz Alomari, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, National Crime Information Center
          

July 13, 2001: CIA Reexamines Malaysia Meeting but Major League Killer Is Not Put on Watch List

       The same supervisor of the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center (CTC) who expressed interest two months earlier in surveillance photos from the al-Qaeda Malaysia meeting (see January 5-8, 2000) now finds a cable he had been looking for regarding that same meeting. The cable, from January 2001, discusses al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash's presence at the meeting. The supervisor explains later that bin Attash's presence at the meeting had been troubling him. He writes an e-mail to the CTC, stating, “[Bin Attash] is a major league killer, who orchestrated the Cole attack (see October 12, 2000) and possibly the Africa bombings (see August 7, 1998).” Yet bin Attash is still not put on a terrorist watch list. An FBI analyst assigned to the CTC is given the task of reviewing all other CIA cables about the Malaysian meeting. It takes this analyst until August 21—over five weeks later—to put together that Khalid Almihdhar had a US visa and that Nawaf Alhazmi had traveled to the US. Yet other CIA agents are already very aware of these facts but are not sharing the information. Working with immigration officials, this analyst then learns that Almihdhar entered and left the US in 2000, and entered again on July 4, 2001, and that Alhazmi appears to still be in the US. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Tawifiq ("Khallad") bin Attash, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

August 2001: Six Hijackers Live Near Entrance to NSA

       At least six 9/11 hijackers, including all of those who boarded Flight 77, live in Laurel, Maryland, from about this time. They reportedly include Hani Hanjour, Majed Moqed, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, and Salem Alhazmi. Laurel, Maryland, is home to a Muslim cleric named Moataz Al-Hallak who teaches at a local Islamic school and has been linked to bin Laden. He has testified three times before a grand jury investigating bin Laden. NSA expert James Bamford later states, “The terrorist cell that eventually took over the airliner that crashed into the Pentagon ended up living, working, planning and developing all their activities in Laurel, Maryland, which happens to be the home of the NSA. So they were actually living alongside NSA employees as they were plotting all these things.” [BBC, 6/21/02; Washington Post, 9/19/01]
People and organizations involved: Moataz Al-Hallak, Osama bin Laden, Pentagon, National Security Agency, James Bamford, Khalid Almihdhar, Majed Moqed, Nawaf Alhazmi, Salem Alhazmi, William Safire
          

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

       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
          

August 24-25, 2001: Alhazmi and Almihdhar Buy 9/11 Plane Tickets

       Hijacker Khalid Almihdhar buys his 9/11 plane ticket on-line using a credit card; Nawaf Alhazmi does the same the next day. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/26/02] Both men are put on a terrorist watch list this same day, but the watch list only means they will be stopped if trying to enter or leave the US. Procedures are in place for law enforcement agencies to share watch list information with airlines and airports and such sharing is common, but the FAA and the airlines are not notified about this case, so the purchases raise no red flags. [Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01 (C)] An official later states that had the FAA been properly warned, “they should have been picked up in the reservation process.” [Washington Post, 10/2/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

August 27, 2001: INS Given Non-Urgent Request to Determine Visa Status of Alhazmi and Almihdhar

       The FBI contacts the State Department and the INS to determine the visa status of recently watch listed hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. Almihdhar's visa obtained in June is revoked the same day; Alhazmi's visa has already expired and he is in the country illegally. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] However neither agency is asked “to assist in locating the individuals, nor was any other information provided [that] would have indicated either a high priority or imminent danger.” An INS official later states, “if [the INS] had been asked to locate the two suspected terrorists... in late August on an urgent, emergency basis, it would have been able to run those names through its extensive database system and might have been able to locate them.” The State Department says that “it might have been able to locate the two suspected terrorists if it had been asked to do so.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Almihdhar, US Department of State, Nawaf Alhazmi, Immigration and Naturalization Service
          

August 28, 2001: FBI's New York Office Request to Open Criminal Investigation on Hijacker Rejected by FBI Headquarters

       A report is sent by the FBI's New York office recommending that an investigation be launched “to determine if [Khalid] Almihdhar is still in the United States.” The New York office tries to convince FBI headquarters to open a criminal investigation, but it is immediately turned down. The reason given is a “wall” between criminal and intelligence work—Almihdhar could not be tied to the USS Cole investigation without the inclusion of sensitive intelligence information [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] So instead of a criminal case, the New York office opens an “intelligence case,” excluding all the “criminal case” investigators from the search. [FBI Agent Testimony, 9/20/02] One FBI agent expresses his frustration in an e-mail the next day, saying, “Whatever has happened to this—someday someone will die—and wall or not—the public will not understand why we were not more effective and throwing every resource we had at certain ‘problems.’ Let's hope the [FBI's] National Security Law Unit will stand behind their decisions then, especially since the biggest threat to us now, UBL [bin Laden], is getting the most ‘protection.’ ” [New York Times, 9/21/02; FBI Agent Testimony, 9/20/02] This same agent will be able to quickly find Almihdhar's address using an Internet search, once he is given permission to do so, hours after the 9/11 attack is over.(see September 11, 2001). The 9/11 Commission will later comment, “It is now clear that everyone involved was confused about the rules governing the sharing and use of information gathered in intelligence channels. Because Almihdhar was being sought for his possible connection to or knowledge of the Cole bombing, he could be investigated or tracked under the existing Cole criminal case. No new criminal case was needed for the criminal agent to begin searching for [him]. And as the NSA had approved the passage of its information to the criminal agent, he could have conducted a search using all available information. As a result of this confusion, the criminal agents who were knowledgeable about al-Qaeda and experienced with criminal investigative techniques, including finding suspects and possible criminal charges, were thus excluded from the search.” [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/2004, p. 271]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Khalid Almihdhar, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

August 29, 2001: Inexperienced FBI Agent Is Assigned to Search for Almihdhar

       The FBI's New York office opens a full field intelligence investigation to locate Khalid Almihdhar. New York FBI agent Robert Fuller, new to the International Terrorism Squad, is the only one assigned to the task. The New York office had been given a “heads up alert” about Almihdhar on August 23, but the search only begins after the FBI decides on August 28 to conduct an intelligence investigation instead of a criminal investigation (see August 28, 2001). Another agent had labeled the search request “routine”, meaning that Fuller has 30 days to find his target. However, Fuller will be busy with another matter and won't begin work on finding Almihdhar until September 4 (see September 4, 2001). [Office of the Inspector General, 11/04]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Almihdhar
          

Early September 2001: Accounts Place Three Hijackers on East and West Coasts at the Same Time

       The standard accounts place hijackers Hani Hanjour, Nawaf Alhazmi, and Khalid Almihdhar on the East Coast for the entire time in the weeks before the attacks [Newsday, 9/23/01 (B); Associated Press, 9/21/01; St. Petersburg Times, 9/27/01; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/26/02; South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01; New York Times, 9/21/01; New York Times, 11/6/01; CNN, 9/26/01] However, neighbors at the San Diego apartment complex where the three lived are clear in their assertions that all three were there until days before 9/11. For instance, one article states, “Authorities believe Almihdhar, Hanjour and Alhazmi ... moved out a couple of days before the East Coast attacks.” [San Diego Channel 10, 11/1/01] Ed Murray, a resident at the complex, said that all three “started moving out Saturday night-and Sunday [September 9] they were gone.” [San Diego Channel 10, 9/14/01; San Diego Channel 10, 9/20/01] This is the same day that Alhazmi is reportedly seen in an East Coast shopping mall. [CNN, 9/26/01] As with previous reports, neighbors also see them getting into strange cars late at night. A neighbor interviewed shortly after 9/11 said, “A week ago, I was coming home between 12:00 and 1:00 A.M. from a club. I saw a limo pick them up. It was not the first time. In this neighborhood you notice stuff like that. In the past couple of months, I have seen this happen at least two or three times.” [Time, 9/24/01] To add to the confusion, there have been reports that investigators think Almihdhar is still alive and the Chicago Tribune says of Alhazmi, Almihdhar, and Hanjour: “The most basic of facts—the very names of the men—are uncertain. The FBI has said each used at least three aliases. ‘It's not going to be a terrible surprise down the line if these are not their true names,’ said Jeff Thurman, an FBI spokesman in San Diego.” [Chicago Tribune, 9/30/01]
People and organizations involved: William Safire, Nawaf Alhazmi, Jeff Thurman, Khalid Almihdhar
          

September 4, 2001: FBI Search for Almihdhar and Alhazmi Finally Begins, But the Search Is Incomplete or Faulty

      
A portion of Khalid Almihdhar's New York identification card. The address is a Ramada Inn hotel, which was owned by Marriott at the time.
The FBI's New York office techically began an investigation to locate Khalid Almihdhar on August 29, but in fact the one inexperienced agent assigned to the search, Robert Fuller, is busy for several days and only begins the search at this time (see August 29, 2001). Within a day, Fuller identifies connections between Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi and widens the search to look for both of them. [New York Observer, 11/28/04; Office of the Inspector General, 11/04] The FBI will later claim that they search aggressively. An internal review shortly after 9/11 will find that “everything was done that could have been done” to find them. [Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01] However, FBI agents familiar with the search will later describe it as unhurried and routine. A report by the Office of the Inspector General completed in late 2004 will conclude, “[T]he FBI assigned few resources to the investigation and little urgency was given to the investigation.” [Office of the Inspector General, 11/04] In conducting his search, Fuller takes the following steps on September 4-5:
1 - He requests that Almihdhar's name bed added to the INS watch list, called LOOKOUT. He describes Almihdhar as a potential witness in a terrorist investigation. He later claims that he identifies him only as a witness, not a potential terrorist, to prevent overzealous immigation officials from overreacting. [Office of the Inspector General, 11/04]

2 - He contacts the Customs Service and verifies that Almihdhar has been placed on their watch list. [Office of the Inspector General, 11/04]

3 - He requests a local criminal history check on Almihdhar and Alhazmi through the New York City Police Department. The request turns up nothing. [Office of the Inspector General, 11/04]

4 - He claims that he requests a crirninal history check in the NCIC, which is a computer database frequently used by every level of law enforcement. However, the Bergen Record reports that he “never performed one of the most basic tasks of a police manhunt. He never ran Almihdhar or Alhazmi through the NCIC computer. That simple act would have alerted local cops to look for the suspected terrorists. It also would have told the agent a local cop ... had already spotted Alhazmi in [the New Jersey town of] South Hackensack.” [Office of the Inspector General, 11/04]

5 - He requests a credit check. [Office of the Inspector General, 11/04]

6 - He requests that a national motor vehicle index be searched. However, for some reason, a speeding ticket issued to Alhazmi in April 2001 that should have been in that index is not detected (see April 1, 2001). Nor is a recorded interaction between Alhazmi and local police in Fairfax, Virginia, in May, which could have led investigators to Alhazmi's East Coast apartment. [Office of the Inspector General, 11/04; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/27/02; Daily Oklahoman, 1/20/02]

7 - On September 5, Fuller and another agent contact the Marriott hotels in New York City, since Almihdhar had indicated when he entered the US in July 2001 that his destination was a Marriott hotel in New York. Later that same day he is told Almihdhar had never registered as a guest at any of the six Marriott hotels there. [Office of the Inspector General, 11/04]

8 - He claims that he conducts a search in the ChoicePoint database. ChoicePoint is one of several companies maintaining commerical databases on personal information about US citizens. The FBI has a contract to access the ChoicePoint database, but none of the others. Fuller doesn't find any record on either Alhazmi or Almihdhar. He suggests this is because of variations in the spelling of names. However, the chairman of ChoicePoint will later confirm that although the database did have information on the hijackers before 9/11, the FBI did not ask to search the database until shortly after 9/11. The 9/11 Commission will conclude the database was not searched, and notes, “Searches of readily available databases could have unearthed” their California drivers´┐Ż licenses, car registrations and telephone listings. Thomas Pickard, acting FBI Director at the time this search is made, will later falsely claim in public testimony before the 9/11 Commission that the FBI was not allowed to search the ChoicePoint database before 9/11. [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/2004, p. 539; Office of the Inspector General, 11/04; New York Observer, 11/28/04]
There are additional searches he could have made that he apparently fails to do. For instance, he apparently fails to check car registration databases. Alhazmi did own a car, and the 9/11 Commission notes, “A search on [his] car registration would have unearthed a license check by the South Hackensack Police Department that would have led to information placing Alhazmi in the [greater New York City] area and placing Almihdhar at a local hotel for a week in early July 2001. The hijackers actively used the New Jersey bank accounts, through ATM, debit card, and cash transactions, until September 10.” [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/2004, p. 539] Additionally, even though the two were known to have previously entered the US through Los Angeles, drivers' license records in California are not checked. He also fails to check national credit card or bank account databases. All of these would have had positive results. Alhazmi's name was even in the 2000-2001 San Diego phone book, listing the address where he and Almihdhar may have been living up to as late as September 9, 2001 (see Early September 2001). [Newsweek, 6/2/02; South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01; Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01] There appears to be no further mention of any further work on this search after September 5, except for one request to the Los Angeles FBI office made on September 10 (see September 10, 2001). The 9/11 Commission will later note, “We believe that if more resources had been applied and a significantly different approach taken, Alhazmi and Almihdhar might have been found. They had used their true names in the United States. Still, the investigators would have needed luck as well as skill to find them prior to September 11... Many FBI witnesses have suggested that even if [they] had been found, there was nothing the agents could have done except follow [them] onto the planes. We believe this is incorrect. Both Alhazmi and Almihdhar could have been held for immigration violations or as material witnesses in the Cole bombing case. Investigation or interrogation of them, and investigation of their travel and financial activities, could have yielded evidence of connections to other participants in the 9/11 plot. The simple fact of their detention could have derailed the plan. In any case, the opportunity did not arise.” [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/2004, p. 272]
          

September 10, 2001: Los Angeles FBI Office Search Assistance Comes Too Late, San Diego FBI Office Not Contacted at All

       FBI agent Robert Fuller began looking for Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar on September 4, 2001 (see September 4, 2001) . Within one day, he found that Almihdhar had not stayed at the New York City hotel he listed as a destination when he arrived in the US in July 2001. Alhazmi and Almihdhar had traveled to Los Angeles on January 15, 2000. Immigation records indicated that they claimed to be destined for a Sheraton hotel in Los Angeles. On this day, Fuller drafts an investigative lead for the Los Angeles FBI office, asking that office to search Sheraton hotel records concerning any stays by Almihdhar and Alhazmi in early 2000. However, the lead is not transmitted to Los Angeles until the next day, after the 9/11 attacks have begun. The search will also turn up nothing, since neither of them stayed at a Sheraton hotel. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02; New York Observer, 11/28/04; Office of the Inspector General, 11/04] Both men had been living in nearby San Diego for much of the previous two years. The San Diego FBI office is not notified about the need for a search until September 12, and even then, they are only provided with “sketchy” information. [Los Angeles Times, 9/16/01] The FBI handling agent in San Diego is certain they could have been located quickly had they known where to look. The FBI agent running the San Diego office will claim they could have easily found the two hijackers by looking their names up in the phone book (see September 11, 2001). [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] There is some evidence from eyewitnesses that a few days before 9/11, Almihdhar and two other hijackers are living in the same San Diego apartment that they had been living in off and on for the past two years, the address that was listed for them in the public phone book (see Early September 2001).
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Almihdhar
          

September 10, 2001: Three Hijackers at Same Hotel with Senior Saudi Official

      
Sami Omar Hussayen, nephew of Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen.
Three hijackers, Hani Hanjour, Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawaf Alhazmi, check into the same hotel as a prominent Saudi government official. [Washington Post, 10/2/03] Investigators have not found any evidence that the hijackers met with the official, and stress it could be a coincidence. [Daily Telegraph, 3/10/03] However, one prosecutor working on a related case asserts, “I continue to believe it can't be a coincidence.” [Wall Street Journal, 10/2/03] The official, Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, is interviewed by the FBI shortly after 9/11, but according to testimony from an FBI agent, the interview is cut short when Hussayen “feign[s] a seizure, prompting the agents to take him to a hospital, where the attending physicians [find] nothing wrong with him.” The agent recommends that Hussayen “should not be allowed to leave until a follow-up interview could occur.” However, that “recommendation, for whatever reason, [is] not complied with.” Hussayen returns to Saudi Arabia a few days later, as soon as the US ban on international flights has ended. [Washington Post, 10/2/03] For most of the 1990s, Hussayen was director of the SAAR Foundation, a Saudi charity that is being investigated for terrorism ties. A few months after 9/11 he is named a minister of the Saudi government and put in charge of its two holy mosques. Hussayen had arrived in the US in late August 2001 planning to visit some Saudi-sponsored charities. Many of the charities on his itinerary, including the Global Relief Foundation, World Muslim League, IIRO (International Islamic Relief Organization), IANA (Islamic Assembly of North America), and World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), have since been shut down or investigated for alleged ties to Islamic militant groups. [Washington Post, 10/2/03] His nephew, Sami Omar Hussayen, is indicted in early 2004 for using his computer expertise to assist militant groups, and is charged with administering a website associated with IANA, which expressly advocated suicide attacks and using airliners as weapons in the months before 9/11. Investigators also claim the nephew was in contact with important al-Qaeda figures. [Washington Post, 10/2/03; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/10/04] IANA is under investigation, as well as the flow of money from the uncle to nephew. [Daily Telegraph, 3/10/03] The uncle has not been charged with any crime. [Wall Street Journal, 10/2/03]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, SAAR Foundation, Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, Global Relief Foundation, World Muslim League, International Islamic Relief Organization, Islamic Assembly of North America, World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Sami Omar Hussayen, Khalid Almihdhar, William Safire, Nawaf Alhazmi
          

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 11, 2001: FBI Agents Able to Quickly Find Alhazmi and Almihdhar Once 9/11 Attacks Are Over

       On September 11—after the 9/11 attacks are over—the New York FBI office learns that one of the hijackers was Khalid Almihdhar. One of these FBI agents had attempted to get permission to search for Almihdhar in late August, but was not allowed to do so. He wrote an e-mail on August 28 predicting that “someday someone will die ... the public will not understand why we were not more effective and throwing every resource we had at certain ‘problems.’”(see August 28, 2001). He later testifies that upon seeing Almihdhar's name on one of the passenger flight manifests, he angrily yells “This is the same Almihdhar we've been talking about for three months!” In an attempt to console him, his boss replies, “We did everything by the book.” Now that this upset agent is allowed to conduct a basic Internet search for Almihdhar that he had been denied permission to conduct before 9/11, he finds the hijacker's address “within hours.” [Washington Post, 9/21/02; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 12/10/02 (C)] The FBI field office in San Diego also had not been notified before 9/11 that Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi had been put on a no-fly watch list on August 24, 2001 (see September 4, 2001). Bill Gore, the FBI agent running the San Diego office on this day, later makes reference to that fact that Alhazmi's correct phone number and address was listed in the San Diego phone book and says,“How [we] could have found these people when we didn't know we were looking for them? The first place we would have looked is the phone book .... I submit to you we would have found them.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 12/10/02 (C)]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bill Gore
          

September 17, 2001: Attendee of 2000 Malaysia Summit Is Arrested, but ‘Inexplicably Released’

       Police in Qatar arrest Ahmad Hikmat Shakir. US intelligence is very interested in Shakir, partly because he comes from Iraq and thus might be connected to the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein, and partly because he was seen at the January 2000 al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia attended by at least two of the 9/11 hijackers (see January 5-8, 2000). A search of Shakir's apartment in Qatar yields a “treasure trove” of information, including telephone records linking him to suspects in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (see February 26, 1993) and the 1995 Bojinka plot (see January 6, 1995). Yet, according to a senior Arab intelligence official, when the Qataris ask the US if they want to take custody of him, the US says no. He goes Jordan on October 21 instead. (Accounts differ as to whether Qatar releases him and Jordan captures him or whether Qatar sends him there.) Newsweek implies that the US expects Jordan will torture Shakir and share what they learn. The US is not allowed to directly question him. Three months later, he is “inexplicably released by Jordanian authorities” and vanishes. He has not been caught since. [Newsweek, 9/30/02; Newsweek, 12/5/01]
People and organizations involved: Saddam Hussein, Ahmad Hikmat Shakir, Jordan
          

September 21-28, 2001: Suspected Hijacker Associate Is Arrested in Britain, Released

       Omar al-Bayoumi, suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent, is arrested, and held for one week in Britain. He moved from San Diego to Britain in July 2001 and is a studying at Aston University Business School in Birmingham when he is taken into custody by British authorities working with the FBI. [MSNBC, 11/27/02; Washington Post, 12/29/01; San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/27/01] During a search of al-Bayoumi's Birmingham apartment (which includes ripping up the floorboards), the FBI finds the names and phone numbers of two employees of the Saudi embassy's Islamic Affairs Department. [Newsweek, 11/24/02] “There was a link there,” a Justice Department official says, adding that the FBI interviewed the employees and “that was the end of that, in October or November of 2001.” The official adds, “I don't know why he had those names.” Nail al-Jubeir, chief spokesperson for the Saudi embassy in Washington, says al-Bayoumi “called [the numbers] constantly.” [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] They also discover jihadist literature, and conclude he “has connections to terrorist elements,” including al-Qaeda. [Washington Post, 7/25/03] However, he is released after a week. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02; Newsweek, 11/24/02] British intelligence officials are frustrated that the FBI failed to give them information that would have enabled them to keep al-Bayoumi in custody longer than the seven days allowed under British anti-terrorism laws. [San Diego Channel 10, 10/25/01; Times of London, 10/19/01] Even FBI officials in San Diego appear to have not been told of al-Bayoumi's arrest by FBI officials in Britain until after he is released. [Sunday Mercury, 10/21/01] Newsweek claims that classified sections of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry indicate the Saudi Embassy pushed for al-Bayoumi's release— “another possible indicator of his high-level [Saudi] connections.” [Newsweek, 7/28/03] A San Diego FBI agent later secretly testifies that supervisors fail to act on evidence connecting to a Saudi money trail. The FBI is said to conduct a massive investigation of al-Bayoumi within days of 9/11, which shows he has connections to individuals who have been designated by the US as foreign terrorists. [Newsweek, 7/28/03; Sunday Mercury, 10/21/01; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] But two years later witnesses connecting him to Saudi money apparently are not interviewed by the FBI. Al-Bayoumi continues with his studies in Britain and is still there into 2002, and yet is still not rearrested. [Washington Post, 12/29/01; Newsweek, 10/29/02] He disappears into Saudi Arabia by the time he reenters the news in November 2002. [San Diego Magazine, 9/03]
People and organizations involved: Omar al-Bayoumi, Britain, Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda, Nail al-Jubeir
          

April 25, 2002: Saudi Prince Said to Meet Suspected Hijacker Associate While Visiting Bush

       Osama Basnan, an alleged associate of 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, reports his passport stolen to Houston police. [Newsweek, 11/24/02] This confirms that Basnan is in Houston on the same day that Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Prince Saud al-Faisal, and Saudi US Ambassador Prince Bandar meet with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, and National Security Adviser Rice at Bush's ranch in nearby Crawford, Texas. [US-Saudi Arabian Business Council, 4/25/02] Abdullah's entourage passes through Houston that week en route to Bush's ranch. While in Texas, it is believed that Basnan “met with a high Saudi prince who has responsibilities for intelligence matters and is known to bring suitcases full of cash into the United States.” [Guardian, 11/25/02; Newsweek, 11/24/02] The still-classified section of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry is said to discuss the possibility of Basnan meeting this figure at this time. [Associated Press, 8/2/03]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Colin Powell, Bandar bin Sultan, Osama Basnan, Saud al-Faisal, Condoleezza Rice, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

August 22-November 2002: Possible Hijacker Associate Is Arrested, Then Deported

       Osama Basnan, an alleged associate of 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, and his wife are arrested for visa fraud. [Newsweek, 11/22/02; Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] One report says he is arrested for allegedly having links to Omar al-Bayoumi. [Arab News, 11/26/02] On October 22, Basnan and his wife, Majeda Dweikat, admit they used false immigration documents to stay in the US. [San Diego Channel 10, 10/22/02] Possible financial connections between Basnan and al-Bayoumi, Alhazmi and Almihdhar, and the Saudi royal family are known to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry (as well as the FBI and CIA) at this time. Remarkably, Basnan is deported to Saudi Arabia on November 17, 2002. His wife is deported to Jordan the same day. [Washington Post, 11/24/02] Less than a week after the deportations, new media reports make Basnan a widely known suspect. [Newsweek, 11/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Majeda Dweikat, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Omar al-Bayoumi, Central Intelligence Agency, Osama Basnan, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry
          

October 9, 2002: FBI Agent Handled Hijackers' Landlord

       San Diego FBI agent Steven Butler reportedly gives “explosive” testimony to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry. Butler, recently retired, has been unable to speak to the media, but he was the handler for Abdussattar Shaikh, an FBI informant who rented a room to hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. Butler claims he might have uncovered the 9/11 plot if the CIA had provided the FBI with more information earlier about Alhazmi and Almihdhar. [New York Times, 10/22/02] He says, “It would have made a huge difference.” He suggests they would have quickly found the two hijackers because they were “very, very close.” “We would have immediately opened ... investigations. We would have given them the full court press. We would ... have done everything—physical surveillance, technical surveillance, and other assets.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/25/03] Butler discloses that he had been monitoring a flow of Saudi Arabian money that wound up in the hands of two of the 9/11 hijackers, but his supervisors failed to take any action on the warnings. It is not known when Butler started investigating the money flow, or when he warned his supervisors. [US News and World Report, 11/29/02] The FBI unsuccessfully tries to prevent Butler from testifying. [Washington Post, 10/11/02] This testimony doesn't stop the US government from deporting Basnan to Saudi Arabia several weeks later. [Washington Post, 11/24/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Abdussattar Shaikh, Central Intelligence Agency, Steven Butler
          

November 22, 2002: Newsweek Reports Saudi Royals Sent Money to Hijackers' Associates

       Newsweek reports that hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar may have received money from Saudi Arabia's royal family through two Saudis, Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan. Newsweek bases its report on information leaked from the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry in October. [Newsweek, 11/22/02; Newsweek, 11/22/02; Washington Post, 11/23/02; New York Times, 11/23/02] Al-Bayoumi is in Saudi Arabia by this time. Basnan was deported to Saudi Arabia just five days earlier. Saudi officials and Princess Haifa immediately deny any connections to Islamic militants. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] Newsweek reports that while the money trail “could be perfectly innocent ... it is nonetheless intriguing—and could ultimately expose the Saudi government to some of the blame for 9/11...” [Newsweek, 11/22/02] Some Saudi newspapers, which usually reflect government thinking, claim the leak is blackmail to pressure Saudi Arabia into supporting war with Iraq. [MSNBC, 11/27/02] Senior US government officials claim the FBI and CIA failed to aggressively pursue leads that might have linked the two hijackers to Saudi Arabia. This causes a bitter dispute between FBI and CIA officials and the intelligence panel investigating the 9/11 attacks. [New York Times, 11/23/02] A number of senators, including Richard Shelby (R), John McCain (R), Mitch O'Connell (R), Joe Lieberman (D), Bob Graham (D), Joseph Biden (D), and Charles Schumer (D), express concern about the Bush administration's action (or non-action) regarding the Saudi royal family and its possible role in funding Islamic militants. [Reuters, 11/24/02; New York Times, 11/25/02] Lieberman says, “I think it's time for the president to blow the whistle and remember what he said after September 11—you're either with us or you're with the al-Qaeda.” [ABC News, 11/25/02] FBI officials strongly deny any deliberate connection between these two men and the Saudi government or the hijackers [Time, 11/24/03] , but later even more connections between them and both entities are revealed. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Saudi Arabia, Joseph Lieberman, Mitch O'Connell, Joseph Biden, Omar al-Bayoumi, Charles Schumer, Richard Shelby, Osama Basnan, Central Intelligence Agency, Bush administration, John McCain, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Bob Graham
          

August 1-3, 2003: Leaks Hint at Saudi Involvement in 9/11

       In the wake of the release of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry's full report, anonymous officials leak some details from a controversial, completely censored 28-page section that focuses on possible Saudi support for 9/11. According to leaks given to the New York Times, the section says that Omar al-Bayoumi and/or Osama Basnan “had at least indirect links with two hijackers [who] were probably Saudi intelligence agents and may have reported to Saudi government officials.” It also says that Anwar Al Aulaqi “was a central figure in a support network that aided the same two hijackers.” Most connections drawn in the report between the men, Saudi intelligence, and 9/11 is said to be circumstantial. [New York Times, 8/2/03] One key section is said to read, “On the one hand, it is possible that these kinds of connections could suggest, as indicated in a CIA memorandum, ‘incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists... On the other hand, it is also possible that further investigation of these allegations could reveal legitimate, and innocent, explanations for these associations.’ ” Some of the most sensitive information involves what US agencies are doing currently to investigate Saudi business figures and organizations. [Associated Press, 8/2/03] According to the New Republic, the section outlines “connections between the hijacking plot and the very top levels of the Saudi royal family.” An anonymous official is quoted as saying, “There's a lot more in the 28 pages than money. Everyone's chasing the charities. They should be chasing direct links to high levels of the Saudi government. We're not talking about rogue elements. We're talking about a coordinated network that reaches right from the hijackers to multiple places in the Saudi government. ... If the people in the administration trying to link Iraq to al-Qaeda had one-one-thousandth of the stuff that the 28 pages has linking a foreign government to al-Qaeda, they would have been in good shape. ... If the 28 pages were to be made public, I have no question that the entire relationship with Saudi Arabia would change overnight.” [New Republic, 8/1/03] The section also is critical that the issue of foreign government support remains unresolved. One section reads, “In their testimony, neither CIA or FBI officials were able to address definitely the extent of such support for the hijackers, globally or within the United States, or the extent to which such support, if it exists, is knowing or inadvertent in nature. This gap in intelligence community coverage is unacceptable.” [Boston Globe, 8/3/03]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Omar al-Bayoumi, Osama Basnan, Anwar Al Aulaqi, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, al-Qaeda
          

August 2003: FBI and CIA Reopen Investigation Into Saudi Link to 9/11

       In the wake of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report, and “under intense pressure from Congress,” as the Boston Globe puts it, the FBI and CIA reopen an investigation into whether Saudi Arabian officials aided the 9/11 plot. [Boston Globe, 8/3/03] In early August, Saudi Arabia allows the FBI to interview Omar al-Bayoumi. However, the interview takes place in Saudi Arabia, and apparently on his terms, with Saudi government handlers present. [Associated Press, 8/6/03; New York Times, 8/5/03] Says one anonymous government terrorism consultant, “They are revisiting everybody. The [FBI] did not do a very good job of unraveling the conspiracy behind the hijackers.” [Boston Globe, 8/3/03] But by September, the Washington Post reports that the FBI has concluded that the idea al-Bayoumi was a Saudi government agent is “without merit and has largely abandoned further investigation... The bureau's September 11 investigative team, which is still tracking down details of the plot, has reached similar conclusions about other associates named or referred to in the congressional inquiry report.” [Washington Post, 9/10/03] Yet another article claims that by late August, some key people who interacted with al-Bayoumi have yet to be interviewed by the FBI. “Countless intelligence leads that might help solve” the mystery of a Saudi connection to the hijackers “appear to have been underinvestigated or completely overlooked by the FBI, particularly in San Diego.” [San Diego Magazine, 9/03] Not only were they never interviewed when the investigation was supposedly reopened, they were not interviewed in the months after 9/11 either, when the FBI supposedly opened an “intense investigation” of al-Bayoumi, visiting “every place he was known to have gone, and [compiling] 4,000 pages of documents detailing his activities.” [Newsweek, 7/28/03]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Central Intelligence Agency, US Congress, Omar al-Bayoumi, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

March 24, 2004: FBI Says Saudi Associates of Hijackers Not Involved in Plot

       It is reported that the FBI has closed down their investigation into Saudis Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan. The Associated Press reports, “The FBI concluded at most the two Saudi men occasionally provided information to their kingdom or helped Saudi visitors settle into the United States, but did so in compliance with Muslim custom of being kind to strangers rather than out of some relationship with Saudi intelligence.” [Associated Press, 3/24/04 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Osama Basnan, Omar al-Bayoumi
          

September 7, 2004: Senator Bob Graham Claims Cover Up of Saudi Connection to Two 9/11 Hijackers

       Senator Bob Graham (D) alleges that the White House has covered up possible Saudi Arabian government connections to hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. In an interview to promote his new book entitled “Intelligence Matters,” he contends that evidence relating to these two hijackers who lived in San Diego “present[s] a compelling case that there was Saudi assistance” to the 9/11 plot. He also concludes that President Bush directed the FBI “to restrain and obfuscate” investigations into these ties, possibly to protect US-Saudi relations. The San Diego Union-Tribune notes, “Graham co-chaired the exhaustive congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11 attacks and is privy to still-classified information about the probe.” Graham claims that Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan are Saudi intelligence agents. He also claims that the FBI deliberately blocked his inquiry's attempts to interview Abdussattar Shaikh, the FBI informant who was a landlord to the above-mentioned hijackers. The questions the inquiry wanted to ask Shaikh went unanswered because of FBI maneuvering. [Copley News, 9/7/04]
People and organizations involved: Osama Basnan, Abdussattar Shaikh, Omar al-Bayoumi, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Bob Graham, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bush administration, Saudi Arabia
          


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