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Before 9/11

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

Al-Qaeda Members

Al-Qaeda in Germany (42)
Alhazmi and Almihdhar (74)
Other 9/11 Hijackers (48)
Marwan Alshehhi (21)
Mohamed Atta (37)
Ziad Jarrah (9)
Hani Hanjour (15)
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
Zacarias Moussaoui (40)
Nabil al-Marabh (10)

Geopolitics and 9/11

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

Day of 9/11

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

The Post-9/11 World

Afghanistan (49)
Investigations (166)
9/11 Congressional Inquiry (0)
9/11 Commission (0)
Other 9/11 Investigations (0)
Other events (79)
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Complete 911 Timeline: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed

 
  

Project: Complete 911 Timeline

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1993: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Has Ties with ISI

       US agents uncover photographs showing Khalid Shaikh Mohammed with close associates of future Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Financial Times later notes that Mohammed and his allies “must have felt confident that their ties to senior Pakistani Islamists, whose power had been cemented within the country's intelligence service [the ISI], would prove invaluable.” [Financial Times, 2/15/03] Also this year, Mohammed is involved in an operation to assassinate Benazir Bhutto, then prime minister of Pakistan (and an opponent of Sharif and the ISI). [Slate, 9/21/01; Guardian, 3/3/03 (B)] The Los Angeles Times later reports that Mohammed “spent most of the 1990s in Pakistan. Pakistani leadership through the 1990s sympathized with Osama bin Laden's fundamentalist rhetoric. This sympathy allowed Mohammed to operate as he pleased in Pakistan.” [Los Angeles Times, 6/24/02]
People and organizations involved: Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Osama bin Laden, Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto
          

Early 1994-January 1995: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Receives Financial Support in the Philippines

      
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in a 1998 FBI wanted poster.
9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed lives in the Philippines for a year, planning Operation Bojinka until the plot is exposed in January 1995 and he has to flee (see January 6, 1995). Police later say he lives a very expensive and non-religious lifestyle. He goes to karaoke bars and go-go clubs, dates go-go dancers, stays in four-star hotels, and takes scuba diving lessons. Once he rents a helicopter just to fly it past the window of a girlfriend's office in an attempt to impress her. This appears to be a pattern; for instance, he has a big drinking party in 1998. [Los Angeles Times, 6/24/02] Officials believe his obvious access to large sums of money indicate that some larger network is backing him by this time. [Los Angeles Times, 6/6/02] It has been suggested that Mohammed, a Pakistani, is able “to operate as he please[s] in Pakistan” during the 1990s [Los Angeles Times, 6/24/02] , and he is linked to the Pakistani ISI. His hedonistic time in the Philippines resembles reports of hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi in the Philippines in 1998-2000 . Mohammed returns to the Philippines occasionally, and he is even spotted there after 9/11. [Knight Ridder, 9/9/02] He is almost caught while visiting an old girlfriend there in 1999, and fails in a second plot to kill the Pope when the Pope cancels his visit to the Philippines that year. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02; Times of London, 11/10/02]
People and organizations involved: Operation Bojinka, Mohamed Atta, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Marwan Alshehhi
          

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

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

January 20, 1995: First Hints of Bojinka Second Wave Revealed

      
Abdul Hakim Murad.
Philippine and US investigators learn that Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and their fellow plotters were actually planning three different attacks when they were foiled in early January. In addition to the planned assassination of the Pope, and the first phase of Operation Bojinka previously discovered, they also planned to crash about a dozen passenger planes into prominent US buildings. It is often mistakenly believed that there is one Bojinka plan to blow up some planes and crash others into buildings, but in fact these different forms of attack are to take place in two separate phases. [Lance, 2003, pp 259] Philippine investigator Colonel Rodolfo Mendoza learns about this second phase through the examination of recently captured Bojinka plotter Abdul Hakim Murad. On January 20, Mendoza writes a memo about Murad's latest confession, saying, “With regards to their plan to dive-crash a commercial aircraft at the CIA headquarters, subject alleged that the idea of doing same came out during his casual conversation with [Yousef ] and there is no specific plan yet for its execution. What the subject [has] in his mind is that he will board any American commercial aircraft pretending to be an ordinary passenger. Then he will hijack said aircraft, control its cockpit, and dive it at the CIA headquarters. He will use no bomb or explosives. It is simply a suicidal mission that he is very much willing to execute.” [Lance, 2003, pp 277-78; Insight, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Rodolfo Mendoza, Ramzi Yousef, Operation Bojinka, Abdul Hakim Murad
          

February 1995: Bojinka Second Wave Fully Revealed to Philippines Investigators; Information Given to US

      
Colonel Rodolfo Mendoza.
As Colonel Mendoza, the Philippines investigator, continues to interrogate Operation Bojinka plotter Abdul Hakim Murad, details of a post-Bojinka “second wave” emerge. Author Peter Lance calls this phase “a virtual blueprint of the 9/11 attacks.” Murad reveals a plan to hijack commercial airliners at some point after the effect of Bojinka dies down. Murad himself had been training in the US for this plot. He names the buildings that would be targeted for attack: CIA headquarters, the Pentagon, an unidentified nuclear power plant, the Transamerica Tower in San Francisco, the Sears Tower, and the World Trade Center. Murad continues to reveal more information about this plot until he is handed over to the FBI in April. [Lance, 2003, pp 278-80] He identifies approximately ten other men who met him at the flight schools or were getting similar training. They came from Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. Apparently none of these pilots match the names of any of the 9/11 hijackers. However, he also gives information pointing to the al-Qaeda operative Hambali through a front company named Konsonjaya. Hambali later hosts an important al-Qaeda meeting attended by two of the 9/11 hijackers. [Associated Press, 3/5/02 (B)] Colonel Mendoza even makes a flow chart connecting many key players together, including bin Laden, bin Laden's brother-in-law Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Ramzi Yousef, and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (named as Salem Ali a.k.a. Mohmad). Philippine authorities later claim that they provide all of this information to US authorities, but the US fails to follow up on any of it. [Lance, 2003, pp 303-4] Khalifa is in US custody and released even after the Philippine authorities provide this information about him.
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Ramzi Yousef, World Trade Center, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Operation Bojinka, Sears Tower, Rodolfo Mendoza, Abdul Hakim Murad, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Pentagon, Nurjaman Riduan Isamuddin, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa
          

After February 7, 1995-January 1996: Ramzi Yousef Arrest Points Investigators to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed

       Shortly after bomber Ramzi Yousef is arrested, investigators discover a computer file of a letter on his laptop that is signed by “Khalid Sheikh, and Bojinka.” An eyewitness account of the arrest is given to Time magazine by a “Khalid Sheikh,” who is also staying in the same building. [McDermott, 2005, pp 154, 162] Investigators also discover that he had frequently visited Yousef's apartment in Manila, Philippines, where the bombs for the Bojinka plot were being made. [PBS Frontline, 10/3/02 (C)] They also find Yousef had written down a phone number for “Khalid Doha.” Doha is the capital of Qatar. Shortly after being apprehended, Yousef calls this number in Qatar and asks to speak to a “Khalid.” Further intelligence this year connects him to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing when records are found of money wired from a "Khaled Shaykh" in Doha, Qatar, to one of the bombing suspects several days before the bombing. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)] At first, investigators don't know exactly who this person is. But there is an entry in Yousef's seized telephone directory for a Zahed Sheikh Mohammed, Yousef's uncle and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's brother. Not long after this discovery is made, Pakistani investigators raid Zahed's offices in Peshawar, Pakistan, but Zahed has already fled. Nevertheless, apparently by the end of 1995 investigators make the connection between Zahed and Khalid, and they begin to build a case against Khalid. [McDermott, 2005, pp 154, 162] The FBI successfully arranges for a photograph to be taken of Mohammed. He is positively identified from the photo in December 1995. This results in his indictment in January 1996 for his role in the 1993 WTC bombing. US intelligence labels him a “top priority,” according the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B); Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Ramzi Yousef, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Zahed Sheikh Mohammed
          

February 7, 1995: Yousef Is Arrested and Talks, but Hides Operation Bojinka Second Wave and bin Laden Ties

      
Ramzi Yousef.
Ramzi Yousef is arrested in Pakistan. At the time, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is staying in the same building, and brazenly gives an interview to Time magazine as “Khalid Sheikh,” describing Yousef's capture. [Lance, 2003, pp 328] Yousef had recruited Istaique Parker to implement a limited version of Operation Bojinka. Parker was to place bombs on board two flights bound from Bangkok to the US, but got cold feet and instead turned in Yousef. [Lance, 2003, pp 284-85] The next day, as Yousef is flying over New York City on his way to a prison cell, an FBI agent says to him, “You see the Trade Centers down there, they're still standing, aren't they?” Yousef responds, “They wouldn't be if I had enough money and enough explosives.” [MSNBC, 9/23/01; Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp 135] Yousef also soon admits to ties with Wali Khan Shah, who fought with bin Laden in Afghanistan, and Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, one of bin Laden's brothers-in-law, who is being held by the US at the time. Despite Yousef's confession, Khalifa is released later in the year. Although Yousef talks freely, he makes no direct mention of bin Laden, or the planned second wave of Operation Bojinka that closely parallels the later 9/11 plot. [Lance, 2003, pp 297-98]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ramzi Yousef, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Wali Khan Amin Shah, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Operation Bojinka
          

January-May 1996: US Fails to Capture Mohammed Living Openly in Qatar

      
Abdallah al-Thani.
Since Operation Bojinka was uncovered in the Philippines (see January 6, 1995), nearly all of the plot's major planners, including Ramzi Yousef, are found and arrested. The one exception is 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. He flees to Qatar in the Persian Gulf, where he lives openly using his real name, enjoying the patronage of Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani, Qatar's Interior Minister and a member of the royal family. [ABC News, 2/7/03] In January 1996, he is indicted in the US for his role in the 1993 WTC bombing, and in the same month, the US determines his location in Qatar. FBI Director Louis Freeh sends a letter to the Qatari government asking for permission to send a team after him. [Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02] One of Freeh's diplomatic notes states that Mohammed was involved in a conspiracy to “bomb US airliners” and is believed to be “in the process of manufacturing an explosive device.” [New Yorker, 5/27/02] Qatar confirms that Mohammed is there and is making explosives, but they delay handing him over. After waiting several months, a high-level meeting takes place in Washington to consider a commando raid to seize him. However, the raid is deemed too risky, and another letter is sent to the Qatari government instead. One person at the meeting later states, “If we had gone in and nabbed this guy, or just cut his head off, the Qatari government would not have complained a bit. Everyone around the table for their own reasons refused to go after someone who fundamentally threatened American interests...” [Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02] Around May 1996, Mohammed's patron, Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani, makes sure that Mohammed and four others are given blank passports and a chance to escape. Qatar's police chief later says the other men include Ayman al-Zawahiri and Mohammed Atef, al-Qaeda's number two and number three leaders, respectively. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02; ABC News, 2/7/03] Bin Laden twice visits al-Thani in Qatar. [ABC News, 2/7/03; New York Times, 6/8/02]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Mohammed Atef, Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Louis J. Freeh
          

1996: US Intelligence Learns that Mohammed and bin Laden Have Traveled Together

       Prior to this year, US intelligence is uncertain whether Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is connected to al-Qaeda. But this changes when a foreign government shares information that bin Laden and Mohammed had traveled together to a foreign country the previous year. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda
          

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

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

June 1996: Informant's Clues Point to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed

      
Wali Khan Shah.
While al-Qaeda operative Jamal al-Fadl gives a treasure trove of useful information on al-Qaeda to US intelligence (see June 1996), one person he describes in detail is Wali Khan Amin Shah. Shah was one of the plotters of the Operation Bojinka plot (see February 7, 1995). Al-Fadl reveals that Shah has al-Qaeda ties. Author Peter Lance notes that US intelligence should have concluded that Shah's fellow Operation Bojinka plotter, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, also has al-Qaeda ties. However, there is no new effort to find Mohammed, and he later goes on to mastermind the 9/11 attacks. [Lance, 2003, pp 330-31]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Jamal al-Fadl, Wali Khan Amin Shah, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

Early 1998: Prosecutors Turn Down Deal That Could Reveal Bojinka Third Plot

      
Dietrich Snell.
Abdul Hakim Murad, a conspirator in the 1995 Bojinka plot with Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and others, was convicted in 1996 of his role in the Bojinka plot (see January 6, 1995). He is about to be sentenced for that crime. He offers to cooperate with federal prosecutors in return for a reduction in his sentence, but prosecutors turn down his offer. Dietrich Snell, the prosecutor who convicted Murad, says after 9/11 that he doesn't remember any such offer. But court papers and others familiar with the case later confirmed that Murad does offer to cooperate at this time. Snell claimed he only remembers hearing that Murad had described an intention to hijack a plane and fly it into CIA headquarters. However, in 1995 Murad had confessed to Philippine investigators that this would have been only one part of a larger plot to crash a number of airplanes into prominent US buildings, including the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a plot that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed later adjusts and turns into the 9/11 plot (see January 20, 1995) (see February 1995). While Philippine investigators claim this information was passed on to US intelligence, it's not clear just which US officials may have learned this information and what they did with it, if anything. [New York Daily News, 9/25/01] Murad is sentenced in May 1998 and given life in prison plus 60 years. [Albany Times-Union, 9/22/02] After 9/11, Snell goes on to become Senior Counsel and a team leader for the 9/11 Commission. Author Peter Lance later calls Snell “one of the fixers, hired early on to sanitize the Commission's final report.” Lance says Snell ignored evidence presented to the Commission that shows direct ties between the Bojinka plot and 9/11, and in so doing covers up Snell's own role in the failure to make more use of evidence learned from Murad and other Bojinka plotters. [FrontPage Magazine, 1/27/05]
People and organizations involved: Abdul Hakim Murad, Dietrich Snell, Pentagon, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Ramzi Yousef, World Trade Center
          

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

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

January 8, 1998: Mohammed Revealed as Major Al-Qaeda Operative at Yousef Sentencing

      
FBI reward notice for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
Islamic militant Ramzi Yousef is sentenced to 240 years for his role in the 1993 WTC bombing. At the same time, prosecutors unseal an indictment against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed for participating with Yousef in the 1995 Operation Bojinka plot (see January 6, 1995). In unsealing this, US Attorney Mary Jo White calls Mohammed a “major player” and says he is believed to be a relative of Yousef. [Washington Post, 1/9/98] The US announces a $2 million reward for his capture in 1998 and wanted posters with his picture are distributed. [New York Times, 6/5/02] This contradicts the FBI's claim after 9/11 that they did not realize he was a major terrorist before 9/11. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 12/11/02] For instance, a senior FBI official later says, “He was under everybody's radar. We don't know how he did it. We wish we knew. ... He's the guy nobody ever heard of.” [Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02] However, another official says, “We have been after him for years, and to say that we weren't is just wrong. We had identified him as a major al-Qaeda operative before September 11.” [New York Times, 9/22/02] Yet strangely, despite knowing Mohammed is a major al-Qaeda operations planner and putting out a large reward for his capture at this time, there is no worldwide public manhunt for him as there successfully was for his nephew Ramzi Yousef. Mohammed's name remains obscure and he isn't even put on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list until one month after 9/11. [Lance, 2003, pp 327-30]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Ramzi Yousef, Mary Jo White
          

Late August 1998: CIA Learns That Mohammed Was Involved in the African Embassy Bombings

       A foreign government sends the CIA a list of the names of individuals who flew into Nairobi before the al-Qaeda attack on the US embassy there (see August 7, 1998). Based on information from another agency, the CIA recognizes one of the passenger's names as an alias for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. The other agency also describes Mohammed as being close to bin Laden. This information is given to the FBI and other US intelligence agencies. However, the 9/11 Commission claims that such information does not generate an aggressive investigative response. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda, 9/11 Commission, Central Intelligence Agency, Osama bin Laden
          

1999: Mohammed Repeatedly Visits Atta, Others in al-Qaeda's Hamburg Cell

       Khalid Shaikh Mohammed “repeatedly” visits Mohamed Atta and others in the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. [Associated Press, 8/24/02] US and German officials say a number of sources place Mohammed at Atta's Hamburg apartment, although when he visits, or who he visits while he is there, is unclear. [Los Angeles Times, 6/6/02; New York Times, 11/4/02] However, it would be logical to conclude that he visits Atta's housemate Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, since investigators believe he is the “key contact between the pilots” and Mohammed. [Los Angeles Times, 1/27/03] Mohammed is living elsewhere in Germany at the time. [New York Times, 9/22/02] German intelligence monitors the apartment in 1999 but apparently does not notice Mohammed. US investigators have been searching for Mohammed since 1996, but apparently never tell the Germans what they know about him. [New York Times, 11/4/02] Even after 9/11, German investigators complain that US investigators do not tell them what they know about Mohammed living in Germany until they read it in the newspapers in June 2002. [New York Times, 6/11/02]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Mohamed Atta
          

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
          

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

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

Summer 2001: NSA Fails to Share Intercepted Information About Calls Between Atta and Mohammed

       Around this time, the NSA intercepts telephone conversations between Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Mohamed Atta, but apparently does not share the information with any other agencies. The FBI has a $2 million reward for Mohammed at the time, while Atta is in charge of operations inside the US. [Knight Ridder, 6/6/02; Independent, 6/6/02] The NSA either fails to translate these messages in a timely fashion or fails to understand the significance of what was translated. [Knight Ridder, 6/6/02]
People and organizations involved: National Security Agency, Mohamed Atta, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

June 12, 2001: CIA Learns Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Is Sending Operatives to US to Meet Up With Operatives Already Living There

       A CIA report says that a man named “Khaled” is actively recruiting people to travel to various countries, including the US, to stage attacks. CIA headquarters presume from the details of this report that Khaled is Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. On July 11, the individual source for this report is shown a series of photographs and identifies Mohammed as the person he called “Khaled.” [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/04; USA Today, 12/12/02] This report also reveals that
al-Qaeda operatives heading to the US would be “expected to establish contact with colleagues already living there.”

Mohammed himself had traveled to the US frequently, and as recently as May 2001.

He is a relative of bomber Ramzi Yousef.

He appears to be one of bin Laden's most trusted leaders.

He routinely tells others that he can arrange their entry into the US as well.
However, the CIA doesn't find this report credible because they think it is unlikely that he would come to the US. Nevertheless, they consider it worth pursuing. One agent replies, “If it is KSM, we have both a significant threat and an opportunity to pick him up.” The CIA disseminates the report to all other US intelligence agencies, military commanders, and parts of the Treasury and Justice Departments. The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will later request that the CIA inform them how CIA agents and other agencies reacted to this information, but the CIA does not respond to this. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)] On July 23, 2001, the US consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia will give Mohammed a US visa (he uses an alias but his actual photo appears on his application) (see July 23, 2001). Also, during this summer and as late as September 10, 2001, the NSA will intercept phone calls between Mohammed and Mohamed Atta, but the NSA will not share this information with any other agencies (see Summer 2001).
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Ramzi Yousef, US Department of Justice, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, US Consulate, Jedda, Saudi Arabia Office, US Department of the Treasury, Central Intelligence Agency
          

July 23, 2001: Mohammed Given US Visa

      
The photograph of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed on his 2001 US visa application.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is granted a visa to enter the US, despite being under a federal terrorism indictment, having a $2 million reward on his head, and being one of only a dozen people in the world on a US domestic no-fly list (see April 24, 2000). There is no evidence that he actually uses his visa to travel to the US. Investigators speculate that he may have considered a trip to shepherd some aspect of the 9/11 plot. He applied for the visa using a Saudi passport and an alias (Abdulrahman al Ghamdi), but the photo he submitted is really of him. He uses the new, controversial Visa Express program that allows Saudis to apply for US visas without having to appear in person at any point during the application process (see May 2001). [Los Angeles Times, 1/27/04] Just a month earlier, the CIA passed a warning to all US intelligence agencies, certain military commanders, and parts of the Justice and Treasury Departments saying that Mohammed may be attempting to enter the US (see June 12, 2001). However, either this warning isn't given to immigration officials or else they fail to notice his application. [Los Angeles Times, 1/27/04]
People and organizations involved: Central Intelligence Agency, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, US Department of Justice, US Department of the Treasury
          

August 28, 2001: CIA Fails to Connect Mohammed, bin al-Shibh, and Moussaoui

       In April 2001, the CIA analyzed some “intriguing information associated with a person known as ‘Mukhtar.’ ” The CIA didn't know who this was at the time, only that he was associated with top al-Qaeda deputy Abu Zubaida and that he seemed to be involved in planning al-Qaeda activities. On August 28, 2001, the CIA receives a cable reporting that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's nickname is Mukhtar (which means “brain” in Arabic). However, apparently no one at the CIA's bin Laden unit makes the connection between this new information and the April 2001 information. The 9/11 Commission writes, “Only after 9/11 would it be discovered that Muhktar/KSM had communicated with a phone that was used by [Ramzi] bin al-Shibh, and that bin al-Shibh had used the same phone to communicate with [Zacarias] Moussaoui [who is in US custody by this time.]” [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/04; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Zacarias Moussaoui, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, 9/11 Commission, Abu Zubaida, Central Intelligence Agency, al-Qaeda
          

September 10, 2001: NSA Monitors Call as Mohammed Gives Final Approval to Launch Attacks

       Mohamed Atta calls Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Afghanistan. Mohammed gives final approval to Atta to launch the attacks. This call is monitored and translated by the US, although it is not known how quickly the call is translated, and the specifics of the conversation haven't been released. [Independent, 9/15/02]
People and organizations involved: United States, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Mohamed Atta
          

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
          

April, June, or August 2002: Al Jazeera Reporter Claims to Conduct Interview with 9/11 Masterminds

      
Ramzi bin al-Shibh.
It is originally reported that Al Jazeera reporter Yosri Fouda interviews 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and 9/11 associate Ramzi Bin al-Shibh at a secret location in Karachi, Pakistan, in either June [Times of London, 9/8/02] or August. [Guardian, 9/9/02] Details and audio footage of the interview come out between September 8 and 12, 2002. The video footage of the interview al-Qaeda promised to hand over is never given to Al Jazeera. [Associated Press, 9/8/02] Both figures claim the 9/11 attacks were originally going to target nuclear reactors, but “decided against it for fear it would go out of control.” Interviewer Fouda is struck that Mohammed and bin al-Shibh remember only the hijackers' code names, and have trouble remembering their real names. [Australian, 9/9/02] Mohammed, who calls himself the head of al-Qaeda's military committee and refers to bin al-Shibh as the coordinator of the “Holy Tuesday” operation, reportedly acknowledges “[a]nd, yes, we did it.” [Fouda And Fielding, 2003, pp 38] These interviews “are the first full admission by senior figures from bin Laden's network that they carried out the September 11 attacks.” [Times of London, 9/8/02] Some, however, call Fouda's claims into doubt. For example, the Financial Times states: “Analysts cited the crude editing of [Fouda's interview] tapes and the timing of the broadcasts as reasons to be suspicious about their authenticity. Dia Rashwan, an expert on Islamist movements at the Al-Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies in Cairo, said: ‘I have very serious doubts [about the authenticity of this tape]. It could have been a script written by the FBI.’ ” [Financial Times, 9/11/02] Mohammed is later variously reported to be arrested in June 2002, killed or arrested in September 2002, and then arrested in March 2003. After this last arrest report, for the first time Fouda claims this interview took place in April, placing it safely before the first reports of Mohammed's capture. [Guardian, 3/4/03; Canada AM, 3/6/03] Bin al-Shibh also gets captured several days after Fouda's interview is broadcast, and some reports say he is captured because this interview allows his voice to be identified. [Observer, 9/15/02; CBS News, 10/9/02] As a result, Fouda has been accused of betraying al-Qaeda, and now fears for his life. [Independent, 9/17/02] As the Washington Post states, “Now Al Jazeera is also subject to rumors of a conspiracy.” [Washington Post, 9/15/02] Yet after being so reviled by al-Qaeda supporters, Fouda is later given a cassette said to be a bin Laden speech. [MSNBC, 11/18/02] US officials believe the voice on that cassette is “almost certainly” bin Laden, but one of the world's leading voice-recognition institutes said it is 95 percent certain the tape is a forgery. [BBC, 11/29/02; BBC, 11/18/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Yosri Fouda
          

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

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

June 4, 2002: 9/11 Mastermind Publicly Identified

      
The photo of Mohammed on the right has been flipped to better compare it with the photo on the left. Reporter Yosri Fouda says that the photo on the right is an “electronically enhanced version” of the photo on the left. [Guardian, 3/4/03] Both have generally been portrayed as different photos in the media.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is publicly identified as the “mastermind” behind the 9/11 attacks. He is believed to have arranged the logistics while on the run in Germany, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. In 1996, he had been secretly indicted in the US for his role in Operation Bojinka (see January 6, 1995), and the US began offering a $2 million reward for his capture in 1998, which increased to $25 million in December 2001. [New York Times, 6/5/02; Associated Press, 6/4/02 (B)] There are conflicting accounts on how much US investigators knew about Mohammed before 9/11. Mohammed is Pakistani (though born in Kuwait [CBS News, 6/5/02] ) and a relative of Ramzi Yousef, the bomber of the WTC in 1993. [New York Times, 6/5/02] Though not widely reported, Yossef Bodansky, Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, says Mohammed also has ties to the ISI, and they had acted to shield him in the past. [UPI, 9/30/02]
People and organizations involved: Operation Bojinka, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

June 16, 2002: 9/11 Mastermind Reported Captured

       In September 2002, articles appear in the Pakistani and Indian press suggesting that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is actually captured on this day. Supposedly he has been sent to the US, though the US and Pakistan deny the story and say Mohammed has not been captured at all. [Economic Times, 9/10/02; Times of India, 9/9/02; Daily Times, 9/9/02] If it happened, Mohammed may have been captured before a reported interview with Al Jazeera reporter Yosri Fouda.
People and organizations involved: Yosri Fouda, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

September 8-11, 2002: Interview with al-Qaeda Leaders Is Broadcast

       Details of an Al Jazeera interview with al-Qaeda leaders Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi Bin al-Shibh are widely publicized. [Times of London, 9/8/02; Australian, 9/9/02; Guardian, 9/9/02] But there are numerous doubts about this interview. The possibility has been raised that the broadcast of Ramzi Bin al-Shibh's voice in the interview helps in his capture a few days later. [CBS News, 10/9/02; Observer, 9/15/02] Al Jazeera also broadcasts footage of hijacker Abdulaziz Alomari speaking against the US filmed in Afghanistan in early 2001.
People and organizations involved: Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Abdulaziz Alomari, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

September 11, 2002: 9/11 Planner Ramzi bin Al-Shibh Captured in Pakistan; Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Possibly Killed as Well

      
Ramzi bin al-Shibh arrested in Pakistan.
Would-be hijacker Ramzi Bin al-Shibh is arrested after a huge gunfight in Karachi, Pakistan, involving thousands of police. [Observer, 9/15/02] He is considered “a high-ranking operative for al-Qaeda and one of the few people still alive who know the inside details of the 9/11 plot.” [New York Times, 9/13/02] Khalid Shaikh Mohammed called bin al-Shibh “the coordinator of the Holy Tuesday [9/11] operation” in an interview aired days before. Captured with him are approximately nine associates, as well as numerous computers, phones, and other evidence. [New York Times, 9/13/02; Time, 9/15/02] There are conflicting claims that arrested in Pakistan Mohammed is killed in the raid [Asia Times, 3/6/03; Daily Telegraph, 3/4/03; Asia Times, 10/30/02] ; shot while escaping [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/2/03] ; someone who looks like him is killed, leading to initial misidentification [Time, 1/20/03] ; someone matching his general appearance is captured [Associated Press, 9/16/02] ; or that he narrowly escapes capture but his young children are captured. [Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

March 1, 2003: Mohammed Reportedly Arrested in Pakistan, Doubts Persist

      
Mohammed's alleged arrest in Pakistan.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is reportedly arrested in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. [Associated Press, 3/1/03] Officials claim that he is arrested in a late-night joint Pakistani and FBI raid, in which they also arrest Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, the purported main financer of the 9/11 attacks. [MSNBC, 3/3/03] However, some journalists immediately cast serious doubts about this arrest. For instance, MSNBC reports, “Some analysts questioned whether Mohammed was actually arrested Saturday, speculating that he may have been held for some time and that the news was made public when it was in the interests of the United States and Pakistan” [MSNBC, 3/3/03] There are numerous problems surrounding the US-alleged arrest of Mohammed:
Witnesses say Mohammed is not present when the raid occurs. [Guardian, 3/3/03 (B); Associated Press, 3/2/03; Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/2/03; New York Times, 3/3/03; Associated Press, 3/2/03 (B)]

There are differing accounts about which house he is arrested in. [Associated Press, 3/1/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/3/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/2/03]

There are differing accounts about where he was before the arrest and how authorities found him. [Washington Post, 3/2/03; New York Times, 3/3/03; New York Times, 3/4/03; Time, 3/1/03; Washington Post, 3/2/03]

Some accounts have him sleeping when the arrest occurs. [New York Times, 3/3/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/2/03; Reuters, 3/2/03; Daily Telegraph, 3/4/03]

Accounts differ on who arrests him—Pakistanis, Americans, or both. [CNN, 3/2/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/2/03; New York Times, 3/2/03; Daily Telegraph, 3/3/03; Associated Press, 3/3/03 (C); Times Of London, 3/3/03 (B)]

There are previously published accounts that Mohammed may have been killed in September 2002. [Daily Telegraph, 9/16/02; Christian Science Monitor, 10/29/02; Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02; Asia Times, 3/6/03; Daily Telegraph, 3/4/03; Asia Times, 10/30/02]

There are accounts that he was captured the year before. [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/2/03; Associated Press, 9/16/02; Daily Times, 9/9/02; Times of India, 9/9/02]
These are just some of the difficulties with the arrest story. There are so many problems with it that one Guardian reporter says, “The story appears to be almost entirely fictional.” [Guardian, 3/6/03]
People and organizations involved: Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

March 10, 2003: Dubious Arrest Video Raises Question of Mohammed-ISI Connection

       One week after the purported arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Pakistan, the ISI show what they claim is a video of the capture. It is openly mocked as a bad forgery by the few reporters allowed to see it. [Reuters, 3/11/03; Daily Times, 3/13/03; PakNews, 3/11/03; ABC News, 3/11/03] For instance, a Fox News reporter says, “Foreign journalists looking at it laughed and said this is baloney, this is a reconstruction.” [Fox News, 3/10/03] Other information about the arrest also raises questions about his relationship with the ISI. At the time of Mohammed's alleged arrest, he was staying in a neighborhood filled with ISI officials, just a short distance from ISI headquarters, leading to suspicions that he'd been doing so with ISI approval. One expert notes that after his arrest, “Those who think they have ISI protection will stop feeling that comfort level.” [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/2/03] Journalist Robert Fisk reports, “Mohammed was an ISI asset; indeed, anyone who is ‘handed over’ by the ISI these days is almost certainly a former (or present) employee of the Pakistani agency whose control of Taliban operatives amazed even the Pakistani government during the years before 2001.” [Toronto Star, 3/3/03]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence
          

June 16, 2004: 9/11 Commission Gives Account of Prisoner Interrogations

       The 9/11 Commission releases a new report on how the 9/11 plot developed. Most of their information appears to come from interrogations of prisoners Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind, and Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, a key member of the al-Qaeda Hamburg cell. In this account, the idea for the attacks appears to have originated with Mohammed. In mid-1996, he met bin Laden and al-Qaeda leader Mohammed Atef in Afghanistan. He presented several ideas for attacking the US, including a version of the 9/11 plot using ten planes (presumably an update of Operation Bojinka's second phase plot (see February 1995).). Bin Laden does not commit himself. In 1999, bin Laden approves a scaled-back version of the idea, and provides four operatives to carry it out: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Khallad bin Attash, and Abu Bara al Taizi. Attash and al Taizi drop out when they fail to get US visas. Alhazmi and Almihdhar prove to be incompetent pilots, but the recruitment of Mohamed Atta and the others in the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell solves that problem. Bin Laden wants the attacks to take place between May and July 2001, but the attacks are ultimately delayed until September. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/16/04 (B)] However, information such as these accounts resulting from prisoner interrogations is seriously doubted by some experts, because it appears they only began cooperating after being coerced or tortured. For instance, it is said that Mohammed was “waterboarded” (see September 11, 2002) a technique in which his head is pushed under water until he nearly drowns. Information gained under such duress often is unreliable. Additionally, there is a serious risk that the prisoners might try to intentionally deceive. [New York Times, 6/17/04] One CIA report of his interrogations is called, “Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's Threat Reporting—Precious Truths, Surrounded by a Bodyguard of Lies.” [Los Angeles Times, 6/23/04 (B)] The commission itself expresses worry that Mohammed could be trying to exaggerate the role of bin Laden in the plot to boost bin Laden's reputation in the Muslim world. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/16/04 (B)] Most of what these prisoners have said is uncorroborated from other sources. [New York Times, 6/17/04 (E)]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Osama bin Laden, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          


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