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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
Mohamed Atta (37)
Ziad Jarrah (9)
Hani Hanjour (15)
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (33)
Zacarias Moussaoui (40)
Nabil al-Marabh (10)

Geopolitics and 9/11

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

Day of 9/11

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

The Post-9/11 World

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

 
  

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

      
The Marienstrasse building.
Mohamed Atta and al-Qaeda operatives Said Bahaji and Ramzi Bin al-Shibh move into a four bedroom apartment at 54 Marienstrasse, in Hamburg, Germany, and stay there until February 2001 (Atta is already living primarily in the US well before this time). Investigators believe this move marks the formation of their Hamburg al-Qaeda cell [New York Times, 9/10/02; Los Angeles Times, 1/27/02] Up to six men at a time live at the apartment, including other al-Qaeda agents such as hijacker Marwan Alshehhi and cell member Zakariya Essabar. [New York Times, 9/15/01 (F)] During the 28 months Atta's name is on the apartment lease, 29 Middle Eastern or North African men register the apartment as their home address. From the very beginning, the apartment was officially under surveillance by German intelligence, because of investigations into businessman Mamoun Darkazanli that connect to Said Bahaji. [Washington Post, 10/23/01] The Germans also suspect connections between Bahaji and al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Haydar Zammar. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] German intelligence monitors the apartment off and on for months, and wiretaps Mounir El Motassadeq, an associate of the apartment-mates who is later put on trial in August 2002 for assisting the 9/11 plot, but apparently do not find any indication of suspicious activity. [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02] Bahaji is directly monitored at least for part of 1998, but German officials have not disclosed when the probe began or ended. That investigation is dropped for lack of evidence. [Associated Press, 6/22/02; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] It is now clear that investigators would have found evidence if they looked more thoroughly. For instance, Zammar, a talkative man who has trouble keeping secrets, is a frequent visitor to the many late night meetings there. [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02; Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp 259-60; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Another visitor later recalls Atta and others discussing attacking the US. [Knight Ridder, 9/9/02] 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is in Hamburg several times in 1999, and comes to the apartment. However, although there was a $2 million reward for Mohammed since 1998, the US apparently fails to tell Germany what it knows about him (see 1999). [Newsweek, 9/4/02; New York Times, 11/4/02] Hijacker Waleed Alshehri also apparently stays at the apartment “at times.” [Washington Post, 9/16/01 (B); Washington Post, 9/14/01] The CIA also starts monitoring Atta while he is living at this apartment, and does not tell Germany of the surveillance. Remarkably, the German government will claim it knew little about the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell before 9/11, and nothing directed them towards the Marienstrasse apartment. [Daily Telegraph, 11/24/01]
People and organizations involved: Marwan Alshehhi, Mamoun Darkazanli, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Germany, al-Qaeda, Said Bahaji, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Central Intelligence Agency, Mohamed Atta, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Zakariya Essabar, Mounir El Motassadeq
          

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

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

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

       German intelligence gives the CIA the first name of hijacker Marwan Alshehhi and his telephone number in the United Arab Emirates. The Germans learned the information from surveillance of suspected Islamic militants. They tell the CIA that Alshehhi has been in contact with suspected al-Qaeda members Mohammed Haydar Zammar and Mamoun Darkazanli. He is described as a United Arab Emirates student who has spent some time studying in Germany. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; New York Times, 2/24/04; Deutsche Presse-Agenteur, 8/13/03] The Germans consider this information “particularly valuable” and ask the CIA to track Alshehhi, but the CIA never responds until after the 9/11 attacks. The CIA decides at the time that this “Marwan” is probably an associate of bin Laden but never track him down. It is not clear why the CIA fails to act, or if they learn his last name before 9/11. [New York Times, 2/24/04] The Germans monitor other calls between Alshehhi and Zammar, but it isn't clear if the CIA is also told of these or not (see September 21, 1999).
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Marwan Alshehhi, Mamoun Darkazanli, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Germany, Central Intelligence Agency, al-Qaeda
          

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

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

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

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

Late 1999: Hijackers Clear Their Passport Records

       Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi report their passports missing; Ziad Jarrah reports his missing in February 2000. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01; Der Spiegel, 2002, pp 257-58] Alshehhi receives a replacement passport on December 26, 1999. [Times of London, 9/20/01]
People and organizations involved: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, Ziad Jarrah
          

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
          

Spring 2000: Atta and Alshehhi Rent Rooms in Brooklyn and the Bronx

       Mohamed Atta and another of the 9/11 hijackers (presumably Marwan Alshehhi) rent rooms in New York City, according to a federal investigator. These rooms are in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Following 9/11, Atta is traced back to Brooklyn by a parking ticket issued to a rental car he was driving. However, immigration records have Mohamed Atta entering the US for the first time on June 3, 2000 (see June 3, 2000). The Associated Press article on this subject does not specify if Atta first stayed in New York before or after that date. [Associated Press, 12/8/01] According to a brief mention in the 9/11 Commission's final report, in the month of June, “As [Atta and Marwan Alshehhi] looked at flight schools on the East Coast, [they] stayed in a series of short-term rentals in New York City.” [Washington Post, 8/13/05; 9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/24/04, p. 224] Earlier in 2000, a US Army intelligence program called Able Danger identified an al-Qaeda terrorist cell based in Brooklyn, of which Atta is a member (see January-February 2000). Also, a number of eyewitnesses later report seeing Atta in Maine and Florida before this official arrival date (see April 2000; Late April-Mid-May 2000).
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Able Danger, Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta
          

July 2000: Atta and Alshehhi Move to Florida and Enroll in Pilot Classes

       Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi move to Venice, Florida, and enroll in pilot classes at Huffman Aviation. [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, Huffman Aviation
          

(Before September 2000): Army Intelligence Unit Said to Discover Hijackers Renting Rooms at New Jersey Motels

       According to an anonymous Able Danger official speaking to the Bergen Record, a US Army intelligence unit tasked with assembling information about al-Qaeda networks worldwide discovers that several of the 9/11 hijackers are taking rooms at motels in New Jersey and meeting together there. The intelligence unit, called Able Danger, which uses high-speed computers to analyze vast amounts of data, notices that Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi take a room at the Wayne Inn (see (Before September 2000-12 Months Later)). After the existence of the Able Danger unit comes to light in 2005, Bergen Record columnist and reporter Mike Kelly says, “The connect-the-dots tracking by the team was so good that it even knew Atta conducted meetings with the three future hijackers. One of those meetings took place at the Wayne Inn. That's how close all this was—to us and to being solved, if only the information had been passed up the line to FBI agents or even to local cops. This new piece of 9/11 history, revealed only last week by a Pennsylvania congressman and confirmed by two former members of the intelligence team, could turn out to be one of the most explosive revelations since the publication last summer of the 9/11 commission report.” [Bergen Record, 8/14/05] The other two hijackers said to be present at the meetings, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, periodically live in the town of Paterson, only one mile away from Wayne (see March 2001-September 1, 2001). However, contradicting this account, a lawyer representing members of Able Danger later testifies, “At no time did Able Danger identify Mohamed Atta as being physically present in the United States.” [Mark Zaid Statement, 9/21/05; CNN, 9/21/05] Some media accounts have stated that the Able Danger program determined Atta was in the US before 9/11. For instance, Fox News reported in August 2005, “[Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer] is standing by his claim that he told them that the lead hijacker in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks had been identified in the summer of 2000 as an al-Qaeda operative living in the United States.” [Fox News, 8/17/05]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Marwan Alshehhi, Able Danger, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Mohamed Atta, Anthony Shaffer
          

(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
          

December 2000-April 2001: Israeli Investigators Deported After Identifying Two Hijackers

       According to later German reports, “a whole horde of Israeli counter-terror investigators, posing as students, [follow] the trails of Arab terrorists and their cells in the United States. ... In the town of Hollywood, Florida, they [identify] ... Atta and Marwan Alshehhi as possible terrorists. Agents [live] in the vicinity of the apartment of the two seemingly normal flight school students, observing them around the clock.” Supposedly, around April, the Israeli agents are discovered and deported, terminating the investigation. [Der Spiegel, 10/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks, Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta
          

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 12-September 7, 2001: Hijackers Collect Multiple Drivers' License Copies

      
The most famous image of Mohamed Atta came from his Florida driver's license.
At least six hijackers get more than one Florida driver's license. They get the second license simply by filling out change of address forms:
Waleed Alshehri—first license May 4, duplicate May 5;

Marwan Alshehhi—first license, April 12, duplicate in June;

Ziad Jarrah—first license May 2, duplicate July 10;

Ahmed Alhaznawi—first license July 10, duplicate September 7;

Hamza Alghamdi—first license June 27, two duplicates, the second in August; and

“A sixth man” with a Florida duplicate is not named. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01]
Additionally, some hijackers obtained licenses from multiple states. For instance, Nawaf Alhazmi had licenses from California, New York, and Florida at the same time, apparently all in the same name. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01; Daily Oklahoman, 1/20/02; Newsday, 9/21/01; South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01]
People and organizations involved: Waleed M. Alshehri, Marwan Alshehhi, Nawaf Alhazmi, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Hamza Alghamdi, Ziad Jarrah
          

May-August 2001: Hijackers Take Practice Flights and Enjoy Las Vegas Diversions

       A number of the hijackers make at least six trips to Las Vegas. It is probable they met here after doing practice runs on cross-country flights. At least Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Nawaf Alhazmi, Ziad Jarrah, Khalid Almihdhar and Hani Hanjour were involved. All of these “fundamentalist” Muslims drink alcohol, gamble, and frequent strip clubs. They even have strippers perform lap dances for them. [San Francisco Chronicle, 10/4/01; Newsweek, 10/15/01]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, William Safire, Ziad Jarrah, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi
          

May 6-September 6, 2001: Some Hijackers Work Out at Gyms, Some Merely Hang Out

      
Ziad Jarrah's computer record at the US1 Fitness gym.
The hijackers work out at various gyms, presumably getting in shape for the hijacking. Ziad Jarrah appears to train intensively from May to August, and Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi also take exercising very seriously. [Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01; New York Times, 9/23/01] However, these three are presumably pilots who would need the training the least. For instance, Jarrah's trainer says, “If he wasn't one of the pilots, he would have done quite well in thwarting the passengers from attacking.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01] For instance, Hani Hanjour, Majed Moqed, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, and Salem Alhazmi work out for only four days in early September. [Associated Press, 9/21/01] Three others—Waleed Alshehri, Wail Alshehri and Satam al-Suqami— “simply clustered around a small circuit of machines, never asking for help and, according to a trainer, never pushing any weights. ‘You know, I don't actually remember them ever doing anything... They would just stand around and watch people.’ ” [New York Times, 9/23/01] Those three also had a one month membership in Florida—whether they ever actually worked out there is unknown. [Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01]
People and organizations involved: Salem Alhazmi, Ziad Jarrah, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Majed Moqed, William Safire, Mohamed Atta, Waleed M. Alshehri, Central Intelligence Agency, Marwan Alshehhi, Satam Al Suqami, Wail Alshehri
          

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 8-19, 2001: Atta, Bin Al-Shibh, Alshehhi, and Others Meet in Spain to Finalize Attack Plans

       Mohamed Atta travels to Spain again (his first trip was in January). Three others cross the Atlantic with him but their names are not known, as they apparently use false identities. [El Mundo, 9/30/01] Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, a member of his Hamburg terrorist cell, arrives in Spain on July 9, and stays until July 16. [New York Times, 5/1/02] Hijacker Marwan Alshehhi also comes to Spain at about the same time and leaves on July 17. [Associated Press, 6/30/02] Alshehhi must have traveled under another name, because US immigration has no records of his departure or return. [Department of Justice, 5/20/02] Investigators believe Atta, Alshehhi, and bin al-Shibh meet with at least three Unknown others in a secret safe house near Tarragona. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02; Associated Press, 6/30/02] It is theorized that the final details of the 9/11 attacks are set at this meeting. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Atta probably meets with, and is hosted by, Barakat Yarkas and other Spanish al-Qaeda members. [International Herald Tribune, 11/21/01] One of the unknowns at the meeting could be Yarkas's friend Mamoun Darkazanli, a German with connections to the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. Darkazanli travels to Spain and meets with Yarkas during the time Atta is there. He travels with an unnamed Syrian Spanish suspect, who lived in Afghanistan and had access there to al-Qaeda leaders. [Los Angeles Times, 1/14/03] The Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia later reports that Atta also meets with fellow hijackers Waleed Alshehri and Wail Alshehri on July 16. [Associated Press, 9/27/01] Strangely enough, on July 16, Atta stayed in the same hotel in the town of Salou that had hosted FBI counterterrorist expert John O'Neill a few days earlier, when he made a speech to other counterterrorism experts on the need for greater international cooperation by police agencies to combat terrorism. Bin al-Shibh arrived in Salou on July 9, which means he would have been there when the counter-terrorist meeting took place. [Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp 135]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Barakat Yarkas, Wail Alshehri, John O'Neill, Mamoun Darkazanli, Marwan Alshehhi, International Herald Tribune
          

August 24-29, 2001: Hijackers Buy 9/11 Plane Tickets Using Their Apparent Real Names

       All of the hijackers book their flights for 9/11, using their apparent real names. Most pay using credit cards on the Internet. [Miami Herald, 9/22/01] At least five tickets are one way only. [Los Angeles Times, 9/18/01]
          

Before September 11, 2001: Hijackers Drink, Watch Strip Shows on Eve of Attacks

       A number of the hijackers apparently drink alcohol heavily in bars and watch strip shows. On September 10, three of them spend $200 to $300 apiece on lap dances and drinks in the Pink Pony, a Daytona Beach, Florida strip club. While the hijackers had left Florida by this time, Mohamed Atta is reported to have visited the same strip club, and these men appear to have had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. [Boston Herald, 10/10/01] Marwan Alshehhi and Mohamed Atta are seen entering the Hollywood, Florida, sports bar Shuckums already drunk. They proceed to drink even more hard alcohol there . Atta and Alshehhi are seen at Sunrise 251, a bar in Palm Beach, Florida. They spend $1,000 in 45 minutes on Krug and Perrier-Jouet champagne. Atta is with a tall busty brunette in her late twenties; Alshehhi is with a shortish blonde. Both women are known locally as regular companions of high-rollers. [Daily Mail, 9/16/01] A stripper at the Olympic Garden Topless Cabaret in Las Vegas, Nevada, recalls Marwan Alshehhi being “cheap,” paying only $20 for a lap dance. [Cox News, 10/16//01] Several hijackers reportedly patronize the Nardone's Go-Go Bar in Elizabeth, New Jersey. They are even seen there on the weekend before 9/11. [Wall Street Journal, 10/16/01; Boston Herald, 10/10/01] Majed Moqed visits a porn shop and rents a porn video. The mayor of Paterson, New Jersey, says of the six hijackers who stayed there: “Nobody ever saw them at mosques, but they liked the go-go clubs.” [Newsweek, 10/15/01] Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar often frequented Cheetah's, a nude bar in San Diego. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Hamza Alghamdi watched a porn video on September 10. [Wall Street Journal, 10/16/01] University of Florida religion professor Richard Foltz states, “It is incomprehensible that a person could drink and go to a strip bar one night, then kill themselves the next day in the name of Islam ... People who would kill themselves for their faith would come from very strict Islamic ideology. Something here does not add up.” [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Almihdhar, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Hamza Alghamdi, Nawaf Alhazmi, Majed Moqed
          


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