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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 (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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August 2001: Russia Warns US of Suicide Pilots

       Russian President Vladimir Putin warns the US that suicide pilots are training for attacks on US targets. [Fox News, 5/17/02] The head of Russian intelligence also later states, “We had clearly warned them” on several occasions, but they “did not pay the necessary attention.” [Agence France-Presse, 9/16/01] A Russian newspaper on September 12, 2001, claims, “Russian Intelligence agents know the organizers and executors of these terrorist attacks. More than that, Moscow warned Washington about preparation to these actions a couple of weeks before they happened.” Interestingly, the article claims that at least two of the militants were Muslim radicals from Uzbekistan. [Izvestia, 9/12/01]
People and organizations involved: Vladimir Putin
          

August 2001: Moroccan Informant Warns US of Large Scale, Imminent Attack in New York

       According to simultaneous reports in a French magazine and a Moroccan newspaper, a Moroccan agent named Hassan Dabou has penetrated al-Qaeda to the point of getting close to bin Laden by this time. Dabou claims he learns that bin Laden is “very disappointed” that the 1993 bombing had not toppled the WTC, and plans “large scale operations in New York in the summer or fall of 2001.” Dabou is called to the US to report this information directly, and in so doing blows his cover, losing his ability to gather more intelligence. The International Herald Tribune later calls the story “not proved beyond a doubt” but intriguing, and asks the CIA to confirm or deny the story. The CIA has refused to do so. [Agence France-Presse, 11/22/01; Times of London, 6/12/02; International Herald Tribune, 5/21/02]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, Osama bin Laden, Central Intelligence Agency, Hassan Dabou, al-Qaeda
          

Early August 2001: Britain Warns US Again; Specifies Multiple Airplane Hijackings

       Britain gives the US another warning about an al-Qaeda attack. The previous British warning on July 16, 2001 (see July 16, 2001), was vague as to method, but this warning specifies multiple airplane hijackings. This warning is said to reach President Bush. [Sunday Herald, 5/19/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, al-Qaeda
          

August 1, 2001: FBI Reissues Warning That Overseas Law Enforcement Agencies May Be Targets

       With the approaching third anniversary of the US embassy bombings in Africa, the FBI reissues a warning that overseas law enforcement agencies may be targets. [CNN, 3/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

August 1, 2001: Actor Communicates Concerns to Stewardess That Airplane Will Be Hijacked; Warning Forwarded to the FAA

      
James Woods.
Actor James Woods, flying first class on an airplane, notices four Arabic-looking men, the only other people in the first class section. He concludes they are Islamic militants intent on hijacking the plane, acting very strangely (for instance, only talking in whispers). [Boston Globe, 11/23/01] He tells a flight attendant, “I think this plane is going to be hijacked,” adding, “I know how serious it is to say this.” He conveys his worries to the pilots, and they assure him that the cockpit would be locked. [New Yorker, 5/27/02] The flight staff later notifies the FAA about these suspicious individuals. Though the government will not discuss this event, it is highly unlikely that any action is taken regarding the flight staff's worries [New Yorker, 5/27/02] Woods is not interviewed by the FBI until after 9/11. Woods says the FBI believes that all four men took part in the 9/11 attacks, and the flight he was on was a practice flight for them. [O'Reilly Factor, 2/14/02] Woods believes one was Khalid Almihdhar and another was Hamza Alghamdi. [New Yorker, 5/27/02] The FBI later reports that this may have been one of a dozen test run flights starting as early as January. Flight attendants and passengers on other flights later recall men looking like the hijackers who took pictures of the cockpit aboard flights and/or took notes. [Associated Press, 5/29/02] The FBI has not been able to find any evidence of hijackers on the flight manifest for Woods' flight. [New Yorker, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Aviation Administration, Hamza Alghamdi, James Woods, Khalid Almihdhar
          

Early August 2001: CIA's Concern over Planned bin Laden Strikes Inside US Are Heightened

       The Associated Press later reports that the “CIA had developed general information a month before the attacks that heightened concerns that bin Laden and his followers were increasingly determined to strike on US soil.” A CIA official affirms, “[t]here was something specific in early August that said to us that [bin Laden] was determined in striking on US soil.” [Associated Press, 10/3/01]
People and organizations involved: Central Intelligence Agency, Osama bin Laden
          

Early August 2001: Government Informant Warns Congressmen of Plan to Attack the WTC

      
Randy Glass.
Randy Glass, a former con artist turned government informant, later claims that he contacts the staff of Senator Bob Graham [D] and Representative Robert Wexler [D] at this time and warns them of a plan to attack the WTC, but his warnings are ignored. [Palm Beach Post, 10/17/02] Glass also tells the media at this time that his recently concluded informant work has “far greater ramifications than have so far been revealed,” and, “potentially, thousands of lives [are] at risk.” [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 8/7/01] Glass was a key informant in a sting operation involving ISI agents who were illegally trying to purchase sophisticated US military weaponry in return for cash and heroin. He later claims that in July 1999, one ISI agent named Rajaa Gulum Abbas pointed to the WTC and said, “Those towers are coming down.” [Palm Beach Post, 10/17/02] Most details apparently remain sealed. For instance Glass claims that his sealed sentencing document dated June 15, 2001, lists threats against the WTC and Americans. [WPBF Channel 25, 8/5/02] Florida State Senator Ron Klein, who had dealings with Glass before 9/11, later says he is surprised it took so many months for the US to listen to Glass: “Shame on us.” [Palm Beach Post, 10/17/02] Klein recalls getting a warning from Glass, though he cannot recall if it mentions the WTC specifically. He says he was told US intelligence agencies would look into it. [WPTV, 10/7/02] Senator Graham later acknowledges that his office had contact with Glass before 9/11, and was told about a WTC attack: “I was concerned about that and a dozen other pieces of information which emanated from the summer of 2001.” However, Graham will say that he personally was unaware of Glass's information until after 9/11. [Palm Beach Post, 10/17/02] In October 2002, Glass will testify under oath before a private session of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, stating, “I told [the inquiry] I have specific evidence, and I can document it.” [Palm Beach Post, 10/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Bob Graham, Randy Glass, Ron Klein, Rajaa Gulum Abbas, Robert Wexler, World Trade Center
          

August 2001: Bush Administration Rejects Plan to Capture Al-Zawahiri

      
Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The US receives intelligence that bin Laden's right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is receiving medical treatment at a clinic in San'a, Yemen. However, the Bush administration rejects a plan to capture him, as officials are not 100 percent sure the patient is al-Zawahiri. Officials later regret the missed opportunity. [ABC News, 2/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bush administration
          

August 1-2, 2001: Hijackers Illegally Purchase Virginia Identity Cards

      
This Amhed Al-Ghamdi photo comes from his Virginia ID card, the only one publicly released by the 9/11 Commission.
Hijackers Hani Hanjour and Khalid Almihdhar meet Luis Martinez-Flores, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, in a 7-Eleven parking lot in Falls Church, Virginia. Martinez-Flores is paid $100 cash to accompany the two to a local Department of Motor Vehicles office and sign forms attesting to their permanent residence in Virginia. Given new state identity cards, the cards are used the next day to get Virginia identity cards for several (five to seven) additional hijackers, including Abdulaziz Alomari, Ahmed Alghamdi, Majed Moqed, and Salem Alhazmi. [Arizona Daily Star, 9/28/01; Wall Street Journal, 10/16/01; Washington Post, 9/30/01]
People and organizations involved: Khalid Almihdhar, William Safire, Salem Alhazmi, Ahmed Alghamdi, Majed Moqed, Abdulaziz Alomari, Luis Martinez-Flores
          

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 2, 2001: US Official Secretly Meets Taliban Ambassador in Last Attempt to Secure Pipeline Deal

       Christina Rocca, Director of Asian Affairs at the State Department, secretly meets the Taliban ambassador in Islamabad, apparently in a last ditch attempt to secure a pipeline deal. Rocca was previously in charge of contacts with Islamic guerrilla groups at the CIA, and oversaw the delivery of Stinger missiles to Afghan mujahedeen in the 1980s. [Brisard, Dasquie and Madsen, 2002, pp 45; Salon, 2/8/02; Irish Times, 11/19/01]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Christina Rocca
          

August 4, 2001: Nothing New in Bush Letter to Pakistani President

       President Bush sends a letter to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, warning him about supporting the Taliban. However, the tone is similar to past requests dating to the Clinton administration. There had been some discussion that US policy toward Pakistan should change. For instance, at the end of June, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke “urged that the United States [should] think about what it would do after the next attack, and then take that position with Pakistan now, before the attack.” [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04] Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage later acknowledges that a new approach to Pakistan is not yet implemented by 9/11. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 Sources: Richard Armitage]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Pervez Musharraf, Clinton administration, Richard A. Clarke, George W. Bush
          

August 4-30, 2001: Bush Nearly Sets Record for Longest Presidential Vacation

       President Bush spends most of August 2001 at his Crawford, Texas, ranch, nearly setting a record for the longest presidential vacation. While it is billed a “working vacation,” news organizations report that Bush is doing “nothing much” aside from his regular daily intelligence briefings. [Salon, 8/29/01; Washington Post, 8/7/01; ABC News, 8/3/01] One such unusually long briefing at the start of his trip is a warning that bin Laden is planning to attack in the US (see August 6, 2001), but Bush spends the rest of that day fishing. By the end of his trip, Bush has spent 42 percent of his presidency at vacation spots or en route. [Washington Post, 8/7/01] At the time, a poll shows that 55 percent of Americans say Bush is taking too much time off. [USA Today, 8/7/01] Vice President Cheney also spends the entire month in a remote location in Wyoming. [Jackson Hole News and Guide, 8/15/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

August 4, 2001: Possible 20th Hijacker Denied Entry to US

      
Customs agent Jose Melendez-Perez.
A Saudi named Mohammed Al-Qahtani is stopped at the Orlando, Florida, airport and denied entry to the US. Jose Melendez-Perez, the customs official who stops him, later says he was suspicious of Al-Qahtani because he had arrived with no return ticket, no hotel reservations, spoke little English, behaved menacingly, and offered conflicting information on the purpose of his travel. At one point, Al-Qahtani said that someone was waiting for him elsewhere at the airport. After 9/11, surveillance cameras show that Mohamed Atta was at the Orlando airport that day. 9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste says: “It is extremely possible and perhaps probable that [Al-Qahtani] was to be the 20th hijacker.” Al-Qahtani boards a return flight to Saudi Arabia. He is later captured in Afghanistan and sent to a US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Melendez-Perez says that before 9/11, customs officials were discouraged by their superiors from hassling Saudi travelers, who were seen as big spenders. [Los Angeles Times, 1/27/04]
People and organizations involved: Mohammed Al-Qahtani, Mohamed Atta, Richard Ben-Veniste
          

August 6, 2001: Suspicious Trading of Companies Affected by 9/11 May Begin by This Date

       Insider trading based on advanced knowledge of the 9/11 attacks may have begun on this date, if not earlier. Investigators later discover a large number of put option purchases (a speculation that the stock will go down) that expire on September 30 at the Chicago Board Options Exchange are bought on this date. If exercised, these options would have led to large profits. One analyst later says, “From what I'm hearing, it's more than coincidence.” [Reuters, 9/20/01]
People and organizations involved: Chicago Board Options Exchange
          

After August 6, 2001: ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US’ Memo Is Not Acted Upon

      
Bush being briefed at his ranch on August 6, 2001.
The 9/11 Commission will later state that after the now famous “bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” memo is given to President Bush on August 6, 2001 (see August 6, 2001), “We have found no indication of any further discussion before September 11 among the president and his top advisers of the possibility of a threat of an al-Qaeda attack in the United States.” [Newsweek, 4/28/05] 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey will later state to CNN,“[B]y the way, there's a credible case that the president's own negligence prior to 9/11 at least in part contributed to the disaster in the first place. ... [I]n the summer of 2001, the government ignored repeated warnings by the CIA, ignored, and didn't do anything to harden our border security, didn't do anything to harden airport country, didn't do anything to engage local law enforcement, didn't do anything to round up INS and consular offices and say we have to shut this down, and didn't warn the American people. The famous presidential daily briefing on August 6, we say in the report that the briefing officers believed that there was a considerable sense of urgency and it was current. So there was a case to be made that wasn't made. ... The president says, if I had only known that 19 Islamic men would come into the United States of America and on the morning of 11 September hijack four American aircraft, fly two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and one into an unknown Pennsylvania that crashed in Shanksville, I would have moved heaven and earth. That's what he said. Mr. President, you don't need to know that. This is an Islamic Jihadist movement that has been organized since the early 1990s, declared war on the United States twice, in '96 and '98. You knew they were in the United States. You were warned by the CIA. You knew in July they were inside the United States. You were told again by briefing officers in August that it was a dire threat. And what did you do? Nothing, so far as we could see on the 9/11 Commission.” [CNN, 11/8/04]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, World Trade Center, Pentagon, Central Intelligence Agency, George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, 9/11 Commission, Bob Kerrey, al-Qaeda
          

August 6, 2001: Bush Briefing Titled Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US

      
President Bush at his Crawford, Texas, ranch on August 6, 2001. Advisors wait with classified briefings.
President Bush receives a classified intelligence briefing at his Crawford, Texas ranch indicating that bin Laden might be planning to hijack commercial airliners. The memo provided to him is titled “bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” The entire memo focuses on the possibility of terrorist attacks inside the US. [Newsweek, 5/27/02; New York Times, 5/15/02] Incredibly, the New York Times later reports that Bush “[breaks] off from work early and [spends] most of the day fishing.” [New York Times, 5/25/02] The existence of this memo is kept secret, until it is leaked in May 2002, causing a storm of controversy. While National Security Adviser Rice claims the memo is only one and a half pages long; other accounts state it is 11 1/2 pages instead of the usual two or three. [Newsweek, 5/27/02; New York Times, 5/15/02; Die Zeit, 10/1/02] She disingenuously asserts that, “It was an analytic report that talked about [bin Laden]'s methods of operation, talked about what he had done historically, in 1997, in 1998. ... I want to reiterate, it was not a warning. There was no specific time, place, or method mentioned.” [White House, 5/16/02] A page and a half of the contents are released on April 10, 2004, after Rice testifies before the 9/11 Commission. [Washington Post, 4/10/04] Rice testifies that the memo is mostly historic regarding bin Laden's previous activities, and she says it contains no specific information that would have prevented an attack. The memo, as released, states as follows:
Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate bin Laden since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US. Bin Laden implied in US television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and "bring the fighting to America."

After US missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, bin Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a -REDACTED-service.

An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told -REDACTED- service at the same time that bin Laden was planning to exploit the operative's access to the US to mount a terrorist strike.

The millennium plotting in Canada in 1999 may have been part of bin Laden's first serious attempt to implement a terrorist strike in the US. Convicted plotter Ahmed Ressam has told the FBI that he conceived the idea to attack Los Angeles International Airport himself, but that in ---, Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaida encouraged him and helped facilitate the operation. Ressam also said that in 1998 Abu Zubaida was planning his own US attack.

Ressam says bin Laden was aware of the Los Angeles operation.

Although bin Laden has not succeeded, his attacks against the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 demonstrate that he prepares operations years in advance and is not deterred by setbacks. Bin Laden associates surveyed our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam as early as 1993, and some members of the Nairobi cell planning the bombings were arrested and deported in 1997.

Al Qaeda members -- including some who are US citizens -- have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks. Two al-Qaeda members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our embassies in East Africa were US citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.

A clandestine source said in 1998 that a bin Laden cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks.

We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a -REDACTED- service in 1998 saying that bin Laden wanted to hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman and other US-held extremists.

Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full-field investigations throughout the US that it considers bin Laden-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group or bin Laden supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives. [9/11 Commission, 7/22/2004]
The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry calls it “a closely held intelligence report for senior government officials” presented in early August 2001. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Ramzi Yousef, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Los Angeles International Airport, Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Ahmed Ressam, 9/11 Commission, Central Intelligence Agency, Abu Zubaida, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, World Trade Center
          

August 6, 2001: Justice Department Reaffirms Wall Policy

       In testimony before the 9/11 Commission, Attorney General Ashcroft complains, “[T]he single greatest structural cause for September 11 was the wall that segregated criminal investigators and intelligence agents.” However, on this day, Ashcroft's Assistant Attorney General, Larry Thompson, writes a memo reaffirming the policy that is later criticized as this “wall.” [9/11 Commission Thompson Testimony, 12/8/03; Washington Post, 4/18/04]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, John Ashcroft
          

August 6, 2001: Perle's Concern About Iraq, North Korea, and Iran Before 9/11 Becomes Axis of Evil Afterward

       Richard Perle, head of the Defense Policy Board and foreign policy adviser to Bush, is asked about new challenges now that the Cold War is over. He cites three: “We're concerned about Saddam Hussein, We're concerned about the North Koreans, about some future Iranian government that may have the weapon they're now trying so hard to acquire...” [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 8/6/01] Note that these three nations are the same three named in Bush's famous January 2002 “axis of evil” speech. [CNN, 1/29/02]
People and organizations involved: Saddam Hussein, Iran, Richard Perle, North Korea
          

August 7, 2001: Version of Bush's al-Qaeda Briefing Is Incomplete, Poorly Distributed

       One day after Bush receives a Presidential Daily Briefing entitled, “bin Laden Determined to Strike in US,” a version of the same material is given to other top government officials. However, this Senior Executive Intelligence Brief (SEIB) does not contain the most important information from Bush's briefing. It does not mention that there are 70 FBI investigations into possible al-Qaeda activity, does not mention a May 2001 threat of US-based explosives attacks, and does not mention FBI concerns about recent surveillance of buildings in New York City. Typically, this type of memo “goes to scores of Cabinet-agency officials from the assistant secretary level up and does not include raw intelligence or sensitive information about ongoing law enforcement matters,” according to the Associated Press. Some members of Congress later express concern that policy makers were given an incomplete view of the terrorist threat. [Associated Press, 4/13/04 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation, George W. Bush
          

August 8-15, 2001: Israel Reportedly Warns of Major Assault on the US

       At some point between these dates, Israel warns the US that an al-Qaeda attack is imminent. [Fox News, 5/17/02] Reportedly, two high-ranking agents from the Mossad come to Washington and warn the FBI and CIA that from 50 to 200 terrorists have slipped into the US and are planning “a major assault on the United States.” They say indications point to a “large scale target,” and that Americans would be “very vulnerable.” They add there could be Iraqi connections to the al-Qaeda attack. [Daily Telegraph, 9/16/01; Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01; Ottawa Citizen, 9/17/01] The Los Angeles Times later retracts its story after a CIA spokesperson says, “There was no such warning. Allegations that there was are complete and utter nonsense.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01 (B)] Other newspapers do not retract it.
People and organizations involved: Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks, al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency
          

August 13-15, 2001: Moussaoui Immediately Raises Suspicions at Flight School

       Zacarias Moussaoui trains at the Pan Am International Flight School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he pays $8,300 ($1500 by credit card and the remainder in cash) to use a Boeing 474 Model 400 aircraft simulator. After just one day of training most of the staff is suspicious that he is a terrorist, especially after they discuss with him “how much fuel [is] on board a 747-400 and how much damage that could cause if it hit[s] anything.” Staff members call the FBI with their concerns later that day. [New York Times, 2/8/02; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02] They are suspicious because:
In contrast to all the other students at this high-level flight school, he has no aviation background, little previous training, and no pilot's license. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02]

He wants to fly a 747 not because he plans to be a pilot, but as an “ego boosting thing.” [New York Times, 10/18/02]
Yet within hours of his arrival, it is clear he “was not some affluent joyrider.” [New York Times, 2/8/02]
He is “extremely” interested in the operation of the plane's doors and control panel. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02]
He also is very keen to learn the protocol for communicating with the flight tower, despite having no plans to become an actual pilot. [New York Times, 2/8/02]
He is evasive and belligerent when asked about his background. When an instructor, who notes from his records that Moussaoui is from France, attempts to greet him in French, Moussaoui appears not to understand, saying that he had spent very little time in France and that he is from the Middle East. The instructor considers it odd that Moussaoui did not specify the Middle Eastern country. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 12/21/01; Washington Post, 1/2/02]

He tells a flight instructor he is not a Muslim, but the instructor senses he is lying about this. [New Yorker, 9/30/02]

He says he would “love” to fly a simulated flight from London to New York, raising fears he has plans to hijack such a flight. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02]
His original e-mail to the flight school similarly stated he wanted to be good enough to fly from London to New York. [New York Times, 2/8/02]
He pays for thousands of dollars in expenses from a large wad of cash. [New York Times, 2/8/02]

He seems determined to pack a large amount of training in a short period for no apparent reason. [New York Times, 2/8/02]

He mostly practices flying in the air, not taking off or landing (although reports claiming he did not want to take off or land at all appear to be an exaggeration). [New York Times, 2/8/02; Slate, 5/21/02; Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 12/21/01; New York Times, 5/22/02]
Failing to get much initial interest from the FBI, the flight instructor tells the FBI agents, “Do you realize how serious this is? This man wants training on a 747. A 747 fully loaded with fuel could be used as a weapon!” [New York Times, 2/8/02]
People and organizations involved: Zacarias Moussaoui, Pan Am International Flight School, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

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

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

August 15, 2001: Moussaoui Is Arrested; FBI Headquarters Uninterested

      
Zacarias Moussaoui.
Based on the concerns of flight school staff, Zacarias Moussaoui is arrested and detained in Minnesota on the excuse of an immigration violation. [Time, 5/27/02] The FBI confiscates his possessions, including a computer laptop, but does not have a search warrant to search through them. When arresting him, they note that he possesses two knives, fighting gloves, and shin guards, and has prepared “through physical training for violent confrontation.” An FBI interview of him adds more concerns. For example, he states that he is in the US working as a “marketing consultant” for a computer company, but is unable to provide any details of his employment. Nor can he convincingly explain his $32,000 bank balance. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02; MSNBC, 12/11/01] An FBI report states that when asked about his trips to Pakistan, “the questioning caused him to become extremely agitated, and he refused to discuss the matter further.” The report also notes, “Moussaoui was extremely evasive in many of his answers.” [CNN, 9/28/02] His roommate is interviewed on the same day, and tells agents that Moussaoui believes it is “acceptable to kill civilians who harm Muslims,” that Moussaoui approves of Muslims who die as “martyrs, and that Moussaoui might be willing to act on his beliefs.” [Washington Post, 5/24/02] Minnesota FBI agents quickly become frustrated at the lack of interest in the case from higher ups, and grow increasingly concerned. [New York Times, 2/8/02]
People and organizations involved: FBI Minnesota field office, Zacarias Moussaoui, FBI Headquarters
          

August 15-28, 2001: Moussaoui Arrest Raises Serious Concerns of Airplane-based Attack with Local FBI; Washington Headquarters Ignores Pleas for Search Warrant Until After 9/11

       See chapter 10.
          

Mid-August 2001: Afghan Leader Organizes Taliban Resistance Without US Support

       Abdul Haq, a famous Afghan leader of the mujahedeen, returns to Peshawar, Pakistan, from the US. Having failed to gain US support, except for that of some private individuals such as former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, Haq begins organizing subversive operations in Afghanistan. [Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01 (B); Wall Street Journal, 11/2/01] He is later killed entering Afghanistan in October 2001, after his position is reportedly betrayed to the Taliban by the ISI.
People and organizations involved: Abdul Haq, Taliban, Robert C. McFarlane, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence
          

August 15, 2001: CIA Counterterrorism Head: We Are Going to Be Struck Soon

      
Cofer Black.
Cofer Black, head of the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center, says in a speech to the Department of Defense's annual Convention of Counterterrorism, “We are going to be struck soon, many Americans are going to die, and it could be in the US.” Black later complains that top leaders are unwilling to act at this time unless they are given “such things as the attack is coming within the next few days and here is what they are going to hit.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/26/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Cofer Black
          

August 16, 2001: FAA Issues Warning; Airlines Say Warning Not Received

       The FAA issues a warning to airlines concerning disguised weapons. According to later testimony by National Security Adviser Rice, the FAA is concerned about reports that the terrorists have made breakthroughs in disguising weapons as cell phones, key chains, and pens. [Reuters, 5/16/02; CNN, 3/02 Sources: Condoleezza Rice] However, the major airlines later deny receiving such notification. For instance, a Delta spokesperson states: “We were not aware of any warnings or notifications of any specific threats.” [Fox News, 5/16/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration
          

August 17 and 31, 2001: Tenet Briefs President Bush; Fails to Mention Moussaoui

       CIA records show that Tenet briefed the president twice in August—once in Crawford, Texas, on August 17, and once in Washington, on August 31. By the time of the second briefing, Tenet is aware of Zacarias Moussaoui's arrest , but, apparently, he fails to tell Bush about it. [Washington Post, 4/15/04 (B)] In April 2004, Tenet will testify under oath before the 9/11 Commission that he had no direct communication with President Bush during the month of August. [New York Times, 4/15/04] This is quickly discovered to be untrue. A CIA spokesperson will then claim, “He momentarily forgot [about the briefings].” [Washington Post, 4/15/04 (B)]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, George Tenet, Zacarias Moussaoui, 9/11 Commission
          

August 19, 2001: FBI's Best al-Qaeda Expert Under Investigation for Trivial Issue, His Resignation Soon Follows

      
John O'Neill.
The New York Times reports that counterterrorism expert John O'Neill is under investigation for an incident involving a missing briefcase. [New York Times, 8/19/01] In July 2000, he misplaced a briefcase containing important classified information, but it was found a couple of hours later still locked and untouched. Why such a trivial issue would come up over a year later and be published in the New York Times seems entirely due to politics. Says The New Yorker, “The leak seemed to be timed to destroy O'Neill's chance of being confirmed for [a National Security Council] job,” and force him into retirement. A high-ranking colleague says the leak was “somebody being pretty vicious to John.” [New Yorker, 1/14/02] John O'Neill suspects his enemy Tom Pickard, then interim director of the FBI, orchestrated the article. [PBS Frontline, 10/3/02 (B)] The New Yorker later speculates that with the retirement of FBI Director Freeh in June, it appears O'Neill lost his friends in high places, and the new FBI director wanted him replaced with a Bush ally. [New Yorker, 1/14/02] O'Neill resigns a few days later.
People and organizations involved: Louis J. Freeh, Thomas Pickard, John O'Neill
          

August 21, 2001: Local FBI Pleads with Headquarters to Warn Secret Service About Moussaoui

       The Minnesota FBI office e-mails FBI headquarters on this day, saying it is “imperative” that the Secret Service be warned of the danger that a plot involving Zacarias Moussaoui might pose to the president's safety. However, no such warning is ever sent. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02; New York Times, 10/18/02]
People and organizations involved: FBI Minnesota field office, George W. Bush, Zacarias Moussaoui, FBI Headquarters, Secret Service
          

August 21, 2001: Inmate Warns of Impending Attack in New York

      
Left to right: Khalid al-Fawwaz, Adel Abdel Bary and Ibrahim Ediarous.
Walid Arkeh, a Jordanian serving time in a Florida prison, is interviewed by FBI agents after warning the government of an impending al-Qaeda attack. He had been in a British jail from September 2000 to July 2001, and while there had befriended three inmates, Khalid al-Fawwaz, Adel Abdel Bary, and Ibrahim Eidarous. US prosecutors charge, “The three men ran a London storefront that served as a cover for al-Qaeda operations and acted as a conduit for communications between bin Laden and his network.” [Orlando Sentinel, 10/30/02] Al-Fawwaz was bin Laden's press agent in London, and bin Laden had called him over 200 times before al-Fawwaz was arrested in 1998. [Sunday Times, 3/24/02; Financial Times, 11/29/01 (B)] The other two had worked in the same office as al-Fawwaz. All three had been indicted as co-conspirators with bin Laden in the August 1998 US embassy bombings. Arkeh tells the FBI that he had learned from these three that “something big [is] going to happen in New York City,” and that they call the 1993 attack on the WTC “unfinished business.” Tampa FBI agents determine that he had associated with these al-Qaeda agents, but nonetheless they do not believe him. According to Arkeh, one agent responds to his “something big” warning by saying: “Is that all you have? That's old news.” The agents fail to learn more from him. On September 9, concerned that time is running out, a fellow prisoner will try to arrange a meeting, but nothing happens before 9/11. The Tampa FBI agents have a second interview with him hours after the 9/11 attacks, but even long after 9/11 they claim he cannot be believed. On January 6, 2002, the Tampa FBI issued a statement: “The information [was] vetted to FBI New York, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Tampa Division and the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida. All agreed the information provided by this individual was vague and unsubstantiated ... Mr. Arkeh did not provide information that had any bearing on the FBI preventing September 11.” [Orlando Sentinel, 10/30/02; Orlando Sentinel, 1/6/02] However, a different group of FBI agents will interview him in May 2002 and find his information credible.
People and organizations involved: Khalid al-Fawwaz, al-Qaeda, Walid Arkeh, Ibrahim Eidarous, Adel Abdel Bary, Federal Bureau of Investigation, World Trade Center
          

August 21, 2001: PNAC Think Tank Leader States US Should Embrace Imperialist Hegemon Role

       Thomas Donnelly, deputy executive director of the PNAC, explains to the Washington Post that the US should embrace its role as imperialist hegemon over the world. He says many important politicians privately agree with him. “There's not all that many people who will talk about it openly,” he says. “It's discomforting to a lot of Americans. So they use code phrases like ‘America is the sole superpower.’ ” He also says, “I think Americans have become used to running the world and would be very reluctant to give it up, if they realized there were a serious challenge to it.” [Washington Post, 8/21/01] Such statements of policy had been publicly denounced by Bush prior to his election, and some claim that the Bush administration only changes its mind toward a more aggressive policy after 9/11. However, this claim is inconsistent with the roles of senior Bush officials such as Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz in formulating the preemptive doctrine in 1992 then pushing for it in PNAC during the Clinton administration. In the summer of 2001, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's office “sponsored a study of ancient empires—Macedonia, Rome, the Mongols—to figure out how they maintained dominance.” [New York Times, 3/5/03]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Donnelly
          

August 22, 2001: France Gives FBI Information on Moussaoui; FBI Headquarters Still Refuses Search Warrant

       Responding to the request of the FBI's Minnesota field office, the French provide intelligence information they have compiled over the past several years relating to Zacarias Moussaoui. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02] The French say Moussaoui has ties with radical Islamic groups and recruits men to fight in Chechnya. They believe he spent time in Afghanistan in 1999. He had been on a French watch list for several years, preventing him from entering France. A French justice official later says that “the government gave the FBI ‘everything we had’ ” on Moussaoui, “enough to make you want to check this guy out every way you can. Anyone paying attention would have seen he was not only operational in the militant Islamist world but had some autonomy and authority as well.” [Time, 5/27/02] A senior French investigator later says, “Even a neophyte working in some remote corner of Florida, would have understood the threat based on what was sent.” [Time, 8/4/02] The French Interior Minister also emphasizes, “We did not hold back any information.” [ABC News, 9/5/02] However, senior officials at FBI headquarters still maintain that the information “was too sketchy to justify a search warrant for his computer.” [Time, 8/4/02]
People and organizations involved: France, FBI Minnesota field office, FBI Headquarters, Zacarias Moussaoui
          

August 22, 2001: US and Pakistan Negotiate to Capture or Kill bin Laden

       The Asia Times reports that the US is engaged in “intense negotiations” with Pakistan for assistance in an operation to capture or kill bin Laden. However, despite promised rewards, there is a “very strong lobby within the [Pakistani] army not to assist in any US moves to apprehend bin Laden.” [Asia Times, 8/22/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, United States, Pakistan
          

August 22, 2001: O'Neill Quits FBI in Frustration; Misses Important Warnings

       Counterterrorism expert John O'Neill resigns from the FBI. He says it is partly because of the recent power play against him, but also because of repeated obstruction of his investigations into al-Qaeda. [New Yorker, 1/14/02] In his last act, he signs papers ordering FBI investigators back to Yemen to resume the USS Cole investigation, now that Barbara Bodine is leaving as ambassador (they arrive a couple days before 9/11). He never hears the CIA warning about hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar sent out just one day later. Because he fell out of favor a few months earlier, he also is never told about Ken Williams' flight school memo from July 10, 2001, or the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui on August 15, 2001 [PBS Frontline, 10/3/02 (D)] ; nor does he attend a June meeting when the CIA reveals some of what it knows about Alhazmi and Almihdhar. [PBS Frontline, 10/3/02] The FBI New York office eventually hears of Walid Arkeh's warning that the WTC would be attacked, but presumably not in time for O'Neill to hear it.
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nawaf Alhazmi, al-Qaeda, Khalid Almihdhar, Walid Arkeh, Central Intelligence Agency, John O'Neill, Barbara Bodine, Ken Williams, USS Cole, Zacarias Moussaoui
          

August 23 or 24, 2001: CIA Senior Staff Sits on Moussaoui Memo

       CIA Director Tenet and CIA senior staff are briefed about the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui in a briefing entitled “Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly.” However, apparently others such as President Bush and the White House counterterrorism group are not told about Moussaoui until after the 9/11 attacks begin. Even the acting director of the FBI is not told, despite the fact that lower level FBI officials who made the arrest tried to pass on the information. Tenet later maintains that there was no reason to alert President Bush or to share information about Moussaoui during an early September 2001 Cabinet-level meeting on terrorism, saying, “All I can tell you is, it wasn't the appropriate place. I just can't take you any farther than that.” [Washington Post, 4/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Zacarias Moussaoui, George W. Bush, George Tenet, Central Intelligence Agency
          

August 23, 2001: FBI Agents Visit Moussaoui's Former Flight School; Fail to Make Connections

       Two agents from the Oklahoma City FBI office visit Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma, to learn about Zacarias Moussaoui's training there earlier in the year. One of these agents had visited the same school in September 1999 to learn more about Ihab Ali, an al-Qaeda agent who trained there in 1993. Apparently, this agent forgets the connection when he visits the school to look into Moussaoui. He later admits he should have connected the two cases. [Boston Globe, 9/18/01; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)] The staff director of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry later states, “No one will ever know whether a greater focus on the connection between these events would have led to the unraveling of the September 11 plot.” [New York Daily News, 9/25/02] The Oklahoma City office also does not connect Moussaoui to a memo that had come from its office in May 1998 warning that “large numbers of Middle Eastern males” were receiving flight training in Oklahoma and could be planning terrorist attacks (see May 15, 1998). Furthermore, Moussaoui's Oklahoma roommate Hussein Attas is also under suspicion at this time. The person who attempted to post bond for Attas had previously been the subject of an extensive investigation by the same Oklahoma City FBI office. That person had numerous ties to extremist groups and was involved in recruiting for a Palestinian militant group. This connection is also not noticed. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)]
People and organizations involved: FBI Oklahoma City field office, FBI Minnesota field office, Hussein Attas, Airman Flight School, Zacarias Moussaoui, Ihab Ali
          

August 23-27, 2001: Minnesota FBI Agents Convinced Moussaoui Plans to Do Something with a Plane, Undermined by FBI Headquarters

       In the wake of the French intelligence report (see August 22, 2001) on Zacarias Moussaoui, FBI agents in Minnesota are “in a frenzy” and “absolutely convinced he [is] planning to do something with a plane.” One agent writes notes speculating Moussaoui might “fly something into the World Trade Center.” [Newsweek, 5/20/02] Minnesota FBI agents become “desperate to search the computer lap top” and “conduct a more thorough search of his personal effects,” especially since Moussaoui acted as if he was hiding something important in the laptop when arrested. [Time, 5/27/02; Time, 5/21/02] They decide to apply for a search warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). “FISA allows the FBI to carry out wiretaps and searches that would otherwise be unconstitutional” because “the goal is to gather intelligence, not evidence.” [Washington Post, 11/4/01] Standards to get a warrant through FISA are so low that out of 10,000 requests over more than 20 years, not a single one was turned down. Previously, when the FBI did not have a strong enough case, it allegedly simply lied to FISA. In May 2002, the FISA court complained that the FBI had lied in at least 75 warrant cases during the Clinton administration, once even by the FBI director. [New York Times, 8/27/02] However, as FBI Agent Coleen Rowley later puts it, FBI headquarters “almost inexplicably, throw[s] up roadblocks” and undermines their efforts. Headquarters personnel bring up “almost ridiculous questions in their apparent efforts to undermine the probable cause.” One Minneapolis agent's e-mail says FBI headquarters is “setting this up for failure.” That turns out to be correct. [Time, 5/21/02; Time, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Coleen Rowley, FBI Minnesota field office, FBI Headquarters, World Trade Center, Clinton administration, Zacarias Moussaoui
          

August 23, 2001: O'Neill Begins Job as Head of Security at the WTC

       John O'Neill begins his new job as head of security at the WTC. [New Yorker, 1/14/02] A friend says to him, “Well, that will be an easy job. They're not going to bomb that place again.” O'Neill replies, “Well actually they've always wanted to finish that job. I think they're going to try again.” On September 10, he moves into his new office on the 34th floor of the North Tower. That night, he tells colleague Jerry Hauer, “We're due for something big. I don't like the way things are lining up in Afghanistan” (a probable reference to the assassination of Afghan leader Ahmed Shah Massoud the day before). O'Neill will be killed in the 9/11 attack. [PBS Frontline, 10/3/02 (D)]
People and organizations involved: John O'Neill, Jerry Hauer, Ahmed Shah Massoud, World Trade Center
          

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 23, 2001: Mossad Reportedly Gives CIA List of Terrorist Living in US; at Least Four 9/11 Hijackers Named

       According to German newspapers, the Mossad gives the CIA a list of 19 terrorists living in the US and say that they appear to be planning to carry out an attack in the near future. It is unknown if these are the 19 9/11 hijackers or if the number is a coincidence. However, four names on the list are known, and these four will be 9/11 hijackers: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Marwan Alshehhi, and Mohamed Atta. [Ha'aretz, 10/3/02; BBC, 10/2/02; Die Zeit, 10/1/02; Der Spiegel, 10/1/02] The Mossad appears to have learned about this through its “art student spy ring.” Yet apparently, this warning and list are not treated as particularly urgent by the CIA and the information is not passed on to the FBI. It is unclear whether this warning influenced the decision to add Alhazmi and Almihdhar to a terrorism watch list on this same day, and if so, why only those two. [Der Spiegel, 10/1/02] Israel has denied that there were any Mossad agents in the US. [Ha'aretz, 10/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, "Israeli art students", Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta
          

August 24, 2001: Frustrated Minnesota FBI Asks CIA for Help with Moussaoui Case

       Frustrated with the lack of response from FBI headquarters about Zacarias Moussaoui, the Minnesota FBI contacts an FBI agent working with the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center, and asks for help. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02] On this day, the CIA sends messages to stations and bases overseas requesting information about Moussaoui. The message says that the FBI is investigating Moussaoui for possible involvement in the planning of a terrorist attack and mentions his efforts to obtain flight training. It also suggests he might be “involved in a larger plot to target airlines traveling from Europe to the US” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02] It calls him a “suspect 747 airline attacker” and a “suspect airline suicide hijacker” —showing that the form of the 9/11 attack is not a surprise, at least to the CIA. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02] FBI headquarters responds by chastising the Minnesota FBI for notifying the CIA without approval. [Time, 5/21/02]
People and organizations involved: Zacarias Moussaoui, Central Intelligence Agency, FBI Minnesota field office, FBI Headquarters
          

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 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]
          

August 25, 2001: 9/11 Paymaster Has Ties to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed

       A supplemental Visa credit card on a “Mustafa al-Hawsawi” bank account is issued in the name of Abdulrahman A. A. al-Ghamdi, which the FBI says is an alias for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. The FBI believes this helps prove Mohammed is a superior to the 9/11 paymaster. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/26/02; Houston Chronicle, 6/5/02] The identity of “Mustafa al-Hawsawi” is highly contested, but may well be Saeed Sheikh. Mohammed and Sheikh appear to work together in the kidnapping of reporter Daniel Pearl in January 2002.
People and organizations involved: Mustafa al-Hawsawi, Abdulrahman A. A. al-Ghamdi, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Daniel Pearl, Saeed Sheikh, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

August 25, 2001: Bin Laden Publicly Hints at Attack on US

       Bin Laden gives an interview to Middle Eastern television. According to ABC News, “When asked about his supporters, he says with a significant and knowing smile there is going to be a surprise to the United States.” [ABC News, 9/14/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden
          

August 27, 2001: Minnesota FBI Suffers Further Resistance and Does Not Receive Phoenix Memo

       An agent at the FBI headquarters' Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU) tells the FBI Minnesota office supervisor that the supervisor is getting people “spun up” over Zacarias Moussaoui. The supervisor replies that he is trying to get people at FBI headquarters “spun up” because he is trying to make sure that Moussaoui does “not take control of a plane and fly it into the World Trade Center.” He later alleges the headquarters agent replies, “[T]hat's not going to happen. We don't know he's a terrorist. You don't have enough to show he is a terrorist. You have a guy interested in this type of aircraft—that is it.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02] Three weeks earlier, Dave Frasca, the head of the RFU unit, had received Ken Williams' memo (see July 10, 2001) expressing concern about terrorists training in US flight schools and he also knew all about the Moussaoui case, but he apparently was not “spun up” enough to connect the two cases. [Time, 5/27/02] Neither he nor anyone else at FBI headquarters who saw Williams' memo informed anyone at the FBI Minnesota office about it before 9/11. [Time, 5/21/02]
People and organizations involved: Radical Fundamentalist Unit, David Frasca, Zacarias Moussaoui, FBI Headquarters, World Trade Center, FBI Minnesota field office
          

August 27, 2001: Spanish Police Tape Phone Calls Indicating Aviation-Based Plans to Attack US

      
Barakat Yarkas.
Spanish police tape a series of cryptic, coded phone calls from a caller in Britain using the codename “Shakur” to Barakat Yarkas (also known as Abu Dahdah), the leader of a Spanish al-Qaeda cell presumably visited by Mohamed Atta in July. A Spanish judge claims that a call by Shakur on this day shows foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Shakur says that he is “giving classes” and that “in our classes, we have entered the field of aviation, and we have even cut the bird's throat.” Another possible translation is, “We are even going to cut the eagle's throat,” which would be a clearer metaphor for the US. [Guardian, 2/14/02; Observer, 11/25/01] Spanish authorities later claim that detective work and voice analysis shows Shakur is Farid Hilali, a young Moroccan who had lived mostly in Britain since 1987. The Spanish later charge him for involvement in the 9/11 plot, claiming that, in the 45 days preceding 9/11, he travels constantly in airplanes “to analyse them and to be prepared for action.” It is claimed that he is training on aircraft in the days leading up to 9/11. He is further said to be connected to the Madrid train bombing in 2003. [Scotsman, 7/15/04; London Times, 6/3004; London Times, 7/16/04] The Spanish Islamic militant cell led by Yarkas is allegedly a hub of financing, recruitment, and support services for al-Qaeda in Europe. Yarkas's phone number is later also found in the address book of Said Bahaji, and he had ties with Mohammed Haydar Zammar and Mamoun Darkanzali. All three are associates of Atta in Hamburg. [Los Angeles Times, 11/23/01] Yarkas also “reportedly met with bin Laden twice and was in close contact with” top deputy Muhammad Atef. [Washington Post, 11/19/01] On November 11, 2001, Yarkas and ten other Spaniards will be arrested and charged with al-Qaeda activity. [International Herald Tribune, 11/21/01]
People and organizations involved: Shakur, Mohamed Atta, Barakat Yarkas, al-Qaeda, Said Bahaji, Mohammed Haydar Zammar
          

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 28-30, 2001: US Politicians Visit Pakistan and Discuss bin Laden

       Senator Bob Graham (D), Representative Porter Goss (R), and Senator Jon Kyl (R) travel to Pakistan and meet with President Musharraf. They reportedly discuss various security issues, including the possible extradition of bin Laden. They also meet with Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan. Zaeef apparently tells them that the Taliban wants to solve the issue of bin Laden through negotiations with the US. Pakistan says it wants to stay out of the bin Laden issue. [Agence France-Presse, 8/28/01; Salon, 9/14/01]
People and organizations involved: Bob Graham, Porter J. Goss, Jon Kyl, Pervez Musharraf, Osama bin Laden, Abdul Salam Zaeef, Taliban
          

August 28, 2001: Minnesota FBI's Moussaoui Warrant Request Is Edited, Then Dropped by FBI Deputy General Counsel

       A previously mentioned unnamed RFU (Radical Fundamentalism Unit) agent edits the Minnesota FBI's request (see August 23-27, 2001) for a FISA search warrant to search Zacarias Moussaoui's possessions. Minnesota is trying to prove that Moussaoui is connected to al-Qaeda through a rebel group in Chechnya, but the RFU agent removes information connecting the Chechnya rebels to al-Qaeda. Not surprisingly, the FBI Deputy General Counsel who receives the edited request decides on this day that the connection to al-Qaeda is insufficient to allow an application for a search warrant through FISA, so FISA is never even sought. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02] According to a later memo written by Minneapolis FBI legal officer Coleen Rowley, FBI headquarters is to blame for not getting the FISA warrant because of this rewrite of the request. She states: “I feel that certain facts ... have, up to now, been omitted, downplayed, glossed over and/or mischaracterized in an effort to avoid or minimize personal and/or institutional embarrassment on the part of the FBI and/or perhaps even for improper political reasons.” She asks, “Why would an FBI agent deliberately sabotage a case?” The superiors acted so strangely that some agents in the Minneapolis office openly joked that these higher-ups “had to be spies or moles ... working for Osama bin Laden.” FBI headquarters also refuses to contact the Justice Department to try to get a search warrant through ordinary means. Rowley and others are unable to search Moussaoui's computer until after the 9/11 attacks. Rowley later notes that the headquarters agents who blocked the Minnesota FBI were promoted after 9/11. [Sydney Morning Herald, 5/28/02; Time, 5/21/02]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, US Department of Justice, al-Qaeda, Zacarias Moussaoui, FBI Headquarters, FBI Minnesota field office, Coleen Rowley, Radical Fundamentalist Unit
          

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 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
          

August 29, 2001: Cayman Islands Letter Warns of ‘Major Terrorist Act Against US via an Airline or Airlines’

       Three men from either Pakistan or Afghanistan living in the Cayman Islands are briefly arrested in June 2001 for discussing hijacking attacks in New York City. On this day, a Cayman Islands radio station receives an unsigned letter claiming these same three men are agents of bin Laden. The anonymous author warns that they “are organizing a major terrorist act against the US via an airline or airlines.” The letter is forwarded to a Cayman government official but no action is taken until after 9/11. When the Cayman government notifies the US is unknown. Many criminals and/or businesses use the Cayman Islands as a safe, no tax, no-questions-asked haven to keep their money. The author of the letter meets with the FBI shortly after 9/11, and claims his information was a “premonition of sorts.” The three men are later arrested. What has happened to them since their arrest is unclear. [Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01; Miami Herald, 9/20/01; MSNBC, 9/23/01]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

August 29, 2001: Bush Vows Security Is His First Responsibility

       President Bush says, “We recognize it's a dangerous world. I know this nation still has enemies, and we cannot expect them to be idle. And that's why security is my first responsibility. And I will not permit any course that leaves America undefended.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

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
          

August 30, 2001: Osama Reportedly Named Commander of Afghanistan Army

       It is reported in Russia and Pakistan that the Taliban has named bin Laden commander of the Afghanistan army. [UPI, 8/30/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Taliban
          

August 30-September 4, 2001: Egypt Warns al-Qaeda Is in Advanced Stages of Planning Significant Attack on US

       According to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian intelligence warns American officials that bin Laden's network is in the advanced stages of executing a significant operation against an American target, probably within the US. [Associated Press, 12/7/01; New York Times, 6/4/02] He says he learned this information from an agent working inside al-Qaeda. US officials deny receiving any such warning from Egypt. [ABC News, 6/4/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Hosni Mubarak
          

Late August 2001: Bin Laden Boasts in Interview of Very, Very Big Strike Against US

       In an interview with the London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi, bin Laden boasts that he is planning a “very, very big” and “unprecedented” strike against the US. The interview is not publicly released until after 9/11, however, so it is unclear if US intelligence is aware of this before 9/11. [ABC News, 9/12/01; Independent, 9/17/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden
          

Late August 2001: Foreign Intelligence Reminds US of Al-Qaeda Plot to Attack Within US

       The 9/11 Commission later notes that at this time, an unnamed foreign intelligence “service report[s] that [al-Qaeda deputy leader] Abu Zubaida [is] considering mounting terrorist attacks in the United States, after postponing possible operations in Europe. No targets, timing or method of attack [are] provided.” Newsweek suggests that most or all of this information may have come from a US debriefing of al-Qaeda bomber Ahmed Ressam in May 2001 (see May 30, 2001). Newsweek notes that it is a common occurrence for foreign intelligence agencies to “simply rereport to the CIA what it had originally learned from the FBI through separate channels.” Still, even “the multiple channels for Ressam's warnings [do] little to change thinking within the FBI or CIA...” [Newsweek, 4/28/05]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Ahmed Ressam, Abu Zubaida, Central Intelligence Agency, 9/11 Commission, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

Late August 2001: French Warning to US Echoes Earlier Israeli Warning

       French intelligence gives a general terrorist warning to the US; apparently, its contents echo an Israeli warning from earlier in the month (see August 8-15, 2001). [Fox News, 5/17/02]
          

Late August 2001: Hussein Puts His Troops on Highest Military Alert Since Gulf War

       A Daily Telegraph article later claims that Iraq leader Saddam Hussein puts his troops on their highest military alert since the Gulf War. A CIA official states that there was nothing obvious to warrant this move: “He was clearly expecting a massive attack and it leads you to wonder why.” Hussein apparently makes a number of other moves suggesting foreknowledge, and the article strongly suggests Iraqi complicity in the 9/11 attacks. [Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01 (B)] Iraq will later be sued by 9/11 victims' relatives on the grounds that they had 9/11 foreknowledge but did not warn the US.
People and organizations involved: Saddam Hussein
          

Late August-Early December 2001: Fighters from Langley Air Force Base Deployed to Iceland for Operation Northern Guardian

       In late August 2001, two-thirds of the 27th Fighter Squadron are sent overseas. Six of the squadron's fighters and 115 people go to Turkey to enforce the no-fly zone over northern Iraq as part of Operation Northern Watch. Another six fighters and 70 people are sent to Iceland to participate in “Operation Northern Guardian.” The fighter groups will not return to Langley until early December. [Flyer, 7/1/03] (Note that the word “operation” specifies that Operation Northern Guardian and Northern Watch are not exercises, but actual military actions or missions. [Defense Department, 11/30/04; CJCSM, 4/23/98] ) Operation Northern Guardian is based at Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, the host command for the NATO base in that country. The US sometimes assists Iceland with extra military forces in reaction to Russian military maneuvers in the region. Approximately 1,800 US military personnel and 100 Defense Department civilians are involved. [GlobalSecurity [.org], 4/9/02; Iceland Defense Force website, 6/30/04; Flyer, 6/4/04] The 27th is one of three F-15 fighter squadrons that make up the 1st Fighter Wing, the “host unit” at Langley Air Force Base in Langley, Virginia. The other two are the 71st and 94th Fighter Squadrons. [GlobalSecurity [.org], 8/02/04; Langley Air Force Base, 11/03] Langley is one of two “alert” sites that can be called upon by NORAD for missions in the northeast region of the US. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Langley's 71st Fighter Squadron also participates in Operation Northern Watch and Operation Northern Guardian at some (unstated) time during 2001. [Air Combat Command News Service, 6/13/02] Whether this deployment of fighters diminishes Langley's ability to respond on 9/11 is unknown. However, Air Force units are cycled through deployments like operations Northern and Southern Watch by the Aerospace Expeditionary Force (AEF) Center, which is at Langley Air Force Base. [GlobalSecurity [.org] Aerospace Expeditionary Force page, 04/26/05; CJCSM, 4/23/98] And according to NORAD Commander Larry Arnold, “Prior to Sept. 11, we'd been unsuccessful in getting the AEF Center to be responsible for relieving our air defense units when they went overseas.” [Air War Over America, by Leslie Filson, 1/04, pp 99]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Defense, 27th Fighter Squadron, 71st Fighter Squadron, Operation Northern Guardian, Operation Northern Watch, 94th Fighter Squadron, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Langley Air Force Base
          

August 31, 2001: Head of Saudi Arabia's Intelligence Service Is Replaced

       Prince Turki al-Faisal, head of Saudi Arabia's intelligence service for 24 years, is replaced. No explanation is given. He is replaced by Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz, his nephew and the king's brother, who has “no background in intelligence whatsoever.” [Agence France-Presse, 8/31/01; Seattle Times, 10/29/01; Wall Street Journal, 10/22/01] The Wall Street Journal later reports: “The timing of Turki's removal—August 31—and his Taliban connection raise the question: Did the Saudi regime know that bin Laden was planning his attack against the US? The current view among Saudi-watchers is probably not, but that the House of Saud might have heard rumors that something was planned, although they did not know what or when. (An interesting and possibly significant detail: Prince Sultan, the defense minister, had been due to visit Japan in early September, but canceled his trip for no apparent reason less than two days before an alleged planned departure.)” [Wall Street Journal, 10/22/01] Turki is later sued in August 2002 for his role in 9/11 (see August 15, 2002), and is later appointed ambassador to Britain (see October 18, 2002).
People and organizations involved: Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz, Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Osama bin Laden, Turki bin Faisal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, Taliban
          

Early September 2001: Rumors in New York City's Arab-American Community About Attacks

       A veteran detective involved with post-9/11 investigations later claims that rumors in New York City's Arab-American community about the 9/11 attacks are common in the days beforehand. The story “had been out on the street” and the number of leads turning up later is so “overwhelming” that it is difficult to tell who knows about the attacks from secondhand sources and who knows about it from someone who may have been a participant. After 9/11, tracking leads regarding Middle Eastern employees who did not show up for work on 9/11 are “a serious and major priority.” [Journal News, 10/11/01]
          

Early September 2001: New York Mosque Warning: Stay Out of Lower Manhattan on 9/11

       Shortly before 9/11, people attending an unnamed mosque in the Bronx district of New York City are warned to stay out of lower Manhattan on 9/11. The FBI's Joint Terrorist Task Force interviews dozens of members of the mosque, who confirm the story. The mosque leadership denies any advanced knowledge and the case apparently remains unsolved. [New York Daily News, 10/12/01]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

Early September 2001: Seattle Security Guard Tells Friend of Impending Attack

       A few days before 9/11, a Seattle security guard of Middle Eastern descent tells an East Coast friend on the phone that terrorists will soon attack the US. After 9/11, the friend tells the FBI, and passes a lie detector test. The security guard refuses to cooperate with the FBI or take a lie detector test. He is not arrested—apparently the FBI determines that while he may have had 9/11 foreknowledge, he was not involved in the plot. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 10/12/01]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

Early September 2001: NSA Intercepts Phone Calls from bin Laden's Chief of Operations to the US

       The NSA intercepts “multiple phone calls from Abu Zubaida, bin Laden's chief of operations, to the United States.” The timing and information contained in these intercepted phone calls has not been disclosed. [ABC News, 2/18/02]
People and organizations involved: Abu Zubaida, National Security Agency
          

Early September 2001: Defense Department Has Evidence of ‘Kamikaze Bombers’ Trained to Fly in Afghanistan

       According to a senior Defense Department source quoted in the book “Intelligence Failure” by David Bossie, Defense Department personnel become aware of a Milan newspaper interview with Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, a self-designated spokesman for al-Qaeda. In the interview, he brags about al-Qaeda recruiting “kamikaze bombers ready to die for Palestine.” Muhammed boasts of training them in Afghanistan. According to this source, the Defense Department seeks “to present its information [to the FBI], given the increased ‘chatter,’ of a possible attack in the United States just days before [9/11]. The earliest the FBI would see the [Defense Department] people who had the information was on September 12, 2001.” [Bossie, 05/04] In 1998, Bakri had publicized a fax bin Laden sent him that listed the four objectives al-Qaeda had in their war with the US. First on the list was: “Bring down their airliners.” (see Summer 1998) The main focus of FBI agent Ken Williams's July 2001 memo, warning about Middle Eastern students training in Arizona flight schools, was a member of Bakri's organization (see July 10, 2001). In 2004, the US will charge Bakri with 11 terrorism-related crimes, including attempting to set up a terror training camp in Oregon and assisting in the kidnapping of two Americans and others in Yemen. [MSNBC, 5/27/04]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, David Bossie, Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed, al-Qaeda
          

Early September 2001: Iranian Inmate in Germany Warns of Imminent Attack on WTC

       An Iranian man known as Ali S. in a German jail awaiting deportation repeatedly phones US law enforcement to warn of an imminent attack on the WTC in early September. He calls it “an attack that will change the world.” After a month of badgering his prison guards, he is finally able to call the White House 14 times in the days before the attack. He then tries to send a fax to President Bush, but is denied permission hours before the 9/11 attacks. German police later confirm the calls. Prosecutors later say Ali had no foreknowledge and his forebodings were just a strange coincidence. They say he is mentally unstable. Similar warnings also come from a Moroccan man being held in a Brazilian jail. [Sunday Herald, 9/16/01; Ananova, 9/14/01; Ottawa Citizen, 9/17/01; Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 9/13/01]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, George W. Bush, Ali S.
          

Early September 2001: Bin Laden Moves Training Bases

       One article later suggests that bin Laden moves his training bases in Afghanistan “in the days before the attacks.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/16/01] These bases are under close military satellite surveillance.
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden
          

Early September 2001: Phone Call Warning of Big Event in the US in Coming Days Is Just One of Many Such Warnings Recorded by CIA

      
Mamdouh Habib.
A few days before 9/11, an Islamic radical named Mamdouh Habib is in Pakistan and calls his wife in Australia. Her phone is being monitored by Australian intelligence. In the conversation he says that something big is going to happen in the US in the next few days. He is later arrested after 9/11 and is held by the US in the Guantanamo prison before finally being released in 2005. He will be released because his captors eventually decide that he didn't have any special foreknowledge or involvement in the 9/11 plot. He had been in Afghanistan training camps and had picked up the information there. The New York Times paraphrases an Australian official, “Just about everyone in Kandahar [Afghanistan] and the Qaeda camps knew that something big was coming, he said. ‘There was a buzz.’ ” [New York Times, 1/29/05] Furthermore, according to The Australian, this call “mirrored several other conversations between accused terrorists that were tapped around the same time by the Pakistani Internal Security Department on behalf of the CIA.” This was part of what the CIA called a sharp increase in “chatter” intercepted from operatives in al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the days just before the attacks, alluding to an imminent big event. [Australian, 2/2/05]
People and organizations involved: Central Intelligence Agency, Pakistani Internal Security Department, Mamdouh Habib
          

Early September 2001: Bin Laden's Intercepted Phone Calls Discuss an Operation in the US Around 9/11 Date

       According to British inside sources, “shortly before September 11,” bin Laden contacts an associate thought to be in Pakistan. The conversation refers to an incident that will take place in the US on, or around 9/11, and discusses possible repercussions. In another conversation, bin Laden contacts an associate thought to be in Afghanistan. They discuss the scale and effect of a forthcoming operation; bin Laden praises his colleague for his part in the planning. Neither conversation specifically mentions the WTC or Pentagon, but investigators have no doubt the 9/11 attacks were being discussed. The British government has obliquely made reference to these intercepts: “There is evidence of a very specific nature relating to the guilt of bin Laden and his associates that is too sensitive to release.” These intercepts haven't been made public in British Prime Minister Tony Blair's presentation of al-Qaeda's guilt because “releasing full details could compromise the source or method of the intercepts.” [Sunday Times, 10/7/01]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Tony Blair
          

September 1, 2001: American Airlines Issues Internal Memo Warning of Imposters

       Around this date, American Airlines sends out an internal memo warning its employees to be on the lookout for impostors after one of its crews had uniforms and ID badges stolen in Rome, Italy, in April. [Boston Globe, 9/18/01; Reuters, 9/14/01] It is later reported that two of the hijackers on Flight 11 use these stolen ID's to board the plane. [Sunday Herald, 9/16/01] On 9/11, a man is arrested with three Yemen passports (all using different names) and two Lufthansa crew uniforms. [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/22/01] It is also reported that when Mohamed Atta takes a flight from Portland, Maine, to Boston on the morning of 9/11, his bags are not transferred to his hijacked flight, and remain in Boston. Later, airline uniforms are found inside. [Boston Globe, 9/18/01] Boston's Logan Airport had been repeatedly fined for failing to run background checks on their employees, and many other serious violations. [CNN, 10/12/01]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, NSI
          

Early September 2001: Pakistani Student Says WTC Towers ‘Won't Be Here Next Week’

       At New Utrecht High School, in Brooklyn, New York City, about one week before 9/11, a Pakistani student in a bilingual class points at the WTC during a heated political argument and declares, “Look at those two buildings. They won't be here next week.” The teacher notifies New York police after 9/11, who in turn notify the FBI. The status of the FBI investigation into this incident is unknown as of early October 2001. [New York Daily News, 10/12/01]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, World Trade Center
          

Early September 2001: Unusually High Volume Trade of US Treasury Note Purchases

       After 9/11, both the SEC and the Secret Service announce probes into an unusually high volume trade of five-year US Treasury note purchases around this time. These transactions include a single $5 billion trade. The Wall Street Journal explains: “Five-year Treasury notes are among the best investments in the event of a world crisis, especially one that hits the US. The notes are prized for their safety and their backing by the US government, and usually rally when investors flee riskier investments, such as stocks.” The value of these notes has risen sharply since the events of September 11. The article also points out that with these notes, “tracks would be hard to spot.” [Wall Street Journal, 10/2/01]
People and organizations involved: Securities and Exchange Commission, Secret Service
          

Early September 2001: Suspicion of Insider Trading in Many Other Countries

       Numerous other overseas investigations into insider trading before 9/11 are later established. There are investigations in Belgium, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Monte Carlo, Cyprus, and other countries. There are particularly strong suspicions British markets are manipulated. Italy will later investigate suspicious share movements on the day of the attack, as well as the previous day. Japan will also look into the trading of futures contracts. [BBC, 9/18/01 (B); CNN, 9/24/01; Fox News, 9/22/01] The British will take just two weeks to conclude that their markets were not manipulated. [Marketplace radio report, 10/17/01]
          

Early September 2001: NYSE Sees Unusually Heavy Trading in Airline and Related Stocks

       The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) later announces that they are investigating the trading of shares of 38 companies in the days just before 9/11. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the New York Stock Exchange sees “unusually heavy trading in airline and related stocks several days before the attacks.” All 38 companies logically stand to be heavily affected by the attacks. They include parent companies of major airlines American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest, United, and US Airways as well as cruise lines Carnival and Royal Caribbean, aircraft maker Boeing and defense contractor Lockheed Martin. The SEC is also looking into suspicious short selling of numerous insurance company stocks, but, to date, no details of this investigation have been released. [Associated Press, 10/2/01; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/3/01]
People and organizations involved: New York Stock Exchange, Securities and Exchange Commission
          

Early September 2001: Almost Irrefutable Proof of Insider Trading in Germany

      
Ernst Welteke.
German central bank president Ernst Welteke later reports that a study by his bank indicates, “There are ever clearer signs that there were activities on international financial markets that must have been carried out with the necessary expert knowledge,” not only in shares of heavily affected industries such as airlines and insurance companies, but also in gold and oil. [Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01 (C)] His researchers have found “almost irrefutable proof of insider trading.” [Miami Herald, 9/24/01] “If you look at movements in markets before and after the attack, it makes your brow furrow. But it is extremely difficult to really verify it.” Nevertheless, he believes that “in one or the other case it will be possible to pinpoint the source.” [Fox News, 9/22/01] Welteke reports “a fundamentally inexplicable rise” in oil prices before the attacks [Miami Herald, 9/24/01] and then a further rise of 13 percent the day after the attacks. Gold rises nonstop for days after the attacks. [Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01 (C)]
People and organizations involved: Ernst Welteke
          

Early September 2001: Sharp Increase in Short Selling of American and United Airlines Stocks

       There is a sharp increase in short selling of the stocks of American and United Airlines on the New York Stock Exchange prior to 9/11. A short sell is a bet that a particular stock will drop. There is an increase of 40 percent of short selling over the previous month for these two airlines, compared to an 11 percent increase for other big airlines and one percent for the exchange overall. A significant profit is to be made: United stock drops 43 percent and American drops 39 percent the first day the market reopens after the attack. Short selling of Munich Re, the world's largest reinsurer, is also later noted by German investigators. Inquiries into short selling millions of Munich Re shares are made in France days before the attacks. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/22/01; Reuters, 9/20/01] Munich Re stock will plummet after the attacks, as they claim the attacks will cost them $2 billion. [Dow Jones Business News, 9/20/01] There is also suspicious trading activity involving reinsurers Swiss Reinsurance and AXA. These trades are especially curious because the insurance sector “is one of the brightest spots in a very difficult market” at this time. [Los Angeles Times, 9/19/01] There is also a short spike on Dutch airline KLM stock three to seven days before 9/11, reaching historically unprecedented levels. [USA Today, 9/26/01]
People and organizations involved: Swiss Reinsurance, Munich Re, American Airlines, United Airlines, New York Stock Exchange
          

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

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

September 4, 2001: FBI Dispatches Vague Message to US Intelligence Community About Moussaoui Investigation

       FBI headquarters dispatches a message to the entire US intelligence community about the Zacarias Moussaoui investigation. According to a later Congressional inquiry, the message notes “that Moussaoui was being held in custody but [it does not] describe any particular threat that the FBI thought he posed, for example, whether he might be connected to a larger plot. [It also does] not recommend that the addressees take any action or look for any additional indicators of a terrorist attack, nor [does] it provide any analysis of a possible hijacking threat or provide any specific warnings.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/24/02] The FAA is also given the warning, but the FAA decides not to issue a security alert to the nation's airports. An FAA representative says, “He was in jail and there was no evidence he was connected to other people.” [New York Post, 5/21/02] This is in sharp contrast to an internal CIA warning sent out on August 24 based on even less information, which stated Moussaoui might be “involved in a larger plot to target airlines traveling from Europe to the US” (see August 24, 2001). [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02] It turns out that prior to this time, terrorist Ahmed Ressam had started cooperating with investigators. He had trained with Moussaoui in Afghanistan and willingly shared this information after 9/11. The FBI dispatch, with its notable lack of urgency and details, failed to prompt the agents in Seattle holding Ressam to ask him about Moussaoui. Had the connection between these two been learned before 9/11, presumably the search warrant for Moussaoui would have been approved and the 9/11 plot might have unraveled. [Sunday Times, 2/3/02]
People and organizations involved: FBI Headquarters, Federal Aviation Administration, Central Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Ressam, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Zacarias Moussaoui
          

September 4-11, 2001: ISI Director Visits Washington for Mysterious Meetings

       ISI Director Mahmood visits Washington for the second time. On September 10, a Pakistani newspaper reports on his trip so far. It says his visit has “triggered speculation about the agenda of his mysterious meetings at the Pentagon and National Security Council” as well as meetings with CIA Director Tenet, unspecified officials at the White House and the Pentagon, and his “most important meeting” with Marc Grossman, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. The article suggests, “[O]f course, Osama bin Laden” could be the focus of some discussions. Prophetically, the article adds, “What added interest to his visit is the history of such visits. Last time [his] predecessor was [in Washington], the domestic [Pakistani] politics turned topsy-turvy within days.” [The News, 9/10/01] This is a reference to the Musharraf coup just after an ISI Director's visit on October 12, 1999 (see October 12, 1999).
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Marc Grossman, George Tenet, National Security Council, US Department of Defense, Mahmood Ahmed
          

September 4, 2001: Debate Heats Up over Predator Drone; Decision Again Delayed

       Attendees to an important cabinet-level meeting on terrorism have a heated debate over what to do with the Predator drone. Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke has been repeatedly pushing for the use of the Predator over Afghanistan (in either armed or unarmed versions), and he again argues for its immediate use. Everyone agrees that the armed Predator capability is needed, but there are disputes over who will manage and/or pay for it. CIA Director Tenet says his agency will operate the armed Predator “over my dead body.” [Washington Post, 10/2/02] Clarke recalls, “The Air Force said it wasn't their job to fly planes to collect intelligence. No one around the table seemed to have a can-do attitude. Everyone seemed to have an excuse.” [New Yorker, 7/28/03] National Security Adviser Rice concludes that the armed Predator is not ready (even though it had been proven in tests during the summer), but she also presses Tenet to reconsider his opposition to immediately resume reconnaissance flights, suspended since September the year before. After the meeting, Tenet agrees to proceed with such flights. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D); 9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (C)] The armed Predator is activated just days after 9/11, showing that it was ready to be used after all. [Associated Press, 6/25/03]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Richard A. Clarke, Condoleezza Rice
          

September 4, 2001: Secret Embedded Messages Help Show Milan Al-Qaeda Have 9/11 Foreknowledge

       At least one member of the al-Qaeda cell in Milan, Italy, apparently uses steganography, a method of encoding messages within computerized photographs. In Milan's Via Quaranta mosque in Milan, frequented by Egyptian al-Qaeda operative Mahmoud Es Sayed, pictures of the World Trade Center that have steganographic messages in them are saved on a computer. A number of other pictures of world leaders and pornography are also manipulated in a similar manner. These pictures are not discovered until months after 9/11, but they help suggest that some in the Milan cell had foreknowledge of the 9/11 plot. Es Sayed had been wiretapped on previous occasions, and was heard making comments suggesting he had such foreknowledge (see August 12, 2000) (see January 24, 2001). His current whereabouts are unknown. [ABC News, 5/8/03]
People and organizations involved: Mahmoud Es Sayed, World Trade Center, al-Qaeda
          

September 4, 2001: Clarke Memo: Imagine Hundreds of Dead Due to Government Inaction

       Hours before the only significant Bush administration Cabinet-level meeting on terrorism before 9/11, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke writes a critical memo to National Security Adviser Rice. He criticizes the Defense Department for reluctance to use force against al-Qaeda and the CIA for impeding the deployment of unmanned Predator drones to hunt for bin Laden. According to the Washington Post, the memo urges “officials to imagine a day when hundreds of Americans lay dead from a terrorist attack and ask themselves what more they could have done.” [Washington Post, 3/25/04 (B); 9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D); Washington Post, 3/24/04]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Condoleezza Rice, Richard A. Clarke, Central Intelligence Agency, US Department of Defense, al-Qaeda, Bush administration
          

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 4, 2001: Cabinet-Rank Advisers Discuss Terrorism, Approve Revised Version of Clarke's Eight Month-Old-Plan

       President Bush's cabinet-rank advisers discuss terrorism for the second of only two times before 9/11. [Washington Post, 5/17/02] National Security Adviser Rice chairs the meeting; neither President Bush nor Vice President Cheney attends. Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke later says that in this meeting, he and CIA Director Tenet speak passionately about the al-Qaeda threat. No one disagrees that the threat is serious. Secretary of State Powell outlines a plan to put pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting al-Qaeda. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld appears to be more interested in Iraq. The only debate is over whether to fly the armed Predator drone over Afghanistan to attack al-Qaeda. [Clarke, 2004, pp 237-38] Clarke's earlier plans to “roll back” al-Qaeda have been discussed and honed in many meetings and are now presented as a formal National Security Presidential Directive. The directive is “apparently” approved, though the process of turning it into official policy is still not done. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D)] There is later disagreement over just how different the directive presented is from Clarke's earlier plans. For instance, some claim the directive aims not just to “roll back” al-Qaeda, but also to “eliminate” it altogether. [Time, 8/4/02] However, Clarke notes that even though he wanted to use the word “eliminate,” the approved directive merely aims to “significantly erode” al-Qaeda. The word “eliminate” is only added after 9/11. [Washington Post, 3/25/04 (B)] The Washington Post notes that the directive approved on this day “did not differ substantially from Clinton's policy.” [Washington Post, 3/27/04] Time magazine later comments, “The fight against terrorism was one of the casualties of the transition, as Washington spent eight months going over and over a document whose outline had long been clear.” [Time, 8/4/02] The primary change from Clarke's original draft is that the approved plan calls for more direct financial and logistical support to the Northern Alliance and other anti-Taliban groups. The plan also calls for drafting plans for possible US military involvement, “but those differences were largely theoretical; administration officials told the [9/11 Commission's] investigators that the plan's overall timeline was at least three years, and it did not include firm deadlines, military plans, or significant funding at the time of the September 11, 2001, attacks.” [Washington Post, 3/27/04; Reuters, 4/2/04]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Central Intelligence Agency, Colin Powell, al-Qaeda, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Northern Alliance, Richard A. Clarke, George W. Bush
          

September 4, 2001: Mossad Gives Another Warning of Major, Imminent Attack

       “On or around” this day, the Mossad give their “latest” warning to the US of a major, imminent attack by al-Qaeda, according to sources close to Mossad. One former Mossad agent says, “My understanding is that the warning was not specific. No target was identified. But it should have resulted in an increased state of security.” US intelligence claims this never happened. [Sunday Mail, 9/16/01]
People and organizations involved: United States, Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks
          

September 4, 2001: Israeli Company Moves Out of WTC

       The Zim-American Israeli Shipping Co. moves their North American headquarters from the 16th floor of the WTC to Norfolk, Virginia, one week before the 9/11 attacks. The Israeli government owns 49 percent of the company. [Virginian-Pilot, 9/4/01] Zim announced the move and its date six months earlier. [Virginian-Pilot, 4/3/01] More than 200 workers had just been moved out; about ten are still in the building making final moving arrangements on 9/11, but escape. [Journal of Commerce, 10/18/01; Jerusalem Post, 9/13/01] The move leaves only one Israeli company, ClearForest, with 18 employees, in the WTC on 9/11. The four or five employees in the building at the time manage to escape. [Jerusalem Post, 9/13/01] One year later, a Zim ship is impounded while attempting to ship Israeli military equipment to Iran; it is speculated that this is done with the knowledge of Israel. [Agence France-Presse, 8/29/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: ClearForest, World Trade Center, Zim-American Israeli Shipping Co.
          

September 5-6, 2001: French Again Warn US About Moussaoui

       French and US intelligence officials hold meetings in Paris on combating terrorism. The French newspaper Le Monde claims that the French try again to warn their US counterparts about Zacarias Moussaoui, “but the American delegation ... paid no attention ... basically concluding that they were going to take no one's advice, and that an attack on American soil was inconceivable.” The US participants also say Moussaoui's case is in the hands of the immigration authorities and is not a matter for the FBI. [Independent, 12/11/01; Village Voice, 5/28/02] The FBI arranges to deport Moussaoui to France on September 17, so the French can search his belongings and tell the FBI the results. Due to the 9/11 attacks, the deportation never happens. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Zacarias Moussaoui, Central Intelligence Agency, France, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

September 5, 2001: US Army Bases Implement ‘Full Access Control’

       Fort Myer and Fort Lesley J. McNair, both within two miles of the Pentagon, implement “full access control,” which means they increase the level of military police surveillance of those who enter them. These measures, being taken throughout the US Army, allow commanders to know who is entering their installations 24 hours a day and adjust their security measures immediately as needed. [MDW News Service, 8/3/01]
People and organizations involved: Fort Lesley J. McNair, Fort Myer
          

September 5-8, 2001: Raid on Arab Web Hosting Company Precedes 9/11 Attacks

      
Infocom logo.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force conducts a three-day raid of the offices of InfoCom Corporation, a Texas-based company that hosts about 500 mostly Arab websites, including Al Jazeera, the Arab world's leading news channel. [Web Host Industry Review, 9/10/01; Guardian, 9/10/01] The task force includes agents from the FBI, Secret Service, and Diplomatic Security, as well as tax inspectors, immigration officials, customs officials, department of commerce officials, and computer experts. [Guardian, 9/10/01] The FBI declines to give a reason for the raid [NewsFactor Network, 9/7/01] , but a spokeswoman said it is not aimed at InfoCom's clients. [BBC, 9/7/01] The reasons for the raid “may never be known, because a judge ordered the warrant to be sealed.” [Web Host Industry Review, 9/10/01] Three days after the initial raid, the task force is “still busy inside the building, reportedly copying every hard disc they could find.” [Guardian, 9/10/01] InfoCom's offices are located in Richardson, a suburb of Dallas. Two charities in Richardson, The Global Relief Foundation Inc. and The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, have been investigated for possible ties to Palestinian militant organizations. [Boston Herald, 12/11/01] Five or six years earlier, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke had wanted to raid the Holy Land offices, but was prevented from doing so by the FBI and Treasury Department. [Clarke, 2004, pp 98] Not only are InfoCom and Holy Land across the road from each other, they are intimately connected through two brothers: Ghassan and Bayan Elashi. [Guardian, 9/10/01] Ghassan Elashi is both the vice president of InfoCom and chairman of Holy Land. [New York Times, 12/20/02] These two and others are later arrested on a variety of serious charges. Approximately one week before 9/11, Bank One closes Holy Land's checking accounts totaling about $13 million, possibly because of an investigation begun by the New York State Attorney General. [Dallas Business Journal, 9/7/01] The US freezes Holy Land's assets two months later (see December 4, 2001) for suspected terrorist associations. Holy Land is represented by Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, a Washington, D.C., law firm with unusually close ties to the Bush White House. [Washington Post, 12/17/01] In the Garland suburb adjoining Richardson, a fifth-grade boy apparently has foreknowledge of 9/11 (see September 10, 2001). [Houston Chronicle, 9/19/01]
People and organizations involved: Al Jazeera, Richard A. Clarke, Global Relief Foundation, Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, Bayan Elashi, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ghassan Elashi, Joint Terrorism Task Force, InfoCom Corporation, Secret Service
          

September 5, 2001: Hijackers Go on Gambling Cruise in Florida

       Two or three of the 9/11 hijackers are believed to go out on a gambling cruise ship that sails from Madeira Beach, Florida. According to a company official of SunCruz Casinos, who owns the ship, there are passengers on two of their cruises today who look like some of the men later identified as 9/11 hijackers, and whose names are either similar or the same as the hijackers'. In the days after 9/11, some of the cruise employees recognize a number of the hijackers as former customers. A casino manager on another SunCruz ship that sails from Port Canaveral, Florida, later believes that a former customer, caught on security video, resembles one of the hijackers. According to Michael Hlavsa, chairman of SunCruz Casinos, the hijackers “acted just like normal guests of ours and they were courteous.” Following 9/11, SunCruz turns over photographs and other documents to FBI investigators. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/27/01; Associated Press, 9/27/01; Washington Post, 9/27/01 (D) Sources: Michael Hlavsa]
          

September 6, 2001: Author Is Banned from Internal US Flights Because of FAA Concern Something About to Happen

      
Salman Rushdie.
Author Salman Rushdie, the target of death threats from radical Muslims for years, is banned by US authorities from taking internal US flights. He says the FAA told his publisher the reason was that it had “intelligence of something about to happen.” One newspaper states, “The FAA confirmed that it stepped up security measures concerning Mr. Rushdie but refused to give a reason.” [Times of London, 9/27/01] According to the 9/11 Commission, on this day the FAA issues a security directive requiring extra security measures for flights carrying Rushdie. It is not clear if this is in addition or instead of a ban on him flying. There is no mention as to why this security directive is issued at this time. [9/11 Commission staff report, 8/26/04, p. 56]
People and organizations involved: Italian Secret Service, Federal Aviation Administration
          

September 6, 2001: New York Student Forecasts Destruction of WTC

       Antoinette DiLorenzo, teaching English to a class of Pakistani immigrants, asks a student gazing out the window, “What are you looking at?” The student points towards the WTC, and says, “Do you see those two buildings? They won't be standing there next week.” At the time, nothing is thought of it, but on September 13, the FBI will interview all the people in the classroom and confirm the event. The FBI later places the boy's family under surveillance but apparently is unable to find a connection to the 9/11 plot. An MSNBC reporter later sets out to disprove this “urban myth,” but to his surprise, finds all the details of the story are confirmed. The fact that the family members are recent immigrants from Pakistan might mean the information came from Pakistan. [MSNBC, 10/12/01] Supposedly, on November 9, 2001, the same student predicts there will be a plane crash on November 12. On that day, American Airlines Flight 587 will crash on takeoff from New York, killing 260 people. Investigators will later determine that the crash is accidental. One official at the school later says many Arab-American students have come forward with their own stories about having prior knowledge before 9/11: “Kids are telling us that the attacks didn't surprise them. This was a nicely protected little secret that circulated in the community around here.” [Insight, 9/10/02]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, Antoinette DiLorenzo, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

September 6-10, 2001: Suspicious Trading of Put Option Contracts on American and United Airlines Occur

      
A. B."Buzzy" Krongard.
Suspicious trading occurs on the stock of American and United, the two airlines hijacked in the 9/11 attacks. “Between 6 and 7 September, the Chicago Board Options Exchange [sees] purchases of 4,744 put option contracts [a speculation that the stock will go down] in UAL versus 396 call options—where a speculator bets on a price rising. Holders of the put options would [net] a profit of $5 million once the carrier's share price [dive] after September 11. On September 10, 4,516 put options in American Airlines, the other airline involved in the hijackings, [are] purchased in Chicago. This compares with a mere 748 call options in American purchased that day. Investigators cannot help but notice that no other airlines [see] such trading in their put options.” One analyst later says, “I saw put-call numbers higher than I've ever seen in ten years of following the markets, particularly the options markets.” [Associated Press, 9/18/01; San Francisco Chronicle, 9/19/01] “To the embarrassment of investigators, it has also [learned] that the firm used to buy many of the ‘put’ options ... on United Airlines stock was headed until 1998 by ‘Buzzy’ Krongard, now executive director of the CIA.” Krongard was chairman of Alex Brown Inc., which was bought by Deutsche Bank. “His last post before resigning to take his senior role in the CIA was to head Bankers Trust—Alex Brown's private client business, dealing with the accounts and investments of wealthy customers around the world.” [Independent, 10/14/01]
People and organizations involved: Deutsche Bank, American Airlines, Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System, Chicago Board Options Exchange, United Airlines
          

September 6, 2001: Bin Laden Allegedly Informed of Exact Attack Date

       According to a later interview with would-be hijacker Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, a courier sent by bin al-Shibh tells bin Laden on this day when the 9/11 attacks will take place. [Australian, 9/9/02] However, there are doubts about this interview (see April, June, or August 2002).
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh
          
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