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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
9/11 Congressional Inquiry (0)
9/11 Commission (0)
Other 9/11 Investigations (0)
Other events (79)
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Complete 911 Timeline: Post-9/11 investigations

 
  

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Showing 1-100 of 166 events (use filters to narrow search):    next 100

January 3, 2001: Clarke Demoted by Rice and Future 9/11 Commission Executive Director

       National Security Adviser Rice decides this day to retain Richard Clarke, counterterrorism “tsar” for the Clinton administration, and his staff. However, she downgrades his official position as National Coordinator for Counterterrorism. While he is still known as the counterterrorism “tsar,” he has less power and now reports to deputy secretaries instead of attending Cabinet-level meetings. He no longer is able to send memos directly to the president, or easily interact with Cabinet-level officials. [Clarke, 2004, pp 227-30; Guardian, 3/25/04] In 2004, Rice will reveal that the person she tasks with considering changes to Clarke and his staff is Philip Zelikow, the future Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission. Zelikow recuses himself from those parts of the 9/11 Commission's investigation directly relating to his role in this and other matters. However, 9/11 victims' relatives are not satisfied. For instance, one relative says, “Zelikow has conflicts. I'm not sure that his recusal is sufficient. His fingerprints are all over that decision [to demote Clarke].” [UPI, 4/10/04]
People and organizations involved: Philip Zelikow, Condoleezza Rice, Richard A. Clarke
          

Mid-September 2001: Private Consumer Databases Reveal Large Credit Card Debt, Multiple Residences of Hijackers

       In a 2002 speech, former President Bill Clinton will relate information he says he learned from a close friend who works at Acxiom, the world's largest processor of consumer data. According to this friend, a couple of days after 9/11, FBI agents arrive at Acxiom and discover information about five of the 9/11 hijackers in Acxiom's computer databases. Clinton relates, “One of the men who flew an airplane into the World Trade Center [presumably either Marwan Alshehhi or Mohamed Atta] had 30 credit cards, a quarter of a million of dollars in debt, and a consolidated payout schedule of $9,800 a month. ... Mohamed Atta, the ring leader, had 12 addresses, two places he lived and 10 safe houses, under the names Mohamed Atta, Mohammed J. Atta, J. Atta, and his middle initial spelled out.” [Fortune, 2/9/04; Clinton Speech, 12/3/02] No information like this will be revealed by any subsequent official 9/11 investigations, except for a vague one sentence reference in a 9/11 Commission Report footnote that “Searches of readily available databases could have unearthed” valuable information on at least some of the hijackers. [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/2004, p. 539] The chairman of ChoicePoint, another large data brokerage company, will state that his company had data on some of the hijackers before 9/11, but he won't provide any details. After two of the hijackers are put on a no-fly list in late August 2001, an FBI agent will apparently fail to check if their names appear in the ChoicePoint database, though he claims to have done so (see August 29, 2001). [New York Observer, 11/28/04]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mohamed Atta, Acxiom
          

September 11-13, 2001: Hijackers Leave a Clear Trail of Evidence

      
A white Mitsubishi is towed from Logan Airport, Boston, on September 12. Inside is an Arabic-language flight manual.
Investigators find a remarkable number of possessions left behind by the hijackers:
Two of Mohamed Atta's bags are found on 9/11. They contain a handheld electronic flight computer, a simulator procedures manual for Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft, two videotapes relating to “air tours” of the Boeing 757 and 747 aircraft, a slide-rule flight calculator, a copy of the Koran, Atta's passport, his will, his international driver's license, a religious cassette tape, airline uniforms, a letter of recommendation, “education related documentation” and a note (see September 28, 2001) to other hijackers on how to mentally prepare for the hijacking. [Sydney Morning Herald, 9/15/01; Boston Globe, 9/18/01; Associated Press, 10/5/01; Independent, 9/29/01]

Marwan Alshehhi's rental car is discovered at Boston's Logan Airport containing an Arabic language flight manual, a pass giving access to restricted areas at the airport, documents containing a name on the passenger list of one of the flights, and the names of other suspects. The name of the flight school where Atta and Alshehhi studied, Huffman Aviation, is also found in the car. [Los Angeles Times, 9/13/01]

A car registered to Nawaf Alhazmi is found at Washington's Dulles Airport on September 12. Inside is a copy of Atta's letter to the other hijackers, a cashier's check made out to a flight school in Phoenix, four drawings of the cockpit of a 757 jet, a box cutter-type knife, maps of Washington and New York, and a page with notes and phone numbers. [Cox News Service, 10/21/01; Die Zeit, 10/1/02; Arizona Daily Star, 9/28/01]

A rental car is found in an airport parking lot in Portland, Maine. Investigators are able to collect fingerprints and hair samples for DNA analysis. [Portland Press Herald, 10/14/01]

A Boston hotel room contains airplane and train schedules. [Sydney Morning Herald, 9/15/01]

FBI agents carry out numerous garbage bags of evidence from a Florida apartment where Saeed Alghamdi lived. [CNN, 9/17/01 (B)]

Two days before 9/11, a hotel owner in Deerfield Beach, Florida, finds a box cutter left in a hotel room used by Marwan Alshehhi and two unidentified men. The owner checks the nearby trash and finds a duffel bag containing Boeing 757 manuals, three illustrated martial arts books, an 8-inch stack of East Coast flight maps, a three-ring binder full of handwritten notes, an English-German dictionary, an airplane fuel tester, and a protractor. The FBI seizes all the items when they are notified on September 12 (except the binder of notes, which the owner apparently threw away). [Miami Herald, 9/16/01; Associated Press, 9/16/01 (B)]

In an apartment rented by Ziad Jarrah and Ahmed Alhaznawi, the FBI finds a notebook, videotape, and photocopies of their passports. [Miami Herald, 9/15/01]

In a bar the night before 9/11, after making predictions of a attack on America the next day, the hijackers leave a business card and a copy of the Koran at the bar. The FBI also recovers the credit card receipts from when they paid for their drinks and lap dances. [Associated Press, 9/14/01]

A September 13 security sweep of Boston airport's parking garage uncovers items left behind by the hijackers: a box cutter, a pamphlet written in Arabic, and a credit card. [Washington Post, 9/16/01]

A few hours after the attacks, suicide notes that some of the hijackers wrote to their parents are found in New York. Credit card receipts showing that some of the hijackers paid for flight training in the US are also found. [Los Angeles Times, 9/13/01]

A FedEx bill is found in a trash can at the Comfort Inn in Portland, Maine, where Atta stayed the night before 9/11. The bill leads to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, allowing investigators to determine much of the funding for 9/11. [Newsweek, 11/11/01; Times of London, 12/1/01]
The hijackers past whereabouts can even be tracked by their pizza purchases. An expert points out: “Most people pay cash for pizza. These [hijackers] paid with a credit card. That was an odd thing.” [San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/3/02] “In the end, they left a curiously obvious trail—from martial arts manuals, maps, a Koran, Internet and credit card fingerprints. Maybe they were sloppy, maybe they did not care, maybe it was a gesture of contempt of a culture they considered weak and corrupt.” [Miami Herald, 9/22/01] Note The New Yorker's quote of a former high-level intelligence official: “Whatever trail was left was left deliberately—for the FBI to chase.” [New Yorker, 10/1/01]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, Washington Dulles International Airport, Huffman Aviation, Nawaf Alhazmi, Ziad Jarrah, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Saeed Alghamdi
          

September 11, 2001: Germans Learn of 30 People Traveling for 9/11 Plot

       A few hours after the attacks, German intelligence intercepts a phone conversation between followers of bin Laden that leads the FBI to search frantically for two more teams of suicide hijackers, according to US and German officials. The Germans overhear the operatives refer to “the 30 people traveling for the operation.” The FBI scours flight manifests and any other clues for more conspirators still at large. [New York Times, 9/29/01] Two days later, authorities claim to have identified teams of as many as 50 infiltrators who supported or carried out the strikes. About 40 are accounted for as dead or in custody; ten are missing. They also believe a total of 27 suspected operatives received some form of pilot training. This corresponds with many analyses that the attacks required a large support network. [Los Angeles Times, 9/13/01] Yet there is no evidence that any accomplices in the US shortly before 9/11 have since been arrested or charged.
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Germany, al-Qaeda
          

September 11, 2001: Suspected Militants Found with Calling Cards

       An unnamed, young, Middle Eastern man flying from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit, Michigan, is arrested after his plane is diverted to Toronto, Canada. He is apparently found to be carrying a flight jacket, Palestinian Authority travel documents, and a picture of himself in a flight crew uniform in front of a fake backdrop of the WTC. [Toronto Star, 9/15/01 (B); Toronto Sun, 9/15/01; Ottawa Citizen, 9/17/01 (B)] Apparently, the man, who identifies himself as an aircraft maintenance engineer in Gaza, Palestine, was supposed to have arrived in the US a few days before but was delayed for unknown reasons. [CBS News, 9/14/01 (B)] A second man was arrested a few days earlier while trying to enter Canada carrying a similar photo. He also possessed maps and directions to the WTC. Both men are soon handed over to the US. [Toronto Star, 9/15/01 (B)] A similar picture of suspected Egyptian al-Qaeda operative Mohammad Zeki Majoub, arrested in Canada in June 2000, in front of a fake WTC backdrop was found in the luggage of one of the US hijackers. [Toronto Sun, 9/15/01; Associated Press, 3/1/01] Canadian officials “believe the photos could be calling cards used by the terrorists to identify those involved in plotting the attacks.” [Toronto Sun, 9/15/01]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, Mohammad Zeki Majoub
          

September 11, 2001: Weapons Found on Additional Planes: Inside Jobs?

       Later in the day, weapons are found planted on board three other US airplanes. A US official says of the hijackings: “These look like inside jobs.” Time magazine reports, “Sources tell Time that US officials are investigating whether the hijackers had accomplices deep inside the airports' ‘secure’ areas.” [Time, 9/22/01] Penetrating airport security does not appear to have been that difficult: Argenbright, the company in charge of security at all the airports used by the 9/11 hijackers, had virtually no security check on any of their employees, and even hired criminals and illegal immigrants. Security appears to have particularly abysmal at Boston's Logan Airport, even after 9/11. [Boston Globe, 10/1/01; CNN, 10/12/01]
People and organizations involved: Logan Airport, Argenbright
          

September 12, 2001: FEMA Assembles Team to Analyze WTC Collapses

       The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its contractor, Greenhorne and O'Mara, Inc., from Greenbelt, Maryland, begin putting together a Building Performance Assessment Team (BPAT), to conduct a formal analysis of the World Trade Center collapses, and produce a report of its findings. FEMA routinely deploys such teams following disasters, like floods or hurricanes. The 23-member BPAT team set up at the WTC collapse site is assembled by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and headed by Dr. W. Gene Corley of Construction Technologies Laboratories in Skokie, Illinois. Corley was previously the principal investigator for FEMA's study of the Murrah Building, in Oklahoma City in 1995. [New Yorker, 11/12/01] BPAT team members are based nationwide and have to communicate with each other mostly by phone, as they continue with their regular jobs. While some of them are being paid for their efforts, others are working on the investigation voluntarily. They are told not to speak with reporters, under threat of dismissal from the team, supposedly because of the delicacy of the subject with which they are dealing. The BPAT team receives $600,000 of funding from FEMA, plus approximately $500,000 in ASCE in-kind contributions. [Associated Press, 1/14/02; Committee on Science hearing, 3/6/02; New York Times, 12/25/01] The team will have great difficulty accessing the collapse site and evidence they want to see (see March 6, 2002). The end product of their investigation is the FEMA World Trade Center Building Performance Study, released in May 2002 (see May 1, 2002).
People and organizations involved: Greenhorne and O'Mara, Inc., World Trade Center, W. Gene Corley, American Society of Civil Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency
          

September 12, 2001: Inside Help for Terrorists at Airports?

       Billie Vincent, a former FAA security director, suggests the hijackers had inside help at the airports. “These people had to have the means to take control of the aircrafts. And that means they had to have weapons in order for those pilots to relinquish control. Think about it, they planned this thing out to the last detail for months. They are not going to take any risks at the front end. They knew they were going to be successful before they started ... It's the only thing that really makes sense to me.” [Miami Herald, 9/12/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Billie Vincent
          

September 12, 2001: Hijacker's Passport Found Near WTC

       The passport of hijacker Satam Al Suqami is found a few blocks from the WTC. [ABC News, 9/16/01; Associated Press, 9/16/01; ABC News, 9/12/01 (C)] The Guardian says, “The idea that Mohamed Atta's passport had escaped from that inferno unsinged [tests] the credulity of the staunchest supporter of the FBI's crackdown on terrorism.” [Guardian, 3/19/02] (Note that, as in this Guardian account, the passport is frequently mistakenly referred to as Atta's passport.)
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Satam Al Suqami, Federal Bureau of Investigation, World Trade Center
          

September 12, 2001: Threat to Air Force One? Stories Conflict

       White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer explains that President Bush went to Nebraska because “[t]here was real and credible information that the White House and Air Force One were targets.” The next day, William Safire of the New York Times writes, and Bush's political strategist, Karl Rove, confirms, that the Secret Service believed “ ‘Air Force One may be next,’ and there was an ‘inside’ threat which ‘may have broken the secret codes [i.e., showing a knowledge of presidential procedures].’ ” [New York Times, 9/13/01] By September 27, Fleischer begins to backpedal on the claim that there were specific threats against Air Force One and/or the president, and news stories flatly contradict it. [Washington Post, 9/27/01] A well-informed, anonymous Washington official says, “It did two things for [Cheney]. It reinforced his argument that the president should stay out of town, and it gave George W. an excellent reason for doing so.” [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] By 2004, a Bush spokesperson says there was no threat, but Cheney continues to maintain that there may have been. Cheney also claims the Secret Service passed him word of the threat, but two Secret Service agents working that day deny their agency played any role in receiving or passing on such a threat. The threat was allegedly based on the use of the word “Angel,” the code word for Air Force One, but Secret Service agents later note that the code word was not an official secret, but a radio shorthand designation that had been made public well before 2001. [Wall Street Journal, 3/22/04]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer, Karl Rove, George W. Bush, Secret Service, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

September 12-October 2001: Steel Debris From WTC Shipped Out of US for Recycling

      
Steel beams from the WTC were already being removed and recycled by September 20, 2001, when this picture was taken.
In the month following 9/11, a significant amount of the steel debris from the WTC collapses is removed from the rubble pile, cut into smaller sections, and either melted at a recycling plant or shipped out of the US. [Committee on Science hearing, 3/6/02] Each of the twin towers contained 78,000 tons of recyclable steel. Much of this is shipped to India, China, and other Asian countries, where it will be melted down and reprocessed into new steel products. Asian companies are able to purchase the steel for just $120 per ton, compared, for example, to a usual average price of $150 per ton in China. Industry officials estimate that selling off the steel and other metals from the WTC for recycling could net a few tens of million dollars. [New York Times, 10/9/01; Reuters, 1/21/02; CorpWatch, 2/6/02; Reuters, 1/22/02; Eastday (.com), 1/24/02] 9/11 victims' families and some engineers are angered at the decision to quickly discard the steel, believing it should be examined to help determine how the towers collapsed. A respected fire fighting trade magazine comments, “We are literally treating the steel removed from the site like garbage, not like crucial fire scene evidence.” [Fire Engineering, 1/02 (B)] Rep. Joseph Crowley (D) will later call the loss of this evidence “borderline criminal.” By March 2002, 150 pieces of steel from the WTC debris will have been identified by engineers for use in future investigations (see March 6, 2002). [FEMA report, p. D-13] A study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which commences in August 2002 [Associated Press, 8/21/02; NIST, 8/21/02] , will have 236 pieces of recovered steel available to it. Of these, 229 pieces are from WTC 1 and 2, representing “roughly 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent of the 200,000 tons of structural steel used in the construction of the two towers.” [NIST draft report, 9/05, p. 85] New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg defends the decision to quickly get rid of the WTC steel, saying, “If you want to take a look at the construction methods and the design, that's in this day and age what computers do. Just looking at a piece of metal generally doesn't tell you anything.” Officials in the mayor's office decline to reply to requests by the New York Times regarding who decided to have the steel recycled. [New York Times, 12/25/01; Eastday (.com), 1/24/02]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center
          

September 13-14, 2001: Flight 93 and Flight 77 Black Boxes Found

       All the “black boxes” for Flights 93 and 77 are found. However, Flight 93's two boxes are deemed severely damaged, and it is not known if the data can be recovered [BBC, 9/15/01; Reuters, 9/13/01 (B)] In December, the FBI reveals they know the contents, but only release select quotes. [CNN, 12/21/01] Flight 93's recording is eventually played in private to victims' relatives, and also to the 9/11 Commission. FBI Director Mueller will later say that the boxes for Flight 77 provided altitude, speed, headings, and other information, but the voice recorder contained “nothing useful.” [CBS News, 2/23/02]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Robert S. Mueller III, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

September 13, 2001: Wide Flight 93 Debris Field Spurs Rumors Flight Was Shot Down

       Investigators say they have found debris from the Flight 93 crash far from the main crash site. A second debris field centers around Indian Lake about three miles from the crash scene, where eyewitnesses report seeing falling debris only moments after the crash. More debris is found in New Baltimore, some eight miles away. Later in the day, the investigators say all that debris likely was blown there. [CNN, 9/13/01; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/13/01] Another debris field is found six miles away, and human remains are found miles away. After all of this is discovered, the FBI still “stresses” that “no evidence [has] surfaced” to support the idea that the plane was shot down. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/13/01] A half-ton piece of one of the engines is found 2,000 yards away from the main crash site. This was the single heaviest piece recovered from the crash. [Philadelphia Daily News, 12/28/01; Independent, 8/13/02] Days later, the FBI says the wide debris field was probably the result of the explosion on impact. The Independent nevertheless later cites the wide debris field as one of many reasons why widespread rumors remain that the plane was shot down. [Independent, 9/20/01]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

September 13, 2001: 18 Hijackers Named, Hanjour Follows One Day Later

       The FBI says there were 18 hijackers, and releases their names. [CNN, 9/13/01 (C)] The next day, it is revealed there is one more hijacker—Hani Hanjour. [CNN, 9/14/01; Associated Press, 9/14/01 (B)] A few days later, it is reported that Hanjour's “name was not on the American Airlines manifest for [Flight 77] because he may not have had a ticket.” [Washington Post, 9/16/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: American Airlines, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

September 13, 2001: Series of Circumstances Said to Make Hijacked Passenger Cell Phone Calls Possible

       It is reported that the many phone calls made by passengers from the hijacked flights are normally technically impossible to make. A major cell phone carrier spokeswoman claims, “Those were a series of circumstances that made those calls go through, which would not be repeated under normal circumstances.” Supposedly, the calls worked because they were made when the planes were close to the ground and they were kept short. [Wired, 9/13/01] However, many of the cell phone calls were made from high cruising altitudes and lasted ten minutes or more. The New York Times later reports, “According to industry experts, it is possible to use cell phones with varying success during the ascent and descent of commercial airline flights, although the difficulty of maintaining a signal appears to increase as planes gain altitude. Some older phones, which have stronger transmitters and operate on analog networks, can be used at a maximum altitude of ten miles, while phones on newer digital systems can work at altitudes of five to six miles. A typical airline cruising altitude would be 35,000 feet, or about 6.6 miles.” [Slate, 9/14/01] A spokesperson for the AT&T phone company notes that cell phone networks are not designed for calls from high altitudes. She suggests that “it was almost a fluke that the calls reached their destinations.” [Wireless Review, 11/1/01]
          

September 13, 2001: White House Announces bin Laden-9/11 Connection

       The White House announces that there is “overwhelming evidence” that bin Laden is behind the attacks. [MSNBC, 9/13/01]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, Osama bin Laden
          

September 14, 2001: Lack of Debate About Poor Fighter Response on 9/11

       The Miami Herald reports, “Forty-five minutes. That's how long American Airlines Flight 77 meandered through the air headed for the White House, its flight plan abandoned, its radar beacon silent... Who was watching in those 45 minutes? ‘That's a question that more and more people are going to ask,’ said one controller in Miami. ‘What the hell went on here? Was anyone doing anything about it? Just as a national defense thing, how are they able to fly around and no one go after them?’ ” [Miami Herald, 9/14/01] In the year after this article and a similar one in the Village Voice [Village Voice, 9/13/01] , there will be only one other US article questioning slow fighter response times, and that article notes the strange lack of articles on the topic. [Slate, 1/16/02] The fighter response issue finally makes news in 9/11 Commission hearings in 2004.
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission
          

September 14, 2001: Officials Deny Flight 93 Shot Down

       Officials deny that Flight 93 was shot down, but propose the theory that the hijackers had a bomb on board and blew up the plane. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9/14/01] Later in the month, it is reported that the “FBI has determined from the on site investigation that no explosive was involved.” [Associated Press, 9/25/01]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Richard B. Myers, North American Aerospace Defense Command, National Transportation Safety Board
          

September 14, 2001: Account of Fighter Response Times Changes Significantly

       CBS News announces that “contrary to early reports, US Air Force jets did get into the air on Tuesday while the attacks were under way.” According to this new account, the first fighters got airborne toward New York City at 8:52 a.m. [CBS News, 9/14/01] The day before this announcement, acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers in congressional testimony stated that the first fighters got airborne only after the Pentagon was hit at 9:37 a.m. [General Myers' confirmation hearing, 9/13/01] NORAD spokesman Marine Corps Major Mike Snyder also claimed no fighters launched anywhere until after the Pentagon was hit. [Boston Globe, 9/15/01] Four days later, the official NORAD timeline is changed to include this new account. [NORAD, 9/18/01] New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani later testifies before the 9/11 Commission that he found out from the White House at about 9:58 a.m. that the first fighters were not launched toward New York City until twelve minutes earlier—9:46 a.m. [9/11 Commission Report, 5/19/04] This would correspond to Myers' and Snyder's accounts that no fighters are scrambled until after the Pentagon is hit. But the 9/11 Commission later agrees with this CBS report and by their account the first fighters launch around 8:52. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Rudolph ("Rudy") Giuliani, Richard B. Myers, Mike Snyder, Pentagon, North American Aerospace Defense Command, 9/11 Commission Report, Central Intelligence Agency
          

September 14, 2001: Conflicting Accounts About Planes Near Flight 93's Crash

       Officials admit that two planes were near Flight 93 when it crashed, which matches numerous eyewitness accounts. For example, local man Dennis Decker says that immediately after hearing an explosion, “We looked up, we saw a midsized jet flying low and fast. It appeared to make a loop or part of a circle, and then it turned fast and headed out. If you were here to see it, you'd have no doubt. It was a jet plane, and it had to be flying real close when that 757 went down ... If I was the FBI, I'd find out who was driving that plane.” [Bergen Record, 9/14/01] Later the same day, the military says it can “neither confirm nor deny” the nearby planes. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9/14/01] Two days later, they claim there were two planes near, but that they were a military cargo plane and business jet, and neither had anything to do with the crash. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/16/01] Supposedly, the business jet was requested to fly low over the crash site to help rescuers find the crash site, 25 minutes after all aircraft in the US had been ordered to land. However, the story appears physically impossible since the FBI says this jet was at 37,000 feet and asked to descend to 5,000 feet. [Pittsburgh Channel, 9/15/01] That would have taken many minutes for that kind of plane, and witnesses report seeing the plane flying very low even before the crash. [Bergen Record, 9/14/01] Another explanation of a farmer's plane 45 minutes later is put forth, but that also does not fit the time at all. [Pittsburgh Channel, 9/15/01] Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz states: “We responded awfully quickly, I might say, on Tuesday [9/11], and, in fact, we were already tracking in on that plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. I think it was the heroism of the passengers on board that brought it down. But the Air Force was in a position to do so if we had had to.” [Department of Defense, 9/14/01] The next day, Maj. Gen. Paul Weaver, the director of the Air National Guard denies that any plane was scrambled after Flight 93. [Seattle Times, 9/16/01] That in turn contradicts what Vice President Cheney will say later. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz, Dennis Decker, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Paul Weaver
          

September 14, 2001: Gruesome WTC Remains Found, But No Black Boxes

       Some gruesome remains are discovered in the WTC ruins. Investigators find a pair of severed hands bound together with plastic handcuffs on a nearby building. They are believed to have belonged to a flight attendant. [Newsday, 9/15/01] There are reports of whole rows of seats with passengers in them being found, as well as much of the cockpit of one of the planes, complete with the body of one of the hijackers, and the body of another stewardess, whose hands were tied with wire. [Ananova, 9/13/01; New York Times, 9/15/01 (D)] Yet, contradicting the claim that a hijacker's body was found, only in February 2003 are the remains of two hijackers identified. While all of these bodies and plane parts are supposedly found, not one of the four black boxes for these two airplanes is ever found. A National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson says, “It's extremely rare that we don't get the recorders back. I can't recall another domestic case in which we did not recover the recorders.” [CBS News, 2/23/02] The black boxes are considered “nearly indestructible,” are placed in the safest parts of the aircraft, and are designed to survive impacts much greater than the WTC impact. They can withstand heat of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour, and can withstand an impact of an incredible 3,400 G's. [ABC News, 9/17/01]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, National Transportation Safety Board
          

September 14, 2001: Contrary Accounts of Flight 93's Speed Raises Questions

       It is initially reported that Flight 93 is traveling fairly slowly when it crashed. “It slammed into the ground at a speed law enforcement authorities said might have approached 300 mph.” [New York Times, 9/14/01] “Flight 93 slammed into the earth nose-first at over 200 mph, according to estimates by the National Transportation Safety Board and other experts.” [Delaware News Journal, 9/16/01] However, by 2002 it is being reported that the plane crashed going nearly 600 mph. [Longman, 2002, pp 212] “It could have even broken the sound barrier for a while,” says Hank Krakowski, director of flight operations control at United's system control center on September 11. [New York Times, 3/27/02] The design limits of the plane are 287 mph when flying below 10,000 feet. [Longman, 2002, pp 208]
People and organizations involved: Hank Krakowski, National Transportation Safety Board
          

September 15-17, 2001: Did Some Hijackers Get US Military Training?

      
Did some of the hijackers take part in Pensacola base military ceremonies such as this one?
A series of articles suggest that at least seven of the 9/11 hijackers trained in US military bases. [Newsweek, 9/15/01; New York Times, 9/15/01 (E)] Ahmed Alnami, Ahmed Alghamdi, and Saeed Alghamdi even listed the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, as their permanent address on their driver's licenses. [Pensacola News Journal, 9/17/01] Hamza Alghamdi was also connected to the Pensacola base. [Washington Post, 9/16/01] A defense official confirms that Saeed Alghamdi is a former Saudi fighter pilot who attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. [Los Angeles Times, 9/15/01; Gannett News Service, 9/17/01] Abdulaziz Alomari attended Brooks Air Force Base Aerospace Medical School in San Antonio, Texas. [Gannett News Service, 9/17/01] A defense official confirms Mohamed Atta is a former Saudi fighter pilot who graduated from the US International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. [Los Angeles Times, 9/15/01; Washington Post, 9/16/01] The media stops looking into the hijackers' possible US military connections after the Air Force makes a not-very-definitive statement, saying that while the names are similar, “we are probably not talking about the same people.” [Washington Post, 9/16/01]
People and organizations involved: US Department of the Air Force, Ahmed Alghamdi, Saeed Alghamdi, Ahmed Alnami, Abdulaziz Alomari, Hamza Alghamdi, Mohamed Atta
          

September 16-23, 2001: People with Hijacker Names and Identifying Details Are Still Alive

      
The Salem Alhazmi on the left [Saudi Gazette, 9/23/01] claims that the FBI pictures of a Salem Alhazmi such as this one on the right [FBI] are of him, from when his passport was stolen.
Reports appear in many newspapers suggesting that some of the people the US says were 9/11 hijackers are actually still alive:
Hamza Alghamdi: No media outlet has claimed that Hamza Alghamdi is still alive, but his family says the FBI photo “has no resemblance to him at all.” [Washington Post, 9/25/01]

Saeed Alghamdi is alive and flying airplanes in Tunisia. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01; Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01; BBC, 9/23/01]
He says he studied flight training in a Florida flight schools for parts of the years 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. [Arab News, 9/18/01] The Daily Telegraph notes, “The FBI had published [Saeed Alghamdi's] personal details but with a photograph of somebody else, presumably a hijacker who had ‘stolen’ his identity. CNN, however, showed a picture of the real Mr. Alghamdi.” [Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01] If this account is true, as of mid-2004 the FBI is still using the wrong photograph of Alghamdi.
Salem Alhazmi is alive and working at a petrochemical plant in Yanbou, Saudi Arabia. [Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01; Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01]
He says his passport was stolen by a pickpocket in Cairo three years ago and that pictures and details such as date of birth are of him. [Saudi Gazette, 9/29/02; Guardian, 9/21/01 (C); Washington Post, 9/20/01]
Ahmed Alnami is alive and working as an administrative supervisor with Saudi Arabian Airlines in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01]
He had never lost his passport and found it “very worrying” that his identity appeared to have been stolen. [Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01] However, there is another “Ahmed Alnami” who is ten years younger, and appears to be dead, according to his father. [ABC News, 3/15/02] Ahmed Alnami's family says his FBI picture is correct. [Washington Post, 9/25/01]
Abdulaziz Alomari is alive and working as a pilot for Saudi Arabian Airlines [Independent, 9/17/01; BBC, 9/23/01; New York Times, 9/16/01]
He claims that his passport was stolen in 1995 while he was living in Denver, Colorado. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] “They gave my name and my date of birth, but I am not a suicide bomber. I am here. I am alive.” [Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01; Times of London, 9/20/01]
Marwan Alshehhi may be alive in Morocco. [Saudi Gazette, 9/18/01; Khaleej Times, 9/20/01]
Family and neighbors do not believe he took part in the attacks. [Reuters, 9/18/01]
Mohand Alshehri: The Saudi government has claimed that Mohand Alshehri is alive and that he was not in the US on 9/11, but no more details are known. [Associated Press, 9/29/01 (B)]

The brothers Waleed M. Alshehri and Wail Alshehri are alive. A Saudi spokesman said, “This is a respectable family. I know his sons, and they're both alive.” The father is a diplomat who has been stationed in the US and Bombay, India. [Arab News, 9/19/01; Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01]
There is a second pair of Saudi brothers named Wail and Waleed M. who may have been the real hijackers. Their father says they have been missing since December 2000. [Arab News, 9/17/01; ABC News, 3/15/02] The still-living Waleed M. Alshehri is a pilot with Saudi Airlines, studying in Morocco. [Associated Press, 9/22/01; Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] He acknowledges that he attended flight training school at Dayton Beach in the United States. [Daily Trust, 9/24/01; BBC, 9/23/01] He was interviewed by US officials in Morocco, and cleared of all charges against him (though apparently the FBI is still using his picture). [Embry Riddle Aeronautical University press release, 9/21/01] The still living Waleed Alshehri is also apparently a pilot. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] He claims that he saw his picture on CNN and recognized it from when he studied flying in Florida. But he also says that he has no brother named Wail. [Ausat, 9/22/01]
Mohamed Atta's father says he spoke to his son on the phone on September 12, 2001. [New York Times, 9/19/01; Chicago Tribune, 9/20/01]

Khalid Almihdhar: On September 19, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. distributes a “special alert” to its member banks asking for information about the attackers. The list includes “Al-Midhar, Khalid. Alive.” The Justice Department later calls this a “typo.” [Associated Press, 9/20/01; Cox News Service, 10/21/01]
The BBC says, “There are suggestions that another suspect, Khalid Almihdhar, may also be alive.” [BBC, 9/23/01] The Guardian says Almihdhar is believed to be alive, but investigators are looking into three possibilities. Either his name was stolen for a hijacker alias, or he allowed his name to be used so that US officials would think he died, or he died in the crash. [Guardian, 9/21/01 (B)]
Majed Moqed was last seen by a friend in Saudi Arabia in 2000. This friend claims the FBI picture does not look like Moqed. [Arab News, 9/22/01]
The Saudi government insists that five of the Saudis mentioned are still alive. [New York Times, 9/21/01] On September 20, FBI Director Mueller says, “We have several others that are still in question. The investigation is ongoing, and I am not certain as to several of the others.” [Newsday, 9/21/01] On September 27, after all of these revelations mentioned above are revealed in the media, FBI Director Mueller states, “We are fairly certain of a number of them.” [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01] On September 20, the London Times reported, “Five of the hijackers were using stolen identities, and investigators are studying the possibility that the entire suicide squad consisted of impostors.” [Times of London, 9/20/01] The mainstream media briefly doubted some of the hijackers' identities. For instance, a story in the Observer on September 23 put the names of hijackers like Saeed Alghamdi in quotation marks. [Observer, 9/23/01] However, the story will die down after the initial reports, and it is hardly noticed when Mueller states on November 2, 2001, “We at this point definitely know the 19 hijackers who were responsible,” and claims that the FBI is sticking with the names and photos released in late September. [Associated Press, 11/03/02]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Mohand Alshehri, Khalid Almihdhar, Majed Moqed, Waleed M. Alshehri, Wail Alshehri, Marwan Alshehhi, Abdulaziz Alomari, Salem Alhazmi, Saeed Alghamdi, Ahmed Alnami, Hamza Alghamdi, Robert S. Mueller III
          

September 16, 2001: Usual Investigative Procedures Not Followed in Examining Flight 93 Wreckage

       A report suggests the crash site of Flight 93 is being searched and recorded in 60 square-foot grids. [Delaware News Journal, 9/16/01] This approach is preferred by the two forensic scientists in charge of the crash, who say that doing so can help determine who was where when the plane crashed, and possibly how it crashed. However, almost a year later it comes out that this approach is not followed: “The FBI overruled them, instead dividing the site into five large sectors. It would be too time-consuming to mark tight grids, and would serve no real investigative purpose, the bureau decided. There was no mystery to solve about the crash. Everybody knew what happened to the plane.” [Longman, 2002, pp 262-63] While the military may suggest there is no mystery, some articles have suggested the plane was shot down. (For example, [Philadelphia Daily News, 11/15/01; Independent, 8/13/02] )In addition, at the time of this decision, investigators were still considering the possibility a bomb might have destroyed the plane.
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

September 16, 2001: Bin Laden Denies Involvement in 9/11 Attacks

       Confirming earlier reports [Reuters, 9/13/01 (D)] , bin Laden denies any involvement in the 9/11 attacks. In a statement to Al Jazeera, he states, “I would like to assure the world that I did not plan the recent attacks, which seems to have been planned by people for personal reasons.” [CNN, 9/17/01 (C)] The US claims that he confesses his role in a video message two months later, but the contents of that video are highly disputed.
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Al Jazeera
          

September 17, 2001: Knife Found at Flight 93 Crash Scene

       A confidential FBI bulletin states a “badly damaged” commercially manufactured cigarette lighter with a concealed knife blade has been recovered at the Flight 93 crash scene. The knife was about two and three-fourths inches long, with a knife blade of about two and a half inches. [Los Angeles Times, 9/18/01] A 9/11 Commission staff report in 2004 will also mention this knife. [9/11 Commission staff report, 8/26/04, p. 104]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

September 17, 2001: White House Meeting Leads to Cover-up?

       In a later 9/11 Commission hearing, Commissioner Bob Kerrey says that NORAD gives a briefing at the White House on this day. He adds, “[A]nd it feels like something happened in that briefing that produced almost a necessity to deliver a story that's different than what actually happened on that day.” [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] The next day, NORAD releases a timeline of 9/11 events detailing fighter response times. The 9/11 Commission later strongly disputes many details from NORAD's timeline. For instance, the timeline claims that NORAD is notified about the hijacking of Flight 93 at 9:16 a.m., but the commission concludes that when the plane crashes after 10:00 a.m., NORAD still had not been notified. [NORAD, 9/18/01; 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: North American Aerospace Defense Command, Bob Kerrey, 9/11 Commission
          

September 18, 2001: 9/11 Grand Jury Convenes, Then Disappears

       It is reported that a federal grand jury has been convened in White Plains, New York, to investigate the 9/11 attacks. The grand jury, said to have begun meeting a few days earlier, will be able to issue subpoenas. New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik says it won't be the only 9/11-related grand jury: “You're going to see things like the grand jury in White Plains. You're going to see grand juries around the country, perhaps, looking into matters pertaining to this investigation.” White Plains is part of the federal court system's Southern District of New York, which has historically led all investigations related to bin Laden. [Associated Press, 9/18/01 (B)] However, thorough searches of the Lexis-Nexus database show no further mention of this grand jury, or any other 9/11-related grand juries. What happened to it is unclear.
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, White Plains federal grand jury, Bernard Kerik
          

September 19, 2001: Unverified Reports of Additional Flights to Be Hijacked

       The FBI claims on this day that there were six hijacking teams on the morning of 9/11. [Guardian, 10/13/01; New York Times, 9/19/01 (B)] A different report claims investigators are privately saying eight. [Independent, 9/25/01] However, the reports below suggest there may have been as many as eight aborted flights, leading to a potential total of 12 hijackings:
Knives of the same type used in the successful hijackings were found taped to the backs of fold-down trays on a Continental Airlines flight from Newark. [Guardian, 9/19/01]

The FBI is investigating American Airlines Flight 43, which was scheduled to leave Boston about 8:10 a.m. bound for Los Angeles but was canceled minutes before takeoff due to a mechanical problem. [Guardian, 9/19/01; Chicago Tribune, 9/18/01; BBC, 9/18/01 (C)]
Another version claims the flight left from Newark and made it as far as Cincinnati before being grounded in the nationwide air ban. [New York Times, 9/19/01 (B)]
Knives and box cutters were found on two separate canceled Delta Airlines planes later that day, one leaving Atlanta for Brussels and the other leaving from Boston. [Time, 9/22/01; Independent, 9/25/01]

On September 14, two knives were found on an Air Canada flight that would have flown to New York on 9/11 if not for the air ban. [CNN, 10/15/01]

Two men arrested on 9/11 may have lost their nerve on American Airlines Flight 1729 from Newark to San Antonio via Dallas that was scheduled to depart at 8:50 a.m., and was later forced to land in St. Louis. Alternately, they may have been planning an attack for September 15, 2001. [New York Times, 9/19/01 (B)]

There may have been an attempt to hijack United Airlines Flight 23 flying from Boston to Los Angeles around 9:00 a.m. Shortly after 9:00 a.m., United Airlines flight dispatcher Ed Ballinger sent out a warning about the first WTC crash to the flights he was handling (see (After 9:00 a.m.)). Because of this warning, the crew of Flight 23 told the passengers it had a mechanical problem and immediately returned to the gate. Ballinger was later told by authorities that six men initially wouldn't get off the plane. When the men finally disembarked, they disappeared into the crowd and never returned. Later, authorities checked their luggage and found copies of the Koran and al-Qaeda instruction sheets. [Chicago Daily Herald, 4/14/04]
In mid-2002, a NORAD deputy commander says “we don't know for sure” if Flight 23 was to have been hijacked. [Globe and Mail, 6/13/02]
Knives were found stashed in the seats on a plane due to leave Boston that was delayed due to technical problems and then canceled. [Guardian, 10/13/01]

A box cutter knife was found under a seat cushion on American Airlines Flight 160, a 767 that would have flown from San Diego to New York on the morning of 9/11 but for the air ban. [Chicago Tribune, 9/23/01]
The FBI is said to be seeking a number of passengers who failed to board the same, rescheduled flights when the grounding order on commercial planes in the US was lifted. [BBC, 9/18/01 (C)] The Independent points out suspicions have been fueled “that staff at US airports may have played an active role in the conspiracy and helped the hijackers to circumvent airport security.” They also note, “It is possible that at least some of the flights that have come under scrutiny were used as decoys, or as fallback targets.” [Independent, 9/25/01]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

September 19, 2001: Atta's Father Claims Son Was Framed

      
Mohamed Atta's father, Mohamed al-Amir Awad al-Sayed Atta.
Mohamed Atta's father holds a press conference in Cairo and makes a number of surprising claims. He believes that the Mossad, Israel's spy agency, did the 9/11 attacks, and stole his son's identity. He claims that Atta was a mama's boy prone to airsickness, a dedicated architecture student who rarely mentioned politics, and a victim of an intricate framing. He says that Atta spoke to him on the phone on September 12 about “normal things,” one day after he was supposed to be dead. Atta called his family about once a month, yet never told them he was in the US, continuing to say he was studying in Germany. Atta's family never saw him after 1999, and Atta canceled a trip to visit them in late 2000. His father even shows a picture of his son, claiming he looks similar but not the same as the terrorist Atta. [Chicago Tribune, 9/20/01; New York Times, 9/19/01; Newsweek, 9/24/01 (B)] He also says that the man pictured in published photos from an airport surveillance camera had a heavier build than his son. [Cairo Times, 9/20/01] A year later, he still believes his son is alive. [Guardian, 9/2/02]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks
          

September 21, 2001: Algerian Pilot Mistakenly Arrested

      
Lofti Raissi.
Lotfi Raissi, an Algerian pilot living in Britain, is arrested and accused of helping to train four of the hijackers. An FBI source says, “We believe he is by far the biggest find we have had so far. He is of crucial importance to us.” [Las Vegas Review Journal, 9/29/01] However, in April 2002, a judge dismisses all charges against him. US officials originally said, “They had video of him with Hani Hanjour, who allegedly piloted the plane that crashed into the Pentagon; records of phone conversations between the two men; evidence that they had flown a training plane together; and evidence that Raissi had met several of the hijackers in Las Vegas. It turned out, the British court found, that the video showed Raissi with his cousin, not Mr. Hanjour, that Raissi had mistakenly filled in his air training logbook and had never flown with Hanjour, and that Raissi and the hijackers were not in Las Vegas at the same time. The US authorities never presented any phone records showing conversations between Raissi and Hanjour. It appears that in this case the US authorities handed over all the information they had...” [Christian Science Monitor, 3/27/02] Raissi later says he will sue the British and American governments unless he is given a “widely publicized apology” for his months in prison and the assumption of “guilty until proven innocent.” [Reuters, 8/14/02] In September 2003, he does sue both governments for $20 million. He also wins a undisclosed sum from the British tabloid Mail on Sunday for printing false charges against him. [Arizona Republic, 10/14/03; BBC, 10/7/03; Guardian, 9/16/03]
People and organizations involved: Pentagon, United States, Britain, William Safire, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lotfi Raissi
          

September 21, 2001: Report Suggests There Are Confiscated Videos of Pentagon Crash

       A report suggests, “Federal investigators may have video footage of the deadly terrorist attack on the Pentagon. A security camera atop a hotel close to the Pentagon may have captured dramatic footage of the hijacked Boeing 757 airliner as it slammed into the western wall of the Pentagon. Hotel employees sat watching the film in shock and horror several times before the FBI confiscated the video as part of its investigation. It may be the only available video of the attack. The Pentagon has told broadcast news reporters that its security cameras did not capture the crash. The attack occurred close to the Pentagon's heliport, an area that normally would be under 24-hour security surveillance, including video monitoring.” [Gertz File, 9/21/01] In a later report, an employee at a gas station across the street from the Pentagon that services only military personnel says the gas station's security cameras should have recorded the moment of impact. However, he says, “I've never seen what the pictures looked like. The FBI was here within minutes and took the film.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12/11/01] A later release of five tiny and grainy images of the crash from a Pentagon security camera shows the government's claim that no security cameras captured the crash was untrue.
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Department of Defense, Pentagon
          

September 24, 2001: Militants Reportedly Stole Pilot Uniforms, Sat in Cockpits

       Fox News claims that up to 12 other Middle Eastern men dressed in pilot uniforms were on other flights scheduled to take off on the morning of 9/11. Hijackings on all these flights were foiled when an unexpected ban on new flights prevented them from taking off. An FBI source says they had been invited into the cockpits under the impression that they were guest pilots from other airlines. It is standard practice to give guest pilots the spare seat in the cockpit known as the jump seat. [Fox News, 9/24/01] Flight 93's cockpit voice recording has apparently shown that “one of the four hijackers had been invited into the cockpit area before the flight took off.” Many pilot uniforms had gone missing prior to 9/11. It is claimed that Mohamed Atta was given a guided tour of Boston's Logan Airport the week before 9/11 when he turned up in a pilot uniform saying he was with Saudi Airlines. [Herald Sun, 9/25/01]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

September 25, 2001: Several 9/11 Passengers Have Possible Connections to Pilotless Aircraft Program

       As details of the passengers on the four hijacked flights emerge, some are shown to have curious connections to the defense company Raytheon, and possibly its Global Hawk pilotless aircraft program. Stanley Hall (Flight 77) was director of program management for Raytheon Electronics Warfare. One Raytheon colleague calls him “our dean of electronic warfare.” [Associated Press, 9/25/01] Peter Gay (Flight 11) was Raytheon's vice president of operations for Electronic Systems and had been on special assignment to a company office in El Segundo, California. [Associated Press, 9/25/01] Raytheon's El Segundo's Electronic Systems division is one of two divisions making the Global Hawk. [ISR Journal, 3/02] Kenneth Waldie (Flight 11) was a senior quality control engineer for Raytheon's electronic systems. David Kovalcin (Flight 11) was a senior mechanical engineer for Raytheon's electronic systems. [CNN, 9/01] Herbert Homer (Flight 175) was a corporate executive working with the Department of Defense. [Northeastern University Voice, 12/11/01; CNN, 9/01 (B)] A surprising number of passengers, especially on Flight 77, have military connections. For instance, William E. Caswell was a Navy scientist whose work was so classified that his family knew very little about what he did each day. Says his mother, “You just learn not to ask questions.” [Chicago Tribune, 9/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Stanley Hall, Herbert Homer, William E. Caswell, Peter Gay, Kenneth Waldie, David Kovalcin
          

September 28, 2001: Text of Atta Note Is Made Public, Authenticity Is Disputed

       The text of a handwritten, five-page document found in Mohamed Atta's luggage is made public. [Observer, 9/30/01 (C)] The next day, the Independent strongly questions if the note is genuine. It points out the “note suggests an almost Christian view of what the hijackers might have felt” and is filled with “weird” comments that Muslims would never say, such as “the time of fun and waste is gone.” If the note “is genuine, then the [hijackers] believed in a very exclusive version of Islam—or were surprisingly unfamiliar with their religion.” [Independent, 9/29/01] Another copy of the document was discovered in a vehicle parked by a Flight 77 hijacker at Washington's Dulles airport. A third copy of essentially the same document was found in the wreckage of Flight 93. Therefore, the letter neatly ties most of the hijackers together. [CBS News, 9/28/01] The Guardian says, “The finds are certainly very fortunate, though some might think them a little too fortunate.” [Guardian, 10/1/01] Interestingly, an FBI affidavit of the contents of Atta's baggage written on September 14, 2001, and released on October 4 fails to mention the how-to letter.
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mohamed Atta
          

September 29, 2001: No Video Cameras in Boston's Logan Airport; Footage from Other Airports Remains Classified

       It is reported that Boston's Logan Airport has no cameras in its terminals, gate areas, or concourses. It is possibly the only major airport in the US not to have such cameras. The two other airports used by the hijackers to launch the 9/11 attacks had security cameras, but only some footage of the hijackers in the Washington airport is leaked to the press in 2004. [Boston Herald, 9/29/01] It was previously reported that FBI agents had “examined footage from dozens of cameras at the three airports [including Logan] where the terrorists boarded the aircraft.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/13/01]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

Late September 2001-November 26, 2001: Theft of WTC Steel Leads to Tight Security Measures

       The New York Police and FBI are investigating the theft of over 250 tons of steel from the remains of the collapsed WTC towers. Apparently, the steel was hauled away by trucks involved in the official clear-up operation (see September 12-October 2001), but instead of being taken to Fresh Kills—the FBI-controlled dump on Staten Island where it was intended to go—the steel was driven to three independently-owned scrapyards, two in New Jersey and one on Long Island. The London Telegraph says the scrap metal value of the stolen steel would have been roughly $17,500. Investigators believe the theft was organized by one of New York's Mafia families. [Daily Telegraph, 9/29/01] Consequently, on November 26, 2001, the city initiates use of an in-vehicle Global Positioning System (GPS), to monitor the locations of nearly 200 trucks removing steel from the WTC collapse site, at a cost of $1,000 per unit. This system sends out alerts if any truck travels off course or arrives late at its destination. One driver involved with the clear-up operation is subsequently dismissed simply for taking an extended lunch break. [Access Control and Security Systems, 7/1/02]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, New York City Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

October 2001: Three of Four Black Boxes From WTC Crashes Secretly Found?

       According to two men who work extensively in the wreckage of the WTC, three of the four black boxes from Flight 11 and Flight 175 are actually found during this month, but the public is not told. New York City Firefighter Nicholas DeMasi will mention the finding in a book published in 2003. He claims to drive federal agents on an all-terrain vehicle during their search and to see the found boxes himself. The Philadelphia Daily News will report on the story in 2004 when another rescue worker, volunteer Mike Bellone, backs up DeMasi's account and claims to have seen one of the boxes as well. Spokesmen for the FBI and the New York City Fire Department deny the claims of these two workers. [Philadelphia Daily News, 10/28/04]
People and organizations involved: Nicholas DeMasi, Mike Bellone, New York City Fire Department, World Trade Center, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

October 2001-September 11, 2002: Army's History Detachment Completing Interviews of Witnesses of Pentagon Attack for Book

       The US Army's Military History Detachment is concluding work on the US Department of Defense's own book recording the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. Since October 2001, the 305th and 46th Military History Detachments have been interviewing every willing survivor and witness from the Pentagon attack. More than 1,000 witnesses have been interviewed. Their findings are to be published in book form, and kept at the Army Center of Military History in Washington, DC. [Juniata College Magazine, Fall 02; Fox News, 12/17/01; Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 12/16/01; Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 9/11/02] As of mid-2005 this book has not been released.
People and organizations involved: Pentagon, Military History Detachment
          

October 1, 2001: Taliban Possibly Trained Pilots in Afghanistan

       It is reported that “a worldwide hunt is under way for 14 young Muslims said to have been trained in secret to fly Boeing airliners at an air base in Afghanistan. A senior pilot for the Afghan state-owned airline Ariana has told how he and four colleagues were forced by the Taliban regime to train the men who are now thought to be hiding in Europe and the United States. The fourteen men, seven of whom are said to speak fluent English, are described as ‘dedicated Muslim fanatics’ who spoke of being involved in a holy war. They are thought to have left Afghanistan a year ago. All had close links with the Taliban and some had fought for the regime.” [Evening Standard, 10/1/01]
People and organizations involved: Taliban
          

October 2001: FBI Recovers Hijacker E-Mails

       Reports this month indicate that many hijacker e-mails have been recovered. USA Today reports many unencrypted e-mails coordinating the 9/11 plans written by the hijackers in Internet cafes have been recovered by investigators. [USA Today, 10/1/01] FBI sources say, “[H]undreds of e-mails linked to the hijackers in English, Arabic and Urdu” have been recovered, with some messages including “operational details” of the attack. [Washington Post, 10/4/01] “A senior FBI official says investigators have obtained hundreds of e-mails in English and Arabic, reflecting discussions of the planned September 11 hijackings.” [Wall Street Journal, 10/16/01] However, in April 2002, FBI Director Mueller says no documentation of the 9/11 plot has been found. By September 2002, the Chicago Tribune reports, “Of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of e-mails sent and received by the hijackers from public Internet terminals, none is known to have been recovered.” [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02] The texts of some e-mails sent by Mohamed Atta from Germany are published a few months later. [Chicago Tribune, 2/25/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Robert S. Mueller III, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

Early October 2001: Credit Card Use After 9/11 Hints at Associates of 9/11 Plotters

       According to the New York Post, “Credit cards belonging to the suicide hijackers continued to be used after the Sept. 11 attacks—indicating associates of the terrorists remained in the United States weeks after the kamikaze strikes, authorities said...” The cards were used at least until around the start of October 2001. An unnamed official says, “We believe there are additional people out there. Many of the closest associates got out of the country early on, but we also believe there are a number of people here we're still looking at.” The hijackers had more than 100 credit cards in their own names, variations of their names, or by using false identities. The credit card transactions were recorded in Florida, New Jersey, and Maryland. While officials believe it is possible that at least some of the credit cards may have been stolen and used by people not connected to the hijackers. In some cases, the credit card use helped investigators detain associates of the hijackers. [New York Post, 10/17/01] What becomes of these detained people is not clear, because use of hijacker credit cards is not asserted for anyone later charged or released by US authorities. An account six months later will suggest that investigators have only connected 27 credit cards to the hijackers, not more than 100. [CNN, 5/22/02]
          

October 2, 2001: Remote Controlled Passenger Airplane Flew Before 9/11, Despite Claims to the Contrary

      
A Raytheon 727 lands in New Mexico in August, 2001.
It is reported that the US company Raytheon landed a 727 six times in a military base in New Mexico without any pilots on board. This was done to test equipment making future hijackings more difficult, by allowing ground control to take over the flying of a hijacked plane. [Associated Press, 10/2/01 (C); Der Spiegel, 10/28/01] Several Raytheon employees with possible ties to this remote control technology program appear to have been on the hijacked 9/11 flights (see September 25, 2001). Earlier in the year, a specially designed Global Hawk plane flew from the US to Australia without pilot or passengers. [ITN, 4/24/01] However, most media reports after 9/11 suggest such technology is currently impossible. For instance, the Observer quotes an expert who says that “the technology is pretty much there” but still untried. [Observer, 9/16/01] An aviation-security expert at Jane's Defence Weekly says this type of technology belongs “in the realms of science fiction.” [Financial Times, 9/18/01 (B); Economist, 9/20/01] Even President Bush appears to deny the technology currently exists. He gives a speech after 9/11 in which he mentions that the government would give grants to research “new technology, probably far in the future, allowing air traffic controllers to land distressed planes by remote control.” [New York Times, 9/28/01]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Raytheon
          

October 4, 2001: Blair Presents Case for al-Qaeda 9/11 Involvement

      
Tony Blair presenting evidence on October 4, 2001.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair publicly presents a paper containing evidence that al-Qaeda is responsible for the 9/11 attacks. [Los Angeles Times, 10/4/01; Los Angeles Times, 10/5/01] Secretary of State Powell and other US officials had promised on September 23 that the US would present a paper containing such evidence. [Los Angeles Times, 9/24/01] However, the US paper is never released. Apparently, the British paper is meant to serve as a substitute. [New Yorker, 5/27/02] In the speech, Blair claims, “One of bin Laden's closest lieutenants has said clearly that he helped with the planning of the September 11 attacks and admitted the involvement of the al-Qaeda organization” and that “there is other intelligence, we cannot disclose, of an even more direct nature indicating guilt” of al-Qaeda in the attacks. [Time, 10/5/01; CNN, 10/4/01] There has been no confirmation or details since of these claims. Even though most of the evidence in the British paper comes from the US, pre-attack warnings, such as the August 6, 2001 memo (see August 6, 2001) to Bush titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US,” are not included. In fact, Blair's paper states, “incorrectly, that no such information had been available before the attacks: ‘After 11 September we learned that, not long before, bin Laden had indicated he was about to launch a major attack on America.’ ” [New Yorker, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Tony Blair, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden
          

October 10, 2001: Famous Arab Commentator Says al-Qaeda Could Not Have Conducted 9/11 Attacks

       Mohammed Heikal, longtime Egyptian journalist, former government spokesman, and the “Arab world's foremost political commentator,” expresses disbelief that bin Laden and al-Qaeda could have conducted the 9/11 attack without the US knowing. “Bin Laden has been under surveillance for years: every telephone call was monitored and al-Qaeda has been penetrated by American intelligence, Pakistani intelligence, Saudi intelligence, Egyptian intelligence. They could not have kept secret an operation that required such a degree of organization and sophistication.” [Guardian, 10/10/01]
People and organizations involved: Mohammed Heikal, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden
          

October 10, 2001: Baggage Handling Company Cleared of Wrongdoing

       It is reported that Globe Aviation Services Corp., in charge of the baggage handlers for Flight 11 and all other American Airlines Flights at Boston's Logan Airport, have been cleared of any wrongdoing. Globe Aviation supervisors claim that none of the employees working that day was in the US illegally. Supposedly, no weapons were detected, but a baggage handler for Globe Aviation and American Airlines has told the FBI that one of the hijackers—believed to be either Wail or Waleed Alshehri—was carrying one wooden crutch under his arm when he boarded Flight 11. Crutches are apparently routinely scanned through X-ray machines. [Boston Globe, 10/10/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Globe Aviation Services Corp., Logan Airport, American Airlines, Wail Alshehri, Waleed M. Alshehri
          

October 11, 2001: FBI Claims 11 Terrorists Unaware They Were on Suicide Mission

       According to an FBI report, “FBI investigators have officially concluded that 11 of the 19 terrorists who hijacked the aircraft on September 11 did not know they were on a suicide mission.” “Unlike the eight ‘lead’ attackers, who were all trained pilots, they did not leave messages for friends and family indicating they knew their lives were over,” and they did not have copies of Mohamed Atta's final prayer note (see September 28, 2001). Personal items found suggest the men thought they were taking part in a conventional hijacking and were preparing for the possibility of prison. [Observer, 10/14/01] This is later contradicted by video filmed in Afghanistan in March 2001 showing several of the 11 non-lead hijackers proclaiming their willingness to die on an upcoming suicide mission.
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

October 11, 2001: Ashcroft Takes Over All Terrorist Prosecutions

       The Ashcroft-led Justice Department assumes control of all terrorism-related prosecutions from the US Attorneys office in New York, which has had a highly successful record of accomplishment in prosecuting cases connected to bin Laden. [New York Times, 10/11/01]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Justice, Osama bin Laden
          

October 16, 2001: Some Flight Control Transcripts Released, but Sections Are Missing

       The government releases flight control transcripts of three of the four hijacked planes [New York Times, 10/16/01 (C); New York Times, 10/16/01 (D); New York Times, 10/16/01 (B)] ) . Strangely, Flight 93 is left out. Yet even the three released transcripts are incomplete (for instance, Flight 77's ends at least 20 minutes before it crashes), and certain events that are part of the official story do not show up on these transcripts.
People and organizations involved: Bush administration
          

October 27, 2001: Officials Furious over NSA Lack of Cooperation

       Furious government intelligence officials accuse the NSA of destroying data pertinent to the 9/11 investigation. They claim that possible leads are not being followed because of the NSA's lack of cooperation. [Boston Globe, 10/27/01]
People and organizations involved: National Security Agency
          

November 15, 2001: Newspaper Questions Whether Flight 93 was Shot Down

       For the first time, a major newspaper publishes an article strongly suggesting Flight 93 was shot down. The Philadelphia Daily News quotes numerous eyewitnesses who believe the plane was shot down. The FBI has reported a half-ton piece of an engine was found “a considerable distance” from the main crash site. “That information is intriguing to shootdown theory proponents, since the heat-seeking, air-to-air Sidewinder missiles aboard an F-16 would likely target one of the Boeing 757's two large engines.” The article concludes, “No one has fully explained why the plane went down, or what exactly happened during an eight-minute gap from the time all cell phone calls from the plane stopped and the time it crashed.” [Philadelphia Daily News, 11/15/01]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

November 21, 2001: Flight 77 Remains Identified, Hijackers' Identities Not Confirmed

       The remains of all but one of the people on board Flight 77, including the hijackers, are identified. However, the identities of the hijackers have still not been confirmed through their remains [Mercury, 1/11/02; Washington Post, 11/21/01] , and the FBI never provides DNA profiles of the hijackers to medical examiners for identification. Strangely, the official position is that there was a giant fireball on impact that not only destroyed the airplane, but actually vaporized the metal. A rescue worker states: “The only way you could tell that an aircraft was inside was that we saw pieces of the nose gear. The devastation was horrific.” [NFPA Journal, 11/1/01] As of mid-2004, there still have been no reports that the hijackers' remains have been identified by their DNA, except possibly for two unnamed hijackers.
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

November 23, 2001: Report Suggests Hijackers Snuck into Cockpits

       The Boston Globe reports information strongly suggesting that at least one hijacker was inside each of the cockpits when the hijackings began. An airplane captain theorizes how they took control: “The most likely scenarios are something that was swift, where the pilots couldn't have changed their transponder code and called the controllers. You think four times in one morning one of those crews would have done that. That means they had to be upon them before they could react.” On practice flights before 9/11, the hijackers repeatedly obtained access to cockpits by various methods. Perhaps the most important method was jumpseating, which allows certified airline pilots to use a spare seat in the cockpit when none is available in the passenger cabin. Airlines reciprocate to help pilots get home or to the city of their originating flight. Officials say they do not believe any of the hijackers were jumpseating on 9/11 despite media reports to the contrary. However, since 9/11 the FAA has banned the practice unless a pilot works for the airline in whose cockpit that person wants to ride. [Boston Globe, 11/23/01] The 9/11 Commission later concludes that the hijackers didn't use jumpseating because they couldn't find any paperwork relating to jumpseat requests.
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Federal Aviation Administration
          

December 13, 2001: US Releases Bin Laden Video; Authenticity Questioned

      
The man in the picture on the left is supposed to bel bin Laden in October 2001. The picture on the right is undisputendly bin Laden in December 1998. Their noses are noticably different. Could the man on the left be one of bin Laden's doubles?
The US releases a video of bin Laden that seems to confirm his role in the 9/11 attack. [Guardian, 12/13/01] However, a number of strange facts about this video soon emerge. For example, all previous videos had been made with the consent of bin Laden, and usually released to the Arabic television channel Al Jazeera. This video was supposedly recorded without his knowledge, found in a house in Afghanistan, and then passed to the CIA by an unknown person or group. Experts point out that it would be possible to fake such a video. So many people doubt the video's authenticity that Bush soon makes a statement, saying it was “preposterous for anybody to think this tape was doctored. Those who contend it's a farce or a fake are hoping for the best about an evil man.” Some observers point out that bin Laden is wearing a ring on his right hand. In previous films, he had worn no jewelry apart from a watch. [Guardian, 12/15/01] The German television show “Monitor” conducts an independent translation that questions the translation given by the US military. According to Professor Gernot Rotter, scholar of Islamic and Arabic Studies at the University of Hamburg, “This tape is of such poor quality that many passages are unintelligible. And those that are intelligible have often been taken out of context, so that you can't use that as evidence. The American translators who listened to the tape and transcribed it obviously added things that they wanted to hear in many places.” [Monitor, 12/20/01] There are reports that bin Laden had from four to ten look-alike doubles at the time. [Times of London, 11/19/01; Agence France-Presse, 10/7/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Central Intelligence Agency, Bush administration, Gernot Rotter
          

December 21, 2001: FBI Won't Release Flight 93 Black Box Information

       The FBI reveals that it knows what is on the Flight 93 black boxes, but refuses to release the transcript or audio recording. Families of the victims have requested to hear the cockpit voice recording, but the FBI says, “[W]e do not believe that the horror captured on the cockpit voice recording will console them in any way.” [CNN, 12/21/01] Accuracy in Media immediately submits a Freedom of Information Act request to have the transcript released, but the FBI turns it down because a release “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.” The Philadelphia Daily News asks, “What enforcement proceedings?” and suggests the FBI may be covering up a shootdown of the plane. [Philadelphia Daily News, 12/28/01] The recordings are later played, but only in private to victims' relatives and the 9/11 Commission.
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

December 25, 2001: Experts: WTC Collapse Investigation Inadequate

       The New York Times reports that “some of the nation's leading structural engineers and fire-safety experts” believe the investigation into the collapse of the WTC is “inadequate” and “are calling for a new, independent and better-financed inquiry that could produce the kinds of conclusions vital for skyscrapers and future buildings nationwide.” Experts critical of the investigation include “some of those people who are actually conducting it.” They point out that the current team of 20 or so investigators has no subpoena power, inadequate financial support, and little staff support. Additionally, it has been prevented from interviewing witnesses and frequently prevented from examining the disaster site, and has even been unable to obtain basic information like detailed blueprints of the buildings that collapsed. The decision to recycle the steel columns, beams, and trusses from the WTC rapidly in the days immediately after 9/11 means definitive answers may never be known. [New York Times, 12/25/01] Incredibly, some of the steel is reforged into commemorative medallions selling for $30 apiece. [Associated Press, 1/30/02]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center
          

January 2002: 9/11 Flight Control Recording Completely Destroyed

       Shortly before noon on 9/11, about sixteen people at the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center recorded their version of the response to the 9/11 attack. At least six are air traffic controllers who dealt with two of the hijacked airliners. But officials at the center never tell higher-ups about the tape. Around this time, a quality-assurance manager, whose name has not been released, crushes the cassette recording in his hand, shreds the tape, and drops the pieces into different trashcans. This manager later asserts that keeping the tape would have been a violation of union rules and accident procedures. When he destroyed the tape, he had already received an e-mail from the FAA instructing officials to safeguard all records that specifically stated, “If a question arises whether or not you should retain data, RETAIN IT.” Most, but not all, of the air traffic controllers involved make written statements about three weeks after 9/11, but it isn't clear how these might differ with what was on the tape. The unidentified manager is later said to be disciplined for this incident, though it isn't clear how. [Washington Post, 5/6/04]
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration
          

January 4, 2002: Firefighter Magazine Scolds WTC Investigation

       A firefighter trade magazine with ties to the New York Fire Department calls the investigation into the collapse of the WTC a “half-baked farce.” The article points out that the probe has not looked at all aspects of the disaster and has had limited access to documents and other evidence. “The destruction and removal of evidence must stop immediately.” The writer, Bill Manning, states, “I have combed through our national standard for fire investigation, NFPA 921, but nowhere in it does one find an exemption allowing the destruction of evidence for buildings over 10 stories tall.” He concludes that a growing number of fire protection engineers have theorized that “the structural damage from the planes and the explosive ignition of jet fuel in themselves were not enough to bring down the towers.” Yet, “[a]s things now stand and if they continue in such fashion, the investigation into the World Trade Center fire and collapse will amount to paper- and computer-generated hypotheticals.” [New York Daily News, 1/4/02; Fire Engineering, 1/02]
People and organizations involved: New York City Fire Department, World Trade Center
          

January 13, 2002: Former German Minister Believes CIA Is Responsible for 9/11

      
Andreas von Buelow.
Andreas von Bülow, former German Minister for Research and Technology and a long-time member of German parliament, suggests in an interview that the CIA could have been behind the 9/11 attacks. He states: “Whoever wants to understand the CIA's methods, has to deal with its main task of covert operations: Below the level of war, and outside international law, foreign states are to be influenced by inciting insurrections or terrorist attacks, usually combined with drugs and weapons trade, and money laundering. ... Since, however, it must not under any circumstances come out that there is an intelligence agency behind it, all traces are erased, with tremendous deployment of resources. I have the impression that this kind of intelligence agency spends 90 percent of its time this way: creating false leads. So that if anyone suspects the collaboration of the agencies, he is accused of paranoia. The truth often comes out only years later.” [Der Tagesspiegel, 1/13/02] In an example of covering tracks, Ephraim Halevy, head of Israel's Mossad from 1998 till 2002, claims, “Not one big success of the Mossad has ever been made public.” [CBS News, 2/5/03]
People and organizations involved: Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks, Central Intelligence Agency, Andreas von Bulow, Ephraim Halevy
          

January 24, 2002: Cheney and Bush Pressure Senator to Avoid 9/11 Inquiry

       Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D) later claims that on this day, Vice President Cheney calls him and urges that no 9/11 inquiry be made. President Bush repeats the request on January 28, and Daschle is repeatedly pressured thereafter. Newsweek summarizes one of these conversations: “Bush administration officials might say they're too busy running the war on terrorism to show up. Press the issue ... and you risk being accused of interfering with the mission.” [Newsweek, 2/4/02] Cheney later disagrees: “Tom's wrong. He has, in this case, let's say a misinterpretation.” [Reuters, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Tom Daschle
          

Early March 2002: French Author Claims Plane Crash into Pentagon Was Staged

      
Thierry Meyssan.
The book l'Effroyable Imposture (The Horrifying Fraud) is published in France. The book claims that Flight 77 did not crash into the Pentagon on 9/11. It is written by Thierry Meyssan, “president of the Voltaire Network, a respected independent think tank whose left-leaning research projects have until now been considered models of reasonableness and objectivity.” [Guardian, 4/1/02] The book is widely denounced by the media (See, for example, [Baltimore Sun, 9/12/02; National Post, 8/31/02; Agence France-Presse, 3/21/02; Times of London, 5/19/02] ). One reporter heavily criticizes the book even while admitting never to have read it. [LA Weekly, 7/19/02] In France, however, the book sets a publishing record for first-month sales. [Time (Europe version), 5/20/02] One of Meyssan's theories is that people within the US government wanted to hit the Pentagon for its propaganda effect, but did not want to create a lot of damage or kill important people like Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. He notes that the plane hit the one section under construction, thus greatly reducing the loss of life. [Times of London, 5/19/02; Agence France-Presse, 3/21/02] Furthermore, the wall at point of impact was the first and only one to be reinforced and have blast-resistant windows installed as part of an upgrade plan. [NFPA Journal, 11/1/01]
People and organizations involved: Thierry Meyssan, Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld
          

March 2, 2002: Diesel Tank May Have Destroyed Building and Secret Files on 9/11

       A New York Times article theorizes that a diesel fuel tank was responsible for the collapse of Building 7 near the WTC. It collapsed on 9/11 even though it was farther away than many other buildings that remained standing. It was the first time a steel-reinforced high-rise in the US had ever collapsed in a fire. The fuel tank had been installed in 1999 (see June 8, 1999) as part of a new “Command Center” for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. [New York Times, 3/2/02; Dow Jones News, 9/10/02] Curiously, given all the Wall Street scandals later in the year, Building 7 housed the SEC files related to numerous Wall Street investigations, as well as other federal investigative files. All the files for approximately 3,000 to 4,000 SEC cases were destroyed. Some were backed up in other places, but many were not, especially those classified as confidential. [National Law Journal, 9/17/01] Lost files include documents that could show the relationship between Citigroup and the WorldCom bankruptcy. [The Street, 8/9/02] The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission estimates over 10,000 cases will be affected. [New York Law Journal, 9/14/01] The Secret Service also lost investigative files. Says one agent: “All the evidence that we stored at 7 World Trade, in all our cases, went down with the building.” [Tech TV, 7/23/02] It is also eventually revealed that there was a secret CIA office in Building 7. [CNN, 11/4/01] A few days later, the head of the WTC collapse investigation says he “would possibly consider examining” the collapse of Building 7, but by this time all the rubble has already been removed and destroyed. [House of Representatives testimony, 3/6/02]
People and organizations involved: Citibank, WorldCom, World Trade Center, Central Intelligence Agency, Secret Service, Securities and Exchange Commission
          

March 6, 2002: House Committee on Science Holds Hearing on WTC Collapses Investigation

       The House Committee on Science holds a hearing on the investigation into the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11. Witnesses from industry, academia, and government testify on the collapses and the subsequent efforts to find out how and why they occurred. The hearings charter points out several problems that have severely hampered investigations. It says, “Early confusion over who was in charge of the [WTC collapse] site and the lack of authority of investigators to impound pieces of steel for examination before they were recycled led to the loss of important pieces of evidence that were destroyed early during the search and rescue effort. ... Some of the critical pieces of steel—including the suspension trusses from the top of the towers and the internal support columns—were gone before the first BPAT [Building Performance Assessment Team] team member ever reached the site”(see September 12-October 2001). Furthermore, “The building owners, designers and insurers, prevented independent researchers from gaining access—and delayed the BPAT team in gaining access—to pertinent building documents largely because of liability concerns.” Regarding the decision to rapidly recycle the WTC steel, Rep. Joseph Crowley (D) says, “I do believe that conspiracy theorists are going to have a field day with this,” and says this loss of important physical evidence “is not only unfortunate, it is borderline criminal.” In his statement before the committee, Glenn Corbett, a science professor at John Jay College, claims that the “lack of significant amounts of steel for examination will make it difficult, if not impossible, to make a definitive statement as to the cause and chronology of the collapse.” He also complains, “we are staffing the BPAT with part-time engineers and scientists on a shoestring budget.” [Committee on Science hearing, 3/6/02; Associated Press, 3/7/02]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, House Committee on Science, Joseph Crowley, Glenn Corbett
          

March 7, 2002: Plane Crashing into Pentagon Is Shown in Photos

      
The Pentagon “video.” Click These are the first two of five stills of the Pentagon impact. The first one is labelled "plane," which appears to be the black object above the post on the far right. The second one is labelled "impact." The three other stills depict a growing fireball.
A series of photos surface purporting to show a plane crashing into the Pentagon on 9/11. It is not clear who released the photos, but the Pentagon asserts that they are authentic, and were taken by a Pentagon security camera. The release of these pictures comes within days of the publication of the book l'Effroyable Imposture that disputes the claim that Flight 77 hit the Pentagon. “Officials could not immediately explain why the date typed near the bottom of each photograph is September 12 and the time is written as 5:37 p.m.” [Fox News, 3/8/02]
People and organizations involved: Pentagon
          

March 27, 2002: Cockpit Recordings Raise Doubts About Flight 93 Events

       New York Times reporter Jere Longman writes an article based on recent leaks to him about Flight 93's cockpit flight recording. (Later, relatives of the victims are given a single chance to listen to the recording). He claims that earlier reports of a 9-1-1 call from a bathroom reporting smoke and an explosion are incorrect. He names the passenger-caller as Edward Felt and notes that the dispatcher who took the call and Felt's wife both deny the smoke and explosion story. There were messages from both passengers and hijackers on the plane speaking of a bomb. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01 (B)] Longman also claims that one passenger, Tom Burnett, told his wife there were guns on the plane. [New York Times, 3/27/02] Previously, it had been widely reported that Tom Burnett told his wife he did not see any guns. [MSNBC, 9/14/01] Note that the passengers appeared doubtful that the hijackers had either real guns or bombs, but there is a March 2002 report of a gun being used on Flight 11.
People and organizations involved: Edward Felt, Tom Burnett, Jere Longman
          

April 2002: CIA Promotes False Hijacker ‘Superman’ Theory

       CIA Deputy Director for Operations James Pavitt says of the hijackers: “The terror cells that we're going up against are typically small and all terrorist personnel ... were carefully screened. The number of personnel who know vital information, targets, timing, the exact methods to be used had to be smaller still. ... Against that degree of control, that kind of compartmentalization, that depth of discipline and fanaticism, I personally doubt—and I draw again upon my thirty years of experience in this business—that anything short of one of the knowledgeable inner-circle personnel or hijackers turning himself in to us would have given us sufficient foreknowledge to have prevented [9/11].” An FBI official calls this “the superman scenario.” [New Yorker, 5/27/02] The media repeats this notion. For instance, later in the year, the Chicago Tribune will comment, “The operational discipline surrounding Sept. 11 was so professional, and impenetrable, that intercepted telephone conversations, or even well-placed spies, might not have made a difference.” [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02] But even in the same article that quotes Pavitt, a senior FBI official states that serious and potentially fatal errors were made by the hijackers. The article also notes that the hijackers did not maintain tight compartmentalization and discipline. [New Yorker, 5/27/02] Eventually, more and more details will come out proving the “superman” notion false. The hijackers even told vital details of their plot to complete strangers (see Late April-Mid-May 2000).
People and organizations involved: James Pavitt
          

April 18, 2002: Private Showing of Flight 93 Recordings Fails to Quell Confusions

       The FBI allows relatives of passengers on Flight 93 to listen to and see a written transcript of the cockpit recordings. Seventy people do so. But the FBI says the relatives are not allowed to make recordings, because the tape might be used in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui. [Guardian, 4/19/02] The San Francisco Chronicle responds: “Is there even a dollop of logic in that explanation? It's like saying we can't watch video of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center because that video might be used in a trial.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 6/3/02] New York Times reporter Jere Longman writes the book Among The Heroes based on his access to the recordings and interviews with officials and relatives. New details of their struggle on board emerge, but the government still has not officially stated if the passengers took over the plane or not. [MSNBC, 7/30/02; Daily Telegraph, 8/6/02]
People and organizations involved: Jere Longman, Zacarias Moussaoui, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

April 19, 2002: FBI Claims Hijacker Computer Use Offered No Evidence

       FBI Director Mueller states: “In our investigation, we have not uncovered a single piece of paper either here in the United States or in the treasure trove of information that has turned up in Afghanistan and elsewhere that mentioned any aspect of the September 11 plot.” He also claims that the attackers used “extraordinary secrecy” and “investigators have found no computers, laptops, hard drives or other storage media that may have been used by the hijackers, who hid their communications by using hundreds of pay phones and cell phones, coupled with hard-to-trace prepaid calling cards.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/22/02; FBI speech transcript, 4/19/02] However, before 9/11 CIA Director Tenet told the Senate that al-Qaeda is “embracing the opportunities offered by recent leaps in information technology” [CIA, 03/21/00] ; the FBI broke the al-Qaeda computer encryption before February 2001 [UPI, 2/13/01] ; witnesses report seeing the hijackers use computers for e-mail at public libraries in Florida and Maine [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/16/01 (B); Boston Herald, 10/5/01] ; in October 2001 there were many reports that hundreds of e-mails discussing the 9/11 plot had been found; Moussaoui's laptop was found to contain important information, etc. ...
People and organizations involved: Robert S. Mueller III, al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation, George Tenet
          

May 1, 2002: Head of Congressional Probe Resigns

       L. Britt Snider, ex-CIA official and the head of the joint congressional investigation into 9/11, resigns. Apparently there were many conflicts between Snider and his own staff, as well as with Congress. It is later revealed the final straw occurred when Snider tried to hire a CIA employee who had failed an agency polygraph test as an inquiry staffer. The hearings were expected to start in late May, but the resignation is one reason why the first public hearings are delayed until September. [Los Angeles Times, 10/19/02; Los Angeles Times, 5/2/02] Snider is replaced by Eleanor Hill. She is widely credited for turning around an inquiry “hampered by infighting, politics, leaks and dueling agendas.” [Miami Herald, 7/14/02; Washington Post, 9/25/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, Eleanor Hill, L. Britt Snider
          

May 1, 2002: Investigation into Cause of Building Collapse on 9/11 Is Inconclusive

       FEMA releases its report of the WTC collapses. It concludes, “[W]ith the information and time available, the sequence of events leading to the collapse of each tower could not be definitively determined.” On Building 7: “The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown at this time.” [FEMA study, 5/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Emergency Management Agency, World Trade Center
          

May 16, 2002: Cheney Warns Democrats Against Criticizing Handling of Pre-9/11 Warnings

       In the wake of new information on what President Bush knew, Vice President Cheney states, “[M]y Democratic friends in Congress ... need to be very cautious not to seek political advantage by making incendiary suggestions, as were made by some today, that the White House had advance information that would have prevented the tragic attacks of 9/11.” He calls such criticism “thoroughly irresponsible ... in time of war” and states that any serious probe of 9/11 foreknowledge would be tantamount to giving “aid and comfort” to the enemy. [Washington Post, 5/17/02 (C)]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

May 21, 2002: Fraudulent Consular Staff Admits to Providing Hijackers with Visas

       Abdulla Noman, a former employee of the US consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers got their visas, says that he took money and gifts to provide fraudulent visas to foreigners. He pleads guilty and is convicted. About 50 to 100 visas were improperly issued by Noman from September 1996 until November 2001, when he was arrested. However, a former visa officer in Jeddah, Michael Springmann, has claimed in the past that the Jeddah office was notorious for purposefully giving visas to terrorists to train in the US (see September 1987-March 1989). [Associated Press, 5/21/02]
People and organizations involved: Abdulla Noman, US Consulate, Jedda, Saudi Arabia Office
          

May 22, 2002: Illegal Status of Terrorists Points to US Immigration Failure

       A study indicates that at least half of the 48 Islamic radicals linked to terrorist plots in the US since 1993 manipulated or violated immigration laws to enter this country and then stay here. Even when the militants did little to hide violations of visa requirements or other laws, INS officials failed to enforce the laws or to deport the offenders. The militants used a variety of methods. At the time they committed their crimes, 12 of the 48 were illegal immigrants. At least five others had lived in the US illegally, and four others had committed significant immigration violations. Others were here legally but should have been rejected for visas because they fit US immigration profiles of people who are likely to overstay their visas. [USA Today, 5/22/02] Experts later strongly suggest that the visa applications for all 15 of the Saudi Arabian 9/11 hijackers should have been rejected due to numerous irregularities.
People and organizations involved: Immigration and Naturalization Service
          

May 23, 2002: Bush Opposes Special Inquiry into Terrorism Warnings

       President Bush says he is opposed to establishing a special, independent commission to probe how the government dealt with terrorism warnings before 9/11. [CBS News, 5/23/02] He later changes his stance in the face of overwhelming support for the idea (see September 20, 2002), and then sabotages an agreement that Congress had reached to establish the commission.
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Zahed Sheikh Mohammed
          

May 27, 2002: Organization of 9/11 Attacks Is Still Not Clear

       The New Yorker reports that a senior FBI official acknowledges there has been “no breakthrough” in establishing how the 9/11 suicide teams were organized and how they operated. Additionally, none of the thousands of pages of documents and computer hard drives captured in Afghanistan has enabled investigators to broaden their understanding of how the attack occurred, or even to bring an indictment of a conspirator. [New Yorker, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

June 22, 2002: 9/11 Inquiry Member Appears Biased in Defending FBI

       Internal FBI documents show that Thomas Kelley, in charge of matters relating to the FBI in the joint congressional intelligence 9/11 inquiry, blocked an inquiry into the FBI's role in Waco. For instance, an internal FBI memo from December 2000 states that Kelley “continued to thwart and obstruct” the Waco investigation to the point that a special counsel was forced to send a team to search FBI headquarters for documents Kelley refused to turn over. [Washington Post, 6/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Kelley, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

July 23, 2002: New York Declares Records of Firefighters' Actions Secret

       The New York City government decides that the audio and written records of the Fire Department's actions on 9/11 should never be released to the general public. The New York Times has been trying to get copies of the materials, which include firsthand accounts given to Fire Department officials by scores of firefighters and chiefs. The city claims the firefighters were told their accounts would be kept confidential, but senior fire officials say they were never told that their remarks would be kept confidential. [New York Times, 7/23/02]
People and organizations involved: Central Intelligence Agency
          

August 2, 2002: FBI Questions Members of Congressional Committees About 9/11 Leaks

      
Senator Richard Shelby.
The Washington Post reveals that FBI agents have questioned nearly all 37 members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees about 9/11-related information leaks. They have asked them to submit to lie detector tests but most have refused. Congresspeople express “grave concern” for this historically unprecedented move. A law professor states, “Now the FBI can open dossiers on every member and staffer and develop full information on them. It creates a great chilling effect on those who would be critical of the FBI.” [Washington Post, 8/2/02] Senator John McCain (R) suggests that “the constitutional separation of powers is being violated in spirit if not in the letter. ‘What you have here is an organization compiling dossiers on people who are investigating the same organization. The administration bitterly complains about some leaks out of a committee, but meanwhile leaks abound about secret war plans for fighting a war against Saddam Hussein. What's that about? There's a bit of a contradiction here, if not a double standard.’ ” [Washington Post, 8/3/02] Later the search for the source of the leak intensifies to unprecedented levels as the FBI asks 17 senators to turn over phone records, appointment calendars and schedules that would reveal their possible contact with reporters. [Washington Post, 8/24/02] Most, if not all, turn over the records, even as some complain that the request breaches the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. One senator says the FBI is “trying to put a damper on our activities and I think they will be successful.” [Associated Press, 8/29/02] In January 2004, it is reported that the probe is now focusing on Republican Senator Richard Shelby. There has been no further word or indictments since. [Washington Post, 1/22/04]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, House Intelligence Committee, Richard Shelby, John McCain
          

August 3, 2002: US Pilots Believe 9/11 Conspirators Used Utmost Professional Skill

       A Portuguese newspaper reports on an independent inquiry into 9/11 by a group of military and civilian US pilots that challenges the official version of events. The group's press statement says, “The so-called terrorist attack was in fact a superbly executed military operation carried out against the [US], requiring the utmost professional military skill in command, communications, and control. It was flawless in timing, in the choice of selected aircraft to be used as guided missiles and in the coordinated delivery of those missiles to their preselected targets.” A member of the inquiry team, a US Air Force officer who flew over 100 sorties during the Vietnam War, says: “Those birds (airliners) either had a crack fighter pilot in the left seat, or they were being maneuvered by remote control.” [Portugal News, 8/8/02; Portugal News, 8/3/02]
          

August 4, 2002: Firefighters Saw Only Limited Fire in South Tower

      
This picture of the hole created in the WTC by Flight 11 supports recordings indicating that fires weren't burning out of control. In the close-up insert at the top left, note the person standing at the edge of the hole.
A “lost tape” of radio messages from firefighters inside the WTC on 9/11 is made public. Supposedly, “city fire officials simply delayed listening” to this tape until after the official report on the fire department's response to the attacks was published, and they still refuse to allow any officials to discuss the contents. The tape reveals that two firefighters were able to reach the crash site on the 78th floor of the South Tower. While there, “Chief Palmer could see only two pockets of fire, and called for a pair of engine companies to fight them.” [Guardian, 8/5/02; New York Times, 8/4/02]
People and organizations involved: New York City Fire Department, World Trade Center
          

August 12, 2002: FAA Releases No New Information About 9/11

       A group of FAA flight controllers hold a press conference to talk about the 9/11 events for the first time. However, virtually no new information is disclosed. As the Boston Globe put it, “questions about detailed communications from the hijacked planes was avoided, with FAA officials saying that information remains under investigation.” [Boston Globe, 8/13/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration
          

August 13, 2002: Electronic Warfare Methods May Have Brought Flight 93 Down

       The Independent carries a story entitled, “Unanswered Questions: The Mystery of Flight 93,” a rare critique of the official version of events around that plane's crash. Most of the information is a summation of what was reported before. However, there is one interesting new theory. Theorizing why witnesses did not see smoke from the faltering plane, the article points to the 1996 research of Harvard academic Elaine Scarry, “showing that the Air Force and the Pentagon have conducted extensive research on ‘electronic warfare applications’ with the possible capacity to intentionally disrupt the mechanisms of an aeroplane in such a way as to provoke, for example, an uncontrollable dive. Scarry also reports that US Customs aircraft are already equipped with such weaponry; as are some C-130 Air Force transport planes. The FBI has stated that, apart from the enigmatic Falcon business jet, there was a C-130 military cargo plane within 25 miles of the passenger jet when it crashed (see September 14, 2001). According to the Scarry findings, in 1995 the Air Force installed ‘electronic suites’ in at least 28 of its C-130s—capable, among other things, of emitting lethal jamming signals.” [Independent, 8/13/02]
People and organizations involved: Pentagon, Central Intelligence Agency, Elaine Scarry
          

August 28, 2002: UN Calls Attempt to Thwart al-Qaeda Money Flow a Failure

       The Washington Post reports, “A global campaign to block al-Qaeda's access to money has stalled, enabling the terrorist network to obtain a fresh infusion of tens of millions of dollars and putting it in a position to finance future attacks, according to a draft UN report.” In the months immediately following 9/11, more than $112 million in assets was frozen. Since then, only $10 million more has been frozen, and most of the original money has been unfrozen due to lack of evidence. Private donations to the group, estimated at $16 million a year, are believed to “continue, largely unabated.” The US and other governments are not sharing information about suspected militants, and known militants are not being put on official lists of suspected terrorists. [Washington Post, 8/29/02]
People and organizations involved: United Nations, al-Qaeda, United States
          

September 5, 2002: Senator Decries Lack of Government Cooperation in 9/11 Congressional Inquiry

       Richard Shelby of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, expresses doubts that the committee's 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will be able to accomplish anything, and he supports an independent investigation. “Time is not on our side,” he says, since the investigation has a built-in deadline at the end of 2002. “You know, we were told that there would be cooperation in this investigation, and I question that. I think that most of the information that our staff has been able to get that is real meaningful has had to be extracted piece by piece.” He adds that there is explosive information that has not been publicly released. “I think there are some more bombs out there ... I know that.” [New York Times, 9/10/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Richard Shelby, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry
          

September 11, 2002: One Year After 9/11, Details of Plot Are Still Very Mysterious

       On the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the New York Times writes, “One year later, the public knows less about the circumstances of 2,801 deaths at the foot of Manhattan in broad daylight than people in 1912 knew within weeks about the Titanic, which sank in the middle of an ocean in the dead of night.” John F. Timoney, the former police commissioner of Philadelphia, says: “You can hardly point to a cataclysmic event in our history, whether it was the sinking of the Titanic, the Pearl Harbor attack, [or] the Kennedy assassination, when a blue-ribbon panel did not set out to establish the facts and, where appropriate, suggest reforms. That has not happened here.” The Times specifically points to a failure by New York City Mayor Bloomberg to conduct a real investigation into the WTC attack response. Bloomberg stated in August 2002, “Every single major event is different from all others. The training of how you would respond to the last incident is not really important.” [New York Times, 9/11/02 (B)] The Chicago Tribune made similar comments a week earlier, pointing out that despite the “largest investigation in history,” “Americans know little more today about the September 11 conspiracy, or the conspirators, than they did within a few weeks of the attacks.” [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02]
People and organizations involved: John F. Timoney
          

September 18, 2002: First 9/11 Inquiry Hearing Amidst Protests About Lack of Government Cooperation

      
Senate Intelligence Committee staff director Eleanor Hill.
The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry holds its first public hearing. The inquiry was formed in February 2002, but suffered months of delays. The day's testimony focuses on intelligence warnings that should have led the government to believe airplanes could be used as bombs. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02] However, the Washington Post reports, “lawmakers from both parties ... [protest] the Bush administration's lack of cooperation in the congressional inquiry into September 11 intelligence failures and [threaten] to renew efforts to establish an independent commission.” Eleanor Hill, the joint committee's staff director, testifies that, “According to [CIA Director Tenet], the president's knowledge of intelligence information relevant to this inquiry remains classified even when the substance of that intelligence information has been declassified.” She adds that “the American public has a compelling interest in this information and that public disclosure would not harm national security.” [Washington Post, 9/19/02] Furthermore, the committee believes that “a particular al-Qaeda leader may have been instrumental in the attacks” and US intelligence has known about this person since 1995. Tenet “has declined to declassify the information we developed [about this person] on the grounds that it could compromise intelligence sources and methods and that this consideration supersedes the American public's interest in this particular area.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02] A few days later, the New York Times reveals this leader to be Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. [New York Times, 9/22/02] An FBI spokesman says the FBI had offered “full cooperation” to the committee. A CIA official denies that the report is damning: “The committee acknowledges the hard work done by intelligence community, the successes it achieved...” [MSNBC, 9/18/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Central Intelligence Agency, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Bush administration, Eleanor Hill, George Tenet
          

September 18, 2002: 9/11 Victims' Relatives Raise Questions About Agencies' Conduct

      
Kristen Breitweiser.
Two 9/11 victims' relatives testify before the Congressional 9/11 inquiry. Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband Ronald died at the WTC, asks how the FBI was so quickly able to assemble information on the hijackers. She cites a New York Times article stating that agents descended on flight schools within hours of the attacks. “How did the FBI know where to go a few hours after the attacks?” she asks. “Were any of the hijackers already under surveillance?” [MSNBC, 9/18/02] She adds, “Our intelligence agencies suffered an utter collapse in their duties and responsibilities leading up to and on September 11th. But their negligence does not stand alone. Agencies like the Port Authority, the City of NY, the FAA, the INS, the Secret Service, NORAD, the Air Force, and the airlines also failed our nation that morning.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02] Stephen Push states, “If the intelligence community had been doing its job, my wife, Lisa Raines, would be alive today.” He cites the government's failure to place Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi on a terrorist watch list until long after they were photographed meeting with alleged al-Qaeda operatives in Malaysia (see January 6-9, 2000). [MSNBC, 9/18/02]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Stephen Push, Secret Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Kristen Breitweiser, Federal Bureau of Investigation, City of New York, Immigration and Naturalization Service, New York Port Authority, US Department of the Air Force, al-Qaeda, Nawaf Alhazmi, Lisa Raines, Khalid Almihdhar
          

September 20, 2002: Bush Changes Course, Backs 9/11 Commission

       In the wake of damaging Congressional 9/11 inquiry revelations, President Bush reverses course and backs efforts by many lawmakers to form an independent commission to conduct a broader investigation than the current Congressional inquiry. Newsweek reports that Bush had virtually no choice. “There was a freight train coming down the tracks,” says one White House official. [Newsweek, 9/22/02] But as one of the 9/11 victim's relatives says, “It's carefully crafted to make it look like a general endorsement but it actually says that the commission would look at everything except the intelligence failures.” [CBS News, 9/20/02] Rather than look into such failures, Bush wants the commission to focus on areas like border security, visa issues, and the “role of Congress” in overseeing intelligence agencies. The White House also refuses to turn over documents showing what Bush knew before 9/11. [Newsweek, 9/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Zahed Sheikh Mohammed, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, George W. Bush
          

October 5, 2002: FBI Refuses to Allow FBI Informant to Testify Before 9/11 Inquiry

       The New York Times reports that the FBI is refusing to allow Abdussattar Shaikh, the FBI informant who lived with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar in the second half of 2000, to testify before the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry. The FBI claims the informer would have nothing interesting to say. The Justice Department also wants to learn more about the informant. [New York Times, 10/5/02] The FBI also tries to prevent Shaikh's handler Steven Butler from testifying, but Butler does end up testifying before a secret session on October 9, 2002. Shaikh does not testify at all. [Washington Post, 10/11/02 (B)] Butler's testimony uncovers many curious facts about Shaikh. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/25/03; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B); US News and World Report, 11/29/02; New York Times, 11/23/02]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Steven Butler, Abdussattar Shaikh, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar
          

October 10, 2002: Bush Backtracks on Support for Independent 9/11 Investigation

       A tentative congressional deal to create an independent commission to investigate the 9/11 attacks falls apart hours after the White House objected to the plan (it appears Vice President Cheney called Republican leaders and told them to renege on the agreement [New York Times, 11/2/02] ). Bush had pledged to support such a commission a few weeks earlier (see September 20, 2002), but doubters who questioned his sincerity appear to have been proven correct. Hours after top Republican leaders announced at a press conference that an agreement had been reached, House Republican leaders said they wouldn't bring the legislation to the full House for a vote unless the commission proposal was changed. There are worries that if the White House can delay the legislation for a few more days until Congress adjourns, it could stop the creation of a commission for months, if not permanently. [New York Times, 10/11/02] Another deal is made a few weeks later (see November 15, 2002) and the commission goes forward.
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

October 17, 2002: NSA Denies Having Indications of 9/11 Planning

       NSA Director Michael Hayden testifies before the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry that the “NSA had no [indications] that al-Qaeda was specifically targeting New York and Washington ... or even that it was planning an attack on US soil.” Before 9/11, the “NSA had no knowledge ... that any of the attackers were in the United States.” Supposedly, a post-9/11 NSA review found no intercepts of calls involving any of the 19 hijackers. [Reuters, 10/17/02; USA Today, 10/18/02; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02 (B)] Yet, in the summer of 2001 (see Summer 2001), the NSA intercepted communications between Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and hijacker Mohamed Atta, when he was in charge of operations in the US. [Independent, 6/6/02; Independent, 9/15/02] What was said between the two has not been revealed. The NSA also intercepted multiple phone calls from Abu Zubaida, bin Laden's chief of operations, to the US in the days before 9/11 (see Early September 2001). But who was called or what was said has not been revealed. [ABC News, 2/18/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Michael Hayden, National Security Agency
          

October 17, 2002: None Punished at Agencies for 9/11 Failures

       The directors of the US's three most famous intelligence agencies, the CIA, FBI and NSA, testify before a Congressional inquiry on 9/11. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02 (B); 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02] All three say no individual at their agencies has been punished or fired for any of missteps connected to 9/11. This does not satisfy several on the inquiry, including Senator Carl Levin (D), who says “People have to be held accountable.” [Washington Post, 10/18/02]
People and organizations involved: Carl Levin, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency
          

October 21, 2002: 13 Hijackers Were Never Interviewed by US Consular Officials

       The General Accounting Office, the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, releases a report asserting that at least 13 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were never interviewed by US consular officials before being granted visas to enter the US. This contradicts previous assurances from the State Department that 12 of the hijackers had been interviewed. It also found that, for 15 hijackers whose applications could be found, none had filled in the documents properly. Records for four other hijackers (the four non-Saudis, including Ziad Jarrah and Mohamed Atta) could not be checked because they were accidentally destroyed. [Washington Post, 10/22/02] The State Department maintains that visa procedures were properly followed. In December 2002, Senators Jon Kyl (R) and Pat Roberts (R) state in a report that “if State Department personnel had merely followed the law and not granted non-immigrant visas to 15 of the 19 hijackers in Saudi Arabia ... 9/11 would not have happened.” [Associated Press, 12/19/02]
People and organizations involved: General Accounting Office, Jon Kyl, US Department of State, Pat Roberts, Mohamed Atta, Ziad Jarrah
          

October 23, 2002: Handling of Hijackers' Visa Applications Denounced

       Visa applications for the 15 Saudi Arabian hijackers are made public, and six separate experts agree: “All of them should have been denied entry [into the US].” Joel Mowbray, who first breaks the story for the conservative National Review, says he is shocked by what he saw: “I really was expecting al-Qaeda to have trained their operatives well, to beat the system. They didn't have to beat the system, the system was rigged in their favor from the get-go.” A former US consular officer says the visas show a pattern of criminal negligence. Some examples: “Abdulaziz Alomari claimed to be a student but didn't name a school; claimed to be married but didn't name a spouse; under nationality and gender, he didn't list anything.” “Khalid Almihdhar ... simply listed ‘Hotel’ as his US destination—no name, no city, no state but no problem getting a visa.” Only one actually gave a US destination, and one stated his destination as “no.” Only Hani Hanjour had a slight delay in acquiring his visa. His first application was flagged because he wrote he wanted to visit for three years when the legal limit is two. When he returned two weeks later, he simply changed the form to read “one year” and was accepted. The experts agree that even allowing for chance, incompetence, and human error, the odds were that only a few should have been approved. [New York Post, 10/9/02; ABC News, 10/23/02]
People and organizations involved: Abdulaziz Alomari, Khalid Almihdhar, al-Qaeda, US Consulate, Jedda, Saudi Arabia Office, William Safire
          

November 5, 2002: Defense Department Keeps Study on 9/11 Pentagon Damage Secret

       The New York Times reports that the official Pentagon study assessing the structural effect of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon was completed in July 2002 but has not been released, and may never be released. The study, conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers, “was specifically intended to consider Pentagon security in the light of new terrorist threats ... Some, confused over what could be considered sensitive in the report, have expressed outrage that the lessons it may hold for other buildings could be squandered.” Engineers outside the investigation say the implications are considerable, since the design of the Pentagon is much more similar to other major buildings elsewhere than the design of the WTC. If the report were released, it is likely building codes would be changed and many lives saved in the long term. [New York Times, 11/5/02]
People and organizations involved: Pentagon, US Department of Defense, US Army Corps of Engineers
          

November 11, 2002: Box Cutters and Pepper Spray Were Banned by Airlines on 9/11

       It is revealed that while the government did not ban box cutters, the airlines' own rules did. It had been widely reported the hijackers used box cutters because they were legal. It now appears pepper spray was also banned and, like box cutters, should have been confiscated. There is evidence the hijackers used pepper spray as well. It has been reported that nine of the hijackers were given special security screenings on 9/11, and six of those had their bags checked for weapons. [Associated Press, 11/11/02]
          

November 15, 2002: Congress Starts New 9/11 Investigation

       Congress approves legislation creating an independent commission—the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States—to “examine and report on the facts and causes relating to the September 11th terrorist attacks” and “make a full and complete accounting of the circumstances surrounding the attacks.” President Bush signs it into law November 27, 2002. [US Department of State, 11/28/02] Bush originally opposed an independent commission (see May 23, 2002), but he changes his mind over the summer (see September 20, 2002) after political pressure. The Democrats concede several important aspects of the commission (such as subpoena approval) after the White House threatens to create a commission by executive order, over which it would have more control. Bush will appoint the commission chairman and he sets a strict time frame (18 months) for the investigation. [CNN, 11/15/02] The commission will only have a $3 million budget. Senator Jon Corzine (D) and others wonder how the commission can accomplish much with such a small budget. [Associated Press, 1/20/03] The budget is later increased (see March 26, 2003).
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Jon Corzine, US Congress, George W. Bush
          

November 27, 2002: Kissinger Named Chairman of New 9/11 Commission

      
Henry Kissinger.
President Bush names Henry Kissinger as Chairman of the 9/11 Commission. Congressional Democrats appoint George Mitchell, former Senate majority leader and peace envoy to Northern Ireland and the Middle East, as vice chairman. Their replacements and the other eight members of the commission are chosen by mid-December. Kissinger served as Secretary of State and National Security Adviser for Presidents Nixon and Ford. [New York Times, 11/29/02] Kissinger's ability to remain independent is met with skepticism. [CNN, 11/30/02; Sydney Morning Herald, 11/29/02; Chicago Sun-Times, 12/13/02; Washington Post, 12/17/02; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/3/02] . He has a very controversial past. For instance, “Documents recently released by the CIA, strengthen previously-held suspicions that Kissinger was actively involved in the establishment of Operation Condor, a covert plan involving six Latin American countries including Chile, to assassinate thousands of political opponents.” He is also famous for an “obsession with secrecy.” [BBC, 4/26/02] It is even difficult for Kissinger to travel outside the US. Investigative judges in Spain, France, Chile, and Argentina seek to question him in several legal actions related to his possible involvement in war crimes, particularly in Latin America, Vietnam, Cambodia (see March 1969-1973), Laos (see 1969-1973), Bangladesh, Chile, and East Timor (see December 7, 1976). [BBC, 4/18/02; Village Voice, 8/15-21/01; Chicago Tribune, 12/1/02] The New York Times suggests, “Indeed, it is tempting to wonder if the choice of Mr. Kissinger is not a clever maneuver by the White House to contain an investigation it long opposed.” [New York Times, 11/29/02] The Chicago Tribune notes that “the president who appointed him originally opposed this whole undertaking.” Kissinger is “known more for keeping secrets from the American people than for telling the truth” and asking him “to deliver a critique that may ruin friends and associates is asking a great deal.” [Chicago Tribune, 12/5/02]
People and organizations involved: George Mitchell, 9/11 Commission, George W. Bush, Henry A. Kissinger
          

December 5, 2002: Software Company with Access to Government Secrets May Have al-Qaeda Ties

      
FBI agents raid Ptech offices.
Federal agents search the offices of Ptech, Inc., a computer software company in Quincy, Massachusetts, looking for evidence of links to bin Laden. A senior Ptech official confirms that Yassin al-Qadi, one of 12 Saudi businessmen on a secret CIA list suspected of funneling millions of dollars to al-Qaeda, was an investor in the company, beginning in 1994. [Newsweek, 12/6/02; WBZ4, 12/9/02] Some of Ptech's customers include the White House, Congress, Army, Navy, Air Force, NATO, FAA, FBI, and the IRS. [Boston Globe, 12/7/02] A former FBI counterterrorism official states, “For someone like [al-Qadi] to be involved in a capacity, in an organization, a company that has access to classified information, that has access to government open or classified computer systems, would be of grave concern.” Yacub Mirza— “a senior official of major radical Islamic organizations that have been linked by the US government to terrorism” —has recently been on Ptech's board of directors. Hussein Ibrahim, the vice president and chief scientist of Ptech, was vice chairman of a now defunct investment group called BMI. An FBI affidavit names BMI as a conduit to launder money from al-Qadi to Hamas militants. [WBZ4, 12/9/02] The search into Ptech is part of Operation Green Quest, which has served 114 search warrants in the past 14 months involving suspected terrorist financing. Fifty arrests have been made and $27.4 million seized. [Forbes, 12/6/02] Al-Qadi's assets were frozen by the FBI in October 2001. [Arab News, 9/26/02] That same month, a number of Ptech employees told the Boston FBI that Ptech was financially backed by al-Qadi, but the FBI did little more than take their statements. A high level government source claims the FBI did not convey the information to a Treasury Department investigation of al-Qadi, and none of the government agencies using Ptech software were warned. Whistleblower Indira Singh spoke with the FBI in June 2002 and was “shocked” and “frustrated” when she learned the agency had done nothing. [WBZ4, 12/9/02; Boston Globe, 12/7/02] Beginning in mid-June 2002, WBZ-TV Boston had prepared an lengthy investigative report on Ptech, but withheld it for more than three months after receiving “calls from federal law enforcement agencies, some at the highest levels.” The station claims the government launched its Ptech probe in August 2002, after they “got wind of our investigation” and “asked us to hold the story so they could come out and do their raid and look like they're ahead of the game.” [WBZ4, 12/9/02; Boston Globe, 12/7/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Indira Singh, Hamas, US Department of the Treasury, Yassin al-Qadi, Osama bin Laden, Operation Green Quest, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ptech Inc.
          
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