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Before 9/11

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

Al-Qaeda Members

Al-Qaeda in Germany (42)
Alhazmi and Almihdhar (74)
Other 9/11 Hijackers (48)
Marwan Alshehhi (21)
Mohamed Atta (37)
Ziad Jarrah (9)
Hani Hanjour (15)
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (33)
Zacarias Moussaoui (40)
Nabil al-Marabh (10)

Geopolitics and 9/11

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

Day of 9/11

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

The Post-9/11 World

Afghanistan (49)
Investigations (166)
9/11 Congressional Inquiry (0)
9/11 Commission (0)
Other 9/11 Investigations (0)
Other events
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Complete 911 Timeline: Other Post-9/11 events

 
  

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July 24, 2001: World Trade Center Ownership Changes Hands For the First Time

      
Larry Silverstein.
Private businessman Larry Silverstein's $3.2 billion purchase of the World Trade Center is finalized, giving him de facto ownership with a 99-year lease of the building. [Ireizine, 7/26/01] It is the only time the WTC has ever changed hands. It was previously owned by the New York Port Authority, a bi-state government agency. [ICSC, 4/27/01] After 9/11, Silverstein attempts to get $7 billion in insurance for the 9/11 destruction of the WTC towers. [Guardian, 10/24/01] In late 2004, he will be tentatively awarded $2.2 billion, double what insurance companies offered to pay him. [UPI, 12/6/04] A judge also makes a ruling that keeps open the possibility he could eventually receive as much as $6.4 billion. [Associated Press, 12/7/04]
People and organizations involved: New York Port Authority, Larry Silverstein, World Trade Center
          

Shortly After September 11, 2001: Al-Qaeda Accomplices Flee East Coast?

       It is later reported that FBI officials believe that a second grouping or cell of “perhaps 20 al-Qaeda terrorists [are] in the United States on Sept. 11 to carry out another attack. Members of this second cell, one official [says], apparently [abandon] apartments they ... rented in Paterson, New Jersey, and Fairfax, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., after Sept. 11, leaving rented furniture and other possessions behind in their haste.” [St. Paul Pioneer Press, 10/7/02] Another article notes, “Police always have had concerns about sleeper agents in the [Brooklyn, New York] area. They particularly were concerned by a story ... from several NYPD sources about an abandoned rental car that was parked in front of a mosque only a few blocks from New Utrecht. The car had been rented under the phony name ‘Bomkr’ from Logan International Airport in Boston shortly before the attacks. Investigators thought the name sounded a lot like ‘bomb car.’ The anonymous party rented several other cars from Logan, all of which either have disappeared or been abandoned. Police suspect the cars were used by al-Qaeda operatives to return to their home bases after the attacks.” [Insight, 9/10/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda
          

September 11, 2001: All-Republican Shadow Government Formed

       It is later revealed that only hours after the 9/11 attacks, a US “shadow government” is formed. Initially deployed “on the fly,” executive directives on government continuity in the face of a crisis dating back to the Reagan administration are put into effect. Approximately 100 midlevel officials are moved to underground bunkers and stay there 24 hours a day. Officials rotate in and out on a 90-day cycle. When its existence is revealed, some controversy arises because the shadow government includes no Democrats. In fact, top congressional Democrats are unaware of it until journalists break the story months later. [CBS News, 3/2/02; Washington Post, 3/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Reagan administration
          

September 11, 2001: Television News Footage of Gleeful Palestinians Shown Out of Context

       Television news coverage on 9/11 repeatedly shows images of Palestinians rejoicing over the 9/11 attack. According to Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of media studies at New York University who investigated the issue, the footage was filmed during the funeral of nine people killed the day before by Israeli authorities. He said, “To show it without explaining the background, and to show it over and over again is to make propaganda for the war machine and is irresponsible.” [Agence France-Presse, 9/18/01; Australian, 9/27/01]
People and organizations involved: Mark Crispin Miller
          

September 12, 2001: Unidentified Plane Causes NEADS Evacuation

       Staff at the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) in Rome, NY, notice an unidentified, low-flying plane heading slowly and directly toward their building. Yet all civilian aircraft are supposed to be grounded, with only military or emergency aircraft allowed to fly over the US. According to NEADS Commander Robert Marr, “We thought anyone in the air was either a terrorist or a criminal.” Fighters from the Vermont Air National Guard are diverted towards Rome, and Marr orders the evacuation of the NEADS building, with only himself and a small crew remaining inside. Just miles away from them, the plane suddenly changes course and is forced to land nearby by the pursuing fighters. Robert Marr later says he never found out who the culprit was, but he'd heard it was a local pilot with a seaplane. [Air War Over America, by Leslie Filson, 1/04, pp. 133-134]
People and organizations involved: Robert Marr, Northeast Air Defense Sector
          

September 12, 2001: Planned Terrorism Exercise May Have Sped Up Response to 9/11 Attack

       Before 9/11, New York City was scheduled to have a biological terrorism exercise on this day called Tripod II. As Mayor Rudolph Giuliani later testifies, “hundreds of people ... from FEMA, from the federal government, from the state, from the State Emergency Management Office” come to New York to take part in the exercise. Presumably many have already arrived when the 9/11 attacks occur. Giuliani notes that the equipment for the exercise is already there, so when his emergency bunker (in WTC Building 7) is destroyed in the attacks, he moves his response center to the planned site of the Tripod exercise. [New York Magazine, 10/15/01; 9/11 Commission Report, 5/19/04]
People and organizations involved: Federal Emergency Management Agency, Rudolph ("Rudy") Giuliani
          

September 14, 2001: Congress to Bush: Use All Necessary Military Force

       The US Congress adopts a joint resolution that determines that “the president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.” Congress also states that the “grave acts of violence” committed on the US “continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to [its] national security and foreign policy.” [Sources: US Congress, Authorization for Use of Military Force. S. J. RES. 23, September 14, 2001]
          

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 16, 2001: EPA Misleads Public About Health Risks at WTC Site

      
Smoke from the WTC south tower collapse covers lower Manhattan on the day of 9/11, and for days afterward.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) release a joint statement asserting that the air in downtown New York City is safe to breathe. “New samples confirm previous reports that ambient air quality meets OSHA standards and consequently is not a cause for public concern,” the agencies claim. [EPA, 9/16/01] However, the government's statements are based on ambient air quality tests using outdated technologies. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1/14/02] Furthermore, it is later learned that the press release was heavily edited under pressure from the White House's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Critical passages in the original draft were either deleted or modified to downplay public health risks posed by contaminants that were released into the air during the collapse of the World Trade Center. [EPA, 8/21/03; Newsday, 8/26/03] In late October, the New York Daily News obtains internal EPA documents containing information that had been withheld from the public. One document says that “dioxins, PCBs, benzene, lead and chromium are among the toxic substances detected ... sometimes at levels far exceeding federal levels.” [New York Daily News, 10/21/01] Later, in October, it is reported that thousands of rescue workers and residents are experiencing respiratory problems that experts attribute to the toxic smoke flume and ultra fine dust. [CNN, 10/29/01 (B); Newsday, 10/30/01; BBC, 10/31/01; New York Post, 10/29/01]
People and organizations involved: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Environmental Protection Agency, World Trade Center, Council on Environmental Quality
          

September 17, 2001: Stock Exchange Reopens; Economic Costs of Attack Are High

       The New York Stock Exchange, closed since the 9/11 attacks, reopens. During the next five days, the Dow Jones drops nearly 2000 points, but then soon rebounds to above pre-9/11 levels. The attacks caused more than $20 billion in property damage to buildings in New York City and Washington. According to one estimate, the work stoppage and other loss of economic output costs about another $47 billion, making the attacks the costliest man-made disaster in US history. [ABC News, 9/10/02]
People and organizations involved: New York Stock Exchange
          

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

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

September 20, 2001: FBI Translator Sees Pattern of Deliberate Failure

      
Sibel Edmonds.
Sibel Edmonds is hired as a Middle Eastern languages translator for the FBI. As she later tells CBS's 60 Minutes, she immediately encounters a pattern of deliberate failure in her translation department. Her boss says, “Let the documents pile up so we can show it and say that we need more translators and expand the department.” She claims that if she was not slowing down enough, her supervisor would delete her work. Meanwhile, FBI agents working on the 9/11 investigation would call and ask for urgently needed translations. Senator Charles Grassley (R) says of her charges, “She's credible and the reason I feel she's very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story.” He points out that the speed of such translation might make the difference between an attack succeeding or failing. [New York Post, 10/26/02; CBS News, 10/25/02] In January 2002, FBI officials will tell government auditors that translator shortages have resulted in “the accumulation of thousands of hours of audio tapes and pages” of material that has not been translated. [Washington Post, 6/19/02] Edmonds files a whistleblower lawsuit against the FBI for these and other charges in March 2002 (see March 22, 2002). However, the case is later dismissed (see July 6, 2004) because all evidence related to proving the charges is classified. [CNN, 7/7/04]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sibel Edmonds, Charles Grassley
          

September 20, 2001: Tom Ridge Named Homeland Security Secretary

      
Tom Ridge.
President Bush announces the new cabinet-level Office of Homeland Security, to be led by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. [Associated Press, 8/19/02] In November, Ridge becomes secretary of a new Homeland Security Department.
People and organizations involved: Tom Ridge, George W. Bush, Department of Homeland Security
          

September 21, 2001: Congress Approves Aid Package for Airline Industry, 9/11 Victims

       Congress approves a $15 billion federal aid package for the battered US airline industry, and sets up a government fund to compensate 9/11 victims' relatives. [Los Angeles Times, 9/22/01] However, relatives are only allowed to sue US-designated terrorists, and if they sue anyone else, they are not entitled to any compensation money. The law also limits the airlines' liability to the limits of their insurance coverage—around $1.5 billion per plane. [Los Angeles Times, 1/17/02] Nevertheless, some later sue entities that make them ineligible for the fund, such as the Port Authority, owner of the WTC.
People and organizations involved: New York Port Authority, US Congress
          

September 23, 2001-Present: 9/11 Skeptics Derided as Conspiracy Nuts

       The first of many mainstream articles ridiculing 9/11 “conspiracy theories” is published. [Independent, 9/23/01] Early articles of this type generally deride Middle Eastern views blaming Israel. [Dallas Morning News, 11/19/01; Washington Post, 10/13/01; Associated Press, 10/3/01 (C)] Later articles mostly deride Western theories blaming President Bush, and criticize the Internet and Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney for spreading these ideas. [Chicago Sun-Times, 2/8/02; ABC News, 4/17/02; Orlando Sentinel, 5/18/02; Toronto Sun, 5/19/02] The title of one article, “Conspiracy Nuts Feed On Calamity,” expresses the general tone of these articles. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/22/02] An Ottawa Citizen article mockingly includes a Do-It-Yourself Conspiracy Theory section, where you can fill in the blanks for your own personal 9/11 theory. The article calls 9/11 conspiracy theories “delirious,” “dangerous,” and “viruses,” while admitting, “[I]t's true that some of the events surrounding the September 11 attacks are hard to explain.” [Ottawa Citizen, 9/1/02] Another article attempts to discredit theories that oil was a motive for the US to attack Afghanistan by interspersing them with theories that space aliens were behind the 9/11 attacks. [Daily Telegraph, 9/5/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Israel, Cynthia McKinney
          

October 2001: Anthrax Letters Kill Five, Heighten Terrorist Fears

      
The anthrax letter received by Senator Daschle's office.
A total of four letters containing anthrax are mailed to NBC, the New York Post, and Democratic senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. The letters sent to the senators both contain the words “Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is Great.” Twenty-three people are infected and five people die. Panic sweeps the nation. On October 16, the Senate office buildings are shut down, followed by the House of Representatives, after 28 congressional staffers test positive for exposure to anthrax. A number of hoax letters containing harmless powder turn up. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 12/8/01] Initially it is suspected that either al-Qaeda or Iraq are behind the anthrax letters. [Times of London, 10/27/01; BBC, 10/16/01; Observer, 10/14/01] However, further investigation leads the US government to conclude that, “everything seems to lean toward a domestic source. ... Nothing seems to fit with an overseas terrorist type operation.” [St. Petersburg Times, 11/10/01; Washington Post, 10/27/01] In August 2002, the FBI names Steven Hatfill, a bioweapons researcher who worked for the US government, as a “person of interest” in the case. [Associated Press, 8/1/02; Times of London, 8/2/02] Though he undergoes intense scrutiny by the FBI, he is never charged with any crime. As of mid-2004, no one has been charged in relation to the anthrax letter attacks.
People and organizations involved: Iraq, Patrick Leahy, Tom Daschle, al-Qaeda, New York Post, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Steven Hatfill, NBC
          

October 2001-September 2002: Vital Army Translators Dismissed for Homosexuality

       Nine Army linguists, including six trained to speak Arabic, are dismissed from the military's Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, because they are gay. At the same time, the military claims it is facing a critical shortage of translators and interpreters for the war on terrorism. [Associated Press, 11/14/02] The Miami Herald comments: “The message is unmistakable: We find gay people more frightening than Osama bin Laden, whose stated goal is our destruction.” [Miami Herald, 11/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden
          

October 10, 2001: US Television Networks Doing Too Much of the Government's Bidding

       The Bush administration asks the major US television networks to refrain from showing unedited video messages taped by Osama bin Laden. They agree. A Newsweek article is critical of the decision, pointing out that “all but one [of these networks] are controlled by major conglomerates that have important pending business with the government.” The article openly questions if the media is “doing too much of the government's bidding” in reporting on 9/11. Says one expert, “I'm not saying that everything is a horrible paranoid fantasy, but my sense is there's an implicit quid pro quo here. The industry seems to be saying to the administration, ‘We're patriotic, We're supporting the war, we lost all of this advertising, now free us from [business] constraints.’ ” [Newsweek, 10/13/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Bush administration
          

October 18, 2001: Paul Wolfowitz Issues Memo Urging Secrecy Among Defense Department Staff

       Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz issues a memorandum to senior officials throughout the Defense Department stating that, following President Bush's declaration of a national emergency on September 14, Defense Department employees should exercise great caution whenever discussing information relating to their department's work. The memo instructs: “Do not conduct any work-related conversations in common areas, public places, while commuting, or over unsecured electronic circuits. Classified information may be discussed only in authorized spaces and with persons having a specific need to know and the proper security clearance. Unclassified information may likewise require protection because it can often be compiled to reveal sensitive conclusions. Much of the information we use to conduct [the department]'s operations must be withheld from public release because of its sensitivity. If in doubt, do not release or discuss official information except with other DoD personnel.” According to the memo, “the security of information critical to the national security will remain at risk for an indefinite period.” [Washington Times, 10/23/01; Department of Defense, 10/18/01]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz, US Department of Defense
          

October 20, 2001: Few Detained in US Have Real Ties to US-Designated Terrorist Groups

       The New York Times reports that, although 830 people have been arrested in the 9/11 terrorism investigation (a number that eventually reaches between 1,200 and 2,000), there is no evidence that anyone now in custody was a conspirator in the 9/11 attacks. Furthermore, “none of the nearly 100 people still being sought by the [FBI] is seen as a major suspect.” Of all the people arrested, only four—Zacarias Moussaoui, Ayub Ali Khan, Mohammed Azmath, and Nabil al-Marabh—are likely connected to al-Qaeda. [New York Times, 10/21/01 (C)] Three of those are later cleared of ties to al-Qaeda, though the clearance of al-Marabh is a mystery (see January 2004). Al-Marabh is eventually convicted of the minor charge of entering the United States illegally. [Washington Post, 6/12/02; Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 8/27/02] On September 12, 2002, after a year in solitary confinement (the first four months of which he was unable to contact a lawyer), Mohammed Azmath pleads guilty to one count of credit card fraud. He is released with time served. Ayub Ali Khan, whose real name is apparently Syed Gul Mohammed Shah, is given a longer sentence for credit card fraud, but is released and deported by the end of 2002. [New York Times, 12/31/02; Village Voice, 9/25/02] By December 2002, only six of the original 1,000-plus detainees are known to still be in custody, and none charged with any terrorist acts. [Washington Post, 12/12/02]
People and organizations involved: Zacarias Moussaoui, Nabil al-Marabh, Mohammed Azmath, Ayub Ali Khan, Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda
          

October 29, 2001: Necon Scholar: ‘This Is Total War’

       Michael Ledeen, speaking at an event sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, states: “No stages. This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq ... this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war ... our children will sing great songs about us years from now.” [American Enterprise Institute, 10/29/01]
People and organizations involved: Michael Ledeen
          

November 10, 2001: Bush Dismisses 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

       In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President Bush states, “We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty.” [White House, 11/10/01]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, UN General Assembly
          

Early December 2001: Al-Qaeda Puppet Master Disappears in Britain

      
Abu Qatada.
Al-Qaeda leader Abu Qatada disappears, despite being under surveillance in Britain. He has been “described by some justice officials as the spiritual leader and possible puppet master of al-Qaeda's European networks.” [Time, 7/7/02] Qatada had already been sentenced to death in abstentia in Jordan, and is wanted at the time by the US, Spain, France, and Algeria as well. [Guardian, 2/14/02] In October 2001, the media had strongly suggested that Qatada would soon be arrested for his known roles in al-Qaeda plots, but no such arrest occurred. [Times of London, 10/21/01] In November, while Qatada was still living openly in Britain, a Spanish judge expressed disbelief that Qatada hadn't been arrested already, as he has previously been connected to a Spanish al-Qaeda cell that may have met with Mohamed Atta in July 2001. [Observer, 11/25/01] Time magazine will later claim that just before new anti-terrorism laws go into effect in Britain, Abu Qatada and his family are secretly moved to a safe house by the British government, where he is lodged, fed, and clothed by the government. “The deal is that Abu Qatada is deprived of contact with extremists in London and Europe but can't be arrested or expelled because no one officially knows where he is,” says a source, whose claims were corroborated by French authorities. The British reportedly do this to avoid a “hot potato” trial. [Time, 7/7/02] A British official rejects these assertions: “We wouldn't give an awful lot of credence [to the story].” [Guardian, 7/8/02] Some French officials tell the press that Qatada was allowed to disappear because he is actually a British intelligence agent. [Observer, 2/24/02 (B)] It appears that Qatada held secret meetings with British intelligence in 1996 and 1997, and the British were under the impression that he was informing on al-Qaeda (though there is disagreement if he was misleading them or not) (see June 1996-February 1997). Qatada is later arrested in London on October 23, 2002, but has yet to be put on trial or deported. [Times of London, 10/25/02]
People and organizations involved: Algeria, France, Jordan, Spain, Mohamed Atta, Central Intelligence Agency, al-Qaeda, Abu Qatada, Britain
          

December 19, 2001: Sufaat Arrested, May Hold Key to 9/11-Crop Duster Mystery

      
Yazid Sufaat.
Yazid Sufaat is arrested in Malaysia. Sufaat is a Malaysian who owns a condominium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where a January 2000 al-Qaeda summit was held (see January 5-8, 2000). He also graduated in 1987 from a California university with a degree in biological sciences. According to interrogations of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Hambali, and other captured prisoners, Sufaat was given the lead in developing chemical and biological weapons for al-Qaeda. But he apparently had been unable to buy the kind of anthrax he wanted for an attack. Zacarias Moussaoui, Mohamed Atta, and other al-Qaeda operatives appeared to have had an interest in crop dusters before 9/11. It has been suggested that this interest served to further Sufaat's biological weapons plot. This would especially make sense in the case of Moussaoui, since he stayed with Sufaat in Sufaat's Malaysia apartment for two months in late 2000. Sufaat remains in Malaysian custody. The US has only been able to directly interview him on one brief occasion, in November 2002. [Washington Post, 3/28/03; CNN, 10/10/03; Chicago Tribune, 12/7/03]
People and organizations involved: Zacarias Moussaoui, Yazid Sufaat, al-Qaeda, Mohamed Atta, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

December 22, 2001: Shoe Bomber Arrested, Claims Allegiance to bin Laden

      
Richard Reid.
British citizen Richard Reid is arrested for allegedly trying to blow up a Miami-bound jet using explosives hidden in his shoe. [Associated Press, 8/19/02] He later pleads guilty to all charges, and declares himself a follower of bin Laden. [CBS News, 10/4/02] He may have ties to Pakistan. [Washington Post, 3/31/02] It is later believed that Reid and others in the shoe bomb plot reported directly to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. [CNN, 1/30/03] It has been suggested that Mohammed has ties to the ISI, and that Reid is a follower of Ali Gilani, a religious leader believed to be working with the ISI (see January 6, 2002).
People and organizations involved: Richard C. Reid, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

January 4, 2002: US Doctors Information About Al-Qaeda Militants

      
Defense Department pamplet with a badly doctored photo of bin Laden. Note the blurry area around his neck.
It is reported that the State Department said Mohamed Atta “wanted to learn to fly, but didn't need to take off and land” when this information clearly refers to Zacarias Moussaoui (although that story isn't exactly true for him either (see August 13-15, 2001)). It is also reported that the military dropped leaflets in Afghanistan which featured photos depicting bin Laden in Western clothing, with his hair cut short and beard shaved off. An expert says “Frankly, this is sloppy,” and the article calls these propaganda efforts “worthy of the tabloids.” [Associated Press, 1/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, US Department of State, Mohamed Atta, US Department of Defense
          

January 29, 2002: Bush Sees an Axis of Evil

       President Bush's State of the Union speech describes an “axis of evil” consisting of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. When Bush advisor Richard Perle was asked one month before 9/11 about new challenges the US faced, he replied by naming these exact three countries (see August 6, 2001). Bin Laden is not mentioned in the speech. [CNN, 1/29/02] The speech is followed by a new public focus on Iraq and a downplaying of bin Laden.
People and organizations involved: Iraq, North Korea, Iran, George W. Bush
          

February 10, 2002: Driver's License Examiner Dies in Suspicious Circumstances

       Katherine Smith is killed one day before her scheduled appearance in court on charges she helped five Islamic men get illegal drivers licenses. According to witnesses, she veered into a utility pole when a fire erupted in her car. She was burned beyond recognition. The FBI later determines that gasoline was poured on her clothing before she died in the fire and find that arson was the cause of death. [Associated Press, 2/15/02 (B)] A suicide note was found, but prosecutors say they are looking for murder suspects. One of the five men, Sakhera Hammad, was found with a pass in his wallet giving access to the restricted areas of the WTC, dated September 5, 2001. Hammad claims he was a plumber and worked on the WTC's sprinkler system that day, but the company with exclusive rights to all WTC plumbing work has never heard of him. Smith was being investigated by the FBI; the five later plead guilty to charges of fraud. [Memphis Commercial Appeal, 2/21/02; Go Memphis, 2/12/02; Associated Press, 2/13/02; Reuters, 2/15/02] One of the five, Khaled Odtllah, drove from New York City to Memphis on 9/11. Tennessee is one of only four US states that doesn't require a Social Security card to get a driver's license. A prosecutor accuses each of the five men of attempting to acquire a “completely false and untraceable identity.” [Associated Press, 2/12/02; Associated Press, 2/15/02 (B)] One month later, the coroner who examines her body is targeted by a bomb, which is defused. Then in June the coroner is attacked, bound with barbed wire, and left with a bomb tied to his body, but he survives. [Memphis Commercial Appeal, 3/14/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khaled Odtllah, Sakhera Hammad, Katherine Smith, World Trade Center
          

February 20, 2002: Pentagon Office Designed for Telling Lies Revealed; Declared Closed

       The Pentagon announces the existence of the new Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), which “was quietly set up after September 11.” The role of this office is to plant false stories in the foreign press, phony e-mails from disguised addresses, and other covert activities to manipulate public opinion. The new office proves so controversial that it is declared closed six days later. [CNN, 2/20/02; CNN, 2/26/02] It is later reported that the “temporary” Office of Global Communications will be made permanent (it is unknown when this office began its work). This office seems to serve the same function as the earlier OSI, minus the covert manipulation. [Washington Post, 7/20/02] Defense Secretary Rumsfeld later states that after the OSI was closed, “I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to savage this thing fine I'll give you the corpse. There's the name. You can have the name, but I'm gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have.” [US Department of Defense, 11/18/02]
People and organizations involved: Unknown, Office of Global Communications, US Department of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld, Office of Strategic Influence
          

February 28, 2002: Majority of Muslims Believe bin Laden Not Responsible for 9/11

       A Gallup poll conducted in Muslim nations shows 18 percent believe that Arabs were responsible for 9/11 and 61 percent do not. In Pakistan, 86 percent say Arabs were not responsible. [Guardian, 2/28/02] Even Pakistani President Musharraf has said bin Laden was not the mastermind, though he says that he probably supported it. [Reuters, 8/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Pervez Musharraf, Osama bin Laden
          

March 2002: Bush Official Says 9/11 Is Important Because It Lowers Public Resistance to US Military Adventures

       An anonymous senior Bush administration official says, as The New Yorker paraphrases it, “Inside government, the reason September 11th appears to have been ‘a transformative moment,’ ... is not so much that it revealed the existence of a threat of which officials had previously been unaware as that it drastically reduced the American public's usual resistance to American military involvement overseas, at least for a while.” [New Yorker, 3/25/02]
          

March 22, 2002: FBI Translator Charges That Evidence of Turkish Spies in Pentagon and State Department Was Suppressed

       Translator Sibel Edmonds later claims that she is fired by the FBI on this day after repeatedly raising suspicions about a co-worker named Jan (or Can) Dickerson. When Dickerson was hired in November 2001, she had connections to a Turkish intelligence officer and had worked with a Turkish organization, both of which were being investigated by the FBI's own counter-intelligence unit. Edmonds claims that Dickerson insisted that she alone translate documents relating to the investigation of this organization and official. When Edmonds reviewed Dickerson's translations, she found information that the Turkish officer had spies inside the State Department and Pentagon was not being translated. Dickerson then tried to recruit Edmonds as a spy, and when Edmonds refused, Dickerson threatened to have her killed. After Edmonds's boss and others in the FBI failed to respond to her complaints, she wrote to the Justice Department's inspector general's office in March: “Investigations are being compromised. Incorrect or misleading translations are being sent to agents in the field. Translations are being blocked and circumvented.” Edmonds is then fired and she sues the FBI. The FBI eventually concludes Dickerson had left out significant information from her translations. A second FBI whistleblower, John Cole, also claims to know of security lapses in the screening and hiring of FBI translators. [Washington Post, 6/19/02; Cox News Service, 8/14/02; CBS News, 7/13/03] The supervisor who told Edmonds not to make these accusations and also encouraged her to go slow in her translations is later promoted. [CBS News, 10/25/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jan Dickerson, Sibel Edmonds, US Department of State, US Department of Defense, John Cole, US Department of Justice
          

April 11, 2002: Congresswoman Suspects Bush Knew of 9/11 in Advance

      
Cynthia McKinney.
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D) calls for a thorough investigation into whether President Bush and other government officials may have been warned of the 9/11 attacks but did nothing to prevent them. She is the first national-level politician to do so. She states: “News reports from Der Spiegel to the London Observer, from the Los Angeles Times to MSNBC to CNN, indicate that many different warnings were received by the administration. ... I am not aware of any evidence showing that President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9/11. ... On the other hand, what is undeniable is that corporations close to the administration have directly benefited from the increased defense spending arising from the aftermath of September 11. The Carlyle Group, Dyn-Corp, and Halliburton certainly stand out as companies close to this administration.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/12/02] McKinney's comments are criticized and ridiculed by other politicians and the media. For instance, Congressman Mark Foley (R) states, “She has said some outrageous things but this has gone too far. ... Maybe there should be an investigation as she suggests—but one focused on her.” Senator Zell Miller (D) says her comments were dangerous and irresponsible. [Washington Post, 4/12/02] An editorial in her home state calls her the “most prominent nut” promoting 9/11 “conspiracy theories.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/15/02] One columnist says she is possibly “a delusional paranoiac” or “a socialist rabble-rouser who despises her own country.” [Orlando Sentinel, 4/21/02] White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said McKinney “must be running for the hall of fame of the Grassy Knoll Society.” [Washington Post, 4/12/02] One month after McKinney's comments, the Bush administration comes under fire after reports reveal it had been warned five weeks before 9/11 about possible al-Qaeda plane hijackings, and McKinney claims vindication. She will lose reelection later in the year, but win her seat back in 2004. [McKinney website, 5/16/02]
People and organizations involved: Cynthia McKinney, Mark Foley, Bush administration, George W. Bush, Zell Miller, Ari Fleischer, Carlyle Group, Halliburton, Inc.
          

May 17, 2002: Fear of Being Unpatriotic Affects Media Coverage After 9/11

       CBS anchorman Dan Rather tells the BBC that he and other journalists haven't been properly investigating since 9/11. He says, “There was a time in South Africa that people would put flaming tires around people's necks if they dissented. And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it is that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions.” [Guardian, 5/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Dan Rather
          

May 20-24, 2002: Government Terrorist Warnings Believed Political

       The Bush administration issues a remarkable series of terror warnings that many believe are politically motivated. Vice President Cheney warns it is “not a matter of if, but when” al-Qaeda will next attack the US. [CNN, 5/20/02] Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge says the same thing. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says terrorists will “inevitably” obtain weapons of mass destruction. FBI Director Mueller says more suicide bombings are “inevitable.” [Washington Post, 5/22/02] Authorities also issue separate warnings that al-Qaeda militants might target apartment buildings nationwide, banks, rail and transit systems, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. USA Today titles an article, “Some Question Motives Behind Series of Alerts.” [USA Today, 5/24/02] David Martin, CBS's national security correspondent, says, “Right now they're putting out all these warnings to change the subject from what was known prior to September 11 to what is known now.” It had been revealed the week before that Bush received a briefing in August 2001 entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” (see August 6, 2001). [Washington Post, 5/27/02] Remarkably, even Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says the alerts were issued “as a result of all the controversy that took place last week.” [Washington Times, 5/22/02; Village Voice, 5/23/02] Time notes, “Though uncorroborated and vague, the terror alerts were a political godsend for an administration trying to fend off a bruising bipartisan inquiry into its handling of the terrorist chatter last summer. After the wave of warnings, the Democratic clamor for an investigation into the government's mistakes subsided.” [Time, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Tom Ridge, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, al-Qaeda, Ari Fleischer, Robert S. Mueller III, David Martin
          

May 30, 2002: Agent Claims FBI Obstructed Efforts to Stop Terrorist Money Flows

       FBI Agent Robert Wright announces he is suing the FBI over a publishing ban. He has written a book but the FBI will not allow him to show it to anyone. He delivers a tearful press conference at the National Press Club describing his lawsuit against the FBI for deliberately curtailing investigations (see October 1998) that might have prevented the 9/11 attacks. Unfortunately he has been ordered to not reveal specifics publicly. [Fox News, 5/30/02] Wright claims the FBI shut down his 1998 criminal probe into alleged terrorist-training camps in Chicago and Kansas City. He uses the words “prevented,” “thwarted,” “obstructed,” “threatened,” “intimidated,” and “retaliation” to describe the actions of his superiors in blocking his attempts to shut off money flows to al-Qaeda, Hamas, and other Islamic militant groups. He also alleges that for years the US was training Hamas militants to make car bombs to use against Israel, one of the US's closest allies. [La Weekly, 8/2/02 (B); LA Weekly, 8/2/02] Wright's book still has not been released as of mid-2004.
People and organizations involved: Hamas, al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert Wright
          

June 4, 2002: Officer with Possible Unique 9/11 Knowledge Is Reprimanded for Criticizing Bush

       Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Steve Butler is suspended from his post at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and is told he could face a court martial for writing a letter to a local newspaper calling President Bush a “joke” and accusing him of allowing the 9/11 attacks to happen. The military prohibits public criticism of superiors. [BBC, 6/5/02; Monterey County Herald, 6/5/02] What is not reported is that he may have had unique knowledge about 9/11: A hijacker named Saeed Alghamdi trained at the Defense Language Institute and Butler was Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs there (note that this is not the same person as the Steven Butler who later testifies before the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry). [Gannett News Service, 9/17/01] Later in the month the Air Force announces “the matter is resolved” and Butler will not face a court-martial, but it is unknown if he faced a lesser punishment. [Knight Ridder, 6/14/02]
People and organizations involved: Steve Butler, Saeed Alghamdi, George W. Bush
          

August 9, 2002: FBI Ended Investigation into Training Camps for Terrorists

       FBI agent Robert Wright is a whistleblower who claims the FBI shut down a criminal investigation into the operation of terror-training camps in Chicago and Kansas City , years before the 9/11 attacks (see October 1998). It is reported that Wright submitted a complaint to the Inspector General's Office of the Justice Department, which probes agency wrongdoing and mistakes. Amazingly, he was turned away, and told to take his cause to Congress. The Inspector General's Office claims it does “not have the resources to conduct an investigation of this anticipated size and scope.” Yet they've conducted similar investigations in the past, including a full-blown investigation into the FBI's alleged mishandling of evidence in the probe of Timothy McVeigh, the convicted Oklahoma City bomber. [LA Weekly, 8/9/02]
People and organizations involved: Timothy McVeigh, US Congress, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert Wright, Office of the Inspector General , US Department of Justice
          

August 15, 2002: CNN General Manager Concedes Media Censored Itself

       Rena Golden, the executive vice-president and general manager of CNN International, claims that the press has censored itself over 9/11 and the Afghanistan war. “Anyone who claims the US media didn't censor itself is kidding you. It was not a matter of government pressure but a reluctance to criticize anything in a war that was obviously supported by the vast majority of the people. And this isn't just a CNN issue—every journalist who was in any way involved in 9/11 is partly responsible.” [Press Gazette, 8/15/02] These comments echo criticisms by Dan Rather in May 2002 (see May 17, 2002).
People and organizations involved: Rena Golden
          

September 10, 2002: Port Authority Sued by Relatives and Insurance Companies

       Right before a one-year deadline, the Port Authority, the government body that owns the WTC complex, is sued by five insurance companies, one utility and 700 relatives of the WTC victims. The insurance companies and utility are suing because of safety violations connected to the installation of diesel fuel tanks in 1999 that many blame for the collapse of WTC Building 7. [Dow Jones News, 9/10/02] The relatives' lawsuit is much more encompassing, and even blames the Port Authority for the Flight 93 hijacking (the Port Authority owns Newark airport, where the flight originated). The relatives' lawsuit is likely to lie dormant for at least six months as evidence is collected. Relatives are also considering suing the airlines, security companies, and other entities. [Newsweek, 9/13/02]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, New York Port Authority
          

September 11, 2002: Story of Bush's 9/11 Conduct Changes for 9/11 Anniversary

       On the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the story of what President Bush did on that day is significantly rewritten. In actual fact, when Chief of Staff Andrew Card told Bush about the second plane crash into the WTC, Bush continued to sit in a Florida elementary school classroom and hear a story about a pet goat for at least seven more minutes (see (9:06-9:16 a.m.); (9:06 a.m.)), as video footage later broadcast in the 2004 movie Fahrenheit 9/11 shows. But one year later, Card claims that after he told Bush about the second WTC crash, “it was only a matter of seconds” before Bush “excused himself very politely to the teacher and to the students, and he left the Florida classroom.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/11/02] In a different account, Card says, “Not that many seconds later the president excused himself from the classroom.” [Newsweek, 9/9/02] An interview with the classroom teacher claims that Bush left the class even before the second WTC crash: “The president bolted right out of here and told me: ‘Take over.’ ” When the second WTC crash occurred, she claims her students are watching television in a nearby media room. [New York Post, 9/12/02]
People and organizations involved: Andrew Card, World Trade Center, George W. Bush
          

September 12, 2002: Major Paper First to Give Room for 9/11 Skeptics

       For the first time, a mainstream US newspaper looks at the people who believe there was government complicity or criminal incompetence in 9/11 and does not immediately dismiss them. The San Francisco Examiner quotes a number of 9/11 skeptics and lets them speak for themselves. “While different theorists focus on different aspects of the attacks, what they seem to have in common is they would like an independent investigation into 9/11.” [San Francisco Examiner, 9/12/02]
          

October 2002: State Department Restarts Propaganda Activities

       The State Department's propaganda office, closed in 1996, is reopened. Called the Counter-Disinformation/Misinformation Team, this office supposedly only aims its propaganda overseas to counter propaganda from other countries. [Associated Press, 3/10/03]
People and organizations involved: Counter-Disinformation/Misinformation Team, US Department of State
          

October 6, 2002: Christian Fundamentalists Believed to Influence Bush Foreign Policy

       60 Minutes airs a program on the religious support for President Bush's expansionist Middle Eastern policies. [CBS News, 10/6/02] A Guardian editorial from around the same time suggests that “Christian millenarians” who are “driven by visions of messiahs and Armageddon” have formed an alliance with “secular, neoconservative Jewish intellectuals, such as Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz” and are strongly influencing Bush's foreign policy. [Guardian, 9/17/02] A later Washington Post article also sees the support of evangelical Christians and right-wing Jewish groups as instrumental in defining US Middle East policy. [Washington Post, 2/9/03]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, George W. Bush, Christian fundamentalists
          

October 12, 2002: Bali Bombing Kills Over 200

      
An explosion lights up the sky on the island of Bali, Indonesia.
A car bomb detonates in front of a discotheque at Kuta Beach, on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, starting a fire that rages through a dozen buildings, killing 202 people. No group claims responsibility, but Jemmah Islamiyah, a radical Islamic organization in Indonesia, is suspected. [New York Times, 10/13/02; New York Times, 10/14/02; BBC, 2/19/03]
People and organizations involved: Jemmah Islamiyah
          

October 27, 2002: Author Gore Vidal Says Bush Used 9/11 as Pretext

       The Observer reports: “America's most controversial writer Gore Vidal has launched the most scathing attack to date on George W. Bush's Presidency, calling for an investigation into the events of 9/11 to discover whether the Bush administration deliberately chose not to act on warnings of al-Qaeda's plans. Vidal's highly controversial 7,000 word polemic titled ‘The Enemy Within’ ... argues that what he calls a ‘Bush junta’ used the terrorist attacks as a pretext to enact a preexisting agenda to invade Afghanistan and crack down on civil liberties at home.” Vidal also said, “Apparently, ‘conspiracy stuff’ is now shorthand for unspeakable truth.” [Observer, 10/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, Gore Vidal, al-Qaeda, George W. Bush
          

November 5, 2002: British Whistleblower Convicted, Serves Short Sentence

      
David Shayler.
David Shayler, a member of the British intelligence agency MI5, is convicted of divulging British intelligence secrets. Shayler claims that British intelligence paid an al-Qaeda agent to assassinate Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in 1996 (see 1996). Under strict secrecy laws, the British press is not allowed to report Shayler's claims. The press is not even allowed to report that the government won a gag order on the press. [Age, 10/10/02] Shayler is not allowed to argue that he acted in the public interest by releasing the information, and the veracity of his claims is not challenged in court. [Guardian, 11/6/02 (B)] Shayler is sentenced to six months in prison, but only serves seven weeks, then is released on parole. [BBC, 12/23/02]
People and organizations involved: Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, al-Qaeda, David Shayler
          

November 12, 2002: New Bin Laden Recording Could Be a Forgery

       A new audio tape purportedly made by bin Laden, in which he praises recent attacks in Bali, Kuwait, Yemen and Moscow, is broadcast by Al Jazeera. [BBC, 11/13/02; BBC, 11/18/02] US officials believe the voice is “almost certainly” bin Laden, but the Dalle Molle Institute for Perceptual Artificial Intelligence in Switzerland, one of the world's leading voice-recognition institutes, is 95 percent certain the tape is a forgery. [BBC, 11/18/02; BBC, 11/29/02; Toronto Star, 12/16/02] Two weeks later, a British newspaper publishes the complete text of a “letter to the American people,” purportedly written by bin Laden. [Observer, 11/25/02] However, “diplomats [are] skeptical about the authenticity of the document.” [Guardian, 10/15/02]
People and organizations involved: Dalle Molle Institute, Osama bin Laden
          

November 17, 2002: Toronto Paper Says Bush Did Nothing to Stop 9/11

       A Toronto Star editorial entitled “Pursue the Truth About September 11” strongly criticizes the government and media regarding 9/11: “Getting the truth about 9/11 has seemed impossible. The evasions, the obfuscations, the contradictions and, let's not put too fine a point on it, the lies have been overwhelming. ... The questions are endless. But most are not being asked—still—by most of the media most of the time. ... There are many people, and more by the minute, persuaded that, if the Bushies didn't cause 9/11, they did nothing to stop it.” [Toronto Star, 11/17/02]
          

November 25, 2002: Bush Creates Department of Homeland Security

      
This Homeland Security department logo of an eye peeking through a keyhole was copyrighted but apparently not used.
President Bush signs legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge is promoted to Secretary of Homeland Security. The Department will consolidate nearly 170,000 workers from 22 agencies, including the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, the federal security guards in airports, and the Customs Service. [New York Times, 11/26/02 (C); Los Angeles Times, 11/26/02] However, the FBI and CIA, the two most prominent anti-terrorism agencies, will not be part of Homeland Security. [New York Times, 11/20/02] The department wants to be active by March 1, 2003, but “it's going to take years to integrate all these different entities into an efficient and effective organization.” [New York Times, 11/20/02; Los Angeles Times, 11/26/02] Some 9/11 victims' relatives are angry over sections inserted into the legislation at the last minute. Airport screening companies will be protected from lawsuits filed by family members of 9/11 victims. Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband died in the WTC, says, “We were down there lobbying last week and trying to make the case that this will hurt us, but they did it anyway. It's just a slap in the face to the victims.” [New York Times, 11/26/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Tom Ridge, Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service, US Coast Guard, George W. Bush, US Customs Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Kristen Breitweiser, Relatives of September 11 Victims, Central Intelligence Agency
          

November 28, 2002: Al-Qaeda Stages Attacks in Kenya

      
Destruction at the Paradise Hotel, Mombasa, Kenya.
Three suicide bombers detonate their explosives outside a resort hotel in Mombasa, Kenya. Militants also fire shoulder-launched missiles unsuccessfully at a passenger jet. [New York Times, 11/30/02] The death toll reaches 16. [CNN, 12/1/02 (B)] Al-Qaeda purportedly claims responsibility a few days later. [CNN, 12/2/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda
          

December 12, 2002: Most Detainees After 9/11 Released

       The vast majority of the more than 900 people the federal government acknowledges detaining after the 9/11 attacks have been deported, released or convicted of minor crimes unrelated to terrorism, according to government documents. An undisclosed number—most likely in the dozens—are or were held as material witnesses. The Justice Department reports that only six of the 765 people arrested for immigration violations are still held by the INS. An additional 134 people were charged with criminal offenses, with 99 found guilty through pleas or trials. [Chicago Sun-Times, 12/12/02; Washington Post, 12/12/02] Newsweek reports that of the “more than 800 people” rounded up since 9/11, “only 10 have been linked in any way to the hijackings” and “probably will turn out to be innocent.” [Newsweek, 10/29/02]
People and organizations involved: Immigration and Naturalization Service, US Department of Justice
          

January 10, 2003: Government Employees Responsible for 9/11 Failures Are Promoted

       FBI Director Mueller personally awards Marion (Spike) Bowman with a presidential citation and cash bonus of approximately 25 percent of his salary. [Salon, 3/3/03 (B)] Bowman, head of the FBI's National Security Law Unit and the person who refused to seek a special warrant for a search of Zacarias Moussaoui's belongings before the 9/11 attacks, is among nine recipients of bureau awards for “exceptional performance.” The award comes shortly after a 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report saying Bowman's unit gave Minneapolis FBI agents “inexcusably confused and inaccurate information” that was “patently false.” [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 12/22/02] Bowman's unit also blocked an urgent request by FBI agents to begin searching for Khalid Almihdhar after his name was put on a watch list. In early 2000, the FBI acknowledged serious blunders in surveillance Bowman's unit conducted during sensitive terrorism and espionage investigations, including agents who illegally videotaped suspects, intercepted e-mails without court permission, and recorded the wrong phone conversations. [Associated Press, 1/10/03] As Senator Charles Grassley (R) and others have pointed out, not only has no one in government been fired or punished for 9/11, but several others have been promoted:
Pasquale D'Amuro, the FBI's counterterrorism chief in New York City before 9/11, is promoted to the bureau's top counterterrorism post. [Time, 12/30/02]

FBI Supervisory special agent Michael Maltbie, who removed information from the Minnesota FBI's application to get the search warrant for Moussaoui, is promoted to field supervisor. [Salon, 3/3/03 (B)]

David Frasca, head of the FBI's Radical Fundamentalist Unit, is “still at headquarters,” Grassley notes. [Salon, 3/3/03 (B)]
Frasca received the Phoenix memo warning al-Qaeda terrorists could use flight schools inside the US, and then a few weeks later he received the request for Moussaoui's search warrant. “The Phoenix memo was buried; the Moussaoui warrant request was denied.” [Time, 5/27/02] Even after 9/11, Frasca continued to “[throw] up roadblocks” in the Moussaoui case. [New York Times, 5/27/02]
President Bush later names Barbara Bodine the director of Central Iraq shortly after the US conquest of Iraq. Many in government are upset about the appointment because of her blocking of the USS Cole investigation, which some say could have uncovered the 9/11 plot. She failed to admit she was wrong or apologize. [Washington Times, 4/10/03]
However, she is fired after about a month, apparently for doing a poor job.
An FBI official who tolerates penetration of the translation department by Turkish spies and encourages slow translations just after 9/11 is promoted (see March 22, 2002). [CBS News, 10/25/02]
The CIA has promoted two unnamed top leaders of its unit responsible for tracking al-Qaeda in 2000 even though the unit mistakenly failed to put the two suspected terrorists on the watch list (see August 23, 2001). “The leaders were promoted even though some people in the intelligence community and in Congress say the counterterrorism unit they ran bore some responsibility for waiting until August 2001 to put the suspect pair on the interagency watch list.” CIA Director Tenet has failed to fulfill a promise given to Congress in late 2002 that he would name the CIA officials responsible for 9/11 failures. [New York Times, 5/15/03]
People and organizations involved: Pasquale D'Amuro, Michael Maltbie, David Frasca, Khalid Almihdhar, Charles Grassley, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Barbara Bodine, Central Intelligence Agency, George W. Bush, Marion ("Spike") Bowman, Robert S. Mueller III
          

January 13, 2003: British Paper Criticizes US Media for Insufficiently Informing Public

       The Guardian reports on the state of journalism in the US: “The worldwide turmoil caused by President Bush's policies goes not exactly unreported, but entirely de-emphasized. Guardian writers are inundated by e-mails from Americans asking plaintively why their own papers never print what is in these columns... If there is a Watergate scandal lurking in [the Bush] administration, it is unlikely to be Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward or his colleagues who will tell us about it. If it emerges, it will probably come out on the web. That is a devastating indictment of the state of American newspapers.” [Guardian, 1/13/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Bob Woodward
          

January 15, 2003: US Has Gone Mad, Says Novelist

       Famous spy novelist John le Carré, in an essay entitled, “The United States of America Has Gone Mad,” says “The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded.” He also comments, “How Bush and his junta succeeded in deflecting America's anger from bin Laden to Saddam Hussein is one of the great public relations conjuring tricks of history.” [Times of London, 1/15/03]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Bush administration, John le Carre
          

March 3, 2003: Bush's Efforts in Fighting Terrorism Since 9/11 Are Called an ‘Abysmal Failure’

       An article in the New Republic claims that “President Bush has repeatedly stifled efforts to strengthen domestic safeguards against further terrorist attacks. As a consequence, homeland security remains perilously deficient.” The article cites numerous examples to support this contention, and comments: “Bush's record on homeland security ought to be considered a scandal. Yet, not only is it not a scandal, it's not even a story, having largely failed to register with the public, the media, or even the political elite.” It points out numerous examples where the administration has opposed the spending of more money to protect against an attack and argues: “The White House appears to grasp that Bush's standing on national security issues, especially after September 11, is so unassailable that he does not need to shore it up. Instead, the administration seems to view his wartime popularity as a massive bank of political capital from which they can withdraw and spend on other, unrelated causes. In the short run, this strategy is a political boon for Bush and his party. But, in the long run, it divides and weakens the nation against its external threats.” [New Republic, 3/3/03] Here are some of the examples of evidence supporting this article's arguments pointed out in this and subsequent articles:
Airports are said to be unacceptably vulnerable to terrorism. [Associated Press, 6/8/04]

Terrorist watch lists remain unconsolidated. [UPI, 4/30/03]

Basic background checks on air security personnel remain undone. [Time, 7/8/03]

The Treasury Department has assigned five times as many agents to investigate Cuban embargo violations as it has to track al-Qaeda's finances. [Associated Press, 4/30/04]

The White House has spurned a request for 80 more investigators to track and disrupt the global financial networks of US-designated terrorist groups. [New York Times, 4/4/04 (F)]

Cases involving “international terrorism” have been fizzling out in US courts. [Los Angeles Times, 12/9/03]

Experts have concluded that the Iraq War has diverted resources from the war on terrorism and made the US less secure. [Salon, 7/31/03; MSNBC, 7/29/03]

Investigations have shown that most chemical plants across the US remain dangerously vulnerable to a guerilla-style attack. Some plants have virtually no security at all, often not even locked gates. Explosions at some of these plants could kill more than a million people. Yet the Bush administration has so far successfully opposed strengthening security regulations, apparently at the behest of chemical industry lobbyists. [New Jersey Star-Ledger, 1/28/05; New Republic, 3/3/03]

There has been a huge increase in government spending to train and respond to terrorist attacks, but Time magazine reports that the geographical spread of “funding appears to be almost inversely proportional to risk.” [Time, 3/21/04]

Several high-profile studies have concluded that despite its frequent “bear any burden” rhetoric, the Bush administration has grossly underfunded domestic security. [New York Times, 7/25/03; New Republic, 3/3/03]

Community-based “first responders” lack basic equipment, including protective clothing and radios. [New York Times, 7/25/03; New Republic, 3/3/03]

Spending on computer upgrades, airport security, more customs agents, port security, border controls, chemical plant security, bioweapon vaccinations, and much more, is far below needed levels and often below Promised levels. [New Republic, 3/3/03]

People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Central Intelligence Agency, Bush administration, al-Qaeda, US Department of the Treasury
          

March 28, 2003: Al-Qaeda Supporter Now In Charge of Security of Nation Closely Allied with US

       The Los Angeles Times reports that, ironically, the man in charge of security for the nation where the US bases its headquarters for the Iraq war is a supporter of al-Qaeda. Sheik Abdullah bin Khalid al-Thani is the Interior Minister of Qatar. US Central Command and thousands of US troops are stationed in that country. In 1996, al-Thani was Religious Minister and he apparently let 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed live on his farm (see January-May 1996). Mohammed was tipped off that the US was after him. Some US officials believe al-Thani was the one who helped Mohammed escape, just as he had assisted other al-Qaeda leaders on other occasions. [Los Angeles Times, 3/28/03] Al-Thani sheltered Mohammed on other occasions as well, and even helped shelter him for two weeks after 9/11. [New York Times, 2/6/03] Ahmad Hikmat Shakir, who has ties to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (see February 26, 1993), the Bojinka plot (see January 6, 1995), and also attended the January 2000 al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000), was sheltered by al-Thani's religious ministry in 2000. [Newsweek, 9/30/02] Former counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke says al-Thani “had great sympathy for Osama bin Laden, great sympathy for terrorist groups, was using his personal money and ministry money to transfer to al-Qaeda front groups that were allegedly charities.” However, the US has not attempted to apprehend al-Thani or take any other action against him. [Los Angeles Times, 3/28/03]
People and organizations involved: United States, Ahmad Hikmat Shakir, Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani, Osama bin Laden, Richard A. Clarke, al-Qaeda, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

May 12, 2003: Saudi Arabia Bombing Changes Saudi Stance Toward al-Qaeda

       Saudi Arabia is attacked by three suicide bombings in the capital of Riyadh. At least 34 people are killed. The Saudi royal family had taken very little action against al-Qaeda prior to this. However, it appears to more aggressively combat al-Qaeda afterward. [Los Angeles Times, 6/20/04]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Saudi Arabia
          

July 2003: Former German Government Minister Releases Book Alleging US Government Complicity in 9/11

       Andreas von Bulow, a former German government minister, releases a book called “Die CIA und der 11. September” (The CIA and September 11), in which he alleges US government complicity in 9/11. Von Bulow was Federal Minister of Research and Technology under Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, and before that was high up in Germany's Ministry of Defense. [Der Spiegel, 9/8/03] He argues that 9/11 was a covert operation in which the CIA and the Israeli Mossad played a role. He suggests remote control could have been used to direct the hijacked planes into their targets; that the WTC towers collapsed due to explosives; that no planes crashed into the Pentagon or in Pennsylvania; and that the CIA had faked mobile phone calls from Flight 93 passengers. [Daily Telegraph, 11/20/03; Frankfurter Algemaine Zeitung, 9/5/03; New York Times, 10/1/03] Von Bulow tells the Daily Telegraph, “If what I say is right, the whole US government should end up behind bars.” The book is a bestseller in Germany, selling over 100,000 copies. [Daily Telegraph, 11/20/03] He previewed some of his theories in a January 2002 interview (see January 13, 2002). [Daily Telegraph, 11/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Pentagon, World Trade Center, Central Intelligence Agency, Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks, United States, Andreas von Bulow
          

July 23, 2003: Survey Finds Fifth of Germans Believe US Government Behind 9/11

       The German weekly newspaper Die Zeit publishes a survey by the respected organization Forsa which finds that 19 percent of Germans believe the US government, or elements within it, were behind the 9/11 attacks. 31 percent of those under 30 are found to believe this. [Reuters, 7/23/03; Frankfurter Algemaine Zeitung, 9/5/03; Daily Telegraph, 11/20/03] Several popular books are on the market in Germany, questioning who was behind 9/11. [Wall Street Journal, 9/29/03; New York Times, 10/1/03] In response, the newsmagazine Der Spiegel runs a major cover story rebutting some of the theories proposed in these books. [Der Spiegel, 9/8/03] A senior German government official dismisses the poll result, saying:“There's a group of people in every country who will believe any nonsense.” [New York Times, 10/1/03] In June 2005, a popular German crime show on German state television (ARD) will air an episode involving the premise that the Bush administration ordered the 9/11 attacks. [Washington Times, 6/9/05]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit
          

August 12, 2003: Hambali Arrested

       Hambali (real name Riduan Isamuddin) is arrested in Thailand in a joint US-Thai operation. He has been considered the operational leader of al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia. He was involved in the Bojinka plot in 1995, attended the January 2000 al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000), and was said to be involved in the 2002 bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia,(see October 12, 2002), the 2003 bombing of a Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, and other similar acts. He is taken into US custody and is said to have quickly and fully cooperated with his captors. [Chicago Tribune, 12/7/03]
People and organizations involved: United States, Thailand, Nurjaman Riduan Isamuddin
          

September 6, 2003: British Cabinet Minister Hints US Government Knew of 9/11 in Advance

      
Michael Meacher.
British government minister Michael Meacher publishes an essay entitled, “The War on Terrorism is Bogus.” Meacher is a long time British Member of Parliament, and served as Environmental Minister for six years until three months before releasing this essay. The Guardian, which publishes the essay, states that Meacher claims “the war on terrorism is a smoke screen and that the US knew in advance about the September 11 attack on New York but, for strategic reasons, chose not to act on the warnings. He says the US goal is ‘world hegemony, built around securing by force command over the oil supplies’ and that this Pax Americana ‘provides a much better explanation of what actually happened before, during and after 9/11 than the global war on terrorism thesis.’ Mr. Meacher adds that the US has made ‘no serious attempt’ to catch the al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.” [Guardian, 9/6/03] Meacher provides no personal anecdotes based on his years in Tony Blair's cabinet, but he cites numerous mainstream media accounts to support his thesis. He emphasizes the Project for the New American Century 2000 report (see September 2000) as a “blueprint” for a mythical “global war on terrorism,” “propagated to pave the way for a wholly different agenda—the US goal of world hegemony, built around securing by force command over the oil supplies” in Afghanistan and Iraq. [Guardian, 9/6/03 (B)] Meacher's stand causes a controversial debate in Britain, but the story is almost completely ignored by the mainstream US media.
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Michael Meacher, Osama bin Laden
          

September 12, 2003: Bush Administration Is Sued for Having Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks

      
Ellen Mariani.
9/11 victim's relative Ellen Mariani sues the US government, claiming that certain officials had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. “I'm 100 percent sure that they knew,” she says. In doing so, she is ineligible for government compensation from what she calls the “shut-up and go-away fund.” She believes she would have received around $500,000. According to a statement by her lawyer, her lawsuit against President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the CIA, Defense Department, and other administration members “is based upon prior knowledge of 9/11; knowingly failing to act, prevent or warn of 9/11; and the ongoing obstruction of justice by covering up the truth of 9/11; all in violation of the laws of the United States.” As the Toronto Star points out, this interesting story has been “buried” by the mainstream media, at least initially. Coverage has been limited mostly to Philadelphia where the case was filed and New Hampshire where Mariani lives. [Al Jazeera, 12/9/03; Toronto Star, 11/30/03; Village Voice, 12/3/03; Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/3/03; Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/23/03; Associated Press, 12/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Ellen Mariani, Central Intelligence Agency, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush, United States, US Department of Defense
          

December 14, 2003: Bush Has Difficulty Answering Question About 9/11 Foreknowledge

       During a press conference, Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon asks President Bush, “I know you said there will be a time for politics, but you've also said you wanted a change in tone in Washington. Howard Dean recently seemed to muse aloud whether you had advanced knowledge of 9/11. Do you agree or disagree with the RNC that this kind of rhetoric borders on political hate speech?” Bush stammers and pauses with his reply: “Look, there's time for politics. ... And, you know ... there's a time for politics. ... And ... it's an absurd insinuation.” [CNN (video), 12/14/03; Dallas Morning News, 12/15/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Bill Sammon
          

December 22, 2003: Most 9/11 Victims' Families Accept Settlement, While Some Sue

       The deadline arrives for 9/11 victims' relatives to apply for government compensation. [Toronto Star, 12/23/03] By receiving an award from the fund, families give up their right to sue the airlines, airports, security companies, or other US organizations that may be faulted for negligence and inadequate security measures. [CBS News, 3/7/02; USA Today, 7/13/03; Washington Post, 9/10/03] Relatives may still sue “knowing participants in the hijacking conspiracy” without losing compensation. [USA Today, 7/13/03] Ninety-seven per cent of the 2,973 eligible families apply to the fund; compensation averages about $2.1 million per family. However, 70 families decide to forego the fund, and instead sue various government agencies and private companies for alleged negligence. [Guardian 6/16/04; New York Times, 6/16/04] Widow Beverly Eckert explains her decision: “I am suing because unlike other investigative avenues ... my lawsuit requires all testimony be given under oath and fully uses powers to compel evidence. The victims' fund was not created in a spirit of compassion. ... Lawmakers capped the liability of the airlines at the behest of lobbyists who descended on Washington while the September 11 fires still smoldered.” [USA Today, 12/19/03]
People and organizations involved: Relatives of September 11 Victims, Beverly Eckert
          

March 1, 2004: New Pearl Harbor Book Is Released

      
David Ray Griffin.
The book “The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush administration and 9/11,” written by theology professor David Ray Griffin, is released. The Daily Mail calls it “explosive.” Well known historian Howard Zinn calls the book: “the most persuasive argument I have seen for further investigation of the Bush administration's relationship to that historic and troubling event.” The book suggests there is evidence that the Bush administration may have arranged the 9/11 attacks or deliberately allowed them to happen. It questions why no military fighter jets were sent up to intercept the hijacked planes after the terrorists first struck. It also explores the question of whether the Pentagon was really hit by Flight 77, and suggests that explosives could have assisted the collapse of the World Trade Center. [Democracy Now, 5/26/04; Daily Mail, 6/5/04] The book sells well, but is virtually ignored by the mainstream US news media. Those who do report on the book generally deride it. For example, Publishers Weekly states, “Even many Bush opponents will find these charges ridiculous, though conspiracy theorists may be haunted by the suspicion that we know less than we think we do about that fateful day.” [Publishers Weekly, 3/22/04]
People and organizations involved: Pentagon, Bush administration, Howard Zinn, World Trade Center, David Ray Griffin
          

March 11, 2004: Al-Qaeda Bombings in Madrid

      
Multiple bombs destroyed this train in Madrid, Spain.
A series of train bombings in Madrid, Spain, kills approximately 200 people. Basque separatists are initially blamed, but evidence later points to people loosely associated with al-Qaeda. Former counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke says later in the month, “If we catch [bin Laden] this summer, which I expect, it's two years too late. Because during those two years when forces were diverted to Iraq ... al-Qaeda has metamorphosized into a hydra-headed organization with cells that are operating autonomously like the cells that operated in Madrid recently.” [USA Today, 3/28/04]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Clarke, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden
          

April 13, 2004: Bush Explains Genoa Threat Inspired Him to Ask For Famous August 2001 Briefing

       In a news conference, President Bush is asked about the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing entitled “bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” (see August 6, 2001) Bush explains: “I asked for the briefing. And the reason I did is because there had been a lot of threat intelligence from overseas. And part of it had to do with the Genoa G8 conference that I was going to attend. And I asked at that point in time, let's make sure we are paying attention here at home as well. And that's what triggered the report.” Apparently he made this request on July 5, 2001 (see July 5, 2001) (see June 20, 2001). [New York Times, 4/13/04 (D)] The main threat to the late July 2001 Genoa conference, as discussed in numerous articles even before the conference, was an al-Qaeda plot to fly an airplane into the conference building, killing Bush and other world leaders (see Mid-July 2001). But Bush's tacit admission that a plot involving planes as weapons helped inspire the well-known August briefing passes without comment by the mainstream media. However, a professor writes a letter to the editor of Britain's Financial Times noting Bush's remark and commenting, “If President Bush had been sufficiently alarmed by the Italian defenses [against a suicide air attack] in Genoa to request a special report, he must have been able to recognize that, yes, it could happen in the US.” [Financial Times, 4/27/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, al-Qaeda
          

May 2004: Previously Public Information About FBI Whistleblower Is Now Classified

       The Justice Department retroactively classifies information it gave to Congress in 2002 regarding FBI translator Sibel Edmonds. Senator Charles Grassley (R) says, “What the FBI is up to here is ludicrous. To classify something that's already been out in the public domain, what do you accomplish? ... This is about as close to a gag order as you can get.” The New York Times reports that some of the information discussed is “so potentially damaging if released publicly” that it has to be classified. Topics like what languages Edmonds translated, what types of cases she handled, and where she worked is now classified, even though much of this has been widely reported on shows like CBS's 60 Minutes. [New York Times, 5/20/04] In late 2002, the Justice Department invoked the rarely used “state secrets privilege” to limit what she could say. [Salon, 3/26/04]
People and organizations involved: Charles Grassley, Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Department of Justice, Sibel Edmonds
          

May 26, 2004: Majority of Canadians Believe US Government Failed to Act on 9/11 Foreknowledge

       The Toronto Star reports, “A majority of Canadians doubt the line out of Washington. A poll conducted for the non-profit inquiry (http://www.911inquiry.org) this month shows that 63 per cent of [Canadians] believe the US government had ‘prior knowledge of the plans for the events of September 11th, and failed to take appropriate action to stop them.’ ” [Toronto Star, 5/26/04]
          

June 3, 2004: CIA Director George Tenet Resigns

       Citing personal reasons, CIA Director Tenet announces he will be stepping down in the next month. President Bush praises Tenet's service, but there is widespread agreement that significant intelligence failures occurred during Tenet's tenure, most strikingly 9/11 itself. Sources also suggest that Tenet, originally a Clinton appointee, has been made a convenient scapegoat for Bush administration intelligence failures in Iraq and elsewhere. [Independent, 6/4/04; CNN, 6/3/04]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, George Tenet, George W. Bush
          

June 25, 2004: Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 Movie Highlights 9/11 Issues

      
Fahrenheit 9/11 movie poster.
Fahrenheit 9/11, a film by well-known filmmaker and author Michael Moore, is released in the US. Amongst other things, this film reveals connections between the Bush family and prominent Saudis including the bin Laden family. [New York Times, 5/6/04; Toronto Star, 6/13/04; New York Times, 5/17/04] It reviews evidence the White House helped members of Osama bin Laden's family and other Saudis fly out of the US in the days soon after 9/11. [Los Angeles Times, 6/23/04; Newsweek, 6/30/04; New York Times, 5/17/04; New York Times, 6/18/04; Toronto Star, 6/13/04] It introduces to the mainstream damning footage of President Bush continuing with a photo-op for seven minutes (see (9:06 a.m.)) after being told of the second plane hitting the WTC on 9/11. [New York Times, 6/18/04; Washington Post, 6/19/04; Newsweek, 6/20/04; Los Angeles Times, 6/23/04] Disney refused to let its Miramax division distribute the movie in the United States, supposedly because the film was thought too partisan. [Los Angeles Times, 6/11/04; Guardian, 6/2/04; Agence France-Presse, 6/23/04; New York Times, 5/6/04] The film won the top award at the prestigious Cannes film festival—the first documentary to do so in nearly 50 years. [BBC, 5/24/04; Guardian, 5/24/04; Agence France-Presse, 6/23/04] It is generally very well received, with most US newspapers rating it favorably. [Editor And Publisher, 6/27/04; Agence France-Presse, 6/23/04] The film is an instant hit and is seen by tens of millions. [CNN, 6/28/04; BBC, 6/28/04; CBS News, 6/28/04; Associated Press, 6/27/04] There are some criticisms that it distorts certain facts, such as exaggerating the possible significance of Bush and bin Laden family connections, and gripes about a $1.4 billion number representing the money flowing from Saudi companies to the Bush family. However, the New York Times claims that the public record corroborates the film's main assertions. [New York Times, 6/18/04; Newsweek, 6/30/04; New York Times, 5/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Michael Moore, Bin Laden Family, George W. Bush
          

July 6, 2004: FBI Translator Whistleblower Lawsuit Dismissed

      
Sibel Edmonds in 2004.
Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds has her lawsuit against the Justice Department and FBI dismissed. Edmonds originally sued the FBI in March 2002 (see March 22, 2002) for being fired from her post shortly after revealing shortcomings in the translation department of the FBI. In October 2002, Attorney General Ashcroft asked a judge to throw out Edmonds' lawsuit against the Justice Department. He said he was applying the state secrets privilege in order “to protect the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States” and preserve diplomatic relations with (unspecified) nations. [Associated Press, 10/18/02 (B)] The judge in the case, appointed by George W. Bush, agrees with the government's position, stating “ ... the plaintiff's case must be dismissed, albeit with great consternation, in the interests of national security.” He says he cannot explain his decision in any further detail because the explanation itself would expose classified information. During his deliberation on the case, Judge Reggie Walton met privately on two occasions with the government's defense lawyers, but neither Edmonds nor her lawyer were allowed to attend these discussions. [CNN, 7/7/04; Associated Press, 7/6/04] A government report looking into Edmonds's allegations of wrongdoing in the FBI's translation department is released a few days later, but the FBI classifies the entire document. Not even Edmonds is allowed to see the contents. [Washington Post, 7/9/04]
People and organizations involved: John Ashcroft, Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Department of Justice, Sibel Edmonds
          

August 30, 2004: Half of New Yorkers Believe US Government Deliberately Failed to Act on 9/11 Foreknowledge

       A recently conducted Zogby poll shows that “half (49.3 percent) of New York City residents and 41 percent of New York citizens overall say that some [US] leaders ‘knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act.’ ” Further, despite the recent completion of the 9/11 Commission investigation, 66 percent of New York City residents and 56 percent of New Yorkers want to see another full investigation of the “still unanswered questions” regarding 9/11. [Zogby, 8/30/04] The poll is commissioned by the activist group 911Truth.org and is the first US poll to ask such a question. The Washington Post is the only major US newspaper to mention the poll results, and only mentions them as an aside in a longer article. No New York newspapers mention the results. [Washington Post, 9/1/04]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission
          

September 24, 2004: Porter Goss Sworn in as New CIA Director

       Porter Goss becomes the new CIA Director, replacing George Tenet (John McLaughlin served as interim director for a few months after Tenet's sudden resignation (see June 3, 2004)). Goss was a CIA field agent, then a Republican Representative and co-chair of the 2002 9/11 Congressional Inquiry. [Knight Ridder, 10/25/04] He took part in secret meetings with Pakistani ISI Director Mahmood Ahmed before 9/11 and on the morning of 9/11 itself (see August 28-30, 2001) (see September 11, 2001). Despite some press reports that Mahmood directly ordered money to be sent to hijacker Mohamed Atta, there is virtually no mention of Mahmood or Pakistan in the Inquiry report that Goss co-chaired. Such issues appear to be forgotten by the US press, but the Times of India raises them when his nomination is announced. [Times of India, 8/10/04] During his confirmation hearings he pledged that he will be a nonpartisan CIA director, but he will purge the CIA of all but “true believers” in Bush's policies shortly after becoming director (see November-December 2004). [Knight Ridder, 10/25/04]
People and organizations involved: John E. McLaughlin, Porter J. Goss, George Tenet
          

October 25, 2004: Former President Jimmy Carter Says Bush Exploited 9/11 Attacks

       Former President Jimmy Carter (D) says in an interview, “President Bush has exploited the September 11, 2001, attacks for political gain.” He adds: “I think the basic reason is that our country suffered, in 9/11, a terrible and shocking attack ... and George Bush has been adroit at exploiting that attack and he has elevated himself, in the consciousness of many Americans, to a heroic commander in chief, fighting a global threat against America. He's repeatedly played that card, and to some degree quite successfully.” [Reuters, 10/25/04]
People and organizations involved: James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr., George W. Bush
          

November-December 2004: Political Purge of CIA Follows Presidential Election

       A former CIA officer tells New Yorker reporter Seymour Hersh that, in mid-2004 the White House begins putting pressure on CIA analysts “to see more support for the Administration's political position.” But after Porter Goss becomes the new CIA Director and the November 2004 election passes, a “political purge” of employees who have written papers that dissent with Bush policies begins. One former official notes that only “true believers” remain. [New Yorker, 1/17/05] An anonymous former CIA official tells Newsday, “The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House. Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats.” [Newsday, 11/14/04] Days after the November 2004 Presidential election, Goss circulates an internal memorandum to all CIA employees, telling them their job is to “support the administration and its policies in our work.” [New York Times, 11/17/04] The memo also contains a caveat that they should “let the facts alone speak to the policymaker.” However, an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times calls this mere “lip service,” and says the memo leaves “the impression that in the second Bush administration, the White House will run the CIA. ... Goss has confirmed the worst fears of critics who warned he was too partisan when Bush appointed him...” [Los Angeles Times, 11/21/04] Such new policies inspire more employees to leave. By the time the purge is completed in early 2005, about 20 senior CIA officials will have resigned or retired. Only one member of the leadership team from George Tenet's tenure will remain. [Washington Post, 1/6/05] Newsweek says the “efforts at cleaning house may have only thrown the spy agency into deeper turmoil.” [Newsweek, 2/21/05]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, Central Intelligence Agency, Porter J. Goss
          

November 2, 2004: George W. Bush Reelected

       President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are re-elected to the US presidency for a second term.
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

September 30, 2005: Incoming FDNY Chaplain Resigns After Expressing Doubts About 9/11

       Imam Intikab Habib, who is due to be sworn in as New York City Fire Department's second ever Muslim chaplain, expresses doubts about the official US government story as to who is responsible for the 9/11 attacks. 30-year-old Habib, a native of Guyana who has lived in New York since 2000, tells New York's Newsday, “I as an individual don't know who did the attacks. There are so many conflicting reports about it. I don't believe it was 19 ... hijackers who did those attacks. ” He says, “I've heard professionals say that nowhere ever in history did a steel building come down with fire alone. It takes two or three weeks to demolish a building like that. But it was pulled down in a couple of hours. Was it 19 hijackers who brought it down, or was it a conspiracy?” [Newsday, 9/30/05] After making the comments, and shortly before he is due to be sworn in as chaplain, Habib resigns. Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta tells reporters, “It became clear to him that he would have difficulty functioning as a Fire Department chaplain. And then I understand the head of the Islamic Society of the Fire Department ... told him they were withdrawing their support. ” [Associated Press, 9/30/05; Newsday, 10/1/05]
People and organizations involved: Imam Intikab Habib, Nicholas Scoppetta, Islamic Society
          


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