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Pakistan,ISI,drugs
civil liberties
Saudis, Bush
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Advance info;kind
Afghan war prep
Incompetence
Advance info;time
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Day of 911

Bush on 9/11
Flight AA 11
Flight UA 93
Flight UA 175
Flight AA 77
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Complete 911 Timeline

 
  

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Early 1980

       Osama bin Laden begins providing financial, organizational, and engineering aid for the mujaheddin in Afghanistan, with the advice and support of the Saudi royal family. [New Yorker 11/5/01] Some, including Richard Clarke, counterterrorism “tsar” during the Clinton and Bush Jr. administrations, believe he was hand-picked for the job by Prince Turki al-Faisal, head of Saudi Arabia's secret service. [Sunday Times 8/25/02; New Yorker 11/5/01] The Pakistani ISI wanted a Saudi prince as a public demonstration of the commitment of the Saudi royal family and as a way to ensure royal funds for the anti-Soviet forces. The agency failed to get royalty, but bin Laden, with his family's influential ties, was good enough for the ISI. [Miami Herald 9/24/01] Clarke argues that the Saudis and other Muslim governments use the Afghan war in an attempt to get rid of their own misfits and troublemakers. This multinational force later coalesces into al-Qaeda (see August 11, 1988).
          

Mid-1980s

       Salem bin Laden, Osama's oldest brother, is allegedly involved in the Iran-Contra affair. Quoting a French intelligence report posted by Frontline (see October 1980), The New Yorker reports, “During the nineteen-eighties, when the Reagan Administration secretly arranged for an estimated thirty-four million dollars to be funneled through Saudi Arabia to the Contras, in Nicaragua, Salem bin Laden aided in this cause, according to French intelligence.” [New Yorker 11/5/01; Frontline 2001 (B)]
          

Early 1980

       Osama bin Laden begins providing financial, organizational, and engineering aid for the mujaheddin in Afghanistan, with the advice and support of the Saudi royal family. [New Yorker, 11/5/01] Some believe he was hand-picked for the job by Prince Turki al-Faisal, head of Saudi Arabia's secret service. [Sunday Times, 8/25/02] Bin Laden has been considered a Turki protégé by some biographers. [New Yorker 11/5/01] The Pakistani ISI wanted a Saudi prince as a public demonstration of the commitment of the Saudi royal family and as a way to ensure royal funds for the anti-Soviet forces. The agency failed to get royalty, but bin Laden, with his family's influential ties, was good enough for the ISI. [Miami Herald 9/24/01]
          

October 1980

      
Salem bin Laden with baby in 1975.
Salem bin Laden, Osama's oldest brother, is later described by a French secret intelligence report as one of the two closest friends of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd. As such, he often performs important missions for Saudi Arabia. The French report speculates that he is involved in secret Paris meetings between US and Iranian emissaries this month. Frontline, which published the French report, notes that such meetings have never been confirmed. Rumors of these meetings have been called the “October Surprise” and some have speculated Bush Sr. negotiated in these meetings a delay to the release of the US hostages in Iran, thus helping Ronald Reagan and Bush win the 1980 Presidential election. All of this is highly speculative, but if the French report is correct, it points to a long-standing connection of highly illegal behavior between the Bush and bin Laden families (see also Mid-1980s and 1988). [PBS Frontline 2001 (B)]
          

1988

       Prior to this year, George Bush Jr. is a failed oil man. Three times friends and investors have bailed him out to keep him from going bankrupt. But in this year, the same year his father becomes President, some Saudis buy a portion of his small company, Harken, which has never worked outside of Texas. Later in the year, Harken wins a contract in the Persian Gulf and starts doing well financially. These transactions seem so suspicious that the Wall Street Journal in 1991 states it “raises the question of … an effort to cozy up to a presidential son.” Two major investors in Bush's company during this time are Salem bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's oldest brother, and Khaled bin Mahfouz. [Salon, 11/19/01, Intelligence Newsletter, 3/2/00] Khaled bin Mahfouz is a Saudi banker with a 20 percent stake in BCCI, a bank that will go bankrupt a few years later in the biggest corruption scandal in banking history (see July 5, 1991).
          

April 1991

       Bin Laden, recently returned to Saudi Arabia (), is placed under house arrest for his opposition to the continued placing of US soldiers on Saudi soil (see August 1990-March 1991and March 1991). [Frontline 9/01] Controversial author Gerald Posner claims that a still classified US intelligence report describes a secret deal between bin Laden and Saudi intelligence minister Prince Turki al-Faisal at this time. Although bin Laden has suddenly turned in an enemy of the Saudi state, he is nonetheless too popular for his role with the mujaheddin in Afghanistan to be easily imprisoned or killed. Bin Laden is allowed to leave Saudi Arabia with his money and supporters, but the Saudi government will publicly disown him. Privately, the Saudis will continue to fund his supporters with the understanding that they will never be used against Saudi Arabia. The wrath of the fundamentalist movement is thus directed away from the vulnerable Saudis. [Why America Slept, by Gerald Posner, 9/03, pp. 40-42] Posner says the Saudis “effectively had [bin Laden] on their payroll since the start of the decade.” [Time, 8/31/03] This deal is reaffirmed in 1996 and 1998 (see 1996 (C), May 1996, June 1996 (B), and July 1998). Bin Laden first returns to Afghanistan. But after staying there a few months, he moves again, settling into Sudan with hundreds of ex-Mujaheddin supporters. [Frontline 9/01]
          

June 4, 1992

       It is reported that the FBI is investigating the connections between James Bath and George Bush Jr. Bath is Salem bin Laden's official representative in the US. “Documents indicate that the Saudis were using Bath and their huge financial resources to influence US policy,” since Bush Jr.'s father is president. Bush denies any connections to Saudi money. What became of this investigation is unclear. [Houston Chronicle 6/4/92]
          

1994

       Mohammed al-Khilewi, the First Secretary at the Saudi Mission to the United Nations, defects and seeks political asylum in the US. He brings with him 14,000 internal government documents depicting the Saudi royal family's corruption, human-rights abuses, and financial support for terrorists. He meets with two FBI agents and an Assistant US Attorney. “We gave them a sampling of the documents and put them on the table,” says his lawyer, “but the agents refused to accept them.” [New Yorker, 10/16/01] The documents include “details of the $7 billion the Saudis gave to [Iraq leader] Saddam Hussein for his nuclear program—the first attempt to build an Islamic Bomb.” But FBI agents were “ordered not to accept evidence of Saudi criminal activity, even on US soil.” [Best Democracy Money Can Buy]
          

August 1994

       A Saudi named Omar al-Bayoumi arrives in San Diego. He will later become well known for his suspicious connections to both some 9/11 hijackers and the Saudi government (see December 4, 1999, Early February 2000, and November 22, 2002). Acquaintances in San Diego long suspect he is a Saudi government spy, reporting on the activities of Saudi-born college students. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/14/02, Newsweek, 11/22/02, San Diego Magazine, 9/03] Says one witness, “He was always watching [young Saudi college students], always checking up on them, literally following them around and then apparently reporting their activities back to Saudi Arabia.” [Newsweek, 11/24/02] Just prior to moving to the US, he worked for the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation, headed by Prince Sultan (see August 2001 (G), August 31, 2001, and August 15, 2002). His salary in this job is approved by Hamid al-Rashid, a Saudi government official whose son Saud al-Rashid is strongly suspected of al-Qaeda ties (see August 15, 2002 (E)). [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Once in San Diego, al-Bayoumi tells people that he's a student, or a pilot, and even claims to be receiving monthly payments from “family in India” (despite being Saudi). But these explanations didn't seem credible and he is none of those things. [Sunday Mercury, 10/21/01, Wall Street Journal, 8/11/03] In fact, as he tells some people, he receives a monthly stipend from a Saudi aviation company called Dallah Avco that has extensive ties to the same Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02, Newsweek, 11/24/02] From early 1995 until 2002 he is paid about $3000 a month for a project in Saudi Arabia even though he's living in the US. According the New York Times, Congressional officials believe he is a “ghost employee” doing no actual work. The classified section of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report (see July 24, 2003) notes that his payments increase significantly just after he comes into contact with two hijackers in early 2000. [New York Times, 8/2/03] The FBI is investigating possible ties between Dallah Avco and al-Qaeda. [Newsweek, 10/29/02] The firm's owner, Saudi billionaire Saleh Abdullah Kamel, has denied the accusation. [Newsweek, 7/28/03] Kamel is on a secret United Nations list of terror financiers (see ). According to leaks from the still-classified section of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report, al-Bayoumi also receives a monthly government stipend that increases sharply just after he comes into contact with two hijackers in early 2000 (see Spring 2000 (D)). A few years later, al-Bayoumi gets an additional ghost job (see June 1998 (D)), is investigated by the FBI, and also is saved from losing his Dallah Avco job by the Saudi government (see September 1998-July 1999).
          

1995-2001

       After the Taliban takes control of the area around Kandahar, Afghanistan (see September 1994), prominent Persian Gulf state officials and businessmen, including high-ranking United Arab Emirates and Saudi government ministers, such as Saudi intelligence minister Prince Turki al-Faisal (see July 1998), frequently secretly fly into Kandahar on state and private jets for hunting expeditions (see also February 1999 (D)). [Los Angeles Times, 11/18/01] General Wayne Downing, Bush's former national director for combating terrorism, says: “They would go out and see Osama, spend some time with him, talk with him, you know, live out in the tents, eat the simple food, engage in falconing, some other pursuits, ride horses.” [MSNBC, 9/5/03] While there, some develop ties to the Taliban and al-Qaeda and give them money. Both bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar sometimes participate in these hunting trips. Former US and Afghan officials suspect that the dignitaries' outbound jets may also have smuggled out al-Qaeda and Taliban cargo, just as smuggling was rampant on other airplanes flying out of the country (see Mid-1996-October 2001). [Los Angeles Times 11/18/01]
          

Late 1995

       /> King Fahd of Saudi Arabia suffers a severe stroke. Afterwards, he is able to sit in a chair and open his eyes, but little more. The resulting lack of leadership begins a behind-the-scenes struggle for power and leads to increased corruption. The situation continues to this day. Crown Prince Abdullah has been urging his fellow princes to address the problem of corruption in the kingdom—so far unsuccessfully. A former White House adviser says: “The only reason Fahd's being kept alive is so Abdullah can't become king.” [New Yorker 10/16/01]
          

1996 (C)

       The Saudi Arabian government increases its payments to al-Qaeda first started in 1991 (see April 1991), becoming its largest financial backer. It also gives money to other extremist groups throughout Asia. This money vastly increases al-Qaeda's capabilities. [New Yorker, 10/16/01] Presumably two meetings in early summer bring about the change (see also May 1996and June 1996 (B)). Says one US official, “'96 is the key year… Bin Laden hooked up to all the bad guys—it's like the Grand Alliance—and had a capability for conducting large-scale operations.” The Saudi regime, he says, had “gone to the dark side.” Electronic intercepts by the NSA “depict a regime increasingly corrupt, alienated from the country's religious rank and file, and so weakened and frightened that it has brokered its future by channeling hundreds of millions of dollars in what amounts to protection money to fundamentalist groups that wish to overthrow it.” US officials later privately complain “that the Bush Administration, like the Clinton Administration, is refusing to confront this reality, even in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks.” [New Yorker 10/16/01]
          

May 1996

      
The Hotel Royale Monceau.
French intelligence secretly monitors a meeting of Saudi billionaires at the Hotel Royale Monceau in Paris this month with the financial representative of al-Qaeda. “The Saudis, including a key Saudi prince joined by Muslim and non-Muslim gun traffickers, [meet] to determine who would pay how much to Osama. This [is] not so much an act of support but of protection—a payoff to keep the mad bomber away from Saudi Arabia.” [ Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, 2/03Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, 2/03] Participants also agree that bin Laden should be rewarded for promoting Wahhabism, the Saudi variant of Islam, in Chechnya, Kashmir, Bosnia, and other places. [CBC 10/29/03 (C)] This extends a secret deal first made between the Saudi government and bin Laden in 1991 (see April 1991, and also 1996 (C), June 1996 (B), July 1998). The 9/11 victims' relatives also site the “nonpublished French intelligence report” of this meeting in their lawsuit against important Saudis. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 8/16/02] According to French terrorism expert Jean-Charles Brisard and/or reporter Greg Palast, there are about 20 people at the meeting, including:
  1. Prince Turki al-Faisal, the Saudi Intelligence Minister (who apparently is the unnamed “key Saudi prince” mentioned by Palast). [CBC, 10/29/03 (C)]
  2. Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz. [CBC, 10/29/03 (C)] Representatives of Mahfouz say this is not true and that Mahfouz has never attended any meeting with any representatives of al-Qaeda. Mahfouz has begun libel proceedings against Mr. Brisard, claiming his allegations are unfounded and defamatory. [Kendall Freeman, 5/13/04]
  3. Saudi Sheikh Abdullah Bakhsh. Bakhsh also saved Bush Jr.'s Harken Oil from bankruptcy around 1990. [Santa Fe New Mexican, 3/20/03, Democracy Now, 3/4/03; CBC, 10/29/03 (C)]
  4. The notorious Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi.
    Adnan Khashoggi.
    [Santa Fe New Mexican, 3/20/03, Democracy Now, 3/4/03] In a somewhat tongue-in-cheek manner, Slate has claimed that Khashoggi is a “shadowy international arms merchant” who is “connected to every scandal of the past 40 years.” Amongst other things, he was a major investor in BCCI and a key player in the Iran-Contra affair. [Slate, 12/4/00, Slate, 11/14/01, Slate, 3/12/03]
  5. An unnamed brother of Osama bin Laden. [CBC, 10/29/03 (C)]
  6. An unnamed representative from the Saudi Defense Ministry. [CBC, 10/29/03 (C)]
Palast, noting that the French monitored the meeting, asks, “Since US intelligence was thus likely informed, the question becomes why didn't the government immediately move against the Saudis?” [ Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, 2/03Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, 2/03] An apparent follow-up meeting occurs in 1998 (see July 1998).
          

June 25, 1996

      
Bombing of the Khobar Towers.
Explosions destroy the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American soldiers and wounding 500. [CNN 6/26/96] Saudi officials later interrogate the suspects, declare them guilty, and execute them—without letting the FBI talk to them. [PBS Frontline, 2001, Irish Times, 11/19/01] Saudis blame Hezbollah, the Iranian-influenced group, but US investigators still believe bin Laden was somehow involved. [Seattle Times, 10/29/01] Bin Laden admits instigating the attacks in a 1998 interview. [Miami Herald, 9/24/01] Ironically, the bin Laden family is later awarded the contract to rebuild the installation. [New Yorker 11/5/01] In 1997, Canada catches one of the Khobar Tower attackers and extradites him to the US. But in 1999, he is shipped back to Saudi Arabia before he can reveal what he knows about al-Qaeda and the Saudis. One anonymous insider calls it, “Clinton's parting kiss to the Saudis.” [Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast 2/03] In June 2001, a US grand jury indicts 13 Saudis for the bombing. According to the indictment, Iran and Hezbollah are both involved in the attack. [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03 (B)]
          

September 11, 1996

      
WAMY logo.
An FBI investigation into two relatives of bin Laden, begun in February 1996, is closed. The FBI wanted to learn more about Abdullah bin Laden, “because of his relationship with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth [WAMY]—a suspected terrorist organization.” [Guardian, 11/7/01] Abdullah was the US director of WAMY and lived with his brother Omar in Falls Church, Virginia, a town just outside Washington. The coding on the document, marked secret, indicates the case involved espionage, murder, and national security. WAMY has its offices at 5613 Leesburg Pike. Remarkably, it is later determined that four of the 9/11 hijackers lived at 5913 Leesburg Pike at the same time the two bin Laden brothers were there. WAMY has not been put on a list of terrorist organizations in the US, but it has been banned in Pakistan. [BBC Newsnight, 11/6/01, Guardian, 11/7/01, see related leaked documents here ] The Indian and Philippine governments have also cited WAMY for funding terrorism. “WAMY was involved in terrorist-support activity,” says a security official who served under George W. Bush. “There's no doubt about it.” [Vanity Fair, 10/03] A high-placed intelligence official tells the Guardian: “There were always constraints on investigating the Saudis. There were particular investigations that were effectively killed.”[Guardian, 11/7/01] An unnamed US source says to the BBC, “There is a hidden agenda at the very highest levels of our government.” [BBC Newsnight 11/6/01] The Bosnian government later says a charity with Abdullah bin Laden on its board had channeled money to Chechen guerrillas (see also September 20, 2002 (C)), something that “is only possible because the Clinton CIA gave the wink and nod to WAMY and other groups who were aiding Bosnian guerrillas when they were fighting Serbia, a US-approved enemy.” The investigation into WAMY is only restarted two days after 9/11, around the same time these bin Ladens leave the US (see September 14-19, 2001). [ Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, 2/03Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, 2/03] (Note that this Abdullah bin Laden is possibly bin Laden's cousin, not brother, and is apparently not the same as the Abdullah bin Laden who serves as the bin Laden family spokesman. [Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast 2/03]
          

November 26, 1997

       An industry newsletter reports that Saudi Arabia has abandoned plans to have open bids on a $2 billion power plant near Mecca, deciding that the government will build it instead. What's interesting is that one of the bids was made by a consortium of Enron, the Saudi Binladen Group (run by Osama's family),and Italy's Ansaldo Energia. [Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections 1/22/98]
          

April 1998

       Osama Basnan, a Saudi living in California, later claims that he writes a letter at this time to Saudi Arabian Prince Bandar bin Sultan and his wife, Princess Haifa bint Faisal, asking for financial help because his wife needs thyroid surgery. The Saudi embassy sends Basnan $15,000 and pays the surgical bill. However, University of California at San Diego hospital records say Basnan's wife, Majeda Dweikat, isn't treated until April 2000. [Los Angeles Times 11/24/02] Basnan will later come under investigation for possibly using some of this money to support two of the 9/11 hijackers who arrive in San Diego (see December 4, 1999 and November 22, 2002). Prior to this time, the FBI had several chances to investigate Basnan, but failed to do so. In 1992 they received information suggesting a connection between him and a terror group later associated with bin Laden. In 1993, they received reports that Basnan hosted a party for terrorist leader Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman (see July 1990) the year before, but again they failed to investigate. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] According to one US official, at a party shortly after 9/11, Basnan “celebrate[s] the heroes of September 11” and talks about “what a wonderful, glorious day it had been.” [Newsweek 12/24/02; San Diego Magazine 9/03]
          

Spring 1998

       Sources who know bin Laden later claim that bin Laden's mother has the first of two meetings with her son in Afghanistan. This trip was arranged by Prince Turki al-Faisal, then the head of Saudi intelligence. Turki was in charge of the “Afghanistan file” for Saudi Arabia, and had long-standing ties to bin Laden and the Taliban (see Early 1980). [New Yorker 11/5/01]
          

June 1998 (D)

      
Prince Sultan, the Saudi Minister of Defense and Aviation.
An unknown Saudi benefactor pays a Saudi named Saad Al-Habeeb to buy a building in San Diego, California for a new Kurdish community mosque. However, the approximately $500,000 needed will only be given on the condition that a Saudi named Omar al-Bayoumi be installed as the building's maintenance manager with a private office at the mosque. Al-Bayoumi is later suspected of being both an al-Qaeda advance man and a Saudi agent (see December 4, 1999, Early February 2000, and November 22, 2002). After taking the job, al-Bayoumi rarely shows up for work. [Newsweek, 11/24/02, San Diego Magazine, 9/03] This means he has two jobs at once (see August 1994). The people in the mosque eventually begin a move to replace al-Bayoumi, but he moves to Britain in July 2001 before this can happen. [Newsweek, 11/24/02] An anonymous federal investigator states: “Al-Bayoumi came here, set everything up financially, set up the San Diego [terrorist] cell and set up the mosque.” An international tax attorney notes that anyone handling business for a mosque or a church could set it up as a tax-exempt charitable organization “and it can easily be used for money laundering.” [San Diego Union-Tribune 10/27/01; San Diego Union-Tribune 10/22/02]
          

June 1998

      
Taliban leader Mullah Omar, blind in one eye.
Relations between Taliban head Mullah Omar and bin Laden grow tense, and Omar strikes a secret deal with the Saudis to expel bin Laden. Head of Saudi intelligence Prince Turki al-Faisal travels to Kandahar, Afghanistan and brokers the deal, but before it can be enacted, the US strikes Afghanistan in August, driving Omar and bin Laden back together. Prince Turki states that “the Taliban attitude changed 180 degrees,” and that Omar was “absolutely rude” to him when he visited again in September. [Guardian 11/5/01; London Times 8/3/02] Note that reports of this meeting seemingly contradict reports of a different secret meeting a month later (see July 1998). Was bin Laden charmed by luck, or might the embassy bombings and/or the US missile attacks in response have been timed to help keep him in Afghanistan?
          

July 1998

       According to documents exposed in a later lawsuit, a meeting takes place in Kandahar, Afghanistan, that leads to a secret deal between Saudi Arabia and the Taliban. Those present include Prince Turki al-Faisal, head of Saudi Arabian intelligence (see also Early 1980and Spring 1998), Taliban leaders, senior officers from the ISI, and bin Laden. Saudi Arabia agrees to give the Taliban and Pakistan “several hundred millions” of dollars, and in return bin Laden promises no attacks against Saudi Arabia. The Saudis also agree to ensure that requests for the extradition of al-Qaeda members will be blocked and promise to block demands by other countries that bin Laden's Afghan training camps will be closed down. Saudi Arabia had previously given money to the Taliban and bribe money to bin Laden (see 1996 (C)), but this ups the ante. [Sunday Times, 8/25/02] A few weeks after the meeting, Prince Turki sends 400 new pickup trucks to Afghanistan. At least $200 million follow. [Honolulu Star-Bulletin 9/23/01; New York Post 8/25/02] Controversial author Gerald Posner gives a similar account said to come from high US government officials, and adds that al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida also attends the meeting. Note that reports of this meeting seemingly contradict reports of a meeting the month before between Turki and the Taliban, in which the Taliban agreed to get rid of bin Laden (see June 1998).
          

July 7, 1998

       Thieves snatch a passport from a car driven by a US tourist in Barcelona, Spain. The passport later finds its way into the hands of would-be hijacker Ramzi bin al-Shibh. Bin al-Shibh allegedly uses the name on the passport in the summer of 2001 as he wires money to pay flight school tuition for Zacarias Moussaoui in Oklahoma. Investigators believe the movement of this passport shows connections between the 9/11 plotters in Germany and a support network in Spain, made up mostly by ethnic Syrians. “Investigators believe that the Syrians served as deep-cover mentors, recruiters, financiers and logistics providers for the hijackers—elite backup for an elite attack team” (see also 1998). [Los Angeles Times, 1/14/03] Atta twice travels to Spain, perhaps to make contact with members of this Spanish support team (see January 4, 2001 (B)and July 8-19, 2001).
          

September 1998-July 1999

      
Omar al-Bayoumi
The FBI conducts a counterterrorism inquiry on Omar al-Bayoumi, suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent (see December 4, 1999, Early February 2000, and November 22, 2002). The FBI discovers he has been in contact with several people also under investigation. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The FBI is given a tip that he was sent a suspicious package filled with wire from the Middle East, and that large numbers of Arab men routinely meet in his apartment. His landlord notices that he switches from driving a beat up old car to a new Mercedes. [Newsweek, 7/28/03] According to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, the FBI notes that al-Bayoumi has “access to seemingly unlimited funding from Saudi Arabia.” For instance, an FBI source identifies him as a person who has delivered about $500,000 from Saudi Arabia to buy a mosque (see June 1998 (D)). But the FBI closes the inquiry “for reasons that remain unclear.” [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03] Also in 1999, al-Bayoumi is working as an employee of the Saudi company Dallah Avco but apparently doing no work (see August 1994). Someone in the company tries to fire him and sends a note to the Saudi government about this, since the company is so closely tied to the government. But Mohammed Ahmed al-Salmi, the director general of civil aviation, replies that it is “extremely urgent” his job is renewed “as quickly as possible,” and so he keeps his job. [Wall Street Journal 8/11/03]
          

October 1998 (B)

       Julie Sirrs, a military analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), travels to Afghanistan. Fluent in local languages and knowledgeable about the culture, she had made a previous undercover trip there in October 1997. She was surprised that the CIA wasn't interested in sending in agents after the failed missile attack on bin Laden in August 1998 (see August 20, 1998) so she returns at this time. Traveling undercover, she meets with Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, who is later assassinated by the Taliban (see September 9, 2001). She sees a terrorist training center. Sirrs claims, “The Taliban's brutal regime was being kept in power significantly by bin Laden's money, plus the narcotics trade, while [Massoud's] resistance was surviving on a shoestring. With even a little aid to the Afghan resistance, we could have pushed the Taliban out of power. But there was great reluctance by the State Department and the CIA to undertake that.” She partly blames the interest of the US government and the oil company Unocal to see the Taliban achieve political stability so a pipeline could be built across the company. She claims, “Massoud told me he had proof that Unocal had provided money that helped the Taliban take Kabul.” She also states, “The State Department didn't want to have anything to do with Afghan resistance, or even, politically, to reveal that there was any viable option to the Taliban.” After two weeks she returns with a treasure trove of maps, photographs, and interviews. [New York Observer 3/11/04; ABC News 2/18/02] By interviewing captured al-Qaeda operatives she learns that the official Afghanistan airline, Ariania Airlines, is being used to ferry weapons and drugs, and also learns that bin Laden goes hunting with “rich Saudis and top Taliban officials.” [Los Angeles Times 11/18/01 (B)] When she returns her material is confiscated and she is accused of being a spy. Says one senior colleague, “She had gotten the proper clearances to go, and she came back with valuable information,” but high level officials “were so intent on getting rid of her, the last thing they wanted to pay attention to was any information she had.” She is cleared of wrongdoing, but her security clearance is pulled. She eventually quits the DIA in frustration. [New York Observer 3/11/04; ABC News 2/18/02] She claims that the US intelligence on bin Laden and the Taliban relied too heavily on the ISI for its information. [ABC News 2/18/02 (B)]
          

October 1998

      
FBI agents Vincent (left) and Wright (right)
FBI agents Robert Wright and John Vincent are tracking a terrorist cell in Chicago, but are told to simply follow suspects around town and file reports. The two agents believe some of the money used to finance the 1998 US embassy bombings (see August 7, 1998) leads back to Chicago and Saudi multimillionaire businessman Yassin al-Qadi (see also March 21, 2000, Late January 2001, October 12, 2001, August 15, 2002, August 25, 2002, , and December 5, 2002). Supervisors try, but temporarily fail, to halt the investigation into al-Qadi's possible terrorist connections. However, at this time, a supervisor prohibits Wright and Vincent from making any arrests connected to the bombings, or opening new criminal investigations. Even though they believe their case is growing stronger, in January 2001 Wright is told that the Chicago case is being closed and that “it's just better to let sleeping dogs lie”(see Late January 2001). Wright tells ABC: “Those dogs weren't sleeping, they were training, they were getting ready. … September the 11th is a direct result of the incompetence of the FBI's International Terrorism Unit. … Absolutely no doubt about that.” Chicago federal prosecutor Mark Flessner, also working on the case, says there “were powers bigger than I was in the Justice Department and within the FBI that simply were not going to let [the building of a criminal case] happen.” Wright will write an internal FBI memo slamming the FBI in June 2001 (see June 9, 2001, and also May 30, 2002and August 9, 2002 (C)). Al-Qadi is named in a March 2000 affidavit as a source of terrorist funds in Chicago. [ABC, 11/26/02, ABC, 12/19/02, ABC, 12/19/02 (B)] He is also on secret US and UN lists of major al-Qaeda financiers (see ). His charity, the Muwafaq Foundation, is allegedly an al-Qaeda front which transferred $820,000 to the Palestinian group Hamas through a Muslim foundation called the Quranic Literacy Institute; the date of the transfer has not been released. [CNN, 10/15/01 (B)] Al-Qadi says he shut down Muwafaq in 1996, but the charity has received money from the United Nations since then. [BBC 10/20/01; CNN 10/15/01 (B)]
          

November 1998 (B)

       Former President George Bush Sr. meets with the bin Laden family on behalf of the Carlyle Group. The meeting takes place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This is one of two known meetings (see January 2000). [Sunday Herald 10/7/01]
          

Late 1998 (F)

       The failed August 1998 US missile attack against bin Laden (see ) greatly elevates bin Laden's stature in the Muslim world. A US defense analyst later states, “I think that raid really helped elevate bin Laden's reputation in a big way, building him up in the Muslim world…. My sense is that because the attack was so limited and incompetent, we turned this guy into a folk hero.” [Washington Post 10/3/01 (C)] An Asia Times article published just prior to 9/11 suggests that because of the failed attack, “a very strong Muslim lobby emerge[s] to protect [bin Laden's] interests. This includes Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, as well as senior Pakistani generals. Prince Abdullah has good relations with bin Laden as both are disciples of slain Doctor Abdullah Azzam.” [Asia Times 8/22/01] In early 1999, Pakistani President Musharraf complains that by demonizing bin Laden, the US has turned him into a cult figure and hero. The US decides to play down the importance of bin Laden. [UPI 6/14/01]
          

Late 1998 (C)

       FBI counter-terrorism expert John O'Neill and his team investigating the 1998 embassy bombings are repeatedly frustrated by the Saudi government. Guillaume Dasquié, one of the authors of Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth, later tells the Village Voice: “We uncovered incredible things… Investigators would arrive to find that key witnesses they were about to interrogate had been beheaded the day before.” [Village Voice 1/2/02; Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth]
          

Mid-June 1999

       Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, plus would-be hijacker Ramzi Bin al-Shibh and associate Mounir El Motassadeq, hold a meeting in Amsterdam, Netherlands. All are living in Hamburg at the time, so it's not clear why they go to meet there, though it's speculated they are meeting someone. Motassadeq also goes to the town of Eindhoven, Netherlands, on three occasions, in early 1999, late 1999 and 2001. [AP 9/13/02] On at least one occasion, Motassadeq receives cash provided by unnamed “Saudi financiers” that is meant to fund a new Eindhoven mosque. Investigators believe he uses the money to help pay for some 9/11 hijacker flying lessons. [Baltimore Sun, 9/2/02] Alshehhi also flies to Amsterdam from the US in the summer of 2001, but it isn't known why (see April 18, 2001).
          

June 1999

       Enron announces an agreement to build a $140 million power plant in the Gaza Strip. One of the major financiers for the project comes from the Saudi Binladin Group, a company owned by Osama's family. This is the second attempted project between these two companies. 90% complete, the construction is halted because of Palestinian-Israeli violence and then Enron's bankruptcy. [Washington Post 3/2/02]
          

October 1999 (C)

       Worried about intercepts showing a growing likelihood of al-Qaeda attacks around the millennium (see December 31, 1999-January 1, 2000), the CIA steps up ties with Ahmed Shah Massoud, leader of the Northern Alliance fighting the Taliban. The CIA sends a team of agents to his headquarters in a remote part of northern Afghanistan, asking for his help to capture or kill bin Laden. Massoud complains that the US is too focused on bin Laden, and isn't interested in the root problems of Taliban, Saudi and Pakistani support for terrorism that is propping him up. He agrees to help nonetheless, and the CIA gives him more aid in return. But the US is officially neutral in the Afghan civil war and the agents are prohibited from giving any aid that would “fundamentally alter the Afghan battlefield.” [Washington Post 2/23/04] DIA agent Julie Sirrs (see October 1998 (B)), newly retired, is at Massoud's headquarters at the same time as the CIA team. She gathers valuable intelligence from captured al-Qaeda soldiers while the CIA agents stay in their guesthouse. She publishes much of what she learned on this trip and other trips in the summer of 2001. [Washington Post 2/28/04]
          

December 4, 1999

      
Prince Bandar (Pictures of his wife, Osama Basnan and Omar al-Bayoumi are not available)
Princess Haifa bint Faisal, the wife of Prince Bandar, the Saudi Ambassador to the US, begins sending monthly cashier's checks of between $2,000 and $3,500 (accounts differ) to Majeda Dweikat, the Jordanian wife of Osama Basnan, a Saudi living in San Diego (see April 1998). Accounts also differ over when the checks were first sent (between November 1999 and about March 2000; a Saudi government spokesman has stated December 4 [Fox News, 11/23/02]). Basnan's wife signs many of the checks over to her friend Manal Bajadr, the wife of Omar al-Bayoumi. [Washington Times, 11/26/02, Newsweek, 11/22/02, Newsweek, 11/24/02, Guardian, 11/25/02] Al-Bayoumi is a suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent. Some later suggest that the money from the wife of the Saudi ambassador passes through the al-Bayoumi and Basnan families as intermediaries and ends up in the hands of the two hijackers (see November 22, 2002). The payments from Princess Haifa continue until May 2002 and may total $51,000, or as much as $73,000. [Newsweek 11/22/02; MSNBC 11/27/02] While living in the San Diego area, al-Bayoumi and Basnan are heavily involved in relocating and offering financial support to Saudi immigrants in the community (see also August 1994 and June 1998 (D)). [Los Angeles Times 11/24/02] In late 2002, Al-Bayoumi claims he did not pass any money along to the hijackers. [Washington Times, 12/04/02] Basnan is also described as an al-Qaeda sympathizer who called 9/11 “a wonderful, glorious day.” [Newsweek, 11/22/02] Basnan has variously claimed to know al-Bayoumi, not know him at all, or to know him only vaguely. [Arab News, 11/26/02, ABC, 11/26/02, ABC, 11/25/02, MSNBC, 11/27/02] But earlier reports say Basnan and his wife were “very good friends” of al-Bayoumi and his wife. Both couples lived at the Parkwood Apartments at the same time as the two hijackers; prior to that, the couples lived together in a different apartment complex. Also, the two wives were arrested for shoplifting together in April 2001. [San Diego Union-Tribune 10/22/02]
          

2000-September 10, 2001

       The names of four hijackers are later discovered in Philippines immigration records, according to Philippine Immigration Commissioner Andrea Domingo. However, it hasn't been confirmed if these are the hijackers, or just other Saudis with the same names. Abdulaziz Alomari visits the Philippines once in 2000, then again in February 2001, leaving on February 12. [AP, 9/19/01, Telegraph, 9/20/01, Philippines Daily Inquirer, 9/19/01] Ahmed Alghamdi visits Manila, Philippines more than 13 times in the two years before 9/11. He leaves the Philippines the day before the attacks. [Arizona Daily Star, 9/28/01, Telegraph, 9/20/01] Fayez Ahmed Banihammad visits the Philippines on October 17-19, 2000. [Arizona Daily Star, 9/28/01, Telegraph, 9/20/01] Saeed Alghamdi visits the Philippines on at least 15 occasions in 2001, entering as a tourist. The last visit ends on August 6, 2001. [Telegraph, 9/20/01] Hijackers Atta and Marwan Alshehhi may also have been living in the Philippines (see 1998-2000), and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed occasionally stays there (see Early 1994-January 1995). When in the Philippines, it is possible the hijackers meet with associates of Mohammad Jamal Khalifa, bin Laden's brother-in-law. Khalifa has been closely linked with the Philippines chapter of the International Islamic Relief Organization, which gets much of its money from the Saudi Arabian government and has lately been accused of being a front for al-Qaeda. Amongst other connections to terrorism, Khalifa helped fund the Islamic Army of Aden, a group that claimed responsibility for the bombing of the USS Cole. [Boston Herald, 10/14/01] Khalifa has been connected through phone calls to Hambali, a major terrorist who attended a planning meeting for the 9/11 attacks in Malaysia, also attended by two hijackers connected to the Islamic Army of Aden (see January 5-8, 2000). [PBS Frontline, 10/3/02 (C), Cox News, 10/21/01] The US had Khalifa in custody for about six months in 1995 (see December 14, 1994). Nothing more has been heard to confirm or deny the hijackers' Philippines connections since these initial reports—are they being downplayed to hide embarrassing connections between the hijackers, bin Laden's family, and the Saudi government?
          

January 2000

      
Ex-President Bush Sr. meeting in Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Carlyle Group.
Former President George Bush Sr. meets with the bin Laden family on behalf of the Carlyle Group. He had also met with them in 1998 (see November 1998 (B)), but it's not known if he met with them after this. Bush denied this meeting took place until a thank you note was found confirming it. [Wall Street Journal, 9/27/01, Guardian, 10/31/01] [FTW]
          

January 15-early February, 2000

       A week after an important al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000), hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar fly together from Bangkok, Thailand (see January 8-15, 2000), to Los Angeles, California. [MSNBC, 12/11/01] In March, the CIA learns that at least Alhazmi is on the flight, and some FBI officials claim they learn Almihdhar is on it as well (see March 5, 2000). This is probably at least the second time these two have entered the US (see November 1999). They stay in Los Angeles for around two weeks. At some point during that time, Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent (see August 1994, June 1998 (D), and September 1998-July 1999), arrives in Los Angeles and visits the Saudi Consulate there. According to Newsweek, “Law-enforcement officials believe al-Bayoumi may [have] a closed-door meeting with Fahad al Thumairy, a member of the consulate's Islamic and Culture Affairs Section.” [Newsweek, 7/28/03] In March 2003, al Thumairy is stripped of his diplomatic visa and barred from entry to the US, reportedly because of suspected links to terrorism. [Washington Post 11/23/03] Later that day, Al-Bayoumi goes to a restaurant and meets Alhazmi and Almihdhar. Al-Bayoumi later claims that this first contact with the hijackers is accidental. But one FBI source later recalls that before he drives to Los Angeles that day he says he's going “to pick up visitors.” [Newsweek, 7/28/03, Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Al-Bayoumi invites the two hijackers to move to San Diego. Then he returns to San Diego after leaving the restaurant, and Alhazmi and Almihdhar follow him to San Diego shortly thereafter (see Early February 2000). [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03] The FBI's “best source” in San Diego says that al-Bayoumi “must be an intelligence officer for Saudi Arabia or another foreign power.” A former top FBI official working on the al-Bayoumi investigation claims: “We firmly believed that he had knowledge [of the 9/11 plot], and that his meeting with them that day was more than coincidence.” [Newsweek 7/28/03]
          

March 21, 2000

       FBI agent Robert Wright (see also October 1998 and June 9, 2001), having been accused of tarnishing the reputation of fellow agent Gamal Abdel-Hafiz, makes a formal internal complaint about Abdel-Hafiz. FBI agent Barry Carmody seconds Wright's complaint. Wright and Carmody accuse Abdel-Hafiz, a Muslim, of hindering investigations by openly refusing to record other Muslims. The FBI was investigating if BMI Inc., a New Jersey based company with connections to Saudi financier Yassin al-Qadi (see October 12, 2001), had helped fund the 1998 US embassy bombings. [Wall Street Journal 11/26/02; ABC News 12/19/02] Federal prosecutor Mark Flessner and other FBI agents back up the allegations against Abdel-Hafiz. [ABC News, 12/19/02] Carmody also claims that Abdel-Hafiz hurt an inquiry into the possible terrorist ties of fired University of South Florida Professor Sami Al-Arian by refusing to record a conversation with the professor in 1998. [Tampa Tribune 3/4/03] Complaints to superiors and headquarters about this never get a response. [Fox News, 3/6/03] Furthermore, “Far from being reprimanded, Abdel-Hafiz [is] promoted to one of the FBI's most important anti-terrorism posts, the American Embassy in Saudi Arabia, to handle investigations for the FBI in that Muslim country.” [ABC News, 12/19/02] Abdel-Hafiz is finally suspended in February 2003 after his scandal is widely reported in the press. [Tampa Tribune, 3/4/03] Bill O'Reilly of Fox News claims that on March 4, 2003, the FBI threatens to fire Wright if he speaks publicly about this, one hour before Wright is scheduled to appear on Fox News. [Fox News, 3/4/03] Is Abdel-Hafiz promoted to a sensitive Saudi post because he won't ask hard questions there?
          

Spring 2000 (D)

       According leaks from the still-classified part of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, monthly payments to Omar al-Bayoumi, suspected hijacker “advance man” and possible Saudi agent, increase significantly at this time. Al-Bayoumi has been receiving a salary from the Saudi civil authority of about $500 a month. But shortly after hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar move to San Diego, al-Bayoumi's salary increases to about $3,000 to $3,500 a month. [New York Times, 7/29/03 (B)] From early 1995, al-Bayoumi has been paid for a job with a Saudi aviation company called Dallah Avco that is closely tied to the Saudi government. Apparently it's a “ghost” job that involves no work (see August 1994). Accounts appear to be confused if this pay spike is from his Dallah Avco job, or an additional payment by the government [New York Times, 7/29/03 (B), New York Times, 8/2/03], but it appears to be a separate stream of money because another report has documents showing his Dallah Avco job started with $3,000 a month payments and remained consistent. [Wall Street Journal, 8/11/03] It also fits in with his claims to acquaintances at the time that he is receiving a regular government scholarship. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Additionally, since 1998, a mysterious rich Saudi forced a San Diego mosque to hire al-Bayoumi for a job where he does little work (see June 1998 (D)). Also around December 1999, the wife of his close friend Osama Basnan begins receiving monthly payments from the wife of the Saudi ambassador to the US, and there is speculation this money passes through al-Bayoumi to the hijackers (see December 4, 1999). So it is possible al-Bayoumi has been receiving four channels of money that have connections with the Saudi government for virtually nothing in return.
          

Spring 2000 (C)

       Sources who know bin Laden later claim that bin Laden's stepmother has a second meeting with her son Osama in Afghanistan (see Spring 1998). The trip is approved by the Saudi royal family. The Saudis pass the message to him that “ ‘they wouldn't crack down on his followers in Saudi Arabia’ as long as he set his sights on targets outside the desert kingdom.” In late 1999, the Saudi government had told the CIA about the upcoming trip, and suggested placing a homing beacon on her luggage. This doesn't happen—Saudis later claim they weren't taken seriously, and Americans claim they never received specific information on her travel plans. [New Yorker 11/5/01; Washington Post 12/19/01]
          

Summer 2000

       Anonymous government sources later claim that Atta visits fellow hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, and suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent Omar al-Bayoumi (see August 1994, December 4, 1999, Early February 2000, and November 22, 2002). These same sources claim al-Bayoumi is identified after September 11 as an “advance man” for al-Qaeda. [Washington Times 11/26/02] Other reports have suggested Atta visited Alhazmi and Almihdhar in San Diego (see Summer-December 2000), but the FBI has never confirmed this. [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03]
          

Mid-July 2001 (B)

       John O'Neill, FBI counter-terrorism expert, privately discusses White House obstruction in his bin Laden investigation. O'Neill says: “The main obstacles to investigate Islamic terrorism were US oil corporate interests and the role played by Saudi Arabia in it.” He adds: “All the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden's organization, can be found in Saudi Arabia.” O'Neill also believes the White House is obstructing his investigation of bin Laden because they are still keeping the idea of a pipeline deal with the Taliban open. [CNN 1/8/02; CNN 1/9/02; Irish Times 11/19/01; Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth]
          

Late January 2001

       The BBC later reports, “After the elections, [US intelligence] agencies [are] told to ‘back off’ investigating the Bin Ladens and Saudi royals, and that anger[s] agents.” This follows previous orders to abandon an investigation of bin Laden relatives (see September 11, 1996), and difficulties in investigating Saudi royalty. [BBC, 11/6/01] [FTW] An unnamed “top-level CIA operative” says there is a “major policy shift” at the National Security Agency at this time. Osama bin Laden could still be investigated, but agents could not look too closely at how he got his money. [Best Democracy Money Can Buy] Presumably one such investigation canceled is an investigation by the Chicago FBI into ties between Saudi multimillionaire Yassin al-Qadi and the US embassy bombings (see August 7, 1998) and other terrorist acts, because during this month an FBI agent is told that the case is being closed and that “it's just better to let sleeping dogs lie”(see October 1998). Reporter Greg Palast notes that President Clinton was already hindering investigations by protecting Saudi interests. But, as he puts it, “Where Clinton said, ‘Go slow,’ Bush policymakers said, ‘No go.’ The difference is between closing one eye and closing them both.” [Best Democracy Money Can Buy]
          

February 2001 (B)

       A former CIA anti-terror expert later claims that an allied intelligence agency sees “two of Osama's sisters apparently taking cash to an airport in Abu Dhabi [United Arab Emirates], where they are suspected of handing it to a member of bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization.” This is cited as one of many incidents showing an “interconnectedness”between Osama bin Laden and the rest of his family. [New Yorker 11/5/01]
          

February 26, 2001

      
Mohammed bin Laden, center, son of Osama bin Laden, right, marries the daughter of Mohammed Atef, left.
Bin Laden attends the wedding of his son Mohammad in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Although bin Laden is supposedly long estranged from his family, bin Laden's stepmother, two brothers and sister are also said to have attended, according to the only journalist who was invited (see also Spring 1998 and Spring 2000 (C)). [Reuters 3/1/01; Sunday Herald 10/7/01]
          

March 2001 (D)

      
Dar al Hijrah mosque
Hijackers Hani Hanjour and Nawaf Alhazmi move to Falls Church, Virginia, a large Muslim community near Washington. [Washington Post 9/10/02 (B)] They live only a few blocks from where two nephews of bin Laden with ties to terrorism work (see September 11, 1996). They continue to live there off and on until around August (see August 1-2, 2001). They begin attending the Dar al Hijrah mosque. [Washington Post, 9/10/02 (B)] When they and Khalid Almihdhar lived in San Diego in early 2000 (see Early February-Summer 2000), they attended a mosque there led by the imam Anwar Al Aulaqi. This imam moved to Falls Church in January 2001, and now the hijackers attend his sermons at the Dar al Hijrah mosque. Some later suspect that Aulaqi is part of the 9/11 plot because of their similar moves, and other reasons:
  1. The FBI says Aulaqi had closed door meetings with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar in 2000 while all three of them are living in San Diego. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
  2. Police later find the phone number of Aulaqi's mosque when they search “would-be twentieth hijacker” Ramzi bin al-Shibh's apartment in Germany. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
  3. The FBI was investigating Aulaqi for terrorist ties in early 2000 (see June 1999-March 2000).
  4. A neighbor of Aulaqi later claims that in the first week of August 2001, Aulaqi knocks on his door and tells him he is leaving for Kuwait: “He came over before he left and told me that something very big was going to happen, and that he had to be out of the country when it happened.” [Newsweek, 7/28/03]
  5. Aulaqi is apparently in the country in late September, 2001, and claims to not recognize any of the hijackers. [Copley News, 10/1/01]
  6. A week after 9/11, he says the hijackers were framed, and suggests Israel was behind 9/11. [Washington Post, 7/23/03]
  7. Aulaqi leaves the US in early 2002. [Time, 8/11/03] In late 2002 he briefly returns and is temporarily detained as part of the Green Quest money laundering investigation (see December 5, 2002). But he is let go. [WorldNetDaily 8/16/03]
By late 2003 the US is looking for him in Yemen. [New Republic 8/21/03] The FBI appears to be divided about him, with some thinking he's part of the 9/11 plot and some disagreeing. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03, Time, 8/11/03] The 9/11 Commission later reports that Aulaqi gave substantial help to the two hijackers, that his relationship with them is "suspicious," and it cannot be discounted that he knew of the plot in advance. [AP 6/27/04 http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/apus_story.asp?category=1110&slug=Attacks%20Hijackers%20Helpers]
          

May 23, 2001

      
Zalmay Khalilzad.
Zalmay Khalilzad is appointed to a position on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Gulf, Southwest Asia and Other Regional Issues. Khalilzad is a former official in the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations. During the Clinton years, he worked for Unocal. He is later appointed special envoy to Afghanistan (see January 1, 2002). [Independent 1/10/02; State Department profile 2001]
          

Early June 2001

       UPI reporters interview the reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar. He says the Taliban would like to resolve the bin Laden issue, so there can be “an easing and then lifting of UN sanctions that are strangling and killing the people of [Afghanistan]”(see November 14, 1999 and January 19, 2001). The reporters also note, “Saudi Arabia and the [United Arab Emirates] secretly fund the Taliban government by paying Pakistan for its logistical support to Afghanistan. Despite Pakistan's official denials, Taliban is entirely dependent on Pakistani aid. This was verified on the ground by UPI. Everything from bottled water to oil, gasoline and aviation fuel, and from telephone equipment to military supplies, comes from Pakistan. ” [UPI 6/14/01]
          

Summer 2001 (F)

      
Crown Prince Abdullah.
An Asia Times article published just prior to 9/11 claims that Crown Prince Abdullah, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia (see Late 1995), makes a clandestine visit to Pakistan around this time. After meeting with senior army officials, he visits Afghanistan with ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed (see October 7, 2001). They meet Taliban leader Mullah Omar and try to convince him that the US is likely to launch an attack on Afghanistan. They insist bin Laden be sent to Saudi Arabia, where he would be held in custody and not handed over to any third country. If bin Laden were to be tried in Saudi Arabia, Abdullah would help make sure he is acquitted. Mullah Omar apparently rejects the proposal. The article suggests that Abdullah is secretly a supporter of bin Laden and is trying to protect him from harm (see Late 1998 (F)). [Asia Times, 8/22/01] A similar meeting may also take place after 9/11 (see September 19, 2001 (B)).
          

July 4-14, 2001

      
Did bin Laden receive life saving treatment at this hospital in Dubai?
Bin Laden, America's most wanted criminal with a $5 million bounty on his head, supposedly receives lifesaving treatment for renal failure from American surgeon specialist Dr. Callaway at the American hospital in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He is possibly accompanied by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri (who is said to be bin Laden's personal physician, al-Qaeda's second-in-command, and leader of Egypt's Islamic Jihad), plus several bodyguards. Callaway supposedly treated bin Laden in 1996 and 1998, also in Dubai. Callaway later refuses to answer any questions on this matter. [Le Figaro 10/31/01; Agence France-Presse 11/1/01; London Times 11/01/01] During his stay, bin Laden is visited by “several members of his family and Saudi personalities,” including Prince Turki al Faisal, then head of Saudi intelligence, as well as two CIA officers (see also July 12, 2001). [Guardian, 11/1/01] [FTW] The explosive story is widely reported in Europe, but barely at all in the US (possibly only by UPI [UPI, 11/1/01]). French terrorism expert Antoine Sfeir says the story of this meeting has been verified and is not surprising: It “is nothing extraordinary. Bin Laden maintained contacts with the CIA up to 1998. These contacts have not ceased since bin Laden settled in Afghanistan. Up to the last moment, CIA agents hoped that bin Laden would return to the fold of the US, as was the case before 1989.” [Le Figaro 11/1/01]
          

August 2001 (G)

      
Robert Baer
Former CIA agent Robert Baer (see December 1997 and January 23, 2002) is advising a prince in a Persian Gulf royal family, when a military associate of this prince passes information to him about a “spectacular terrorist operation” that will take place shortly. He is also given a computer record of around 600 secret al-Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The list includes 10 names that will be placed on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list after 9/11. He is also given evidence that a Saudi merchant family had funded the USS Cole bombing (see October 12, 2000), and that the Yemeni government is covering up information related to that bombing. At the military officer's request, he offers all this information to the Saudi Arabian government. But an aide to the Saudi defense minister, Prince Sultan, refuses to look at the list or to pass the names on (Sultan is later sued for his complicity in the 9/11 plot, see August 15, 2002). Baer also passes the information on to a senior CIA official and the CIA's Counter-Terrorism Center, but there is no response or action. Large sections of Baer's book are blacked out, having been censored by the CIA. [Financial Times 1/12/02; See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism Robert Baer 2/02 pp. 270-271; Breakdown: How America's Intelligence Failures Led to September 11 Bill Gertz pp. 55-58]
          

August 31, 2001

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

September 8-11, 2001

       In the days before the attacks, some of the hijackers (including Waleed Alshehri and/or Wail Alshehri) apparently sleep with prostitutes in Boston hotel rooms, or try to. A driver working at an “escort service”used by the hijackers claims he regularly drove prostitutes to a relative of bin Laden about once a week until 9/11, when the relative disappeared. Bin Laden has several relatives in the Boston area, most or all of whom returned to Saudi Arabia right after 9/11. [Boston Herald, 10/10/01] Did the bin Laden relative recommended the service to the hijackers? On September 10, four other hijackers in Boston (Marwan Alshehhi, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, Mohand Alshehri, and Satam Al Suqami) call around to find prostitutes to sleep with on their last night alive, but in the end decline. Says one official, “It was going to be really expensive and they couldn't come to a consensus on price, so that was the end of it… Either they thought it was too extravagant [over $400] or they didn't have enough money left.” [Boston Globe, 10/10/01] Does this behavior make any sense if they thought they would die the next day?
          

September 9, 2001 (C)

       It is later reported that on this day, bin Laden calls his stepmother and says, “In two days, you're going to hear big news and you're not going to hear from me for a while.” US officials later tell CNN that “in recent years they've been able to monitor some of bin Laden's telephone communications with his [step]mother. Bin Laden at the time was using a satellite telephone, and the signals were intercepted and sometimes recorded.” [New York Times 10/2/01] Stepmother Al-Khalifa bin Laden, who raised Osama bin Laden after his natural mother died, was apparently waiting in Damascus, Syria, to meet Osama there, so he called to cancel the meeting. [Sunday Herald, 10/7/01] They had met periodically in recent years (see Spring 1998, Spring 2000 (C) and February 26, 2001). Before 9/11, to impress important visitors, NSA analysts would occasionally play audio tapes of bin Laden talking to his stepmother. The next day government officials say about the call, “I would view those reports with skepticism.” [CNN 10/2/01]
          

September 10, 2001 (U)

      
Sami Omar Hussayen, nephew of Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen
Three hijackers, Hani Hanjour, Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawaf Alhazmi, check into the same hotel as a prominent Saudi government official. [Washington Post 10/2/03] Investigators have not found any evidence that the hijackers met with the official, and stress it could be a coincidence. [Telegraph, 3/10/03] But one prosecutor working on a related case asserts, “I continue to believe it can't be a coincidence.” [Wall Street Journal, 10/2/03] The official, Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, is interviewed by the FBI shortly after 9/11, but according to testimony from an FBI agent, the interview is cut short when Hussayen “feign[s] a seizure, prompting the agents to take him to a hospital, where the attending physicians [find] nothing wrong with him.” The agent recommends that Hussayen “should not be allowed to leave until a follow-up interview could occur.” But that “recommendation, for whatever reason, [is] not complied with.” Hussayen returns to Saudi Arabia a few days later, as soon as the US ban on international flights has ended (see September 14-19, 2001). [Washington Post 10/2/03] For most of the 1990s, Hussayen is director of the SAAR Foundation, a Saudi charity that is being investigated for terrorism ties. A few months after 9/11 he is named a minister of the Saudi government and put in charge of its two holy mosques. Hussayen had arrived in the US in late August 2001 planning to visit some Saudi-sponsored charities. Many of the charities on his itinerary, including the Global Relief Foundation, World Muslim League, IIRO, IANA, WAMY (see September 11, 1996), have since been shut down or investigated for alleged ties to terrorism. [Washington Post, 10/2/03] His nephew, Sami Omar Hussayen, is indicted in early 2004 for using his computer expertise to assist terrorist groups. He is charged with administering a website associated with IANA (the Islamic Assembly of North America) that expressly advocated suicide attacks and using airliners as weapons in the months before 9/11. Investigators also claim the nephew was in contact with important al-Qaeda figures. [Washington Post, 10/2/03, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/10/04] IANA is being investigated, including the flow of money from the uncle to nephew. [Telegraph 3/10/03] The uncle has not been charged with any crime. [Wall Street Journal 10/2/03]
          

September 11, 2001 (Z)

       The Carlyle Group is a company closely associated with officials of the Bush and Reagan administrations, and has considerable ties to Saudi oil money, including ties to the bin Laden family (see September 27, 2001). Those ties are well illustrated by the fact that on this day the Carlyle Group is hosting a conference at a Washington hotel. Among the guests of honor is investor Shafig bin Laden, brother to Osama. [Observer 6/16/02]
          

September 13, 2001 (F)

       After a complete airflight ban in the US begun during the 9/11 attacks, some commercial flights begin resuming this day. However, all private flights are still banned from flying. Nonetheless, some private flights do take place, carrying Saudi royalty and members of the bin Laden family to transit points so they can leave the country. These flights take place even as fighters escort down three other private planes attempting to fly. Most of the Saudi royals and bin Ladens in the US at the time are high school or college students and young professionals. New York Times, 9/30/01, Vanity Fair, 10/03] One of the flights is a Lear Jet that leaves from a private Raytheon hangar in Tampa, Florida (see also September 25, 2001) and takes three Saudis to Lexington, Kentucky. [Tampa Tribune, 10/5/01] Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the US who is so close to the Bush family that he is nicknamed “Bandar Bush,” pushes for and helps arrange the flights at the request of frightened Saudis. Vanity Fair, 10/03, CBC, 10/29/03 (D)] For two years, a violation of the air ban is denied by the FAA, FBI, and White House, and decried as an urban legend except for one article detailing them in a Tampa newspaper (Tampa Tribune, 10/5/01). Finally in 2003, Richard Clarke, National Security Council Chief of Counterterrorism confirms the existence of these flights, and Secretary of State Powell confirms them as well. [Vanity Fair, 10/03, ] But the White House is still silent on the matter. [New York Times 9/4/03] The Saudis are evacuated to Saudi Arabia over the next several days (see September 14-19, 2001).
          

September 14-19, 2001

      
Yeslam bin Laden, Osama's half brother, and a Westernized leader of the Binladin Group.
Following secret flights inside the US that are in violation of a national private airplane flight ban (see September 13, 2001 (F)), members of the bin Laden family and Saudi royalty quietly depart the US. The flights are only publicly acknowledged after all the Saudis have left. [Boston Globe, 9/21/01, New York Times, 9/30/01] About 140 Saudis, including around 24 members of the bin Laden family, are passengers in these flights. Most of their identities aren't known. However, some of the passengers include:
  1. The son of the Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan. Sultan is being sued for alleged complicity in the 9/11 plot (see August 15, 2002). [Tampa Tribune, 10/5/01] He is alleged to have contributed at least $6 million since 1994 to four charities that finance al-Qaeda. [Vanity Fair, 10/03]
  2. Khalil bin Laden. He has been investigated by the Brazilian government for possible terrorist connections. [Vanity Fair, 10/03]
  3. Abdullah
    Abdullah bin Laden
    and
  4. Omar bin Laden, cousins of bin Laden. Abdullah was the US director of the Muslim charity World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). The governments of India, Pakistan, Philippines, and Bosnia have all accused WAMY of funding terrorism. These two relatives were investigated by the FBI in 1996 in a case involving espionage, murder, and national security (September 11, 1996). Their case is reopened on September 19 right after 9/11 they leave the country. [Vanity Fair, 10/03] Remarkably, four of the 9/11 hijackers briefly live in the town of Falls Church, Virginia, three blocks from the WAMY office headed by Abdullah bin Laden. [BBC Newsnight, 11/6/01]
  5. Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen. He is a prominent Saudi official who is in the same hotel as three of the hijackers the night before 9/11. He leaves on one of the first flights to Saudi Arabia before the FBI can properly interview him about this (see September 10, 2001 (U)).
There is a later dispute regarding how thoroughly the Saudis are interviewed before they leave and who approves the flights. Richard Clarke, National Security Council Chief of Counterterrorism, says he agrees to the flights after the FBI assures him none of those on board have connections to terrorism and that it is “a conscious decision with complete review at the highest levels of the State Department and the FBI and the White House.” [Congressional Testimony, 9/3/03] According to Vanity Fair, both the FBI and the State Department “deny playing any role whatsoever in the episode.” However, Dale Watson, the FBI's former head of counterterrorism, says the Saudis on the planes “[are] identified, but they [are] not subject to serious interviews or interrogations” before they leave. [Vanity Fair, 10/03] An FBI spokesman says the bin Laden relatives are only interviewed by the FBI “at the airport, as they [are] about to leave.” [National Review, 9/11/02] There are claims that some passengers aren't interviewed by the FBI at all. [Vanity Fair, 10/03] One bin Laden relative who stays in the US says that even a month after 9/11 his only contact with the FBI is a brief phone call. [Boston Globe, 9/21/01, New Yorker, 11/5/01] Numerous experts are surprised that the bin Ladens are not interviewed more extensively before leaving, pointing out that interviewing the relatives of suspects is standard investigative procedure. [National Review, 9/11/02, Vanity Fair, 10/03] MSNBC claims that “members of the Saudi royal family met frequently with bin Laden—both before and after 9/11” [MSNBC, 9/5/03], and many royals and bin Laden relatives are being sued for having a role in 9/11 (see August 15, 2002). The Boston Globe opines that the flights occur “too soon after 9/11 for the FBI even to know what questions to ask, much less to decide conclusively that each Saudi [royal] and bin Laden relative [deserve] an ‘all clear,’ never to be available for questions again.” [Boston Globe, 9/30/03] Senator Charles Schumer (D) says of the secret flights, “This is just another example of our country coddling the Saudis and giving them special privileges that others would never get. It's almost as if we didn't want to find out what links existed.” [New York Times 9/4/03]
          

September 14, 2001 (H)

       Mayo Shattuck III resigns, effective immediately, as head of the Alex Brown unit of Deutschebank. No reason is given. Some speculate later this could have to do with the role of Deutschebank in the pre-9/11 purchase of put options (see September 6-10, 2001). Deutschebank is also one of the four banks most used by the bin Laden family. [New York Times, 9/15/01, Wall Street Journal, 9/27/01] [FTW]
          

September 14, 2001 (L)

       In interviews with the Boston Globe, flight instructors in Florida say that it was common for students with Saudi affiliations to enter the US with only cursory background checks and sometimes none. Some flight schools, including some of those attended by the hijackers, have exemptions that allow the schools to unilaterally issue paperwork that students can present at US embassies and consulates so they can obtain visas. Saudi Arabia is possibly the only Arab country with such an exemption. [Boston Globe 9/14/01]
          

September 19, 2001 (B)

       According to the private intelligence service Intelligence Online, a secret meeting between fundamentalist supporters in Saudi Arabia and the ISI takes place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on this day. Crown Prince Abdullah, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia (see Late 1995), and Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz, the new head of Saudi intelligence (see August 31, 2001), meet with Gen. Mohamed Youssef, head of the ISI's Afghanistan Section, and ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed (just returning from discussions in Afghanistan (see September 17-18 and 28, 2001)). They agree “to the principle of trying to neutralize Osama Bin Laden in order to spare the Taliban regime and allow it to keep its hold on Afghanistan.” There has been no confirmation that this meeting in fact took place, but if it did, its goals were unsuccessful. [Intelligence Online, 10/4/01] There may have been a similar meeting before 9/11 (see Summer 2001 (F)).
          

September 20, 2001 (B)

       President Bush states: “Either you are with us, or you are against us. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” [White House, 9/20/01] Shortly thereafter, Bush says: “As far as the Saudi Arabians go, they've been nothing but cooperative,” and “[Am] I pleased with the actions of Saudi Arabia? I am.” However, several experts continue to claim Saudi Arabia is being “completely unsupportive” and is giving “zero cooperation” to the 9/11 investigation. Saudi Arabia refuses to help the US trace the names and other background information on the 15 Saudi hijackers. One former US official says, “They knew that once we started asking for a few traces the list would grow…. It's better to shut it down right away.” [Los Angeles Times 10/13/01; New Yorker 10/16/01] The Saudi government continues to be uncooperative, and the US government continues to downplay this (see Early December 2001 (B), November 2002 and ).
          

September 21-28, 2001

       Omar al-Bayoumi, suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent (see August 1994 and Early February 2000), is arrested and held for one week in Britain. He moved from San Diego to Britain in July 2001 and is a studying at Aston University Business School in Birmingham when he is taken into custody by British authorities working with the FBI. [San Diego Union-Tribune 10/27/01; Washington Post 12/29/01; MSNBC 11/27/02] During a search of al-Bayoumi's Birmingham apartment (which includes ripping up the floorboards), the FBI finds the names and phone numbers of two employees of the Saudi embassy's Islamic Affairs Department. [Newsweek, 11/24/02] “There was a link there,” a Justice Department official says, adding that the FBI interviewed the employees and “that was the end of that, in October or November of 2001.” The official adds: “I don't know why he had those names.” Nail al-Jubeir, chief spokesman for the Saudi embassy in Washington, says al-Bayoumi “called [the numbers] constantly.” [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] They also discover jihadist literature, and conclude he “has connections to terrorist elements” including al-Qaeda. [Washington Post 7/25/03] However, he is released after a week. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02, Newsweek, 11/24/02] British intelligence officials are frustrated that the FBI failed to give them information that would have enabled them to keep al-Bayoumi in custody longer then the seven days allowed under British anti-terrorism laws. [London Times, 10/19/01, San Diego Channel 10, 10/25/01] Even FBI officials in San Diego appear to have not been told of al-Bayoumi's arrest by FBI officials in Britain until after he is released. [Sunday Mercury 10/21/01] Newsweek claims that still classified sections of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry (see July 24, 2003) indicate the Saudi Embassy pushed for al-Bayoumi's release— “another possible indicator of his high-level [Saudi] connections.” [Newsweek 7/28/03] A San Diego FBI agent later secretly testifies that supervisors fail to act on evidence connecting to a Saudi money trail (see October 9, 2002). The FBI is said to conduct a massive investigation of al-Bayoumi within days of 9/11 that shows he has connections to foreign terrorists [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03, Sunday Mercury, 10/21/01, Newsweek, 7/28/03], but even two years later witnesses connecting him to Saudi money appear to be uninterviewed by the FBI (see August 2003). Al-Bayoumi continues with his studies in Britain and is still there into 2002, and yet is still not rearrested. [Washington Post, 12/29/01, Newsweek, 10/29/02] He disappears into Saudi Arabia by the time he reenters the news in late 2002 (see November 22, 2002). [San Diego Magazine 9/03]
          

September 27, 2001

       The Wall Street Journal notes that the bin Laden family could profit from the 9/11 attacks. They had invested in the Carlyle Group, a well-connected Washington merchant bank specializing in buyouts of defense and aerospace companies that had done very well since 9/11. The Carlyle Group is noted for its connections with George Bush Sr. and other members of his administration. The bin Ladens invested $2 million in Carlyle back in 1995, but the Wall Street Journal speculates that they have invested much more. [Wall Street Journal, 9/27/01] On October 27, 2001, the bin Laden family divests their known $2 million investment in light of bad publicity. However it isn't known what became of any additional investments they may have had in Carlyle. [Washington Post 10/27/01]
          

October 2001

       A 70-page French intelligence report claims: “The financial network of bin Laden, as well as his network of investments, is similar to the network put in place in the 1980s by BCCI for its fraudulent operations, often with the same people (former directors and cadres of the bank and its affiliates, arms merchants, oil merchants, Saudi investors). The dominant trait of bin Laden's operations is that of a terrorist network backed up by a vast financial structure”(see Mid-1996-October 2001). The BCCI was the largest Muslim bank in the world before it collapsed in 1991 (see July 5, 1991). A senior US investigator later says US agencies are looking into the ties outlined by the French because “they just make so much sense, and so few people from BCCI ever went to jail. BCCI was the mother and father of terrorist financing operations.” The report identifies dozens of companies and individuals who were involved with BCCI and were found to be dealing with bin Laden after the bank collapsed. Many went on to work in banks and charities identified by the US and others as supporting al-Qaeda. The role of Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz in supporting bin Laden is emphasized in the report. In 1995 bin Mahfouz paid a $225 million fine in a settlement with US prosecutors for his role in the BCCI scandal. [Washington Post, 2/17/02] (Representatives of Mahfouz later argue that this report was in fact prepared by Jean-Charles Brisard and not the French intelligence service. Mahfouz has begun libel proceedings against Mr. Brisard, claiming that he has made unfounded and defamatory allegations.[Kendall Freeman, 5/13/2004])
          

October 7, 2001 (D)

       It is reported that Mahrous bin Laden, brother to Osama, is currently manager of the Medina, Saudi Arabia branch of the bin Laden family company, the Binladin Group. In 1979, Binladin company trucks were used by 500 dissidents who seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest city. All the men who took part were later beheaded except Mahrous, who is eventually released from prison apparently because of the close ties between the bin Ladens and the Saudi royal family. The bin Laden family claims that no family members have any ties to terrorism except Osama. [Sunday Herald 10/7/01]
          

October 12, 2001

      
Yassin al-Qadi.
The US freezes the assets of 39 additional individuals and organizations connected to terrorism (see also September 24, 2001). Five of the names are al-Qaeda leaders on a list the United Nations published in March 8, 2001, with a recommendation that all nations freeze their assets (see March 8, 2001). Other countries froze assets of those on that list, but the US did not. “Members of Congress want to know why treasury officials charged with disrupting the finances of terrorists did not follow their lead.” [AP 10/12/01; Guardian 10/13/01 (B)] The most detailed case is laid out against Saudi multimillionaire businessman Yassin al-Qadi (see December 5, 2002 and ). [Chicago Tribune, 10/14/01, Chicago Tribune, 10/29/01] Al-Qadi is “horrified and shocked” and offers to open his financial books to US investigators. [Chicago Tribune, 10/16/01] There have been several accusations that al-Qadi laundered money to fund Hamas [Chicago Tribune, 10/16/01, Chicago Tribune, 10/29/01], and an investigation into his al-Qaeda connections was canceled by higher-ups in the FBI in 1998 (see October 1998). Saudi Arabia also later freezes al-Qadi's accounts, an action the Saudis have taken against only three people, but he has yet to be charged or arrested by the Saudis or the US. [Newsweek 12/6/02]
          

October 14, 2001

       The Boston Herald reports: “Three banks allegedly used by Osama bin Laden to distribute money to his global terrorism network have well-established ties to a prince in Saudi Arabia's royal family, several billionaire Saudi bankers, and the governments of Kuwait and Dubai. One of the banks, Al-Shamal Islamic Bank in the Sudan, was controlled directly by Osama bin Laden, according to a 1996 US State Department report.” A regional expert states, “I think we underestimate bin Laden. He comes from the highest levels of Saudi society and he has supporters at all levels of Saudi Arabia.” [Boston Herald 10/14/01]
          

November 5, 2001

       The New Yorker points to evidence that the bin Laden family has generally not ostracized itself from bin Laden as is popularly believed (for instance, see [Newsweek, 10/15/01]), but retains close ties in some cases. The large bin Laden family owns and runs a $5 billion a year global corporation that includes the largest construction firm in the Islamic world. One counter-terrorism expert says, “There's obviously a lot of spin by the Saudi Binladin Group [the family corporation] to distinguish itself from Osama. I've been following the bin Ladens for years, and it's easy to say, ‘We disown him.’ Many in the family have. But blood is usually thicker than water.” The article notes that neither the bin Laden family nor the Saudi royal family have publicly denounced bin Laden since 9/11. [New Yorker 11/5/01]
          

November 11, 2001

       Saeed Sheikh is connected to Saudi charities that investigators believe secretly funnel millions of dollars to bin Laden's operatives. At this time, he is only known as Mustafa Ahmed, and incorrectly thought by some to be a Saudi. His name appeared shortly after 9/11 when Irish police raided the Dublin offices of the Islamic Relief Agency, a Saudi-backed charity previously linked to bin Laden's 1998 bombings of two American embassies in Africa. [Newsweek 11/11/01]
          

November 14-November 25, 2001

      
An airlift of humanitarian supplies in Northern Afghanistan.
At the request of the Pakistani government, the US secretly allows rescue flights into the besieged Taliban stronghold of Kunduz, in Northern Afghanistan, to save Pakistanis fighting for the Taliban and bring them back to Pakistan. Pakistan's President “Musharraf won American support for the airlift by warning that the humiliation of losing hundreds—and perhaps thousands—of Pakistani Army men and intelligence operatives would jeopardize his political survival.” [New Yorker, 1/21/02] Dozens of senior Pakistani military officers, including two generals, are flown out. [Now with Bill Moyers, 2/21/03] In addition, it is reported that the Pakistani government assists 50 trucks of foreign fighters to escape the town. [New York Times 11/24/01] Many news articles at the time suggest an airlift is occurring (for instance, [Independent, 11/16/01, New York Times, 11/24/01, BBC, 11/26/01, Independent, 11/26/01, Guardian, 11/27/01, MSNBC, 11/29/01]), but a media controversy and wide coverage fails to develop. The US and Pakistani governments deny the existence of the airlift. [State Department, 11/16/01, New Yorker, 1/21/02] On December 2, when asked to assure that the US didn't allow such an airlift, Rumsfeld says, “Oh, you can be certain of that. We have not seen a single—to my knowledge, we have not seen a single airplane or helicopter go into Afghanistan in recent days or weeks and extract people and take them out of Afghanistan to any country, let alone Pakistan.” [MSNBC, 12/2/01] Reporter Seymour Hersh believes that Rumsfeld must have given approval for the airlift. [Now with Bill Moyers 2/21/03] But New Yorker magazine reports, “What was supposed to be a limited evacuation apparently slipped out of control and, as an unintended consequence, an unknown number of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters managed to join in the exodus.” A CIA analyst says, “Many of the people they spirited away were in the Taliban leadership” who Pakistan wanted for future political negotiations. US intelligence was “supposed to have access to them, but it didn't happen,” he says. According to Indian intelligence, airlifts grow particularly intense in the last three days before the city falls on November 25. Of the 8,000 remaining al-Qaeda, Pakistani, and Taliban, about 5,000 are airlifted out and 3,000 surrender. [New Yorker 1/21/02] Hersh later claims that “maybe even some of Bin Laden's immediate family were flown out on the those evacuations.” [Now with Bill Moyers 2/21/03] Was the escape of al-Qaeda deliberate so the war against terrorism wouldn't end too soon?
          

November 28, 2001

       The Financial Times estimates that the bin Laden family's business, the Saudi Binladin Group, is worth about $36 billion. Osama bin Laden inherited about $300 million at the age of 10 on the death of his father, but he may be worth much more today. While he spends large amounts each month supporting terror, he gets large amounts from rich Saudis every month to make up for the losses. [Financial Times 11/28/01]
          

Early December 2001 (B)

       Bush officials go to Saudi Arabia in a second attempt to get the Saudi government to cooperate with the 9/11 investigation. They have balked at freezing assets of organizations linked to bin Laden. Shortly thereafter, the Boston Herald runs a series of articles on the Saudis. Says an expert, “If there weren't all these other arrangements—arms deals and oil deals and consultancies—I don't think the US would stand for this lack of cooperation.” Another expert states, “It's good old fashioned ‘I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine.’ You have former US officials, former presidents, aides to the current president, a long line of people who are tight with the Saudis… We are willing to basically ignore inconvenient truths that might otherwise cause our blood to boil.” These deals are worth an incredible amount of money: one Washington Post reporter claims that US companies spent $200 billion on Saudi Arabia's defenses alone, and that was before 1993. [Boston Herald 12/10/01; Boston Herald 12/11/01 (B); Frontline 2/16/93]
          

March 2002 (C)

       Authorities in Bosnia, Sarajevo, raid the offices of the Benevolence International Foundation due to suspected funding of al-Qaeda The raid uncovers a handwritten list of twenty wealthy donors sympathetic to al-Qaeda. The list, referred to as “The Golden Chain,” reveals both the names of the donors, and the names of the recipients. Seven of the payments were made to Osama bin Laden, while at least one donation to him was made by the “bin Laden brothers.” UPI points out that “the discovery of this document in Sarajevo calls into question whether al-Qaeda has received support from one of Osama's scores of wealthy brothers.” Adel Batterjee, a wealth businessman from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, who is also the founder of both the charity BFI and its predecessor Lajnatt Al-Birr Al-Islamiah, appears to be mentioned as a recipient three times. Batterjee has been named as a defendant in a 9/11 lawsuit against wealthy Saudis, but he has been missing in Saudi Arabia for over a year. When the document was written is not mentioned, but it may date from the early 1990s. [UPI 2/11/03]
          

March 29, 2002

       Abdullah bin Laden, spokesman for the bin Laden family and one of Osama's many brothers, speaks directly to the press for the first time since 9/11. He says the family cut all personal and financial ties to Osama in 1993, and that no family member has contact with him or provides any kind of support for him. “We went through a tough time. It was difficult. We felt we are a victim as well.” [ABC News, 3/29/02] This appears to be the same Abdullah bin Laden that the FBI began investigating in 1996 only to have the investigation killed by higher-ups in government (see September 11, 1996).
          

April 23, 2002

      
Mohammed Zouaydi
Spanish authorities arrest Syrian-born Spaniard businessman Mohammed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi and allege he is a key al-Qaeda financier. [Chicago Tribune, 5/6/02] An accountant, he is considered to be the “big financier” behind terrorist a network al-Qaeda in Europe, according to investigator Jean-Charles Brisard. >From 1996 to 2001 he lived in Saudi Arabia, and funneled money into a series of companies he set up that accepted donations; the source of the money is unknown. Around $1 million of money was then forwarded to al-Qaeda agents throughout Europe, especially to Germany. One of Zouaydi's associates had the phone number of Atta's apartment in Hamburg, Germany in the memory of his cell phone (see November 1, 1998-February 2001). [AFP, 9/20/02] Zouaydi also allegedly sent money to Mamoun Darkazanli (see September 24, 2001), a Syrian-born businessman who has admitted knowing Atta and others in the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. [Chicago Tribune, 5/6/02] One of Zouaydi's employees in Spain visited the WTC in 1997 where he extensively videotaped the buildings (see 1998). Perhaps only coincidentally, while in Saudi Arabia, Zouaydi “was an accountant for the al-Faisal branch of the Saudi royal family, including Prince Mohammed al-Faisal al-Saud and Prince Turki al-Faisal”(see August 31, 2001). [AFP 9/20/02]
          

April 25, 2002

       Osama Basnan, an alleged associate of 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi (see April 1998, December 4, 1999, and November 22, 2002), reports his passport stolen to Houston, Texas police. [Newsweek, 11/24/02] This confirms that Basnan is in Houston on the same day that Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, and Saudi US Ambassador Prince Bandar meet with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, and National Security Advisor Rice at Bush's ranch in nearby Crawford, Texas. [US-Saudi Arabian Business Council, 4/25/02] Abdullah's entourage passes through Houston that week en route to Bush's ranch. While in Texas, it is believed that Basnan “met with a high Saudi prince who has responsibilities for intelligence matters and is known to bring suitcases full of cash into the United States.” [Newsweek 11/24/02; Guardian 11/25/02] The still-classified section of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry (see August 1-3, 2003) is said to discuss the possibility of Basnan meeting this figure at this time. [AP 8/2/03]
          

June 13, 2002 (B)

       Sudan arrests an al-Qaeda leader who has confessed to firing a missile at a US plane taking off from Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, in May. Saudi Arabia had failed to arrest him. This is just the latest in a series of events where “some countries long deemed key US allies—such as Saudi Arabia—are considered less than helpful in the war against terror, while other states remaining on the US State Department's blacklist of terrorist sponsors, such as Syria and Sudan, are apparently proving more cooperative than their pariah status would suggest.” The US hasn't been given access to al-Qaeda members arrested by Saudi Arabia, and “concerns over the Saudi authorities' ‘unhelpful’ stance are increasing.” [Jane's Intelligence Review 7/5/02]
          

July 10, 2002

       A briefing given to a top Pentagon advisory group states, “The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader … Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies.” They are called “the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent.”This position still runs counter to official US policy, but the Washington Post says it “represents a point of view that has growing currency within the Bush administration.” The briefing suggests that the Saudis be given an ultimatum to stop backing terrorism or face seizure of its oil fields and its financial assets invested in the United States . The group, the Defense Policy Board, is headed by Richard Perle. [Washington Post, 8/6/02] An international controversy follows the public reports of the briefing in August 2002 (for instance, [Scotsman, 8/12/02]). In an abrupt change, the media starts calling the Saudis enemies, not allies of the US. Slate reports details of the briefing the Post failed to mention. The briefing states, “There is an ‘Arabia,’ but it needs not be ‘Saudi’ ”. The conclusion of the briefing: “Grand strategy for the Middle East: Iraq is the tactical pivot. Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot. Egypt the prize.” [Slate, 8/7/02] Note that a similar meeting of the Defense Policy Board appears to have preceded and affected the US's decision to take a warlike stance against Iraq (see September 17, 2001 (B) and August 6, 2001).
          

August 11, 2002

       A shocking Newsweek article suggests that some of Bush's advisors advocate not only attacking Iraq, but also Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Egypt, and Burma! One senior British official says: “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.” [Newsweek, 8/11/02] Later in the year, Bush's influential advisor Richard Perle 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.” [New Statesman, 12/16/02] In February 2003, US Undersecretary of State John Bolton says in meetings with Israeli officials that he has no doubt America will attack Iraq, and that it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea afterward. This is not reported in the US media. [Ha'aretz 2/17/03]
          

August 15, 2002

      
Deena Burnett speaks on behalf of the relatives suing the Saudis.
More than 600 relatives (later rising to over 2,500 out of 10,000 eligible [Newsweek, 9/13/02]) of victims of the September 11 attacks file a 15-count, $1 trillion lawsuit against various parties they accuse of financing al-Qaeda and Afghanistan's former Taliban regime. The defendants include the Binladin Group (the company run by Osama bin Laden's family), seven international banks, eight Islamic foundations and charities, individual terrorist financiers, three Saudi princes, and the government of Sudan. [CNN, 8/15/02, Washington Post, 8/16/02] Individuals named include Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan (see June 1998 (D), August 2001 (G), and August 31, 2001), former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal (see July 1998, August 31, 2001, and October 18, 2002), Yassin al-Qadi (see October 12, 2001), and Khalid bin Mahfouz (see 1988, , December 4, 2001 (B) and Early December 2001 (B)). [AP, 8/15/02, MSNBC, 8/25/02] “The attorneys and investigators were able to obtain, through French intelligence, the translation of a secretly recorded meeting between representatives of bin Laden and three Saudi princes in which they sought to pay him hush money to keep him from attacking their enterprises in Saudi Arabia.” [CNN 8/15/02] The plaintiffs also accused the US Government of failing to pursue such institutions thoroughly enough because of lucrative oil interests. [BBC 8/15/02] Ron Motley, the lead lawyer in the suit, says the case is being aided by intelligence services from France and four other foreign governments, but no help has come from the Justice Department. [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8/16/02] The plaintiffs acknowledge the chance of ever winning any money is slim, but hope the lawsuit will help bring to light the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks. [BBC, 8/15/02] A number of rich Saudis respond by threatening to withdraw hundreds of billions of dollars in US investments if the lawsuit goes forward. [Telegraph, 8/20/02] Saudi businesses withdraw more than $100 billion from the US in response to the suit (see August 20, 2002), and the US government later threatens to block or limit the suit (see November 1, 2002).
          

August 15, 2002 (E)

      
Saud al-Rashid.
The picture of a young Saudi man named Saud al-Rashid is discovered on a CD-ROM with the pictures of four 9/11 hijackers in an al-Qaeda safe house in Pakistan. A senior US official says investigators “were able to take this piece of information and it showed clear signals or lines that he was connected to 9/11.” [AP, 8/21/02 (B)] Rashid was in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001. [New York Times 7/29/03 (B)] Six days later, the US issues a worldwide dragnet to find him. [AP 8/21/02] But they are unable to catch him because a few days later, he flees from Egypt to Saudi Arabia and turns himself in to the Saudi authorities. The Saudis apparently won't try him for any crime or allow the FBI to interview him. [CNN 8/26/02; CNN 8/31/02] Intriguingly, Al-Rashid's father is Hamid al-Rashid, a Saudi government official who paid a salary to Omar al-Bayoumi, an associate of two hijackers who is later suspected of being a Saudi agent (see August 1994). [New York Times 7/29/03 (B)]
          

August 20, 2002

       The Financial Times reports that “disgruntled Saudis have pulled tens of billions of dollars out of the US, signaling a deep alienation from America.” Estimates range from $100 billion to over $200 billion. Part of the anger is in response to reports that the US might attack Saudi Arabia and freeze Saudi assets unless Saudi Arabia fights terrorism more effectively (see July 10, 2002 and August 11, 2002). It is also in response to a lawsuit against many Saudi Arabians that also may lead to a freeze of Saudi assets (see August 15, 2002). Estimates of total Saudi investments in the US range from $400 billion to $600 billion. [Financial Times 8/20/02]
          

August 22, 2002

       Osama Basnan, an alleged associate of 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi (see April 1998 and December 4, 1999), and his wife are arrested for visa fraud. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02, Newsweek, 11/22/02] One report says he is arrested for allegedly having links to Omar al-Bayoumi (see August 1994 and Early February 2000). [Arab News, 11/26/02] On October 22, Basnan and his wife, Majeda Dweikat, admit they used false immigration documents to stay in the US. [San Diego Channel 10 10/22/02] Possible financial connections between Basnan and al-Bayoumi, Almihdhar and Alhazmi, and the Saudi royal family are known to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry (as well as the FBI and CIA) at this time (see October 9, 2002), but Basnan is deported to Saudi Arabia on November 17, 2002 anyways. His wife is deported to Jordan the same day. [Washington Post, 11/24/02] Less than a week after the deportations, new media reports make Basnan an internationally-known wanted man (see November 22, 2002). Why was Basnan let go, when authorities knew of these new revelations about him since at least early October (see October 9, 2002)?
          

August 25, 2002

       Former CIA agent Bob Baer says the US collects virtually no intelligence about Saudi Arabia nor are they given any intelligence collected by the Saudis. He says this is because there are implicit orders from the White House, “Do not collect information on Saudi Arabia because we're going to risk annoying the royal family.” In the same show, despite being on a US terrorist list since October 2001 (see October 12, 2001), Saudi millionaire Yassin al-Qadi says, “I'm living my life here in Saudi Arabia without any problem”because he is being protected by the Saudi government. Al-Qadi admits to giving bin Laden money for his “humanitarian” work, but says this is different from bin Laden's terrorist work. Presented with this information, the US Treasury Department only says that the US “is pleased with and appreciates the actions taken by the Saudis” in the war on terror. The Saudi government still has not given US intelligence permission to talk to any family members of the hijackers, even though some US journalists have had limited contact with a few. [MSNBC 8/25/02]
          

August 27, 2002

      
Prince Bandar and President Bush meet at Bush's ranch in August.
Prince Bandar, Saudi ambassador to the US, meets privately for more than an hour with Bush and National Security Advisor Rice in Crawford, Texas (see April 25, 2002). [Telegraph, 8/28/02] Press Secretary Ari Fleischer characterizes it as a warm meeting of old friends. Bandar, his wife (Princess Haifa) and seven of their eight children stay for lunch. [Fox News, 8/27/02] Prince Bandar, a longtime friend of the Bush family, donated $1 million to the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. [Boston Herald, 12/11/01 (B), Bush Library] This relationship later becomes news when it is learned that Princess Haifa gave between $51,000 and $73,000 to two Saudi families in California who may have financed two of the 9/11 hijackers (see December 4, 1999and November 22, 2002). [New York Times 11/23/02; MSNBC 11/25/02]
          

September 17, 2002

       CBS reports that in the days after the arrest of Ramzi bin al-Shibh and four other al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan (see September 11, 2002), “a search of the home of the five al-Qaeda suspects turned up passports belonging to members of the family of Osama bin Laden.” No more details, such as which family members, or why bin al-Shibh's group had these passports, is given. [CBS 9/17/02]
          

September 20, 2002 (C)

       A Bosnian government probe connects the Saudi charity Talibah International Aid Association to terrorist funding and an al-Qaeda front group. Talibah has been under investigation since shortly after 9/11 due to a foiled terror attack in Bosnia that has been connected to Talibah and al-Qaeda. Abdullah bin Laden, a relative of bin Laden (though his exact relationship can't be determined), is a Talibah officer in its Virginia office. An investigation into Abdullah bin Laden was canceled in 1996 (see September 11, 1996). The US has been criticized for failing to list Talibah as a sponsor of terrorism and for not freezing its assets. [Wall Street Journal 9/20/02]
          

October 18, 2002

       Saudi Arabia announces that Turki al-Faisal will be its next ambassador to Britain. Turki is a controversial figure because of his long-standing relationship to bin Laden. He has also been named in a lawsuit by 9/11 victims' relatives against Saudi Arabians for their support of al-Qaeda before 9/11 (see August 15, 2002). It is later noted that his ambassador position could give him diplomatic immunity from the lawsuit. [New York Times 12/30/02] Turki's predecessor as ambassador was recalled after it was revealed he had written poems praising suicide bombers. [Observer, 3/2/03 (C)] Reports on his new posting suggest that Turki last met bin Laden in the early 1990s before he became a wanted terrorist. [London Times 10/18/02; Guardian 10/19/02] However, these reports fail to mention other contacts with bin Laden (for instance, see July 1998), including a possible secret meeting in July 2001 (see July 4-14, 2001).
          

November 2002

       Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef blames Zionists and Jews for the 9/11 attacks. He tells journalists, “Who has benefited from Sept. 11 attacks? I think [the Jews] were the protagonists of such attacks.” Nayef is in charge of the Saudi investigation into the attacks, and some US congresspeople respond to the comments by questioning how strongly Saudi Arabia is investigating the involvement of the 15 Saudi 9/11 hijackers. [AP 12/5/02]
          

November 1, 2002

       Some of the 9/11 victims' relatives hold a rally at the US Capitol to protest what they fear are plans by the Bush administration to delay or block their lawsuit against prominent Saudi individuals for an alleged role in financing al-Qaeda (see August 15, 2002). [Washington Post 11/1/02] US officials say they have not decided whether to submit a motion seeking to block or restrict the lawsuit, but they are concerned about the “diplomatic sensitivities” of the suit. Saudis have withdrawn hundreds of billions of dollars from the US in response to the suit (see August 20, 2002). The Guardian previously reported that “some plaintiffs in the case say the Bush administration is pressuring them to pull out of the lawsuit in order to avoid damaging US-Saudi relations, threatening them with the prospect of being denied any money from the government's own compensation scheme if they continue to pursue it. Bereaved relatives who apply to the federal compensation scheme must, in any case, sign away their rights to sue the government, air carriers in the US, and other domestic bodies—a condition that has prompted some of them to call the government compensation ‘hush money.’ The fund is expected, in the end, to pay out $4 billion. They remain, however, free to sue those they accuse of being directly responsible for the attacks, such as Osama bin Laden, and—so they thought—the alleged financers of terrorism.” [Guardian 9/20/02]
          

November 6 and 22, 2002

       The US tightens immigration restrictions for 18 countries. All males over age 16 coming to the US from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates or Yemen must register with the US government and be photographed and fingerprinted at their local INS office. [Washington Post 11/7/02; AP 11/23/02] Two countries are not included: Pakistan (the home country of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and many other al-Qaeda terrorists) and Saudi Arabia (the home country of bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers). These two countries are added to the list on December 13, 2002, after criticism that they were not included. [New York Times 12/19/02]
          

November 22, 2002

       Newsweek reports that hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi may have received money from Saudi Arabia's royal family through two Saudis, Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan (see August 1994, April 1998, and December 4, 1999), based on information leaked from the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry the month before (see October 9, 2002). [Newsweek, 11/22/02, Newsweek, 11/22/02, Washington Post, 11/23/02, New York Times, 11/23/02] Al-Bayoumi is in Saudi Arabia by this time (see September 21-28, 2001); Basnan was deported to Saudi Arabia just five days earlier (see August 22, 2002). Saudi officials and Princess Haifa immediately deny any terrorist connections. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] Newsweek reports that while the money trail “could be perfectly innocent … it is nonetheless intriguing—and could ultimately expose the Saudi government to some of the blame for 9/11 … ” [Newsweek, 11/22/02] Some Saudi newspapers which usually reflect government thinking claim the leak is blackmail to pressure Saudi Arabia into supporting war with Iraq. [MSNBC 11/25/02] Senior government officials claim the FBI and CIA failed to aggressively pursue leads that might have linked the two hijackers to Saudi Arabia. This causes a bitter dispute between FBI and CIA officials and the intelligence panel investigating the 9/11 attacks (see December 11, 2002 (B)). [New York Times, 11/23/02] A number of senators, including Richard Shelby (R), John McCain (R), Mitch O'Connell (R), Joe Lieberman (D), Bob Graham (D), Joe Biden (D), and Charles Schumer (D), express concern about the Bush administration's action (or non-action) regarding the Saudi royal family and its possible role in funding terrorists. [New York Times, 11/25/02, Reuters, 11/24/02] Lieberman says, “I think it's time for the president to blow the whistle and remember what he said after September 11—you're either with us or you're with the terrorists.” [ABC News, 11/25/02] FBI officials strongly deny any deliberate connection between these two and the Saudi government or the hijackers [Time, 11/24/03], but later even more connections between them and both entities are revealed. [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03]
          

December 5, 2002

      
FBI agents raid Ptech offices
Federal agents search the offices of Ptech, Inc., a computer software company in Quincy, Massachusetts, looking for evidence of links to bin Laden. A senior Ptech official confirms that Yassin al-Qadi, one of 12 Saudi businessmen on a secret CIA list suspected of funneling millions of dollars to al-Qaeda, was an investor in the company, beginning in 1994 (see October 1998 and ). [Newsweek 12/6/02; WBZ4 12/9/02] Some of Ptech's customers include the White House, Congress, Army, Navy, Air Force, NATO, FAA, FBI and the IRS. [Boston Globe, 12/7/02] A former FBI counter-terrorism official states, “For someone like [al-Qadi] to be involved in a capacity, in an organization, a company that has access to classified information, that has access to government open or classified computer systems, would be of grave concern.” Yacub Mirza— “a senior official of major radical Islamic organizations that have been linked by the US government to terrorism” —has recently been on Ptech's board of directors. Hussein Ibrahim, the Vice President and Chief Scientist of Ptech, was vice chairman of a now defunct investment group called BMI. An FBI affidavit names BMI as a conduit to launder money from al-Qadi to Hamas terrorists. [WBZ4, 12/9/02] The search into Ptech is part of Operation Green Quest, which has served 114 search warrants in the past 14 months involving suspected terrorist financing. Fifty arrests have been made and $27.4 million seized. [Forbes 12/6/02] Al-Qadi's assets were frozen by the FBI in October 2001 (see October 12, 2001). [Arab News 9/26/02] That same month, a number of Ptech employees told the Boston FBI that Ptech was financially backed by al-Qadi, but the FBI did little more than take their statements. A high level government source claims the FBI did not convey the information to a treasury department investigation of al-Qadi, and none of the government agencies using Ptech software were warned. Indira Singh, a second whistleblower, spoke with the FBI in June 2002 and was “shocked” and “frustrated” when she learned the agency had done nothing. [Boston Globe 12/7/02, WBZ4, 12/9/02] Beginning in mid-June 2002, WBZ-TV Boston had prepared an lengthy investigative report on Ptech, but withheld it for more than three months after receiving “calls from federal law enforcement agencies, some at the highest levels.” The station claims the government launched its Ptech probe in August 2002, after they “got wind of our investigation” and “asked us to hold the story so they could come out and do their raid and look like they're ahead of the game.” [Boston Globe 12/7/02 (B); WBZ4 12/9/02]
          

December 13, 2002

      
Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger resigns as head of the new 9/11 investigation (see November 27, 2002). [AP, 12/13/02, ABC, 12/13/02, Kissinger's resignation letter] Two days earlier, the Bush Administration argued that Kissinger was not required to disclose his private business clients. [New York Times, 12/12/02] However, the Congressional Research Service insists that he does, and Kissinger resigns rather than reveal his clients. [MSNBC 12/13/02; Seattle Times 12/14/02] It is reported that Kissinger is (or has been) a consultant for Unocal, the oil corporation, and was involved in plans to build pipelines through Afghanistan (see October 21, 1995, and August 9, 1998). [Washington Post 10/5/98; Salon 12/3/02] Kissinger claimed he did no current work for any oil companies or Mideast clients, but several corporations with heavy investments in Saudi Arabia, such as ABB Group, a Swiss-Swedish engineering firm, and Boeing Corp., pay him consulting fees of at least $250,000 a year. A Boeing spokesman said its “long-standing” relationship with Kissinger involved advice on deals in East Asia, not Saudi Arabia. Boeing sold $7.2 billion worth of aircraft to Saudi Arabia in 1995. [Newsweek 12/15/02] In a surprising break from usual procedures regarding high-profile presidential appointments, White House lawyers never vetted Kissinger for conflicts of interest. [Newsweek, 12/15/02] The Washington Post says that after the resignations of Kissinger and Mitchell, the commission “has lost time” and “is in disarray, which is no small trick given that it has yet to meet.” [Washington Post 12/14/02]
          

August 1-3, 2003

       In the wake of the release of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry's full report (see July 24, 2003), anonymous officials leak some details from a controversial, completely censored 28 page section that focuses on possible Saudi support for 9/11. According to leaks given to the New York Times, the section says that Omar al-Bayoumi and/or Osama Basnan “had at least indirect links with two hijackers were probably Saudi intelligence agents and may have reported to Saudi government officials.” It also says that Anwar Al Aulaqi “was a central figure in a support network that aided the same two hijackers.” Most connections drawn in the report between the men, Saudi intelligence, and 9/11 is said to be circumstantial. [New York Times 8/2/03] One key section is said to read, On the one hand, it is possible that these kinds of connections could suggest, as indicated in a CIA memorandum, ‘incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists’ … On the other hand, it is also possible that further investigation of these allegations could reveal legitimate, and innocent, explanations for these associations.” Some of the most sensitive information involves what US agencies are doing currently to investigate Saudi business figures and organizations. [AP 8/2/03] According to the New Republic, the section outlines “connections between the hijacking plot and the very top levels of the Saudi royal family.” An anonymous official is quoted as saying, “There's a lot more in the 28 pages than money. Everyone's chasing the charities. They should be chasing direct links to high levels of the Saudi government. We're not talking about rogue elements. We're talking about a coordinated network that reaches right from the hijackers to multiple places in the Saudi government. … If the people in the administration trying to link Iraq to al-Qaeda had one-one-thousandth of the stuff that the 28 pages has linking a foreign government to al-Qaeda, they would have been in good shape. … If the 28 pages were to be made public, I have no question that the entire relationship with Saudi Arabia would change overnight.” [New Republic 8/1/03] The section also is critical that the issue of foreign government support remains unresolved. One section reads, “In their testimony, neither CIA or FBI officials were able to address definitely the extent of such support for the hijackers, globally or within the United States, or the extent to which such support, if it exists, is knowing or inadvertent in nature. This gap in intelligence community coverage is unacceptable.” [Boston Globe 8/3/03]
          


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