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Before 9/11

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

Al-Qaeda Members

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

Geopolitics and 9/11

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

Day of 9/11

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

The Post-9/11 World

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

 
  

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Showing 1-100 of 174 events (use filters to narrow search):    next 100

September 12, 2001: Unidentified Plane Causes NEADS Evacuation

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

September 12, 2001: US Denies Any Hints of bin Laden Plot to Attack in US

       The government's initial response to the 9/11 attacks is that it had no evidence whatsoever that bin Laden planned an attack in the US “There was a ton of stuff, but it all pointed to an attack abroad,” says one official. Furthermore, in the 24 hours after the attack, investigators would have been searching through “mountains of information.” However, “the vast electronic ‘take’ on bin Laden, said officials who requested anonymity, contained no hints of a pending terror campaign in the United States itself, no orders to subordinates, no electronic fund transfers, no reports from underlings on their surveillance of the airports in Boston, Newark, and Washington.” [Miami Herald, 9/12/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Bush administration
          

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 12, 2001: Bush Meeting Raises Iraq Attack Possibility

       White House counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke meets with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush, and Secretary of State Colin Powell. Rumsfeld suggests that the US should bomb Iraq in retaliation for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. “Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq,” Clarke will later recall in his book, Against All Enemies. “... We all said, ‘But no, no. Al-Qaeda is in Afghanistan,’ and Rumsfeld said, ‘There aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.’ ” [Clarke, 2004; Associated Press, 3/20/04; Reuters, 3/19/04; Washington Post, 3/22/2004 Sources: Richard A. Clarke] Powell agrees with Clarke that the immediate focus should be al-Qaeda. However, Powell also says, “Public opinion has to be prepared before a move against Iraq is possible.” Clarke complains to him, “Having been attacked by al-Qaeda, for us now to go bombing Iraq in response would be like our invading Mexico after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor.” President Bush notes the goal should be replacing the Iraqi government, not just bombing it, but the military warns an invasion would need a large force and many months to assemble. [Clarke, 2004] Rumsfeld's view is said to be closely aligned with that of his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, who believes Saddam, not Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda, should be the principal target of the “war on terrorism.” [Woodward, 2002, pp 49] Commenting on his feelings after the meeting, Clarke will later write: “At first I was incredulous that we were talking about something other than getting al-Qaeda. I realized with almost a sharp physical pain that (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq.” [New York Times, 3/28/04; Associated Press, 3/22/04; Washington Post, 3/22/04] “They were talking about Iraq on 9/11. They were talking about it on 9/12.” [Associated Press, 3/20/04; Reuters, 3/19/04; Clarke, 2004. Sources: Richard A. Clarke]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Richard A. Clarke, George W. Bush, Paul Wolfowitz  Additional Info 
          

September 12, 2001: Bush to Clarke: ‘Look into Iraq’

       US President George Bush speaks privately with White House counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke in the White House Situation Room. According to Clarke, Bush tells him to investigate the possibility that Iraq was involved in the attacks. “I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything,” Bush says. “See if Saddam did this.” When Clarke responds, “But Mr. President, al-Qaeda did this,” Bush replies, “I know, I know, but... see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred.” Clarke insists that the CIA, FBI, and White House already concluded that there were no such links. As he exits the room, Bush “testily” says again, “Look into Iraq, Saddam.” [Washington Post, 3/22/2004 Sources: Richard A. Clarke] During a “60 Minutes” interview, Clarke will say that Bush's instructions were made in a way that was “very intimidating,” and which hinted that Clarke “should come back with that answer.” “Now he never said, ‘Make it up.’ But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this.” [CBS News, 3/20/04; New York Times, 3/23/04] Clarke's account is later confirmed by several eyewitnesses. [Guardian, 3/26/2004; BBC, 3/23/2004; CBS News, 3/20/04] After his meeting with Bush, Clarke works with CIA and FBI experts to produce the report requested by the president; but they find no evidence that Iraq had a hand in the attacks. It gets “bounced by the national-security advisor, or deputy,” according to Clarke. “ It got bounced and sent back, saying ‘Wrong answer .... Do it again.’ ” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pp 238]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Clarke, Scott McClellan, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley  Additional Info 
          

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 13, 2001: Saudi Royals Fly to Kentucky in Violation of Domestic Flight Ban

       After a complete air flight ban in the US began during the 9/11 attacks, some commercial flights begin resuming this day. However, all private flights are still banned from flying. Nonetheless, at least one private flight carrying Saudi royalty takes place on this day. And in subsequent days, other flights carry royalty and bin Laden family members. 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] The first flight is a Lear Jet that leaves from a private Raytheon hangar in Tampa, Florida, 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; Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 10/29/03 (D)] For two years, this 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, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke confirms the existence of these flights, and Secretary of State Powell confirms them as well. [Vanity Fair, 10/03; MSNBC, 9/7/03] However, the White House remains silent on the matter. [New York Times, 9/4/03] Officials at the Tampa International Airport finally confirm this first flight in 2004. But whether the flight violated the air ban or not rests on some technicalities that remain unresolved. [Lexington Herald-Leader, 6/10/04] The Saudis are evacuated to Saudi Arabia over the next several days (see September 14-19, 2001).
People and organizations involved: Bin Laden Family, Bandar bin Sultan, Bush administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Colin Powell, Richard A. Clarke
          

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

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

September 14, 2001: FBI Director Caught in Whopper

      
FBI Director Robert Mueller.
FBI Director Mueller describes reports that several of the hijackers had received flight training in the US as “news, quite obviously,” adding, “If we had understood that to be the case, we would have—perhaps one could have averted this.” It is later discovered that contrary to Mueller's claims, the FBI had interviewed various flight school staffs about Middle Eastern militants on numerous occasions, from 1996 until a few weeks before 9/11. [Washington Post, 9/23/01; Boston Globe, 9/18/01] Three days later, he says, “There were no warning signs that I'm aware of that would indicate this type of operation in the country.” [Department of Justice transcript, 9/17/01] Slate magazine later contrasts this with numerous other contradictory statements and articles, and awards Mueller the “Whopper of the Week.” [Slate, 5/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert S. Mueller III
          

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

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

September 14, 2001: Revealed: Saudi Students May Attend Florida Flight Schools Without Background Checks

       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]
People and organizations involved: Saudi Arabia
          

September 14, 2001: Officials Deny Flight 93 Shot Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 14-19, 2001: Bin Laden Family Members, Saudi Royals Quietly Leave US

      
Khalil bin Laden at the Orlando, Florida, airport, about to be flown out of the country in the days after 9/11.
Following a secret flight inside the US that is in violation of a national private airplane flight ban, 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. The identities of most of these passengers are not known. However, some of the passengers include:
The son of the Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan. Sultan is sued in August 2002 for alleged complicity in the 9/11 plot. [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]
Khalil bin Laden. He has been investigated by the Brazilian government for possible terrorist connections. [Vanity Fair, 10/03]

Abdullah bin Laden and 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 (see September 11, 1996) in a case involving espionage, murder, and national security. Their case is reopened on September 19, right after 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]
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. [Washington Post, 10/2/03]
There is a later dispute regarding how thoroughly the Saudis are interviewed before they leave and who approves the flights. Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke says he agrees to the flights after the FBI assures him none of those on board has 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] Clarke says the decision to approve the flights “didn't get any higher than me.” However, the question of who made the request of Clarke is still unknown. [The Hill, 05/18/04] 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 spokesperson 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 are not interviewed by the FBI at all. [Vanity Fair, 10/03] Abdullah bin Laden, 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. [Vanity Fair, 10/03; National Review, 9/11/02] 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 Saudi royals and bin Laden relatives are being sued for their alleged role in 9/11. 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]
People and organizations involved: Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Bin Laden Family, Bush administration, Abdullah bin Laden, Khalil bin Laden, Omar bin Laden, Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, Charles Schumer, Federal Bureau of Investigation, World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Abdullah bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Richard A. Clarke, US Department of State, Dale Watson
          

September 14, 2001: Deutsche Bank Exec Resigns, Prompting Speculations of 9/11 Connection

       Mayo Shattuck III resigns, effective immediately, as head of the Alex Brown unit of Deutsche Bank. No reason is given. Some speculate later that this could have to do with the role of Deutsche Bank in the pre-9/11 purchases of put options on the stock of companies most affected by 9/11. Deutsche Bank is also one of the four banks most used by the bin Laden family. [Wall Street Journal, 9/27/01; New York Times, 9/15/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Mayo Shattuck III, Deutsche Bank
          

September 14, 2001: Head of Shadowy Company Flees US

       Dominick Suter, owner of the company Urban Moving Systems, flees the country to Israel. The FBI later tells ABC News, “Urban Moving may have been providing cover for an Israeli intelligence operation.” Suter has been tied to the five Israeli agents caught filming the WTC attack. The FBI had questioned Suter around September 12, removing boxes of documents and a dozen computer hard drives. However, when the FBI returns a few days later, he is gone. [ABC News, 6/21/02; New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, 12/13/01; Forward, 3/15/02]
People and organizations involved: Dominick Suter, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

September 14, 2001: Atta-Iraq Spy Meeting Story Begins with Dubious Tip

       The CIA intelligence liaison in Prague is told by the Czech intelligence agency (BIS) that one of its informants in the local Prague Arab community believes the Hamburg “student” he had seen meeting with Iraqi diplomat Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani on April 8, 2001 in a restaurant outside of Prague was 9/11 plotter Mohamed Atta. (see April 8, 2001) Czech intelligence treats the claim skeptically because it comes only after Atta's picture has been broadcast on television and after the Czech press reported that records showed Atta had traveled to Prague. FBI agents go to the Czech Republic and are given full access to Czech intelligence material. This information leads hawks to come up with the so-called “Prague Connection” theory, which holds that 9/11 plotter Mohammed Atta flew to Prague on April 8, met with al-Ani to discuss the planning and financing of the 9/11 attacks, and returned to the US on either April 9 or 10. The theory will be widely debated but generally discounted by the end of 2004. [Slate, 11/19/03; New York Times, 10/21/02 Sources: Jan Kavan]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed Atta, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani
          

Mid-September 2001: Pakistani Leaders Side with Taliban

       The Guardian later claims that Pakistani President Musharraf has a meeting with his 12 or 13 most senior officers. Musharraf proposes to support the US in the imminent war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Supposedly, four of his most senior generals oppose him outright in “a stunning display of disloyalty.” The four are ISI Director Mahmood, Lieutenant General Muzaffar Usmani, Lieutenant General Jamshaid Gulzar Kiani, and Lieutenant General Mohammed Aziz Khan. All four are removed from power over the next month. If this meeting took place, it is hard to see when it could have happened, since the article states it happened “within days” of 9/11, but Mahmood was in the US until late September 16, then flew to Afghanistan for two days, then possibly to Saudi Arabia. [Guardian, 5/25/02]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Jamshaid Gulzar Kiani, Mohammed Aziz Khan, al-Qaeda, Muzaffar Usmani, Mahmood Ahmed, Pervez Musharraf
          

Mid-September 2001: Israel and US Plan Contingency to Steal Nuclear Weapons from Pakistan

       According to Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker, a few days after 9/11 members of the elite Israeli counterterrorism unit Sayeret Matkal arrive in the US and begin training with US Special Forces in a secret location. The two groups are developing contingency plans to attack Pakistan's military bases and remove its nuclear weapons if the Pakistani government or the nuclear weapons fall into the wrong hands. [New Yorker, 10/29/01] There may have been threats to enact this plan on September 13, 2001. The Japan Times later notes that this “threat to divest Pakistan of its ‘crown jewels’ was cleverly used by the US, first to force Musharraf to support its military campaign in Afghanistan, and then to warn would-be coup plotters against Musharraf.” [Japan Times, 11/10/01]
People and organizations involved: Pervez Musharraf, Sayeret Matkal, Pakistan
          

September 15, 2001: Bush Approves the CIA's Worldwide Attack Matrix Action Plan

       CIA Director Tenet briefs President Bush “with a briefcase stuffed with top-secret documents and plans, in many respects the culmination of more than four years of work on bin Laden, the al-Qaeda network and worldwide terrorism.” In his briefing, Tenet advocates “a strategy to create ‘a northern front, closing the safe haven [of Afghanistan].’ His idea [is] that Afghan opposition forces, aided by the United States, would move first against the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, try to break the Taliban's grip on that city and open up the border with Uzbekistan. From there the campaign could move to other cities in the north...” Tenet also explains that the CIA had begun working with a number of tribal leaders to stir up resistance in the south the previous year. Tenet then turns to a top secret document called the “Worldwide Attack Matrix,” which describes covert operations in 80 countries that are either underway or now recommended. The actions range from routine propaganda to lethal covert action in preparation for military attacks. The military, which typically plans such military campaigns, is caught relatively unprepared and so it defers to the CIA plans. [Washington Post, 1/31/02]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, George W. Bush, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Central Intelligence Agency
          

September 15, 2001-April 6, 2002: Bush Shifts Public Focus from bin Laden to Iraq

       On September 15, 2001, President Bush says of bin Laden: “If he thinks he can hide and run from the United States and our allies, he will be sorely mistaken.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/16/01 (B)] Two days later, he says, “I want justice. And there's an old poster out West, I recall, that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.’ ” [ABC News, 9/17/01] On December 28, 2001, even as the US was declaring victory in Afghanistan, Bush says, “Our objective is more than bin Laden.” [Associated Press, 8/19/02 (B)] Bush's January 2002 State of the Union speech describes Iraq as part of an “axis of evil” and fails to mention bin Laden at all. On March 8, 2002, Bush still vows: “We're going to find him.” [Washington Post, 10/1/02] Yet, only a few days later on March 13, Bush says, “He's a person who's now been marginalized. ... I just don't spend that much time on him. ... I truly am not that concerned about him.” Instead, Bush is “deeply concerned about Iraq.” [White House, 3/13/02] The rhetoric shift is complete when Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers states on April 6, “The goal has never been to get bin Laden.” [Department of Defense, 4/6/02] In October 2002, the Washington Post notes that since March 2002, Bush has avoided mentioning bin Laden's name, even when asked about him directly. Bush sometimes uses questions about bin Laden to talk about Saddam Hussein instead. In late 2001, nearly two-thirds of Americans say the war on terrorism could not be called a success without bin Laden's death or capture. That number falls to 44 percent in a March 2002 poll, and the question has since been dropped. [Washington Post, 10/1/02] Charles Heyman, editor of Jane's World Armies, later points out: “There appears to be a real disconnect” between the US military's conquest of Afghanistan and “the earlier rhetoric of President Bush, which had focused on getting bin Laden.” [Christian Science Monitor, 3/4/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard B. Myers, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein
          

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

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

September 16, 2001: Bush Claim That Using Planes as Missiles Was Impossible to Predict Is Contradicted by Former CIA Official

       President Bush says, “Never (in) anybody's thought processes ... about how to protect America did we ever think that the evil doers would fly not one but four commercial aircraft into precious US targets ... never.” [NATO, 9/16/01] A month later, Paul Pillar, the former deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, says, “The idea of commandeering an aircraft and crashing it into the ground and causing high casualties, sure we've thought of it.” [Los Angeles Times, 10/14/01]
People and organizations involved: Paul Pillar, George W. Bush
          

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

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

September 16, 2001: Taliban Said to Agree to All US Demands in a Secret Meeting

       A secret meeting takes place between Taliban and US government representatives in the city of Quetta, Pakistan. Afghan-American businessman Kabir Mohabbat serves as a middleman. US officials deny the meeting takes place, but later in the month Mohabbat explains that the US demands the Taliban hand over bin Laden, extradite foreign members of al-Qaeda who are wanted in their home countries, and shut down bin Laden's bases and camps. Mohabbat claims that the Taliban agrees to meet all the demands. However, some days later he is told the US position has changed and the Taliban must surrender or be killed. Later in the month, the Taliban again agrees to hand over bin Laden unconditionally, but the US replies that “the train had moved.” [Counterpunch, 11/1/04; CBS, 9/25/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Kabir Mohabbat, Taliban, Bush administration
          

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 17, 2001: Associates of al-Marabh Arrested on Conspiracy Charges

       Federal agents looking for al-Marabh fail to find him at an old address, but they accidentally discover three other potential terrorists there. Karim Koubriti, Ahmed Hannan, and Farouk Ali-Haimoud are arrested. They worked as dishwashers at the Detroit airport. Investigators believe they were casing the airport for possible security breaches. [Boston Globe, 11/15/02] In the apartment, the FBI discovers a day planner that includes notes about the “American base in Turkey,” the “American Foreign Minister,” and “Alia Airport” in Jordan. [Washington Post, 9/20/01] They believe the men were planning to assassinate ex-Defense Secretary William Cohen during a visit to Turkey. [Associated Press, 11/17/01] A stash of false documents is also found, and all three have false passports, Social Security cards, and immigration papers. [Boston Globe, 11/15/02; Boston Herald, 9/20/01] Fake documents linking al-Marabh and another suspected terrorist named Yousef Hmimssa are also found [ABC News, 1/31/02] , as is videotaped surveillance of major tourist spots like Disneyland and the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. [Boston Globe, 11/15/02] Abel-Ilah Elmardoudi, the apparent ringleader of this group, is arrested in North Carolina in November 2002. All are tried on terrorism-related charges in 2003. [Boston Globe, 11/15/02] Two of the four are convicted of being part of a terrorism conspiracy. [Associated Press, 6/3/04]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Hannan, Farouk Ali-Haimoud, Yousef Hmimssa, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Abel-Ilah Elmardoudi, Karim Koubriti, William S. Cohen
          

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

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

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

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

September 17-18 and 28, 2001: Taliban Refuses to Extradite bin Laden

       On September 17, ISI Director Mahmood heads a six-man delegation that visits Mullah Omar in Kandahar, Afghanistan. It is reported he is trying to convince Omar to extradite bin Laden or face an immediate US attack. [Press Trust of India, 9/17/01; Financial Times, 9/18/01; Times of London, 9/18/01] Also in the delegation is Lieutenant General Mohammed Aziz Khan, an ex-ISI official who appears to be one of Saeed Sheikh's contacts in the ISI. [Press Trust of India, 9/17/01] On September 28, Mahmood returns to Afghanistan with a group of about ten religious leaders. He talks with Omar, who again says he will not hand over bin Laden. [Agence France-Presse, 9/28/01] A senior Taliban official later claims that on these trips Mahmood in fact urges Omar not to extradite bin Laden, but instead urges him to resist the US. [Time, 5/6/02; Associated Press, 2/21/02] Another account claims Mahmood does “nothing as the visitors [pour] praise on Omar and [fails] to raise the issue” of bin Laden's extradition. [Knight Ridder, 11/3/01] Two Pakistani brigadier generals connected to the ISI also accompany Mahmood, and advise al-Qaeda to counter the coming US attack on Afghanistan by resorting to mountain guerrilla war. The advice is not followed. [Asia Times, 9/11/02] Other ISI officers also stay in Afghanistan to advise the Taliban.
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Osama bin Laden, Saeed Sheikh, al-Qaeda, Mohammed Aziz Khan, Mullah Omar, Mahmood Ahmed
          

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

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

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

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

September 17, 2001: Bush Signs Afghanistan War Plan, But Also Includes Order to Prepare for Iraq

       President Bush signs a 2 1/2-page “top secret” document that outlines the administration's plan to invade Afghanistan and topple its government. According to administration officials interviewed by the Washington Post, the document also instructs the Pentagon to begin planning for an invasion of Iraq. [Washington Post, 1/12/03; The Mirror, 9/22/03; Atlantic Monthly, 10/2004 Sources: senior administration officials] The document further orders the military to be ready to occupy Iraq's oil fields if the country acts against US interests. [Washington Post, 7/23/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

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

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

On and around September 18, 2001: Wolfowitz and Feith Argue that Iraq Should be Target in War on Terrorism

       Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith argue in three memos why Iraq should be included as a target in the war on terrorism. One memo, “Were We Asleep?,” is dated September 18, and suggests links between Iraq and al-Qaeda. [Washington Post, 1/12/03; The Mirror, 9/22/03 Sources: senior administration officials]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith
          

September 19, 2001: Al-Marabh Arrested, Given Light Prison Sentence on Non-Terrorism Charges

       Nabil al-Marabh is arrested on September 19, 2001, at an Illinois convenience store. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] FBI investigators claim al-Marabh helped the hijackers get false IDs, and helped launder money for al-Qaeda. [ABC News, 1/31/02] The FBI decides not to charge al-Marabh on any terrorism related charge. Instead, on September 3, 2002, Nabil al-Marabh pleads guilty to illegally entering the US, and he is sentenced to only eight months in prison. [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/5/02] Federal prosecutors claim that “at this time” there is no evidence “of any involvement by [al-Marabh] in any terrorist organization,” even though he has admitted to getting weapons training in Afghanistan. [Washington Post, 9/4/02] The judge states he cannot say “in good conscience” that he approves of the plea bargain worked out between the prosecution and defense, but he seems unable to stop it. He says, “Something about this case makes me feel uncomfortable. I just don't have a lot of information.” The judge has a number of unanswered questions, such as how al-Marabh had $22,000 in cash and $25,000 worth of amber jewels on his possession when he was arrested, despite holding only a sporadic series of low-paying jobs. “These are the things that kind of bother me. It's kind of unusual, isn't it?” says the judge. [National Post, 9/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda, Nabil al-Marabh
          

September 19, 2001: Rumored Meeting Between Saudi Fundamentalists and ISI

       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, and Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz, the new head of Saudi intelligence, meet with General Mohamed Youssef, head of the ISI's Afghanistan Section, and ISI Director Mahmood (just returning from discussions in Afghanistan). 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 in the summer of 2001.
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Taliban, Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz, Mahmood Ahmed, Mohamed Youssef, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence
          

September 19, 2001-Present: Claims of an Atta-Iraqi Spy Meeting Are Repeatedly Asserted and Denied

       Media coverage relating to an alleged meeting between hijacker Mohamed Atta and an Iraqi spy named Ahmed al-Ani took place in Prague, Czech Republic, has changed repeatedly over time:
September 19, 2001: It is first reported that an April 8, 2001, meeting took place; Atta is named later. [Los Angeles Times, 9/19/01; CNN, 10/11/01]

October 20, 2001: The story is denied. [New York Times, 10/20/01]

October 27, 2001: The story is confirmed. [New York Times, 10/27/01]

October 27, 2001: It is claimed Atta met with Iraqi agents four times in Prague, plus in Germany, Spain, and Italy. [Times of London, 10/27/01]

November 12, 2001: Conservative columnist William Safire calls the meeting an “undisputed fact.” [New York Times, 11/12/01]

December 9, 2001: Vice President Cheney asserts that the existence of the meeting is “pretty well confirmed.” [Washington Post, 12/9/01]

December 16, 2001: The identities of both al-Ani and Atta, alleged to have been at the meetings, are disputed. [New York Times, 12/16/01]

January 12, 2002: It is claimed at least two meetings took place, including one a year earlier. [Daily Telegraph, 1/12/02]

February 6, 2002: It is reported that the meeting probably took place, but was not connected to the 9/11 attacks. [New York Times, 2/6/02]

March 15, 2002: Evidence that the meeting took place is considered between “slim” and “none.” [Washington Post, 3/15/02]

March 18, 2002: William Safire again strongly asserts that the meeting took place. [New York Times, 3/18/02]

April 28-May 2, 2002: The meeting is largely discredited. For example, the Washington Post quotes FBI Director Mueller stating that, “We ran down literally hundreds of thousands of leads and checked every record we could get our hands on, from flight reservations to car rentals to bank accounts,” yet no evidence that Atta left the country was found. According to the Post, “[a]fter months of investigation, the Czechs [say] they [are] no longer certain that Atta was the person who met al-Ani, saying ‘he may be different from Atta.’ ” [Washington Post, 5/1/02]
Newsweek cites a US official who contends that, “Neither we nor the Czechs nor anybody else has any information [Atta] was coming or going [to Prague] at that time.” [Washington Post, 5/1/02; New York Times, 5/2/02; Newsweek, 4/28/02]
May 8, 2002: Some Czech officials continue to affirm the meeting took place. [Prague Post, 5/8/02]

May 9, 2002: William Safire refuses to give up the story, claiming a “protect-Saddam cabal” in the high levels of the US government is burying the story. [New York Times, 5/9/02]

July 15, 2002: The head of Czech foreign intelligence states that reports of the meeting are unproved and implausible. [Prague Post, 7/15/02]

August 2, 2002: With a war against Iraq growing more likely, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer suggests the meeting did happen, “despite deep doubts by the CIA and FBI.” [Los Angeles Times, 8/2/02]

August 19, 2002: Newsweek states: “The sole evidence for the alleged meeting is the uncorroborated claim of a Czech informant.” According to Newsweek, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is nonetheless pushing the FBI to have the meeting accepted as fact. [Newsweek, 8/19/02]

September 10, 2002: The Bush administration is no longer actively asserting that the meeting took place. [Washington Post, 9/10/02]

September 17, 2002: Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld “accept reports from Czech diplomats” that the meeting took place. [USA Today, 9/17/02]

September 23, 2002: Newsweek reports that the CIA is resisting Pentagon demands to obtain pictures of the alleged meeting from Iraqi exiles. One official says, “We do not shy away from evidence. But we also don't make it up.” [Newsweek, 9/23/02]

October 20, 2002: Czech officials, including President Vaclav Havel, emphatically deny that the meeting ever took place. It now appears Atta was not even in the Czech Republic during the month the meeting was supposed to have taken place. President Havel told Bush “quietly some time earlier this year” that the meeting did not happen. [New York Times, 10/21/02; UPI, 10/20/02]

December 8, 2002: Bush adviser Richard Perle continues to push the story, stating, “To the best of my knowledge that meeting took place.” [CBS News, 12/8/02]

July 9, 2003: Iraqi intelligence officer Ahmed al-Ani is captured by US forces in Iraq. [Washington Post, 7/9/03]

July 10, 2003: In a story confirming al-Ani's capture, ABC News cites US and British intelligence officials who have seen surveillance photos of al-Ani's meetings in Prague, and who say that there is a man who looks somewhat like Atta, but is not Atta. [ABC News, 7/10/03]

September 14, 2003: Vice President Cheney repeats the claims that Atta met with al-Ani in Prague on NBC's “Meet the Press.” [Washington Post, 9/15/03]

December 13, 2003: It is reported that al-Ani told interrogators he did not meet Atta in Prague. [Washington Post, 9/29/03; Reuters, 12/13/03]

June 16, 2004: The 9/11 Commission concludes that the meeting never happened. They claim cell phone records and other records show Atta never left Florida during the time in question. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/16/04 (B)]

July 17, 2004: Vice President Cheney says no one has “been able to confirm” the Atta meeting in Prague or to “to knock it down.” [CNN, 6/18/04]

People and organizations involved: Richard Perle, Vaclav Havel, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Ari Fleischer, 9/11 Commission, Paul Wolfowitz, Mohamed Atta, Robert S. Mueller III
          

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 19, 2001-September 20, 2001: Defense Policy Board Meets and Discusses Iraq

       The Defense Policy Board (DPB) meets in secrecy in Rumsfeld's Pentagon conference room on September 19 and 20 for nineteen hours to discuss the option of taking military action against Iraq. [New York Times, 10/12/01] They also discuss how they might overcome some of the diplomatic and political pressures that would likely attempt to impede a policy of regime change in Iraq. [New York Times, 10/12/01] Among those attending the meeting are the 18 members of the Defense Policy Board, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Bernard Lewis, Ahmed Chalabi, and Chalabi's aide Francis Brooke. [New Yorker, 6/7/2004; Vanity Fair, 5/04, pp 236; New York Times, 10/12/01] Secretary of State Colin Powell and other State Department officials in charge of US policy toward Iraq are not invited and are not informed of the meeting. A source will later tell the New York Times that Powell was irritated about not being briefed on the meeting. [New York Times, 10/12/01] During the seminar, two of Richard Perle's invited guests, Princeton professor Bernard Lewis and Ahmed Chalabi, the president of the Iraqi National Congress, are given the opportunity to speak. Lewis says that the US must encourage democratic reformers in the Middle East, “such as my friend here, Ahmed Chalabi.” Chalabi argues that Iraq is a breeding ground for terrorists and asserts that Saddam's regime has weapons of mass destruction. [Vanity Fair, 5/04, pp 232] He also asserts “there'd be no resistance, no guerrilla warfare from the Baathists, and [it would be] a quick matter of establishing a government.” [New Yorker, 6/7/2004] Attendees write a letter to President Bush calling for the removal of Saddam Hussein. “[E]ven if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism,” the letter reads. The letter is published in the Washington Times on September 20 (see September 20, 2001) in the name of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), a conservative think tank that believes the US needs to shoulder the responsibility for maintaining “peace” and “security” in the world by strengthening its global hegemony. [Project for a New American Century, 9/20/01; Manila Times, 7/19/03] Bush reportedly rejects the letter's proposal, as both Cheney and Powell agree that there is no evidence implicating Saddam Hussein in the attacks. [New York Times, 10/12/01 Sources: Unnamed senior administration officials and defense experts]
People and organizations involved: Henry A. Kissinger, James Woolsey, Adm. David E. Jeremiah, Ahmed Chalabi, Bernard Lewis, James R. Schlesinger, Dan Quayle, Harold Brown, Newt Gingrich, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, Defense Policy Board, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Francis Brooke
          

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

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

September 20, 2001: Tom Ridge Named Homeland Security Secretary

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

September 20, 2001: Saudi Arabia Uncooperative in 9/11 Investigation

       President Bush states: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. 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]
People and organizations involved: Saudi Arabia, George W. Bush
          

September 20, 2001: Not All Passengers on ‘Bin Laden Flight’ Are Properly Interviewed or Accounted For

       A private plane picks up Saudis who have gathered in Boston and flies them to Paris, then ultimately to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Because most of the passengers on board are relatives of Osama bin Laden, the 9/11 Commission calls this the “so-called bin Laden flight.” The commission claims there are 26 passengers on board, three of them security personnel. They further report that “22 of the 26... were interviewed by the FBI. Many were asked detailed questions.” However, the commission does not answer how many were not asked detailed questions, or were not questioned at all. [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/04, pp 557] However, Craig Unger, author of the book House of Bush, House of Saud, publishes the flight manifest during the same week as the 9/11 Commission's final report is released, and this list contains 29 names (including the three security personnel), not 26. [Craig Unger website, 7/22/04] The 2005 book “Al-Qaeda Will Conquer” by Guillaume Dasquié also makes note of this three-person discrepancy. [Financial Times, 4/27/05]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11 Commission, Bin Laden Family
          

September 20, 2001: Bush to Blair: After Afghanistan, ‘We Must Come Back to Iraq’

       British Prime Minister Tony Blair meets with President George Bush at the White House. During dinner that night, also attended by Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and British ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer, Blair tells Bush that he wants to concentrate on ousting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Bush replies, “I agree with you Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.” Blair says nothing to disagree. [Observer, 4/4/04; BBC, 4/3/03; Independent, 4/4/04; Vanity Fair, 5/04, pp 238 Sources: Christopher Meyer]
People and organizations involved: Christopher Meyer, Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Tony Blair
          

September 20, 2001: PNAC Think Tank Pushes for Iraq War

       The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), an influential neoconservative think tank, publishes a letter addressed to President Bush, insisting that the war on terrorism include as one of its objectives the removal of Saddam Hussein from power— “even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack.” “Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism.” PNAC also says the US should demand that Iran and Syria cease all support of Hezbollah, and if they fail to do so, the US should “retaliate” against those two countries as well. Israel is praised in the letter as “America's staunchest ally against international terrorism.” [Project for the New American Century, 9/20/01]
People and organizations involved: Project for the New American Century
          

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

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

September 21, 2001: US Denies Plans for Afghanistan Regime Change

       A secret report to NATO allies says the US privately wants to hear allied views on “post-Taliban Afghanistan after the liberation of the country.” However, the US is publicly claiming it has no intentions to overthrow the Taliban. [Guardian, 9/21/01] For instance, four days later, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer denies that military actions there are “designed to replace one regime with another.” [State Department, 12/26/01]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer, Bush administration, Taliban
          

September 21-28, 2001: Suspected Hijacker Associate Is Arrested in Britain, Released

       Omar al-Bayoumi, suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent, 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. [MSNBC, 11/27/02; Washington Post, 12/29/01; San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/27/01] 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 spokesperson 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 than the seven days allowed under British anti-terrorism laws. [San Diego Channel 10, 10/25/01; Times of London, 10/19/01] 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 classified sections of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry 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. The FBI is said to conduct a massive investigation of al-Bayoumi within days of 9/11, which shows he has connections to individuals who have been designated by the US as foreign terrorists. [Newsweek, 7/28/03; Sunday Mercury, 10/21/01; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] But two years later witnesses connecting him to Saudi money apparently are not interviewed by the FBI. 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 November 2002. [San Diego Magazine, 9/03]
People and organizations involved: Omar al-Bayoumi, Britain, Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda, Nail al-Jubeir
          

September 21, 2001: Algerian Pilot Mistakenly Arrested

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

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

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

September 22, 2001-December 2001: US Secretly Increases Military Presence in Central Asia

      
A Mirage 2000-D fighter in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in February 2002.
Witnesses begin to report US military planes secretly landing at night in the Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The US, Tajik, and Uzbek governments initially deny that any US troops have been sent there. [Associated Press, 9/25/01 (D); Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01 (D)] By October 5, witnesses say a “huge military buildup” has already occurred. [Daily Telegraph, 10/4/01] On October 7, the US and Uzbekistan sign a secret agreement that reportedly is “a long term commitment to advance security and regional stability.” [Financial Times, 10/13/01] It is later reported that the US military bases here, “originally agreed as temporary and emergency expedients, are now permanent.” [Guardian, 1/16/02] The US begins building a military base in the nearby country of Kyrgyzstan in December 2001. “There are no restrictions” in the agreement on what the US can do with this base, and it will be a “transportation hub” for the whole region. [New York Times, 1/9/02] The base is only 200 miles from China. [Christian Science Monitor, 1/17/02] The building of these bases is the culmination of the strategy first proposed in 1992 by the men now in power.
People and organizations involved: Tajikistan, United States, Kyrgyzstan
          

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

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

September 23, 2001: Experts Say Islamic Militant Groups Linked to Organized Crime

       European law enforcement experts claim that numerous links tie major Islamic Militant organizations, including al-Qaeda, with international organized crime groups. For approximately the last decade, mutually benefiting strong ties have developed between the two groups. Organized crime launders an estimated $900 billion a year, some of it from militant groups that have been designated as terrorist organizations. France's chief financial crime prosecutor: “The nerve center of war is money . . . Without money, terrorist networks do not exist. They can't finance their operations overseas or purchase arms.” Militant groups are also deeply involved in the international narcotics trade. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/23/01]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda
          

September 24, 2001-December 26, 2002: Identity of 9/11 Financier Constantly Changes

      
This is the fuzzy passport photo of “Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi,” according to the book “The Base” by Jane Corbin.
In 2000, the 9/11 hijackers receive money from a man using “Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi” and other aliases. On September 8-11, 2001, the hijackers send money to a man in the United Arab Emirates who uses the aliases “Mustafa Ahmed,” “Mustafa Ahmad,” and “Ahamad Mustafa.” Soon the media begins reporting on who this 9/11 “paymaster” is, but his reported names and identities will continually change. The media has sometimes made the obvious connection that the paymaster is Saeed Sheikh—a British financial expert who studied at the London School of Economics, undisputedly sent hijacker Mohamed Atta money the month before the attacks, made frequent trips to Dubai (where the money is sent), and is known to have trained the hijackers. However, the FBI consistently deflects attention to other possible explanations, with a highly confusing series of names vaguely similar to Mustafa Ahmed or Saeed Sheikh:
September 24, 2001: Newsweek reports that the paymaster for the 9/11 attacks is someone named “Mustafa Ahmed.” [Newsweek, 9/24/01]
This refers to Mustafa Mahmoud Said Ahmed, an Egyptian al-Qaeda banker who was captured in Tanzania in 1998 then later released. [Sydney Morning Herald, 9/28/01; Newsday, 10/3/01]
October 1, 2001: The Guardian reports that the real name of “Mustafa Mohamed Ahmad” is “Sheikh Saeed.” [Guardian, 10/1/01]
A few days later, CNN confirms that this “Sheik Syed” is the British man Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh rescued from an Indian prison in 1999. [CNN, 10/8/01; CNN, 10/6/01] However, starting on October 8, the story that ISI Director Mahmood ordered Saeed to give Mohamed Atta $100,000 begins to break. References to the 9/11 paymaster being the British Saeed Sheikh (and the connections to Ahmed) suddenly disappear from the Western media (with one exception [CNN, 10/28/01] ).
October 2001: Other articles continue to use “Mustafa Mohammed Ahmad” or “Shaykh Saiid” with no details of his identity, except for suggestions that he is Egyptian. There are numerous spelling variations and conflicting accounts over which name is the alias. [Washington Post, 10/7/01; Sunday Times, 10/7/01; Associated Press, 10/6/01; New York Times, 10/15/01; Los Angeles Times, 10/20/01; Knight Ridder, 10/9/01; BBC, 10/1/01; Newsday, 10/3/01; Evening Standard, 10/1/01]

October 16, 2001: CNN reports that the 9/11 paymaster “Sheik Sayid” is mentioned in a May 2001 trial of al-Qaeda members. However, this turns out to be a Kenyan named Sheik Sayyid el Masry. [CNN, 10/16/01; Trial Transcript, 2/21/01; Trial Transcript, 2/20/01]

November 11, 2001: The identity of 9/11 paymaster “Mustafa Ahmed” is suddenly no longer Egyptian, but is now a Saudi named Sa'd Al-Sharif, who is said to be bin Laden's brother-in-law. [United Nations, 3/8/01; Associated Press, 12/18/01; Newsweek, 11/11/01]

December 11, 2001: The federal indictment of Zacarias Moussaoui calls the 9/11 paymaster “Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi a/k/a ‘Mustafa Ahmed,’ ” and gives him Sa'd's nationality and birth date. [MSNBC, 12/11/01]
Many articles begin adding “al-Hawsawi” to the Mustafa Ahmed name. [Washington Post, 12/13/01; Los Angeles Times, 1/20/02; Washington Post, 1/7/02]
January 23, 2002: As new information is reported in India, the media returns to the British Saeed Sheikh as the 9/11 paymaster. [Daily Telegraph, 1/27/02; Independent, 1/24/02; Los Angeles Times, 1/23/02; Daily Telegraph, 1/24/02]
While his role in the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl is revealed on February 6, many articles connect him to 9/11, but many more do not. Coverage of Saeed's 9/11 connections generally dies out by the time of his trial in July 2002.
June 4, 2002: Without explanation, the name “Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif” begins to be used for the 9/11 paymaster, presumably a combination of Saeed Sheikh and S'ad al-Sharif. [San Francisco Chronicle, 11/15/02; Associated Press, 9/26/02; Associated Press, 6/5/02; Independent, 9/15/02]
Many of the old names continue to be used, however. [Knight Ridder, 9/8/02; Knight Ridder, 9/9/02; Los Angeles Times, 12/24/02 (B); Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02; Washington Post, 9/11/02; New York Times, 7/10/02; Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02; Time, 8/4/02 (B)]
June 18, 2002: FBI Director Mueller testifies that the money sent in 2000 is sent by someone named “Ali Abdul Aziz Ali” but the money in 2001 is sent by “Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif.” The “Aziz Ali” name has not been mentioned again by the press or FBI (outside of coverage of this testimony in September 2002). [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/26/02]

September 4, 2002: Newsweek says “Mustafa Ahmad Adin al-Husawi,” presumably Saudi, is a deputy to the Egyptian “Sayyid Shaikh Al-Sharif.” However, it adds he “remains almost a total mystery,” and they are unsure of his name. [Newsweek, 9/4/02]

December 26, 2002: US officials now say there is no such person as Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif. Instead, he is probably a composite of three different people: “[Mustafa Ahmed] Al-Hisawi, Shaikh Saiid al-Masri, al-Qaeda's finance chief, and Saad al-Sharif, bin Laden's brother-in-law and a midlevel al-Qaeda financier.” [Associated Press, 12/27/02]
Shaikh Saiid al-Masri is likely a reference the Kenyan Sheik Sayyid el Masry. Note that, now, al-Hisawi is the assistant to Shaikh Saiid, a flip from a few months before. Saiid and/or al-Hisawi still haven't been added to the FBI's official most wanted lists. [FBI Most Wanted Terrorists, 2002; Times of London, 12/1/01; Wall Street Journal, 6/17/02] Despite the confusion, the FBI isn't even seeking information about them. [FBI, 2/14/02] Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi is said to be arrested with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Pakistan in 2003, but no photos of him are released, and witnesses of the supposed arrest did not see Al-Hawsawi or Mohammed there (see March 1, 2003). [Reuters, 3/3/03 (C)]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mustafa, Sa'd Al-Sharif, Robert S. Mueller III, Mohamed Atta, al-Qaeda, Sayyid Shaikh Al-Sharif, Ahamad Mustafa, Osama bin Laden, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Daniel Pearl, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, Khalid el-Masri, Mustafa Ahmad Adin al-Husawi, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi, Saeed Sheikh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Mahmood Ahmed
          

September 24, 2001: Bank Accounts of Suspected al-Qaeda Supporters Frozen by US

      
Darkanzali attended Said Bahaji's wedding in October, 1999. A bearded Marwan al-Shehhi stands at the far left, while Bahaji sits at the far left. Others who attended included Ziad Jarrah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Abdelghani Mzoudi, and Zakariya Essabar.
The US freezes the accounts of 27 individuals and organizations, alleging that they had channeled money to al-Qaeda. Included in the list is Mamoun Darkazanli. US officials say Darkazanli took part in a 1996 attack on government troops in Saudi Arabia. According to German investigators, Darkazanli attended Said Bahaji's wedding several years earlier. [New York Times, 9/29/01] The German government also freezes accounts connected to Darkazanli on October 2, 2001. Both governments suspect Darkazanli of providing financial and logistical support to the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. [Agence France-Presse, 10/28/01] Shortly thereafter, Spanish police listening in to Barakat Yarkas' telephone hear Yarkas warn the leader of a Syrian extremist organization that Darkazanli has caught the “flu” going around. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Said Bahaji, Mamoun Darkazanli, Barakat Yarkas
          

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

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

September 25, 2001: Rep. Curt Weldon Gives Able Danger Chart to Deputy National Security Advisor, Mention of Atta on Chart Is Uncertain

       Rep. Curt Weldon (R) later claims that about two weeks after 9/11, he is given a chart by friends of his from the Army's Information Dominance Center, in cooperation with special ops. The chart indicates various al-Qaeda cells that were identified by a military intelligence unit called Able Danger. Early in 2000, this unit identified, amongst others, an al-Qaeda cell based in Brooklyn, New York, which included Mohamed Atta and three other future 9/11 hijackers (see January-February 2000). Atta's name is said to be on the chart given to Weldon. Shortly after being given the chart, Weldon meets with Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and shows the chart to him. Weldon claims, “Hadley looked at the chart and said, Congressman, where did you get that chart from? I said, I got it from the military. ... Steve Hadley said, Congressman, I am going to take this chart, and I am going to show it to the man. The man that he meant ... was the President of the United States. I said, Mr. Hadley, you mean you have not seen something like this before from the CIA, this chart of al-Qaeda worldwide and in the US? And he said, No, Congressman. So I gave him the chart. ” [Congressional Record, 6/27/05; Fox News, 8/22/05; Delaware County Daily Times, 8/12/05] However, a spokesman for Hadley later disputes this account, and says, “Mr. Hadley does not recall any chart bearing the name or photo of Mohamed Atta. [National Security Council] staff reviewed the files of Mr. Hadley as well as of all [National Security Council] personnel... That search has turned up no chart.” [Washington Post, 9/24/05] Rep. Dan Burton (R) later recalls attending the meeting and remembers the chart, but can't recall if Atta was on it or not. [New York Times, 10/1/05] Curt Weldon also later claims that the copy of the chart he gives to Hadley is his only one. [Time, 8/14/05] However, apparently contradicting this, Weldon will give a speech in 2002 showing the chart (see May 23, 2002).
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Stephen Hadley, Dan Burton, Able Danger, Mohamed Atta, Information Dominance Center, Central Intelligence Agency, Special Operations Command, Curt Weldon
          

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

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

September 27, 2001: ISI Has Connections to Taliban, Drug Trade, CIA

       The Sydney Morning Herald discusses the connections between the CIA and Pakistan's ISI, and the ISI's long-standing control over the Taliban. Drugs are a big part of their operation: “opium cultivation and heroin production in Pakistan's northern tribal belt and adjoining Afghanistan were a vital offshoot of the ISI-CIA cooperation. It succeeded in turning some of the Soviet troops into addicts. Heroin sales in Europe and the US, carried out through an elaborate web of deception, transport networks, couriers, and payoffs, offset the cost of the decade-long war in Afghanistan.” [Sydney Morning Herald, 9/27/01]
People and organizations involved: Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Taliban, Central Intelligence Agency
          

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

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

September 29, 2001: $2.5 Million in Airline Options Go Unclaimed

       $2.5 million in put options on American Airlines and United Airlines are reported unclaimed. This is likely the result of the suspension in trading on the New York Stock Exchange after the attacks which gave the SEC time to be waiting if the owners showed up to redeem their put options placed the week before the 9/11 attacks. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/29/01]
People and organizations involved: United Airlines, American Airlines, New York Stock Exchange
          

September 29-30, 2001: Suspected Mossad Agents Detained, Released

       Police in the Midwest stop six men carrying suspicious documents. They possess photos and descriptions of a nuclear power plant in Florida and the Trans-Alaska pipeline, and have “box cutters and other equipment.” All six have Israeli passports. They are released the same day after their passports are shown to be valid, but before anyone interviews them. The FBI is reportedly furious about their release. [Miami Herald, 10/3/01; Knight Ridder, 10/31/01; Times of London, 11/2/01] The six men may have been Mossad agents. In addition to snooping on the DEA and Islamic militants, some Mossad agents in the “art student spy ring” have been caught trying to break into military bases and other top-secret facilities (see March 23, 2001). [Salon, 5/7/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

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

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

Late September-November 2001: Pakistani ISI Aids Taliban Against US

       The ISI secretly assists the Taliban in its defense against a US-led attack. Between three and five ISI officers give military advice to the Taliban in late September. [Daily Telegraph, 10/10/01] At least five key ISI operatives help the Taliban prepare defenses in Kandahar, yet none are punished for their activities. [Time, 5/6/02] Secret advisers begin to withdraw in early October, but some stay on into November. [Knight Ridder, 11/3/01] Large convoys of rifles, ammunition, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers for Taliban fighters cross the border from Pakistan into Afghanistan on October 8 and 12, just after US bombing of Afghanistan begins and after a supposed crackdown on ISI fundamentalists. The Pakistani ISI secretly gives safe passage to these convoys, despite having promised the US in September that such assistance would immediately stop. [New York Times, 12/8/01] Secret ISI convoys of weapons and nonlethal supplies continue into November. [UPI, 11/1/01; Time, 5/6/02] An anonymous Western diplomat later states, “We did not fully understand the significance of Pakistan's role in propping up the Taliban until their guys withdrew and things went to hell fast for the Talibs.” [New York Times, 12/8/01]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence
          

Late September-Early October 2001: Bin Laden Reportedly Agrees to Face International Tribunal; US Not Interested?

       Leaders of Pakistan's two Islamic parties are negotiating bin Laden's extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for the 9/11 attacks during this period, according to a later Mirror article. Under the plan, bin Laden will be held under house arrest in Peshawar and will face an international tribunal, which will decide whether to try him or hand him over to the US. According to reports in Pakistan (and the Daily Telegraph ), this plan has been approved by both bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar. [Mirror, 7/8/02] Based on the first priority in the US's new “war on terror” proclaimed by President Bush, the US presumably would welcome this plan. For example, Bush had just announced, “I want justice. And there's an old poster out West, I recall, that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.’ ” [ABC News, 9/17/01] Yet, Bush's ally in the war on terror, Pakistani President Musharraf, rejects the plan (stating that his reason for doing so was because he “could not guarantee bin Laden's safety”). Based on a US official's later statements, it appears that the US did not want the deal: “Casting our objectives too narrowly” risked “a premature collapse of the international effort [to overthrow the Taliban] if by some lucky chance Mr. bin Laden was captured.” [Mirror, 7/8/02]
People and organizations involved: Pervez Musharraf, George W. Bush, Mullah Omar, Osama bin Laden
          

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

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

October 2001: Anthrax Letters Kill Five, Heighten Terrorist Fears

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

October 1, 2001: Some officials Question If Intelligence Service Helped bin Laden in Plot

       The New Yorker reports that “a number of intelligence officials have raised questions about bin Laden's capabilities. ‘This guy sits in a cave in Afghanistan and he's running this operation?’ one CIA official asked. ‘It's so huge. He couldn't have done it alone.’ A senior military officer told me that because of the visas and other documentation needed to infiltrate team members into the United States a major foreign intelligence service might also have been involved.” [New Yorker, 10/1/01] No specific service is named, but the ISI would be one likely candidate.
People and organizations involved: Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Osama bin Laden
          

October 2001: Report: Bin Laden's Financial Network Is Successor to the BCCI Bank

       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.” The BCCI was the largest Islamic bank in the world before it collapsed in July 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 bin Mahfouz later argue that this report was in fact prepared by Jean-Charles Brisard and not the French intelligence service. Bin Mahfouz has begun libel proceedings against Mr. Brisard, claiming that he has made unfounded and defamatory allegations. [Kendall Freeman, 5/13/04]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Charles Brisard, Khalid bin Mahfouz, al-Qaeda, Bank of Credit and Commerce International, Osama bin Laden
          

October 1, 2001: Kashmir Suicide Attack Involves 9/11 Funder Saeed Sheikh

       A suicide truck-bomb attack on the provincial parliamentary assembly in Indian-controlled Kashmir leaves 36 dead. It appears that Saeed Sheikh and Aftab Ansari, working with the ISI, are behind the attacks. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02; Vanity Fair, 8/02] Indian intelligence claims that Pakistani President Musharraf is later given a recording of a phone call between Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Maulana Masood Azhar and ISI Director Mahmood in which Azhar allegedly reports the bombing is a “success.” [UPI, 10/10/01]
People and organizations involved: Saeed Sheikh, India, Aftab Ansari, Maulana Masood Azhar, Pervez Musharraf, Mahmood Ahmed, National Security Agency
          

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

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

Early October 2001: US Launches Attacks on Afghanistan from Pakistani Bases

       The US begins using the Shahbaz air force base and other bases in Pakistan in their attacks against Afghanistan. [Times of London, 10/15/01] However, because of public Pakistani opposition to US support, the two governments claim the US is there for purely logistical and defensive purposes. Even six months later, the US refuses to confirm it is using the base for offensive operations. [Los Angeles Times, 3/6/03] Such bases in Pakistan become a link in a chain of US military outposts in Central Asia. Other countries also falsely maintain that such bases are not being used for military operations in Afghanistan despite clear evidence to the contrary. [Reuters, 12/28/01]
People and organizations involved: Pakistan, United States
          

Early October 2001: General Franks Disregards Advice to Open Second Front in Afghanistan

       The Washington Post reports in late 2004 that, shortly after Richard Myers officially becomes Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman on October 1, 2001, he raises doubts about the military plan to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan. General Tommy Franks, the chief of US Central Command, plans a single thrust towards the capital, Kabul, from the north. Myers urges Franks to open a southern front. A brigade of the Army's 10th Mountain Division in Uzbekistan and two Marine Expeditionary Forces in the Arabian Sea are prepared and in position for the role. However, Franks does not position a blocking force to meet any retreating forces. The Washington Post reports, “Some Bush administration officials now acknowledge privately they consider that a costly mistake.” Franks later claims that it would have taken too much time to put a force into position and would have antagonized the country's Pashtun majority. Most of al-Qaeda and the Taliban's leaders are eventually able to escape the country. “A high-ranking war planner [later] likened the result to throwing a rock at a nest of bees, then trying to chase them down, one by one, with a net.” [Washington Post, 10/22/04]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, Richard B. Myers, al-Qaeda, Taliban
          

Early October-Mid-November, 2001: Air Force Is Repeatedly Denied Permission to Bomb Top al-Qaeda and Taliban Leaders

       In mid-November 2001, the Washington Post will report that senior Air Force officials are upset they have missed opportunities to hit top al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders since the start of the bombing of Afghanistan. According to these officials, the Air Force believes it has the leaders in its crosshairs as many as ten times, but they are unable to receive a timely clearance to fire. Cumbersome approval procedures, a concern not to kill civilians, and a power play between the Defense Department and the CIA contribute to the delays. One anonymous Air Force official later says, “We knew we had some of the big boys. The process is so slow that by the time we got the clearances, and everybody had put in their 2 cents, we called it off.” The main problem is that commanders in the region have to ask for permission from General Tommy Franks, based in Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida, or even Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and other higher-ups. Air Force generals complain to Franks about the delay problem, but never receive a response. For example, at one point in October, a Taliban military convoy is moving north to reinforce front line positions. Targeters consider it an easy mark of clear military value. But permission from Central Command is denied on the suspicion that the target is so obvious that “it might be a trick.” In another example, a target is positively identified by real-time imagery from a Predator drone, but Central Command overrides the decision to strike, saying they want a second source of data. An anonymous official calls this request for independent verification of Predator imagery “kind of ridiculous.” [Washington Post, 11/18/01] The London Times paraphrase officials who claim that, “Attempts to limit collateral damage [serve] merely to prolong the war, and force the Pentagon to insert commandos on the ground to hunt down the same targets.” [London Times, 11/19/01 (B)] By the end of the war, only one top al-Qaeda leader, Mohammed Atef, is killed in a bombing raid (see November 15, 2001), and no top Taliban leaders are killed.
People and organizations involved: Central Intelligence Agency, US Department of Defense, Thomas Franks, Mohammed Atef, Donald Rumsfeld, al-Qaeda, Taliban
          

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

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

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

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

October 1, 2001: Taliban Possibly Trained Pilots in Afghanistan

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

October 2001: FBI Recovers Hijacker E-Mails

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 5, 2001: Study Reveals Significant Oil and Gas Deposits in Afghanistan

       Contrary to popular belief, Afghanistan “has significant oil and gas deposits. During the Soviets' decade-long occupation of Afghanistan, Moscow estimated Afghanistan's proven and probable natural gas reserves at around five trillion cubic feet and production reached 275 million cubic feet per day in the mid-1970s.” Nonstop war since has prevented further exploitation. [Asia Times, 10/5/01] A later article suggests that the country may also have as much copper as Chile, the world's largest producer, and significant deposits of coal, emeralds, tungsten, lead, zinc, uranium ore, and more. Estimates of Afghanistan's natural wealth may even be understated, because surveys were conducted decades ago, using less-advanced methods and covering limited territory. [Houston Chronicle, 12/23/01]
          

October 7, 2001: ISI Director Replaced at US Urging; Role in Funding 9/11 Plot Is One Explanation

      
Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed.
ISI Director Mahmood is replaced in the face of US pressure after links are discovered between him, Saeed Sheikh, and the funding of the 9/11 attacks. Mahmood instructed Saeed to transfer $100,000 into hijacker Mohamed Atta's bank account prior to 9/11. This is according to Indian intelligence, which claims the FBI has privately confirmed the story. [Times of India, 10/9/01; India Today, 10/15/01; Press Trust of India, 10/8/01; Daily Excelsior, 10/18/01] The story is not widely reported in Western countries, though it makes the Wall Street Journal. [Australian, 10/10/01; Agence France-Presse, 10/10/01; Wall Street Journal, 10/10/01] It is reported in Pakistan as well. [Dawn, 10/8/01] The Northern Alliance also repeats the claim in late October. [Federal News Service, 10/31/01] In Western countries, the usual explanation is that Mahmood is fired for being too close to the Taliban. [Times of London, 10/9/01; Guardian, 10/9/01] The Times of India reports that Indian intelligence helped the FBI discover the link, and says, “A direct link between the ISI and the WTC attack could have enormous repercussions. The US cannot but suspect whether or not there were other senior Pakistani Army commanders who were in the know of things. Evidence of a larger conspiracy could shake US confidence in Pakistan's ability to participate in the anti-terrorism coalition.” [Times of India, 10/9/01] There is evidence some ISI officers may have known of a plan to destroy the WTC as early as July 1999. Two other ISI leaders, Lieutenant General Mohammed Aziz Khan and Lieutenant General Muzaffar Usmani, are sidelined on the same day as Mahmood. [Fox News, 10/8/01] Saeed had been working under Khan. The firings are said to have purged the ISI of its fundamentalists. However, according to one diplomat, “To remove the top two or three doesn't matter at all. The philosophy remains. ... [The ISI is] a parallel government of its own. If you go through the officer list, almost all of the ISI regulars would say, of the Taliban, ‘They are my boys.’ ” [New Yorker, 10/29/01] It is believed Mahmood has been living under virtual house arrest in Pakistan ever since (which would seem to imply more than just a difference of opinion over the Taliban), but no charges have been brought against him, and there is no evidence the US has asked to question him. [Asia Times, 1/5/02] He also has refused to speak to reporters since being fired [Associated Press, 2/21/02] , and outside India and Pakistan, the story has only been mentioned a couple times in the media since. [Times of London, 4/21/02; Sunday Herald, 2/24/02]
People and organizations involved: Northern Alliance, World Trade Center, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, India, Taliban, Mohammed Aziz Khan, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mahmood Ahmed, Mohamed Atta, Muzaffar Usmani, Saeed Sheikh
          

October 7, 2001: US Begins Bombing in Afghanistan

      
The Afghan village of Darya Khanah is bombed on October 27, 2001.
The US begins bombing Afghanistan in the first strike of its “war on terror.” [MSNBC, 11/01] Most documentary evidence suggests the US was not planning this bombing before 9/11. However, former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik has claimed that in July 2001 senior US officials told him that a military action to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan would, as the BBC put it, “take place before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.” [BBC, 9/18/01]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Niaz Naik, United States
          
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