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Day of 911

Bush on 9/11
Flight AA 11
Flight UA 93
Flight UA 175
Flight AA 77
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cover-up, lies, and/or contradictions

 
  

Project: Complete 911 Timeline

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Showing 151-250 of 338 events (use filters to narrow search):    previous 100    next 100

September 14, 2001 (G)

       The Director of the Air National Guard explains why jets failed to scramble towards the hijacked aircraft for so long. He says that before 1997, 100 bases defended the US, but since then the number was reduced to seven, with only two fighter planes at each base defending the entire country from external threats. [Dallas Morning News 9/16/01] However, numerous air force bases on the East Coast alone, including bases in Westfield, Massachusetts, Syracuse, New York, Hartford, Connecticut and Andrews, Virginia, claim they have battle ready fighters on alert 24 hours a day. All of these bases were better positioned to respond to the hijacker airplanes than the bases ultimately chosen. Some of these bases have websites that get changed after 9/11, erasing claims that they have battle-ready fighters on alert (for instance, see the [DCANG Home Page before and after the change]). In 1999, when golfer Payne Stewart's plane went off course, fighters were scrambled from four different bases (none of the official seven) and reached his plane in under 10 minutes. [ABC News, 10/25/99] There are numerous other examples of fighter scramblings since 1997 that seem to contradict the “only seven bases” story.
          

September 14, 2001 (N)

       Lawmakers emerging from briefings about the 9/11 attacks complain that they are being told virtually nothing. Says Senator John McCain (R), “We're learning more from CNN.” Representative Neil Abercrombie (D), says, “You can't even begin to call these briefings.” [Las Vegas Review Journal, 9/14/01] The Administration's obsession with 9/11 secrecy will lead to an FBI investigation into senators and congresspeople a year later (see August 2, 2002 (B)).
          

September 14, 2001 (F)

       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 terrorists on numerous occasions, from 1996 until a few weeks before 9/11 (see 1996 (D), May 18, 1998, September 1999 (E), September 2000 (B), July 10, 2001, August 23, 2001 (E)). [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]
          

September 14, 2001 (D)

       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. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 8/02, p. 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 Sept. 11. [New York Times, 3/27/02] The design limits of the plane are 287 mph below 10,000 feet.
          

September 14, 2001 (J)

       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 since this article and a similar one in the Village Voice [Village Voice, 9/13/01], there has been only one other US article questioning slow fighter response times, and that article noted the strange lack of articles on the topic. [Slate, 1/16/02] However, some 9/11 victims' relatives continue to raise the issue (see August 13, 2002 (B) and March 31, 2003). Why haven't “more and more people” in the media questioned this?
          

September 14, 2001 (H)

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

September 14, 2001 (I)

       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 stewardess. [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 (see Late February 2003). While all these bodies and plane parts are supposedly found, not one of the four black boxes for these two airplanes are ever found. A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman 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, 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] Phone calls from two stewardesses on Flight 11 contradict the idea that stewardesses or anyone else had their hands tied, on that flight at least.
          

September 14, 2001 (B)

       The two “black boxes” for Flight 77 are found. [PBS Newshour, 9/14/01] FBI Director Mueller will later say that the boxes provided altitude, speed, headings and other information, but the voice recorder contained “nothing useful.” [CBS 2/23/02]
          

September 15-17, 2001

      
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. [New York Times, 9/15/01 (E), Newsweek, 9/15/01] 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 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 drops the story 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] However, the military fails to provide any information about the individuals whose names supposedly match those of the alleged hijackers, making it impossible to confirm or refute the story.
          

September 15, 2001-April 6, 2002

       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.’ ” [] On December 28, 2001, a few weeks after the Afghanistan war ends, Bush says, “Our objective is more than bin Laden.” [AP, 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 (see January 29, 2002). On March 8, 2002, Bush still vows: “We're going to find him.” [Washington Post 10/1/02] But 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 Chief of Staff Chairman 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)]
          

September 15, 2001 (B)

       The first reports of seat assignments for the hijackers on Flight 11 appear. But unlike other flights, accounts of where the hijackers sat vary widely. The first report says Wail Alshehri was in seat 2A, Waleed Alshehri in 2B, Mohamed Atta in 8D, Abdulaziz Alomari in 8G, and Satam Al Suqami in 10B. [ABC News, 9/15/01] The next day, it is reported Atta was in 8A and Alomari was in 8B. [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/16/01] The same day, it is reported that all five hijackers sat in row 8. [Portland Press Herald, 9/16/01] Flight attendant Amy Sweeney apparently telephoned the seat numbers of four of the hijackers before the plane crashed, but the exact numbers she gave have not been released. However, it is known the “numbers she gave were different from those registered in the hijackers' names.” [BBC, 9/21/01] Another account suggests she said the hijackers were sitting in rows 9 and 10. [Portland Press Herald, 10/14/01] Another flight attendant, Betty Ong, also telephoned seat numbers, saying there were hijackers in seats 2A, 2B, 9A, and 9B. This is “slightly different” from Sweeney's numbers—with two hijackers in the second row instead of the 10th. [Boston Globe, 11/23/01] Why so much confusion, and why doesn't the US release the information needed to settle these discrepancies?
          

September 16-23, 2001

      
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:
  1. Ahmed Alnami is still 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. [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]
  2. Saeed Alghamdi is alive and flying airplanes in Tunisia. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01, 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]
  3. Salem Alhazmi is alive and working at a petrochemical plant in Yanbou, Saudi Arabia. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01, Telegraph, 9/23/01] 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. [Guardian, 9/21/01 (C), Washington Post, 9/20/01, Saudi Gazette, 9/29/02]
  4. The brothers Waleed M. Alshehri
  5. 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. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01, Arab News, 9/19/01] There is a second pair of Saudi brothers named Wail and Waleed M. who may have been the real hijackers. Their father says they've been missing since December 2000. [ABC News, 3/15/02, Arab News, 9/17/01] The still living Waleed M. Alshehri is a pilot with Saudi Airlines, studying in Morocco. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01, AP, 9/22/01] He acknowledges that he attended flight training school at Dayton Beach in the United States. [BBC, 9/23/01, Daily Trust, 9/24/01] He was interviewed by US officials in Morocco, and cleared of all charges against him (though apparently the FBI photos are still of him!). [Embry Riddle Aeronautical University press release, 9/21/01] The still living Wail Alshehri is also apparently a pilot. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] What are the odds that two Saudi terrorist brothers would find two other Saudi brothers with the same names who were pilots with one even training in Florida?
  6. Abdulaziz Alomari is alive and working as a pilot for Saudi Arabian Airlines. [New York Times, 9/16/01, Independent, 9/17/01, BBC, 9/23/01] 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.” [Telegraph, 9/23/01, London Times, 9/20/01]
  7. 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.” [AP, 9/20/01, Cox News, 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)] Almihdhar is wanted for other terrorist acts (see January 15, 2000), so it's not surprising he's still hard to find. There are three official pictures of Almihdhar—one of them doesn't look at all like the other two (see photos on left).
    Three different pictures of Khalid Almihdhar. Which one does not belong? [FBI, 2/12/02, Boston Globe, 9/27/01]
  8. Marwan Alshehhi may be alive in Morocco. [Saudi Gazette, 9/18/01, Khaleej Times, 9/20/01] Family and neighbors don't believe he took part in the attacks. [Reuters, 9/18/01]
  9. Atta's father says he spoke to his son on the phone on September 12, 2001 (see September 19, 2001 (C)).
  10. No one claims that Hamza Alghamdi is still alive, but his family says the FBI photo “has no resemblance to him at all” (on the other hand, Ahmed Alnami's family says his FBI picture is correct). [Washington Post, 9/25/01]
  11. Majed Moqed was last seen by a friend in Saudi Arabia in 2000. This friend claims the FBI picture doesn't look like Moqed. [Arab News, 9/22/01] There are three official pictures of Majed Moqed—one of them doesn't look at all like the other two (see photos on below right).
  12. The Saudi government has claimed Mohand Alshehri is alive and was not in the US on 9/11, but no more details are known. [ [AP 9/29/01 (B)] imagewidth="300" topic="coverup">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, FBI Director Mueller states, “We are fairly certain of a number of them.” [Sun Sentinel, 9/28/01] Could it be that the bodies (and sometimes faces) in question are correct, but the names were stolen? For instance, the 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.” [Telegraph, 9/23/01] Police have even determined who sold at least two of the hijackers their fake ID's. [BBC, 8/1/02 (B)] 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.” [London Times, 9/20/01] Briefly, the press took this story to heart. 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] But the story died down after the initial reports, and it was hardly noticed when Mueller stated on November 2, 2001: “We at this point definitely know the 19 hijackers who were responsible,” and claimed that they were sticking with the names and photos released in late September.
    How can all of these pictures be of Majed Moqed?
    [AP 11/03/02]
Yet many of the names and photos are known to be wrong. Perhaps embarrassing facts would come out if we knew their real names, such as more terrorists who studied at military bases or were on watch lists?
          

September 16, 2001

       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] That's what the two forensic scientists in charge of the crash site wanted. They said doing so could help determine who was where when the plane crashed, and possibly how it crashed. However, almost a year later it comes out that that's not what actually happened. “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.” [Among the Heroes, Jere Longman, 8/02, pp. 262-263] While the military may suggest there is no mystery, some articles have suggested the plane was shot down (for instance, see November 15, 2001 and August 13, 2002). Also, at the time of this decision, investigators were still considering the possibility a bomb may have destroyed the plane (see September 14, 2001).
          

September 16, 2001 (B)

       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 counter-terrorist 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]
          

September 17-18 and 28, 2001

       On September 17, ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed 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, London Times, 9/18/01] Also in the delegation is Lt. Gen. Mohammad Aziz Khan, an ex-ISI official who appears to be one of Saeed Sheikh's contacts in the ISI (see January 1, 2000-September 11, 2001). [Press Trust of India, 9/17/01] On September 28, Ahmed returns to Afghanistan with a group of about 10 religious leaders. He talks with Mullah Omar, who again says he will not hand over bin Laden. [AFP 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. [AP, 2/21/02, Time, 5/6/02] 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 (see Late September-November 2001).
          

September 19, 2001

       The FBI claims that there were six hijacking teams on the morning of 9/11. [New York Times, 9/19/01 (B), Guardian, 10/13/01] A different report claims investigators are privately saying eight. [Independent, 9/25/01] But the reports below suggest there may have been as many as eight aborted flights, leading to a potential total of 12 hijackings:
  1. 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]
  2. The FBI is investigating American Airlines Flight 43, which left Boston about 8:10 a.m. bound for Los Angeles and was canceled minutes before takeoff due to a mechanical problem. [BBC, 9/18/01 (C), Chicago Tribune, 9/18/01, Guardian, 9/19/01] 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)]
  3. Knives and box cutters were found on two separate canceled Delta Airlines planes later that day, one leaving Atlanta for Brussels
  4. and the other leaving from Boston. [Time, 9/22/01, Independent, 9/25/01]
  5. 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]
  6. 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, and was later forced to land in St. Louis. Alternately, they may have been planning an attack for September 15 (see September 11, 2001 (K)) [New York Times, 9/19/01 (B)]
  7. There may have been an attempt to hijack United Airlines Flight 23 flying from Boston to Los Angeles around 9:00 a.m. Three Middle Eastern men angrily refused to get off the plane when it was canceled, then escaped security (see September 11, 2001 (I)).
  8. 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] Note this might be the same as one of the Delta flights.
  9. 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]
Doesn't all of this contradict the official story that the hijackers walked on board with their weapons, which were chosen because they were technically legal?
          

September 19, 2001-October 20, 2002

       The coverage of whether a purported meeting between Atta and an Iraqi spy named Ahmed al-Ani took place in Prague, Czech Republic (see April 8, 2001) has changed repeatedly over time (a Slate article also outlines many of the twists and turns of this story [Slate, 9/3/02]):
  1. September 19: It is first reported that a meeting took place; Atta is named later. [Los Angeles Times, 9/19/01, CNN, 10/11/01]
  2. October 20: The story is denied. [New York Times, 10/20/01]
  3. October 27: The story is confirmed. [New York Times, 10/27/01]
  4. October 27: It is claimed Atta met with Iraqi agents four times in Prague, plus in Germany, Spain, and Italy. [London Times, 10/27/01]
  5. November 12: Columnist William Safire calls the meeting an “undisputed fact.” [New York Times, 11/12/01]
  6. December 9: Vice President Cheney calls the meeting “pretty well confirmed.” [Washington Post, 12/9/01]
  7. December 16: The identities of both al-Ani and Atta are disputed. [New York Times, 12/16/01]
  8. January 12, 2002: It is claimed at least two meetings took place, including one a year earlier. [Telegraph, 1/12/02]
  9. February 6: It's reported that the meeting probably took place, but wasn't connected to the 9/11 attacks. [New York Times, 2/6/02]
  10. March 15: Evidence for the meeting is considered between “slim” and “none.” [Washington Post, 3/15/02]
  11. March 18: William Safire strongly asserts the meeting took place. [New York Times, 3/18/02]
  12. April 28–May 2: The meeting is largely discredited. [Newsweek, 4/28/02, Washington Post, 5/1/02, New York Times, 5/2/02]
  13. May 8: Some Czech officials continue to affirm the meeting took place. [Prague Post, 5/8/02]
  14. May 9: 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]
  15. July 15: The head of Czech foreign intelligence calls the meeting unproved and implausible. [Prague Post, 7/15/02]
  16. August 2: 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]
  17. August 19: Newsweek states: “The sole evidence for the alleged meeting is the uncorroborated claim of a Czech informant.” It claims that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is nonetheless pushing the FBI to have the meeting accepted as fact. [Newsweek, 8/19/02]
  18. September 10: The Bush administration is no longer pushing the meeting. [Washington Post, 9/10/02]
  19. September 17: Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld “accept reports from Czech diplomats” that the meeting took place. [USA Today, 9/17/02]
  20. September 23: Newsweek reports that the CIA is resisting Pentagon demands to get pictures of the 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]
  21. October 6: Bush gives a big speech about why the US should attack Iraq. Slate notes if Bush had evidence linking Iraq to 9/11, “this was his last plausible chance to divulge it. He didn't.” [Slate, 10/7/02]
  22. A poll taken between October 2-6 shows 66% of Americans believe Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks (see also January 12, 2003). [Reuters, 10/10/02] On October 10, Congress passes a resolution authorizing Bush to declare war on Iraq. [AP, 10/11/02]
  23. October 20: This story seemingly ends when Czech officials, including the President Vaclav Havel, conclusively deny the meeting, suggesting the entire story was made up by one unreliable source well after 9/11, and after stories in the press that Atta had traveled to Prague. It now appears Atta wasn't even in the Czech Republic during the month the meeting was supposed to have taken place. President Havel told Bush the meeting didn't happen “quietly some time earlier this year.” [UPI, 10/20/02, New York Times, 10/21/02]
Why did Bush wait to reveal this information until after the Congressional vote for war with Iraq? Considering the way this meeting has seemingly been used as a political football, how can other reporting on the 9/11 story be trusted? Even though the story is seemingly discredited, some “war hawks,” such as Bush advisor Richard Perle, continue to maintain that the meeting took place. [CBS 12/8/02]

          

September 20, 2001 (B)

       President Bush states: “Either you are with us, or you are against us. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” [White House, 9/20/01] Shortly thereafter, Bush says: “As far as the Saudi Arabians go, they've been nothing but cooperative,” and “[Am] I pleased with the actions of Saudi Arabia? I am.” However, several experts continue to claim Saudi Arabia is being “completely unsupportive” and is giving “zero cooperation” to the 9/11 investigation. Saudi Arabia refuses to help the US trace the names and other background information on the 15 Saudi hijackers. One former US official says, “They knew that once we started asking for a few traces the list would grow…. It's better to shut it down right away.” [Los Angeles Times 10/13/01; New Yorker 10/16/01] The Saudi government continues to be uncooperative, and the US government continues to downplay this (see Early December 2001 (B), November 2002 and November 26, 2002).
          

September 21, 2001 (D)

       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 (see March 7, 2002). If there is nothing to hide about the Pentagon crash, why don't they release the footage of it?
          

September 21, 2001

      
Steel beams from the WTC are being removed and recycled on September 20, 2001.
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]
          

September 21, 2001 (C)

       A published account of flight attendant Madeline Amy Sweeney's phone conversation from hijacked Flight 11 appears to contradict the official account. She reports four hijackers, not the official five, and the seat numbers she gave do not correspond with the ones in the official version. This discrepancy still has not been explained. A later, fuller account of her call adds even more curious details (see July 18, 2002). [BBC 9/21/01]
          

September 23, 2001 (B)

      
Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié. Their book The Forbidden Truth has been condemned as “conspiracy theory” by some and praised by others.
The first of many mainstream articles ridiculing 9/11 “conspiracy theories” is published (see also September 12, 2002). [Independent, 9/23/01] Early articles of this type generally deride Middle Eastern views blaming Israel. [AP, 10/3/01 (C), Washington Post, 10/13/01, Dallas Morning News, 11/19/01] Later articles mostly deride Western theories blaming Bush, and criticize the internet and Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see April 11, 2002 (B)) 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 and 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 that “it's true that some of the events surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks are hard to explain.” [Ottawa Citizen, 9/1/02] Another article discredits 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. [Telegraph 9/5/02]
          

September 24, 2001-December 26, 2002

      
This is the fuzzy passport photo of “Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi,” according to the book “The Base” by Jane Corbin. A generic picture that many could successfully use?
In 2000, the 9/11 hijackers receive money from a man using “Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hisawi” and other aliases (see June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000). 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”(see September 8-11, 2001 (B)). 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 the British man Saeed Sheikh, a financial expert who studied at the London School of Economics (see June 1993-October 1994), who undisputedly sent hijacker Mohamed Atta money the month before (see Early August 2001 (D)), was making frequent trips at the time to Dubai, where the money is sent, and is also known to have trained the hijackers (see January 1, 2000-September 11, 2001). But the FBI consistently deflects attention onto other possible explanations, with a highly confusing series of names vaguely similar to Mustafa Ahmed or Saeed Sheikh. Could they be ignoring the real Saeed because of his connections to the Pakistani ISI?
  1. 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]
  2. October 1, 2001: It is reported 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 in 1999 (see December 24-31, 1999). [CNN, 10/6/01, CNN, 10/8/01] But starting on October 8, the story that ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed ordered Saeed to give Mohamed Atta $100,000 begins to break (see October 7, 2001). References to the 9/11 paymaster being the British Saeed Sheikh (and the connections to Mahmood) suddenly disappear from the Western media (with one exception [CNN, 10/28/01]).
  3. 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. [Evening Standard, 10/1/01, BBC, 10/1/01, Newsday, 10/3/01, AP, 10/6/01, Washington Post, 10/7/01, Sunday Times, 10/7/01, Knight Ridder, 10/9/01, New York Times, 10/15/01, Los Angeles Times, 10/20/01]
  4. October 16, 2001: CNN reports that the 9/11 paymaster “Sheik Sayid” is mentioned in a May 2001 trial of al-Qaeda members. But this turns out to be a Kenyan named Sheik Sayyid el Masry. [CNN, 10/16/01, Trial Transcript, 2/20/01, Trial Transcript, 2/21/01]
  5. 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. [Newsweek, 11/11/01, United Nations, 3/8/01, AP, 12/18/01]
  6. 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 birthdate. [MSNBC, 12/11/01] Many articles begin adding “al-Hawsawi” to the Mustafa Ahmed name. [Washington Post, 12/13/01, Washington Post, 1/7/02, Los Angeles Times, 1/20/02]
  7. January 23, 2002: As new information is reported in India (see December 7, 2001), the media returns to the British Saeed Sheikh as the 9/11 paymaster. [Los Angeles Times, 1/23/02, Telegraph, 1/24/02, Independent, 1/24/02, Telegraph, 1/27/02] 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 (see February 6, 2002). Coverage of Saeed's 9/11 connections generally dies out by the time of his trial in July 2002 (see July 15, 2002).
  8. 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. [, AP, 6/5/02, Independent, 9/15/02, AP, 9/26/02, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/15/02] Many of the old names continue to be used, however. [New York Times, 7/10/02, Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02, Washington Post, 9/11/02, Los Angeles Times, 12/24/02 (B), Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02, Knight Ridder, 9/8/02, Knight Ridder, 9/9/02, Time, 8/4/02 (B)]
  9. 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). [Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/26/02]
  10. September 4, 2002: Newsweek says “Mustafa Ahmad Adin Al-Husawi,” presumably Saudi, is a deputy to the Egyptian “Sayyid Shaikh Al-Sharif.” But it adds he “remains almost a total mystery,” and they're unsure of his name. [Newsweek, 9/4/02]
  11. 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.” [AP, 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. [London Times, 12/1/01, Wall Street Journal, 6/17/02, ] Despite the confusion, the FBI isn't even seeking information about them. [] Over a year after 9/11, the FBI's understanding of 9/11's financing is in disarray. Perhaps this is because they have yet to interrogate the real paymaster, Saeed Sheikh, who is sitting in a Pakistani prison. [Indian Express 7/19/02]
          

September 25, 2001

       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 (see 1998 (D) and August 2001). Stanley Hall (Flight 77) was director of program management for Raytheon Electronics Warfare. One Raytheon colleague calls him “our dean of electronic warfare.” [AP, 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, Calif. [AP, 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. [CNN, 9/01 (B), Northeastern University Voice, 12/11/01] Raytheon employees with possible links to Global Hawk can be connected to three of the four flights? There may be more, since many of the passengers' jobs and personal information have remained anonymous. 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] Could these Raytheon employees have been on board to activate Global Hawk technology, or make sure it worked?
          

September 26, 2001

       New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani bans all photographs at the WTC site, unless explicitly approved by the Police Commissioner. A statement said the ban was because the ruins were a crime scene. [AP, 9/27/01 (B)] Why can't people take any pictures of piles of rubble? This ban is apparently repealed some point in 2002.
          

September 28, 2001

       The text of a handwritten, five-page document found in 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. So the letter neatly ties most of the hijackers together. [CBS, 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 and released on October 4 completely fails to mention the how-to letter. Is this an oversight, or is the letter a forgery?
          

September 29, 2001 (B)

       It is reported that Boston's Logan Airport doesn't have any video cameras in its terminals, gate areas or concourses. It is possibly the only major airport in the US to not have such cameras. The two other airports used by the hijackers to launch the 9/11 attacks had security cameras, but none of the footage has been released. [Boston Herald 9/29/01] It was previously reported that FBI agents had “examined footage from dozens of cameras at the three airports where the terrorists boarded the aircraft.” [Los Angeles Times 9/13/01]
          

October 1, 2001

       The New Yorker gives an inside look at the ongoing 9/11 investigation. “A number of intelligence officials have raised questions about Osama 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] These ideas run counter to the usual public statements by officials that bin Laden was the ultimate mastermind.
          

Early October 2001

       The US begins using the Shahbaz air force base and other bases in Pakistan in their attacks against Afghanistan. [London Times 10/15/01] However, because of public opposition in Pakistan to US support, it is falsely claimed the US is there for purely logistical and defensive purposes. Even six months later, the US won't 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 (see January 2002 (D)). Other countries also falsely maintain that such bases are not being used for military operations in Afghanistan. [Reuters 12/28/01]
          

October 2001 (B)

       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 “hundreds 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 Sept. 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 (see April 19, 2002). 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 Atta from Germany are published a few months later. [Chicago Tribune 2/25/03]
          

October 4, 2001 (B)

      
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, 10/5/01, see the paper here: Los Angeles Times, 10/4/01] 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] But 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. [CNN 10/4/01, Time, 10/5/01] 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 to Bush “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US,” are not included (see August 6, 2001). 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]
          

October 7, 2001

      
Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed.
ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed 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 (see Early August 2001 (D) or June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000; it hasn't been reported which $100,000 money transfer this refers to). This is according to Indian intelligence, which claims the FBI has privately confirmed the story. [Press Trust of India, 10/8/01, Times of India, 10/9/01, India Today, 10/15/01, 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, AFP, 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. [FNS 10/31/01] In Western countries, the usual explanation is that Mahmood is fired for being too close to the Taliban. [London Times 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 mid-1999 (see July 14, 1999). Two other ISI leaders, Lt. Gen. Mohammed Aziz Khan and Chief of General Staff Mohammed Yousuf, are sidelined on the same day as Mahmood. [Fox News, 10/8/01] Saeed had been working under Khan (see January 1, 2000-September 11, 2001). The firings are said to have purged the ISI of its fundamentalists. But 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 [AP, 2/21/02], and outside India and Pakistan, the story has only been mentioned a couple times in the media since (see [Sunday Herald, 2/24/02, London Times, 4/21/02]). If Mahmood helped fund the 9/11 attacks, what did President Musharraf know about it?
          

October 7, 2001 (D)

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

October 7, 2001 (C)

       On this day, Zeljko E., a Kosovar Serb, enters a Hamburg, Germany police station and says he wants to turn himself in. He tells the police that he has robbed a business and stolen piles of paper written in Arabic, with the hopes of selling them. A friend of his told him that they relate to the 9/11 attacks. The 44 pounds of papers are translated and prove to be a “treasure trove.” The documents come from Mamoun Darkazanli's files (see September 24, 2001), which appeared to be missing when police raided his apartment two days after 9/11. “It makes for a great story. A petty thief pilfers files containing critical information about the largest terrorist attack in history and dutifully turns them over to the police. [But German] agents do not buy this story for a minute; they suspect that some other secret service was trying to find a way of getting evidence into [their] hands. The question is, whose secret service? Some German investigators suggest the CIA was responsible; there are also reports that the FBI illegally monitored Darkazanli after 9/11. [Der Spiegel, 10/27/01, Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02, Inside 9-11: What Really Happened, 2/02, pp. 166-67] Did the CIA monitor or recruit Darkazanli before 9/11 after failing to get German investigators to do so (see December 1999 and Spring 2000), and then use this method to get information to the Germans in order to keep their illegal surveillance secret?
          

October 10, 2001 (B)

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

October 11, 2001

       “FBI investigators have officially concluded that 11 of the 19 terrorists who hijacked the aircraft on September 11 did not know they were on a suicide mission.” “Unlike the eight ‘lead’ attackers, who were all trained pilots, they did not leave messages for friends and family indicating they knew their lives were over” nor did they have copies of Atta's final prayer note. Personal items found suggest the men thought they were taking part in a conventional hijacking and were preparing for the possibility of prison. [Observer 10/14/01] This is later contradicted by video filmed in Afghanistan in March 2001 showing the 13 non-lead hijackers proclaiming their willingness to die on an upcoming suicide mission (see March 2001).
          

October 11, 2001 (B)

       The Ashcroft-led Justice Department takes over all terrorist prosecutions from the US Attorneys office in New York which has had a highly successful track record in prosecuting terrorist cases connected to bin Laden. [New York Times, 10/11/01] [FTW]
          

October 16, 2001

       “The Financial Services Authority—Britain's main financial regulator—has cleared bin Laden and his henchmen of insider trading. There has been a widespread suspicion that members of the al-Qaeda organization had cashed in on the US attacks, dumping airline, aerospace and insurance company shares before September 11th. The Authority says that after a thorough investigation it has found no hard evidence of any such deals in London.” [Marketplace radio report 10/17/01] On September 24, Belgium's Financial Minister claimed there were strong suspicions that British markets may have been used for 9/11-related inside trading (see Early September 2001 (L)). Similar investigations are apparently continuing over a year later in many other countries—how was Britain able to conclusively dispel the strong suspicions in only two weeks?
          

October 16, 2001 (B)

       The government releases flight control transcripts of three of the four hijacked planes (see the transcripts here: [New York Times, 10/16/01 (B), New York Times, 10/16/01 (C), New York Times, 10/16/01 (D)]). Strangely, Flight 93 is left out. Could it be to hide embarrassing details? For instance, are reports true that a hijacker was in the cockpit of Flight 93 before it even took off (see September 24, 2001 (B))? Yet even the three released transcripts are incomplete (for instance, Flight 77's ends at least 20 minutes before it crashes), and certain events that are part of the official story don't show up on these transcripts. What's the reason for secrecy?
          

October 20, 2001

       The New York Times reports that, although 830 people have been arrested in the 9/11 terrorism investigation (a number that eventually reaches between 1,200 and 2,000 (see November 5, 2001 (B)), there is no evidence that anyone now in custody was a conspirator in the 9/11 attacks. Furthermore, “none of the nearly 100 people still being sought by the [FBI] is seen as a major suspect.” Of all the people arrested, only four, Zacarias Moussaoui, Ayub Ali Khan, Mohammed Azmath, and Nabil al-Marabh, are likely connected to al-Qaeda. [New York Times, 10/21/01 (C)] Three of those are later cleared of ties to al-Qaeda. After being kept in solitary confinement for more than eight months without seeing a judge or being assigned a lawyer, al-Marabh pleads guilty to the minor charge of entering the United States illegally (see September 19, 2001-September 3, 2002). [CBC, 8/27/02, Washington Post, 6/12/02] On September 12, 2002, after a year in solitary confinement and four months before he was able to contact a lawyer, Mohammed Azmath pleads guilty to one count of credit card fraud, and is released with time served. Ayub Ali Khan, whose real name is apparently Syed Gul Mohammad Shah, is given a longer sentence for credit card fraud, but is released and deported by the end of 2002 (see September 11, 2001 (K)). [Village Voice, 9/25/02, New York Times, 12/31/02] By December 2002, only 6 are known to still be in custody, and none have been charged with any terrorist acts (see December 11, 2002 (D)). On September 24, 2001, Newsweek reported that “the FBI has privately estimated that more than 1,000 individuals—most of them foreign nationals—with suspected terrorist ties are currently living in the United States.” [Newsweek, 9/24/01] With the exception of Moussaoui, who was arrested before 9/11, it appears not one person of the 1,200 arrested has been connected to al-Qaeda. What happened to the 1,000 or more terrorists?
          

October 26, 2001

      
President Bush signs the Patriot Act into law.
Bush signs the Patriot Act into law. Here are some of its provisions:
  1. Non-citizens can be detained and deported if they provide “assistance” for lawful activities of any group the government chooses to call a terrorist organization. Under this provision the secretary of state can designate any group that has ever engaged in violent activity as a terrorist organization. Representative Patsy Mink notes that in theory supporters of Greenpeace could now be convicted for supporting terrorism. [San Francisco Chronicle, 11/12/01]
  2. Immigrants can be detained indefinitely, even if they are found to not have any links to terrorism. They can be detained indefinitely for immigration violations or if the attorney general decides their activities pose a danger to national security. They never need to be given a trial or even a hearing on their status. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/8/02]
  3. Internet service providers can be ordered to reveal the web sites and e-mail addresses that a suspect has communicated to or visited. The FBI need only inform a judge that the information is relevant to an investigation. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/8/02, Village Voice, 11/26/01]
  4. It “lays the foundation for a domestic intelligence-gathering system of unprecedented scale and technological prowess.” [Washington Post, 11/4/01] It allows the government to access confidential credit reports, school records, and other records, without consent or notification. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/8/02] All of this information can now be given to the CIA, in violation of the CIA's mandate prohibiting it from spying within the US. [Village Voice, 11/26/01]
  5. Financial institutions are encouraged to disclose possible violations of law or “suspicious activities” by any client. The institution is prohibited from notifying the person involved that it made such a report. The term “suspicious” is not defined, so it is up to the financial institutions to determine when to send such a report.
  6. Federal agents can easily obtain warrants to review a library patron's reading and computer habits (see also January 2002 (E)). [Village Voice, 2/22/02]
  7. The government can refuse to reveal how evidence is collected against a suspected terrorist defendant. [Tampa Tribune, 4/6/03]
The law passes with public debate. [Village Voice, 11/9/01, Village Voice, 11/26/01] Even though it ultimately took six weeks to pass the law, there was no hearing or congressional debate. [Salon, 3/24/03] Congressman Barney Frank (D) says, “This was the least democratic process for debating questions fundamental to democracy I have ever seen. A bill drafted by a handful of people in secret, subject to no committee process, comes before us immune from amendment.”[Village Voice, 11/9/01] Only 66 congresspeople, and one senator, Russell Feingold (D), vote against it. Few in Congress are able to read summaries, let alone the fine print, before voting on it.
Senator Russell Feingold.
[Los Angeles Times 10/30/01]
Feingold says, “The new law goes into a lot of areas that have nothing to do with terrorism and have a lot to do with the government and the FBI having a wish list of things they want to do….”[Village Voice, 11/9/01] Supporters point out that some provisions will expire in four years, but in fact most provisions will not expire. [Chicago Tribune, 11/1/01] One year later, criticism of the law grows. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/8/02] Dozens of cities later pass resolutions criticizing the Patriot Act (see January 12, 2003 (B)).
          

October 27, 2001 (B)

      
The Afghan village of Darya Khanah is bombed on October 27, 2001.
The US government no longer thinks bin Laden is behind the anthrax attacks: “Everything seems to lean toward a domestic source… Nothing seems to fit with an overseas terrorist type operation.” The Washington Post suggests neo-Nazi groups are behind it. Not long after, the FBI releases a profile of the perpetrator of the anthrax attacks. He is suspected of being a lone, male domestic terrorist, with a scientific background and laboratory experience who could handle hazardous materials. [Washington Post, 10/27/01 (B), St. Petersburg Times, 11/10/01] On the same day, the London Times claims that Atta was given a flask of anthrax by an Iraqi agent in April 2001, which then was used in the US anthrax attacks. [London Times 10/27/01] However, US and Czech officials eventually conclude the meeting never even took place (see September 19, 2001-October 20, 2002).
          

October 27, 2001 (C)

       Furious government intelligence officials accuse the NSA of destroying data pertinent to the 9/11 investigation. They claim that possible leads aren't being followed because of the NSA lack of cooperation. [Boston Globe 10/27/01]
          

October 27, 2001

       Suspected terrorist Mohammed Haydar Zammar (see March 1997) travels to Morocco. Not long after, perhaps in December, he is arrested by Moroccan police with US assistance. Though he is a German citizen and under investigation by Germany, German intelligence remain unaware of his arrest, and only learn about it from the newspapers in June 2002. He is sent to Syria, where there are formal charges against him. Supposedly, Zammar now claims he recruited Atta and others into the al-Qaeda Hamburg cell. [Washington Post 6/19/02 (B)] It is widely suspected that the US arranged that Zammar be sent to Syria so he could be more thoroughly interrogated using torture. The Germans are angry that the US has been submitting questions for Zammar and learning answers from Syria, and haven't informed Germany of what they've learned. [, Telegraph, 6/20/02] Months after the story of Zammar's detention is made public, the Germans are still complaining that the US is not telling them much (see October 25, 2002).
          

November 14-November 25, 2001

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

November 15, 2001

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

November 18, 2001

       Hijacker Ziad Jarrah wrote a letter to his girlfriend shortly before 9/11, but made a mistake in the address, allowing investigators to find it around this time. He writes, “I did what I had to do, and you should be very proud of that… It is a great honor and you will see the result, and everyone will be celebrating.” [Observer, 11/18/01] Jarrah's relatives claim the letter is a fake designed to frame him, and that he wouldn't have mistaken the address of the woman he'd been dating for five years. [BBC, 11/19/01] At some point, part of Jarrah's passport was found in the wreckage of Flight 93. [CNN, 8/1/02] This image of the burnt passport has been released, which you can see here . However, it bears only a vague resemblance to other pictures of Jarrah . Could someone who looked vaguely like him have stolen his identity (for other stolen identities, see September 16-23, 2001)?
          

November 21, 2001 (C)

       The remains of all but one of the people on board Flight 77, including the hijackers, are identified. But the identities of the hijackers have still not been confirmed through their remains. [Washington Post, 11/21/01, Mercury, 1/11/02] Over a year later, the FBI still has not given DNA profiles to medical examiners so the hijacker remains can be identified (see Late February 2003). Strangely, the official story states there was a giant fireball on impact that not only destroyed the airplane but actually vaporized the metal. A rescue worker states: “The only way you could tell that an aircraft was inside was that we saw pieces of the nose gear. The devastation was horrific.” [NFPA Journal, 11/1/01] Yet remains of every passenger but one was found?
          

November 23, 2001

       The Boston Globe writes a story that strongly suggests at least one hijacker was inside the cockpits on every flight before the 9/11 hijackings began. An airplane captain theorizes how they took control: “The most likely scenarios are something that was swift, where the pilots couldn't have changed their transponder code and called the controllers. You think four times in one morning one of those crews would have done that. That means they had to be upon them before they could react.” On practice flights before 9/11, the hijackers were able to repeatedly get into cockpits by various methods. Perhaps the most important method was jumpseating, which allows certified airline pilots to use a spare seat in the cockpit when none is available in the passenger cabin. Airlines reciprocate to help pilots get home or to the city of their originating flight. Officials say they do not believe any of the hijackers were jumpseating on 9/11 despite media reports to the contrary (see September 24, 2001 (B)). However, since 9/11 the FAA has banned the practice unless a pilot works for the airline in whose cockpit that person wants to ride. [Boston Globe, 11/23/01] Could jumpseating be ignored by investigators to save the airlines from losing large lawsuits?
          

Late November, 2001

      
A mass grave dug up near Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan.
Ironically, it appears that even as the US is allowing some Taliban to secretly fly out of Afghanistan (see November 14-November 25, 2001) it is allowing a brutal massacre of others. The Sunday Herald says, “It seems established, almost beyond doubt, that US soldiers oversaw and took part in horrific crimes against humanity,” which resulted in the death of thousands of Taliban supporters who surrendered after Kunduz fell to the Northern Alliance. The documentary Massacre at Mazar exposes this news widely in Europe, but the massacre remains virtually unreported in the US. [Sunday Herald 7/16/02]
          

November 28, 2001

      
The Tora Bora region of Afghanistan.
A US Special Forces soldier stationed in Fayetteville, North Carolina later (anonymously) claims that the US has bin Laden pinned in a certain Tora Bora cave on this day, but fails to act. Special Forces soldiers sit by waiting for orders and watch two helicopters fly into the area where bin Laden was believed to be, load up passengers, and fly toward Pakistan. No other soldiers have come forward to corroborate the story, but bin Laden is widely believed to have been in the Tora Bora area at the time. [Fayetteville Observer, 8/2/02] Newsweek separately reports that many locals “claim that mysterious black helicopters swept in, flying low over the mountains at night, and scooped up al-Qaeda's top leaders.” [] More incompetence, or a pattern of letting bin Laden escape? Perhaps just coincidentally, on the same day this story is reported, the media also reports a recent spate of strange deaths at the same military base in Fayetteville. Five soldiers and their wives have all died since June 2002 in apparent murder-suicides. At least three were Special Forces soldiers recently returned from Afghanistan. [Independent, 8/2/02] Could it be these soldiers knew too much about escapes and/or human rights atrocities?
          

Early December 2001 (C)

      
Abu Qatada.
Al-Qaeda leader Abu Qatada disappears, despite being under surveillance in Britain. He has been “described by some justice officials as the spiritual leader and possible puppet master of al-Qaeda's European networks.” [Time, 7/7/02] Qatada had already been sentenced to death in abstentia in Jordan, and is wanted at the time by the US, Spain, France, and Algeria as well. [Guardian, 2/14/02] In October 2001, it was strongly suggested in the media that Qatada would soon be arrested for his known roles in al-Qaeda plots, but he was not. [London Times, 10/21/01] In November, while Qatada was still living openly in Britain, a Spanish judge expressed disbelief that Qatada hadn't been arrested already. Qatada has been connected to a Spanish al-Qaeda cell that may have met with Atta (see July 8-19, 2001). [Observer 11/25/01] Time magazine will later claim that just before new anti-terrorism laws go into effect in Britain, Abu Qatada and his family are secretly moved to a safe house by the British government, where he is lodged, fed, and clothed by the government. “The deal is that Abu Qatada is deprived of contact with extremists in London and Europe but can't be arrested or expelled because no one officially knows where he is,” says a source, whose claims were corroborated by French authorities. The British are doing this to avoid a “hot potato” trial. [Time, 7/7/02] A British official says, “We wouldn't give an awful lot of credence [to the story].” [Guardian, 7/8/02] Some French officials tell the press that Qatada was allowed to disappear because he is actually a British intelligence agent. [Observer, 2/24/02 (B)] Qatada is later arrested on October 23, 2002, in London. [London Times, 10/25/02] Was he on the run until his arrest or did the British secretly hold him until they were ready for a trial?
          

December 13, 2001 (B)

      
The man in the picture on the right is the real bin Laden (in December 1998). Could the man on the left be one of his doubles?
The US releases a video of bin Laden that seems to confirm his role in the 9/11 attack. [Guardian, 12/13/01] However, a number of strange facts about this video soon emerge. For one, all previous videos had been made with the consent of bin Laden, and usually released to the Arabic TV channel Al Jazeera. This video was supposedly recorded without his knowledge, found in a house in Afghanistan, and then passed to the CIA by an unknown person or group. Experts point out that it would be possible to fake such a video. So many people doubt the video's authenticity that Bush soon makes a statement, saying it was “preposterous for anybody to think this tape was doctored. Those who contend it's a farce or a fake are hoping for the best about an evil man.” Some observers point out that bin Laden is wearing a ring on his right hand. In previous films, he had worn no jewelry apart from a watch. [Guardian, 12/15/01] The German television show Monitor does an independent translation that questions the translation given by the Pentagon. Says Professor Gernot Rotter, scholar of Islamic and Arabic Studies at the University of Hamburg, “This tape is of such poor quality that many passages are unintelligible. And those that are intelligible have often been taken out of context, so that you can't use that as evidence. The American translators who listened to the tape and transcribed it obviously added things that they wanted to hear in many places.” [Monitor, 12/20/01] But perhaps the best reason to think the video is not of bin Laden is to look at the video. The person in the video just plain doesn't look like him, especially in the nose. See the comparison on the right. Here also are comparisons of videos from before, during, and after: Al Jazeera, 10/01 , Al Jazeera, 10/11/01 , Dawn interview, 11/8/01 , controversial video, late 11/01 , Al Jazeera, 12/27/01 . One answer may be that the video was of one of bin Laden's doubles. There are reports that he had from four to ten look-alike doubles at the time. [AFP 10/7/01; London Times 11/19/01]
          

December 13, 2001

       The US Army responds to a journalistic investigation and confirms that it has been making weapons grade anthrax in recent years, in violation of an international treaty. The US offensive biological weapons program was supposedly closed in 1969 when the US signed a biological weapons treaty. In 1998 scientists at the Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah turned small quantities of wet anthrax into powder. This weaponized anthrax appears to be very similar or identical to the anthrax used in the recent attacks. [Baltimore Sun 12/13/01; New York Times 12/13/01]
          

December 19, 2001

       Speaking in Kazakhstan, US Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones states: “We will not leave Central Asia after resolving the conflict [in Afghanistan]. We want to support the Central Asian countries in their desire to reform their societies as they supported us in the war against terrorism. These are not only new but long-term relations” (see also January 2002 (D) and April 30, 2002). [BBC 12/19/01] This important change in official US policy is not actually reported in the US itself.
          

December 21, 2001

       The FBI reveals that it knows what's on the Flight 93 black boxes (see September 13-14, 2001), but they won't release the transcript or audio recording. Families of the victims had requested to hear the cockpit voice recording, but the FBI says, “we do not believe that the horror captured on the cockpit voice recording will console them in any way.” [CNN, 12/21/01] Accuracy in Media immediately submits a Freedom of Information Act request to have the transcript released, but the FBI turns it down because a release “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.” The Philadelphia Daily News asks, “What enforcement proceedings?” and suggests the FBI may be covering up a shoot down of the plane. [Philadelphia Daily News 12/28/01]
          

December 21, 2001 (B)

       The FBI is now investigating “whether potential profit from the sale of anthrax medications or cleanup efforts may have motivated” the anthrax attacks. Battelle, a company doing anthrax work for the CIA, is the one company most discussed in the article and is strongly featured in another. [Washington Post 12/21/01; ABC 12/20/01] The same day, the FBI says it is not investigating a former Battelle scientist in relation to an anthrax scare, contrary to national broadcast news reports. A US Senator further claims FBI Director Mueller told him “no one with or formerly with Battelle is a suspect.” [Columbus Dispatch, 12/21/01] Is Bayer also under investigation (see October 21, 2001)?
          

December 25, 2001

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

January 2002 (F)

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

January 4, 2002

       A firefighter trade magazine with ties to the New York Fire Department calls the investigation into the collapse of the WTC a “half-baked farce.” The article points out that the probe has not looked at all aspects of the disaster and has had limited access to documents and other evidence. “The destruction and removal of evidence must stop immediately.” It concludes that a growing number of fire protection engineers have theorized that “the structural damage from the planes and the explosive ignition of jet fuel in themselves were not enough to bring down the towers.” [New York Daily News 1/4/02]
          

January 4, 2002 (B)

      
A very badly done attempt to portray bin Laden in Western clothing. Note the blurry area on his neck.
The US government is shown to have doctored information about terrorists. For instance, the State Department said Atta “wanted to learn to fly, but didn't need to take off and land” when this information clearly referred to Zacarias Moussaoui (although that story isn't exactly true for him either—see August 13-15, 2001). The Defense Department even released a photo purporting to be bin Laden in Western clothing, with his hair cut short and beard shaved off. An expert says “Frankly, this is sloppy,” and the article calls these efforts “worthy of the tabloids.” [AP 1/4/02]
          

January 24, 2002

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

January 28, 2002

       The kidnappers of reporter Daniel Pearl (see January 23, 2002) e-mail the media a picture of Pearl and a list of very strange demands. [BBC, 7/5/02] The kidnappers call themselves “The National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty,” a previously unheard of name. [Vanity Fair, 8/02] Their demands include the return of US-held Pakistani prisoners and the departure of US journalists from Pakistan. [ABC News, 2/7/02] Most unusually, they demand that the US sell F-16 fighters to Pakistan. No terrorist group had ever shown interest in the F-16's, but this demand and the others reflect the desires of Pakistan's military and the ISI. [London Times, 4/21/02, Guardian, 7/16/02] On January 29, “a senior Pakistani official” presumably from the ISI leaks the fact that Pearl is Jewish to the Pakistani press. This may have been an attempt to ensure the kidnappers would want to murder him, which they do shortly thereafter (see January 31, 2002). [Vanity Fair, 8/02] On the same day, it is reported that US intelligence believes the kidnappers are connected to the ISI. [UPI 1/29/02] Secretary of State Powell will later say there is no connection between the kidnappers and the ISI.
          

February 6, 2002 (B)

      
Tenet testifying on February 6, 2002.
CIA Director Tenet tells a Senate hearing that there was no 9/11 intelligence failure. When asked about the CIA record on 9/11, he says, “We are proud of that record.” He also states that the 9/11 plot was “in the heads of three or four people” and thus nearly impossible to prevent. [USA Today 2/7/02]
          

February 6, 2002

       Pakistani police publicly name Saeed Sheikh and a terrorist group he belongs to, Jaish-e-Mohammad, responsible for reporter Daniel Pearl's murder (see January 31, 2002 and February 5, 2002). [Observer 2/24/02] In the next several months, at least 12 Western articles mention Saeed's links to al-Qaeda [ABC News, 2/7/02, Boston Globe, 2/7/02, AP, 2/24/02, Los Angeles Times, 3/15/02], including his financing of 9/11 [New York Daily News, 2/7/02, CNN, 2/8/02, AP, 2/9/02, Guardian, 2/9/02, Independent, 2/10/02, Time, 2/10/02, New York Post, 2/10/02, Evening Standard, 2/12/02, Los Angeles Times, 2/13/02, New York Post, 2/22/02, Sunday Herald, 2/24/02, USA Today, 3/8/02], and at least 16 articles mention his links to the ISI. [Cox News, 2/21/02, Observer, 2/24/02, Telegraph, 2/24/02, Newsweek, 2/25/02, New York Times, 2/25/02, USA Today, 2/25/02, National Post, 2/26/02, Boston Globe, 2/28/02, Newsweek, 3/11/02, Newsweek, 3/13/02, Guardian, 4/5/02, MSNBC, 4/5/02]. However, many other articles fail to mention either link. But only three articles consider that Saeed could have been connected to both groups at the same time. [London Times, 2/25/02, London Times, 4/21/02, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02], and only one of these mentions he could be involved in the ISI, al-Qaeda and financing 9/11. [London Times, 4/21/02] By the time Saeed is convicted of Pearl's murder in July 2002, not a single US newspaper is connecting Saeed to either al-Qaeda or the ISI, while many British newspapers are still making one or the other connection (see July 15, 2002). Is the media afraid of reporting any news that could imply a connection between the ISI and the 9/11 attacks?
          

February 10, 2002

       Katherine Smith is killed one day before her scheduled appearance in court on charges she helped five Muslim terrorists get illegal drivers licenses. Her car supposedly hit a tree and then caught on fire. The FBI later determined that gasoline was poured on her clothing before she died in the fire. A suicide note was found, but prosecutors say they are looking for murder suspects. One of the five Muslims, Sakhera Hammad, was found with a pass for the WTC, dated September 5, 2001, in his wallet. Hammad claims he was a plumber and worked on the WTC's sprinkler system that day (see September 5, 2001). Smith was being investigated by the FBI; the five later plead guilty to charges of fraud. [AP 2/13/02; Reuters 2/15/02; Go Memphis 2/12/02; Memphis Commercial Appeal 2/21/02]
          

February 20, 2002

       The Pentagon announces the existence of the new Office of Strategic Influence, which “was quietly set up after September 11.” The role of this office is to plant false stories in the foreign press, phony e-mails from disguised addresses, and other covert activities to manipulate public opinion. The new office proves so controversial that it is declared closed six days later. [CNN, 2/20/02, CNN, 2/26/02] It is later reported that the “temporary” Office of Global Communications will be made permanent (it is unknown when this office began its work). This office seems to serve the same function as the earlier Office of Strategic Influence, minus the covert manipulation. [Washington Post, 7/20/02] Defense Secretary Rumsfeld later states that after the office was closed, “I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to savage this thing fine I'll give you the corpse. There's the name. You can have the name, but I'm gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have” (see also October 2002and November 24, 2002). [Department of Defense 11/18/02]
          

March 2, 2002 (B)

       The Washington Post claims that nine of the 19 9/11 hijackers were selected for special security just prior to boarding for the 9/11 attack, including two who were singled out because of irregularities in their identification documents. “Six were chosen for extra scrutiny by a computerized screening system, prompting a sweep of their checked baggage for explosives or unauthorized weapons.” [Washington Post 3/2/02 (B)] None of the names selected for screening are given, but a different article makes clear that hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, on a watch list for international flights at the time (see August 23, 2001 (C)), are not selected. [Cox News, 10/21/01] It is later revealed that box cutters were illegal to bring on board airplanes at the time of 9/11. [AP, 11/11/02] If this is true, how did they get the box cutters on board, not to mention reports of illegal knives, bombs and chemical spray on two planes (for instance, see September 17, 2001 (C), July 18, 2002 and March 27, 2002)? Also, if all this is true, why have no photos of them boarding planes or interviews with security staff been released?
          

March 2, 2002

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

March 3, 2002

       Secretary of State Powell rules out any links between “elements of the ISI” and the murderers of reporter Daniel Pearl. [Dawn, 3/3/02] The Guardian later calls Powell's comment “shocking,” given the overwhelming evidence that the main suspect, Saeed Sheikh, worked for the ISI. [Guardian, 4/5/02] Defense Secretary Rumsfeld called him a possible “asset” for the ISI a week earlier. [London Times, 2/25/02] The Washington Post says, “The [ISI] is a house of horrors waiting to break open. Saeed has tales to tell.” [Washington Post, 3/28/02] The Guardian says Saeed “is widely believed in Pakistan to be an experienced ISI ‘asset.’ ” [Washington Post 5/3/02] Does Powell's comment indicate that the US is helping to cover up Saeed's ISI connections?
          

March 6, 2002

       A Washington Post article completely denies the existence of any Israeli spy ring. A “wide array of US officials” supposedly deny it, and Justice Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden says: “This seems to be an urban myth that has been circulating for months. The department has no information at this time to substantiate these widespread reports about Israeli art students involved in espionage.” [Washington Post, 3/6/02] The New York Times fails to cover the story at all, even months later. [Salon 5/7/02] By mid-March, Jane's, the respected British intelligence and military analysis service, notes: “It is rather strange that the US media seems to be ignoring what may well be the most explosive story since the 11 September attacks—the alleged breakup of a major Israeli espionage operation in the USA.” [Jane's Intelligence Digest 3/13/02]
          

March 7, 2002

      
The Pentagon “video.” Click here for a larger image. [
A series of photos surface purporting to show a plane crashing into the Pentagon on 9/11. It's not clear who released the photos, but the Pentagon says they're authentic and taken from a Pentagon security camera. The release of these pictures comes within days of the publication of the book “l'Effroyable Imposture”(see Early March 2002). “Officials could not immediately explain why the date typed near the bottom of each photograph is Sept. 12 and the time is written as 5:37 p.m.” [Fox News, 3/8/02] Could this timing “glitch” help cover the official time of the hit being at 9:37, five minutes before other estimates? Do the pictures show an American Airlines 757, or a much smaller, darker plane that has the shape of a fighter? Because the plane in the first frame hard to see, here is an enlarged version with the plane and its exhaust circled.
          

March 14, 2002

       Attorney General Ashcroft announces a second US criminal indictment of Saeed Sheikh (see August-October 2001), this time for his role in the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl (see January 31, 2002). The amount of background information given about Saeed is very brief, and of all his many terrorist acts since he was released from prison in 1999, the only one mentioned is that in September and October 2001 he fought in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda. The indictment and Ashcroft fail to mention Saeed's financing of the 9/11 attacks, and no reporters ask Ashcroft about this either (see Early August 2001 (D)). [CNN 3/14/02; Los Angeles Times 3/15/02]
          

March 15, 2002

       Forward, a US publication with a large Jewish audience, admits that there has been an Israeli spy ring in the US. This is a reversal of their earlier stance (see [Forward, 12/21/01]). But, “far from pointing to Israeli spying against US government and military facilities, as reported in Europe last week, the incidents in question appear to represent a case of Israelis in the United States spying on a common enemy, radical Islamic networks suspected of links to Middle East terrorism.” [Forward 3/15/02]
          

March 22, 2002 (B)

       British officials claim to have found an al-Qaeda biological weapons lab near Kandahar, Afghanistan. But the lab was incomplete, and “there is still no indication that al-Qaeda ever succeeded in producing biological agents.” [New York Times, 3/22/02] Soon after, the US denies even the existence of any such lab, and the British government is accused of inventing the story to justify sending British soldiers to a certain part of Afghanistan. [Observer 3/24/02 (B)]
          

March 27, 2002

       New York Times reporter Jere Longman writes an article based on recent leaks to him about Flight 93's cockpit flight recording (later relatives of the victims are given a single chance to listen to the recording (see April 18, 2002)). He claims that earlier reports of a 911 call from a bathroom reporting smoke and an explosion are incorrect. He names the passenger as Edward Felt and notes that the dispatcher who took the call and Felt's wife both deny the smoke and explosion story. There were messages from both passengers and hijackers on the plane speaking of a bomb. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/28/01 (B)] Longman also claims that one passenger, Tom Burnett, told his wife there were guns on the plane. [New York Times, 3/27/02] >From immediately after 9/11, the fact that Tom Burnett told his wife that he didn't see any guns was widely reported. [Dateline NBC, 9/14/01] Note that the passengers appeared doubtful that the terrorists had either real guns or bombs, but there is a March 2002 report of a gun being used on Flight 11 (see September 11 , 2001 (X)). Why are we only hearing about the possibility of guns on board so many months later? Could it be that the airlines are liable to lose billions if it can be proven weapons were smuggled aboard the plane? Why was the Felt call widely reported and unchallenged by officials until now?
          

April, June or August 2002

       It is originally reported that Al Jazeera reporter Yosri Fouda interviews 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and 9/11 associate Ramzi bin al-Shibh at a secret location in Karachi, Pakistan in either June [London Times, 9/8/02] or August. [Guardian, 9/9/02] Details and audio footage of the interview come out between September 8-12, 2002. The video footage of the interview al-Qaeda promised to hand over is never given to Al Jazeera. [AP, 9/8/02] Both figures claim the 9/11 attacks were originally going to target nuclear reactors, but “decided against it for fear it would go out of control.” Interviewer Fouda is struck that Mohammed and bin al-Shibh remember only the hijackers' code names, and have trouble remembering their real names. [Australian, 9/9/02] Mohammed calls himself the head of al-Qaeda's military committee—the group that planned the targets for 9/11. These interviews “are the first full admission by senior figures from bin Laden's network that they carried out the September 11 attacks.” [Sunday Times 9/8/02] But the Financial Times has reported on Fouda's interview, “Analysts cited the crude editing of the tapes and the timing of the broadcasts as reasons to be suspicious about their authenticity. Dia Rashwan, an expert on Islamist movements at the Al-Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies in Cairo, said: ‘I have very serious doubts [about the authenticity of this tape]. It could have been a script written by the FBI.’ ” [Financial Times, 9/11/02] Mohammed is later reported to be arrested in June 2002 (see June 16, 2002), killed or arrested in September 2002 (see September 11, 2002), and then arrested in March 2003 (see March 1, 2003). After this last arrest, for the first time Fouda claims this interview took place in April, placing it safely before the first reports of Mohammed's capture. [Guardian, 3/4/03, Canada AM, 3/6/03] Bin al-Shibh also gets captured several days after Fouda's interview in broadcast (see September 11, 2002), and some reports say he is captured because this interview allows his voice to be identified. [CBS, 10/9/02, Observer, 9/15/02] As a result, Fouda has been accused of betraying al-Qaeda, and now fears for his life. [Independent, 9/17/02] As the Washington Post puts it: “Now al Jazeera is also subject to rumors of a conspiracy.” [Washington Post, 9/15/02] Yet after being so reviled by al-Qaeda supporters, Fouda is later given a cassette said to be a bin Laden speech. [MSNBC, 11/18/02] Why would al-Qaeda have given such an exclusive to the man said to have betrayed them? US officials believe the voice on that cassette is “almost certainly” bin Laden, but one of the world's leading voice-recognition institutes said they were 95% certain the tape is a forgery. [BBC, 11/18/02, BBC, 11/29/02] Is it possible that Fouda has been working with the US to pass on anti-al-Qaeda propaganda, including the Mohammed and bin al-Shibh interview?
          

April 4, 2002

       Dr. David Franz, a former commander of USAMRIID, says of the anthrax attacks: “I think a lot of good has come from it. From a biological or a medical standpoint, we've now five people who have died, but we've put about $6 billion in our budget into defending against bioterrorism.”Plentiful evidence suggests that the anthrax came from USAMRIID, but investigators say they have no suspects at all. They also say they have come up “against some closely held military secrets” which are slowing down the investigation. “Federal investigators tell ABCNEWS that military and intelligence agencies have withheld a full listing of all facilities and all employees dealing with top-secret anthrax programs where important leads could be found.” [ABC News, 4/4/02] Did the anthrax attacker(s) use similar logic as Franz, reasoning that the attacks would serve as a wake up call to protect the US against bioterror attacks?
          

April 11, 2002

       Jim Pavitt, the CIA Deputy Director of Operations, emphasizes how prepared the CIA was to launch subversive actions in Afghanistan immediately after 9/11. “With a small logistical footprint they came with lightning speed. We were on the ground within days of that terrible attack. They also came with something else. They came with knowledge of local languages, whatever you heard to the contrary notwithstanding, terrain, and politics… In those few days that it took us to get there after that terrible, terrible attack, my officers stood on Afghan soil, side by side with Afghan friends that we had developed over a long period of time, and we launched America's war against al-Qaeda… Quite simply, we were there well before the 11th of September.” [CIA 4/11/02] This is in stark contrast to the official story reported in the media that the US overly relied on satellites and other high technologies and had no agents on the ground.
          

April 17, 2002

       The Washington Post reports that, “The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit US ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al-Qaeda,” allowing bin Laden to escape. The newspaper claims that while the administration has failed to acknowledge the mistake publicly, “inside the government there is little controversy on the subject.” [Washington Post 4/17/02] The next day, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld denies this, and states he didn't know at the time of the assault, “nor do I know today of any evidence that he was in Tora Bora at the time or that he left Tora Bora at the time or even where he is today”(see Early December 2001). [USA Today 4/18/02]
          

April 18, 2002

       The FBI allows relatives of passengers on Flight 93 to listen to and see a written transcript of the cockpit recordings. 70 do so. But the FBI says the relatives are not allowed to make recordings, because the tape might be used in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui. [Guardian, 4/19/02] The San Francisco Chronicle responds: “Is there even a dollop of logic in that explanation? It's like saying we can't watch video of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center because that video might be used in a trial.”[San Francisco Chronicle, 6/3/02] New York Times reporter Jere Longman writes the book Among the Heroes based on his access to the recordings (see March 27, 2002) and interviews with officials and relatives. New details of their struggle on board emerges, but the government still has not officially stated if the passengers took over the plane or not. [Telegraph 8/6/02; MSNBC 7/30/02]
          

April 19, 2002

       FBI Director Mueller states: “In our investigation, we have not uncovered a single piece of paper—either here in the United States or in the treasure trove of information that has turned up in Afghanistan and elsewhere—that mentioned any aspect of the September 11 plot.”He also claims that the attackers used “extraordinary secrecy” and “investigators have found no computers, laptops, hard drives or other storage media that may have been used by the hijackers, who hid their communications by using hundreds of pay phones and cell phones, coupled with hard-to-trace prepaid calling cards.” [FBI speech transcript, 4/19/02, Los Angeles Times, 4/22/02, he repeats the quote the next month, Senate Judiciary Statement, 5/8/02] However, before 9/11, CIA Director Tenet told the Senate that al-Qaeda is “embracing the opportunities offered by recent leaps in information technology,” [CIA, 03/21/00], the FBI broke the al-Qaeda computer encryption before February 2001 (see February 13, 2001) [UPI, 2/13/01], witnesses report seeing the hijackers use computers for e-mail at public libraries in Florida and Maine [Sun-Sentinel, 9/16/01 (B), Boston Herald, 10/5/01], in October 2001 there were many reports that hundreds of e-mails discussing the 9/11 plot had been found (see October 2001 (B)), Moussaoui's laptop was found to contain important information. Look also at an MSNBC article about al-Qaeda using computers. [MSNBC 4/19/02]
          

April 25, 2002

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

May 1, 2002

       L. Britt Snider, ex-CIA official and the head of the joint congressional investigation into 9/11, resigns. Apparently there were many conflicts between Snider and his own staff, as well as with Congress. It is later revealed the final straw occurred when Snider tried to hire a CIA employee who had failed an agency polygraph test as an inquiry staffer. The hearings were expected to start in late May, but the resignation is one reason why the first public hearings are delayed until September (see September 18, 2002). [Los Angeles Times 5/2/02; Los Angeles Times 10/19/02] Snider is replaced by Eleanor Hill. She is widely credited for turning around an inquiry “hampered by infighting, politics, leaks and dueling agendas” after being hired in June. [Miami Herald 7/14/02; Washington Post 9/25/02 (B)]
          

May 1, 2002 (B)

       FEMA releases its report of the WTC collapses. It concludes, “with the information and time available, the sequence of events leading to the collapse of each tower could not be definitively determined.” On Building 7: “The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown at this time.” [FEMA study, 5/1/02] Might their failure to come to conclusions have something to do with the fact that they destroyed the evidence before it could be analyzed? (see March 2, 2002).
          

May 7, 2002

       A moving truck is pulled over for speeding in the middle of the night in Oak Harbor, Washington, near the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. The base is the home of the advanced electronic warfare Prowler jets. A bomb-sniffing dog detects explosives on one of the men and inside the truck. High-tech equipment is then used to confirm the presence of TNT on the gearshift and RDX plastic explosive on the steering wheel. Both men turn out to be Israeli (one with an altered passport) and in the country illegally. [Fox News 5/13/02] However, the FBI later clears the two men, saying both the dog and the tests just detected false positives from “residue left by a cigarette lighter.” [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 5/14/02, Jerusalem Post, 5/14/02] The “art student spy ring” frequently uses moving vans as cover (see October 16, 2001 (C)), and has been caught spying on the most top secret military bases. [Salon, 5/7/02] In a possibly related story, the Seattle FBI office that handled this case appears to have been broken into a few weeks later, and even a room containing evidence was penetrated. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 7/29/02] Is the spy ring is still active? Is the FBI covering up for them and releasing them?
          

May 8, 2002

       FBI Director Mueller: “there was nothing the agency could have done to anticipate and prevent the [9/11] attacks.” [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]
          

May 15, 2002

      
The New York Post has a banner headline on May 16, 2002.
The Bush Administration is embarrassed when the CBS Evening News reveals that Bush had been warned about al-Qaeda domestic attacks in August 2001 (see August 6, 2001). Bush had repeatedly said that he had “no warning” of any kind. Press Secretary Ari Fleischer states unequivocally that while Bush had been warned of possible hijackings, “The president did not—not—receive information about the use of airplanes as missiles by suicide bombers.” [New York Times, 5/16/02, Washington Post, 5/16/02] “Until the attack took place, I think it's fair to say that no one envisioned that as a possibility.” [MSNBC, 9/18/02] Fleischer claims the August memo was titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike the US” but the real title is soon found to end with “ … Strike in US.” [Washington Post, 5/18/02 (B)] The Guardian will state a few days later, “the memo left little doubt that the hijacked airliners were intended for use as missiles and that intended targets were to be inside the US.” It further states that, “now, as the columnist Joe Conason points out in the current edition of the New York Observer, ‘conspiracy’ begins to take over from ‘incompetence’ as a likely explanation for the failure to heed—and then inform the public about—warnings that might have averted the worst disaster in the nation's history.” [Guardian, 5/19/02] [FTW]
          

May 16, 2002

       In the wake of new information on what Bush knew (see May 15, 2002), Vice President Cheney states: “my Democratic friends in Congress … need to be very cautious not to seek political advantage by making incendiary suggestions, as were made by some today, that the White House had advance information that would have prevented the tragic attacks of 9/11.” He calls such criticism “thoroughly irresponsible … in time of war” and states that any serious probe of 9/11 foreknowledge would be tantamount to giving “aid and comfort” to the enemy. [Washington Post 5/17/02 (C)]
          

May 16, 2002 (C)

       In response to all of the revelations about what was known before 9/11 (see May 15, 2002), the major airlines hold a press conference saying they were never warned of a specific hijacking threat, and were not told to tighten security. For instance, an American Airlines spokesman states the airline “received no specific information from the US government advising the carrier of a potential terrorist hijacking in the United States in the months prior to Sept. 11, 2001. American receives FAA security information bulletins periodically, but the bulletins were extremely general in nature and did not identify a specific threat or recommend any specific security enhancements.” [Miami Herald, 5/17/02] The FAA gave 15 warnings to the airlines between January and August 2001, but about one general security warning a month had been common for a long time. [CNN, 5/17/02] Even a government official called these warnings “standard fare.” [Miami Herald 5/17/02]
          

May 16, 2002 (B)

      
National Security Advisor Rice tries to explain what Bush knew and when.
National Security Advisor Rice states: “I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile,” adding that “even in retrospect” there was “nothing” to suggest that. [White House, 5/16/02] Is Rice aware how many people did predict such a thing, even many years prior to 9/11? What about Japanese kamikaze pilots in WW2? For instance, Former CIA Deputy Director John Gannon has stated that scenario has long been taken seriously by US intelligence: “If you ask anybody— could terrorists convert a plane into a missile?— nobody would have ruled that out.” Rice also states, “The overwhelming bulk of the evidence was that this was an attack that was likely to take place overseas.”[MSNBC, 5/17/02] Slate compares this with the title of Bush's August 6 briefing: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US,” and awards Rice the “Whopper of the Week.”[Slate, 5/23/02] Rice later concedes that “somebody did imagine it” but says she didn't know about such intelligence until well after this conference. [AP, 9/21/02] Which is worse: Rice lying again about not knowing such intelligence, or someone in her position actually not knowing such intelligence?
          

May 17, 2002

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

May 20-24, 2002

       The Bush administration issues a remarkable series of terror warnings that many believe are politically motivated. Vice President Cheney warns it is “not a matter of if, but when” al-Qaeda will next attack the US. [CNN, 5/20/02] Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge says the same thing. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says terrorists will “inevitably” obtain weapons of mass destruction. FBI Director Mueller says more suicide bombings are “inevitable.” [Washington Post, 5/22/02] Authorities also issue separate warnings that al-Qaeda terrorists might target apartment buildings nationwide, banks, rail and transit systems, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. USA Today titles an article, “Some Question Motives Behind Series of Alerts.” [USA Today, 5/24/02] David Martin, CBS's national security correspondent, says, “Right now they're putting out all these warnings to change the subject from what was known prior to September 11 to what is known now.” [Washington Post, 5/27/02] Remarkably, even Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says the alerts were issued “as a result of all the controversy that took place last week”(see May 15, 2002 and May 21, 2002). [Village Voice, 5/23/02, Washington Times, 5/22/02] Time notes, “Though uncorroborated and vague, the terror alerts were a political godsend for an Administration trying to fend off a bruising bipartisan inquiry into its handling of the terrorist chatter last summer. After the wave of warnings, the Democratic clamor for an investigation into the government's mistakes subsided.” [Time 5/27/02]
          

May 21, 2002

       Minnesota FBI agent Coleen Rowley, upset with what she considers lying from FBI Director Mueller and others in the FBI about the handling of the Moussaoui case, makes public a long memo she's written about the topic (previously discussed, see August 28, 2001 (D), and see the memo here: [Time, 5/21/02]). She also applies for whistleblower protection. Time magazine calls the memo a “colossal indictment of our chief law-enforcement agency's neglect” and says it “raises serious doubts about whether the FBI is capable of protecting the public—and whether it still deserves the public's trust.” [Time 5/27/02] After 9/11 Mueller made statements such as “There were no warning signs that I'm aware of that would indicate this type of operation in the country”(see September 14, 2001 (F)). Coleen Rowley and other Minnesota FBI agents “immediately sought to reach [Mueller's] office through an assortment of higher-level FBI [headquarters] contacts, in order to quickly make [him] aware of the background of the Moussaoui investigation and forewarn [him] so that [his] public statements could be accordingly modified,” yet Mueller continued to make similar comments, including in a Senate hearing on May 8, 2002. [Time, 5/21/02, New York Times, 5/30/02] Finally, after Rowley's memo becomes public, Mueller states, “I cannot say for sure that there wasn't a possibility we could have come across some lead that would have led us to the hijackers.” He also admits: “I have made mistakes occasionally in my public comments based on information or a lack of information that I subsequently got.” [New York Times 5/30/02] Time magazine later names Rowley one of three “Persons of the Year” for 2002, along with fellow whistleblowers Cynthia Cooper of Worldcom and Sherron Watkins of Enron. [Time 12/22/02; Time 12/22/02]
          

May 21-24, 2002

       A New York Times editorial says it's time to “light a fire under the FBI in its investigation of the anthrax case. Experts in the bioterror field are already buzzing about a handful of individuals who had the ability, access and motive to send the anthrax.” [New York Times 5/24/02] Similarly, the Guardian suggests that the FBI investigation is moving deliberately slow because the federal authorities have something to hide, stating “there is surely a point after which incompetence becomes an insufficient explanation for failure.” [Guardian 5/21/02]
          

May 21, 2002 (C)

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

May 23, 2002

       President Bush says he is opposed to establishing a special, 9/11 Commission to probe how the government dealt with terror warnings before 9/11. [CBS, 5/23/02] He later changes his stance in the face of overwhelming support for the idea (see September 20, 2002), and then sabotages an agreement that Congress had reached to establish the commission (see October 10, 2002).
          

May 30, 2002

       FBI Agent Robert Wright announces he is suing the FBI over a publishing ban. He has written a book but the FBI won't allow him to show it to anyone. He delivers a tearful press conference at the National Press Club describing his lawsuit against the FBI for deliberately curtailing investigations that might have prevented the 9/11 attacks. Unfortunately he has been ordered to not reveal specifics publicly. [Fox News 5/30/02] Wright claims the FBI shut down his 1998 criminal probe into alleged terrorist-training camps in Chicago and Kansas City (see October 1998). He uses words like “prevented,” “thwarted,” “obstructed,” “threatened,” “intimidated,”and “retaliation” to describe the actions of his superiors in blocking his attempts to shut off money flows to al-Qaeda, Hamas and other terrorist groups. He also alleges that for years the US was training Hamas terrorists to make car bombs to use against Israel, one of the US's closest allies (see also June 9, 2001 and August 9, 2002 (C)). [LA Weekly, 8/2/02] [FTW]
          

May 31, 2002

       At some point prior to this date, when asked why the August 6, 2001 memo read by Bush on al-Qaeda has not been released (see August 6, 2001), Vice President Cheney calls the CIA memo just a “rehash” containing nothing new or interesting. But why Congress should not see it, Cheney says, “because it contains the most sensitive sources and methods. It's the family jewels.”[] How can this “rehash” of “jewels” be simultaneously worthless and full of sensitive information?
          

June 1, 2002

       Memphis, Tennessee, medical examiner O.C. Smith is attacked with chemical spray, bound with barbed wire, and left lying in a nearby parking lot with a bomb tied to his body. He is rescued several hours later. In recent months, Smith has been working on two interesting cases. One is the death of Harvard University microbiologist Don Wiley, who supposedly fell from a Memphis bridge in December (see November 16, 2001). He also helped identify the body of Katherine Smith, a state driver's license examiner who was found burned beyond recognition in February 2002, a day before a hearing on federal charges of helping five Middle Eastern men obtain fake driver's licenses (see February 10, 2002). Adding to the mystery, Smith had received a series of death threat letters early in 2001. [AP, 6/4/02] Perhaps it's all coincidence, but the events around O.C. Smith, Katherine Smith and Don Wiley seem to tie 9/11 and the rash of microbiologist deaths together in some inexplicable way. If someone wanted O.C. Smith dead, why didn't they just kill him instead of attacking him in such a strange way and then leaving him to live? Was this, and the earlier bomb attack against his office (see March 13, 2002), meant as a warning?
          
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