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Pakistan ISI and/or drug connections

 
  

Project: Complete 911 Timeline

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December 26, 1979

       Soviet forces invade Afghanistan. They will withdraw in 1989 after a brutal 10-year war. It has been commonly believed that the invasion was unprovoked. But in a 1998 interview, Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's National Security Adviser, reveals that the CIA began destabilizing the pro-Soviet Afghan government six months earlier, in a deliberate attempt to get the Soviets to invade and have their own Vietnam-type costly war: “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?” [Le Nouvel Observateur 1/98; Mirror 1/29/02] The US and Saudi Arabia give a huge amount of money (estimates range up to $40 billion total for the war) to support the mujaheddin guerrilla fighters opposing the Russians. Most of the money is managed by the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence agency. [Nation 2/15/99]
          

Mid 1980s (C)

       Controversial author Gerald Posner says ex-CIA officials claim that General Akhtar Abdul Rahman, ISI head from 1980 to 1987, regularly meets bin Laden in Peshawar, Pakistan. The ISI and bin Laden form a partnership that forces Afghan tribal warlords to pay a “tax” on the opium trade. By 1985, bin Laden and the ISI are splitting annual profits of up to $100 million a year.
          

Early 1980

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

Early 1980

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

Mid-1980s (B)

       The ISI starts a special cell of agents who use profits from heroin production for covert actions “at the insistence of the CIA.” “This cell promotes the cultivation of opium and the extraction of heroin in Pakistani territory as well as in the Afghan territory under mujaheddin control for being smuggled into the Soviet controlled areas, in order to turn the Soviet troops heroin addicts. After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops, the ISI's heroin cell started using its network of refineries and smugglers for smuggling heroin to the Western countries and using the money as a supplement to its legitimate economy. But for these heroin dollars, Pakistan's legitimate economy must have collapsed many years ago.” [Financial Times, Asian edition, 8/10/01] The ISI grows so powerful on this money, that Time magazine later states, “Even by the shadowy standards of spy agencies, the ISI is notorious. It is commonly branded ‘a state within the state,’ or Pakistan's ‘invisible government.’ ” [Time 5/6/02]
          

1982-1991

      
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar still controls part of Afghanistan.
Afghan opium production skyrockets from 250 tons in 1982 to 2,000 tons in 1991, coinciding with CIA support and funding of the mujaheddin. Alfred McCoy, a professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Wisconsin, says US and Pakistani intelligence officials sanctioned the rebels' drug trafficking because of their fierce opposition to the Soviets: “If their local allies were involved in narcotics trafficking, it didn't trouble CIA. They were willing to keep working with people who were heavily involved in narcotics.” For instance, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a rebel leader who received about half of all the CIA's covert weapons, was known to be a major heroin trafficker. The director of the CIA in Afghanistan claims later to be oblivious about the drug trade: “We found out about it later on.” [Minneapolis Star-Tribune 9/30/01; Atlantic Monthly 5/96]
          

1984

       Bin Laden moves to Peshawar, a Pakistani town bordering Afghanistan, and is running a front organization for the mujaheddin known as Maktab al-Khidamar (MAK), funneling money, arms and fighters from the outside world into the Afghan war. [New Yorker, 1/24/00] “MAK was nurtured by Pakistan's state security services, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, the CIA's primary conduit for conducting the covert war against Moscow's occupation.” [MSNBC, 8/24/98] He becomes closely tied to the warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and greatly strengthens Hekmatyar's opium smuggling operations. [Le Monde, 9/14/01] Hekmatyar had ties with bin Laden, the CIA and drug running, and has also been called “an ISI stooge and creation” by the Wall Street Journal. [Asia Times 11/15/01]
          

March 1985

      
in 1989.
The US decides to escalate the war in Afghanistan. The CIA, British MI6 and the ISI agree to launch guerrilla attacks from Afghanistan into then Soviet-controlled Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, attacking military installations, factories and storage depots within Soviet territory until the end of the war. The CIA also begins supporting the ISI in recruiting radical Muslims from around the world to come to Pakistan and fight with the Afghan mujaheddin. The CIA gives subversive literature and Korans to the ISI, who carry them into the Soviet Union. Eventually, around 35,000 Muslim radicals from 43 Islamic countries will fight with the Afghan mujaheddin. Tens of thousands more will study in the hundreds of new madrassas funded by the ISI and CIA in Pakistan. Their main logistical base is in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. [Washington Post, 7/19/92, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/23/01, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 9/23/01, The Hindu, 9/27/01, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, Ahmed Rashid, 3/01] In the late 1980s, Pakistan's President Benazir Bhutto, feeling the mujaheddin network has grown too strong, tells President George Bush Sr., “You are creating a Frankenstein.”But the warning goes unheeded. [Newsweek, 9/24/01] By 1993, the President of Pakistan tells Egyptian President Hasni Mubarak that Peshawar is under de facto control of the mujaheddin, and unsuccessfully asks for military help in reasserting Pakistani control over the city. Thousands of mujaheddin fighters return to their home countries after the war is over, and engage in countless acts of terrorism. One Western diplomat notes these thousands would never have been trained or united without US help, and says “The consequences for all of us are astronomical.” [Atlantic Monthly 5/96]
          

1986

       The CIA, ISI and bin Laden work together to build the Khost tunnel complex in Afghanistan. This will be a major target of bombing and fighting in the US defeat of the Taliban in 2001. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/23/01, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 9/23/01, The Hindu, 9/27/01, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, Ahmed Rashid, 3/01] It is reported before 9/11 that “bin Laden worked closely with Saudi, Pakistani and US intelligence services to recruit mujaheddin from many Muslim countries,” but this hasn't been reported much since. [UPI 6/14/01] A CIA spokesman will later claim, “For the record, you should know that the CIA never employed, paid, or maintained any relationship whatsoever with bin Laden.” [Ananova 10/31/01]
          

August 11, 1988

       Bin Laden forms al-Qaeda this year (notes are later found showing a meeting led by bin Laden on this day discussing “the establishment of a new military group”). [AP 2/19/03 (B)]
          

February 15, 1989

       Soviet forces withdraw from Afghanistan. Afghan Communists retain control of Kabul, the capital, until April 1992. [Washington Post, 7/19/92] Richard Clarke, a counterterrorism official during the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations and the counterterrorism “tsar” by 911, later claims that the huge amount of aid the US provides to Afghanistan drops off drastically as soon as the Soviets withdraw, abandoning the country to civil war and chaos. The new powers in Afghanistan are tribal chiefs, the Pakistani ISI, and the Arab war veterans coalescing into al-Qaeda.
          

July 5, 1991

       The Bank of England shuts down the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), the largest Muslim bank in the world. Based in Pakistan, this bank financed numerous Muslim terrorist organizations and laundered money generated by illicit drug trafficking and other illegal activities, including arms trafficking. Bin Laden and many other terrorists had accounts there. [Detroit News, 9/30/01] One money-laundering expert claims, “BCCI did dirty work for every major terrorist service in the world.” [Los Angeles Times, 1/20/02] American and British governments knew about all this yet kept the bank open for years. The ISI had major connections to the bank. But, as later State Department reports indicate, Pakistan remains a major drug trafficking and money-laundering center despite the bank's closing. [Detroit News 9/30/01] The Washington Post claims, “The CIA used BCCI to funnel millions of dollars to the fighters battling the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.” A French intelligence report later suggests the BCCI network has been largely rebuilt by bin Laden (see October 2001). [Washington Post, 2/17/02] The ruling family of Abu Dhabi, the dominant emirate in the United Arab Emirates, owned 77 percent of the bank. [Los Angeles Times 1/20/02] A network of drug, weapons and money laundering later develops between al-Qaeda, the Taliban, United Arab Emirates and Pakistan (see Mid-1996-October 2001). Is the ISI still connected to this ex-BCCI network? Is the CIA?
          

June 1993-October 1994

       Saeed Sheikh, a brilliant British student at the London School of Economics, drops out of school and moves to his homeland of Pakistan to become a terrorist. Two months later, he begins training in Afghanistan at camps run by al-Qaeda and the Pakistani army. By mid-1994, he has become a terrorist instructor. In June 1994, he begins kidnapping Western tourists in India. In October 1994, he is captured after kidnapping three Britons and an American, and is put in a maximum-security prison (see November 1994-December 1999). The ISI pays for a lawyer to defend him. [Los Angeles Times, 2/9/02, Daily Mail, 7/16/02, Vanity Fair, 8/02] His supervisor for his terror work is an ISI officer named Ijaz Shah (see February 5, 2002). [Times of India, 3/12/02, Guardian, 7/16/02] Al-Qaeda and the ISI later rescue him from prison (see December 24-31, 1999) and he becomes a central figure in the financing of the 9/11 plot (see Early August 2001 (D)).
          

October 3-4, 1993

       Eighteen US soldiers are attacked and killed in Mogadishu, Somalia, in a spontaneous gun battle (later the subject of the movie Black Hawk Down). A 1998 US indictment charges bin Laden and his followers with training the attackers. [PBS Frontline 10/3/02 (C)] The link between bin Laden and the Somali killers of US soldiers appears to be Pakistani terrorist, Maulana Masood Azhar. [Los Angeles Times, 2/25/02] Azhar is associated with Pakistan's ISI (see December 24-31, 1999), and the US has not publicly complained that he is a free man in Pakistan (see December 14, 2002).
          

Early 1994-January 1995

      
Mohammed in a 1998 FBI wanted poster, quite possibly digitally altered to show him without a beard.
9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed lives in the Philippines for a year, planning the Bojinka plot until the plot is exposed and he has to flee (see January 6, 1995). Police later say he lives a very expensive and non-religious lifestyle. He meets in karaoke bars and go-go clubs, dates go-go dancers, stays in four-star hotels, and takes scuba diving lessons. Once he rents a helicopter just to fly it past the window of a girlfriend's office in an attempt to impress her. This appears to be a pattern; for instance he has a big drinking party in 1998. [Los Angeles Times, 6/24/02] Officials believe his obvious access to large sums of money indicate that some larger network is backing him by this time. [Los Angeles Times 6/6/02] It has been suggested that Mohammed, a Pakistani, is able “to operate as he pleased in Pakistan” in the 1990s [Los Angeles Times, 6/24/02], and even is linked to the Pakistani ISI (see June 4, 2002). Could the ISI be backing him at this early date? His hedonistic time in the Philippines resembles reports of hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi in the Philippines (see 1998-2000). Mohammed returns to the Philippines occasionally, even being spotted there after 9/11. [Knight Ridder, 9/9/02] He almost gets caught while visiting an old girlfriend there in 1999, and fails in a second plot to kill the Pope when the Pope cancels his visit to the Philippines that year. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02, London Times, 11/10/02] Does Mohammed meet the hijackers in the Philippines?
          

September 1994

       Starting as Afghani exiles in Pakistan religious schools, the Taliban begin their conquest of Afghanistan. [MSNBC, 10/2/01] “The Taliban are widely alleged to be the creation of Pakistan's military intelligence [the ISI]. Experts say that explains the Taliban's swift military successes.” [CNN, 10/5/96] Richard Clarke, a counterterrorism official during the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations and the counterterrorism “tsar” by 9/11, later claims that not only does the ISI create the Taliban, but they also facilitate connections between the Taliban and al-Qaeda to help the Taliban achieve victory. [ Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, 3/04, p. 53] Less often reported is that the CIA worked with the ISI to create the Taliban. A long-time regional expert with extensive CIA ties says, “I warned them that we were creating a monster.” He adds that even years later, “The Taliban are not just recruits from ‘madrassas’ (Muslim theological schools) but are on the payroll of the ISI.” [Times of India, 3/7/01] The same claim is made on CNN in February 2002. [CNN, 2/27/02] The Wall Street Journal will state in November 2001: “Despite their clean chins and pressed uniforms, the ISI men are as deeply fundamentalist as any bearded fanatic; the ISI created the Taliban as their own instrument and still supports it.” [Asia Times 11/15/01]
          

November 1994-December 1999

      
Saeed in an Indian hospital shortly after being arrested in 1994. He was shot while being captured.
Saeed Sheikh is imprisoned in India for kidnapping Westerners (see June 1993-October 1994). While there, he meets another prisoner named Aftab Ansari. Ansari, an Indian gangster, will be released on bail near the end of 1999. [India Today, 2/25/02] Saeed also meets another prisoner named Asif Raza Khan, who also is released in 1999. [Rediff, 11/17/01] After Saeed is rescued from prison (see December 24-31, 1999), he works with Ansari and Khan to kidnap Indians and then uses some of the profits to fund the 9/11 attacks (see Early August 2001 (D)). [Frontline, 2/2/02, India Today, 2/14/02] Saeed also becomes good friends with prisoner Maulana Masood Azhar, a terrorist with al-Qaeda connections (see October 3-4, 1993). [Sunday Times, 4/21/02] Saeed will later commit further terrorist acts together with Azhar's group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (see for instance October 1, 2001 (D) and December 13, 2001 (C)). [Independent 2/26/02]
          

Mid-1996-September 11, 2001

       After fleeing Qatar (see January-May 1996), 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed travels the world and plans many terror acts. He is apparently involved in the 1998 US embassy bombings (see August 7, 1998), the 2000 USS Cole bombing (see October 12, 2000) and other attacks. He previously was involved in the 1993 WTC bombing (see February 26, 1993) and the Bojinka plot (see January 6, 1995). [Time, 1/20/03] One US official says, “There is a clear operational link between him and the execution of most, if not all, of the al-Qaeda plots over the past five years.” [Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02] He lives in Prague, Czech Republic, through much of 1997. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] By 1999 he is living in Germany and visiting with the hijackers there (see 1999 (K)). [New York Times, 9/22/02] Using 60 aliases and as many passports, he travels through Europe, Africa, the Persian Gulf, Southeast Asia and South America, personally setting up al-Qaeda cells. [Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02, Time, 1/20/03] In the midst of all this activity, in early 1998, Mohammed is publicly named as a major terrorist and a $2 million reward for his capture is announced by the US, but there is no major public manhunt for him, and his activities are not impeded (see January 8, 1998). If reports are true that Mohammed is given protection by Pakistan (Early 1994-January 1995), and is possibly even an ISI agent (see June 4, 2002), doesn't that make Pakistan responsible for all of these terrorist acts?
          

Mid-1996-October 2001

       In 1996, Ariana Airlines, the national airline of Afghanistan, is essentially taken over by al-Qaeda and becomes the transportation for an illegal trade network. Passenger flights become few and erratic; instead the airline begins flying drugs, weapons, gold and personnel mostly between Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan. The Emirate of Sharjah, in the UAE, becomes a hub for al-Qaeda drug and arms smuggling. Typically “large quantities of drugs” would be flown from Kandahar, Afghanistan, to Sharjah, and large quantities of weapons would be flown back to Afghanistan. [Los Angeles Times, 11/18/01] About three to four flights a day would run the route. Many weapons come from Victor Bout, a notorious Russian arms dealer based in Sharjah (see October 1996). [Los Angeles Times, 1/20/02] Afghan taxes on opium production would be paid in gold, and then the gold bullion would be flown to Dubai, UAE, and laundered into cash. [Washington Post, 2/17/02] Taliban officials regularly provide terrorists with false papers identifying them as Ariana employees so they can move freely around the world. A former National Security Council official later claims the US is well aware at the time that al-Qaeda agents regularly fly on Ariana, but the US fails to act for several years. The US does press the UAE for tighter banking controls, but moves “delicately, not wanting to offend an ally in an already complicated relationship,” and little changes by 9/11. [Los Angeles Times 11/18/01] Much of the money for the 9/11 hijackers flows though these Sharjah channels (see June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000 and September 8-11, 2001 (B)). Could the 9/11 attacks have been stopped if the US pressed harder to shut down the Sharjah al-Qaeda money channels? There also are reports suggesting that Ariana Airlines might have been used to train Islamic militants as pilots (see October 1, 2001 (C)). The illegal behavior of Ariana helps cause the United Nations to impose sanctions against Afghanistan in 1999 (see November 14, 1999), but the sanctions lack teeth and don't stop the airline. A second round of sanctions finally stops foreign Ariana flights. But Ariana charter flights and other charter services keep the illegal network running (see January 19, 2001). Ariana and the network is finally largely destroyed in the October 2001 US bombing of Afghanistan. [Los Angeles Times 11/18/01]
          

September 27, 1996

       The Taliban conquer Kabul [AP, 8/19/02], establishing control over much of Afghanistan. A surge in the Taliban's military successes at this time is later attributed to an increase in direct military assistance from Pakistan's ISI. [New York Times 12/8/01] The oil company Unocal is hopeful that the Taliban will stabilize Afghanistan and allow its pipeline plans to go forward. In fact, “preliminary agreement [on the pipeline] was reached between the [Taliban and Unocal] long before the fall of Kabul…. Oil industry insiders say the dream of securing a pipeline across Afghanistan is the main reason why Pakistan, a close political ally of America's, has been so supportive of the Taliban, and why America has quietly acquiesced in its conquest of Afghanistan.” [Telegraph 10/11/96] The 9/11 Commission later concludes that some State Department diplomats are willing to “give the Taliban a chance” because it might be able to bring stability to Afghanistan, which would allow a Unocal oil pipeline to be built through the country. [9/11 Commission Report 3/24/04]
          

October 1996

      
Victor Bout, taken from a passport photo.
Since 1992, Russian arms merchant Victor Bout has been selling weapons to Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, but this month he switches sides and begins selling weapons to the Taliban and al-Qaeda instead (see also Mid-1996-October 2001). [Guardian, 4/17/02, Los Angeles Times, 1/20/02, Los Angeles Times, 5/17/02] The deal comes immediately after the Taliban captures Kabul and gains the upper hand in Afghanistan's civil war (see September 27, 1996). Bout formerly worked for the Russian KGB, and operates the world's largest private weapons transport network. Based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bout operates freely there until well after 9/11. The US becomes aware of Bout's widespread illegal weapons trading in Africa in 1995, and of his ties to the Taliban in 1996, but they fail to take effective action against him for years. [Los Angeles Times, 5/17/02] US pressure on the UAE in November 2000 to close down Bout's operations there is ignored. Press reports calling him “the merchant of death” also fail to pressure the UAE (for instance, [Financial Times, 6/10/00, Guardian, 12/23/00]). After President Bush is elected, it appears the US gives up trying to get Bout, until after 9/11. [Washington Post 2/26/02; Guardian 4/17/02] In one trade in 1996, Bout's company delivers at least 40 tons of Russian weapons to the Taliban, earning about $50 million. [Guardian 2/16/02] Two intelligence agencies later confirm that Bout trades with the Taliban “on behalf of the Pakistan government.” In late 2000, several Ukrainians sell 150 to 200 T-55 and T-62 tanks to the Taliban in a deal conducted by the ISI, and Bout helps fly the tanks to Afghanistan. [Montreal Gazette 2/5/02] Bout moves to Russia in 2002. He is seemingly protected from prosecution by the Russian government, which in early 2002 claimed, “There are no grounds for believing that this Russian citizen has committed illegal acts.” [Guardian 4/17/02] The Guardian suggests that Bout may have worked with the CIA when he traded with the Northern Alliance, and this fact may be hampering current international efforts to catch him. [Guardian 4/17/02]
          

Late 1996

       After moving the base of his operations to Afghanistan, bin Laden quickly establishes and maintains a major role in the opium drug trade. The money from opium is vital to keep the Taliban in power and fund bin Laden's terrorist network. Yoseff Bodansky, director of the congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare and author of a 1999 biography on bin Laden, says bin Laden takes a 15 percent cut of the drug trade money in exchange for protecting smugglers and laundering their profits. [Star Tribune, 9/30/01] A different estimate has bin Laden taking a cut of up to 10 percent of Afghanistan's drug trade by early 1999. This would give him a yearly income of up to $1 billion out of $6.5 to $10 billion in drug profits seen within Afghanistan each year. [Financial Times 11/28/01]
          

July 1998

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

August 9, 1998

       The Northern Alliance capital of Afghanistan, Mazar-i-Sharif, is conquered by the Taliban. Military support of Pakistan's ISI plays a large role; there is even an intercept of an ISI officer stating, “My boys and I are riding into Mazar-i-Sharif.” [ New York Times, 12/8/01] This victory gives the Taliban control of 90%of Afghanistan, including the entire pipeline route. CentGas, the consortium behind the gas pipeline that would run through Afghanistan, is now “ready to proceed. Its main partners are the American oil firm Unocal and Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia, plus Hyundai of South Korea, two Japanese companies, a Pakistani conglomerate and the Turkmen government.” However, the pipeline cannot be financed unless the government is officially recognized. “Diplomatic sources said the Taliban's offensive was well prepared and deliberately scheduled two months ahead of the next UN meeting” to decide if the Taliban should be recognized. [Telegraph 8/13/98]
          

October 1998 (B)

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

Late 1998 (F)

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

Early 1999

       State Department counterterrorism coordinator Michael Sheehan writes a memo calling for a new approach in containing bin Laden. He urges a series of actions the US could take toward Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen to persuade them to help isolate al-Qaeda. He calls Pakistan the key country and urges that terrorism be made the central issue with them. He advises the US to work will all these countries to curb money laundering. However, a former official says Sheehan's plan lands “with a resounding thud.” Pakistan continues to “feign cooperation but [does] little” about its support for the Taliban. [New York Times 10/29/01]
          

1999 (J)

       The London Times later claims that British intelligence secretly offers 9/11 paymaster Saeed Sheikh, imprisoned in India (see November 1994-December 1999) for kidnapping Britons and Americans (see June 1993-October 1994), an amnesty and the ability to “live in London a free man”if he will reveal his links to al-Qaeda. He apparently refuses. [Daily Mail 7/16/02; London Times 7/16/02] Yet after he is rescued in a hostage swap deal (see December 24-31, 1999), the press reports that he, in fact, is freely able to return to Britain. [Press Trust of India, 1/3/00] He visits his parents there in 2000 and again in early 2001. [Vanity Fair, 8/02, BBC, 7/16/02 (B), Telegraph, 7/16/02] He is not charged with kidnapping until well after 9/11 (see November 2001-February 5, 2002). Those kidnapped by Saeed call the government's decision not to try him a “disgrace” and “scandalous.” [Press Trust of India 1/3/00] The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review later suggests that not only is Saeed closely tied to both the ISI and al-Qaeda, but may also have been working for the CIA: “There are many in Musharraf's government who believe that Saeed Sheikh's power comes not from the ISI, but from his connections with our own CIA. The theory is that … Saeed Sheikh was bought and paid for.” [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] Did or does Saeed have some kind of deal with British or US intelligence?
          

July 1999 (B)

       The US gains information that former ISI head Hamid Gul contacts Taliban leaders at this time and advises them that the US is not planning to attack Afghanistan to get bin Laden. He assures them that he will provide them three or four hours warning of any future US missile launch, as he did “last time.” Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke later suggests Gul gave al-Qaeda warning about the missile strike in 1998 (see August 20, 1998). [New Yorker 7/28/03]
          

July 14, 1999

      
Rajaa Gulum Abbas.
US government informant Randy Glass records a conversation at a dinner attended by him, illegal arms dealers Diaa Mohsen and Mohammed Malik (see June 12, 2001), a former Egyptian judge named Shireen Shawky, and ISI agent Rajaa Gulum Abbas, held at a restaurant within view of the WTC. FBI agents pretending to be restaurant customers sit at nearby tables. [WPBF Channel 25, 8/5/02, MSNBC, 8/2/02] Abbas says he wants to buy a whole shipload of weapons stolen from the US military to give to bin Laden. [Cox News 8/2/02] Abbas points to the WTC and says, “Those towers are coming down.” This ISI agent later makes two other references to an attack on the WTC. [WPBF Channel 25, 8/5/02, Cox News, 8/2/02, Palm Beach Post, 10/17/02] Abbas also says, “Americans [are] the enemy,” and, “We would have no problem with blowing up this entire restaurant because it is full of Americans.” [MSNBC, 3/18/03] The meeting is secretly recorded, and parts are shown on television in 2003 (see also August 17, 1999). [MSNBC 3/18/03 (B)]
          

August 17, 1999

      
Randy Glass, center, shows Stinger missiles to Rajaa Gulum Abbas and others.
A group of illegal arms merchants, including an ISI agent with foreknowledge of 9/11, had met in a New York restaurant the month before (see July 14, 1999). This same group meets at this time in a West Palm Beach, Florida, warehouse, and is shown Stinger missiles as part of a sting operation. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel 3/20/03] US intelligence soon discovers connections between two in the group, Rajaa Gulum Abbas and Mohammed Malik, terrorist groups in Kashmir (where the ISI assists terrorists fighting against India), and the Taliban. Mohamed Malik suggests in this meeting that the Stingers will be used in Kashmir or Afghanistan. His colleague Diaa Mohsen also says Abbas has direct connections to “dignitaries” and bin Laden. Abbas also wants heavy water for a “dirty bomb” or other material to make a nuclear weapon. He says he will bring a Pakistani nuclear scientist to the US to inspect the material. [MSNBC 8/2/02; MSNBC 3/18/03] Government informant Randy Glass passes these warnings on before 9/11, but he claims, “The complaints were ordered sanitized by the highest levels of government” (see also Early August 2001). [WPBF Channel 25, 8/5/02] In June 2002, the US secretly indicts Abbas (see June 2002), but apparently they aren't trying very hard to find him: In August 2002, MSNBC is easily able to contact Abbas in Pakistan and speak to him by telephone. [MSNBC 8/2/02]
          

October 1999 (C)

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

October 1999 (B)

       The CIA readies an operation to capture or kill bin Laden, secretly training and equipping approximately 60 commandos from the ISI. Pakistan supposedly agrees to this plan in return for the lifting of economic sanctions and more economic aid. The plan is ready to go by this month, but it is aborted because on October 12, General Musharraf takes control of Pakistan in a coup (see October 12, 1999). Musharraf refuses to continue the operation despite the promise of substantial rewards. [Washington Post 10/3/01 (C)] Some US officials later say the CIA was tricked, because the ISI just feigned to cooperate as a stalling tactic, and never intended to get bin Laden. [New York Times 10/29/01]
          

October 12, 1999

       General Musharraf becomes leader of Pakistan in a coup. One major reason for the coup is the ISI felt the previous ruler had to go “out of fear that he might buckle to American pressure and reverse Pakistan's policy [of supporting] the Taliban.”[New York Times, 12/8/01] Shortly thereafter Musharraf replaces the leader of the ISI, Brig Imtiaz, because of his close ties to the previous leader. Imtiaz is arrested and convicted of “having assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.” It comes out that he was keeping tens of millions of dollars earned from heroin smuggling in a Deutschebank account. This is interesting because insider trading just prior to 9/11 will later connect to a branch of Deutschebank recently run by “Buzzy” Krongard, now Executive Director of the CIA (see September 6-10, 2001). [Financial Times (Asian edition), 8/10/01] The new Director of the ISI is Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed, a close ally of Musharraf who is instrumental in the success of the coup. [Guardian, 10/9/01] Mahmood will later be fired after suggestions that he helped fund the 9/11 attacks (see October 7, 2001 (B) ).
          

November 29, 1999

       The United Nations Drug Control Programme has determined the ISI makes around $2.5 billion annually from the sale of illegal drugs. [Times of India 11/29/99]
          

December 24-31, 1999

      
Hijackers leave the Indian Airlines plane, under Taliban supervision.
An Indian Airlines flight is hijacked and flown to Afghanistan where 155 passengers are held hostage for eight days. They are freed in return for the release of three militants held in Indian prisons. One of the hostages is killed. One of the men freed in the exchange is 9/11 paymaster Saeed Sheikh (see November 1994-December 1999). [BBC, 12/31/99] Another freed militant is terrorist leader Maulana Masood Azhar. Azhar emerges in Pakistan a few days later, and tells a crowd of 10,000, “I have come here because this is my duty to tell you that Muslims should not rest in peace until we have destroyed America and India.” [AP, 1/5/00] He then tours Pakistan for weeks under the protection of the ISI. [Vanity Fair, 8/02] The ISI and Saeed helps Azhar form a new terrorist group called Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Azhar is soon plotting terrorist acts again (see October 1, 2001 (D)and December 13, 2001 (C)). [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 3/3/02; Guardian 7/16/02; Washington Post 2/8/03]
          

January 1, 2000-September 11, 2001

      
Saeed Sheikh, partying in the year 2000.
After being released from prison (see December 24-31, 1999), Saeed Sheikh stays in Kandahar, Afghanistan, for several days and meets with Taliban leader Mullah Omar. He also meets with bin Laden, who is said to call Saeed “my special son.”He then travels to Pakistan and is given a house by the ISI. [Vanity Fair, 8/02] He lives openly and opulently in Pakistan, even attending “swanky parties attended by senior Pakistani government officials.” US authorities conclude he is an asset of the ISI. [Newsweek 3/13/02] Amazingly, he is allowed to travel freely to Britain, and visits family there at least twice (see 1999 (J)). [Vanity Fair 8/02] He works with Ijaz Shah, a former ISI official in charge of handling two terrorist groups (see February 5, 2002), Lieutenant-General Mohammad Aziz Khan, former deputy chief of the ISI in charge of relations with Jaish-e-Mohammad (see September 17-18 and 28, 2001 and October 7, 2001), and Brigadier Abdullah, a former ISI officer. He is well known to other senior ISI officers. He regularly travels to Afghanistan and helps train new terrorist recruits in training camps there. [New York Times, 2/25/02, National Post, 2/26/02, Guardian, 7/16/02, India Today, 2/25/02] Saeed helps train the 9/11 hijackers also, presumably in Afghanistan. [Telegraph, 9/30/01] He also helps al-Qaeda develop a secure web-based communications system, and there is even talk that he could one day succeed bin Laden. [Vanity Fair, 8/02, Telegraph, 7/16/02] He wires money to the 9/11 hijackers on at least one occasion (see Early August 2001 (D)) and possibly others (see June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000 and September 8-11, 2001 (B)). Presumably he sends the money from the United Arab Emirates during his many trips there. [Guardian 2/9/02]
          

March 25, 2000

       President Clinton visits Pakistan. It is later revealed that the US secret service believed that the ISI was so deeply infiltrated by terrorist organizations, that it begged Clinton to cancel his visit. Specifically, the US government determined that the ISI had long standing ties with al-Qaeda. When Clinton went ahead anyway, his security took extraordinary and unprecedented precautions. For instance, an empty Air Force One was flown into the country, and the president made the trip in a small unmarked plane. [New York Times 10/29/01]
          

April 4, 2000

       ISI Director and “leading Taliban supporter”Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed visits Washington. In a message meant for both Pakistan and the Taliban, US officials tell him that al-Qaeda has killed Americans and “people who support those people will be treated as our enemies.” However, no actual action, military or otherwise, is taken against either the Taliban or Pakistan. [Washington Post 12/19/01]
          

April 30, 2000

       The State Department issues its annual report describing the US attempt to combat terrorism. For the first time it focuses on South Asia. The New York Times notes, “The report reserves its harshest criticism for Afghanistan” and “is also severely critical of Pakistan.” But neither country is placed on the official list of countries sponsoring terrorism, which has remained unchanged since 1993. [New York Times 4/30/00]
          

June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000

       Someone using the aliases “Isam Mansour,” “Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hisawi,” “Mr. Ali” and “Hani (Fawaz Trdng),” sends a total of $109,910 to the 9/11 hijackers in a series of transfers between these dates. [MSNBC, 12/11/01, Newsweek, 12/2/01, New York Times, 12/10/01, Financial Times, 11/30/01, Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/26/02] The money is sent from Sharjah, a emirate in the United Arab Emirates that is a center for al-Qaeda's illegal financial dealings (see Mid-1996-October 2001). The identity of this money man “Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi”is in dispute (see September 24, 2001-December 26, 2002). It has been claimed that the name “Mustafa Ahmed” is an alias used by Saeed Sheikh, a known ISI and al-Qaeda agent who sends the hijackers money on other occasions (see Early August 2001 (D)). [CNN, 10/6/01] India claims ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed orders Saeed to send the hijackers the money at this time. [Frontline 10/6/01; Daily Excelsior 10/18/01] FBI Director Mueller's most recent theory is that this money is sent by the previously unheard of “Ali Abdul Aziz Ali.” But of the four aliases used in the different transactions, Mueller connects this man only to three, and not to the alias “Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hisawi.” [New York Times 12/10/01; Congressional Intelligence Committee 9/26/02; AP 9/26/02] It appears that most of the money is sent to an account shared by Marwan Alshehhi and Mohamed Atta, who would obtain money orders and distribute the money to the other hijackers. [CNN, 10/1/01, MSNBC, 12/11/01, Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/26/02] The New York Times later suggests that the amount passed from “Mustafa Ahmed” to the Florida bank accounts right until the day before the attack is around $325,000. The rest of the $500,000– $600,000 they receive for US expenses comes from another, still unknown source. [New York Times 7/10/02]
          

July 2000

       In response to Western pressure, the Taliban ban poppy growing in Afghanistan. As a result, the opium yield drops dramatically in 2001, from 3,656 tons to 185 tons. Of that, 83 percent is from Northern Alliance controlled lands. However the effect isn't that great because there is a surplus in the West, and it is believed the Taliban have a large stockpile as well. [Guardian 2/21/02; Reuters 3/3/02; Observer 11/25/01]
          

Late Autumn 2000

       Covert CIA support for Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Northern Alliance guerrilla leader fighting the Taliban, is minimal and fraying (see October 1999 (C)). In the wake of the USS Cole bombing, the CIA develops a plan where the US would increase support for Massoud if he produces strong intelligence about bin Laden's whereabouts. Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke outlines this CIA proposal to National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, but Berger rejects it. Aid to Massoud continues to languish under the new Bush administration (see April 6, 2001), and nearly the exact same plan to aid Massoud is tentatively approved a week before 9/11 (see September 4, 2001). [Washington Post 2/23/04]
          

Mid-September 2001

       The Guardian later claims that Pakistani President Musharraf has a meeting of his 12 or 13 most senior officers. Musharraf proposes to support the US in the imminent war against the Taliban and bin Laden. Supposedly, four of his most senior generals oppose him outright in “a stunning display of disloyalty.” The four are ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed, Lt. Gen. Muzaffar Usmani, Lt. Gen. Jamshaid Gulzar Kiani, and Lt. Gen. Mohammad Aziz Khan. All four are removed from power over the next month (see October 7, 2001). If this meeting took place, it's hard to see when it could have happened, since the article states it happened “within days” of 9/11, but Mahmood was in the US until late September 16 (see September 11-16, 2001), then flew to Afghanistan for two days (see September 17-18 and 28, 2001), then possibly to Saudi Arabia (see September 19, 2001 (B)). [Guardian, 5/25/02] Why would Musharraf send Mahmood on important diplomatic missions even late in the month if he is so disloyal?
          

Mid-August 2001 (B)

       Abdul Haq, a famous Afghan leader of the mujaheddin, returns to Peshawar, Pakistan, from the US. Having failed to gain US support (see February 2001 (C)), except for that of some private individuals such as former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, Haq begins organizing subversive operations in Afghanistan. [Los Angeles Times 10/28/01 (B); Wall Street Journal 11/2/01] He is later killed entering Afghanistan in October 2001, after his position is betrayed to the Taliban by the ISI (see October 25, 2001).
          

January 19, 2001

       New United Nations sanctions against Afghanistan take effect, adding to those from 1999 (see November 14, 1999). The sanctions limit travel by senior Taliban authorities, freeze bin Laden's and the Taliban's assets, and order the closure of Ariana Airlines offices abroad. The sanctions also impose an arms embargo against the Taliban, but not against Northern Alliance forces battling the Taliban. [AP 12/19/00] The arms embargo has no visible effect because the sanctions fail to stop Pakistani military assistance. [9/11 Commission Report 3/24/04] The sanctions also fail to stop the illegal trade network the Taliban is secretly running through Ariana (see Mid-1996-October 2001). Two companies, Air Cess and Flying Dolphin, take over most of Ariana's traffic. Air Cess is owned by the Russian arms dealer Victor Bout, and Flying Dolphin is owned by the United Arab Emirates' former ambassador to the US, who is also an associate of Bout (see October 1996). In late 2000, despite UN reports linking Flying Dolphin to arms smuggling, the United Nations gives Flying Dolphin permission to take over Ariana's closed routes, which it does until the new sanctions take effect. Bout's operations are still functioning and he has not been arrested. [Los Angeles Times 1/20/02; Montreal Gazette 2/5/02] Ariana is essentially destroyed in the October 2001 US bombing of Afghanistan. [Los Angeles Times 11/18/01]
          

March 1, 2001

       The Taliban begins blowing up two giant stone Buddhas of Bamiyan. They face great international condemnation in response, but no longer seem to be courting international recognition. Apparently even ISI efforts to dissuade them fail. [Time 8/4/02; Time 8/4/02]
          

March 7, 2001

       The Russian Permanent Mission at the United Nations secretly submits “an unprecedentedly detailed report” to the UN Security Council about bin Laden, his whereabouts, details of his al-Qaeda network, Afghan drug running, and Taliban connections in Pakistan. The report provides “a listing of all bin Laden's bases, his government contacts and foreign advisors,” and enough information to potentially kill him. The US fails to act. Alex Standish, the editor of the highly respected Jane's Intelligence Review, concludes that the attacks of 9/11 were less of an American intelligence failure and more the result of “a political decision not to act against bin Laden.” [Jane's Intelligence Review 10/5/01]
          

May 2001 (E)

      
Richard Armitage
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a career covert operative and former Navy Seal, travels to India on a publicized tour while CIA Director Tenet makes a quiet visit to Pakistan to meet with President General Musharraf. Armitage has long and deep Pakistani intelligence connections (as well as a role in the Iran-Contra affair). It would be reasonable to assume that while in Islamabad, Tenet, in what was described as “an unusually long meeting,” also meets with his Pakistani counterpart, ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed (see October 7, 2001). A long-time regional expert with extensive CIA ties stated publicly: “The CIA still has close links with the ISI.” [SAPRA, 5/22/01, Times of India, 3/7/01] [FTW]
          

May 2001 (D)

       Secretary of State Powell gives $43 million in aid to Afghanistan's Taliban government, purportedly to assist hungry farmers who are starving since the destruction of their opium crop in January on orders of the Taliban. [Los Angeles Times, 5/22/01] This follows $113 million given by the US in 2000 for humanitarian aid. [State Department Fact Sheet 12/11/01] A Newsday editorial notes that the Taliban “are a decidedly odd choice for an outright gift… Why are we sending these people money—so much that Washington is, in effect, the biggest donor of aid to the Taliban regime?”
          

Early June 2001

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

June 12, 2001

      
Diaa Mohsen, left and Mohamed Malik, right, caught on an undercover video. A portrait of Mohamed Malik on the right.
Operation Diamondback, a sting operation uncovering an attempt to buy weapons illegally for the Taliban, bin Laden, and others, ends with a number of arrests. An Egyptian named Diaa Mohsen and a Pakistani named Mohammed Malik are arrested and accused of attempting to buy Stinger missiles, nuclear weapon components, and other sophisticated military weaponry for the Pakistani ISI. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 8/23/01, Washington Post, 8/2/02 (B)] Malik appears to have had links to important Pakistani officials and Kashmiri terrorists, and Mohsen claims a connection to a man “who is very connected to the Taliban” and funded by bin Laden. [Washington Post, 8/2/02 (B), MSNBC, 8/2/02] Some other ISI agents came to Florida on several occasions to negotiate, but they escaped being arrested. They wanted to partially pay in heroin. One mentioned that the WTC would be destroyed (see July 14, 1999and Early August 2001). These ISI agents said some of their purchases would go to the Taliban in Afghanistan and/or terrorists associated with bin Laden. [New York Times 6/16/01; Washington Post 8/2/02 (B); MSNBC 8/2/02] Both Malik and Mohsen lived in Jersey City, New Jersey. [Jersey Journal, 6/20/01] A number of the people held by the US after 9/11, including possible al-Qaeda members Syed Gul Mohammad Shah and Mohammed Azmath (see September 11, 2001 (K)) are from the same Jersey City neighborhood. [New York Post 9/23/01] Mohsen pleads guilty after 9/11, “But remarkably, even though [he was] apparently willing to supply America's enemies with sophisticated weapons, even nuclear weapons technology, Mohsen was sentenced to just 30 months in prison.” [MSNBC, 8/2/02] Malik's case appears to have been dropped, and reporters find him working in a store in Florida less than a year after the trial ended. [MSNBC 8/2/02] Malik's court files remain completely sealed, and in Mohsen's court case, prosecutors “removed references to Pakistan from public filings because of diplomatic concerns.” [Washington Post 8/2/02 (B)] Also arrested are Kevin Ingram and Walter Kapij. Ingram pleads guilty to laundering $350,000 and is sentenced to 18 months in prison. [AP, 12/1/01] Ingram was a former senior investment banker with Deutschebank, but resigned in January 1999 after his division suffered costly losses. [Jersey Journal, 6/20/01] Walter Kapij, a pilot with a minor role in the plot, is given the longest sentence, 33 months in prison. [Palm Beach Post, 1/12/02] Informant Randy Glass plays a key role in the sting, and has thirteen felony fraud charges against him reduced as a result, serving only seven months in prison. Federal agents involved in the case later express puzzlement that Washington higher-ups didn't make the case a higher priority, pointing out that bin Laden could have gotten a nuclear bomb if the deal was for real. Agents on the case complain that the FBI didn't make the case a counter-terrorism matter, which would have improved bureaucratic backing and opened access to FBI information and US intelligence from around the world. [Washington Post, 8/2/02 (B), MSNBC, 8/2/02] Federal agents frequently couldn't get prosecutors to approve wiretaps. [Cox News, 8/2/02] Glass says, “Wouldn't you think that there should have been a wire tap on Diaa [Mohsen]'s phone and Malik's phone?” [WPBF Channel 25, 8/5/02] An FBI supervisor in Miami refused to front money for the sting, forcing agents to use money from US Customs and even Glass's own money to help keep the sting going. [Cox News 8/2/02]
          

June 25, 2001

      
Hijacker Fayez Banihammad.
Hijacker Fayez Banihammad opens a bank account in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), with 9/11 paymaster “Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi.” That name is a likely alias for Saeed Sheikh, who is known to frequently visit Dubai in this time period (see January 1, 2000-September 11, 2001and September 24, 2001-December 26, 2002). [MSNBC 12/11/01] Banihammad flies to the US the next day (see April 23-June 29, 2001). Banihammad gives power of attorney to “al-Hawsawi” on July 18, and then “al-Hawsawi”sends Banihammad Visa and ATM cards in Florida. Banihammad uses the Visa card to buy his airplane ticket for 9/11. [Washington Post, 12/13/01, MSNBC, 12/11/01] The same pattern of events occurs for some other hijackers, though the timing is not fully known. [Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/26/02] Visa cards are given to several other hijackers in Dubai. [London Times, 12/1/01] Other hijackers, including Hani Hanjour, Abdulaziz Alomari and Khalid Almihdhar, open foreign bank and credit card accounts in the UAE and in Saudi Arabia. Majed Moqed, Saeed Alghamdi, Hamza Alghamdi, Ahmed Alnami, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Wail Alshehri and possibly others purchase travelers checks in the UAE, presumably with funds given to them when they pass through Dubai. It is believed that “al-Hawsawi” is in Dubai every time the hijackers pass through. [Congressional Intelligence Committee 9/26/02]
          

Summer 2001 (F)

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

Summer 2001 (D)

       Egyptian investigators track down a close associate of bin Laden named Ahmed al-Khadir, wanted for bombing the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad in 1995. Egyptians surround the safe house in Pakistan where al-Khadir is hiding. They notify the ISI to help arrest him, and the ISI promises swift action. Instead, a car sent by the ISI filled with Taliban and having diplomatic plates arrives, grabs al-Khadir and drives him to safety in Afghanistan. Time magazine later brings up the incident to show the strong ties between the ISI and both the Taliban and al-Qaeda. [Time 5/6/02]
          

July 2, 2001

       Indian sources claim that “bin Laden, who suffers from renal deficiency, has been periodically undergoing dialysis in a Peshawar military hospital with the knowledge and approval of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), if not of [Pakistani President] Musharraf himself.” [SARPA, 7/2/01] While one might question the bias of an Indian newspaper on this issue, highly-respected intelligence newsletter Jane's later reports the story, and adds, “None of [these details] will be unfamiliar to US intelligence operatives who have been compiling extensive reports on these alleged activities.” [Jane's Intelligence Digest, 9/20/01] CBS will later report bin Laden had emergency medical care in Pakistan the day before 9/11. [CBS News, 01/28/02] If these stories are true, it appears Pakistan could have captured bin Laden for the US at any time. The Jane's article adds, “it is becoming clear that both the Taliban and al-Qaeda would have found it difficult to have continued functioning—including the latter group's terrorist activities—without substantial aid and support from Islamabad [Pakistan].” [Jane's Intelligence Digest 9/20/01]
          

August-October 2001

       British intelligence asks India for legal assistance in catching Saeed Sheikh sometime during August 2001. Saeed has been openly living in Pakistan since 1999 and has even traveled to Britain at least twice during that time (see January 1, 2000-September 11, 2001), despite having kidnapped Britons and Americans (see June 1993-October 1994). [London Times, 4/21/02, Vanity Fair, 8/02] According to the Indian media, informants in Germany tell the internal security service there that Saeed helped fund hijacker Mohamed Atta (see Early August 2001 (D)). [Frontline, 10/6/01] On September 23, it is revealed that the British have asked India for help in finding Saeed, but it isn't explained why. [London Times, 9/23/01] His role in training the hijackers and financing the 9/11 attacks soon becomes public knowledge, though some elements are disputed (see September 24, 2001-December 26, 2002). [Telegraph, 9/30/01, CNN, 10/6/01, CNN, 10/8/01] The Gulf News claims that the US freezes the assets of Pakistani terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad on October 12, 2001 because it has established links between Saeed Sheikh and 9/11 (see October 12, 2001). [Gulf News 10/11/01] However, in October, an Indian magazine notes, “Curiously, there seems to have been little international pressure on Pakistan to hand [Saeed] over” [Frontline, 10/6/01], and the US doesn't formally ask Pakistan for help to find Saeed until January 2002 (see November 2001-February 5, 2002).
          

Early August 2001 (D)

      
Aftab Ansari.
The ransom for a wealthy Indian shoe manufacturer, kidnapped in Calcutta, India, two weeks earlier, is paid to an Indian gangster named Aftab Ansari. Ansari is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and has ties to the ISI and Saeed Sheikh (see November 1994-December 1999). Ansari gives about $100,000 of the about $830,000 in ransom money to Saeed, who sends it to hijacker Mohamed Atta. [Los Angeles Times, 1/23/02, Independent, 1/24/02] A series of recovered e-mails shows the money is sent just after August 11. This appears to be one of a series of Indian kidnappings this gang carries out in 2001. [India Today, 2/14/02, Times of India, 2/14/02] Saeed provides training and weapons to the kidnappers in return for a percentage of the profits. [Frontline, 2/2/02, India Today, 2/25/02] Note that this appears to be an additional $100,000 sent by Saeed to Atta on top of the $100,000 he likely sent to Atta in 2000 (see June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000). If it's true ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed orders Saeed to send $100,000 to the hijackers, it isn't clear to which $100,000 that refers (see October 7, 2001).
          

Early August 2001

      
Randy Glass.
Randy Glass, a former con artist turned government informant, later claims that he contacts the staff of Senator Bob Graham and Representative Robert Wexler at this time and warns them of a plan to attack the WTC, but his warnings are ignored. [Palm Beach Post 10/17/02] Glass also tells the media at this time that his recently concluded informant work has “far greater ramifications than have so far been revealed,” and “potentially, thousands of lives [are] at risk.” [South Florida Sun-Sentinel 8/7/01] Glass was a key informant in a sting operation involving ISI agents trying to illegally purchase sophisticated US military weaponry in return for cash and heroin (see June 12, 2001). He claims that in 1999, one ISI agent named Rajaa Gulum Abbas pointed to the WTC and said, “Those towers are coming down”(see July 14, 1999). [Palm Beach Post 10/17/02] Most details remain sealed, but Glass points out that his sentencing document dated June 15, 2001, lists threats against the World Trade Center and Americans. [WPBF Channel 25 8/5/02] Florida State Senator Ron Klein, who had dealings with Glass before 9/11, says he is surprised it took so many months for the US to listen to Glass: “Shame on us.” [Palm Beach Post, 10/17/02] Senator Graham acknowledges that his office had contact with Glass before 9/11, and was told about a WTC attack: “I was concerned about that and a dozen other pieces of information which emanated from the summer of 2001.” But Graham later says he personally was unaware of Glass's information until after 9/11. [Palm Beach Post 10/17/02] In October 2002, Glass testifies under oath before a private session of the Congressional 9/11 inquiry. He states, “I told [the inquiry] I have specific evidence, and I can document it.” [Palm Beach Post, 10/17/02] This testimony and most evidence still has not been made public.
          

August 22, 2001 (C)

       The Asia Times reports that the US is engaged in “intense negotiations” with Pakistan for assistance in an operation to capture or kill bin Laden. But despite promised rewards, there is a “very strong lobby within the [Pakistani] army not to assist in any US moves to apprehend bin Laden.” [Asia Times 8/22/01]
          

August 25, 2001

       A supplemental Visa credit card on a “Mustafa Al-Hawsawi”bank account is issued in the name of Abdulrahman A. A. Al-Ghamdi, who the FBI says is an alias for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. The FBI believes this helps prove Mohammed is a superior to the 9/11 paymaster. [Congressional Intelligence Committee 9/26/02; Houston Chronicle 6/5/02] The identity of “Mustafa Al-Hawsawi”is highly contested, but may well be Saeed Sheikh (see September 24, 2001-December 26, 2002). Mohammed and Sheikh appear to work together in the kidnapping of reporter Daniel Pearl (see January 23, 2002).
          

August 28-30, 2001

       Senator Bob Graham (D), Representative Porter Goss (R) and Senator John Kyl (R) travel to Pakistan and meet with President Musharraf. They reportedly discuss various security issues, including the possible extradition of bin Laden. They also meet with Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan. Zaeef apparently tells them that the Taliban want to solve the issue of bin Laden through negotiations with the US. Pakistan says it wants to stay out of the bin Laden issue. All three are meeting with ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed in Washington at the time of the 9/11 attacks (see September 11, 2001 (H)). Mahmood gave $100,000 to hijacker Mohamed Atta (see October 7, 2001). [AFP, 8/28/01, Salon, 9/14/01] Since the ISI was funding the 9/11 hijackers, what else might have been discussed in these meetings?
          

September 8-11, 2001 (B)

       The hijackers send money to and receive money from a man in the United Arab Emirates who uses the aliases “Mustafa Ahmed,” “Mustafa Ahmad,” and “Ahamad Mustafa.” [MSNBC, 12/11/01] This “Mustafa” transfers money to Mohamed Atta in Florida on September 8 and 9. He sends the money from a branch of the Al Ansari Exchange in Sharjah, UAE, a center of al-Qaeda financial dealings (see Mid-1996-October 2001). [Financial Times, 11/30/01] On September 9, three hijackers, Atta, Waleed Alshehri and Marwan Alshehhi, transfer about $15,000 back to “Mustafa”'s account. [Time, 10/1/01, Los Angeles Times, 10/20/01] Apparently the hijackers are returning money meant for the 9/11 attacks that they didn't use. “Mustafa” then transfers $40,000 to his Visa card and then, using a Saudi passport, flies from the UAE to Karachi, Pakistan, on 9/11. He makes six ATM withdrawals there two days later, then disappears into Pakistan (see September 11, 2001-January 2002). [MSNBC 12/11/01] In early October 2001 it is reported that the financier “Mustafa Ahmed” is an alias used by Saeed Sheikh. [CNN, 10/6/01] It will later be reported that Saeed wired money to Atta the month before (see Early August 2001 (D)). These last-minute transfers are touted as the “smoking gun” proving al-Qaeda involvement in the 9/11 attacks, since Saeed is a known financial manager for bin Laden. [Guardian 10/1/01] But since Saeed also works for the ISI, aren't these transfers equally a smoking gun of ISI involvement in the 9/11 attacks? The US media frequently reports a series of alternatives to Saeed as the one who sends this money (see September 24, 2001-December 26, 2002).
          

September 9, 2001

      
General Ahmed Shah Massoud.
General Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, is assassinated by two al-Qaeda agents posing as Moroccan journalists. [Time, 8/4/02] A legendary mujaheddin commander and a brilliant tactician, Massoud had pledged to bring freedom and democracy to Afghanistan. The BBC says the next day, “General Massoud's death might well have meant the end of the [Northern] alliance” because there clearly was no figure with his skills and popularity to replace him. [BBC, 9/10/01, BBC, 9/10/01 (B)] “With Massoud out of the way, the Taliban and al-Qaeda would be rid of their most effective opponent and be in a stronger position to resist the American onslaught.” [St. Petersburg Times, 9/9/02] It appears the assassination was supposed to happen earlier- the “journalists” waited for three weeks in Northern Alliance territory to meet Massoud. Finally on September 8, an aide says they “were so worried and excitable they were begging us.” They were granted an interview after threatening to leave if the interview didn't happen in the next 24 hours. Meanwhile, the Taliban army (together with elements of the Pakistani army) had massed for an offensive against the Northern Alliance in the previous weeks, but the offensive began only hours after the assassination. Massoud was killed that day but Northern Alliance leaders pretended for several days that he was only injured in order to keep the army's morale up, and the army was able to stave off total defeat. The timing of the assassination and the actions of the Taliban army suggest that the 9/11 attacks were known to the Taliban leadership. [Time 8/4/02] However, the assassins may have had other connections. Though it is not widely reported, the Northern Alliance release a statement the next day: “Ahmed Shah Massoud was the target of an assassination attempt organized by the Pakistani [intelligence service] ISI and Osama bin Laden.” [Radio Free Europe, 9/10/01, Newsday, 9/15/01, Reuters, 10/4/01] More evidence that the ISI was aware of 9/11?
          

September 10, 2001 (D)

       CBS later reports that on this day, bin Laden is admitted to a military hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, for kidney dialysis treatment. Pakistani military forces guard bin Laden. They also move out all the regular staff in the urology department and send in a secret team to replace them. It is not known how long he stayed. [CBS News, 01/28/02] Why didn't Pakistan arrest bin laden at this time?
          

September 11, 2001-January 2002

       After probably completing last-minute financial transactions with some 9/11 hijackers, Saeed Sheikh flies to Pakistan (see September 8-11, 2001 (B)). [Knight Ridder, 10/7/01] He meets with bin Laden in Afghanistan a few days later. [Washington Post, 2/18/02, London Times, 2/25/02, Guardian, 7/16/02] The US government claims Saeed fights for the Taliban in Afghanistan in September and October 2001. [CNN, 3/14/02] Some believe that after the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Saeed acts as a go-between for the hiding bin Laden and the ISI. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] He also helps produce a video of a bin Laden interview. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] Sometime in October 2001 [Guardian, 7/16/02], he moves back to his home in Lahore, Pakistan, and lives there openly. He is frequently seen at local parties hosted by government leaders. In January 2002, he hosts a party to celebrate the birth of his newborn baby. [USA Today, 2/25/02, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] He stays in his well-known Lahore house with his new wife and baby until January 19, 2002—four days before reporter Daniel Pearl is kidnapped (see January 23, 2002). [BBC, 7/16/02] He is also actively involved in numerous other terrorist acts (see October 1, 2001 (D), December 13, 2001 (C) and January 22, 2002).
          

September 11, 2001 (H)

       At the time of the attacks, ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed is at a breakfast meeting at the Capitol with the chairmen of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, Senator Bob Graham (D) and Representative Porter Goss (R) (Goss is a 10-year veteran of the CIA's clandestine operations wing). The meeting is said to last at least until the second plane hits the WTC. [Washington Post, 5/18/02] Graham and Goss later co-head the joint House-Senate investigation into the 9/11 attacks, which has made headlines for saying there was no “smoking gun” of Bush knowledge before 9/11. [Washington Post, 7/11/02] Note Senator Graham should have been aware of a report made to his staff the previous month that one of Mahmood's subordinates had told a US undercover agent that the WTC would be destroyed (see Early August 2001). Evidence suggests Mahmood ordered that $100,000 be sent to hijacker Mohamed Atta (see Early August 2001 (D)). Also present at the meeting were Senator John Kyl (R) and the Pakistani ambassador to the US, Maleeha Lodhi (all or virtually all of the people in this meeting also met in Pakistan a few weeks earlier (see August 28-30, 2001)). Senator Graham says of the meeting: “We were talking about terrorism, specifically terrorism generated from Afghanistan.” The New York Times mentions bin Laden specifically was being discussed. [Vero Beach Press Journal, 9/12/01, Salon, 9/14/01, New York Times, 6/3/02] The fact that these people are meeting at the time of the attacks is a strange coincidence at the very least. Was the topic of conversation just more coincidence? [FTW]
          

September 11-16, 2001

       ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed, extending his Washington visit because of the 9/11 attacks (see September 4-11, 2001 and September 11, 2001 (H)) [Japan Economic Newswire, 9/17/01], meets with US officials and negotiates Pakistan's cooperation with the US against al-Qaeda. It is rumored that later in the day on 9/11 and again the next day, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage visits Mahmood and offers him the choice: “Help us and breathe in the 21st century along with the international community or be prepared to live in the Stone Age.” [Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 9/12, LA Weekly, 11/9/01] Secretary of State Powell presents Mahmood seven demands as an ultimatum and Pakistan supposedly agrees to all seven. [Washington Post, 1/29/02] Mahmood also has meetings with Senator Joseph Biden (D), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Secretary of State Powell, regarding Pakistan's position. [Miami Herald, 9/16/01, , Reuters, 9/13/01, Associated Press, 9/13/01] On September 13, the airport in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, is shut down for the day. A government official later says the airport had been closed because of threats made against Pakistan's “strategic assets,” but doesn't elaborate. The next day, Pakistan declares “unstinting” support for the US, and the airport is reopened. It is later suggested that Israel and India threatened to attack Pakistan and take control of its nuclear weapons if Pakistan didn't side with the US (see also September 14, 2001 (approx.)). [LA Weekly, 11/9/01] Was war with Pakistan narrowly averted? It is later reported that Mahmood's presence in Washington was a lucky blessing; one Western diplomat saying it “must have helped in a crisis situation when the US was clearly very, very angry.” [Financial Times, 9/18/01] Was it luck he was there, or did Mahmood—later reported to have ordered $100,000 wired to the 9/11 hijackers (see Early August 2001 (D) and October 7, 2001) - know when the 9/11 attack would happen?
          

September 14, 2001 (approx.)

       According to Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker, a few days after 9/11 members of the elite Israeli counter-terrorism unit Sayeret Matkal arrive in the US and begin training with US Special Forces in a secret location. The two groups are developing contingency plans to attack Pakistan's military bases and remove its nuclear weapons if the Pakistani government or the nuclear weapons fall into the wrong hands. [New Yorker, 10/29/01] There may have been threats to enact this plan on September 13, 2001 (see September 11-16, 2001). The Japan Times later notes that this “threat to divest Pakistan of its ‘crown jewels’ was cleverly used by the US, first to force Musharraf to support its military campaign in Afghanistan, and then to warn would-be coup plotters against Musharraf.” [Japan Times 11/10/01] Note the curious connection between Sayeret Matkal and one of the 9/11 passengers on Flight 11 (see September 11 , 2001 (X)).
          

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 (B)

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

September 23, 2001

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

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 27, 2001 (B)

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

Late September-November 2001

       The ISI secretly assists the Taliban in its defense against a US-led attack. Between three and five ISI officers give military advice to the Taliban in late September (see also September 17-18 and 28, 2001). [Telegraph, 10/10/01] At least five key ISI operatives help the Taliban prepare defenses in Kandahar. None are later punished for this. [Time, 5/6/02] Secret advisors begin to withdraw in early October, but some stay on into November. [Knight Ridder, 11/3/01] Large convoys of rifles, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenade launchers for Taliban fighters cross the border from Pakistan into Afghanistan on October 8 and 12, just after US bombing of Afghanistan begins (see October 7, 2001 (B)) and after a supposed crackdown on ISI fundamentalists (see October 7, 2001). The Pakistani ISI secretly gives safe passage to these convoys, despite having promised the US in September that such assistance would immediately stop. [New York Times, 12/8/01] Secret ISI convoys of weapons and nonlethal supplies continue into November. [UPI, 11/1/01, Time, 5/6/02] An anonymous Western diplomat later states, “We did not fully understand the significance of Pakistan's role in propping up the Taliban until their guys withdrew and things went to hell fast for the Talibs.” [New York Times 12/8/01]
          

October 1, 2001 (D)

       A suicide truck-bomb attack on the provincial parliamentary assembly in Indian-controlled Kashmir leaves 36 dead. It appears that Saeed Sheikh and Aftab Ansari, working with the ISI, are behind the attacks (see also Early August 2001 (D)). [Vanity Fair, 8/02, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] Indian intelligence claims that Pakistani President Musharraf is later given a recording of a phone call between Jaish-e-Mohammad leader Maulana Masood Azhar and ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed in which Azhar allegedly reports the bombing is a “success.” [UPI 10/10/01]
          

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 18, 2001 (B)

       The Economist reports that the Taliban is dumping its stockpile of heroin into the market to pay for the war against the US. As a result, prices in Afghanistan have tumbled from $700 a kilo just before 9/11 to $100. This stockpile is worth about $1 billion in Pakistan, but between $40 billion and $80 billion on the streets of Europe. 70% of all the world's opium comes from Afghanistan. [Economist 10/18/01]
          

October 25, 2001

      
Afghan leader Abdul Haq.
Abdul Haq, a leader of the Afghani resistance to the Taliban, is killed. Four days earlier, he had secretly entered Afghanistan with a small force to try and raise rebellion (see also February 2001 (C) and Mid-August 2001 (B)), but was spotted by Taliban forces and surrounded. He called a supporter in the US, and then former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane called the CIA and asked for immediate assistance to help rescue Haq. A battle lasting up to twelve hours ensues. Haq's force is underarmed, since the CIA failed to provide him with weapons. [Sydney Morning Herald, 10/29/01] The CIA refuses to send in a helicopter to rescue him, saying the terrain is too rough. Haq's group claims they are next to a hilltop once used as a helicopter landing point. [Observer, 10/28/01, Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01 (B)] An unmanned surveillance aircraft eventually attacks a group of Taliban, but five hours after Haq has been captured. He is then executed by the Taliban. [Wall Street Journal 11/2/01] Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA director of counter-terrorism, and others suggest that Haq's position was betrayed to the Taliban by the ISI. Haq was already an enemy of the ISI, who may have killed his family. [Village Voice 10/26/01; USA Today 10/31/01; Toronto Star 11/5/01; Knight Ridder 11/3/01] Haq “seemed the ideal candidate to lead an opposition alliance into Afghanistan to oust the ruling Taliban.” [Observer, 10/28/01] Was Haq betrayed by the ISI and even the CIA because he was not pliable enough to be controlled?
          

November 2001-February 5, 2002

       A US grand jury secretly indicts Saeed Sheikh for his role in the 1994 kidnapping of an American (see June 1993-October 1994). The indictment is revealed in late February 2002. The US later claims it begins asking Pakistan for help in finding Saeed in late November. [AP, 2/26/02, Newsweek, 3/13/02] However, it is not until January 9, 2002 that Wendy Chamberlin, the US ambassador to Pakistan, officially asks the Pakistani government for help in arresting and extraditing Saeed. [AP, 2/24/02, CNN, 2/24/02, Los Angeles Times, 2/25/02 (B)] Saeed is seen partying with Pakistani government officials well into January 2002 (see January 1, 2000-September 11, 2001 and September 11, 2001-January 2002). The Los Angeles Times later notes that Saeed “move[s] about Pakistan without apparent impediments from authorities” up until February 5, when he is identified as a suspect in the Daniel Pearl kidnapping (see February 5, 2002). [Los Angeles Times, 2/13/02] The London Times says, “It is inconceivable that the Pakistani authorities did not know where he was” before then. [London Times, 4/21/02] Why did the British become interested in Saeed shortly before 9/11 (see August-October 2001), and why was so little done to catch him afterward?
          

November 10, 2001

       Telegraph reporter Christina Lamb is arrested and expelled from Pakistan by the ISI. She had been investigating the connections between the ISI and the Taliban. Reporter Daniel Pearl's investigations into the ISI (see December 24, 2001-January 23, 2002) will later result in his death (see January 31, 2002). [Telegraph 11/11/01]
          

November 11, 2001

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

November 14-November 25, 2001

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

November 21, 2001

       The Independent runs a story with the title: “Opium Farmers Rejoice at the Defeat of the Taliban.” Massive opium planting is underway all across Afghanistan. [Independent, 11/21/01] Four days later, the Observer runs a story headlined, “Victorious Warlords Set To Open the Opium Floodgates.” It states that farmers are being encouraged by warlords allied with the US to plant “as much opium as possible.” [Observer, 11/25/01] [FTW]
          

December 4, 2001

       Convicted drug lord and opium kingpin Ayub Afridi is released from prison and recruited by the US government to help establish control in Afghanistan by unifying various Pashtun warlords. The former opium smuggler was one of the CIA's leading assets in the Afghan war against the Russians. [Asia Times, 12/4/01] [FTW]
          

December 7, 2001

       Indian gangster Asif Raza Khan, terrorist associate of Saeed Sheikh and Aftab Ansari (see November 1994-December 1999), is shot dead by Indian police. Police claim he was trying to escape. [Los Angeles Times, 1/23/02] A month or two before he dies, Indian investigators record a confession of his involvement in a plot with Ansari and Saeed to send kidnapping profits to hijacker Mohamed Atta (Early August 2001 (D)). This information becomes public just before Saeed is suspected for kidnapping reporter Daniel Pearl (see January 23, 2002 and February 5, 2002). [Independent, 2/24/02, India Today, 2/25/02] Many in Ansari's Indian criminal network are arrested in October and November 2001, and confirm the money connection to Atta. [India Today 2/14/02]
          

December 13, 2001 (C)

      
A terrorist lies dead near the entrance to the Indian parliament building.
The Indian Parliament building in New Delhi is attacked by terrorists. Fourteen people, including the five attackers, are killed. India blames the Pakistani terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad for the attacks. Twelve days later, Maulana Masood Azhar, head of Jaish-e-Mohammad, is arrested by Pakistan and his group is banned. He is freed one year later (see December 14, 2002). [AFP, 12/25/01, ] The Parliament attack leads to talk of war, even nuclear war, between Pakistan and India, until President Musharraf cracks down on terrorist groups in early January (see January 12, 2002). [Telegraph, 12/28/01, Wall Street Journal, 1/3/02, Guardian, 5/25/02] It appears that Saeed Sheikh and Aftab Ansari, working with the ISI, are also behind the attacks. [Vanity Fair 8/02; Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 3/3/02]
          

December 22, 2001 (B)

      
Richard Reid.
British citizen Richard Reid is arrested for allegedly trying to blow up a Miami-bound jet using explosives hidden in his shoe. [AP, 8/19/02] He later pleads guilty to all charges, and declares himself a follower of bin Laden. [CBS, 10/4/02] He may have ties to Pakistan. [Washington Post, 3/31/02] It is later believed that Reid and others in the shoe bomb plot reported directly to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. [CNN 1/30/03] It has been suggested that Mohammed has ties to the ISI (see December 24, 2001-January 23, 2002). It is also later suggested that Reid is a follower of Ali Gilani, a religious leader believed to be working with the ISI (see January 6, 2002 (B)).
          

December 24, 2001-January 23, 2002

       Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl writes stories about the ISI that will lead to his kidnapping (see January 23, 2002). On December 24, 2001, he reports about ties between the ISI and a Pakistani organization that was working on giving bin Laden nuclear secrets before 9/11. A few days later, he reports that the ISI supported terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad (see December 24-31, 1999) still has its office running and bank accounts working, even though President Musharraf claims to have banned the group. “If [Pearl] hadn't been on the ISI's radarscope before, he was now.” [Vanity Fair, 8/02, Guardian, 7/16/02] He begins investigating links between shoe bomber Richard Reid and Pakistani militants (see December 22, 2001 (B)), and comes across connections to the ISI and a mysterious religious group called Al-Fuqra (see January 6, 2002 (B)). [Washington Post, 2/23/02] He also may be looking into the US training and backing of the ISI. [Gulf News, 3/25/02] He's writing another story on Dawood Ibrahim, a powerful terrorist and gangster protected by the ISI, and other Pakistani organized crime figures. [Newsweek, 2/4/02, Vanity Fair, 8/02] Former CIA agent Robert Baer (see December 1997 and August 2001 (G)) later claims to be working with Pearl on investigating 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (see December 1997). [UPI, 9/30/02] It is later suggested that Mohammed masterminds both Reid's shoe bomb attempt and the Pearl kidnapping (see January 22, 2003), and has connections to Pakistani gangsters and the ISI, so some of these explanations could fit together. [UPI, 9/30/02, Asia Times, 10/30/02, CNN, 1/30/03] Kidnapper Saeed will later say of Pearl, “because of his hyperactivity he caught our interest.” [The News 2/15/02]
          

December 30, 2001

       The new Afghan Interior Minister Younis Qanooni claims that the ISI helped bin Laden escape from Afghanistan: “Undoubtedly they (ISI) knew what was going on.” He claims that the ISI is still supporting bin Laden even if Pakistani president Musharraf isn't. [BBC 12/30/01]
          

January 5, 2002

       It is reported that the FBI has asked Pakistan for permission to question Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad. Pakistan arrested him on December 25, 2001 after US pressure to do so (see December 13, 2001 (C)). One Pakistani official says, “The Americans are aware Azhar met bin Laden often, and are convinced he can give important information about bin Laden's present whereabouts and even the September 11 attacks.” But the “primary reason” for US interest is the link between Azhar and Saeed Sheikh (see December 24-31, 1999). They hope to learn about Saeed's involvement in financing the 9/11 attacks. It is not certain that Pakistan gives permission to question Azhar. Four days later, the US officially asks Pakistan for help in finding and extraditing Saeed (see August-October 2001). [Gulf News 1/5/02]
          

January 6, 2002 (B)

       The Boston Globe reports that shoe bomber Richard Reid (see December 22, 2001 (B)) may have had ties with an obscure Pakistani group called Al-Fuqra. Reid apparently visited the Lahore, Pakistan home of Ali Gilani, the leader of Al-Fuqra. [Boston Globe, 1/6/02] Reporter Daniel Pearl reads the article, and decides to investigate (see also December 24, 2001-January 23, 2002). [Vanity Fair, 8/02] Pearl believes he is on his way to interview Gilani when he is kidnapped (see January 23, 2002). [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] A 1995 State Department report said Al-Fuqra's main goal is “purifying Islam through violence.” [Vanity Fair, 8/02] Intelligence experts say it is a splinter group of Jaish-e-Mohammad, and has ties to al-Qaeda. [UPI, 1/29/02] Al-Fuqra claims close ties with the Muslims of the Americas, a US tax-exempt group claiming about 3,000 members living in rural compounds in 19 states, the Caribbean and Europe. Members of Al-Fuqra are suspected of at least 13 fire bombings and 17 murders, as well as theft and credit-card fraud. Gilani had links to people involved in the 1993 WTC bombing, and he fled the US after the bombing. Gilani admits he works with the ISI and lives freely in Pakistan. [Boston Globe, 1/6/02, The News, 2/15/02, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02, Vanity Fair, 8/02] Saeed Sheikh “has long had close contacts” with the group, and praises Gilani for his “unexplained services to Pakistan and Islam.” [The News [Pakistani newspaper], 2/18/02, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] There has been surprisingly little media coverage of Al-Fuqra, given their US presence and al-Qaeda connection (see also [Knight Ridder, 12/25/01, New York Times, 1/3/02, New York Post, 2/10/02, Rocky Mountain News, 2/12/02]).
          

January 12, 2002

       Pakistan President Musharraf makes “a forceful speech… condemning Islamic extremism.” [Washington Post, 3/28/02] Around this time, he also arrests about 2000 people he calls extremists. He is hailed in the Western media as redirecting the ISI to support the US agenda. Yet, by the end of the month at least 800 of the arrested are set free [Washington Post, 3/28/02] including “most of their firebrand leaders.” [Time 5/6/02] Within one year, “almost all” of those arrested have been quietly released. Even the most prominent leaders, such as Maulana Masood Azhar (see December 14, 2002), have been released. Their terrorist organizations are running again, often under new names. [Washington Post 2/8/03]
          

January 22, 2002

       A crowd of mostly unarmed Indian police near the US Information Service building in Calcutta, India, is attacked by gunmen; four policemen are killed and 21 people injured. The gunmen escape. India claims that Aftab Ansari immediately calls to take credit, and India charges that the gunmen belong to Ansari's kidnapping ring also connected to funding the 9/11 attacks (see Early August 2001 (D)). [Telegraph, 1/24/02, AP, 2/10/02] Saeed Sheikh and the ISI assist Ansari in the attack. [Vanity Fair, 8/02, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] This is the fourth terrorist attack they have cooperated on, including the 9/11 attacks (see Early August 2001 (D), October 1, 2001 (D), and December 13, 2001 (C)).
          

January 22-25, 2002

       FBI Director Mueller visits India, and is told by Indian investigators that Saeed Sheikh sent ransom money to hijacker Mohamed Atta in the US (see Early August 2001 (D)). In the next few days, Saeed is publicly blamed for his role with gangster Aftab Ansari in financing Atta and organizing the Calcutta terrorist attack (see January 22, 2002). [Press Trust of India, 1/22/02, Los Angeles Times, 1/23/02, Independent, 2/24/02, AFP, 1/27/02, Telegraph, 1/27/02] Meanwhile, on January 23, Saeed helps kidnap reporter Daniel Pearl (see January 23, 2002) and is later arrested (see February 5, 2002). Also on January 23, Ansari is placed under surveillance after flying to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On January 24, Mueller and US Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin discuss Saeed at a previously scheduled meeting with Pakistani President Musharraf. Apparently Saeed's role in Pearl's kidnapping is not yet known. [AP, 2/24/02] Mueller then flies to Dubai on his way back to the US to pressure the government there to arrest Ansari and deport him to India. Ansari is arrested on February 5 and deported 4 days later (see February 9, 2002 (C)). [AP 2/10/02; Frontline 2/16/02; India Today 2/25/02] Is the timing of Mueller's travels coincidental, or is he striking at Saeed and Ansari for their role in financing 9/11?
          

January 23, 2002

      
Daniel Pearl.
Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in Pakistan while researching stories threatening to the ISI (see December 24, 2001-January 23, 2002). [Guardian, 1/25/02, BBC, 7/5/02] He is later murdered (see January 31, 2002). FTW Saeed Sheikh is later convicted as the mastermind of the kidnap (see July 15, 2002), and though it appears he lured Pearl into being kidnapped beginning January 11, the actual kidnapping and murder of Pearl is done by others who remain at large. [Vanity Fair, 8/02, Wall Street Journal, 1/23/03] Both al-Qaeda and the ISI appear to be behind the kidnapping (see January 28, 2002 and February 5, 2002). The overall mastermind behind the kidnapping seems to be Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, also mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. [Time, 1/26/03, CNN, 1/30/03] If Saeed assisted Mohammed in the kidnapping, that would appear to repeat their cooperation in the 9/11 attacks, and strengthen the argument that Mohammed is connected to both al-Qaeda and the ISI (see June 4, 2002).
          

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.
          

January 31, 2002

      
Reporter Daniel Pearl moments before he is killed.
Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is murdered by his kidnappers in Pakistan (see also January 23, 2002). Pearl is reported dead on February 21; his body is found months later. Police investigators say “there were at least eight to ten people present on the scene” and at least 15 who participated in his kidnapping and murder. “Despite issuing a series of political demands shortly after Pearl's abduction four weeks ago, it now seems clear that the kidnappers planned to kill Pearl all along.” [Washington Post, 2/23/02] Some captured participants later claim 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is the one who cuts Pearl's throat (see January 22, 2003).
          

February 5, 2002

       Pakistani police, with the help of the FBI, determine Saeed Sheikh is behind the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl (see January 23, 2002), but are unable to find him. They round up about ten of his relatives and threaten to harm them unless he turns himself in. Saeed Sheikh does turn himself in, but to Ijaz Shah, his former ISI boss (see June 1993-October 1994). [Boston Globe, 2/7/02, Vanity Fair, 8/02] The ISI holds Saeed for a week, but fails to tell Pakistani police or anyone else that they have him (see February 12, 2002). This “missing week” is the cause of much speculation. The ISI never tells Pakistani police any details about this week. [Newsweek, 3/11/02] Saeed also later refuses to discuss the week or his connection to the ISI, only saying, “I will not discuss this subject. I do not want my family to be killed.” He adds, “I know people in the government and they know me and my work.” [Newsweek, 3/13/02, Vanity Fair, 8/02] It is suggested Saeed is held for this week to make sure that Pearl was killed. Saeed later says that during this week he got a coded message from the kidnappers that Pearl had been murdered. Also, the time might have been spent working out a deal with the ISI over what Saeed would tell police and the public. [Newsweek, 3/11/02] Several others with both extensive ISI and al-Qaeda ties wanted for the kidnapping are arrested around this time. [Washington Post, 2/23/02, London Times, 2/25/02] One of these men, Khalid Khawaja, “has never hidden his links with Osama bin Laden. At one time he used to fly Osama's personal plane.” [PakNews 2/11/02]
          

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?
          
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