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Day of 911

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Complete 911 Timeline

 
  

Project: Complete 911 Timeline

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Showing 451-550 of 1608 events (use filters to narrow search):    previous 100    next 100

May 2001 (K)

       The Defense Department learns and shares with US intelligence that seven people associated with bin Laden had left from various locations and headed to Canada, Britain, and the US. The next month, the CIA learns that key operatives in al-Qaeda are disappearing, while others are preparing for martyrdom. [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03]
          

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 (J)

       US Medicine magazine later reports, “Though the Department of Defense had no capability in place to protect the Pentagon from an ersatz guided missile in the form of a hijacked 757 airliner, DoD [Department of Defense] medical personnel trained for exactly that scenario in May.” The tri-Service DiLorenzo Health Care Clinic and the Air Force Flight Medicine Clinic train inside the Pentagon this month “to fine-tune their emergency preparedness.” [US Medicine 10/01]
          

May 6-September 6, 2001

       The hijackers work out at various gyms, presumably getting in shape for the hijacking. Ziad Jarrah appears to have trained intensively from May to August, and Atta and Marwan Alshehhi also took exercising very seriously. [New York Times, 9/23/01, Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01] But these three are presumably pilots who would need the training the least. For instance, Jarrah's trainer says “If he wasn't one of the pilots, he would have done quite well in thwarting the passengers from attacking.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01] Most of the rest appear to have only made token efforts, if at all. For instance, Hani Hanjour, Majed Moqed, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, and Salem Alhazmi work out for four days in early September. [AP, 9/21/01] Three others—Waleed Alshehri, Wail Alshehri and Satam al-Suqami— “simply clustered around a small circuit of machines, never asking for help and, according to a trainer, never pushing any weights. ‘You know, I don't actually remember them ever doing anything … They would just stand around and watch people.’ ” [New York Times, 9/23/01] Those three also had a one month membership in Florida—it isn't known if they actually worked out then or not. [Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01] Since apparently all of the hijackers knew they were on a suicide mission (see March 2001), why weren't they preparing for it?
          

May 8, 2001

       Bush entrusts Cheney to head the new Office of National Preparedness, a part of FEMA. This office is supposed to oversee a “national effort” to coordinate all federal programs for responding to domestic attacks. Cheney says to the press, “One of our biggest threats as a nation” may include “a terrorist organization overseas. We need to look at this whole area, oftentimes referred to as homeland defense.” The focus is on state funded terrorists using weapons of mass destruction, and neither bin Laden nor al-Qaeda is mentioned. [New York Times 7/8/02] Cheney's task force is supposed to report to Congress by October 1, 2001, after a review by the National Security Council. Bush states that “I will periodically chair a meeting of the National Security Council to review these efforts.” [Washington Post 1/20/02] In July, two senators send draft counterterrorism legislation to Cheney's office, but a day before 9/11 they're told it might be another six months before he can take a look at it (see September 10, 2001 (S)). The task force is just getting started on hiring staff a few days before 9/11 (see September 10, 2001 (R)). Former Senator Gary Hart (D) later implies that this task force is created to prevent Congress from enacting counterterrorism legislation proposed by a bipartisan commission Hart had co-chaired (see January 31, 2001).
          

May 10, 2001

       Attorney General Ashcroft sends a letter to department heads telling them the Justice Department's new agenda. He cites seven goals, but counterterrorism is not one of them. Yet just one day earlier he testifies before Congress and says of counterterrorism, “The Department of Justice has no higher priority.” [New York Times 2/28/02] Dale Watson, head of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division, recalls nearly falling out of his chair when he sees counterterrorism not mentioned as a goal. [9/11 Commission Report, 4/13/04] In August, a strategic plan is distributed listing the same seven goals and 36 objectives. Thirteen objectives are highlighted, but the single objective relating to counterterrorism is not highlighted. [New York Times 2/28/02]
          

May 15, 2001

       A Supervisor at the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center sends a request to CIA headquarters for the surveillance photos of the al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia at the start of 2000 (see January 5-8, 2000 and January 6-9, 2000). Three days later, the supervisor explains the reason for the interest in an e-mail to a CIA analyst: “I'm interested because Khalid Almihdhar's two companions also were couriers of a sort, who traveled between [the Far East] and Los Angeles at the same time (hazmi and salah).” Hazmi refers to hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi, and Salah Said is the alias al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash traveled under during the meeting. Apparently the supervisor receives the photos. Towards the end of May, a CIA analyst contacts a specialist working at FBI headquarters about the photographs. The CIA wanted the FBI analyst to review the photographs and determine if a person who had carried money to Southeast Asia for Khallad bin Attash in January 2000 could be identified. The CIA fails to tell the FBI analyst anything about Almihdhar or Alhazmi. Around the same time, the CIA analyst receives an e-mail mentioning Alhazmi's travel to the US. These two analysts travel to New York the next month and again the CIA analyst fails to divulge what he knows (see June 11, 2001). [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03]
          

May 16, 2001

       US General Tommy Franks, later to head the US occupation of Afghanistan, visits the capital of Tajikistan. He says the Bush administration considers Tajikistan “a strategically significant country” and offers military aid. This follows a visit by a Department of Defense official earlier in the year and an earlier regional visit by Franks (see September 2000 (D)). The Guardian later asserts that by this time, “US Rangers were also training special troops in Kyrgyzstan. There were unconfirmed reports that Tajik and Uzbek special troops were training in Alaska and Montana.” [Guardian, 9/26/01] [FTW]
          

May 23, 2001

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

May 29, 2001

       A European Union committee investigating the Echelon spy surveillance network advises all people using e-mail to encrypt their e-mails if they want to avoid being spied on by Echelon. Echelon can sift through up to 90% of all internet traffic, as well as monitor phone conversations, mobile phone calls, fax transmissions, net browsing history, satellite transmissions and so on. Even encryption may not help much—the BBC suggests that “it is likely that the intelligence agencies can crack open most commercially available encryption software.” [BBC, 5/29/01, ] Given all this data capture capability, isn't it likely they had the data to break the 9/11 plot? The question is were they able to sift through all their data? Certainly any leads connected to al-Qaeda must have had the highest analysis priority for years.
          

May 29, 2001 (B)

       The State Department issues a overseas caution connected to the conviction of defendants in bombing the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. That warning says that “Americans citizens abroad may be the target of a terrorist threat from extremist groups” with links to bin Laden. The warning is reissued on June 22. [CNN 6/23/01]
          

May 30, 2001

       Two Yemeni men are detained after guards see them taking photos at 26 Federal Plaza in New York City. They are questioned by INS agents and let go. A few days later their confiscated film is developed. It shows photos of security checkpoints, police posts and surveillance cameras of federal buildings, including the FBI's counterterrorism office. The two men are later interviewed by the FBI and determined not to be terrorists. However, they had taken the pictures on behalf of a third person living in Indiana. By the time the FBI looks for him, he has fled the country and his documentation is found to be based on a false alias. In 2004 it is reported that it is still unknown if the third man is a terrorist or not. The famous briefing given to President Bush in early August 2001 (see August 6, 2001) mentions the incident, warning that the FBI is investigating “suspicious activity in this country consistent with the preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.” When Bush's briefing is released in 2004, a White House fact sheet fails to mention the still missing third man. [New York Post 7/1/01; New York Post 9/16/01; Washington Post 5/16/04]
          

May 31, 2001

       The Wall Street Journal summarizes tens of thousands of pages of evidence disclosed in a recently concluded trial of al-Qaeda terrorists. They are called “a riveting view onto the shadowy world of al-Qaeda.”The documents reveal numerous connections between al-Qaeda and specific front companies and charities. They even detail a “tightly organized system of cells in an array of American cities, including Brooklyn, N.Y.; Orlando, Fla.; Dallas; Santa Clara, Calif.; Columbia, Mo., and Herndon, Va.” The 9/11 hijackers had ties to many of these same cities and charities. [Wall Street Journal, 5/31/01] Why was so little done in response?
          

June 1-2, 2001

       Amalgam Virgo 01, a multi-agency planning exercise sponsored by NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command, in charge of defending US airspace) involves the hypothetical scenario of a cruise missile launched by “a rogue (government) or somebody” from a barge off the East Coast. Bin Laden is pictured on the cover of the proposal for the exercise. [American Forces Press Service, 6/4/02] The exercise takes place at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. [Global Security 4/14/02]
          

June 2001 (B)

       US intelligence issues a terrorist threat advisory, warning US government agencies that there is a high probability of an imminent terrorist attack against US interests: “Sunni extremists associated with al-Qaeda are most likely to attempt spectacular attacks resulting in numerous casualties.” The advisory mentions the Arabian Peninsula, Israel, and Italy as possible targets for an attack. Afterwards, intelligence information provided to senior US leaders continues to indicate that al-Qaeda expects near-term attacks to have dramatic consequences on governments or cause major casualties. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]
          

June 2001 (F)

       The US considers aiding Ahmed Shah Massoud and his Northern Alliance movement. As one counter-terrorism official put it, “You keep [al-Qaeda terrorists] on the front lines in Afghanistan. Hopefully you're killing them in the process, and they're not leaving Afghanistan to plot terrorist operations.” A former US special envoy to the Afghan resistance visits Massoud this month. Massoud gives him “all the intelligence he had on al-Qaeda” in the hopes of getting some support in return. But he gets nothing more than token amounts, and his organization isn't even given “legitimate resistance movement” status. [Time, 8/4/02] Did the US not want to support Massoud because he might have been too independent of US policy?
          

June 2001 (J)

       Enron's power plant in Dabhol, India, is shut down. The failure of the $3 billion plant, Enron's largest investment, contributes to Enron's bankruptcy later in the year (see December 2, 2001). Earlier in the year, India stopped paying its bill for the energy from the plant, because energy from the plant cost three times the usual rates. [New York Times, 3/20/01] Enron had hoped to feed the plant with cheap Central Asian gas, but this hope was dashed when a gas pipeline through Afghanistan was not completed (see June 1998 (B). The larger part of the plant is still only 90 percent complete when construction stops at about this time. [New York Times, 3/20/01] It is known that Vice President Cheney lobbies the leader of India's main opposition party about the plant this month. [New York Times, 2/21/02] A lawsuit is in motion to get additional government documents released that could reveal what else the US did to support this plant (see October 17, 2002 and February 7, 2003 (B)). Enron may eventually restart the plant (see October 18, 2002 (B)).
          

June 2001 (I)

       US intelligence learns that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is interested in “sending terrorists to the United States” and planning to assist their activities once they arrive. The 9/11 Congressional inquiry says the significance of this is not understood at the time, and data collection efforts are not subsequently “targeted on information about [Mohammed] that might have helped understand al-Qaeda's plans and intentions.” [Committee Findings, 12/11/02, Los Angeles Times, 12/12/02, USA Today, 12/12/02] The FBI has a $2 million reward for Mohammed at the time (see Mid-1996-September 11, 2001) That summer, the NSA intercepts phone calls between Mohammed and Mohamed Atta, but apparently fails to pay attention (see Summer 2001), and on September 10, 2001, the US monitors a call from Atta to Mohammed in which Atta gets final approval for the 9/11 attacks, but this also doesn't lead to action (see September 10, 2001 (F)). In mid-2002, it is reported that “officials believe that given the warning signals available to the FBI in the summer of 2001, investigators correctly concentrated on the [USS] Cole investigation, rather than turning their attention to the possibility of a domestic attack.” [New York Times 6/9/02]
          

June 2001 (C)

       The CIA provides senior US policy makers with a classified warning of a potential attack against US interests that is thought to be tied to Fourth of July celebrations in the US. [Sunday Herald 9/23/01]
          

June 1, 2001

       According to the New York Observer and government documents, “the decades-old procedure for a quick response by the nation's air defense” changes on this date. “Now, instead of NORAD's military commanders being able to issue the command to launch fighter jets, approval [has] to be sought from the civilian Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.” Rumsfeld later claims that protection against a domestic terrorist attack is not his responsibility, but “a law-enforcement issue.” The Observer asks, “Why, in that case, did he take onto himself the responsibility of approving NORAD's deployment of fighter planes?” [New York Observer 6/17/04]
          

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 2001 (G)

      
Ephrahim Halevy is head of the Israeli Mossad from 1998 to 2002.
A 60-page internal memo on the Israeli “art student” spy ring is prepared by the DEA's Office of Security Programs. [Read the memo here: DEA report, 6/01] The memo is a compilation of dozens of field reports, and was meant only for the eyes of senior officials at the Justice Department (of which the DEA is adjunct), but it is leaked to the press around December 2001. The report connects the spies to efforts to foil investigations into Israeli organized crime activity involving the importation of the drug Ecstasy. The spies also appear to be snooping on top secret military bases. For instance, on April 30, 2001, an Air Force alert was issued from Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City concerning “possible intelligence collection being conducted by Israeli Art Students.” Tinker AFB houses AWACS surveillance craft and Stealth bombers. By the time of the report, the US has “apprehended or expelled close to 120 Israeli nationals” but many remain at large. [Le Monde, 3/5/02, Salon, 5/7/02] An additional 20 or so Israeli spies are apprehended between June and 9/11. [Fox News 12/12/01]
          

Early June 2001 (B)

       Deputy National Security Adviser Steve Hadley circulates a draft presidential directive on policy toward al-Qaeda. Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke and his staff regard the new approach as essentially similar to the proposal they developed in December 2000 (see December 2000) and presented to the Bush administration in January 2001 (see ). The draft has the goal of eliminating al-Qaeda as threat over a multi-year period, and calls for funding through 2006. It has a section calling for the development of contingency military plans against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Hadley contacts Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to tell him these contingency plans will be needed soon. However, no such plans are developed before 9/11. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and others later admit that the contingency plans available immediately after 9/11 are unsatisfactory. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (B), 9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D)] The draft is now discussed in three more deputy level meetings (see June 27-July 16, 2001).
          

June 2001 (E)

       Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke asks for a transfer to start a new national program on cyber security. His request is granted, and he is to change jobs in early October 2001. He does make the change despite the 9/11 attacks. He claims that he tells National Security Advisor Rice and her deputy Steve Hadley, “Perhaps I have become too close to the terrorism issue. I have worked it for ten years and to me it seems like a very important issue, but maybe I'm becoming like Captain Ahab with bin Laden as the White Whale. Maybe you need someone less obsessive about it.” [White House 10/9/01] He later claims, “My view was that this administration, while it listened to me, either didn't believe me that there was an urgent problem or was unprepared to act as though there were an urgent problem. And I thought, if the administration doesn't believe its national coordinator for counterterrorism when he says there's an urgent problem, and if it's unprepared to act as though there's an urgent problem, then probably I should get another job.” [New York Times 3/24/04]
          

June 2001 (D)

       China, Russia, and four Central Asian countries create the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Its explicit purpose is to oppose US dominance, especially in Central Asia. [Guardian, 10/23/01] Russian defense minister Igor Sergeyev writes, “The actions of Islamic extremists in Central Asia give Russia the chance to strengthen its position in the region.” [Guardian 1/16/02] In March 2003, the Guardian will note that the new ring of US military bases built in the Afghan war (see January 2002 (D)) “has, in effect, destroyed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization which Russia and China had established in an attempt to develop a regional alternative to US power.” [Guardian 3/11/03]
          

June or July 2001

       At least two witnesses from the Hamburg university where Atta had studied later claim Atta, Marwan Alshehhi and an unknown third person are seen in the ground-floor workshops of the architecture department at this time. They are seen on at least two occasions with a white, three foot scale model of the Pentagon. Between 60 and 80 slides of the Sears building in Chicago and the World Trade Center are found to be missing from the technical library after 9/11. [Sunday Times 2/3/02]
          

June 2001

       German intelligence warns the CIA, Britain's MI6, and Israel's Mossad that Middle Eastern terrorists are planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack “American and Israeli symbols, which stand out.” A later article quotes unnamed German intelligence sources who state the information was coming from Echelon surveillance technology, and that British intelligence had access to the same warnings. However, there were other informational sources, including specific information and hints given to, but not reported by, Western and Near Eastern news media six months before 9/11. [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 9/11/01, Washington Post, 9/14/01, Fox News, 5/17/02] [FTW]
          

June 2001 (H)

       British investigators believe that at least five of the hijackers have a “vital planning meeting” held in a safe house in north London, Britain. [London Times, 9/26/01] Authorities suspect that Mustapha Labsi, an Algerian now in British custody, train the hijackers in this safe house, as well as previously training the hijackers in Afghanistan. [Telegraph 9/30/01]
          

June-July 2001

       Terrorist threat reports, already high (see April-May 2001), surge even higher. President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and national security aides are given briefing papers with headlines such as “Bin Laden Threats Are Real” and “Bin Laden Planning High Profile Attacks.” The exact contents of these briefings remain classified, but according to the 9/11 Commission they consistently predict upcoming attacks that will occur “on a catastrophic level, indicating that they would cause the world to be in turmoil, consisting of possible multiple — but not necessarily simultaneous—attacks.” CIA Director Tenet later recalls that by late July the warnings coming in could not get any worse. He feels that Bush and other officials grasp the urgency of what they are being told. [9/11 Commission Report 4/13/04 (B)] But Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin later states that he feels a great tension, peaking these months, between the Bush administration's need to understand terrorism issues and his sense of great urgency. McLaughlin and others are frustrated when inexperienced Bush officials question the validity of certain intelligence findings. Two unnamed, veteran counterterrorism center officers deeply involved in bin Laden issues are so worried about an impending disaster that they consider resigning and going public with their concerns. [9/11 Commission, 3/24/04 (C)] Dale Watson, head of counterterrorism at the FBI, wishes he had “500 analysts looking at Osama bin Laden threat information instead of two.” [9/11 Commission Report 4/13/04 (B)]
          

June 3, 2001

       This is one of only two dates that Bush's national security leadership meets formally to discuss terrorism (see also September 4, 2001 (C)). This group, made up of the National Security Adviser, CIA Director, Defense Secretary, Secretary of State, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and others, met around 100 times before 9/11 to discuss a variety of topics, but apparently rarely terrorism. In wake of these reports, the White House “aggressively defended the level of attention, given only scattered hints of al-Qaeda activity.” This lack of discussion stands in sharp contrast to the Clinton administration and public comments by the Bush administration. [Time, 8/4/02] Bush said in February 2001: “I will put a high priority on detecting and responding to terrorism on our soil.” A few weeks earlier, Tenet had told Congress, “The threat from terrorism is real, it is immediate, and it is evolving.” [AP 6/28/02]
          

June 4, 2001

       At some point in 2000, three men claiming to be Afghans but using Pakistani passports enter the Cayman Islands, possibly illegally. [Miami Herald, 9/20/01] In late 2000, Cayman and British investigators begin a yearlong probe of these men which lasts until 9/11. [Los Angeles Times 9/20/01] They are overheard discussing hijacking attacks in New York City. On this day, they are taken into custody, questioned and released some time later. This information is forwarded to US intelligence. [Fox News, 5/17/02] In late August, a letter to a Cayman radio station will allege these same men are agents of bin Laden “organizing a major terrorist act against the US via an airline or airlines”(see August 29, 2001).
          

June 9, 2001

      
FBI agent Robert Wright.
Robert Wright, an FBI agent who spent ten years investigating terrorist funding (see October 1998), writes a memo that slams the FBI. He states, “Knowing what I know, I can confidently say that until the investigative responsibilities for terrorism are transferred from the FBI, I will not feel safe… The FBI has proven for the past decade it cannot identify and prevent acts of terrorism against the United States and its citizens at home and abroad. Even worse, there is virtually no effort on the part of the FBI's International Terrorism Unit to neutralize known and suspected international terrorists living in the United States.”[Cybercast News Service, 5/30/02] He claims “FBI was merely gathering intelligence so they would know who to arrest when a terrorist attack occurred” rather than actually trying to stop the attacks. [UPI 5/30/02] Wright's shocking allegations are largely ignored when they first become public a year later. He is asked on CNN's Crossfire, one of the few outlets to cover the story at all, “Mr. Wright, your charges against the FBI are really more disturbing, more serious, than [Coleen] Rowley's [(see August 28, 2001 (D))]. Why is it, do you think, that you have been ignored by the media, ignored by the congressional committees, and no attention has been paid to your allegations?” The Village Voice says the problem is partly because he went to the FBI and asked permission to speak publicly instead of going straight to the media as Rowley did. The FBI put severe limits on what details Wright can divulge. He is now suing them (see also May 30, 2002). [Village Voice 6/19/02]
          

June 11, 2001

       A CIA analyst and FBI analyst travel to New York and meet with FBI officials at FBI headquarters about the USS Cole investigation. The CIA analyst has already showed photographs from the al-Qaeda Malaysia meeting attended by hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi (see January 5-8, 2000), to the FBI analyst, but failed to explain what he knows about them (see May 15, 2001). The CIA analyst now shows the same photos to the additional FBI agents. He wants to know if the FBI agents can identify anyone in the photos for a different case he's working on. “The FBI agents recognized the men from the Cole investigation, but when they asked the CIA what they knew about the men, they were told that they didn't have clearance to share that information. It ended up in a shouting match. [ABC News, 8/16/02] The CIA analyst later admits that at the time he knows Almihdhar had a US visa (see April 3-7, 1999), that Alhazmi had traveled to the US (see March 5, 2000), that al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash had been recognized in one of the photos (see January 4, 2001), and that Alhazmi was known to be an experienced terrorist. But he doesn't tell any of this to any FBI agent. He doesn't let them keep copies of the photos either. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] He promises them more information later, but the FBI agents don't receive more information until after 9/11. [Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] Two days after this meeting, Almihdhar has no trouble getting a new multiple reentry US visa. [US News and World Report 12/12/01; Congressional Inquiry 9/20/02] CIA Director Tenet later claims, “Almihdhar was not who they were talking about in this meeting.” When Senator Carl Levin (D) reads the following to Tenet, “The CIA analyst who attended the New York meeting acknowledged to the joint inquiry staff that he had seen the information regarding Almihdhar's US visa and Alhazmi's travel to the United States but he stated that he would not share information outside of the CIA unless he had authority to do so,” Tenet claims that he talked to the same analyst and was told something completely different. [New York Times 10/17/02]
          

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 13, 2001 (B)

       At President Bush's first meeting with NATO heads of state in Brussels, Belgium, Bush outlines his five top defense issues. Missile defense is at the top of the list. Terrorism is not mentioned at all. This is consistent with his other statements before 9/11. Almost the only time he ever publicly mentions al-Qaeda or bin Laden before 9/11 is later in the month, in a letter that renews Clinton administration sanctions on the Taliban. [CNN 6/13/01; Washington Post 4/1/04] He only speaks publicly about the dangers of terrorism once before 9/11 (see May 8, 2001), except for several mentions in the context of promoting a missile defense shield. [Washington Post 1/20/02]
          

June 13, 2001

       Egyptian President Hasni Mubarak claims that Egyptian intelligence discovers a “communiqué from bin Laden saying he wanted to assassinate George W. Bush and other G8 heads of state during their summit in Italy.” The communiqué specifically mentions this would be done via “an airplane stuffed with explosives.” The US and Italy are sent urgent warnings of this. [New York Times, 9/26/01] Mubarak claims that Egyptian intelligence officials informed American intelligence officers between March and May 2001 that an Egyptian agent had penetrated the bin Laden organization. Presumably this explains how Egypt is able to give the US these warnings (see also Late July 2001 (D) and August 30, 2001). [New York Times, 6/4/02] The warnings are mentioned in the media before the event and the attack is aborted (see June 20, 2001 and July 20-22, 2001).
          

June 20, 2001

       Time magazine reports: “For sheer diabolical genius (of the Hollywood variety), nothing came close to the reports that European security services are preparing to counter a Bin Laden attempt to assassinate President Bush at next month's G8 summit in Genoa, Italy. According to German intelligence sources, the plot involved Bin Laden paying German neo-Nazis to fly remote controlled-model aircraft packed with Semtex into the conference hall and blow the leaders of the industrialized world to smithereens. (Paging Jerry Bruckheimer…)” [Time, 6/20/01] This report follows warnings given by Egypt (see June 13, 2001), and there are more warnings (see Mid-July 2001) before the summit (see July 20-22, 2001). James Hatfield, author of an unflattering book on Bush called Fortunate Son , repeats the claim in print a few days later, writing: “German intelligence services have stated that bin Laden is covertly financing neo-Nazi skinhead groups throughout Europe to launch another terrorist attack at a high-profile American target.” [Online Journal 7/3/01] Two weeks later, Hatfield apparently commits suicide. However, there is widespread speculation that his death was payback for his revelation of Bush's cocaine use in the 1970s. [Salon 7/20/01]
          

June 21, 2001

       A reporter for the Middle East Broadcasting Company interviews bin Laden. Keeping a promise made to Taliban leader Mullah Omar, bin Laden doesn't say anything substantive, but Ayman al-Zawahiri and top al-Qaeda others say, “The coming weeks will hold important surprises that will target American and Israeli interests in the world.” [AP, 6/24/01, AP, 6/25/01] The reporter later says, “I am 100 percent sure of this, and it was absolutely clear they had brought me there to hear this message.” [A Pretext for War, by James Bamford, 6/04, p. 236] Additionally, the reporter is shown a several-months-old videotape with bin Laden declaring to his followers, “It's time to penetrate America and Israel and hit him them where it hurts most.” [CNN 6/21/01] Author James Bamford theorizes that the original 9/11 plot involved a simultaneous attack on Israel and that shoe bomber Richard Reid may have originally wanted to target an Israeli aircraft around this time. For instance, Reid flies to Tel Aviv, Israel on July 12, 2001 to test if airline security would check his shoes for bombs.
          

June 23, 2001

       Reuters reports that “Followers of exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden are planning a major attack on US and Israeli interests in the next two weeks.” The report is based on the impression of a reporter who interviewed bin Laden and some of his followers two days earlier. This reporter is quoted as saying: “There is a major state of mobilization among the Osama bin Laden forces. It seems that there is a race of who will strike first. Will it be the United States or Osama bin Laden?” [Reuters 6/23/01]
          

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]
          

June 26, 2001

       An Indian magazine reports more details of the cooperative efforts of the US, India, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and Iran against the Taliban regime: “India and Iran will ‘facilitate’ US and Russian plans for ‘limited military action’ against the Taliban if the contemplated tough new economic sanctions don't bend Afghanistan's fundamentalist regime.” Earlier in the month, Russian President Putin told a meeting of the Confederation of Independent States that military action against the Taliban may happen, possibly with Russian involvement using bases and forces from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as well (see also December 19, 2000, March 15, 2001 and July 21, 2001). [IndiaReacts, 6/26/01] [FTW]
          

June 26, 2001 (B)

       The State Department issues a worldwide caution warning American citizens of possible attacks. [CNN, 3/02] Also around this time, US military forces in the Persian Gulf are placed on heightened alert and naval ships there are sent out to sea, and other defensive steps are taken overseas. This is in response to a recent warning where bin Laden said, “It's time to penetrate America and Israel and hit them where it hurts most” (see June 21, 2001). But, as author James Bamford later notes, “No precautions were ever taken within the United States, only overseas.”
          

June 26, 2001 (B)

       The State Department issues a worldwide caution warning American citizens of possible attacks. [CNN 3/02]
          

June 27, 2001

       The Wall Street Journal reports that Pakistan and India are discussing jointly building a gas pipeline from Central Asian gas fields through Iran. This would circumvent the difficulties of building the pipeline through Afghanistan. [Wall Street Journal, 6/27/01] Iran has been secretly supporting the Northern Alliance to keep Afghanistan divided so no pipelines could be put through it (see December 20, 1999). Presumably the US government would be opposed to this, since much of its support for Afghanistan pipelines has been to prevent them from going through Iran (see Early 1998).
          

June 27-July 16, 2001

       The first Bush administration Deputy-Secretary-level meeting on terrorism in late April (see April 30, 2001) is followed by three more deputy meetings. Each meeting focuses on one issue: one meeting is about al-Qaeda, one about the Pakistani situation, and one on Indo-Pakistani relations. The plan to roll back al-Qaeda that has been discussed at these meetings is worked on some more and finally approved by National Security Advisor Rice and the deputies on August 13. It now can move to the Cabinet-level before finally reaching President Bush. The Cabinet-level meeting is scheduled for later in August, but too many participants are on vacation, so the meeting takes place in early September (see September 4, 2001 (C)). [Washington Post 1/20/02; 9/11 Commission Report 3/24/04; 9/11 Commission Report 3/24/04 (D)]
          

June 28, 2001

       CIA Director Tenet writes an intelligence summary for National Security Advisor Rice: “It is highly likely that a significant al-Qaeda attack is in the near future, within several weeks.” A highly classified analysis at this time adds, “Most of the al-Qaeda network is anticipating an attack. Al-Qaeda's overt publicity has also raised expectations among its rank and file, and its donors.” [Washington Post 5/17/02] Apparently the same analysis also adds, “Based on a review of all-source reporting over the last five months, we believe that [bin Laden] will launch a significant terrorist attack against US and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against US facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning. ” [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)] This warning is shared with “senior Bush administration officials” in early July. [Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02] Apparently, all this is largely based on a warning given by al-Qaeda leaders to a reporter a few days earlier (see June 21, 2001). Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke also later asserts that Tenet tells him around this time, “It's my sixth sense, but I feel it coming. This is going to be the big one.”
          

Late September-Early October 2001

       According to a later Mirror article, leaders of Pakistan's two Islamic parties negotiate bin Laden's extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for the 9/11 attacks. Bin Laden would be held under house arrest in Peshawar and would face an international tribunal, which would decide whether to try him or hand him over to the US. According to reports in Pakistan (and the Telegraph), this plan has both bin Laden's approval and that of Taliban leader Mullah Omar. However, the plan is vetoed by Pakistan's president Musharraf who says he “could not guarantee bin Laden's safety.” But it appears the US did not want the deal: a US official later says that “casting our objectives too narrowly”risked “a premature collapse of the international effort [to overthrow the Taliban] if by some lucky chance Mr. bin Laden was captured.” [Mirror 7/8/02]
          

Late June 2001

       White House National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Richard Clarke, gives a direct warning to the FAA to increase security measures in light of an impending terrorist attack. The FAA refuses to take such measures. [New Yorker 1/14/02]
          

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]
          

Summer 2001 (B)

       A confidential informant tells an FBI field office agent that he has been invited to a commando training course at a camp operated by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The information is passed up to FBI headquarters, which rejects the idea of infiltrating the camp. An “asset validation” of the informant, a routine but critical exercise to determine whether information from the source was reliable, is also not done. The FBI later has no comment on the story. [US News and World Report 6/10/02]
          

Summer 2001 (I)

       According to Newsweek, the Justice Department curtails “a highly classified program called ‘Catcher's Mitt’ to monitor al-Qaeda suspects in the United States.” This is apparently because a federal judge severely chastised the FBI for improperly seeking permission to wiretap terrorists. [Newsweek 3/22/04]
          

Summer 2001 (E)

       Supposedly, by this time there are only fourteen fighter planes on active alert to defend the continental US (and six more defending Canada and Alaska). [Bergen Record 12/5/03] But in the months before 9/11, rather than increase the number, the Pentagon was planning to reduce the number still further. Just after 9/11, the Los Angeles Times reported, “While defense officials say a decision had not yet been made, a reduction in air defenses had been gaining currency in recent months among task forces assigned by [Defense Secretary] Rumsfeld to put together recommendations for a reassessment of the military.” By comparison, in the Cold War atmosphere of the 1950s, the US had thousands of fighters on alert throughout the US. [Los Angeles Times, 9/15/01 (B)] As late as 1998, there were 175 fighters on alert status. [Bergen Record 12/5/03] Also during this time, FAA officials try to dispense with “primary” radars altogether, so that if a plane were to turn its transponder off, no radar could see it. NORAD rejects the proposal. [Aviation Week and Space Technology 6/3/02]
          

July 2001 (B)

       India gives the US general intelligence on possible terror attacks; details are not known. US government officials later confirm that Indian intelligence had information “that two Islamist radicals with ties to Osama bin Laden were discussing an attack on the White House,” but apparently this particular information is not given to the US until two days after 9/11. [Fox News 5/17/02]
          

Summer 2001

       Around this time, the NSA intercepts telephone conversations between 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Mohamed Atta, but apparently does not share the information with any other agencies. The FBI has a $2 million reward for Mohammed at the time (see Mid-1996-September 11, 2001), while Atta is in charge of operations inside the US. [Knight Ridder, 6/6/02, Independent, 6/6/02] US intelligence learned in June 2001 that Mohammed was interested in sending terrorists to the US and supporting them there (see June 2001 (I)). Yet supposedly, the NSA either fails to translate these messages in a timely fashion or fails to understand the significance of what was translated. [Knight Ridder Newspapers, 6/6/02] FTW While the contents of these discussions have never been released, doesn't it seem highly likely they were discussing 9/11 plans? Would the NSA fail to translate or properly analyze messages from one of the most wanted terrorists?
          

Summer 2001 (G)

       Supposedly, since 1997 there are only fourteen fighter planes on active alert to defend the continental US. But in the months before 9/11, rather than increase the number, the Pentagon was planning to reduce the number still further. Just after 9/11, the Los Angeles Times reported, “While defense officials say a decision had not yet been made, a reduction in air defenses had been gaining currency in recent months among task forces assigned by [Defense Secretary] Rumsfeld to put together recommendations for a reassessment of the military.” By comparison, in the Cold War atmosphere of the 1950s, the US had thousands of fighters on alert throughout the US. [Los Angeles Times 9/15/01 (B)] Also during this time, FAA officials try to dispense with “primary” radars altogether, so that if a plane were to turn its transponder off, no radar could see it. NORAD rejects the proposal. [Aviation Week and Space Technology 6/3/02]
          

July 2001

       The CIA hears an individual who had recently been in Afghanistan say, “Everyone is talking about an impending attack.” [Senate Intelligence Committee, 9/18/02, Washington Post, 9/19/02] The Telegraph later reports that “the idea of an attack on a skyscraper was discussed among [bin Laden's] supporters in Kabul.” At some unspecified point before 9/11, a neighbor in Kabul saw diagrams showing a skyscraper attack in a house known as a “nerve center” for al-Qaeda activity. [Telegraph, 11/16/01] US soldiers will later find forged visas, altered passports, listings of Florida flight schools and registration papers for a flight simulator in al-Qaeda houses in Afghanistan. [New York Times, 12/6/01] Bin Laden bodyguard later claims that in May 2001 he hears bin Laden tell people in Afghanistan that the US would be hit with a terrorist attack, and thousands would die. [Guardian 11/28/01] CIA Director Tenet later claims that the 9/11 plot was “in the heads of three or four people.” [USA Today 2/7/02] How many people in Afghanistan really knew of the 9/11 attack plans?
          

Summer 2001 (C)

       Congressman Porter Goss (R), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, later says on the intelligence monitoring of terrorist groups: “the chatter level went way off the charts” around this time and stayed high until 9/11. Given his history as a CIA operative, presumably he was kept “in the know” to some extent. [Los Angeles Times, 5/18/02] A later Congressional report states: “Some individuals within the intelligence community have suggested that the increase in threat reporting was unprecedented, at least in terms of their own experience.” [Senate Intelligence Committee, 9/18/02] Two counter-terrorism officials [later describe] the alerts of this summer as “the most urgent in decades.” [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]
          

July 1, 2001

       Senators Dianne Feinstein (D) and Richard Shelby (R), both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, appear on CNN's “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer”, and warn of potential attacks by bin Laden. Says Feinstein: “One of the things that has begun to concern me very much as to whether we really have our house in order, intelligence staff have told me that there is a major probability of a terrorist incident within the next three months.” [CNN 3/02]
          

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 (I)

       According to Newsweek, the Justice Department curtails “a highly classified program called ‘Catcher's Mitt’ to monitor al-Qaeda suspects in the United States.” This is apparently because a federal judge severely chastised the FBI for improperly seeking permission to wiretap terrorists. [Newsweek 3/22/04]
          

Summer 2001 (H)

       Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, later claims that at this time, CIA Director “Tenet [is] around town literally pounding on desks saying, something is happening, this is an unprecedented level of threat information. He didn't know where it was going to happen, but he knew that it was coming.” [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03]
          

July 2, 2001 (B)

       The FBI issues a warning of possible al-Qaeda attacks on law enforcement agencies, stating, “there are threats to be worried about overseas. While we cannot foresee attacks domestically, we cannot rule them out.” [CNN 3/02]
          

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]
          

July 2, 2001 (B)

       The FBI issues a warning of possible al-Qaeda attacks on law enforcement agencies, stating, “there are threats to be worried about overseas. While we cannot foresee attacks domestically, we cannot rule them out.” It further states, “the FBI has no information indicating a credible threat of terrorist attack in the United States.” It asks to “exercise vigilance” and “report suspicious activities” to the FBI. Two weeks later, acting FBI Director Thomas Pickard has a conference call with all field office heads mentioning the heightened threat. However, FBI personnel later fail to recall any heightened sense of threat from summer 2001. Only those in the New York field office recall this or took any special actions. [CNN 3/02 (H); 9/11 Commission Report 4/13/04 (B)]
          

July 3, 2001

       Bush's Cabinet-level national security leadership discuss terrorism in a meeting. This group of “Principals” —National Security Advisor Rice, CIA Director Tenet, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Shelton and others—meet around 100 times before 9/11 to discuss a variety of topics, but this is one of only two times when terrorism is discussed (see also September 4, 2001 (C)). This lack of discussion stands in sharp contrast to the Clinton administration where this group meets and discusses terrorism every two to three weeks after mind-1998 and nearly every day during times of heightened terrorist concerns. [AP 6/28/02]
          

July 3, 2001 (B)

       CIA Director Tenet makes an urgent special request to 20 friendly intelligence services, asking for the arrest of a list of known al-Qaeda operatives. [Washington Post 5/17/02]
          

July 4-14, 2001

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

July 4, 2001

       Hijacker Khalid Almihdhar reenters the US. The CIA and FBI have recently been showing interest in him (see May 15, 2001 and June 11, 2001), but have still failed to place him on a terrorist watch list. Had he been placed on a watch list by this date, he would have been stopped and possibly detained as he tried to enter the US. He enters on a new US visa obtained in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on June 13, 2001 (see also May 2001 (H)). [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The FBI notes he returns just days after the last of the hijacker “muscle” has entered the US (see April 23-June 29, 2001), and speculate he returns because his job in bringing them over is finished. [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03]
          

July 5, 2001

       At the request of National Security Advisor Rice and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke leads a meeting of the CSG (Counterterrorism Security Group), attended by officials from a dozen federal agencies. They discuss intelligence regarding terrorism threats and potential attacks on US installations overseas. Two attendees recall Clarke stating, “Something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it's going to happen soon.” One who attended the meeting later calls the evidence that “something spectacular” is being planned by al-Qaeda “very gripping.” [Time 8/4/02; Washington Post 5/17/02] Clarke directs every counterterrorist office to cancel vacations, defer non-vital travel, put off scheduled exercises, and place domestic rapid-response teams on much shorter alert. By early August, all of these emergency measures are no longer in effect. [CNN, 3/02, Washington Post, 5/17/02] The FAA issues general threat advisories, but neither the FAA's top administrator nor Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta is aware of an increased threat level. [New York Times, 4/18/04] Clarke says rhetorically that he wants to know if a sparrow has fallen from a tree. A senior FBI official attends the meeting and promises a redoubling of efforts. But just five days later, when FBI agent Ken Williams sends off his memo speculating that al-Qaeda may be training operatives as pilots in the US (see July 10, 2001), the FBI doesn't share this information with any other agency. [Washington Post 5/17/02]
          

July 6, 2001

       One day after heading a meeting on al-Qaeda with the Counterterrorism and Security Group (CSG) (see July 5, 2001), counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke heads a similar meeting at the White House with senior security officials at the FAA, Immigration, Secret Service, Coast Guard, Customs, and other agencies. The CIA and FBI give briefings on the growing al-Qaeda threat. The CIA says al-Qaeda members “believe the upcoming attack will be a ‘spectacular,’ qualitatively different from anything they have done to date.” [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D)] Then Clarke later claims he says, “You've just heard that CIA thinks al-Qaeda is planning a major attack on us. So do I. You heard CIA say it would probably be in Israel or Saudi Arabia. Maybe. But maybe it will be here. Just because there is no evidence that says that it will be here, does not mean it will be overseas. They may try to hit us at home. You have to assume that is what they are going to do. Cancel summer vacations, schedule overtime, have your terrorist reaction teams on alert to move fast. Tell me, tell each other, about anything unusual.”
          

July 8-19, 2001

       Atta travels to Spain again (see January 4, 2001 (B)). Three others cross the Atlantic with him but their names are not known, as they apparently use false identities. [El Mundo, 9/30/01] Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a member of his Hamburg terrorist cell, arrives in Spain on July 9, and stays until July 16. [New York Times, 5/1/02] Hijacker Marwan Alshehhi also comes to Spain at about the same time and leaves on July 17. [AP, 6/30/02] Alshehhi must have traveled under another name, because US immigration has no records of his departure or return. [Department of Justice, 5/20/02] Investigators believe Atta, Alshehhi and bin al-Shibh meet with at least three unknown others in a secret safe house near Tarragona. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02, AP, 6/30/02] It is theorized this meeting is when the final details of the 9/11 attacks are set. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] It is probable Atta meets with and is hosted by Barakat Yarkas and other Spanish al-Qaeda members (see August 27, 2001). [International Herald Tribune, 11/21/01] One of the unknowns at the meeting could be Yarkas's friend Mamoun Darkazanli, a German with connections to the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell (see Spring 2000). Darkazanli travels to Spain and meets with Yarkas during the time Atta is there. He travels with an unnamed Syrian Spanish suspect, who lived in Afghanistan and had access there to al-Qaeda leaders. [Los Angeles Times, 1/14/03] The Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia later reports that Atta also meets with fellow hijackers Waleed Alshehri and Wail Alshehri on July 16. [AP, 9/27/01] Strangely enough, on July 16, Atta stayed in the same hotel in the town of Salou that had hosted FBI counter-terrorist expert John O'Neill a few days earlier, when he made a speech to other counter-terrorism experts on the need for greater international cooperation by police agencies to combat terrorism. Bin al-Shibh arrived in Salou on July 9, which means he would have been there when the counter-terrorist meeting took place. [The Cell, John Miller, Michael Stone and Chris Mitchell, 8/02, p. 135] Did bin al-Shibh and/or Atta attend O'Neill's speech to learn from the enemy, or even secretly meet with O'Neill or some other counter-terrorist official?
          

July 10, 2001

      
FBI agent Ken Williams.
Phoenix, Arizona, FBI agent Ken Williams sends a memorandum warning about suspicious activities involving a group of Middle Eastern men taking flight training lessons in Arizona. The memo is titled: “Zakaria Mustapha Soubra; IT-OTHER (Islamic Army of the Caucasus),” because it focuses on Zakaria Soubra, a Lebanese flight student in Prescott, Arizona, and his connection with a terror group in Chechnya that has ties to al-Qaeda. It is subtitled: “Osama bin Laden and Al-Muhjiroun supporters attending civil aviation universities/colleges in Arizona.” [Fortune 5/22/02; Arizona Republic 7/24/03] The memo is based on an investigation Williams had begun the year before (see April 17, 2000), but had trouble pursuing because of the low priority the Arizona FBI office gave terror investigations (see 1994 (C)). In the memo, Williams does the following:
  1. Names nine other suspect students from Pakistan, India, Kenya, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, in addition to Soubra. [Die Zeit, 10/1/02] Hijacker Hani Hanjour, attending flight school in Arizona in early 2001, is not mentioned in the memo, but one of his acquaintances is (see 1997-July 2001). Another person on the list is later arrested in Pakistan in 2002 with al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida (see March 28, 2002). [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03, Washington Post, 7/25/03 (C)]
  2. Notes he interviewed some of these students, and heard some of them make hostile comments about the US. He also noticed they were suspiciously well informed about security measures at US airports. [Die Zeit 10/1/02]
  3. Notes an increasing, “inordinate number of individuals of investigative interest” taking flight lessons in Arizona. [Die Zeit 10/1/02; Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03]
  4. Suspects that some of the 10 people he's investigated are connected to al-Qaeda. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] He discovered that one of them was communicating through an intermediary with Abu Zubaida. [San Jose Mercury News 5/23/02] Potentially this is the same member of the list mentioned above who is later captured with Abu Zubaida.
  5. Discovers connections between several of the students and a radical group called Al-Muhajiroun. [San Jose Mercury News, 5/23/02] This group supported bin Laden, and issued a fatwa, or call to arms, that included airports on a list of acceptable terror targets. [AP 5/22/02] Soubra, the main focus of the memo, is a member of Al-Muhajiroun and an outspoken radical, but he is later cleared of any ties to terrorism. [Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01 (C)]
  6. Warns of a possible “effort by Osama bin Laden to send students to the US to attend civil aviation universities and colleges”[Fortune, 5/22/02], so they can later hijack aircraft. [Die Zeit 10/1/02]
  7. Recommends, “The FBI should accumulate a listing of civil aviation universities/colleges around the country. FBI field offices with these types of schools in their area should establish appropriate liaison. FBI [headquarters] should discuss this matter with other elements of the US intelligence community and task the community for any information that supports Phoenix's suspicions.” [Arizona Republic 7/24/03] In fact, the FBI has already done this, but because of poor FBI communications, Williams is not aware of the report (see 1999 (L)).
  8. Recommends the FBI ask the State Department to provide visa data on flight school students from Middle Eastern countries so the bureau can track them more easily. [New York Times, 5/4/02]
The memo is e-mailed to six people at FBI headquarters in the bin Laden and radical fundamentalist units, and to two people in the FBI New York field office. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] He also shares some concerns with the CIA. [San Jose Mercury News 5/23/02] But the memo is merely marked “routine,” not “urgent.” It is generally ignored, not shared with other FBI offices, and the recommendations are not taken. One colleague in New York replies at the time that the memo is “speculative and not very significant.” [Die Zeit, 10/1/02, Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Williams also was unaware of many FBI investigations and leads that could have given weight to his memo (see 1998 (F), May 18, 1998, After May 15, 1998, 1999 (L), September 1999 (E), January-February 2001). Authorities later claim Williams was only pursuing a hunch, but one familiar with classified information says, “This was not a vague hunch. He was doing a case on these guys.” [San Jose Mercury News 5/23/02]
          

July 12, 2001 (B)

       On July 5, the CIA briefs Attorney General Ashcroft on the al-Qaeda threat, warning that a significant terrorist attack is imminent, and a strike could occur at any time. [9/11 Commission Report, 4/13/04 (B)] On this day, acting FBI Director Tom Pickard briefs Attorney General Ashcroft about the terror threat inside the US. Pickard later swears under oath that Ashcroft tells him, “he did not want to hear about this anymore.” Ashcroft, also under oath, later categorically denies the allegation, saying, “I did never speak to him saying that I didn't want to hear about terrorism.” However, Ruben Garcia, head of the Criminal Division, and another senior FBI official corroborate Pickard's account. Ashcroft's account is supported by his top aide, but another official Ashcroft's office claimed would also support Ashcroft's account says he can't remember what happened. Pickard briefs Ashcroft on terrorism four more times that summer, but he never mentions al-Qaeda to Ashcroft again before 9/11. [MSNBC, 6/22/04] Pickard later makes an appeal to Ashcroft for more counterterrorism funding; Ashcroft rejects the appeal on September 10, 2001. [9/11 Commission Report, 4/13/04] Picard later says, “Before September 11th, I couldn't get half an hour on terrorism with Ashcroft. He was only interested in three things: guns, drugs, and civil rights.”
          

July 12, 2001

       While in Dubai, United Arab Emirates to receive lifesaving medical treatment (see July 4-14, 2001), Bin Laden supposedly meets with CIA agent Larry Mitchell in the Dubai hospital on this day, and possibly others. Mitchell reportedly lives in Dubai as an Arab specialist under the cover of being a consular agent. The CIA, the Dubai hospital and even bin Laden deny the story. Le Figaro and Radio France International stand by it. [Le Figaro 10/31/01; Radio France International 11/1/01; Reuters 11/10/01] The Guardian claims that the two news organizations that broke the story, Le Figaro and Radio France International, got their information from French intelligence, “which is keen to reveal the ambiguous role of the CIA, and to restrain Washington from extending the war to Iraq and elsewhere.” The Guardian adds that during his stay bin Laden is also visited by a second CIA officer. [Guardian, 11/1/01] On July 15, Larry Mitchell supposedly returns to CIA headquarters to report on his meeting with bin Laden. [Radio France International, 11/1/01] If this meeting did happen, then does it show the US was not serious about wanting bin Laden dead?
          

July 13, 2001 (B)

       The same Supervisor of the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center (CTC) who expressed interest in surveillance photos from the al-Qaeda Malaysia meeting (see January 5-8, 2000) two months earlier (see May 15, 2001) now finds a cable he'd been looking for regarding that same meeting. The cable from January 2001 discusses al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash's presence at the meeting (see January 4, 2001). He explains later that bin Attash's presence at the meeting had been troubling him. He writes an e-mail to the Counter Terrorism Center, stating, “[Bin Attash] is a major league killer, who orchestrated the Cole attack and possibly the Africa bombings.” Yet bin Attash is still not put on a terrorist watch list. An FBI analyst assigned to the CTC is given the task to review all other CIA cables about the Malaysian meeting. It takes this analyst until August 21—over five weeks later—to put together that Almihdhar had a US visa (see April 3-7, 1999), and that Alhazmi had traveled to the US (see March 5, 2000). Yet there are other CIA agents who are already very aware of these facts and not sharing the information (see June 11, 2001). Working with immigration officials, this analyst then learns that Almihdhar entered and left the US in 2000, and entered again on July 4, 2001 (see July 4, 2001) and that Alhazmi appears to still be in the US. As a result, the two terrorists are finally placed on a terrorist watch list two days later (see August 23, 2001 (C)). [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03]
          

July 13, 2001

       With the threat of a new terrorist attack on the rise, the CIA has agents reexamine records in the search for new leads. A CIA cable is rediscovered showing that Khallad bin Atash had attended the January 2000 meeting in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000 and January 4, 2001). The CIA official who finds it immediately e-mails the CIA's Counter-Terrorism Center (CTC), saying bin Atash “is a major league killer, who orchestrated the Cole attack and possibly the Africa bombings.” Yet bin Atash is still not put on a terrorist watch list. An FBI analyst assigned to the CTC is given the task to review all other CIA cables about the Malaysian meeting. It takes this analyst until August 21—over five weeks later—to determine that two attendees of the meeting, hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, had entered the US on January 15, 2000, and that Almihdhar had reentered the US on July 4, 2001. [Congressional Intelligence Committee 9/20/02]
          

July 16, 2001 (B)

       A Village Voice reporter is told by a New York taxi driver, “You know, I am leaving the country and going home to Egypt sometime in late August or September. I have gotten e-mails from people I know saying that Osama bin Laden has planned big terrorist attacks for New York and Washington for that time. It will not be safe here then.” He does in fact return to Egypt for that time period. The FBI isn't told about this lead until after 9/11. He is later interrogated by the FBI and released. He claims what he knew was known by many. [Village Voice 9/25/02 (B)]
          

July 16, 2001

       British spy agencies send a report to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other top officials warning that al-Qaeda is in “the final stages” of preparing a terrorist attack in the West. The prediction is “based on intelligence gleaned not just from MI6 and GCHQ but also from US agencies, including the CIA and the National Security Agency,” which cooperate with the British. “The contents of the July 16 warning would have been passed to the Americans, Whitehall sources confirmed.” The report states there is “an acute awareness” that the attack is “a very serious threat.” [London Times, 6/14/02] This information could be from or in addition to a warning based on surveillance of al-Qaeda prisoner Khalid al-Fawwaz (see August 21, 2001). [Fox News 5/17/02]
          

July 18, 2001

       The FBI issues another warning to domestic law enforcement agencies about threats stemming from the convictions in the millennium bomb plot trial. The FAA also issues a warning, telling the airlines to “use the highest level of caution.” [CNN 3/02]
          

July 20-22, 2001

       The G8 summit is held in Genoa, Italy. Acting on previous warnings that al-Qaeda would attempt to kill Bush and other leaders (see June 13, 2001, June 20, 2001, andMid-July 2001), Italy surrounds the summit with antiaircraft guns, keeps fighters in the air, and closes off local airspace to all planes. [Los Angeles Times, 9/27/01]The warnings are taken so seriously that Bush stays overnight on an aircraft carrier offshore, and other world leaders stay on a luxury ship. [CNN, 7/18/01] No attack occurs. US officials at the time state that the warnings were “unsubstantiated” but after 9/11 claim success in preventing an attack. Lying about Genoa keeps the public and the airlines uninformed about the seriousness of the current terrorist threat. [Los Angeles Times 9/27/01]
          

July 21, 2001

       Three American officials, Tom Simons (former US Ambassador to Pakistan), Karl Inderfurth (former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs) and Lee Coldren (former State Department expert on South Asia) meet with Pakistani and Russian intelligence officers in a Berlin hotel. [Salon, 8/16/02] It is the third of a series of back-channel conferences called “brainstorming on Afghanistan.” Taliban representatives sat in on previous meetings, but boycotted this one due to worsening tensions. However, the Pakistani ISI relays information from the meeting to the Taliban. [Guardian, 9/22/01] At the meeting, former US State Department official Lee Coldren passes on a message from Bush officials. He later says, “I think there was some discussion of the fact that the United States was so disgusted with the Taliban that they might be considering some military action.” [Guardian, 9/26/01] Accounts vary, but former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik later says he is told by senior American officials at the meeting that military action to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan is planned to “take place before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.” The goal is to kill or capture both bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar, topple the Taliban regime and install a transitional government of moderate Afghans in its place. Uzbekistan and Russia would also participate (see also December 19, 2000, March 15, 2001 and June 26, 2001). Naik also says “it was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even if bin Laden were to be surrendered immediately by the Taliban.” [BBC, 9/18/01] One specific threat made at this meeting is that the Taliban can choose between “carpets of bombs” —an invasion— or “carpets of gold” —the pipeline. [Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth] Niaz Naik says Tom Simons made the “carpets”statement. Simons claims: “It's possible that a mischievous American participant, after several drinks, may have thought it smart to evoke gold carpets and carpet bombs. Even Americans can't resist the temptation to be mischievous.” Naik and the American participants deny that the pipeline was an issue at the meeting. [Salon 8/16/02] So then what was the “carpets of gold” phrase referring to? [FTW]
          

July 24, 2001

       Larry Silverstein's $3.2 billion purchase of the WTC is finalized. [Ireizine, 7/26/01] It's the only time the WTC has ever changed hands. It was previously owned by the New York Port Authority, a bi-state government agency. [ICSC, 4/27/01] Silverstein may get $7 billion in insurance from the 9/11 destruction of the WTC towers. [Guardian 10/24/01]
          

July 26, 2001

       CBS News reports that Attorney General Ashcroft has stopped flying commercial airlines due to a threat assessment, but “neither the FBI nor the Justice Department … would identify [to CBS] what the threat was, when it was detected or who made it.” [CBS, 7/26/01] FTW “Ashcroft demonstrated an amazing lack of curiosity when asked if he knew anything about the threat. ‘Frankly, I don't,’ he told reporters.” [San Francisco Chronicle 6/3/02] It is later reported that he stopped flying in July based on threat assessments made on May 8 and June 19. In May 2002 its claimed the threat assessment had nothing to do with al-Qaeda, but Ashcroft walked out of his office rather than answer questions about it. [AP, 5/16/02] The San Francisco Chronicle concludes, “The FBI obviously knew something was in the wind … The FBI did advise Ashcroft to stay off commercial aircraft. The rest of us just had to take our chances.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 6/3/02] CBS's Dan Rather later says of this warning: “Why wasn't it shared with the public at large?” [Washington Post 5/27/02]
          

July 27, 2001

       Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke reports to National Security Advisor Rice and her deputy Steve Hadley that the spike in intelligence indicating a near-term attack appeared to have ceased, but he urges them to keep readiness high. Intelligence indicates that an attack has been postponed for a few months. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D)] In early August, CIA Director Tenet also reports that intelligence suggests that whatever terrorist activity might have been originally planned has been delayed. [9/11 Commission 3/24/04 (C)]
          

Late summer 2001 (C)

       The Guardian later reports, “Reliable western military sources say a US contingency plan existed on paper by the end of the summer to attack Afghanistan from the north.” [Guardian 9/26/01]
          

Late July 2001

      
Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Muttawakil.
The Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil learns that bin Laden is planning a “huge attack” on targets inside America. The attack is imminent, and will kill thousands. He learns this from Tahir Yildash, leader of the rebel Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which is allied with al-Qaeda at the time. Muttawakil sends an emissary to pass this information on to the US consul general, and another US official, “possibly from the intelligence services,” also attends the meeting. The message is not taken very seriously; one source blames this on “warning fatigue”from too many warnings. Also, supposedly the emissary was from the Foreign Ministry, but didn't say the message came from Muttawakil himself. The emissary then takes the message to the Kabul offices of UNSMA, the political wing of the UN. They also fail to take the warning seriously. [Independent, 9/7/02, Reuters, 9/7/02] Isn't it ironic the US destroyed the Taliban, who tried to warn them of the attacks? See for more on this topic.
          

Late summer 2001

       Jordanian intelligence (the GID) makes a communications intercept deemed so important that King Abdullah's men relay it to Washington, probably through the CIA station in Amman. To make doubly sure the message gets through it is passed through an Arab intermediary to a German intelligence agent. The message states that a major attack, code named The Big Wedding, is planned inside the US and that aircraft will be used. “When it became clear that the information was embarrassing to Bush Administration officials and congressmen who at first denied that there had been any such warnings before September 11, senior Jordanian officials backed away from their earlier confirmations.” Christian Science Monitor calls the story “confidently authenticated” even though Jordan has backed away from it. [International Herald Tribune, 5/21/02, ] [FTW]
          

Late summer 2001 (B)

       US intelligence learns that an al-Qaeda operative is considering mounting terrorist operations in the US. There is no information on the timing or specific targets. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]
          

Late July 2001 (B)

      
David Schippers.
David Schippers, noted conservative Chicago lawyer and the House Judiciary Committee's chief investigator in the Clinton impeachment trial, claims two days after 9/11 that he had tried to warn federal authorities about plans to strike buildings in lower Manhattan. Schippers says, “I was trying to get people to listen to me because I had heard that the terrorists had set up a three-pronged attack:” an American airplane, the bombing of a federal building in the heartland and a massive attack in lower Manhattan. He tries contacting Attorney General John Ashcroft, the White House, and even the House managers with whom he had worked, but nobody returns his phone calls. “People thought I was crazy. What I was doing was I was calling everybody I knew telling them that this has happened,” he says. “I'm telling you the more I see of the stuff that's coming out, if the FBI had even been awake they would have seen it.” He also claims to know of ignored warnings about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and evidence that Middle Easterners were connected with that attack. [Indianapolis Star, 5/18/02] Other mainstream sources have apparently shied away from Schippers' story, but he has added details in an interview on the partisan Alex Jones Show. He claims that it is FBI agents in Chicago and Minnesota who first contact him and tell him that a terrorist attack is going to occur in lower Manhattan. A group of these agents now want to testify about what they know, but want legal protection from government retribution. [Alex Jones Show 10/10/01]
          

Late July 2001 (D)

       CBS later has a brief mention in a long story on another topic: “Just days after Atta return[s] to the US from Spain, Egyptian intelligence in Cairo says it received a report from one of its operatives in Afghanistan that 20 al-Qaeda members had slipped into the US and four of them had received flight training on Cessnas. To the Egyptians, pilots of small planes didn't sound terribly alarming, but they [pass] on the message to the CIA anyway, fully expecting Washington to request information. The request never [comes]. ” [CBS 10/9/02] This appears to be one of several accurate Egyptian warnings based on informants (see June 13, 2001 and August 30-September 4, 2001). Could Egypt have known the names of some or all of the hijackers? Given FBI agent Ken Williams' memo about flight schools a short time before (see July 10, 2001), shouldn't the US have investigated this closely instead of completely ignoring it?
          

Late July 2001 (C)

       Argentina's Jewish community receives warnings of a major terrorist attack against either the United States, Argentina or France from “a foreign intelligence source.” The warning was then relayed to the Argentine security authorities. It was agreed to keep the warning secret in order to avoid panic while reinforcing security at Jewish sites in the country. Says a Jewish leader, “It was a concrete warning that an attack of major proportion would take place, and it came from a reliable intelligence source. And I understand the Americans were told about it.” Argentina has a large Jewish community that has been bombed in the past, and has been an area of al-Qaeda activity. [Forward 5/31/02]
          

July 31, 2001

       The FAA issues another warning to US airlines, citing no specific targets but saying “terror groups are known to be planning and training for hijackings, and we ask you therefore to use caution.” These alerts had expired by 9/11. Note that pilots and flight attendants later claim they were never told about warnings such as these. The airlines also disagree about the content of pre-9/11 warnings generally. For instance, American Airlines states these warnings were “extremely general in nature and did not identify a specific threat or recommend any specific security enhancements.” The text of these warnings remain classified. [CNN 3/02; Ananova 5/17/02]
          

Early August 2001 (C)

       Britain gives the US another warning about an al-Qaeda attack.The previous British warning (see July 16, 2001) was vague as to method, but this warning specifies multiple airplane hijackings. This warning is included in Bush's briefing on August 6. [Sunday Herald 5/19/02]
          

August 2001 (I)

       The US receives intelligence that bin Laden's right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is receiving medical treatment at a clinic in San'a, Yemen. However, the Bush administration rejects a plan to capture him, as officials are not 100 percent sure the patient is al-Zawahiri. Officials later regret the missed opportunity. [ABC News 2/20/02]
          

Early August 2001 (B)

       AP later reports that the “CIA had developed general information a month before the attacks that heightened concerns that bin Laden and his followers were increasingly determined to strike on US soil.” A CIA official affirmed that: “There was something specific in early August that said to us that [bin Laden] was determined in striking on US soil.” A major excuse given since 9/11 is that the Bush administration was focused on overseas attacks, and didn't expect a domestic attack (for instance see May 16, 2002 (B)). [AP 10/3/01]
          

August 2001 (B)

       At least six 9/11 hijackers, including all of those that boarded Flight 77, live in Laurel, Maryland from about this time. They reportedly include Hani Hanjour, Majed Moqed, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi and Salem Alhazmi (though also see Early September 2001). Laurel, Maryland is home to a Muslim cleric named Moataz Al-Hallak who teaches at a local Islamic school and has been linked to bin Laden. He has testified three times before a grand jury investigating bin Laden. NSA expert James Bamford later states, “the terrorist cell that eventually took over the airliner that crashed into the Pentagon ended up living, working, planning and developing all their activities in Laurel, Maryland, which happens to be the home of the NSA. So they were actually living alongside NSA employees as they were plotting all these things.” [Washington Post 9/19/01; BBC 6/21/02]
          

August 2001 (H)

       Future anthrax suspect Steven Hatfill's high level Department of Defense security clearance is revoked. He is working at a private company at the time, but no explanation is given to his employers. [Baltimore Sun 7/18/02]
          

August 2001 (E)

       The CIA issues a report warning the White House, Pentagon and Department of State that bin Laden is intent on launching a terrorist attack soon, possibly inside the US. [Sunday Herald 9/23/01]
          

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).
          
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