July 10, 2001: 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 memorandum specifically suggests that bin Laden's followers might be trying to infiltrate the civil-aviation system as pilots, security guards or other personnel, and recommends a national program to track suspicious flight-school students. The memo is sent to the counterterrorism division at FBI headquarters in Washington and to two field offices, including the counterterrorism section in New York, which has had extensive experience in al-Qaeda investigations. The memo is ignored in all three places, not passed on to others, and no action is taken. [New York Times, 5/20/02, Fortune, 5/22/02] Williams mentioned 10 flight students as particularly suspicious, but the list didn't include hijacker Hani Hanjour, who was training in Arizona at the time and drew suspicion from others (see January 2001). However, the prime target of the list was Bandar Alhazmi, another Saudi who had roomed and trained with Hanjour off and on for several years (and has been missing since 9/11). Had Alhazmi been investigated, Hanjour might have been discovered as well. [Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/24/02, Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/26/02, Washington Post, 9/10/02] Vice President Cheney states in May 2002 that the memo should never be released to the media or public. [CNN, 5/20/02] FTW