Late 1998: An al-Qaeda operative involved in the bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi is captured and interrogated by the FBI. The FBI learns of a safe house telephone number in Yemen, owned by bin Laden associate Ahmed Al-Hada, hijacker Khalid Almihdhar's father-in-law. [Newsweek, 6/2/02] US intelligence taps the phone line and learns the safe house is an al-Qaeda "logistics center" used by agents around the world to communicate with each other and plan attacks. [Newsweek, 6/2/02] It has been revealed that even bin Laden, from 1996 to 1998 (the two years he had a traced satellite phone), called the safe house dozens of times. [Sunday Times, 3/24/02, Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] In late 1999 the phone line will lead the CIA to an important al-Qaeda "summit" in Malaysia. [Newsweek, 6/2/02] It appears al-Qaeda was still using the phone line until a government raid in February 2002. [CBS News, 2/13/02] What else was learned from this phone and why didn't monitoring of this phone expose the 9/11 attack?
November 30, 1999: Jordanian officials successfully uncover an al-Qaeda plot to blow up the Radisson Hotel in Amman, Jordan and other sites on January 1, 2000. [PBS Frontline 10/3/02] A call between al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah and a suspected Jordanian terrorist exposes the plot. In the call, Zubaydah states, "The grooms are ready for the big wedding." [Seattle Times, 6/23/02] This call reflects an extremely poor code system, because the FBI already determined in the wake of the 1998 US embassy bombings (see August 7, 1998) that "wedding" was the al-Qaeda code word for bomb. [The Cell, John Miller, Michael Stone and Chris Mitchell, 8/02, p. 214] Furthermore, it appears al-Qaeda fails to later change their code system, because the codename for the 9/11 attack is also "The Big Wedding." [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02] US intelligence claims it failed to understand the code language for the 9/11 attacks.