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March_27_Update


Update 15

NOTES ON THE LATEST UPDATE

Two focus areas for this update are Operation Diamondback/Randy Glass, which can also be found on a new page, Randy Glass, and the Project for the New American Century, an all-too-influential think tank that pined for a "new Pearl Harbor" - 9/11. Thanks again to Melissa Kavonic for her timely proofreading.

 

NEW AND UPDATED ENTRIES RELATING TO OPERATION DIAMONDBACK AND RANDY GLASS

Spring 1999 (B): Randy Glass is a con artist turned government informant participating in a sting called Operation Diamondback. [Palm Beach Post, 9/29/01] He discusses an illegal weapons deal with an Egyptian American named Mohamed el Amir. In wiretapped conversations, Mohamed discusses the need to get false papers to disguise a shipment of illegal weapons. His brother, Dr. Magdy el Amir, has been a wealthy neurologist in Jersey City for the past twenty years. Two other weapons dealers later convicted in a sting operation involving Glass also lived in Jersey City, and both el Amirs admit knowing one of them, Diaa Mohsen (see June 12, 2001). Mohsen has been paid at least once by Dr. el Amir. In 1998, Congressman Ben Gilman was given a foreign intelligence report suggesting that Dr. el Amir owns an HMO that is secretly funded by bin Laden, and that money is being skimmed from the HMO to fund terrorist activities. The state of New Jersey later buys the HMO and determines that $15 million were unaccounted for and much of that has been diverted into hard-to-trace offshore bank accounts. However, investigators working with Glass are never given the report about Dr. el Amir. Both el Amirs have not been charged with any crime. Mohamed now lives in Egypt and Magdy continues to practice medicine in New Jersey. Glass's sting, which began in late 1998, will uncover many interesting leads before ending in June 2001 (see also July 14, 1999, Early August 2001 and August 2, 2002). [MSNBC, 8/2/02]


Rajaa Gulum Abbas. [Dateline NBC]

July 14, 1999: US government informant Randy Glass records a conversation at a dinner attended by him, illegal arms dealers Diaa Mohsen and Mohammed Malik (see June 12, 2001), a former Egyptian judge named Shireen Shawky, and ISI agent Rajaa Gulum Abbas, held at a restaurant within view of the WTC. FBI agents pretending to be restaurant customers sit at nearby tables. [WPBF Channel 25, 8/5/02, MSNBC, 8/2/02] Abbas says he wants to buy a whole shipload of weapons stolen from the US military to give to bin Laden. [Cox News, 8/2/02] Abbas points to the WTC and says, "Those towers are coming down." This ISI agent later makes two other references to an attack on the WTC. [WPBF Channel 25, 8/5/02, Cox News, 8/2/02, Palm Beach Post, 10/17/02] Abbas also says, "Americans [are] the enemy," and, "We would have no problem with blowing up this entire restaurant because it is full of Americans." [MSNBC, 3/18/03] The meeting is secretly recorded, and parts are shown on television in 2003 (see also August 17, 1999). [MSNBC, 3/18/03 (B)]


Randy Glass, center, shows Stinger missiles to Rajaa Gulum Abbas and others. [Dateline NBC]

August 17, 1999: A group of illegal arms merchants, including an ISI agent with foreknowledge of 9/11, had met in a New York restaurant the month before (see July 14, 1999). This same group meets at this time in a West Palm Beach, Florida, warehouse, and is shown Stinger missiles as part of a sting operation. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 3/20/03] US intelligence soon discovers connections between two in the group, Rajaa Gulum Abbas and Mohammed Malik, terrorist groups in Kashmir (where the ISI assists terrorists fighting against India), and the Taliban. Mohamed Malik suggests in this meeting that the Stingers will be used in Kashmir or Afghanistan. His colleague Diaa Mohsen also says Abbas has direct connections to "dignitaries" and bin Laden. Abbas also wants heavy water for a "dirty bomb" or other material to make a nuclear weapon. He says he will bring a Pakistani nuclear scientist to the US to inspect the material. [MSNBC, 8/2/02, MSNBC, 3/18/03] Government informant Randy Glass passes these warnings on before 9/11, but he claims, "The complaints were ordered sanitized by the highest levels of government" (see also Early August 2001). [WPBF Channel 25, 8/5/02] In June 2002, the US secretly indicts Abbas (see June 2002), but apparently they aren't trying very hard to find him: In August 2002, MSNBC is easily able to contact Abbas in Pakistan and speak to him by telephone. [MSNBC, 8/2/02]


Diaa Mohsen, left and Mohamed Malik, right, caught on an undercover video. A portrait of Mohamed Malik on the right. [Dateline NBC]

June 12, 2001: 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, 1999 and 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]


Randy Glass. [Dateline NBC]

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


Rajaa Gulum Abbas holding a stinger missile, secretly recorded in a sting operation in August 1999. [Dateline NBC]

June 2002: The US secretly indicts Rajaa Gulum Abbas and Abdul Malik for attempting to buy $32 million in Stinger missiles and other military weaponry in an undercover arms-dealing investigation. However, a US official states that Abbas is an alleged member of the ISI, and is thought to have ties to Middle East terrorist groups and arms-trafficking operations. He also appears to have foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks (see July 14, 1999). Abdul Malik is said to be Abbas's money man. Abdul Malik is not related to Mohammed Malik, another Pakistani targeted by the undercover operation. The chief US informant in the case, Randy Glass, says that both men also have clear ties to al-Qaeda, and the arms were going to be funneled to al-Qaeda and used against American targets. [Palm Beach Post, 3/20/03, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 3/20/03] The indictment is not revealed until March 2003; both men still remain missing and are presumed to be in Pakistan. The US says it is still working on capturing and extraditing Abbas and Malik. [MSNBC, 3/18/03] NBC seems to have no trouble reaching Abbas in Pakistan by telephone. [MSNBC, 8/2/02, MSNBC, 3/18/03] The indictment "makes no mention of Pakistan, any ties to Afghanistan's former Taliban regime or the ultimate destination of the weapons." [Palm Beach Post, 3/20/03] In other court cases resulting from this sting, all mentions of Pakistan have been removed (see June 12, 2001).


This unnamed Pakistani agent was captured on undercover video in January 2001. [Dateline NBC]

August 2, 2002: MSNBC airs recordings that informant Randy Glass made of arms dealers and Pakistani ISI agents attempting to buy nuclear material and other illegal weapons for bin Laden (see also August 17, 1999 and Early August 2001). [MSNBC, 8/2/02] Meanwhile, it is reported that federal investigators are reexamining the arms smuggling case involving Glass "to determine whether agents of the Pakistani government tried to buy missiles and nuclear weapons components in the United States last year for use by terrorists or Pakistan's military." [Washington Post, 8/2/02 (B)] Two such ISI agents, Rajaa Gulum Abbas and Abdul Malik, are already secretly indicted by this time (see June 2002). But Glass still says, "The government knows about those involved in my case who were never charged, never deported, who actively took part in bringing terrorists into our country to meet with me and undercover agents." [Cox News, 8/2/02] One such person may be a former Egyptian judge named Shireen Shawky, who was interested in buying weapons for the Taliban and attended a meeting in which ISI agent Rajaa Gulum Abbas said the WTC would be destroyed (see July 14, 1999). [WPBF Channel 25, 8/5/02, MSNBC, 8/2/02] Others not charged may include Mohamed el Amir and Dr. Magdy el Amir (see Spring 1999 (B)).

 

NEW AND UPDATED ENTRIES RELATING TO THE PROJECT FOR THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY


William Kristol, one of the founders and leaders of PNAC.

June 3, 1997: The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a neoconservative think tank formed in the spring of 1997, issues its statement of principles. PNAC's stated aims: "to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests," to achieve "a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad," "to increase defense spending significantly," to challenge "regimes hostile to US interests and values," and to "accept America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles." [PNAC Principles, 6/3/97] These principles matter because they are signed by a group who will become "a rollcall of today's Bush inner circle." [Guardian, 2/26/03] ABC's Ted Koppel will later say PNAC's ideas have "been called a secret blueprint for US global domination" (see also January 26, 1998, September 2000, August 21, 2001 (B)). [ABC, 3/5/03 (B)]


PNAC logo.

January 26, 1998: The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), an influential neoconservative think tank, publishes a letter to President Clinton, urging war against Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein because he is a "hazard" to "a significant portion of the world's supply of oil." In a foretaste of what eventually actually happens, the letter calls for the US to go to war alone, attacks the United Nations, and says the US should not be "crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council." The letter is signed by many who will later lead the 2003 Iraq war. 10 of the 18 signatories later join the Bush Administration, including (future) Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Assistant Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Undersecretaries of State John Bolton and Paula Dobriansky, presidential adviser for the Middle East Elliott Abrams, and Bush's special Iraq envoy Zalmay Khalilzad (see also June 3, 1997, January 26, 1998, and September 2000). [Sunday Herald, 3/16/03, PNAC Letter, 1/26/98] Clinton does heavily bomb Iraq in late 1998, but the bombing doesn't last long and its long-term effect is the break off of United Nations weapons inspections. [New York Times, 3/22/03]


People involved in the 2000 PNAC report (from top left): Vice President Cheney, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Cheney Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby, Undersecretary of State John Bolton, Undersecretary of Defense Dov Zakheim, and author Eliot Cohen.

September 2000: The neoconservative think-tank Project for the New American Century writes a "blueprint" for the "creation of a 'global Pax Americana'" (see also June 3, 1997). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century, was written for the Bush team even before the 2000 Presidential election. It was commissioned by future Vice President Cheney, future Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, future Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Florida Governor and President Bush's brother Jeb Bush, and future Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis Libby. The report calls itself a "blueprint for maintaining global US preeminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests." The plan shows Bush intended to take military control of Persian Gulf oil whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power and should retain control of the region even if there is no threat. It says: "The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." The report calls for the control of space through a new "US Space Forces," the political control of the internet, the subversion of any growth in political power of even close allies, and advocates "regime change" in China, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iran and other countries. It also mentions that "advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool." A British Member of Parliament says of the report, "This is a blueprint for US world domination -- a new world order of their making. These are the thought processes of fantasist Americans who want to control the world" (see also Spring 2001 and April 2001 (D)). [Sunday Herald, 9/7/02, click here to download the think tank report] However, the report complains that these changes are likely to take a long time, "absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor." [Los Angeles Times, 1/12/03] In an NBC interview at about the same time, Vice Presidential candidate Cheney defends Bush Jr.'s position of maintaining Clinton's policy not to attack Iraq because the US should not act as though "we were an imperialist power, willy-nilly moving into capitals in that part of the world, taking down governments." [Washington Post, 1/12/02] This report and the Project for the New American Century generally are mostly ignored until a few weeks before the start of the Iraq war (see February-March 20, 2003).

August 21, 2001 (B): Thomas Donnelly, Deputy Executive Director of the Project for the New American Century, an influential neoconservative think tank, explains to the Washington Post that the US should embrace its role as imperialist hegemons over the world. He says many important politicians privately agree with him. "There's not all that many people who will talk about it openly," he says. "It's discomforting to a lot of Americans. So they use code phrases like 'America is the sole superpower.'" He also says, "I think Americans have become used to running the world and would be very reluctant to give it up, if they realized there were a serious challenge to it." [Washington Post, 8/21/01] These types of policies are denounced in Bush's 2000 election, and it is frequently claimed that the Bush Administration only changes its mind toward a more aggressive policy after 9/11. But in this summer before 9/11, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's office "sponsored a study of ancient empires - Macedonia, Rome, the Mongols - to figure out how they maintained dominance." [New York Times, 3/5/03]

September 20, 2001 (C): The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), an influential neoconservative think tank, publicly publishes a letter to President Bush, advising him to quickly conquer Iraq. "Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism." They also demand that Iran and Syria cease all support of Hezbollah, and state that if they fail to do so, the US should "retaliate" against those two countries as well. The letter also praises Israel as "America’s staunchest ally against international terrorism." [PNAC, 9/20/01] The next day, the Los Angeles Times notes that there is an internal battle inside the Bush Administration about launching a war against Iraq. On one side are Secretary of State Powell and his allies, who argue that al-Qaeda needs to be defeated first. On the other side is the "string of Perles" - Richard Perle, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and their allies, who argue that Iraq shouldn't wait. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01 (C)] The latter side eventually wins the argument.


Actress, comedienne and antiwar activist Janeane Garofalo attempts to bring up PNAC on CNN, the only time it has been mentioned on that network. [CNN]

February-March 20, 2003: With war against Iraq imminent, numerous media outlets finally begin reporting on the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) think tank and its role in influencing Iraq policy and US foreign policy generally. PNAC's plans for global domination had been noted before 9/11 (see for instance, [Washington Post, 8/21/01]), and PNAC's 2000 report recommending the conquest of Iraq even if Saddam Hussein is not in power was first reported on in September 2002 (see September 2000 and [Sunday Herald, 9/7/02]), but there were few follow-up mentions until February (exceptions: [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9/29/02, Bangor Daily News, 10/18/02, New Statesman, 12/16/02, Los Angeles Times, 1/12/03]. Many of these articles use PNAC to suggest that global and regional domination is the real reason for the Iraq war. Coverage increases as war gets nearer, but many media outlets still have not done any reporting on this, and some of the reporting that has been done is not prominently placed (for instance, a New York Times article on the topic is buried in the Arts section! See [New York Times, 3/11/03]). One Newsweek editorial notes that "not until the last few days" before war have many reasons against the war been brought up. It calls this "too little, too late" to make an impact. [Newsweek, 3/18/03] (Articles that discuss PNAC: [Philadelphia Daily News, 1/27/03, New York Times, 2/1/03, PBS Frontline, 2/20/03, Observer, 2/23/03, Bergen Record, 2/23/03, Guardian, 2/26/03, Mother Jones, 3/03, BBC, 3/2/03, Observer, 3/2/03, Der Spiegel, 3/4/03, ABC, 3/5/03 (B), Salon, 3/5/03, Independent, 3/8/03, Toronto Star, 3/9/03, ABC, 3/10/03, Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/10/03, CNN, 3/10/03, Guardian 3/11/03, New York Times, 3/11/03, American Prospect, 3/12/03, Chicago Tribune, 3/12/03, Globe and Mail, 3/14/03, Japan Times, 3/14/03, Sydney Morning Herald, 3/15/03, Salt Lake Tribune, 3/15/03, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 3/16/03, Observer, 3/16/03, Sunday Herald, 3/16/03, Toronto Star, 3/16/03, Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 3/17/03, Globe and Mail, 3/19/03, Asia Times, 3/20/03, The Age, 3/20/03])

 

OTHER NEW ENTRIES


Adnan Khashoggi.

May 1996: Reporter Greg Palast later claims that there is a meeting of Saudi billionaires at the Hotel Royale Monceau in Paris this month with the financial representative of al-Qaeda. "The Saudis, including a key Saudi prince joined by Muslim and non-Muslim gun traffickers, [meet] to determine who would pay how much to Osama. This [is] not so much an act of support but of protection -- a payoff to keep the mad bomber away from Saudi Arabia" (see also 1996 (C)). [Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, 2/03] The 9/11 victims' relatives also site a "nonpublished French intelligence report" of this meeting in their lawsuit against important Saudis. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 8/16/02] Palast claims that the Saudi Sheikh Abdullah Bakhsh attends the meeting. Bakhsh also saved Bush Jr.'s Harken Oil from bankruptcy around 1990. The notorious Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi also attends the meeting. [Santa Fe New Mexican, 3/20/03, Democracy Now, 3/4/03] In a somewhat tongue-in-cheek manner, Slate has claimed that Khashoggi is a "shadowy international arms merchant" who is "connected to every scandal of the past 40 years." Amongst other things, he was a major investor in BCCI and a key player in the Iran-Contra affair. [Slate, 12/4/00, Slate, 11/14/01, Slate, 3/12/03] Palast, noting that the French monitored the meeting, asks, "Since US intelligence was thus likely informed, the question becomes why didn't the government immediately move against the Saudis?" [Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, 2/03] An apparent follow-up meeting occurs in 1998 (see July 1998).

July 5, 1999: President Clinton signs an executive order freezing the assets of the Taliban in the US and prohibiting trade and other transactions between US citizens and the Taliban. Clinton blames the Taliban for harboring bin Laden. [CNN, 7/6/99]

2000 (C): During this year, there are 425 unknowns - pilots who didn't file or diverted from flight plans or used the wrong frequency. Fighters are scrambled in response 129 times. After 9/11, such scrambles go from about twice a week to three or four times a day. [Calgary Herald, 10/13/01] Between September 2000 and June 2001, fighters are scrambled 67 times. [AP, 8/13/02] General Ralph E. Eberhart, NORAD Commander in Chief, says that before 9/11, "Normally, our units fly 4-6 sorties a month in support of the NORAD air defense mission." [FNS, 10/25/01] Statistics on how many minutes fighters take to scramble before 9/11 apparently are not released.

March 21, 2000: FBI agent Robert Wright (see also October 1998 and June 9, 2001), having been accused of tarnishing the reputation of fellow agent Gamal Abdel-Hafiz, makes a formal internal complaint about Abdel-Hafiz. FBI agent Barry Carmody seconds Wright's complaint. Wright and Carmody accuse Abdel-Hafiz, a Muslim, of hindering investigations by openly refusing to record other Muslims. The FBI was investigating if BMI Inc., a New Jersey based company with connections to Saudi financier Yassin al-Qadi (see October 12, 2002), had helped fund the 1998 US embassy bombings. [Wall Street Journal, 11/26/02, ABC News, 12/19/02] Federal prosecutor Mark Flessner and other FBI agents back up the allegations against Abdel-Hafiz. [ABC News, 12/19/02] Carmody also claims that Abdel-Hafiz hurt an inquiry into the possible terrorist ties of fired University of South Florida Professor Sami Al-Arian by refusing to record a conversation with the professor in 1998. [Tampa Tribune, 3/4/03] Complaints to superiors and headquarters about this never get a response. [Fox News, 3/6/03] Furthermore, "Far from being reprimanded, Abdel-Hafiz [is] promoted to one of the FBI's most important anti-terrorism posts, the American Embassy in Saudi Arabia, to handle investigations for the FBI in that Muslim country." [ABC News, 12/19/02] Abdel-Hafiz is finally suspended in February 2003 after his scandal is widely reported in the press. [Tampa Tribune, 3/4/03] Bill O'Reilly of Fox News claims that on March 4, 2003, the FBI threatens to fire Wright if he speaks publicly about this, one hour before Wright is scheduled to appear on Fox News. [Fox News, 3/4/03] Is Abdel-Hafiz promoted to a sensitive Saudi post because he won't ask hard questions there?

February 9, 2001 (B): US officials claim significant progress in defeating bin Laden's financial network, despite significant difficulties. It is claimed that, "bin Laden's financial and operational networks has been 'completely mapped' in secret documents shared by the State Department, CIA and Treasury Department, with much of the mapping completed in detail by mid-1997." [UPI 2/9/01] Reporter Greg Palast later notes that when the US freezes the assets of terrorist organizations in late September 2001 (see September 24, 2001), US investigators likely knew much about the finances of those organizations but took no action before 9/11. [Santa Fe New Mexican, 3/20/03]

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]

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 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)]

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]

August 14, 2001: Two apparent associates of Mohamed Atta's Hamburg al-Qaeda cell, Ismail Ben Mrabete and Ahmed Taleb, purchase tickets to fly to Pakistan on September 3, 2001. They are joined on that flight by cell member Said Bahaji. All three apparently then disappear into Afghanistan (see September 3-5, 2001). It is later discovered that Taleb had been in e-mail contact with al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida. [Chicago Tribune, 2/25/03] If these tickets were bought in anticipation of the 9/11 attacks, then this is the earliest indication of when at least the rough timing of 9/11 must have been planned by. Because this precedes the arrest of Moussaoui by one day (see August 15, 2001), it also suggests that that arrest didn't affect the timing of 9/11.

September 6, 2001 (B): According to a later interview with would-be hijacker Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a courier sent by bin al-Shibh tells bin Laden on this day when the 9/11 attacks will take place (see September 3-5, 2001). [Australian, 9/9/02] However, there are doubts about this interview (see April, June or August 2002).

September 14, 2001 (M): It is initially reported that Flight 93 is traveling fairly slowly when it crashed. "It slammed into the ground at a speed law enforcement authorities said might have approached 300 mph" [New York Times, 9/14/01] "Flight 93 slammed into the earth nose-first at over 200 mph, according to estimates by the National Transportation Safety Board and other experts." [Delaware News Journal, 9/16/01] However, by 2002 it is being reported that the plane crashed going nearly 600 mph. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 8/02, p. 212] "It could have even broken the sound barrier for a while," says Hank Krakowski, director of flight operations control at United's system control center on Sept. 11. [New York Times, 3/27/02] The design limits of the plane are 287 mph below 10,000 feet. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 8/02, p. 208]

September 16, 2001 (C): Confirming earlier reports [Reuters, 9/13/01], bin Laden denies any involvement in the 9/11 attacks. In a statement to Al Jazeera, he states, "I would like to assure the world that I did not plan the recent attacks, which seems to have been planned by people for personal reasons." [CNN, 9/17/01]

October 2001 (B): Reports this month indicate that many hijacker e-mails have been recovered. USA Today reports many unencrypted e-mails coordinating the 9/11 plans written by the hijackers in internet cafes have been recovered by investigators. [USA Today, 10/1/01] FBI sources say "hundreds of e-mails linked to the hijackers in English, Arabic and Urdu" have been recovered, with some messages including "operational details" of the attack. [Washington Post, 10/4/01] "A senior FBI official says investigators have obtained hundreds of e-mails in English and Arabic, reflecting discussions of the planned Sept. 11 hijackings." [Wall Street Journal, 10/16/01] However, in April 2002, FBI Director Mueller says no documentation of the 9/11 plot has been found (see April 19, 2002). By September 2002, the Chicago Tribune reports, "Of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of e-mails sent and received by the hijackers from public Internet terminals, none is known to have been recovered." [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02] The texts of some e-mails sent by Atta from Germany are published a few months later. [Chicago Tribune, 2/25/03]

March 2002: Authorities in Bosnia, Sarajevo, raid the offices of the Benevolence International Foundation due to suspected funding of al-Qaeda The raid uncovers a handwritten list of twenty wealthy donors sympathetic to al-Qaeda. The list, referred to as "The Golden Chain," reveals both the names of the donors, and the names of the recipients. Seven of the payments were made to Osama bin Laden, while at least one donation to him was made by the "bin Laden brothers." UPI points out that "the discovery of this document in Sarajevo calls into question whether al-Qaeda has received support from one of Osama's scores of wealthy brothers." Adel Batterjee, a wealth businessman from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, who is also the founder of both the charity BFI and its predecessor Lajnatt Al-Birr Al-Islamiah, appears to be mentioned as a recipient three times. Batterjee has been named as a defendant in a 9/11 lawsuit against wealthy Saudis, but he has been missing in Saudi Arabia for over a year. When the document was written is not mentioned, but it may date from the early 1990s. [UPI, 2/11/03]


The crash at Venice Municipal Airport.

June 26, 2002: Arne Kruithof, owner of the flight school where hijacker Ziad Jarrah trained, narrowly survives a small plane crash in Venice, Florida. The plane crashes shortly after takeoff, but the pilot and two passengers remarkably walk away unscathed. [Venice Gondolier, 6/29/02] The incident may be completely accidental, but it interesting to note that the owner of the other Venice flight school that trained hijackers, Rudi Dekkers, also survives a crash six months later (see January 24, 2003). Reporter Daniel Hopsicker has been reporting on Kruithof's "curious" connections, and suggests the accident may be an attempt to silence Kruithof's knowledge of 9/11 (see Hopsicker's website).

August 25, 2002: Former CIA agent Bob Baer says the US collects virtually no intelligence about Saudi Arabia nor are they given any intelligence collected by the Saudis. He says this is because there are implicit orders from the White House:"Do not collect information on Saudi Arabia because we're going to risk annoying the royal family." In the same show, despite being on a US terrorist list since October 2001 (see October 12, 2001), Saudi millionaire Yassin al-Qadi says, "I'm living my life here in Saudi Arabia without any problem" because he is being protected by the Saudi government. Al-Qadi admits to giving bin Laden money for his "humanitarian" work, but says this is different from bin Laden's terrorist work. Presented with this information, the US Treasury Department only says that the US "is pleased with and appreciates the actions taken by the Saudis" in the war on terror. The Saudi government still has not given US intelligence permission to talk to any family members of the hijackers, even though some US journalists have had limited contact with a few. [MSNBC, 8/25/02]

September 8-11, 2002: Details of an Al Jazeera interview with al-Qaeda leaders Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh are widely publicized. [London Times, 9/8/02, Australian, 9/9/02, Guardian, 9/9/02] But there are numerous doubts about this interview (see April, June or August 2002). The possibility has been raised that the broadcast of Ramzi bin al-Shibh's voice in the interview helps in his capture a few days later (see September 11, 2002). [CBS, 10/9/02, Observer, 9/15/02] Al Jazeera also broadcasts footage of hijacker Abdulaziz Alomari speaking against the US filmed in Afghanistan in early 2001 (see March 2001).

January 22, 2003 (C): The FBI conducts a very public search of a Miami, Florida, house belonging to Mohammed Almasri and his Saudi family. Having lived in Miami since July 2000, on September 9, 2001 they said they were returning to Saudi Arabia, hurriedly put their luggage in a van, and sped away, according to neighbors. A son named Turki Almasri was enrolled at Huffman Aviation in Venice, Florida, where hijackers Atta and Marwan Alshehhi also studied. [Washington Post, 1/23/03, Palm Beach Post, 1/23/03] Neighbors repeatedly called the FBI after 9/11 to report their suspicions, but the FBI only began to search the house in October 2002. The house had remained abandoned, but not sold, since they left just before 9/11. [Washington Post, 1/23/03, Palm Beach Post, 1/22/03, Palm Beach Post, 1/23/03, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 1/22/03] The FBI returned for more thorough searches in January 2003, with some agents dressed in white biohazard suits. [Washington Post, 1/23/03] US Representative Robert Wexler (D), later says, "This scenario is screaming out one question: Where was the FBI for 15 months?" The FBI determines there is no terrorism connection, and apologizes to the family. [UPI, 1/24/03] An editorial notes the "ineptitude" of the FBI in not reaching family members over the telephone, as reporters were easily able to do. [Palm Beach Post, 2/1/03]


Rudi Dekkers in the hospital shortly after his crash. [NBC]

January 24, 2003: Rudi Dekkers, owner of the flight school where hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi trained, is nearly killed in a helicopter accident. While piloting a helicopter, his engine dies, and the helicopter plunges into a river. But remarkably a nearby helicopter sees and rescues him. [AP, 1/24/03, NBC2, 1/25/03, Sarasota Herald Tribune, 1/25/03] There may be no foul play in the accident, but it is eerily reminiscent of an crash six months earlier that nearly killed Arne Kruithof, the flight school owner where Ziad Jarrah trained (see June 26, 2002). Reporter Daniel Hopsicker has for months been reporting on Dekkers' strange ties to the CIA (see Hopsicker's website). Interestingly, Dekkers was on his way to a meeting to sell his flight school, Huffman Aviation, which he sells to a competitor the next day. [Venice Gondolier, 1/25/03, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 1/28/03] Just the week before, the state attorney's office filed criminal fraud charges against Dekkers. He is accused of a third-degree felony security interest fraud against business partner Wally Hilliard. [Venice Gondolier, 1/18/03, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 1/22/03] Hilliard has agreed to drop the charges because of the flight school sale, but the state hasn't dropped them. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 1/28/03]


Philip Zelikow.

January 27, 2003: The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States holds its first meeting in Washington. The independent commission has $3 million and only until May 2004 to explore the causes of the attacks. By comparison, a 1996 federal commission to study legalized gambling was given two years and $5 million. [AP, 1/27/03] Philip Zelikow, currently the director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia and formerly in the National Security Council during the first Bush administration, is also appointed executive director of the commission. He is expected to resign to focus full time on the commission. [AP, 1/27/03] A few days later, Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton says, "The focus of the commission will be on the future. We want to make recommendations that will make the American people more secure.... We're not interested in trying to assess blame, we do not consider that part of the commission's responsibility." [UPI, 2/6/03]


Stephen Push. [Reuters]

January 30, 2003: Stephen Push, a 9/11 victim's relative, is putting 45,000 pages from the recent German trial of Mounir El Motassadeq onto computer disks for the 9/11 Independent Commission. He is one of about 20 victims' relatives who joined that case as co-plaintiffs and got access to evidence that otherwise would be classified. [AP, 2/28/03] Push has quit his job to devote all his time and $100,000 of his own money investigating 9/11. Originally a Bush supporter, he now says, "Clearly the official government line [on 9/11] is a lie." [Newsday, 1/30/03]


Mounir El Motassadeq. [AP]

February 18, 2003: Mounir El Motassadeq, an alleged member of Mohamed Atta's Hamburg al-Qaeda cell, is convicted in Germany of accessory to murder in the 9/11 attacks (see also August 29, 2002). His is given the maximum sentence of 15 years. [AP, 2/19/03] Motassadeq, admitted varying degrees of contact with Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Said Bahaji, Ziad Jarrah and Zakariya Essabar, admitted he had been given power of attorney over Alshehhi's bank account, and admitted attending an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan from May to August 2000, but he claimed he had nothing to do with 9/11 (see also (see August 1998 and Mid-June 1999). [New York Times, 10/24/02] The conviction is the first related to 9/11, but as the Independent puts it, "there are doubts whether there will ever be a second." This is because intelligence agencies have been reluctant to turn over evidence, or give access to requested witnesses. In Motassadeq's case, his lawyers tried several times unsuccessfully to obtain testimony by two of his friends, Ramzi Binalshibh and Mohammed Haydar Zammar - a lack of evidence that could be grounds for an appeal. German intelligence also failed to turn over evidence on those two, again, making an appeal likely. [Independent, 2/20/03]

February 25, 2003: The Chicago Tribune reveals that there appear to be many more members of Mohamed Atta's Hamburg cell than previously realized. While many members of the cell died in the attacks or fled Germany just prior to them (see September 3-5, 2001), up to a dozen suspected of belonging to the Hamburg cell stayed behind, apparently hoping to avoid government scrutiny. Many of their names have not yet been revealed. In some cases, investigators still don't know the names. For instance, phone records show that someone using the alias Karl Herweg was in close communication with the Hamburg cell and Zacarias Moussaoui, but Herweg's real identity is not known. [Chicago Tribune, 2/25/03]

February 26, 2003: Coleen Rowley, the FBI whistleblower who was proclaimed Time magazine's Person of the Year in 2002, sends another public letter to FBI Director Mueller (see also August 28, 2001 (D) and May 21, 2002). She believes the FBI is not prepared for new terrorist attacks likely to result from the upcoming Iraq war. She also says counter-terrorism cases are being mishandled. She claims the FBI and the Justice Department have not questioned captured al-Qaeda suspects Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid about their al-Qaeda contacts, choosing instead to focus entirely on prosecution. She writes, "Lack of follow-through with regard to Moussaoui and Reid gives a hollow ring to our 'top priority' - i.e. preventing another terrorist attack. Moussaoui almost certainly would know of other al-Qaeda contacts, possibly in the US, and would also be able to alert us to the motive behind his and Mohammed Atta's interest in crop-dusting." Moussaoui's lawyer also says the government has not attempted to talk to Moussaoui since 9/11. [New York Times, 3/5/03 (C), New York Times, 3/6/03 (B)]

Late February 2003: Medical examiners match human remains to the DNA of two of the hijackers that flew on Flights 11 and/or 175 into the WTC. The names of the two hijackers are not released. The FBI gave the examiners DNA profiles of all ten hijackers on those flights a few weeks earlier. Genetic profiles of five hijackers from Flight 77 and the four from Flight 83 that did not match any of the passengers' profiles have been given to the FBI, but the FBI has not given any DNA profiles with which to match them. [CNN, 2/27/03]


The US claims this is Khalid Shaikh Mohammed just after being captured. [AP]

March 1, 2003: 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is reportedly arrested in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. [AP, 3/1/03] He is reported arrested in a late-night joint Pakistani and FBI raid that also captures Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hawsawi, said to be the main money man behind the 9/11 attacks. [MSNBC, 3/3/03] However, there are serious doubts that Mohammed or Al-Hawsawi (who might not even exist) were at the house when it was raided. Mohammed has previously been reported arrested or killed (see June 16, 2002 and September 11, 2002 and also this essay, Is There More to the Capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Than Meets the Eye?, for a detailed analysis of his capture).

March 10, 2003: the ISI shows what they claim is a video of Mohammed's capture (see March 1, 2003). But the video only adds to doubts about that capture, as it is openly questioned to be a forgery by the reporters who see it. [ABC, 3/11/03, Reuters, 3/11/03, PakNews, 3/11/03, Daily Times, 3/13/03] A Fox News reporter even says, "Foreign journalists looking at it laughed and said this is baloney, this is a reconstruction." [Fox News, 3/10/03]

March 12, 2003: It is reported that Slade Gordon and other members of the 9/11 Independent Commission still have not received security clearances. Gordon, picked in December 2002, is a former Senator with a long background in intelligence issues. Fellow commissioner Lee Hamilton says, "It's kind of astounding that someone like Senator Gorton can't get immediate clearance. It's a matter we are concerned about." The commission is said to be at a "standstill" because of the security clearance issue, and cannot even read the classified findings of the previous 9/11 Congressional inquiry. [Seattle Times, 3/12/03] Already Hamilton has said that, "We will be short of time. It will be very difficult" to meet the deadline of May 2004, when the commission must complete its investigation. [UPI, 2/6/03] Are the security clearances being delayed to thwart the commission?


A building in Baghdad is bombed. [Reuters]

March 20, 2003: The US, Britain, Australia, and Poland send in troops to conquer Iraq. [AP, 3/19/03] Bush sends a letter to Congress giving two reasons for the war. The first is that he has determined that further diplomacy will not protect the US. The second is that the US is "continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." [White House, 3/18/03] This mimics language from a bill passed by Congress in October 2002 giving Bush the power to declare war against Iraq if a link with the 9/11 attacks is shown. [White House, 10/2/02] Yet on January 31, 2003, when a reporter asked both Bush and British Prime Minister Blair, "Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?" Bush replied, "I can't make that claim." Blair then replied, "That answers your question." [White House, 1/31/03] A New York Times/ CBS poll from earlier in the month indicates that 45 percent of Americans believe Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was "personally involved" in the 9/11 attacks. [New York Times, 3/11/03 (B)] The Christian Science Monitor notes, "Sources knowledgeable about US intelligence say there is no evidence that Hussein played a role in the Sept. 11 attacks, nor that he has been or is currently aiding al-Qaeda. Yet the White House appears to be encouraging this false impression...." [Christian Science Monitor, 3/14/03] For instance, Bush claims Hussein has supported "al-Qaeda-type organizations," and "al-Qaeda types." [New York Times, 3/9/03]

March 26, 2003: Time reports that the 9/11 Independent Commission has requested an additional $11 million to add to the $3 million for the commission, and the Bush Administration has turned the request down. The request will not be added to a supplemental spending bill. A Republican member of the commission says the decision will make it "look like they have something to hide." Another commisioner notes that the recent commission on the Columbia shuttle crash will have a $50 million budget. Stephen Push, a leader of the 9/11 victims' families, says the decision "suggests to me that they see this as a convenient way for allowing the commission to fail. They've never wanted the commission and I feel the White House has always been looking for a way to kill it without having their finger on the murder weapon." The Administration has suggested it may grant the money later, but any delay will further slow down the commission's work. Already, commission members are complaining that scant progress has been made in the four months since the commission started, and they are operating under a deadline. [Time, 3/26/03]

 

OTHER UPDATED ENTRIES

September 1987-March 1989: Michael Springmann, the head US consular official in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, later claims that he is "repeatedly told to issue visas to unqualified applicants." He turns them down, but is repeatedly overruled by superiors. Springmann loudly complains about the practice to numerous government offices, but no action is taken. He eventually is fired and the files he has kept on these applicants are destroyed. Springmann speculates that the issuing of visas to radical Islamic fighters continued until 9/11. He says he later learns that recruits from many countries fighting for bin Laden against Russia in Afghanistan were funneled through the Jeddah office to get visas to come to the US. They would then train for the Afghan war in the US. He says the Jeddah consulate was run by the CIA and staffed almost entirely by intelligence agents. Springmann suggests that this visa system may have continued until present day, and that the 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers getting their visas through Jeddah (see May 21, 2002 (C)) could have been a part of it (see also October 21, 2002 and October 23, 2002). [BBC, 11/6/01, AP, 7/17/02, Fox News, 7/18/02]

July 1990: Despite being on a terrorist watch list, radical Muslim leader Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman enters the US on a "much-disputed" tourist visa issued by an undercover CIA agent. [Village Voice, 3/30/93, Atlantic Monthly, 5/96] Abdul-Rahman was heavily involved with the CIA and ISI efforts to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan, and became famous traveling all over the world for five years recruiting new mujaheddin. But he never hid his prime goals, which were to overthrow the governments of the US and Egypt. [Atlantic Monthly, 5/96] He is "infamous throughout the Arab world for his alleged role in the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat." Abdul-Rahman immediately begins setting up a terrorist network in the US. [Village Voice, 3/30/93] He is known to have befriended bin Laden while in Afghanistan, and bin Laden secretly pays Abdul-Rahman's US living expenses. [Atlantic Monthly, 5/96, ABC News, 8/16/02] Abdul-Rahman's ties to the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane in later 1990 is ignored (see November 5, 1990). As one FBI agent says in 1993, he is "hands-off.... It was no accident that the sheikh got a visa and that he's still in the country. He's here under the banner of national security, the State Department, the NSA, and the CIA." A very high-ranking Egyptian official says Abdul-Rahman continues to assist the CIA in recruiting new mujaheddin after moving to the US. This official says, "We begged America not to coddle the sheikh." Egyptian intelligence warns the US that Abdul-Rahman is planning new terrorist attacks, and on November 12, 1992, terrorists connected to him machine-gun a busload of Western tourists in Egypt. But still he lives freely in New York City. [Village Voice, 3/30/93] He is finally arrested in 1993 and convicted for assisting in the 1993 WTC bombing (see February 26, 1993). [Atlantic Monthly, 5/96]


Rabbi Meir Kahane (left) and his assassin El Sayyid Nosair (right).

November 5, 1990: An Egyptian American named El Sayyid Nosair assassinates controversial right-wing Zionist leader Rabbi Meir Kahane. Kahane's organization, the Jewish Defense League, was linked to dozens of bombings and was ranked by the FBI as the most lethal domestic terrorist group in the US at the time. Nosair is captured after a police shoot-out. An FBI informant says he saw Nosair meeting with Muslim leader Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman a few days before the attack (see July 1990), and possessions indicating a wider plot with additional targets are found. [Village Voice, 3/30/93] Incredibly, files found in his possession which give details of a terrorist cell, mention al-Qaeda, and discuss the destruction of tall US buildings, are not translated until years later. [ABC News, 8/16/02] Instead, within 12 hours of the assassination, New York police declare the assassination was the work of a "lone gunman" and they stick with that story. In his trial, prosecutors choose not to introduce his incriminating possessions as evidence, nor is his confession even mentioned, and an apparent "open-and-shut case" ends with his acquittal. However, he is sentenced to 22 years on other lesser charges. [Village Voice, 3/30/93] Bin Laden contributes to Nosair's defense fund. Many of those involved in Kahane's assassination later plan the 1993 WTC bombing (see February 26, 1993). As one FBI agent puts it, "The fact is that in 1990, myself and my detectives, we had in our office in handcuffs, the people who blew up the World Trade Center in '93.… We were told to release them." [ABC News, 8/16/02]

1993 (C): An expert panel commissioned by the Pentagon postulates that an airplane could be used as a missile to bomb national landmarks. But the panel doesn't publish this idea in its report, Terror 2000. [Washington Post, 10/2/01] One of the authors of the report says. "We were told by the Department of Defense not to put it in... and I said, 'It's unclassified, everything is available.' And they said, 'We don't want it released, because you can't handle a crisis before it becomes a crisis. And no one is going to believe you.'" [ABC News, 2/20/02] However, in 1994 one of the panel's experts will write in Futurist magazine: "Targets such as the World Trade Center not only provide the requisite casualties but, because of their symbolic nature, provide more bang for the buck. In order to maximize their odds for success, terrorist groups will likely consider mounting multiple, simultaneous operations with the aim of overtaxing a government's ability to respond, as well as demonstrating their professionalism and reach." [Washington Post, 10/2/01]

February 26, 1993: An attempt to blow up the WTC fails. Six people are killed in the misfired blast. Analysts later determine that had the terrorists not made a minor error in the placement of the bomb, both towers could have fallen and up to 50,000 people could have been killed. The attempt is organized by Ramzi Yousef, who has close ties to bin Laden. [Congressional Hearings, 2/24/98] The New York Times later reports on Emad Salem, an undercover agent who ends up being the key government witness in the trial against the bomber. Salem testifies that the FBI knew about the attack beforehand and told him they would thwart it by substituting a harmless powder for the explosives. However, this plan was called off by an FBI supervisor, and the bombing was not stopped. [New York Times, 10/28/93] Why did the FBI seemingly let the terrorists go ahead with the bombing? Others suspects are ineptly investigated before the bombing (see July 1990 and November 5, 1990). Several of the bombers were trained by the CIA to fight in the Afghan war, and the CIA later concludes in internal documents that it was "partly culpable" for this bombing attempt. [Independent, 11/1/98] Ahmad Ajaj, an associate of Yousef, may have been a mole for the Israeli Mossad, and the Mossad may have had advanced knowledge of the bombing (see September 1, 1992). US officials later state that the overall mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, is a close relative of Ramzi Yousef, [Independent, 6/6/02] probably his uncle. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] One of the attackers even left a message found by investigators stating, "Next time, it will be very precise." 9/11 can be seen as a completion of this failed attack. [AP, 9/30/01]

1994: Mohammed al-Khilewi, the First Secretary at the Saudi Mission to the United Nations, defects and seeks political asylum in the US. He brings with him 14,000 internal government documents depicting the Saudi royal family's corruption, human-rights abuses, and financial support for terrorists. He meets with two FBI agents and an Assistant US Attorney. "We gave them a sampling of the documents and put them on the table," says his lawyer, "but the agents refused to accept them." [New Yorker, 10/16/01] The documents include "details of the $7 billion the Saudis gave to [Iraq leader] Saddam Hussein for his nuclear program -- the first attempt to build an Islamic Bomb." But FBI agents were "ordered not to accept evidence of Saudi criminal activity, even on US soil." [Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, 2/03]


A 1998 CNN map of likely flights to be hijacked in one version of Operation Bojinka. [CNN]

January 6, 1995: Philippine investigators uncover an al-Qaeda plot to assassinate the Pope that would take place when he visits the Philippines one week later. While investigating that, they also uncover Operation Bojinka, planned by the same people: 1993 WTC bomber Ramzi Yousef (see February 26, 1993) and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (see Early 1994-January 1995). [Independent, 6/6/02, Los Angeles Times, 6/24/02, Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] FTW The plan is to explode 11 or 12 passenger planes over the Pacific Ocean simultaneously. [Agence France Presse, 12/8/01] If successful, up to 4,000 people would have been killed in planes flying to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, and New York. [Insight, 5/27/02] Operation Bojinka was scheduled to go forward just two weeks later on January 21. Apparently a plan was also found for a second phase of attacks. [The Cell, John Miller, Michael Stone and Chris Mitchell, 8/02, p. 124, Insight, 5/27/02] According to an investigator, in this phase, planes would be hijacked and flown into "key structures in the United States. The World Trade Center, the White House, the Pentagon, the Transamerican Tower, and the Sears Tower were among the prominent structures that had been identified in the plans that we had decoded." [Village Voice, 9/26/01] One pilot, Abdul Hakim Murad, who learned to fly in US flight schools, confesses that his role was to crash a plane into the CIA headquarters as part of this phase of attacks. [Washington Post, 9/23/01] An interrogation report from 1995 states: "[Murad] will hijack said aircraft, control its cockpit and dive it at the CIA headquarters. There will be no bomb or any explosive that he will use in its execution. It is simply a suicidal mission that he is very much willing to execute." [Insight, 5/27/02] A Philippine investigator said on the day of 9/11: "It's Bojinka." He later says: "We told the Americans everything about Bojinka. Why didn't they pay attention?" [Washington Post, 9/23/01] In an interview after 9/11, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed will claim that the 9/11 attacks were a refinement and resurrection of Bojinka. [Australian, 9/9/02]

1996 (C): The Saudi Arabian government starts paying huge amounts of money to al-Qaeda, becoming its largest financial backer. It also gives money to other extremist groups throughout Asia. This money vastly increases the capability of al-Qaeda. [New Yorker, 10/16/01] Saudis agree to continue sponsoring bin Laden's network (see also May 1996 and July 1998). Says one US official, "'96 is the key year... Bin Laden hooked up to all the bad guys - it's like the Grand Alliance - and had a capability for conducting large-scale operations." The Saudi regime, he says, had "gone to the dark side." Electronic intercepts by the NSA "depict a regime increasingly corrupt, alienated from the country's religious rank and file, and so weakened and frightened that it has brokered its future by channeling hundreds of millions of dollars in what amounts to protection money to fundamentalist groups that wish to overthrow it." US officials later privately complain "that the Bush Administration, like the Clinton Administration, is refusing to confront this reality, even in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks." [New Yorker, 10/16/01]

June 25, 1996: Explosions destroy the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American soldiers and wounding 500. [CNN, 6/26/96] Saudi officials later interrogate the suspects, declare them guilty, and execute them - without letting the FBI talk to them. [PBS Frontline, 2001, Irish Times, 11/19/01] Saudis blame the Hezbollah, the Iranian-influenced group, but US investigators still believe bin Laden was somehow involved (in June 2001 a US grand jury indicted 13 Saudis for the bombing). [Seattle Times, 10/29/01] Bin Laden admitted instigating the attacks in a 1998 interview. [Miami Herald, 9/24/01] Ironically, the bin Laden family is later awarded the contract to rebuild the installation. [New Yorker, 11/5/01] In 1997, Canada catches one of the Khobar Tower attackers and extradites him to the US. But in 1999, he is shipped back to Saudi Arabia before he can reveal what he knows about al-Qaeda and the Saudis. One anonymous insider calls it, "Clinton's parting kiss to the Saudis." [Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, 2/03]


WAMY logo.

September 11, 1996: An FBI investigation into two relatives of bin Laden, begun in February 1996, is closed. The FBI wanted to learn more about Abdullah bin Laden, "because of his relationship with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth [WAMY] - a suspected terrorist organization." [Guardian, 11/7/01] Abdullah was the US director of WAMY and lived with his brother Omar in Falls Church, Virginia, a town just outside Washington. The coding on the document, marked secret, indicates the case involved espionage, murder, and national security. WAMY has its offices at 5613 Leesburg Pike. Remarkably, it is later determined that four of the 9/11 hijackers lived at 5913 Leesburg Pike at the same time the two bin Laden brothers were there. WAMY has not been put on a list of terrorist organizations in the US, but it has been banned in Pakistan. A high-placed intelligence official tells the Guardian: "There were always constraints on investigating the Saudis. There were particular investigations that were effectively killed." An unnamed US source says to the BBC, "There is a hidden agenda at the very highest levels of our government." [BBC Newsnight, 11/6/01, Guardian, 11/7/01, see related leaked documents here] The Bosnian government later says a charity with Abdullah bin Laden on its board had channeled money to Chechen guerrillas, something that "is only possible because the Clinton CIA gave the wink and nod to WAMY and other groups who were aiding Bosnian guerrillas when they were fighting Serbia, a US-approved enemy." The investigation into WAMY is only restarted two days after 9/11, and after the bin Laden brothers have left the US. [Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, 2/03] (Note that this Abdullah bin Laden is possibly bin Laden's cousin, not brother, and is apparently not the same as the Abdullah bin Laden who serves as the bin Laden family spokesman. [Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, 2/03])

February 17, 1999: German intelligence is periodically tapping suspected al-Qaeda terrorist Mohammed Haydar Zammar's telephone (see March 1997 and September 21, 1999), and on this day investigators hear a caller being told Zammar is at a meeting with "Mohamed, Ramzi and Said," and could be reached at the phone number of the Marienstrasse apartment where all three of them live. This refers to Mohamed Atta, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Said Bahaji. But apparently the German police fail to grasp its importance of these names, even though Said Bahaji is also under investigation (see November 1, 1998-February 2001). [AP, 6/22/02, New York Times, 1/18/03] Atta's last name is given as well. Agents check the phone number and confirm the street address, but it isn't known what they make of the information. [Der Spiegel, 2/3/03]


Friends of Ziad Jarrah taken on April 1, 1999. Third from left in back row is Abdelghani Mzoudi, fifth from is Mounir El Motassadeq; seventh is Ramzi bin al-Shibh; the man on far right in middle row is Mohamed Atta; Atta rests his hands on Mohammed Raji, now a wanted man. [FAZ]

April 1, 1999: Ziad Jarrah has an unofficial wedding with his girlfriend, Aisel Senguen. What's interesting is a photo apparently taken by Jarrah at the wedding, shown here. German intelligence found the photo several days after 9/11. An undercover agent was able to immediately identify 10 of the 18 men in the photo, as well as where it was taken: the prayer room of Hamburg's Al-Quds mosque. The informant was also able to identify which of them attended Mohamed Atta's study group. This informant knew even "seemingly trivial details" of some of the men, showing that "probably almost all members of the Hamburg terror cell" had been watched by German state intelligence since this time, if not before. The head of the state intelligence had previously maintained that they knew nothing of any of these men, and had no informant. [FAZ, 2/2/03]

September 21, 1999: German intelligence is periodically tapping suspected al-Qaeda terrorist Mohammed Haydar Zammar's telephone (see also March 1997 and February 17, 1999), and on this day investigators hear Zammar call hijacker Marwan Alshehhi. Officials initally claim that the call also mentions hijacker Mohamed Atta, but only his first name. [Telegraph, 11/24/01, New York Times, 1/18/03] But in fact, his full name, "Mohammed Atta Al Amir," is mentioned in this call and in another recorded call. [FAZ, 2/2/03] Alshehhi, living in the United Arab Emirates at the time, calls Zammar frequently. German intelligence asks the United Arab Emirates to identify the number and the caller, but the request is not answered. [Der Speigel, 2/3/03]

January-May 2000: 9/11 hijacker Atta is put under surveillance by the CIA while living in Germany. [AFP, 9/22/01, Focus, 9/24/01, Berliner Zeitung, 9/24/01] He is "reportedly observed buying large quantities of chemicals in Frankfurt, apparently for the production of explosives [and/or] for biological warfare. The US agents reported to have trailed Atta are said to have failed to inform the German authorities about their investigation," even as the Germans are investigating many of his associates (see November 1, 1998-February 2001). "The disclosure that Atta was being trailed by police long before 11 September raises the question why the attacks could not have been prevented with the man's arrest." [Observer, 9/30/01] A German newspaper adds that Atta was still able to get a visa into the US on May 18. The surveillance stopped when he left for the US at the start of June (see June 3, 2000). But "experts believe that the suspect remained under surveillance in the United States." [Berliner Zeitung, 9/24/01] A German intelligence official also states, "We can no longer exclude the possibility that the Americans wanted to keep an eye on Atta after his entry in the USA." [Focus, 9/24/01] This correlates with a Newsweek claim that US officials knew Atta was a "known [associate] of Islamic terrorists well before [9/11]." [Newsweek, 9/20/01] However, a Congressional inquiry later reports that the US "intelligence community possessed no intelligence or law enforcement information linking 16 of the 19 hijackers [including Atta] to terrorism or terrorist groups." [Senate Intelligence Committee, 9/20/02] Did the fact that the CIA started monitoring Atta in January 2000 have any connection to roommate Ramzi bin al-Shibh's participation in an al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia, that the CIA had ordered surveilled that same month (see January 5-8, 2000)?

May 22, 2000: In March 2000, Germany's internal intelligence service places Mounir El Motassadeq and Said Bahaji on a border patrol watch list. The two are members of al-Qaeda's Hamburg cell with Mohamed Atta and others. Their international arrivals and departures are to be reported immediately. On this day, Motassadeq flies to Istanbul, Turkey, and from there goes to an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the border patrol only notes his destination of Istanbul. Bahaji doesn't travel, and when he finally does shortly before 9/11, it isn't noted (see September 3-5, 2001). [Der Spiegel, 2/3/03]


A Predator drone.

August-September 2000: An unmanned spy plane called the Predator begins flying over Afghanistan, showing incomparably detailed real-time video and photographs of the movements of what appears to be bin Laden and his aides. Clinton is impressed by a two-minute video of bin Laden crossing a street heading toward a mosque. Bin Laden is surrounded by a team of a dozen armed men creating a professional forward security perimeter as he moves. The Predator had been used since 1996 in the Balkans, but its use is stopped in Afghanistan after a few trials when a Predator crashes. The White House presses ahead with a program to arm the Predator with a missile, but the effort is slowed by bureaucratic infighting between the Pentagon and the CIA over who would pay for the craft and who would have ultimate authority over its use. Officials say the dispute is not resolved until after 9/11. [New York Times, 12/30/01, Washington Post, 12/19/01] However, it is later reported that by May 2001, the Predator "proved ... that it could find and kill individuals." [Washington Post, 3/13/03] On September 15, 2001, CIA Director Tenet tells Bush, "The unmanned Predator surveillance aircraft that was now armed with Hellfire missiles had been operating for more than a year out of Uzbekistan to provide real-time video of Afghanistan." [Washington Post, 1/29/02] So someone is lying or mistaken about when the Predator was used and when it was armed.

January 21, 2001: George Bush Jr. is inaugurated as the 43rd US President, replacing Clinton. The only major figure to permanently remain in office is CIA Director Tenet, appointed in 1997 and reputedly a long time friend of Bush Sr. FBI Director Louis Freeh stays on until June 2001. Numerous figures in Bush's administration have been directly employed in the oil industry, including Bush, Vice President Cheney and National Security Advisor Rice. It is later revealed that Cheney is still being paid up to $1 million a year in "deferred payments" from Halliburton, the oil company he headed. [Guardian, 3/12/03] Enron's ties also reach deep into the administration. [Washington Post, 1/18/02]

Late January 2001: The BBC later reports, "After the elections, [US intelligence] agencies [are] told to 'back off' investigating the Bin Ladens and Saudi royals, and that anger[s] agents." This follows previous orders to abandon an investigation of bin Laden relatives (see September 11, 1996), and difficulties in investigating Saudi royalty. [BBC, 11/6/01] FTW An unnamed "top-level CIA operative" says there is a "major policy shift" at the National Security Agency at this time. Osama bin Laden could still be investigated, but agents could not look too closely at how he got his money. [Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, 2/03] Presumably one such investigation canceled is an investigation by the Chicago FBI into ties between Saudi multimillionaire Yassin al-Qadi and the US embassy bombings (see August 7, 1998) and other terrorist acts, because during this month an FBI agent is told that the case is being closed and that "it's just better to let sleeping dogs lie" (see October 1998). Reporter Greg Palast notes that President Clinton was already hindering investigations by protecting Saudi interests. But, as he puts it, "Where Clinton said, 'Go slow,' Bush policymakers said, 'No go.' The difference is between closing one eye and closing them both." [Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, 2/03]

May 2001 (H): The US introduces the "Visa Express" program in Saudi Arabia, which allows any Saudi Arabian to obtain visas through his or her travel agent instead of appearing at a consulate in person. An official later states, "The issuing officer has no idea whether the person applying for the visa is actually the person in the documents and application." [US News and World Report, 12/12/01, Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/20/02] At the time, warnings of an attack against the US led by the Saudi Osama bin Laden are higher than they had ever been before - "off the charts" as one senator later puts it. [Los Angeles Times, 5/18/02, Senate Intelligence Committee, 9/18/02] A terrorism conference had recently concluded that Saudi Arabia was one of four top nationalities in al-Qaeda. [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 5/19/02] Five hijackers - Khalid Almihdhar, Abdulaziz Alomari, Salem Alhazmi, Saeed Alghamdi, and Fayez Ahmed Banihammad - use Visa Express over the next month to enter the US. [Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/20/02] The widely criticized program is finally canceled in July 2002 (see July 19, 2002).


David Schippers. [Reuters]

Late July 2001 (B): 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 Schipper's 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]

August 24-29, 2001: The hijackers book their flights for 9/11, using their apparent real names. Most pay using credit cards on the internet. [Miami Herald, 9/22/01] At least five tickets are one way only. [Los Angeles Times, 9/18/01] So 9/11 must have been the confirmed date of the attack by August 24, but other evidence suggests it could have been known earlier (see August 14, 2001). Why would they pay using credit cards in their real names? Or were the names we know them as actually stolen identities?

August 29, 2001 (C): In a later interview, would-be hijacker Ramzi bin al-Shibh claims that on this day Atta calls him in Germany from the US. Atta asks him what is "two sticks, a dash and a cake with a stick down?" The answer, which bin al-Shibh figures out, is 11-9 - the European and Arabic way of writing 9/11. [Knight-Ridder, 9/9/02, CBS, 10/9/02] So knowing the date of the attack, bin al-Shibh later claims that he orders active cells in Europe, the US, and elsewhere to evacuate (see also September 3-5, 2001). Presumably, had any government been tracking either some or all of these people, they also may have learned the date of the attacks.

September 3-5, 2001: Members of Atta's Hamburg terrorist cell leave Germany for Pakistan. Said Bahaji flies out of Hamburg on September 3. [Chicago Tribune, 2/25/03] German intelligence already had Bahaji under surveillence, and German border guards were under orders to report if he left the country. For some reason, they fail to note his departure (see also May 22, 2000). [FAZ, 2/2/03] German agents later discover two other passengers on the same flight traveling with false passports who stay in the same room with Bahaji when they arrive in Karachi, Pakistan. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Investigators now believe his flight companions are Ismail Ben Mrabete and Ahmed Taleb, both Algerians in their late 40s (see August 14, 2001). Three more associates - Mohammed Belfatmi, an Algerian extremist from the Tarragona region of Spain, and two brothers with the last name Joya - also travel on the same plane. All of these people still remain unaccounted for. [Chicago Tribune, 2/25/03] Ramzi bin al-Shibh flies out of Germany on September 5 and stays in Spain a few days before presumably heading for Pakistan. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Had these people been under investigation, it should have raised red flags, since communications ordering many al-Qaeda operatives back to Afghanistan by September 10 had been intercepted (see September 10, 2001 (K)). At least Bahaji had been under German investigation previously (see November 1, 1998-February 2001).

September 10, 2001: A fifth grader in Dallas, Texas casually tells his teacher: "Tomorrow, World War III will begin. It will begin in the United States, and the United States will lose." The teacher reports the comment to the FBI, but doesn't know if they acted on it. The student skips the next two days of school. The event may be completely coincidental, but the newspaper that reports the story also notes that two charities located in an adjacent suburb have been investigated about raising money for Islamic terrorist organizations (see also September 5-8, 2001). [Houston Chronicle, 9/19/01] The FBI investigates and decides "no further investigation [is] warranted." [Houston Chronicle, 10/1/01]

September 10, 2001 (K): In a major post-9/11 speech, British Prime Minister Tony Blair claims that "shortly before September 11 bin Laden told associates that he had a major operation against America under preparation, a range of people were warned to return back to Afghanistan because of action on or around September 11." His claims come from a British document of telephone intercepts and interrogations revealing al-Qaeda orders to return to Afghanistan by September 10. [CNN 10/4/01, Time, 10/5/01] However, Blair may have the direction incorrect, since would-be hijacker Ramzi bin al-Shibh later claims that he was the one who passed to bin Laden the date the attacks would happen and warned others to evacuate (see September 3-5, 2001 and September 6, 2001).


Odigo logo.

September 11, 2001 (C): Two employees of Odigo, Inc., in Israel, receive warnings of an imminent attack in New York City around two hours before the first plane hits the WTC. Odigo, one of the world's largest instant messaging companies, has its headquarters two blocks from the WTC. The Odigo Research and Development offices where the warnings were received are located in Herzliyya, a suburb of Tel Aviv. Israeli security and the FBI were notified immediately after the 9/11 attacks began. The two employees claim not to know who sent the warnings. "Odigo service includes a feature called People Finder that allows users to seek out and contact others based on certain interests or demographics. [Alex] Diamandis [Odigo vice president of sales and marketing] said it was possible that the attack warning was broadcast to other Odigo members, but the company has not received reports of other recipients of the message." [Ha'aretz, 9/26/01, Washington Post, 9/27/01 (C)] FTW Odigo claims the warning did not specifically mention the WTC, but the company won't say what was specified, claiming, "Providing more details would only lead to more conjecture." [Washington Post, 9/28/01] Two months later it is reported that the FBI is still investigating the matter, but there have been no reports since. [Courier Mail, 11/20/01] Could the message have been a mass e-mail sent to a large group? Could this be related to the "art student spy ring"? Did the original senders directly inform the FBI as well, and if not, why not?

September 11, 2001 (K): Two men, Syed Gul Mohammad Shah (using the alias Ayub Ali Khan) and Mohammed Jaweed Azmath, are arrested on a train near Fort Worth, Texas, during a random drug check. They are found with $20,000 in cash, hair dye, and box cutters similar to those used in the 9/11 attacks. They also both had flight training. They had boarded Flight 679 in Newark, New Jersey, at 6:10 a.m., bound for San Antonio. [Washington Post, 9/20/01, Village Voice, 9/25/02] The flight was diverted to St. Louis after the WTC was hit. Shah and Azmath then took an Amtrak train headed to San Antonio. The FBI says no one else on the flight manifest is believed to be a potential hijacker. It is speculated that they were planning to meet Dr. al-Badr Alhazmi, who lived in San Antonio and was also arrested that day. [Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01, Washington Post, 9/29/01] It is also known that a $64,000 wire transfer by the two men to Pakistan in 1999 "has aroused authorities' suspicion." [Washington Post, 10/7/01] They appeared to be some of the most significant terrorists caught after 9/11. But on September 12, 2002, after nearly a year in solitary confinement, Azmath pleads guilty to one count of credit card fraud, and was released with time served. Shah is given a longer sentence for credit card fraud. [Village Voice, 9/25/02] Both are deported back to India around the end of 2002. [New York Times, 12/31/02, AP, 1/25/03] Both also claim to have been tortured, threatened, denied access to lawyers, and kept in solitary confinement for months (see also June 12, 2001, October 20, 2001). [AP, 1/25/03] Dr. Alhazmi is released after only two weeks. [San Antonio Express News, 10/1/01] Are they innocent, or has the government failed to prove their guilt?

September 11, 2001 (AA): An unnamed, young, Middle Eastern man flying from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit is arrested after his plane is diverted to Toronto, Canada. He is apparently found to be carrying a flight jacket, Palestinian Authority travel documents, and a picture of himself in a flight crew uniform in front of a fake backdrop of the WTC. [Toronto Star, 9/15/01 (B), Toronto Sun, 9/15/01, Ottawa Citizen, 9/17/01 (B)] Apparently the man, who identifies himself as an aircraft maintenance engineer in Gaza, Palestine, was supposed to have arrived in the US a few days before but was delayed for unknown reasons. [CBS, 9/14/01] A second man was arrested a few days earlier while trying to enter Canada carrying a similar photo. He also possessed maps and directions to the WTC. Both men are soon handed to the US. [Toronto Star, 9/15/01 (B)] A similar picture of suspected Egyptian al-Qaeda terrorist Mohammad Zeki Majoub, arrested in Canada in June 2000, in front of a fake WTC backdrop was found in the luggage of one of the US hijackers. [AP, 3/1/01, Toronto Sun, 9/15/01] Canadian officials "believe the photos could be calling cards used by the terrorists to identify those involved in plotting the attacks." [Toronto Sun, 9/15/01] It is not known what has happened to these men since.

September 13-19, 2001: Members of bin Laden's family and important Saudis are "driven or flown under FBI supervision to a secret assembly point in Texas and then to Washington from where they left the country on a private charter plane when airports reopened three days after the attacks." The flights to Texas and Washington occur before the national air ban is lifted. [New York Times, 9/30/01] The Tampa Tribune reports that on September 13, a Lear jet takes off from Tampa, Florida, carrying a Saudi Arabian prince, the son of the Saudi defense minister Prince Sultan (see August 2001 (G), August 31, 2001, August 15, 2002), as well as the son of a Saudi army commander, and flies to Lexington, Kentucky, where the Saudis own racehorses. They then fly a private 747 out of the country. Multiple 747s with Arabic lettering on their sides are already there, suggesting another secret assembly point. The Tampa flight left from a private Raytheon hangar. [Tampa Tribune, 10/5/01] (Raytheon's name keeps coming up in relation to 9/11 (for instance, see September 25, 2001).) Prince Bandar, Saudi ambassador to the US, helps move the bin Laden family out of the US. [London Times, 11/25/02] Ron Motley, the lead lawyer in a 9/11 lawsuit against many Saudis, points to the flights during the air ban as evidence that Saudis are "protected by the Bush administration" because of "oil." [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8/16/02] There have been conflicting reports as to whether the FBI interviewed these people before they left the country. Osama bin Laden's half brother, Abdullah bin Laden, stated that even a month after 9/11 his only contact with the FBI was a brief phone call. [Boston Globe, 9/21/01, New Yorker, 11/5/01] The existence of these flights during the air travel ban is now usually referred to as an urban legend. [Snopes, 3/19/02]

September 14, 2001 (I): Some gruesome remains are discovered in the WTC ruins. Investigators find a pair of severed hands bound together with plastic handcuffs on a nearby building. They are believed to have belonged to a stewardess. [Newsday, 9/15/01] There are reports of whole rows of seats with passengers in them being found, as well as much of the cockpit of one of the planes, complete with the body of one of the hijackers, and the body of another stewardess, whose hands were tied with wire. [Ananova, 9/13/01, New York Times, 9/15/01] Yet, contradicting the claim that a hijacker's body was found, only in February 2003 are the remains of two hijackers identified (see Late February 2003). While all these bodies and plane parts are supposedly found, not one of the four black boxes for these two airplanes are ever found. A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman says: "It's extremely rare that we don't get the recorders back. I can't recall another domestic case in which we did not recover the recorders." [CBS, 2/23/02] The black boxes are considered "nearly indestructible," are placed in the safest parts of the aircraft, and are designed to survive impacts much greater than the WTC impact. They can withstand heat of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour, and can withstand an impact of an incredible 3,400 G's. [ABC News, 9/17/01] Phone calls from two stewardesses on Flight 11 contradict the idea that stewardesses or anyone else had their hands tied, on that flight at least.


Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié. Their book The Forbidden Truth has been condemned as "conspiracy theory" by some and praised by others.

September 23, 2001 (B): The first of many mainstream articles ridiculing 9/11 "conspiracy theories" is published. [Independent, 9/23/01] Early articles of this type generally deride Middle Eastern views blaming Israel. [AP, 10/3/01 (C), Washington Post, 10/13/01, Dallas Morning News, 11/19/01] Later articles mostly deride Western theories blaming Bush, and criticize the internet and Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see April 11, 2002) for spreading these ideas. [Chicago Sun-Times, 2/8/02, ABC News, 4/17/02, Orlando Sentinel, 5/18/02, Toronto Sun, 5/19/02] The title of one article, "Conspiracy Nuts Feed On Calamity," expresses the general tone of these articles. [Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 5/22/02] An Ottawa Citizen article mockingly includes a Do-It-Yourself Conspiracy Theory section, where you can fill in the blanks for your own personal 9/11 theory. The article calls 9/11 conspiracy theories "delirious," "dangerous," and "viruses," while admitting that "it's true that some of the events surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks are hard to explain." [Ottawa Citizen, 9/1/02] Another article discredits theories that oil was a motive for the US to attack Afghanistan by interspersing them with theories that space aliens were behind the 9/11 attacks. [Telegraph, 9/5/02]


Tony Blair presenting evidence on October 4, 2001 [AP]

October 4, 2001 (B): British Prime Minister Tony Blair publicly presents a paper containing evidence that al-Qaeda is responsible for the 9/11 attacks. [Los Angeles Times, 10/5/01, see the paper here: Los Angeles Times, 10/4/01] Secretary of State Powell and other US officials had promised on September 23 that the US would present a paper containing such evidence. [Los Angeles Times, 9/24/01] But the US paper is never released. Apparently, the British paper is meant to serve as a substitute. [New Yorker, 5/27/02] In the speech, Blair claims, "One of bin Laden's closest lieutenants has said clearly that he helped with the planning of the September 11 attacks and admitted the involvement of the al-Qaeda organization" and that "there is other intelligence, we cannot disclose, of an even more direct nature indicating guilt" of al-Qaeda in the attacks. [CNN 10/4/01, Time, 10/5/01] There has been no confirmation or details since of these claims. Even though most of the evidence in the British paper comes from the US, pre-attack warnings, such as the August 6, 2001 memo to Bush "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US," are not included (see August 6, 2001). In fact, Blair's paper states, "incorrectly, that no such information had been available before the attacks: 'After 11 September we learned that, not long before, bin Laden had indicated he was about to launch a major attack on America.'" [New Yorker, 5/27/02]

October 7, 2001: ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed is replaced in the face of US pressure after links are discovered between him, Saeed Sheikh and the funding of the 9/11 attacks. Mahmood instructed Saeed to transfer $100,000 into hijacker Mohamed Atta's bank account prior to 9/11 (see Early August 2001 (D) or June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000; it hasn't been reported which $100,000 money transfer this refers to). This is according to Indian intelligence, which claims the FBI has privately confirmed the story. [Press Trust of India, 10/8/01, Times of India, 10/9/01, India Today, 10/15/01, Daily Excelsior, 10/18/01] The story is not widely reported in Western countries, though it makes the Wall Street Journal. [Australian, 10/10/01, AFP, 10/10/01, Wall Street Journal, 10/10/01] It is reported in Pakistan as well. [Dawn, 10/8/01] The Northern Alliance also repeats the claim in late October. [FNS, 10/31/01] In Western countries, the usual explanation is that Mahmood is fired for being too close to the Taliban. [London Times, 10/9/01, Guardian, 10/9/01] The Times of India reports that Indian intelligence helped the FBI discover the link, and says: "A direct link between the ISI and the WTC attack could have enormous repercussions. The US cannot but suspect whether or not there were other senior Pakistani Army commanders who were in the know of things. Evidence of a larger conspiracy could shake US confidence in Pakistan's ability to participate in the anti-terrorism coalition." [Times of India, 10/9/01] There is evidence some ISI officers may have known of a plan to destroy the WTC as early as mid-1999 (see July 14, 1999). Two other ISI leaders, Lt. Gen. Mohammed Aziz Khan and Chief of General Staff Mohammed Yousuf, are sidelined on the same day as Mahmood. [Fox News, 10/8/01] Saeed had been working under Khan (see January 1, 2000-September 11, 2001). The firings are said to have purged the ISI of its fundamentalists. But according to one diplomat: "To remove the top two or three doesn't matter at all. The philosophy remains... [The ISI is] a parallel government of its own. If you go through the officer list, almost all of the ISI regulars would say, of the Taliban, 'They are my boys.'" [New Yorker, 10/29/01] It is believed Mahmood has been living under virtual house arrest in Pakistan ever since (which would seem to imply more than just a difference of opinion over the Taliban), but no charges have been brought against him, and there is no evidence the US has asked to question him. [Asia Times, 1/5/02] He also has refused to speak to reporters since being fired [AP, 2/21/02], and outside India and Pakistan, the story has only been mentioned a couple times in the media since (see [Sunday Herald, 2/24/02, London Times, 4/21/02]). If Mahmood helped fund the 9/11 attacks, what did President Musharraf know about it?


An airlift of humanitarian supplies in Northern Afghanistan.

November 14-November 25, 2001: At the request of the Pakistani government, the US secretly allows rescue flights into the besieged Taliban stronghold of Kunduz, in Northern Afghanistan, to save Pakistanis fighting for the Taliban and bring them back to Pakistan. Pakistan's President "Musharraf won American support for the airlift by warning that the humiliation of losing hundreds - and perhaps thousands - of Pakistani Army men and intelligence operatives would jeopardize his political survival." [New Yorker, 1/21/02] Dozens of senior Pakistani military officers, including two generals, are flown out. [Now with Bill Moyers, 2/21/03] In addition, it is reported that the Pakistani government assists 50 trucks of foreign fighters to escape the town. [New York Times, 11/24/01] Many news articles at the time suggest an airlift is occurring (for instance, [Independent, 11/16/01, New York Times, 11/24/01, BBC, 11/26/01, Independent, 11/26/01, Guardian, 11/27/01, MSNBC, 11/29/01]), but a media controversy and wide coverage fails to develop. The US and Pakistani governments deny the existence of the airlift. [State Department, 11/16/01, New Yorker, 1/21/02] On December 2, when asked to assure that the US didn't allow such an airlift, Rumsfeld says, "Oh, you can be certain of that. We have not seen a single - to my knowledge, we have not seen a single airplane or helicopter go into Afghanistan in recent days or weeks and extract people and take them out of Afghanistan to any country, let alone Pakistan." [MSNBC, 12/2/01] Reporter Seymour Hersh believes that Rumsfeld must have given approval for the airlift. [Now with Bill Moyers, 2/21/03] But New Yorker magazine reports, "What was supposed to be a limited evacuation apparently slipped out of control and, as an unintended consequence, an unknown number of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters managed to join in the exodus." A CIA analyst says, "Many of the people they spirited away were in the Taliban leadership" who Pakistan wanted for future political negotiations. US intelligence was "supposed to have access to them, but it didn't happen," he says. According to Indian intelligence, airlifts grow particularly intense in the last three days before the city falls on November 25. Of the 8,000 remaining al-Qaeda, Pakistani, and Taliban, about 5,000 are airlifted out and 3,000 surrender. [New Yorker, 1/21/02] Hersh later claims that "maybe even some of Bin Laden's immediate family were flown out on the those evacuations." [Now with Bill Moyers, 2/21/03] Was the escape of al-Qaeda deliberate so the war against terrorism wouldn't end too soon?

November 21, 2001 (C): The remains of all but one of the people on board Flight 77, including the hijackers, are identified. But the identities of the hijackers have still not been confirmed through their remains. [Washington Post, 11/21/01, Mercury, 1/11/02] Over a year later, the FBI still has not given DNA profiles to medical examiners so the hijacker remains can be identified (see Late February 2003). Strangely, the official story states there was a giant fireball on impact that not only destroyed the airplane but actually vaporized the metal. A rescue worker states: "The only way you could tell that an aircraft was inside was that we saw pieces of the nose gear. The devastation was horrific." [NFPA Journal, 11/1/01] Yet remains of every passenger but one was found?

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


Andreas von Bülow. [AKG Pressbild]

January 13, 2002: Andreas von Bülow, former German Minister for Research and Technology and a long-time member of German parliament, suggests in an interview that the CIA could have been behind the 9/11 attacks. He states: "Whoever wants to understand the CIA's methods, has to deal with its main task of covert operations: below the level of war, and outside international law, foreign states are to be influenced by inciting insurrections or terrorist attacks, usually combined with drugs and weapons trade, and money laundering.... Since, however, it must not under any circumstances come out that there is an intelligence agency behind it, all traces are erased, with tremendous deployment of resources. I have the impression that this kind of intelligence agency spends 90% of its time this way: creating false leads. So that if anyone suspects the collaboration of the agencies, he is accused of paranoia. The truth often comes out only years later." [Der Tagesspiegel, 1/13/02] In an example of covering tracks, Ephraim Halevy, head of Israel's Mossad from 1998 till 2002, claims, "Not one big success of the Mossad has ever been made public." [CBS, 2/5/03]

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


Thierry Meyssan.

Early March 2002: The book l'Effroyable Imposture (The Horrifying Fraud) is published in France. The book denies that a passenger airliner crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. It is written by Thierry Meyssan, "president of the Voltaire Network, a respected independent think tank whose left-leaning research projects have until now been considered models of reasonableness and objectivity." [Guardian, 4/1/02] The book is widely denounced by the media (for instance, [AFP, 3/21/02, London Times, 5/19/02, National Post, 8/31/02, Baltimore Sun, 9/12/02]). One reporter trashes the book even while admitting never to have read it. [LA Weekly, 7/19/02] But the book sets a French publishing record for first-month sales. [Time, Europe version, 5/20/02] One of Meyssan's theories is that people within the US government wanted to hit the Pentagon for its propaganda effect, but didn't want to create a lot of damage or kill important people like Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. They note that the crash hit the one section under construction, thus greatly reducing the loss of life. Furthermore, the wall at point of impact was the first and only one to be reinforced and have blast-resistant windows installed as part of an upgrade plan. [NFPA Journal, 11/1/01]


Reporter Yosri Fouda.

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

June 16, 2002: In September 2002, articles appear in the Pakistani and Indian press suggesting that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is actually captured on this day. Supposedly he has been sent to the US, though the US and Pakistan deny the story and say Mohammed has not been captured at all. [Daily Times, 9/9/02, Times of India, 9/9/02, Economic Times, 9/10/02] If it happened, Mohammed may have been captured before an interview with Al Jazeera reporter Yosri Fouda (see April, June or August 2002). It is later widely reported that Mohammed is captured in March 2003, but some reporters and experts doubt this, suggesting he was captured earlier (see March 1, 2003). He may also have been captured or killed in September 2002 (see September 11, 2002).

July 19, 2002: Faced with growing criticism of its Visa Express program (see May 2001 (H)), the State Department early in July 2002 decides merely to change the name of the program. When that fails to satisfy critics, the program is abandoned altogether on July 19. The Visa Express program allowed anyone in Saudi Arabia to apply for US visas through their travel agents instead of having to show up at a consulate in person. [Washington Post, 7/11/02] Mary Ryan, the head of the State Department's consular service that was responsible for letting most of the hijackers into the US, is also forced to retire. It has been pointed out that Ryan deceived Congress by testifying that "there was nothing State could have done to prevent the terrorists from obtaining visas" (see October 21, 2002 and October 23, 2002). However, after all this, Ryan and the other authors of the Visa Express program are given "outstanding performance" awards of $15,000 each. The reporter who wrote most of the stories critical of Visa Express is briefly detained and pressured by the State Department. [Washington Times, 10/23/02, Philadelphia Daily News, 12/30/02]

September 11, 2002: Would-be hijacker Ramzi bin al-Shibh is arrested after a huge gunfight in Karachi, Pakistan, involving thousands of police. [Observer, 9/15/02] He is considered "a high-ranking operative for al-Qaeda and one of the few people still alive who know the inside details of the 9/11 plot." [New York Times, 9/13/02] 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed called bin al-Shibh "the coordinator of the Holy Tuesday [9/11] operation" in an interview aired days before (see September 8-11, 2002). Captured with him are approximately nine associates, as well as numerous computers, phones and other evidence. [Time, 9/15/02, New York Times, 9/13/02] There are conflicting claims that Mohammed is killed in the raid [Christian Science Monitor, 10/29/02, Asia Times, 10/30/02, Daily Telegraph, 3/4/03, Asia Times, 3/6/03], shot while escaping [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/2/03], someone who looks like him is killed, leading to initial misidentification [Time, 1/20/03], someone matching his general appearance is captured [AP, 9/16/02], or that he narrowly escapes capture and his young children are captured. [Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02] It is widely reported that Mohammed is captured in March 2003, but some reporters and experts doubt this, suggesting he was captured earlier (see March 1, 2003).


Senator Bob Graham.

December 11, 2002 (C): In discussing the report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on 9/11 (see December 11, 2002 (B)), Senator Bob Graham (D), the committee chairman, says he is "surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the [9/11] terrorists in the United States.... To me that is an extremely significant issue and most of that information is classified, I think overly-classified. I believe the American people should know the extent of the challenge that we face in terms of foreign government involvement. I think there is very compelling evidence that at least some of the terrorists were assisted not just in financing - although that was part of it - by a sovereign foreign government and that we have been derelict in our duty to track that down.... It will become public at some point when it's turned over to the archives, but that's 20 or 30 years from now." [PBS Newshour, 12/11/02] In March 2003, Newsweek says its sources indicate Graham is speaking about Saudi Arabia, and that leads pointing in this direction have been pursued. Graham also says that the report contains far more miscues than have been publicly revealed. "There’s been a cover-up of this," he says. [Newsweek, 3/1/03 (B)] Could Graham also be referring to evidence showing Pakistan's ISI foreknowledge of 9/11 that was given to his office before 9/11 (see Early August 2001)?

December 16, 2002: President Bush names former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean as the Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, after his original choice, Henry Kissinger, resigned (see November 27, 2002 and December 13, 2002). [Washington Post, 12/17/02] In an appearance on NBC, Kean promises an aggressive investigation. "It's really a remarkably broad mandate, so I don't think we'll have any problem looking under every rock. I've got no problems in going as far as we have to in finding out the facts." [AP, 12/17/02] However, Kean plans to remain President of Drew University and devote only one day a week to the commission. He also claims he would have no conflicts of interest, stating: "I have no clients except the university." [Washington Post, 12/17/02] However, he has a history of such conflict. Multinational Monitor has previously stated: "Perhaps no individual more clearly illustrates the dangers of university presidents maintaining corporate ties than Thomas Kean," citing the fact that he is on the Board of Directors of Aramark (which received a large contract with his university after he became president), Bell Atlantic, United Health Care, Beneficial Corporation, Fiduciary Trust Company International, and others. [Multinational Monitor, 11/97] Most disturbing is his Board of Director and Executive Committee positions at Amerada Hess, an oil company with extensive investments in Central Asia. [Amerada Hess, 2002] Fortune magazine points out that through this investment, "Kean appears to have a bizarre link to the very terror network he's investigating - al-Qaeda." [Fortune, 1/22/03] In 1998, Amerada Hess created an alliance with the Saudi oil company Delta Oil, calling it Delta Hess. [Azerbaijan International, 2002] Delta Hess is invested in a number of oil field and pipeline projects in Central Asia (see for instance [Azerbaijan International, 1998]). Delta Oil has been one of the main financial partners in a controversial oil pipeline designed to go through Afghanistan. The company has been financially controlled by Khalid bin Mahfouz, and is connected to Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi (see August 13, 1996). Both men are on a secret United Nations list of al-Qaeda financers (see November 26, 2002), and bin Mahfouz is bin Laden's brother-in-law (see 1988). Fortune calls it an "interesting coincidence" that three weeks before his appointment onto the 9/11 commission, Amerada Hess quietly severed its ties with Delta Oil. [Fortune, 1/22/03] George Mitchell resigned from the commission a few days earlier in part because of ties with al-Amoudi (see December 11, 2002), yet Kean's conflict of interest with Amerada Hess and ties with al-Amoudi and bin Mahfouz have only been mentioned in a short Fortune article and briefly at the end of an AP article. [AP, 1/20/03, Fortune, 1/22/03]

December 16, 2002 (B): The ten members of the new 9/11 Commission (see November 15, 2002) are appointed by this date, and are: Republicans Thomas Kean (Chairman), Slade Gorton, James Thompson, Fred Fielding, and John Lehman, and Democrats Lee Hamilton (Vice Chairman), Max Cleland, Tim Roemer, Richard Ben-Veniste, and Jamie Gorelick. [New York Times, 12/17/02, Washington Post, 12/15/02, AP, 12/16/02, Chicago Tribune, 12/12/02] Senators Richard Shelby (R) and John McCain (R) had a say in the choice of one of the Republican positions. They and many 9/11 victims' relatives wanted former Senator Warren Rudman (R), who cowrote an acclaimed report about terrorism before 9/11 (see January 31, 2001). But Senate Republican leader Trent Lott blocks Rudman's appointment and chooses John Lehman instead. [St. Petersburg Times, 12/12/02, AP, 12/13/02, Reuters, 12/16/02] It slowly emerges over the next several months that at least six of the ten commissioners have ties to the airline industry. [CBS, 3/5/03] Slade Gorton has close ties to Boeing, which built all the planes destroyed on 9/11, and his law firm represents several major airlines, including Delta Airlines. [AP, 12/12/02, CBS, 3/5/03] Former Illinois Governor James Thompson is the head of a law firm that lobbies for American Airlines, and he has previously represented United Airlines. [AP, 1/31/03, CBS, 3/5/03] Fred Fielding also works for a law firm lobbing for Spirit Airlines and United Airlines. [AP, 2/14/03, CBS, 3/5/03] Senator Max Cleland has received $300,000 from the airline industry. Tim Roemer represents Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Richard Ben-Veniste represents Boeing and United Airlines. [CBS, 3/5/03] Democratic choice Ben-Veniste also has other curious connections, according to a 2001 book on CIA ties to drug running written by Daniel Hopsicker, which has an entire chapter called "Who is Richard Ben-Veniste?" Lawyer Ben-Veniste, Hopsicker says, "has made a career of defending political crooks, specializing in cases that involve drugs and politics." Ben-Veniste has been referred to in print as a "Mob lawyer," and was a long-time lawyer for Barry Seal, one of the most famous drug dealers in US history who also is alleged to have had CIA connections. [Barry and the Boys, Daniel Hopsicker, 9/01, pp. 325-330, link to the chapter on Ben-Veniste]

 



 

 

 

 

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