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August 15, 2001: CIA Told of Moussaoui’s Forthcoming Arrest, Searches for Information Edit

The FBI’s Minneapolis field office tells the CIA that Zacarias Moussaoui will be arrested the next day [see 1]. The information is communicated to a CIA field office, which then informs the Counterterrorist Center (CTC) at CIA headquarters. The CTC searches for information on Moussaoui, but does not find anything. The CIA has information on Moussaoui at this point, but the information is related to one of Moussaoui’s aliases and the CIA apparently does not understand that the alias is used by Moussaoui [see 2].. [1]

August 15, 2001: CIA Counterterrorism Head: We Are Going to Be Struck Soon Edit

Cofer Black. [Source: US State Department] Cofer Black, head of the CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center, says in a speech to the Department of Defense’s annual Convention of Counterterrorism, “We are going to be struck soon, many Americans are going to die, and it could be in the US.” Black later complains that top leaders are unwilling to act at this time unless they are given “such things as the attack is coming within the next few days and here is what they are going to hit.” [US CONGRESS, 9/26/2002] Entity Tags: Cofer Black Category Tags: Key Warnings, Warning Signs, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

Before August 16, 2001: Moussaoui Writes Number of Spanish Militant in Address Book Edit

Zacarias Moussaoui writes the phone number of Amer el-Azizi in his notebook. El-Azizi is a Spain-based militant who is linked to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (see (November 2001)) and is thought to have helped set up a meeting between Mohamed Atta and Ramzi bin al-Shibh in Spain in July 2001 (see Before July 8, 2001 and July 8-19, 2001). It is unclear when the number is written in Moussaoui’s notebook or what type of contact there is between Moussaoui and el-Azizi, if any. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/7/2004] However, the connection to el-Azizi does not appear to be mentioned at Moussaoui’s trial (see March 6-May 4, 2006), even though it would be one of very few pieces of evidence potentially tying Moussaoui to the 9/11 plot. The reason for this is unclear. El-Azizi’s arrest shortly after 9/11 will be frustrated by Spanish intelligence (see October 2001 and Shortly After November 21, 2001) and he will go on to be involved in the 2004 Madrid bombings (see Before March 11, 2004 and 7:37-7:42 a.m., March 11, 2004). Entity Tags: Amer el-Azizi, Zacarias Moussaoui Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui, Al-Qaeda in Spain

August 15, 2001: Army to Limit Public Access to Bases Around Washington Edit

The US Army is preparing to severely restrict public access to its posts in the Washington, DC area. For decades, visitors have been able to enter these bases freely. But now, as a probably permanent change, barriers will be erected across many roads leading into them, funneling traffic to a few roads staffed by guards. Drivers entering without proper registration will be sent to a visitor’s center to obtain a guest pass. [WASHINGTON POST, 8/15/2001] The new measures will mean commanders know who is entering their installations 24 hours a day, and give them the capability to adjust security measures immediately if required. [MDW NEWS SERVICE, 8/3/2001] The changes will occur at all installations belonging to the Military District of Washington (MDW). [MDW NEWS SERVICE, 7/2001] These include forts Hamilton, Meade, Belvoir, Ritchie, Myer, and McNair. Several of these bases will be reported as having implemented the changes in the following weeks, prior to September 11 (see August 20, 2001)(see September 4, 2001)(see September 5, 2001). Whether the changes take place at the other MDW installations prior to 9/11 is unknown. Part of MDW’s stated mission is to “respond to crisis, disaster or security requirements in the National Capital Region through implementation of various contingency plans.” [MILITARY DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON, 8/2000; GLOBALSECURITY (.ORG), 11/28/2001] It will therefore be much involved with the rescue and recovery efforts following the 9/11 Pentagon attack. [ARMY, 10/2004] The restriction of access to MDW posts stems from guidance from Army leadership and specifically from MDW Commander Maj. Gen. James Jackson. [MDW NEWS SERVICE, 7/2001] It is reportedly part of a nationwide security clampdown due to concerns about terrorism, following such attacks as the Oklahoma City bombing and the attack on the USS Cole. [WASHINGTON POST, 8/15/2001] Entity Tags: Military District of Washington, US Department of the Army Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Military Exercises

August 15-September 10, 2001: Minneapolis Agent Warns Superiors of Moussaoui Seventy Times, Obstructed by Headquarters After Zacarias Moussaoui is arrested (see August 16, 2001), the FBI’s Minneapolis field office becomes very concerned that he may be part of a larger operation involving hijacked aircraft and that he represents a real threat to US national security. One of the agents, Harry Samit, will later say that he and his colleagues are “obsessed” with Moussaoui. Samit sends over 70 communications warning about Moussaoui to the following:

The Hezbollah, bin Laden, and Radical Fundamentalist Units at FBI headquarters (see August 20-September 11, 2001); 
Another FBI field office (see August 23, 2001); 
The CIA (see August 24, 2001); 
The FBI’s offices in Paris and London; 
The FAA; 
The Secret Service; 
The Immigration and Naturalization Service; and 
Another intelligence agency (possibly the National Security Agency). 

While some of these bodies are responsive (see August 22, 2001 and August 24, 2001), Samit and his colleagues in Minnesota are forced to engage in a running battle with the Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU) at FBI headquarters, which obstructs their attempts to obtain a warrant to search Moussaoui’s belongings. Samit will later accuse the RFU of “criminal negligence” because they were trying to “run out the clock” to deport Moussaoui, instead of prosecuting him. [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 101-221 ; USA TODAY, 3/9/2006; WASHINGTON POST, 3/21/2006] Entity Tags: FBI Minnesota field office, Radical Fundamentalist Unit, FBI Headquarters, Harry Samit, Zacarias Moussaoui Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui


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