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Main article: 1980s

January 17, 1984: Port Authority Terrorist Intelligence Unit Issues Report on WTC Security Edit

Detective Sergeant Peter Caram, the head of the New York Port Authority’s Terrorist Intelligence Unit, has been directed by the assistant superintendent of the Port Authority Police Department to compile a report on the vulnerability of the WTC to a terrorist attack. Having previously worked at the WTC Command, Caram has exclusive knowledge of some of the center’s security weaknesses. On this day he issues his four-page report, titled “Terrorist Threat and Targeting Assessment: World Trade Center.” It looks at the reasoning behind why the WTC might be singled out for attack, and identifies three areas of particular vulnerability: the perimeter of the WTC complex, the truck dock entrance, and the subgrade area (the lower floors below ground level). Caram specifically mentions that terrorists could use a car bomb in the subgrade area—a situation similar to what occurs in the 1993 bombing (see February 26, 1993). [CARAM, 2001, PP. 5, 84-85; NEW YORK COUNTY SUPREME COURT, 1/20/2004] This is the first of several reports during the 1980s, identifying the WTC as a potential terrorist target. Entity Tags: World Trade Center, Peter Caram Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: 1993 WTC Bombing

October 1984: CIA Director Secretly Visits Afghan Training Camps; Urges Spread of Violence into Soviet Union Edit

William Casey (left, with glasses) and General Akhtar Abdur Rahman (center) touring Afghan training camps in the 1980s. [Source: Associated Press] CIA Director William Casey makes a secret visit to Pakistan to plan a strategy to defeat Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Casey is flown to secret training camps near the Afghan border where he watches trainees fire weapons and make bombs. According to the Washington Post: “During the visit, Casey startled his Pakistani hosts by proposing that they take the Afghan war into enemy territory—into the Soviet Union itself. Casey wanted to ship subversive propaganda through Afghanistan to the Soviet Union’s predominantly Muslim southern republics.” The Pakistanis agree to the plan and soon the CIA begins sending subversive literature and thousands of Korans to Soviet republics such as Uzbekistan. Mohammad Yousaf, a Pakistani general who attends the meeting, will later say that Casey said, “We can do a lot of damage to the Soviet Union.” [WASHINGTON POST, 7/19/1992] This will eventually evolve into CIA and ISI sponsored Afghan attacks inside the Soviet Union (see 1984-March 1985 and 1985-1987). Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Akhtar Abdur Rahman, William Casey, Mohammad Yousaf, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Soviet-Afghan War

October 1984: CIA Afghan Covert Operations Budget Increases Edit

Rep. Charlie Wilson. [Source: Sam Houston State University] Primarily due to the pressure from Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-TX), the CIA’s budget for the Afghan covert operations is tripled in a matter of a few weeks. The CIA initially resisted accepting the funds, but according to William Casey’s executive assistant Robert Gates, “Wilson just steamrolled [CIA Near East Division Chief Charles]—and the CIA for that matter.” [CRILE, 2003, PP. 102] Richard Clarke, a State Department analyst who later will become counterterrorism “tsar” for Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, will claim, “Unclassified studies show that [covert aid] grew from $35 million in 1982 to $600 million in 1987. With few exceptions, the funds bought materiel that was given to Afghan fighters by [the ISI]. CIA personnel were not authorized to enter Afghanistan, except rarely.” [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 50] Entity Tags: Robert M. Gates, Charlie Wilson, Richard A. Clarke, Central Intelligence Agency, Charles Cogen, William Casey Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Soviet-Afghan War

Late 1984: Bin Laden and His Mentor Azzam Set Up Precursor Organization to Al-Qaeda Edit

Sheikh Abdullah Azzam and his son-in-law Abdullah Anas in Afghanistan during the 1980s. [Source: History Channel] Osama bin Laden, Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, bin Laden’s mentor, and Abdullah Anas, Azzam’s son-in-law, create an organization called Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK), known in English as the Services Office. It is also known as Al-Kifah. This organization will become a key node in the private funding network for the Afghan war. [BERGEN, 2006, PP. 28-30] The US government will later call it the “precursor organization to al-Qaeda.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 89 ] Initially, Azzam runs it while bin Laden funds it. They create a guesthouse in Peshawar, Pakistan, to help foreign volunteers connect with rebel forces in Afghanistan. Prior to this time, the number of such volunteers is very small, perhaps only several dozen. But the number begins to dramatically expand. [NEW YORK TIMES, 1/14/2001; BERGEN, 2006, PP. 28-30] Donors will include the Saudi intelligence agency, the Saudi Red Crescent, the Muslim World League, and private donors, including Saudi princes. [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/23/2001] MAK/Al-Kifah begins fundraising in the US one year later (see 1985-1989). Entity Tags: Maktab al-Khidamat, Abdullah Anas, Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Soviet-Afghan War, Al-Kifah/MAK

Early 1984: Port Authority Establishes Office of Special PlanningEdit

Peter Goldmark. [Source: Environmental Defense Fund] Peter Goldmark, the executive director of the New York Port Authority, is concerned that, in light of terrorist attacks occurring around the world (see April 18-October 23, 1983), Port Authority facilities, including the World Trade Center, could become terrorist targets. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/28/2005; NEW YORK TIMES, 10/27/2005] He therefore creates a unit called the Office of Special Planning (OSP) to evaluate the vulnerabilities of all Port Authority facilities and present recommendations to minimize the risks of attack. The OSP is staffed by Port Authority police and civilian workers, and is headed by Edward O’Sullivan, who has experience in counterterrorism from earlier careers in the Navy and Marine Corps. In carrying out its work, the OSP will consult with such US agencies as the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, NSA, and Defense Department. It will also consult with security officials from other countries that have gained expertise in combating terrorism, such as England, France, Italy, and Israel. [GLANZ AND LIPTON, 2004, PP. 226; NEW YORK COUNTY SUPREME COURT, 1/20/2004] According to Peter Caram, head of the Port Authority’s Terrorist Intelligence Unit, the OSP will develop “an expertise unmatched in the United States.” [CARAM, 2001, PP. 12] In 1985 it will issue a report called “Counter-Terrorism Perspectives: The World Trade Center” (see November 1985). [NEW YORK COURT OF APPEALS, 2/16/1999] It will exist until 1987. [VILLAGE VOICE, 1/5/2000] Entity Tags: Office of Special Planning, Peter Goldmark, New York Port Authority Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: 1993 WTC Bombing

1984: US Agencies Keep US Senator in Dark about BCCI’s Criminal Activities Edit

Paula Hawkins. [Source: Public domain] In 1984, Senator Paula Hawkins (R-FL) meets with Pakistani President Muhammad Zia ul-Haq in Pakistan. During the meeting, she mentions that she is concerned about a Pakistani bank that is laundering money out of the Cayman Islands. Her staff later clarifies to Zia that she was referring to BCCI (which technically is not a Pakistani bank, but almost all of its top officials are Pakistani). As a result, Abdur Sakhia, the top BCCI official in the US, meets with Hawkins in the US a short time later and assures her that BCCI is not laundering money out of the Cayman Islands. Then officials from the Justice Department, State Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) meet with Hawkins’s staffers and assure them that BCCI is not the subject of any investigation. Weeks later, the State Department formally notifies the Pakistani government that BCCI is not under investigation. As a result, Hawkins drops her brief interest in BCCI. However, by this time the State Department, Justice Department, and DEA have all been briefed by the CIA about BCCI’s many criminal activities. Apparently, this information is deliberately kept from the senator. [BEATY AND GWYNNE, 1993, PP. 324-325] Entity Tags: US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, Paula Hawkins, Abdur Sakhia, US Department of State, Bank of Credit and Commerce International Category Tags: BCCI

1984: Ali Mohamed Works Briefly with CIA; Then Let Go Because of Connections to Islamic Fundamentalist Groups Edit

Egyptian militants open fire on Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. [Source: Public domain] Ali Mohamed is a major in the Egyptian army. He is highly educated, speaking several languages and possessing two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree. In 1981 he was taking part in a special program for foreign officers at the US Army Special Forces school at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, while soldiers with radical Islamic beliefs from his Egyptian army unit assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. He is forced to quit in early 1984 on suspicions of becoming too religious. He approaches the CIA in Egypt and volunteers to be a spy. The CIA accepts, and he makes contact in Germany with a branch of Hezbollah, the Middle Eastern militant group. The CIA has claimed that Mohamed secretly tells Hezbollah members that he is working with the CIA, but the CIA quickly discovers this. The CIA supposedly suspects he wanted to help Hezbollah spy on the CIA and cuts off all further ties with him and tries to stop him from coming to the US. [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/1/1998; SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 11/4/2001; WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/26/2001] But there will be claims that Mohamed then will come to the US through a secret CIA program. If true, this would cast doubt on the CIA’s account of their interaction with Mohamed (see September 1985). Entity Tags: Hezbollah, Ali Mohamed, Central Intelligence Agency Category Tags: Ali Mohamed, US Intel Links to Islamic Militancy

1984: Bin Laden Develops Ties with Pakistani ISI and Afghan Warlord Edit

Bin Laden first works for Maktab al-Khidamat from this building in Peshawar, a former British government guesthouse. [Source: PBS] Bin Laden moves to Peshawar, a Pakistani town bordering Afghanistan, and helps run a front organization for the mujaheddin known as Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK), which funnels money, arms, and fighters from the outside world into the Afghan war. [NEW YORKER, 1/24/2000] “MAK [is] nurtured by Pakistan’s state security services, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, the CIA’s primary conduit for conducting the covert war against Moscow’s occupation.” [MSNBC, 8/24/1998] Bin Laden becomes closely tied to the warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and greatly strengthens Hekmatyar’s opium smuggling operations. [LE MONDE (PARIS), 9/14/2001] Hekmatyar, who also has ties with bin Laden, the CIA, and drug running, has been called “an ISI stooge and creation.” [ASIA TIMES, 11/15/2001] MAK is also known as Al-Kifah and its branch in New York is called the Al-Kifah Refugee Center. This branch will play a pivotal role in the 1993 WTC bombing and also has CIA ties (see January 24, 1994). Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Central Intelligence Agency, Maktab al-Khidamat, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Soviet-Afghan War, Pakistan and the ISI, Al-Kifah/MAK, Drugs

1984: Bin Laden and Other Mujaheddin Leaders Meet Mysterious Europeans in Pakistan Edit

Osama bin Laden, his mentor Abdullah Azzam, and Afghan warlord Abdul Rasul Sayyaf meet two unnamed men in Peshawar, Pakistan. The two men are “supposed to be from somewhere in Europe” and cannot speak Arabic. As a result, Essam al Ridi, an Egyptian who has lived in the US, attends the meeting as a translator. Al Ridi will later say that the two men speak English “with an accent” and that he was invited to the meeting to translate between the men on the one hand and Sayyaf and Azzam on the other, indicating that bin Laden did not need a translator and could speak English. This is the first of several meetings between bin Laden and al Ridi, who purchases equipment for anti-Soviet fighters (see Early 1983-Late 1984 and Early 1989). [UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, 1/14/2001] Entity Tags: Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Abdullah Azzam, Essam al Ridi, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Soviet-Afghan War, Osama Bin Laden

January 4, 1984: Alleged Terrorist Plot to Bomb WTC UncoveredEdit

Peter Caram. [Source: SRR Training] The New York Port Authority, which owns the World Trade Center, is aware of terrorism occurring around the world and that the WTC is vulnerable to attack. It has therefore created the Terrorist Intelligence Unit within its police department, headed by Detective Sergeant Peter Caram, to gather information about terrorist groups and assess the vulnerability of its numerous facilities to attack. On this day, Caram writes a memo to the assistant superintendent of the Port Authority Police Department, reporting that the FBI has uncovered a terrorist threat: Two supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini are allegedly planning to bomb the WTC in the near future. Although the attack never occurs, this is the first of numerous occasions during the 1980s where the WTC is considered a potential target for a terrorist attack. [CARAM, 2001, PP. 4-5; NEW YORK COUNTY SUPREME COURT, 1/20/2004] Entity Tags: World Trade Center, Peter Caram Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: 1993 WTC Bombing

1984 and After: BCCI Dominates Supply Chain of CIA Supplies and Weapons Meant for Mujaheddin Edit

By 1984, huge amounts of arms and ammunition for the mujaheddin fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan are pouring into Pakistan. These weapons are funded by the CIA and Saudi government, and generally come into the port of Karachi. The criminal BCCI bank has an enforcement arm nicknamed the “Black Network.” Time magazine reporters Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne will later describe it as “a Karachi-based cadre of bank operatives, paramilitary units, spies, and enforcers who handled BCCI’s darkest operations around the globe and trafficked in bribery and corruption.” By 1984, BCCI and its Black Network takes effective control of Karachi’s port, dominating Pakistan’s customs service there with bribery and intimidation. BCCI is thus in a position to dominate the flow of supplies to the mujaheddin. Pakistan’s military handles the flow of weapons from Karachi to the Afghan border, but once there the supplies have to be carried by mules to reach the mujaheddin fighting in remote Afghan mountain ranges. BCCI controls this part of the supply chain as well. Sometimes BCCI personnel simply transport the supplies across Afghanistan to Iran and then sell them there for a profit. [BEATY AND GWYNNE, 1993, PP. 66, 315-316] The US government is aware of BCCI’s support role and cooperates with it. For instance, in 1987 USAID asks BCCI to buy 1,000 more mules to help the mujaheddin. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/3/1991] At almost every step of the way, BCCI takes a cut of the profits and often steals some of the supplies. [BEATY AND GWYNNE, 1993, PP. 66, 315-316] Entity Tags: Black Network, Bank of Credit and Commerce International, Central Intelligence Agency, USAID Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Soviet-Afghan War, Pakistan and the ISI, BCCI

1984 and After: US and British Intelligence Are Aware that Terrorist Abu Nidal Is Using BCCI in London, but Take No Action Edit

Abu Ndal circa 1982. [Source: Reuters / Corbis] The BBC will later suggest that US intelligence actually becomes aware of specific Abu Nidal accounts held in the criminal BCCI bank in 1984. This is because the FBI busts an illegal arms deal in New York City that involved Nidal’s BCCI accounts in London and a Nidal front company in Poland called SAS Trade at this time. [HERALD SUN (MELBOURNE), 8/2/1991] In the 1980s, Nidal is considered the world’s most wanted terrorist. In December 1985, for instance, his network launches simultaneous attacks in Rome and Vienna, killing or wounding dozens. In 1986, the CIA tells the State Department in detail about the criminal BCCI bank’s links with Nidal and his terrorist network. They reveal that Nidal has multiple accounts at BCCI branches in Europe. [BEATY AND GWYNNE, 1993, PP. 328] In July 1987, Ghassan Qassem, manager of one of BCCI’s London branches, is contacted by the British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6. They tell him that they know SAS Trade has many millions of dollars worth of accounts in his branch and that the company is an Abu Nidal front. Qassem agrees to be an informant. [OBSERVER, 1/18/2004] Nidal first opened a BCCI account in London in 1980, depositing $50 million using an alias. In addition to being a terrorist, Nidal is an illegal arms dealer and BCCI helps him buy and sell weapons, oftentimes involving British companies. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/30/1991] Qassem will later claim that he saw Nidal in Britain on three separate occasions and went shopping with him. In 1983, Nidal was interviewed by police, who took him straight to the airport and put him on a plane to leave the country. [GUARDIAN, 7/30/1991; OBSERVER, 1/18/2004] Qassem recognizes Nidal as a terrorist from a photograph in a magazine in 1987 and tells this to his BCCI superior, but he is told to keep quiet. The CIA and British intelligence use their knowledge of Nidal’s BCCI accounts to force SAS Trade to shut down in 1986, but usually they merely monitor terrorist activity. For instance, Nidal’s group teaches urban terrorist tactics to Peru’s Maoist Shining Path guerrillas in 1988. Shining Path pays Nidal $4 million for this work through his BCCI account and then attempts to bomb the US embassy in Lima later that year. Intelligence agencies also merely watch as Middle Eastern governments give tens of millions to Nidal through his BCCI accounts (see 1987-1990). In December 1989, Qassem tells his BCCI superiors that he is working with British intelligence. He is quickly fired. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/30/1991] Nidal learns of the surveillance and empties the accounts before they can be frozen. [GUARDIAN, 7/30/1991; OBSERVER, 1/18/2004] Entity Tags: UK Security Service (MI5), SAS Trade, Abu Nidal Organization, Central Intelligence Agency, US Department of State, Abu Nidal, UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) Category Tags: BCCI


Timeline linksEdit

September 8 September 9 September 10 September 11

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