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1990: Mohamed Atta Joins Muslim Brotherhood Linked Group Edit

A young Mohamed Atta with his father. [Source: Getty images] In 1990, after finishing his studies in architecture, Atta joins what is called an “engineering syndicate,” a professional or trade group. Like the school that trained many of its engineers, the syndicate serves as an unofficial base for the Muslim Brotherhood, where the organization recruits new operatives and spreads its ideology. Other members of the 9/11 plot will also have connections to the Muslim Brotherhood at various points in their lives. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/22/2001; OBSERVER, 9/23/2001; NEWSWEEK, 12/31/2001]

1990: Islamist Militants Set Up Operations in Bosnia Edit

Abdullah Anas. [Source: History Channel] According to author Richard Labeviere, in this year Talaat Fouad Qassem, a leader of the Egyptian militant group Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, is designated by a leaders from different radical militant groups to head up the militant effort in Bosnia. Qassem is living in exile in Denmark and recruits the help of two Algerian militants also living in exile in Europe, Kamer Eddine Kherbane and Abdullah Anas. In future years, the three of them will coordinate all the requests for volunteers from European countries who want to fight in Bosnia. They will send about 2,000 volunteers to camps in Bosnia near the towns of Zenica and Tuzla. Kherbane will directly lead the Tuzla group. [LABEVIERE, 1999, PP. 73] In 1991, Kherbane will set up a charity front in Croatia that is a branch of Maktab al-Khidamat/Al-Kifah, which is closely tied to al-Qaeda (see 1991 and Early 1990s). In 1995, Qassem will be abducted in Croatia by US forces and killed in Egypt (see September 13, 1995). Entity Tags: Talaat Fouad Qassem, Kamer Eddine Kherbane, Abdullah Anas, Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Balkans, Al-Kifah/MAK

1990: FBI Seizes List of Al-Kifah Contacts At some point in 1990, the FBI seizes a handwritten list of contacts from a top official of the Al-Kifah Refugee Center in Brooklyn. Al-Kifah is a charity front with links to both al-Qaeda and the CIA (see 1986-1993). Little is known about the list, such as when exactly it was seized and why, what was done with it, or whose names are on it, except that a Texas imam named Moataz Al-Hallak is on the list (mention of the list comes from an article about Al-Hallak). The FBI also seizes a different computerized list of Al-Kifah contacts at some point. [DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/19/1999] It will later be alleged that the CIA repeatedly blocked the FBI’s investigations into Al-Kifah (see Late 1980s and After). Entity Tags: Al-Kifah Refugee Center, Moataz Al-Hallak, Federal Bureau of Investigation Category Tags: Terrorism Financing, Al-Kifah/MAK

1980s and 1990s: Most 9/11 Hijackers Have Middle-Class Backgrounds

Ahmed Alnami. [Source: US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division] After 9/11, some in Western countries will say that one of the root causes of the attacks is poverty and assume that the hijackers must have been poor. However, most of them are middle class and have relatively comfortable upbringings. The editor of Al Watan, a Saudi Arabian daily, will call them “middle class adventurers” rather than Islamist fundamentalist ideologues. [BOSTON GLOBE, 3/3/2002]

Mohamed Atta grows up in Cairo, Egypt. His father is an attorney, and both Atta and his two sisters attend university. [MCDERMOTT, 2005, PP. 10-11] 
Marwan Alshehhi is from Ras al-Khaimah Emirate in the United Arab Emirates. His family is not particularly wealthy, but his father is a muezzin and one of his half-brothers a policeman. He attends university in Germany on an UAE army scholarship (see Spring 1996-December 23, 2000). [MCDERMOTT, 2005, PP. 55] 
Ziad Jarrah is from Beirut, Lebanon. His father is a mid-level bureaucrat and his mother, from a well-off family, is a teacher. The family drives a Mercedes and Jarrah attends private Christian schools before going to study in Germany. [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 4/19/2002; MCDERMOTT, 2005, PP. 49-50] 
Hani Hanjour is from Taif, near Mecca in Saudi Arabia. His family has a car exporting business and a farm, which he manages for five years in the mid-1990s. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/15/2001] 
Nawaf and Salem Alhazmi are from Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Their father owns a shop and the family is wealthy. [ARAB NEWS, 9/20/2001; WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 378] 
Abdulaziz Alomari is from southwestern Saudi Arabia. He is a university graduate (see Late 1990s). He apparently marries and has a child, a daughter, before 9/11. [SUNDAY TIMES (LONDON), 1/27/2002; SAUDI INFORMATION AGENCY, 9/11/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 232] 
Mohand Alshehri is from Tanooma in Asir Province, Saudi Arabia. He attends university (see Late 1990s). [SAUDI INFORMATION AGENCY, 9/11/2002] 
Hamza Alghamdi is from Baha Province, Saudi Arabia. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 231] He works as a stockboy in a housewares shop. [BOSTON GLOBE, 3/3/2002] 
Fayez Ahmed Banihammad is from the United Arab Emirates. He gives his home address as being in Khor Fakkan, a port and enclave of Sharjah Emirate on the country’s east coast. [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006] The 9/11 Commission will say he works as an immigration officer at one point. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 20 ] 
Maqed Mojed is from Annakhil, near Medina in western Saudi Arabia. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 232] He attends university (see Late 1990s). 
Ahmed Alhaznawi is from Hera, Baha Province. His father is an imam at the local mosque and he is reported to attend university (see Late 1990s). 
Ahmed Alnami is from Abha, Asir Province. His family is one of government officials and scientists and his father works for the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. He attends university (see Late 1990s). [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/15/2002] 
Wail Alshehi and Waleed Alshehri are from Khamis Mushayt in Asir Province, southwestern Saudi Arabia. Their father is a businessman and builds a mosque as a gift to the town. They both go to college (see Late 1990s). The Alshehris are a military family with three older brothers who hold high rank at the nearby airbase. Their uncle, Major General Faez Alshehri, is the logistical director of Saudi Arabia’s armed forces. [BOSTON GLOBE, 3/3/2002] Dr. Ali al-Mosa, a Saudi academic, will later comment: “Most of them were from very rich, top-class Saudi families. The father of the Alshehri boys is one of the richest people in the area and the other families are not far behind him.” [SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 10/5/2002] 

The social situation of the families of Satam al Suqami, Ahmed Alghamdi, Saeed Alghamdi, and Khaled Almihdhar is unknown. However, Almihdhar is from a distinguished family that traces its lineage back to the prophet Mohammed. [WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 379] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Khalid Almihdhar, Majed Moqed, Marwan Alshehhi, Mohand Alshehri, Salem Alhazmi, Saeed Alghamdi, Ziad Jarrah, Nawaf Alhazmi, Wail Alshehri, Hani Hanjour, Satam Al Suqami, Hamza Alghamdi, Waleed M. Alshehri, Ali al-Mosa, Abdulaziz Alomari, Ahmed Alghamdi, Ahmed Alnami, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, Ahmed Alhaznawi Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Alhazmi and Almihdhar, Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, Hani Hanjour, Ziad Jarrah, Other 9/11 Hijackers

1990: Ali Mohamed Becomes Informant for FBI Ali Mohamed, an al-Qaeda operative recently discharged from the US army (see November 1989), becomes an informant for the FBI. He applies to be an translator at FBI offices in Charlotte, North Carolina, and San Francisco, and is turned down. However, the San Francisco office hires him to be an informant to help expose a local document forging conspiracy that possibly involves members of Hamas. [MILLER, STONE, AND MITCHELL, 2002, PP. 144] Mohamed will continue to have connections with the FBI for much of the rest of the 1990s while also running an al-Qaeda cell in California. Entity Tags: Ali Mohamed, Federal Bureau of Investigation Category Tags: Ali Mohamed

Early 1990s: US Intelligence Uses Hi-Tech to Track Bin Laden The National Imagery Office, which coordinates all US satellite activity, begins satellite surveillance of bin Laden’s bases and training camps in Sudan and Afghanistan. Also, bin Laden’s voice print, a computerized record of his voice is made from tapes of his speeches that were distributed in Saudi Arabia around the time of the Gulf War. The NSA is able to use the voice print to scan satellite and cell phone calls for a match. As a result, “on numerous occasions the NSA and CIA” are able to monitor bin Laden’s calls even if he is not using his usual satellite phone. [REEVE, 1999, PP. 206] Entity Tags: National Imagery Office, Osama bin Laden, National Security Agency Category Tags: Remote Surveillance

Early 1990s-Late 1996: Bin Laden Frequently Travels to London, According to Various Sources The 1999 book The New Jackals by journalist Simon Reeve will report that in the early 1990s, bin Laden “was flitting between Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, London, and Sudan.” Reeve does not say who his sources are for this statement. [REEVE, 1999, PP. 156]

Bin Laden had concluded an arms deal to purchase ground-to-air missiles for anti-Soviet fighters at the Dorchester Hotel in Central London in 1986 (see Mid-1986). 
Bin Laden allegedly visits the London mansion of Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz around 1991 (see (1991)). 
Bin Laden allegedly travels to London and Manchester to meet GIA militants in 1994 (see 1994). 
One report claims bin Laden briefly lived in London in 1994 (see Early 1994). 
Similarly, the 1999 book Dollars for Terror by Richard Labeviere will claim, “According to several authorized sources, Osama bin Laden traveled many times to the British capital between 1995 and 1996, on his private jet.” 
The book will also point out that in February 1996, bin Laden was interviewed for the Arabic weekly al-Watan al-Arabi and the interview was held in the London house of Khalid al-Fawwaz, bin Laden’s de facto press secretary at the time (see Early 1994-September 23, 1998). [LABEVIERE, 1999, PP. 101] 
An interview with bin Laden will be published in the Egyptian weekly Rose Al Yusuf on June 17, 1996. The interview is said to have been conducted in London, but the exact date of the interview is not known. [EMERSON, 2006, PP. 423] 
In a book first published in 1999, journalist John Cooley will say that bin Laden “seems to have avoided even clandestine trips [to London] from 1995.” [COOLEY, 2002, PP. 63] 
Labeviere, however, will claim bin Laden was in London as late as the second half of 1996, and, “according to several Arab diplomatic sources, this trip was clearly under the protection of the British authorities.” [LABEVIERE, 1999, PP. 108] 

After 9/11, some will report that bin Laden never traveled to any Western countries in his life. On the other hand, in 2005 a British cabinet official will state that in late 1995 bin Laden actually considered moving to London (see Late 1995). Entity Tags: Khalid al-Fawwaz, Osama bin Laden Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

1990-September 10, 2001: Around Three to Four Dozen Al-Qaeda Operations Thwarted before 9/11 Counterterrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna will claim in a 2002 book that “in addition to successfully completing many missions, a significant number of planned bombings and assassinations [by al-Qaeda] have been thwarted. At least three to four dozen operations were detected and disrupted by government security and intelligence agencies or called off by al-Qaeda.” For instance, he cites a 1992 al-Qaeda plot to blow up a plane, which is called off when an operative involved in the plot is arrested. He also cites attempts to bomb US embassies in Albania, Bosnia, and Uganda, and a 2000 plot to assassinate King Abdullah II of Jordan. [GUNARATNA, 2003, PP. 133] Gunaratna has had unusually good access to US intelligence information. One article calls him “something of an ad hoc adviser to US intelligence officials.” And he is the only private citizen believed to have access to some top secret transcripts of al-Qaeda prisoners interrogated after 9/11. [BERGEN RECORD, 7/10/2003] Entity Tags: Rohan Gunaratna, Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein, Al-Qaeda Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action Before 9/11 May 1990: Bin Laden Family Forms Saudi Binladin Group

King Fahd (left) with Bakh bin Laden (right), a brother of Osama bin Laden, in the mid-1990s. [Source: Agence France-Presse] (click image to enlarge) Beginning in the 1920s, Mohammed Awad bin Laden rose from relative obscurity by creating a construction company favored by the Saudi royal family. He had 54 children before he was killed in a plane crash in 1968. His son Osama bin Laden was born in 1957. The bin Laden family’s companies continued to grow until they became the second wealthiest family in Saudi Arabia, behind only the Saudi royal family. In May 1990, the bin Laden family registers a new parent company for its business activities called the Saudi Binladin Group. Bakr bin Laden, one of Mohammed’s sons, is running the company by this time. By 9/11, the company will employ 36,000 people in 30 countries. The company has been branching out from construction to many other endeavors. However, it will keep a low profile internationally, as most of its business is still in Saudi Arabia. It has business ties with major international corporations such as General Electric, Unilever, Motorola, Schweppes, Citigroup, and HSBC Bank. [HA'ARETZ, 12/18/2002] Entity Tags: Bakr Mohammed bin Laden, Saudi Binladin Group, Bin Laden Family, Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden Category Tags: Saudi Arabia, Bin Laden Family

Mid-1990s: Al-Qadi Claims Good Relationship with Cheney Saudi multimillionaire Yassin al-Qadi will say in an interview shortly after 9/11, “I have also met with US Vice President and former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney in Jeddah [Saudi Arabia] when he came for a lecture organized by the Dallah Group. I spoke to him for a long time and we still have cordial relations.” The US had named al-Qadi a supporter of terrorism and frozen his assets two days before (see October 12, 2001). Oussama Ziade, CEO of Ptech, a US computer company that al-Qadi had invested in (see 1994) and that will be raided for suspected terrorism ties (see December 5, 2002), later will claim that al-Qadi “talked very highly of his relationship” with Cheney. Ziade will claim he only knew al-Qadi for a few years starting around 1994, so presumably the contact between al-Qadi and Cheney happens during the mid-1990s. A newspaper will report later that when a Cheney spokeswoman is asked about his possible ties to al-Qadi, she replies that “she had no reason to believe the vice president had met with al-Qadi”. Al-Qadi claims to be a respected businessman who met other important leaders such as ex-President Jimmy Carter. [ARAB NEWS, 10/14/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 1/3/2003; COMPUTERWORLD, 1/17/2003] The US will declare al-Qadi a terrorism financier shortly after 9/11 (see October 12, 2001), and the Dallah Group will be accused of funding al-Qaeda (see November 22, 2002). Entity Tags: Yassin al-Qadi, Dallah Al-Baraka, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney Category Tags: Terrorism Financing, BMI and Ptech

Mid-1990s: Hezbollah Allegedly Trains Some Al-Qaeda Operatives in Explosives Edit

In 2001, Jamal al-Fadl, a highly reliable al-Qaeda defector (see June 1996-April 1997), will claim that numerous al-Qaeda operatives went to Lebanon and received training from the militant group Hezbollah. Double agent Ali Mohamed sets up a meeting between Osama bin Laden and Hezbollah leader Imad Mugniyah in early 1994 (see Shortly After February 1994). After that meeting, al-Fadl will claim, the following al-Qaeda figures train with Hezbollah:

Saif al-Islam al-Masri, a member of al-Qaeda’s military ruling council. 
Abu Talha al-Sudani, an al-Qaeda leader living in Somalia. 
Saif al Adel, al-Qaeda’s probable number three leader after the death of Mohammed Atef in 2001. 
Two others. One of them runs one of al-Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan. 

Al-Fadl will add that some videotapes are brought back and he sees one of them. It teaches how to blow up “big buildings.” [UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. USAMA BIN LADEN, ET AL., DAY 2, 2/6/2001] Ali Mohamed will also claim in court that Hezbollah subsequently provides explosives training for al-Qaeda and Islamic Jihad. So will US prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who states, “in the middle of the 1990s, al-Qaeda members received sophisticated explosives training from Hezbollah, despite the deep religious differences between the Sunni members of al-Qaeda and the Shiite members of Hezbollah.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/16/2004] However, it seems the links between al-Qaeda and Hezbollah decline after this time. Entity Tags: Jamal al-Fadl, Abu Talha al-Sudani, Ali Mohamed, Osama bin Laden, Imad Mugniyah, Saif al-Adel, Patrick Fitzgerald, Saif al-Islam al-Masri Category Tags: Other Pre-9/11 Events

July 1990: ’Blind Sheikh’ Enters US Despite Being on Terrorist Watch List, Takes Over Al-Kifah Edit

Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman. [Source: FBI] Despite being on a US terrorist watch list for three years, radical Muslim leader Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman enters the US on a “much-disputed” tourist visa issued by an undercover CIA agent. [VILLAGE VOICE, 3/30/1993; ATLANTIC MONTHLY, 5/1996; LANCE, 2003, PP. 42] Abdul-Rahman was heavily involved with the CIA and Pakistani ISI efforts to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan, and became famous traveling all over the world for five years recruiting new fighters for the Afghan war. The CIA gave him visas to come to the US starting in 1986 (see December 15, 1986-1989) . However, he never hid his prime goals to overthrow the governments of the US and Egypt. [ATLANTIC MONTHLY, 5/1996] FBI agent Tommy Corrigan will later say that prior to Abdul-Rahman’s arrival, “terrorism for all intents and purposes didn’t exist in the United States. But [his] arrival in 1990 really stoke the flames of terrorism in this country. This was a major-league ballplayer in what at the time was a minor-league ballpark. He was… looked up to worldwide. A mentor to bin Laden, he was involved with the MAK over in Pakistan.” The charity front Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK) is also known as Al-Kifah, and it has a branch in Brooklyn known as the Al-Kifah Refugee Center. The head of that branch, Mustafa Shalabi, picks up Abdul-Rahman at the airport when he first arrives and finds an apartment for him. Abdul-Rahman soon begins preaching at Al Farouq mosque, which is in the same building as the Al-Kifah office, plus two other locals mosques, Abu Bakr and Al Salaam. [LANCE, 2006, PP. 53] He quickly turns Al-Kifah into his “de facto headquarters.” [ATLANTIC MONTHLY, 5/1996] He is “infamous throughout the Arab world for his alleged role in the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.” Abdul-Rahman immediately begins setting up a militant Islamic network in the US. [VILLAGE VOICE, 3/30/1993] He is believed to have befriended bin Laden while in Afghanistan, and bin Laden secretly pays Abdul-Rahman’s US living expenses. [ATLANTIC MONTHLY, 5/1996; ABC NEWS, 8/16/2002] For the next two years, Abdul-Rahman will continue to exit and reenter the US without being stopped or deported, even though he is still on the watch list (see Late October 1990-October 1992). Entity Tags: National Security Agency, Osama bin Laden, Meir Kahane, Omar Abdul-Rahman, Central Intelligence Agency, Al-Kifah Refugee Center, US Department of State, Abu Bakr Mosque, Al Farouq Mosque, Al Salaam Mosque, Anwar Sadat, World Trade Center Category Tags: Soviet-Afghan War, Warning Signs, 1993 WTC Bombing, Ali Mohamed, Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, Al-Kifah/MAK

August 2, 1990-March 1991: Bin Laden and Saudi Government Clash Over First Gulf War After Iraq invades Kuwait (see November 8, 1990), bin Laden, newly returned to Saudi Arabia, offers the Saudi government the use of his thousands of veteran fighters from the Afghan war to defend the country in case Iraq attacks it. The Saudi government turns him down, allowing 300,000 US soldiers on Saudi soil instead. Bin Laden is incensed, and immediately goes from ally to enemy of the Saudis. [COLL, 2004, PP. 221-24, 270-71] After a slow buildup, the US invades Iraq in March 1991 and reestablishes Kuwait. [POSNER, 2003, PP. 40-41] Bin Laden soon leaves Saudi Arabia and soon forms al-Qaeda ((see Summer 1991)). Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden, Saudi Arabia

October 1990: Bin Laden Allegedly Helps Install Pakistani Leader Nawaz Sharif In October 1990, Nawaz Sharif is running for election to replace Benazir Bhutto as the prime minister of Pakistan. According to a senior Pakistani intelligence source, bin Laden passes a considerable amount of money to Sharif and his party, since Sharif promises to introduce a hard-line Islamic government. Bin Laden has been supporting Sharif for several years. There is said to be a photograph of Sharif chatting with bin Laden. Sharif wins the election and while he does not introduce a hard-line Islamic government, his rule is more amenable to bin Laden’s interests than Bhutto’s had been. Sharif will stay in power until 1993, then will take over from Bhutto again in 1996 and rule for three more years. [REEVE, 1999, PP. 170-171] Former ISI official Khalid Khawaja, a self-proclaimed close friend of bin Laden, will later claim that Sharif and bin Laden had a relationship going back to when they first met face to face in the late 1980s. [ABC NEWS, 11/30/2007] There are also accounts of additional links between Sharif and bin Laden (see Spring 1989, Late 1996, and Between Late 1996 and Late 1998). Entity Tags: Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto, Khalid Khawaja, Osama bin Laden Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan and the ISI

October 1990: US Imposes Sanctions on Pakistan Edit

Since 1985, US Congress has required that sanctions be imposed on Pakistan if there is evidence that Pakistan is developing a nuclear weapons program (see August 1985-October 1990). With the Soviet-Afghan war over, President Bush finally acknowledges widespread evidence of Pakistan’s nuclear program and cuts off all US military and economic aid to Pakistan. However, it appears some military aid will still get through. For instance, in 1992, Senator John Glenn will write, “Shockingly, testimony by Secretary of State James Baker this year revealed that the administration has continued to allow Pakistan to purchase munitions through commercial transactions, despite the explicit, unambiguous intent of Congress that ‘no military equipment or technology shall be sold or transferred to Pakistan.’” [INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, 6/26/1992] These sanctions will be officially lifted a short time after 9/11. Entity Tags: John Glenn, Pakistan, United States, George Herbert Walker Bush Timeline Tags: A. Q. Khan's Nuclear Network Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Pakistani Nukes & Islamic Militancy

Late October 1990-October 1992: ’Blind Sheikh’ Able to Repeatedly Leave and Reenter US Despite Being on Watch List Edit

In July 1990, the “Blind Sheikh,” Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, was mysteriously able to enter the US and remain there despite being a well known public figure and being on a watch list for three years (see July 1990).

In late October 1990, he travels to London, so he is out of the US when one of his followers assassinates the Zionist rabbi Meir Kahane on November 5, 1990 (see November 5, 1990). He returns to the US in mid-November under the name “Omar Ahmed Rahman” and again has no trouble getting back in despite still being on the watch list. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/13/1993] 
The State Department revokes his US visa on November 17 after the FBI informs it that he is in the US. [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/16/1990] 
In December 1990, Abdul-Rahman leaves the US again to attend an Islamic conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. He returns nine days later and again has no trouble reentering, despite not even having a US visa at this point. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/13/1993] 
On December 16, 1990, the New York Times publishes an article titled, “Islamic Leader on US Terrorist List Is in Brooklyn,” which makes his presence in the US publicly known. The Immigration and Nationalization Service (INS) is said to be investigating why he has not been deported already. [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/16/1990] 
Yet in April 1991, the INS approves his application for permanent residence. 
He then leaves the US again in June 1991 to go on the religious hajj to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and returns on July 31, 1991. INS officials identify him coming in, but let him in anyway. [NEW YORK TIMES, 4/24/1993; WASHINGTON POST, 7/13/1993] 
In June 1992, his application for political asylum will be turned down and his permanent residence visa revoked. But INS hearings on his asylum bid are repeatedly delayed and still have not taken place when the WTC is bombed in February 1993 (see February 26, 1993). [LANCE, 2003, PP. 105-106] 
Abdul-Rahman then goes to Canada around October 1992 and returns to the US yet again. The US and Canada claim to have no documentation on his travel there, but numerous witnesses in Canada see him pray and lecture there. Representative Charles Schumer (D) says, “Here they spent all this time trying to get him out. He goes to Canada and gives them the perfect reason to exclude him and they don’t.” 
After the WTC bombing, the US could detain him pending his deportation hearing but chooses not to, saying it would be too costly to pay for his medical bills. [NEW YORK TIMES, 4/24/1993] 

Abdul-Rahman will be involved in the follow up “Landmarks” plot (see June 24, 1993) before finally being arrested later in 1993. It will later be alleged that he was protected by the CIA. In 1995, the New York Times will comment that the link between Abdul-Rahman and the CIA “is a tie that remains muddy.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/2/1995] Entity Tags: US Department of State, Meir Kahane, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Omar Abdul-Rahman, Charles Schumer, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency Category Tags: Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, 1993 WTC Bombing, US Intel Links to Islamic Militancy

November 5, 1990: First Bin Laden-Related Terror Attack in US as Jewish Rabbi Is Assassinated

Meir Kahane. [Source: Publicity photo] Egyptian-American 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 is ranked by the FBI as the most lethal domestic militant group in the US at the time. Nosair is captured after a police shoot-out. [VILLAGE VOICE, 3/30/1993] Within hours, overwhelming evidence suggests that the assassination was a wide conspiracy but the US government will immediately declare that Nosair was a lone gunman and ignore the evidence suggesting otherwise (see November 5, 1990 and After). Nosair will later be acquitted of Kahane’s murder (though he will be convicted of lesser charges) as investigators continue to ignore most of the evidence in his case which links to a wider conspiracy (see December 7, 1991). Nosair is connected to al-Qaeda through his job at the Al-Kifah Refugee Center, an al-Qaeda front (see 1986-1993). A portion of Nosair’s defense fund will be paid for by bin Laden, although this will not be discovered until some time later. [ABC NEWS, 8/16/2002; LANCE, 2003, PP. 34-37] Entity Tags: Meir Kahane, Al-Qaeda, Al-Kifah Refugee Center, El Sayyid Nosair Category Tags: Warning Signs, 1993 WTC Bombing, Ali Mohamed, Al-Kifah/MAK, Alleged Al-Qaeda Linked Attacks

November 5, 1990 and After: US Promotes Lone Gunman Theory in Kahane Assassination, Hiding Evidence of Al-Qaeda Links

Invesigators remove boxes of evidence from El Sayyid Nosair’s residence hours after the assassination. [Source: National Geographic] US government agencies cover up evidence of a conspiracy in the wake of El Sayyid Nosair’s assassination of controversial right-wing Zionist leader Rabbi Meir Kahane (see November 5, 1990). Nosair is captured a few blocks from the murder site 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, and evidence indicating a wider plot with additional targets is quickly found. [VILLAGE VOICE, 3/30/1993] Later that night, police arrive at Nosair’s house and find a pair of Middle Eastern men named Mahmud Abouhalima and Mohammed Salameh there. They are taken in for questioning. Additionally, police collect a total of 47 boxes of evidence from Nosair’s house, including: [LANCE, 2003, PP. 34-35]

Thousands of rounds of ammunition. 
Maps and drawings of New York City landmarks, including the World Trade Center. 
Documents in Arabic containing bomb making formulas, details of an Islamic militant cell, and mentions of the term “al-Qaeda.” 
Recorded sermons by Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman in which he encourages his followers to “destroy the edifices of capitalism” and destroy “the enemies of Allah” by “destroying their… high world buildings.” 
Tape-recorded phone conversations of Nosair reporting to Abdul-Rahman about paramilitary training, and even discussing bomb-making manuals. 
Videotaped talks that Ali Mohamed delivered at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. 
Top secret manuals also from Fort Bragg. There are even classified documents belonging to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Commander in Chief of the Army’s Central Command. These manuals and documents had clearly come from Mohamed, who completed military service at Fort Bragg the year before and frequently stayed in Nosair’s house. 
A detailed and top secret plan for Operation Bright Star, a special operations training exercise simulating an attack on Baluchistan, a part of Pakistan between Afghanistan and the Arabian Sea. [RALEIGH NEWS AND OBSERVER, 10/21/2001; RALEIGH NEWS AND OBSERVER, 11/13/2001; WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/26/2001; ABC NEWS, 8/16/2002; LANCE, 2003, PP. 34-35] 
Also within hours, two investigators will connect Nosair with surveillance photographs of Mohamed giving weapons training to Nosair, Abouhalima, Salameh, and others at a shooting range the year before (see July 1989). [LANCE, 2003, PP. 34-35] But, ignoring all of this evidence, still later that evening, Joseph Borelli, the New York police department’s chief detective, will publicly declare the assassination the work of a “lone deranged gunman.” He will further state, “I’m strongly convinced that he acted alone.… He didn’t seem to be part of a conspiracy or any terrorist organization.” The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will later conclude, “The [New York Police Department] and the District Attorney’s office… reportedly wanted the appearance of speedy justice and a quick resolution to a volatile situation. By arresting Nosair, they felt they had accomplished both.” [VILLAGE VOICE, 3/30/1993; LANCE, 2003, PP. 34-36] Abouhalima and Salameh are released, only to be later convicted for participating in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Investigators will later find in Nosair’s possessions a formula for a bomb almost identical to one used in the WTC bombing. [NEW YORKER, 3/17/1995] As one FBI agent will later put 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.” The 47 boxes of evidence collected at Nosair’s house that evening are stored away, inaccessible to prosecutors and investigators. The documents found will not be translated until after the World Trade Center bombing. Nosair will later be acquitted of Kahane’s murder (though he will be convicted of lesser charges), as investigators will continue to ignore all evidence that could suggest Nosair did not act alone (see December 7, 1991). [ABC NEWS, 8/16/2002; LANCE, 2003, PP. 34-37] District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who prosecuted the case, will later speculate the CIA may have encouraged the FBI not to pursue any other leads. Nosair worked at the Al-Kifah Refugee Center which was closely tied to covert CIA operations in Afghanistan (see Late 1980s and After). [NEW YORKER, 3/17/1995]

Entity Tags: Joseph Borelli, Mahmud Abouhalima, Meir Kahane, Federal Bureau of Investigation, El Sayyid Nosair, Al-Qaeda, Ali Mohamed, Central Intelligence Agency, Robert Morgenthau, Mohammed Salameh, Al-Kifah Refugee Center Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action Before 9/11, 1993 WTC Bombing, Ali Mohamed, Al-Kifah/MAK, Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman

November 8, 1990: Bush Announces Massive Troop Deployment in Persian Gulf

George H.W. Bush and Dick Cheney. [Source: Representational Pictures] President Bush, reeling from the Republican defeat in the midterm elections two days before, announces the deployment of 200,000 more troops around the Persian Gulf to augment the 250,000 already in place. Bush announces the deployment without consulting or advising Congress, a brush-off that angers many legislators who feel that Bush kept this from Congress in order to make sure it did not become an election issue. Bush is also weighing the advice of Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, who argues that the president does not need the authorization of Congress to wage war. [DEAN, 2007, PP. 90] Entity Tags: George Herbert Walker Bush, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion, US-Iraq 1980s Category Tags: Saudi Arabia

Mid-November 1990: CIA Allegedy Blocks FBI Investigation of ‘Blind Sheikh’ in Kahane Assassination The FBI is apparently under pressure to back off from investigating Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman. One week after the murder of Zionist rabbi Meir Kahane, a long-time FBI counterterrorism expert meets with one of his top undercover operatives. According to the FBI agent, the undercover operative asks, “Why aren’t we going after the Sheikh [Abdul-Rahman]?” The FBI agent replies, “It’s hands-off.” He further explains, “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.” The agent concludes that Abdul-Rahman is untouchable. Noting how the government is already firmly suggesting that El Sayyid Nosair was the only one involved in Kahane’s murder, he says, “I haven’t seen the lone-gunman theory advocated [so forcefully] since John F. Kennedy.” [VILLAGE VOICE, 3/30/1993] The FBI will also fail to look at a wealth of evidence suggesting others were involved in the assassination (see November 5, 1990 and After). Entity Tags: El Sayyid Nosair, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Meir Kahane, Omar Abdul-Rahman Category Tags: 1993 WTC Bombing, Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, Other Possible Moles or Informants, Counterterrorism Action Before 9/11, US Intel Links to Islamic Militancy

November 28, 1990: US Intelligence Predicts Political Collapse and Civil War in Yugoslavia The New York Times reports that US intelligence has created a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) predicting Yugoslavia will break apart, probably within 18 months, and that civil war within Yugoslavia is likely. The NIE is said to be unusually bold and runs counter to some analysis in the State Department and elsewhere. It blames Slobodan Milosevic. president of Serbia, as the principal instigator of trouble. The Times also notes that, “Late last month, the House and Senate passed an amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriation law that bars any United States loans or credits for Yugoslavia unless the assistance is directed to a republic ‘which has held free and fair elections and which is not engaged in systematic abuse of human rights.’” [NEW YORK TIMES, 11/28/1990] Entity Tags: Slobodan Milosevic, US intelligence Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Balkans

Between November 28, 1990 and February 28, 1991: Radical London Imam Bakri Calls for Assassination of British Prime Minister, but Is Not Prosecuted Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, a leading Islamist radical based in London, calls for the assassination of British Prime Minister John Major. Bakri says that Major is “a legitimate target; if anyone gets the opportunity to assassinate him, I don’t think they should save it. It is our Islamic duty and we will celebrate his death.” Bakri makes this call at some point after Major’s appointment to succeed Margaret Thatcher, but before the end of the Gulf War, the event that inspires Bakri’s statement. However, Bakri will later say that this did not apply in Britain and that such assassination could only be properly carried out in a Muslim country. He is interviewed by the police but not charged, one of almost a dozen such incidents when a decision not to prosecute Bakri is taken. He will later call for the assassination of Major’s successor, Tony Blair (see December 10, 2000). [TERRORISM MONITOR, 7/7/2005; O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 113] Bakri works as an informer for British intelligence at some point (see Spring 2005-Early 2007), although it is unclear whether he is doing so at this time. Entity Tags: Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed Category Tags: Omar Bakri & Al-Muhajiroun, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

Late 1990s: British Intelligence Does Not Stop Possible Future 7/7 Bombings Mastermind from Recruiting for Al-Qaeda in London

Abu Hamza al-Masri (left) riding in a car with Haroon Rashid Aswat in January 1999. [Source: Sunday Times] Haroon Rashid Aswat is a radical Muslim of Indian descent but born and raised in Britain. Around 1995, when he was about 21 years old, he left Britain and attended militant training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is said to have later told investigators that he once served as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden. In the late 1990s, he returns to Britain and becomes a “highly public aide” to radical London imam Abu Hamza al-Masri. Reda Hassaine, an informant for the French and British intelligence services (see After March 1997 and Late January 1999), will later recall regularly seeing Aswat at the Finsbury Park mosque where Abu Hamza preaches. Hassaine frequently sees Aswat recruiting young men to join al-Qaeda. “Inside the mosque he would sit with the new recruits telling them about life after death and the obligation of every Muslim to do the jihad against the unbelievers. All the talk was about killing in order to go to paradise and get the 72 virgins.” Aswat also shows potential recruits videos of the militants fighting in Bosnia and Chechnya. Hassaine will add: “He was always wearing Afghan or combat clothes. In the evening he offered some tea to the people who would sit with him to listen to the heroic action of the mujaheddin before joining the cleric for the finishing touch of brainwashing. The British didn’t seem to understand how dangerous these people were.” Hassaine presumably tells his British handlers about Aswat, as he is regularly reporting about activities as the mosque around this time, but the British take no action. [SUNDAY TIMES (LONDON), 7/31/2005] It will later be reported that Aswat is the mastermind of the 7/7 London bombings (see Late June-July 7, 2005). Some of the 7/7 suicide bombers regularly attended the Finsbury Park mosque, and may have been recruited by al-Qaeda there or at another mosque in Britain. Counterterrorism expert John Loftus will later claim that Aswat in fact was working with British intelligence. He will say that in the late 1990s British intelligence was trying to get Islamist militants to fight in Kosovo against the Serbians and Aswat was part of this recruitment effort (see July 29, 2005). [FOX NEWS, 7/29/2005] Entity Tags: Reda Hassaine, Abu Hamza al-Masri, Al-Qaeda, John Loftus, Haroon Rashid Aswat Category Tags: Haroon Rashid Aswat, Reda Hassaine, Al-Qaeda in Balkans, 2005 7/7 London Bombings, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

Late 1990: Fervent Muslim Wins Vote in Mostly Secular Bosnia

Alija Izetbegovic. [Source: US Defense Department / Helene C. Stikkel] Alija Izetbegovic is elected leader of Bosnia, which is still a republic within the nation of Yugoslavia. He wins the vote because Muslims have a plurality of about 40 percent in the republic. During World War II, Izetbegovic supported the Handzar divisions organized by the Nazi SS. After the war, he was sentenced to three years in prison for his wartime activities. He wrote a controversial Islamic manifesto in 1970 entitled “The Islamic Declaration.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/20/2003] In it, he called for “political revolution” and wrote, “There can be no peace or harmony between the ‘Islamic religion’ and non-Islamic social and political institutions.” He also wrote, “Our objective is the Islamization of Muslims” and “Our motto is to have faith and fight.” [SCHINDLER, 2007, PP. 45] In 1983, the Communist government of Yugoslavia sentenced him to 14-years in prison on charges of conspiring to create a Muslim state, however he was released in 1988. The New York Times will later say that the “Muslims of Bosnia were overwhelmingly a secular people. [But] in his strong religious faith, Mr. Izetbegovic was the exception rather than the rule.” He win remain the leader of the Bosnian Muslims through the rest of the 1990s. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/20/2003] Entity Tags: Alija Izetbegovic Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Balkans

Late 1990s: CIA Director Tenet Has Direct, Private Channels to Saudi Leaders George Tenet, appointed as CIA director in 1997, develops close personal relationships with top Saudi officials, especially Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the US. Tenet develops a habit of meeting with Bandar at his home near Washington about once a month. But CIA officers handling Saudi issues complain that Tenet doesn’t tell them what he discusses with Bandar. Often they are only able to learn about Tenet’s deals with the Saudis later and through Saudi contacts, not from their own boss. Tenet also makes one of his closest aides the chief of the CIA station in Saudi Arabia. This aide often communicates directly with Tenet, avoiding the usual chain of command. Apparently as a favor to the Saudis, CIA analysts are discouraged from writing reports raising questions about the Saudi relationship to Islamic extremists. [RISEN, 2006, PP. 185] Entity Tags: George J. Tenet, Central Intelligence Agency, Bandar bin Sultan Category Tags: Saudi Arabia

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