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1999Edit

1999: Future Ruler of United Arab Emirates Allegedly Goes Bird Hunting with Bin Laden Edit

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Defense Minister and Crown Prince for the emirate of Dubai, allegedly goes bird hunting with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Bin Laden is already widely considered to have approved the bombing of two US embassies in Africa the year before (see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998). [1] In early February 1999, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke meets with Al Maktoum in the UAE and gets him to agree to work with the US to get bin Laden. [2] Al Maktoum is known to love bird hunting, as do many other UAE royals (see 1995-2001). The US calls off an attack on bin Laden in 1999 because he is bird hunting with UAE royals at the time (see February 11, 1999). Al Maktoum hunts in Afghanistan several times in 1998 and 1999, but is only known to hunt with bin Laden once. He is so impressed by the Taliban that in 1999 he suspends all landing fees for Ariana Airlines Wikipedia, the Afghanistan national airline which has been effectively taken over by the Taliban and al-Qaeda by this time (see Mid-1996-October 2001). His father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ruler of the UAE, also hunts in Afghanistan around this time, but there are no reports of him hunting with bin Laden.[3] In 2006, Al Maktoum will become the Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE, and the ruler of the emirate of Dubai. As ruler of Dubai, he and his family have 100% ownership and control of DP World, a UAE company that will be the subject of controversy when it attempts to purchase some US port facilities in 2006.[4]

1999: 9/11 Funder Offered Deal to Turn Informant Edit

Saeed Sheikh, imprisoned in India from 1994 to December 1999 for kidnapping Britons and Americans, meets with a British official and a lawyer nine times while in prison. Supposedly, the visits are to check on his living conditions, since he is a British citizen. [5] However, the London Times will later claim that British intelligence secretly offers amnesty and the ability to “live in London a free man” if he will reveal his links to al-Qaeda. The Times claims that he refuses the offer.[6]Yet after he is rescued in a hostage swap deal in December, the press reports that he, in fact, is freely able to return to Britain.[7] He visits his parents there in 2000 and again in early 2001 and is alleged to wire money to the 9/11 hijackers during this period (see Early August 2001). [8]

He is not charged with kidnapping until well after 9/11. Saeed’s kidnap victims call the government’s decision not to try him a “disgrace” and “scandalous.” [9] The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review later suggests that not only is Saeed closely tied to both the ISI Wikipedia and al-Qaeda, but may also have been working for the CIA: “There are many in Musharraf’s government who believe that Saeed Sheikh’s power comes not from the ISI, but from his connections with our own CIA. The theory is that… Saeed Sheikh was bought and paid for.”[10]

1999: French Put Moussaoui on Watch List, Ask British to Monitor Him Edit

French intelligence learns Zacarias Moussaoui went to an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in 1998 (see 1995-1998).[11] The Associated Press will report that he was placed on the watch list for alleged links to the GIA, an Algerian militant group. [12] The French also warn the British about Moussaoui’s training camp connections. [13] French investigators ask MI5 to place Moussaoui under surveillance. In early December 2001, the Independent will report that “The request appears to have been ignored” and that the British “appear to have done nothing with the information.” [14] However, later in the same month, the Observer will report that MI5 did in fact place Moussaoui under surveillance, as MI5 was monitoring his telephone calls in 2000 (see Mid-2000-December 9, 2000).

1999: George W. Bush Hints at Invading Iraq in Future Presidency Edit

Mickey Herskowitz. [Source: Public domain] Presidential candidate George W. Bush tells prominent Texas author and Bush family friend Mickey Herskowitz, who is helping Bush write an autobiography, that as president he would invade Iraq if given the opportunity. “One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief,” Herskowitz remembers Bush saying. “My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of [Kuwait] and he wasted it. If I have a chance to invade Iraq, if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.” Herskowitz later says he believes Bush’s comments were intended to distinguish himself from his father, rather than express a desire to invade Iraq. [HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/31/2004] Entity Tags: George W. Bush, Mickey Herskowitz Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

1999: CIA Launches Operation to Track Militants Passing through Dubai Airport The CIA begins an operation to track suspected al-Qaeda operatives as they transit the airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). When it is revealed in 2002 that 9/11 hijacker Ziad Jarrah is monitored as a part of this operation (see January 30, 2000), sources from the UAE and Europe describe the operation to CNN, and one of them draws a map of the airport, showing how the operation usually works and how the people wanted for questioning are intercepted. UAE officials are often told in advance of who is coming in and who should be questioned. [CNN, 8/1/2002] Almost all the hijackers pass through Dubai at some point in the months before 9/11, some repeatedly (see December 8, 2000, April 11-June 28, 2001, and June 2001). One of them, Khalid Almihdhar, has his passport photocopied in Dubai by local authorities and the CIA (see January 2-5, 2000). Also, three of the hijackers, Satam al Suqami, Ahmed Alghamdi and Hamza Alghamdi, are the subject a US customs investigation at the time they pass through Dubai (see September 2000 and Spring 2001), but it is unknown if there is any attempt to track them through Dubai. Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Alhazmi and Almihdhar, Marwan Alshehhi, Hani Hanjour, Ziad Jarrah, Other 9/11 Hijackers

1999: Atta Said to Meet Los Angeles Airport Bomber in Spain A Spanish newspaper later will claim that Ahmed Ressam, the al-Qaeda operative who attempted to bomb the Los Angeles airport at the turn of the millennium (see December 14, 1999), meets Mohamed Atta in the Alicante region of Spain in this year. It is unclear whether the men trained at the same camp while they were in Afghanistan. [REUTERS, 11/26/2001; CTV, 9/14/2002] According to other Spanish reports, in 1997 or 1998 Atta was a student in Valencia under an assumed name (see 1997 or 1998). Valenica is less than 100 miles from Alicante. After his arrest, Ressam began cooperating with US investigators in the summer of 2001 (see May 30, 2001), leading to the possibility that he could have confirmed Atta’s identity as an al-Qaeda operative before 9/11, if he had been asked.

1999: US Government Ignores ‘Who’s Who’ Book of Al-Qaeda Figures Edit

Rita Katz, a researcher at The Investigative Project on Terrorism, discovers a book called The Arab Volunteers in Afghanistan. Published in Arabic in 1991, the book is very obscure. The 9/11 Commission will later say the book contains “a particularly useful insight into the evolution of al-Qaeda—written by an early bin Laden associate, Adel Batterjee, under a pseudonym.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 467] Katz discovers that Batterjee was close acquaintances with Osama bin Laden and that the book describes bin Laden’s career and that of many others during the 1980s war in Afghanistan in great detail. She will later call the book “practically the ‘Who’s Who of al-Qaeda’” because so many people described in it went on to become important al-Qaeda figures. The book discusses:

Adel Batterjee, the author of the book and a Saudi millionaire. He helped found the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF). The US will declare him a terrorism financier in 2004. 
Wael Hamza Julaidan, a Saudi multimillionaire. The US will designate him a terrorism financier in 2002 (see September 6, 2002). 
Enaam Arnaout. He runs the US headquarters of BIF from 1993 until late 2001, when the US will shut BIF down. 
Mohammed Loay Bayazid, a US citizen. He is a founding member of al-Qaeda and worked in the US for BIF until 1998. 
Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, bin Laden’s brother-in-law. He is tied to the Bojinka plot and numerous militant charity fronts. 
Mohammed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi (the book mentions him by his alias, Abu Talha). Considered al-Qaeda’s main financier of cells in Europe, he will be arrested a few months after 9/11 (see April 23, 2002). 
Wali Khan Amin Shah, one of the Bojinka plotters. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 468] 
Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, an al-Qaeda leader involved in the 1998 African embassy bombings who will be arrested in Germany in 1998 (see September 20, 1998). [NATIONAL REVIEW, 10/28/2002] 

Katz says that “many, many others” are mentioned. “Many others mentioned in the book decorate the FBI’s ‘most wanted’ lists.… There was nothing like [the] book to put everything in order, organize loose bits of information, and clear parts that were obscure to me (and to everyone else.)” Katz has connections in the US government, so she calls the White House and tries to convey the importance of the book’s information. She repeatedly sends them translations of important sections. However, she sees very little interest in the book. After 9/11, she will get a call from the Justice Department, finally expressing interest. Katz will later comment, “The government took interest in the book only after 9/11, two years after I’d first discovered it and offered it to them. No wonder that government agents told me I knew more about al-Qaeda than they did.” Entity Tags: Wali Khan Amin Shah, White House, Rita Katz, Osama bin Laden, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Adel Abdul Jalil Batterjee, Al-Qaeda, Enaam Arnaout, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, Mohammed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi, Mohammed Loay Bayazid, Wael Hamza Julaidan Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Soviet-Afghan War, Saudi Arabia, Terrorism Financing, BIF

1999: Al-Qaeda Linked Philippine Militants Involved in Drug Trade

A group of Abu Sayyaf militants photographed on July 16, 2000. [Source: Associated Press] In the book “Dollars for Terror” published this year, investigative journalist Richard Labeviere claims that the Philippine drug trade is worth billions of dollars a year and that Muslim militants connected to al-Qaeda have a role in it. “Admittedly, the Islamists do not control all of these flows, but the Abu Sayyaf group plays a big part. Its mercenaries look after the protection of transport and the shipping of cargoes via jungle airports in the [southern Philippines.] By the same air channels, and also by sea, weapons are delivered for the group’s combat unit. This supply chain is managed by Pakistani intermediaries who are trained directly in the Afghan camps around Peshawar” in Pakistan. He does not give his source for this information. [LABEVIERE, 1999, PP. 365] Perhaps not coincidentally, a Pakistani believed to be connected to the drug trade is suspected of helping to fund the Bojinka plot (see January 6, 1995), which was planned in the Philippines with the help of the Abu Sayyaf (see December 1994-April 1995). Victor Bout, the world’s biggest illegal arms dealer, is said to use his network to ship weaponry to the Abu Sayyaf, though details have not been reported. Bout’s network also delivers weapons to the Taliban (see Mid-1996-October 2001). [NEW YORK TIMES, 2/27/2002; STRATEGIC STUDIES INSTITUTE OF THE US ARMY WAR COLLEGE, 9/1/2005 ] There are many reports on the Abu Sayyaf’s involvement with illegal drugs. For instance, in 2002 a Philippine newspaper will note that the region dominated by Abu Sayyaf has become such a notorious drug center that it is sometimes nicknamed “Little Colombia.” [MANILA TIMES, 3/13/2002] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Richard Labeviere, Abu Sayyaf, Victor Bout Category Tags: Philippine Militant Collusion, Drugs, Victor Bout, Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia

1999: British Intelligence Warns Al-Qaeda Plans to Use Aircraft, Possibly as Flying Bombs

MI6 headquarters in London. [Source: Cryptome] MI6, the British intelligence agency, gives a secret report to liaison staff at the US embassy in London. The reports states that al-Qaeda has plans to use “commercial aircraft” in “unconventional ways,” “possibly as flying bombs.” [SUNDAY TIMES (LONDON), 6/9/2002] Entity Tags: UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Key Warnings, Warning Signs, Foreign Intelligence Warnings

1999: Atta Warns Religious Associate to Stay Away from Islamic Extremists

Mohamed Atta with a beard. [Source: FBI] This year, Mohamed Atta is regularly attending Islamic study group meetings led by a fellow Hamburg student named Mohammed bin Nasser Belfas. By this time, Atta and most of the rest of the group have replaced their Western jeans and clean-shaven faces with long beards and tunics. After one of these meetings, Atta asks to privately see Volker Harum Bruhn, an ethnic German who is also a member of the group. Bruhn says that Atta strongly warns him to stay away from Islamic extremists, to follow the Koran strictly, and live a careful life. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/1/2002; KNIGHT RIDDER, 9/9/2002] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Volker Harum Bruhn, Mohammed bin Nasser Belfas Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Mohamed Atta

1999: FBI Learns of Militant Group’s Plans to Send Students to US for Aviation Training; Investigation Opportunity Bungled The FBI receives reports that a militant organization is planning to send students to the US for aviation training. The organization’s name remains classified, but apparently it is a different organization than one mentioned in a very similar warning the year before (see After May 15, 1998). The purpose of this training is unknown, but the organization viewed the plan as “particularly important” and it approved open-ended funding for it. The Counterterrorism Section at FBI headquarters issues a notice instructing 24 field offices to pay close attention to Islamic students from the target country engaged in aviation training. Ken Williams’s squad at the Phoenix FBI office receives this notice, although Williams does not recall reading it. Williams will later write his “Phoenix memo” on this very topic in July 2001 (see July 10, 2001). The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry later will conclude, “There is no indication that field offices conducted any investigation after receiving the communication.” [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003] However, an analyst at FBI headquarters conducts a study and determines that each year there are about 600 Middle Eastern students attending the slightly over 1,000 US flight schools. [NEW YORK TIMES, 5/4/2002; US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003] In November 2000, a notice will be issued to the field offices, stating that it has uncovered no indication that the militant group is recruiting students. Apparently, Williams will not see this notice either. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ken Williams Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Warning Signs, Phoenix Memo

1999: FBI Headquarters Delays Check on Terrorist Trainer for 9 Months, Tries to Block Warning for National Guard FBI Minneapolis agent Harry Samit learns that an unnamed man plans to travel from the US to Afghanistan to train militants there, and that one of his relatives has applied to join the Minnesota National Guard. Samit wants to run a check on him and notify the National Guard, as he is worried because guardsmen have access to local airports. However, he is blocked for several months by Michael Maltbie, an agent in the Radical Fundamentalist Unit at FBI headquarters, who becomes “extremely agitated” and says this is “just the sort of thing that would get the FBI into trouble.” [STAR-TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS), 3/21/2006; KNIGHT RIDDER, 3/21/2006; HEARST NEWSPAPERS, 3/21/2006] Samit and Maltbie will later have another running disagreement over the Zacarias Moussaoui case (see August 15-September 10, 2001, August 20-September 11, 2001, August 27, 2001, and August 28, 2001). Entity Tags: Radical Fundamentalist Unit, FBI Headquarters, Harry Samit, Michael Maltbie Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui

1999: KSM Repeatedly Visits Atta and Others in Al-Qaeda’s Hamburg Cell Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) “repeatedly” visits Mohamed Atta and others in the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/24/2002] US and German officials say a number of sources place KSM at Atta’s Hamburg apartment, although when he visits, or who he visits while he is there, is unclear. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 6/6/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 11/4/2002] However, it would be logical to conclude that he visits Atta’s housemate Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, since investigators believe he is the “key contact between the pilots” and KSM. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 1/27/2003] KSM is living elsewhere in Germany at the time. [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/22/2002] German intelligence monitors the apartment in 1999 but apparently does not notice KSM. US investigators have been searching for Mohammed since 1996, but apparently never tell the Germans what they know about him. [NEW YORK TIMES, 11/4/2002] Even after 9/11, German investigators complain that US investigators do not tell them what they know about KSM living in Germany until they read it in the newspapers in June 2002. [NEW YORK TIMES, 6/11/2002] Entity Tags: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Mohamed Atta, Ramzi bin al-Shibh Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Mohamed Atta, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Key Hijacker Events, Al-Qaeda in Germany


1999: US Ready to Fight For Oil, Especially in Persian Gulf and Caspian Regions Edit

A top level US policy document explicitly confirms the US military’s readiness to fight a war for oil. The report, Strategic Assessment 1999, prepared for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense, states, “energy and resource issues will continue to shape international security,” and if an oil “problem” arises, “US forces might be used to ensure adequate supplies.” Oil conflicts over production facilities and transport routes, particularly in the Persian Gulf and Caspian regions, are specifically envisaged. [SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/20/2003]

1999: Al Taqwa Figure Connects to Militants in Algeria, Bosnia, and Kosovo Edit

A list of Al Taqwa Bank shareholders as of December 1999 includes Khaldoun Dia Eddine, who is also president of the Committee to Aid Refugees of Bosnia-Herzegovina. [SALON, 3/15/2002] He is said to work closely with Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, one of the top Al Taqwa figures. In 1999, it is alleged that Eddine was also the head of the Gulf Office, an Al Taqwa subsidiary that the Italian government investigated in 1994 for its ties with the GIA, an Algerian militant group connected to al-Qaeda. Eddine also works for Mercy International, a Muslim charity with numerous ties to al-Qaeda and also alleged ties to the CIA (see 1989 and After). By 1999, Eddine is managing the Mercy International office in Tirana, Albania, and is said to be managing “one of the principal channels for weapons delivery for the Kosovo Liberation Army, with the financial and logistic support of the Muslim World League.” [LABEVIERE, 1999] There is no indication that Eddine is ever later arrested or charged with any crime. Entity Tags: Mercy International, Al Taqwa Bank, Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, Committee to Aid Refugees of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Groupe Islamique Armé, Muslim World League, Khaldoun Dia Eddine, Kosovo Liberation Army Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Balkans, Terrorism Financing, Al Taqwa Bank

1999: Germans Miss Links between Hamburg 9/11 Hijackers and Key Al-Qaeda Operative Edit

Mohamedou Ould Slahi. [Source: WDR.de] The 9/11 Commission will later call Mohamedou Ould Slahi “a significant al-Qaeda operative who, even [in late 1999], was well known to US and German intelligence, though neither government apparently knew he was operating in Germany.” 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 165 Thinks He Was Monitored - However, while in US custody after 9/11, Slahi will allege that a phone call he received in January 1999 from his cousin Mahfouz Walad Al-Walid, a top al-Qaeda leader living in Afghanistan, was monitored. Slahi will say, “I later learned that my cousin was using Osama bin Laden’s satellite phone that was intercepted.” Another mutual cousin was arrested that month and Slahi says, “I wasn’t captured, but I am sure I was followed by the German police [and/or] German intelligence.” He claims the imam at his mosque told him that German officials had come to ask questions about him and was told Slahi had ties with terrorists. [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 4/20/2006, PP. 184-216] In 2000, the New York Times will report that German authorities became interested in Slahi “shortly after the bombings of American Embassies in East Africa in 1998. The German authorities learned that [he] might have ties to Islamic extremists in Europe.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 1/29/2000] Links to 9/11 Hijackers - After Hamburg al-Qaeda cell member Ramzi bin al-Shibh is captured in 2002, he will allegedly claim that Slahi was the one who originally recruited 9/11 hijackers Marwan Alshehhi and Ziad Jarrah. [AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 10/26/2002] After 9/11, another prisoner in US custody will say that Slahi and bin al-Shibh met in Frankfurt in 1999 through an acquaintance. This acquaintance will go further and will claim Slahi knew bin al-Shibh and Jarrah since at least 1998 and that Slahi later lived with them in Hamburg. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 496] In October 1999, bin al-Shibh and Alshehhi call Slahi, and he invites them to come to where he lives in Duisburg, Germany. Bin al-Shibh, Alshehhi, and Ziad Jarrah soon go visit him there. Karim Mehdi, an apparent leader of the al-Qaeda Ruhr Valley cell who will later be sentenced to nine years in prison for a post-9/11 plot, is also at this meeting. Bin al-Shibh, Alsehhi, and Jarrah follow Slahi’s advice to go to Afghanistan instead of Chechnya, and he gives them instructions on how to meet up with al-Qaeda operatives there. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 165; DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR (HAMBURG), 8/3/2005; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 10/26/2006] US investigators later believe Slahi worked closely on al-Qaeda matters with bin al-Shibh and instructed another militant to go to the US and to take part in the 9/11 plot. Additionally, he is believed to have a key role in Ahmed Ressam’s millennium plot (see December 15-31, 1999). [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 4/24/2006] No Action - German authorities are monitoring and wiretapping the phones at bin al-Shibh’s apartment throughout 1999 (see November 1, 1998-February 2001 and 2000), but they apparently do not connect Slahi to the Hamburg militants or do not act on that connection. The Germans will apparently miss another chance to learn of his ties to the Hamburg cell in April 2000, when Slahi is arrested for three weeks in Germany and then let go (see January-April 2000). [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 4/20/2006, PP. 184-216] Note that the testimonies of detainees such as Slahi and bin al-Shibh are suspect due to widespread allegations that they were tortured into confessions (for instance, see September 27, 2001).

1999: US and British Special Forces Train KLA Operatives in Albania Edit

British SAS teams, US Special Forces, and representatives from Military Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI) are actively training KLA fighters at bases in Northern Albania (see Late June-Early July 2001). [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 4/18/1999; HERALD (GLASGOW), 3/27/2001]

1999: Neighbors Report Suspicious Activities to CIA; No Apparent Response Edit

The Vienna, Virginia, house where Waleed Alshehri and Ahmed Alghamdi lived. [Source: Paul Sperry] Diane and John Albritton later say they call the CIA and police several times this year to report suspicious activity at a neighbor’s home, but authorities fail to respond. [NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, 9/15/2001; MSNBC, 9/23/2001] A man named Waleed Alshehri, allegedly one of the 9/11 hijackers, is renting the house on Orrin Street in Vienna, Virginia, at the time (three blocks from a CIA facility). [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/15/2001] He makes his neighbors nervous. “There were always people coming and going,” said Diane Albritton. “Arabic people. Some of them never uttered a word; I don’t know if they spoke English. But they looked very focused. We thought they might be dealing drugs, or illegal immigrants.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/15/2001] A man named Ahmed Alghamdi, allegedly another one of the hijackers, lived at the same address until July 2000. [WORLDNETDAILY, 9/14/2001; FOX NEWS, 6/6/2002] Shortly after 9/11, it was reported that Waleed Alshehri lived with Ahmed Alghamdi in Florida for seven months in 1997. [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/20/2001] Albritton says they observed a van parked outside the home at all hours of the day and night. A Middle Eastern man appeared to be monitoring a scanner or radio inside the van. Another neighbor says, “We thought it was a drug house. All the cars parked on the street were new BMWs, new Mercedes. People were always walking around out front with cell phones.” There were frequent wild parties, numerous complaints to authorities, and even a police report about a woman shooting a gun into the air during a party. [WORLDNETDAILY, 9/14/2001] Other neighbors also called the police about the house. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/14/2001] “Critics say [the case] could have made a difference [in stopping 9/11] had it been handled differently.” Standard procedures require the CIA to notify the FBI of such domestic information. However, FBI officials have not been able to find any record that the CIA shared the information. [FOX NEWS, 6/6/2002] FBI Director Mueller has said “the hijackers did all they could to stay below our radar.” [US CONGRESS, 5/8/2002] Although Fox News, based on information from the CIA and FBI, will still be reporting that these two men are the hijackers of the same name in the summer of 2002, the 9/11 Commission will say that these two hijackers first entered the US in the spring of 2001 (see April 23-June 29, 2001). [FOX NEWS, 6/6/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 527-8]

1999: Joint CIA-NSA Project Taps into Al-Qaeda’s Tactical Radios Edit

A joint project team run by the CIA and NSA slips into Afghanistan and places listening devices within range of al-Qaeda’s tactical radios. [WASHINGTON POST, 12/19/2001]

1999: FBI Creates Bin Laden Unit Edit

The FBI creates its own unit to focus specifically on bin Laden, three years after the CIA created such a special unit. By 9/11, 17 to 19 people are working in this unit out of over 11,000 FBI staff. [US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002]

1999: Monitored Al-Qaeda Operative Sits Next to Bin Laden at Banquet Edit

Ahmed al-Hada, an operative who runs a communications hub for al-Qaeda in Yemen, travels to Afghanistan and attends a banquet, where, US intelligence learns, he sits next to Osama bin Laden. The communications hub run by al-Hada, who fought in the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan, helped coordinate the East African embassy bombings and has been under heavy surveillance by the NSA and other US agencies since at least late 1998 (see Late August 1998). [NEWSWEEK, 2/18/2002]

1999: CIA Builds Network of Informants throughout Afghanistan, Central Asia Edit

CIA already has a network of local agents in Afghanistan by this time (see 1997). However, in this year there is a serious effort to increase the network throughout Afghanistan and other countries for the purpose of capturing bin Laden and his deputies. [UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 10/17/2002] Many are put on the CIA’s payroll, including some Taliban military leaders. Many veterans of the Soviet war in the 1980s who worked with the CIA then are recruited again. All of these recuitments are kept secret from Pakistani intelligence because of their support of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. [COLL, 2004, PP. 491-492] CIA Director George Tenet will later state that by 9/11, “a map would show that these collection programs and human networks were in place in such numbers to nearly cover Afghanistan. This array means that, when the military campaign to topple the Taliban and destroy al-Qaeda [begins in October 2001], we [are] able to support it with an enormous body of information and a large stable of assets.” [US CONGRESS, 10/17/2002] However, apparently none of these sources are close enough to bin Laden to know about his movements in advance. [COLL, 2004, PP. 491-492]

1999: Air Force Study Warns against Neglecting Air Sovereignty; Threat of Terrorism Highlighted Edit

As the military community is discussing the future of continental air defense in a post-Cold War world (see May 19, 1997), Major General Larry Arnold, the commander of the 1st Air Force, orders a study to review the Air Force’s air sovereignty mission. At his request, Major General Paul Pochmara forms a 12-member roles and mission (RAM) team to gather information and ideas on the subject. The team has a one-hour presentation that outlines the military’s responsibility for protecting the nation’s air sovereignty. Major General Mike Haugen, a member of the team, will later say that the group discusses everything from technology to the future of the air sovereignty mission to the terrorist threat. Haugen will say: “We made some pretty bold predictions in our briefing.… In fact, it included a photo of Osama bin Laden as the world’s most dangerous terrorist.… We didn’t predict how the terrorists would strike but predicted they would strike.” [FILSON, 2003, PP. 37-38] A 9/11 Commission memorandum will add, “Osama bin Laden is featured on the cover of the brief developed by the RAM team, and he figures prominently in the study.” Colonel Alan Scott of the Continental US NORAD Region will tell the Commission: “As we started talking about Osama bin Laden, the examples we gave in our mission brief were the first WTC bombing, the Tokyo subway, Oklahoma City bombing, and Atlanta Olympics. What we did was connect those dots. The conclusion we drew was that we had a viable threat.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/9/2004]

1999: Candidate Bush Meets with Radical Muslim Activist Edit

George W. Bush and with Muslim activist Abdurahman Alamoudi. Judging from the background, this picture was probably taken in a meeting held in 2000. [Source: PBS] Presidential candidate George W. Bush and his political adviser Karl Rove meet with Muslim activist Abdurahman Alamoudi. The meeting is said to have been brokered by Republican lobbyist Grover Norquist. Little is known about the meeting, which will not be reported until 2007. At the time, Alamoudi is head of the American Muslim Council (AMC), which is seen as a mainstream activist and lobbying group. But Alamoudi and the AMC had been previously criticized for their ties to Hamas and other militant groups and figures (see March 13, 1996). Bush and/or Rove will meet with Alamoudi on other occasions (see (see July 2000, June 22, 2001, September 14-26, 2001). US intelligence learned of ties between Alamoudi and bin Laden in 1994 (see Shortly After March 1994); he will be sentenced to a long prison term in 2004 (see October 15, 2004). [NEWSWEEK, 4/18/2007]

1999: Clinton Officials Ask About Islamic Jihad Leader’s US Visits, FBI Agents Respond: ‘Don’t Worry About It’ Edit

Dan Benjamin and Steve Simon, director and senior director of the National Security Council’s counterterrorism team, review some old intelligence files and learn that Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda’s number two leader, had done fundraising in the US a few years earlier (see Spring 1993) (see Late 1994 or 1995). They call FBI agents Michael Rolince and Steve Jennings to a meeting at the White House. Benjamin will recall, “We said to them: ‘This is incredible. Al-Zawahiri was here. He must have been fundraising, he had to have handlers. What can you tell us?’ And [one of them] said, ‘We got it covered. Don’t worry about it.’ And it was a blow-off.” Only later do Benjamin and Simon learn that one of al-Zawahiri’s hosts had been Ali Mohamed, even though Mohamed is already in US custody and his arrest had been front page news by the time the White House meeting took place. The FBI still fails to pursue the connection and rejects an offer of new authority to monitor activity in radical mosques. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/30/1998; CBS NEWS, 10/2/2002; WASHINGTON POST, 10/2/2002; BENJAMIN AND SIMON, 2005, PP. 306-307, 465] Entity Tags: Ali Mohamed, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Steve Simon, Dan Benjamin, Michael Rolince, Steve Jennings Category Tags: Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Ali Mohamed

Early 1999: NSA Monitoring Hears 9/11 Hijacker Names, This Information Is Not Shared with CIA or FBIEdit

Salem Alhazmi. [Source: FBI] As the NSA continues to monitor an al-Qaeda communications hub in Yemen run by hijacker Khalid Almihdhar’s father-in-law (see Late August 1998), they find references to Almihdhar and the hijacker brothers, Salem and Nawaf Alhazmi. They also learn that Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi are long time friends. [9/11 COMMISSION, 1/26/2004, PP. 6 ; 9/11 COMMISSION, 1/26/2004] In early 1999, the NSA intercepts communications mentioning the full name “Nawaf Alhazmi.” However, this information is not disseminated to the intelligence community, as it apparently does not meet NSA reporting thresholds. The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will say, “Those thresholds vary, depending on the judgement of the NSA analyst who is reviewing the intercept and the subject, location, and content of the intercept.” Another intelligence organisation intercepts the same or similar calls and reports this to the NSA. The Inquiry comments: “NSA’s practice was to review such reports and disseminate those responsive to US intelligence requirements. For an undetermined reason, NSA did not disseminate the […] report.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/25/2002; US CONGRESS, 10/17/2002; US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 135 ] The NSA continues to intercept such calls and finds more information a few months later (see Summer 1999 and Late Summer 1999). Near the end of 1999, there will be additional intercepts that give Khalid Almihdhar’s full name and the first names of the other two (see Shortly Before December 29, 1999). But while the NSA will provide some information about these new intercepts to the CIA and other agencies, they will not go back to the earlier intercepts to figure out Nawaf’s full name and close connection to Almihdhar (see December 29, 1999). Entity Tags: 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Nawaf Alhazmi, National Security Agency, Salem Alhazmi, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Key Hijacker Events, Alhazmi and Almihdhar, Other 9/11 Hijackers, Al-Qaeda Malaysia Summit, Remote Surveillance, Yemen Hub

Early 1999: KSM Allegedly Works on 9/11 Plot in Hamburg Counterterrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna will later claim that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) visits Hamburg at this time and meets with Mohamed Atta and Ramzi bin al-Shibh. Together, they make plans to carry out the 9/11 attacks in the US. [GUNARATNA, 2003, PP. XXX] Other accounts claim KSM repeatedly visits Hamburg this year but do not definitively state who he meets (see 1999). The 9/11 Commission will later claim that the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell including Atta and bin al-Shibh will not be asked to join the 9/11 attacks until late 1999 in Afghanistan (see October 1999). Entity Tags: Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Mohamed Atta, Al-Qaeda in Germany, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed

Early 1999: Europol Ties KLA to International Drug Gangs The police forces of three Western European countries, as well as Europol, the European police authority, are separately investigating a growing pool of evidence that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) is being funded by drug money. And on March 24, 1999, the London Times reports that “Europol… is preparing a report for European interior and justice ministers on a connection between the KLA and Albanian drug gangs.” (see 1996-1999) [LONDON TIMES, 3/24/1999] Entity Tags: Kosovo Liberation Army Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Balkans, Drugs

Early 1999: FBI Fails to Pursue Possible Connection Between BMI and Embassy Bombings BMI Inc. is a New Jersey-based investment firm with connections to a remarkable number of suspected terrorist financiers (see 1986-October 1999). In 1999, a former BMI accountant contacts the FBI and says that he believes BMI is supporting terrorism. He claims that money he “was transferring overseas on behalf of the company may have been used to finance the embassy bombings in Africa.”(see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998) US investigators establish a financial link between BMI and an Islamic charity named Mercy International. A Nairobi, Kenya, branch of that charity helped support the embassy bombings. FBI agent Robert Wright’s Vulgar Betrayal investigation had recently discovered evidence suggesting a link between Saudi multimillionaire Yassin al-Qadi and the embassy bombings (see October 1998), and al-Qadi is a major investor of BMI. The Vulgar Betrayal investigation begins looking at this new possible link. BMI president Soliman Biheiri hears that FBI agent Gamal Abdel-Hafiz has been told about this, and he asks to meet with Abdel-Hafiz to explain. Apparently, he does not realize that Abdel-Hafiz is an undercover FBI agent. Wright asks Abdel-Hafiz to wear a wire to the meeting, and Abdel-Hafiz refuses to do so (see Early 1999-March 21, 2000). Apparently the meeting with Biheiri never takes place and the possible connections between BMI and the embassy bombings are not fully investigated before 9/11. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/26/2002; WASHINGTON POST, 8/20/2003; FRONTLINE, 10/16/2003] Entity Tags: Gamal Abdel-Hafiz, Mercy International, Federal Bureau of Investigation, BMI Inc., Soliman Biheiri, Robert Wright, Vulgar Betrayal Category Tags: Robert Wright and Vulgar Betrayal, BMI and Ptech, Terrorism Financing, 1998 US Embassy Bombings

Early 1999: Memo Calls for New Approach on Bin Laden; Focuses on State-Sponsorship, Money Trail State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Michael Sheehan writes a memo calling for a new approach in containing bin Laden. He urges a series of actions the US could take toward Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen to persuade them to help isolate al-Qaeda. He calls Pakistan the key country and urges that terrorism be made the central issue with them. He advises the US to work with all these countries to curb money laundering. However, a former official says Sheehan’s plan lands “with a resounding thud.” Pakistan continues to “feign cooperation but [does] little” about its support for the Taliban. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/29/2001] Entity Tags: Michael Sheehan, Al-Qaeda, Yemen Category Tags: Terrorism Financing, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics


Q1 1999Edit

Main article: Q1 1999

Q2 1999Edit

Main article: Q2 1999

q3Edit

Mid-1999-November 1999: Data Mining Study Causes Controversy by Connecting Prominent US Figures to Chinese Military Weapons Purchases Edit

Hua Di. [Source: Stanford University] A report commissioned in mid-1999 by Rep. Curt Weldon (R) looks into possible Chinese front companies in the US seeking technology for the Chinese military. Dr. Eileen Preisser and Michael Maloof are commissioned to make the report. Dr. Preisser, who runs the Information Dominance Center at the US Army’s Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA) and will later become closely tied to Able Danger, uses LIWA’s data mining capabilities to search unclassified information. According to Maloof, their results show Chinese front companies in the US posing as US corporations that acquire technology from US defense contractors. When the study is completed in November 1999, the General Counsel’s office in the Office of the Defense Secretary orders the study destroyed. Weldon complains about this to Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, and apparently delays the destruction of the report. Weldon also writes a letter to FBI Director Louis Freeh requesting an espionage investigation into these Chinese links, but Freeh never responds to this. [WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/9/2005] As part of this report, LIWA analysts had produced a chart of Chinese strategic and business connections in the US. But this data mining effort runs into controversy when the chart apparently shows connections between future National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, former Defense Secretary William Perry, and other prominent US figures, and business deals benefiting the Chinese military. [NEW YORK POST, 8/27/2005; WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/22/2005] The China chart was put together by private contractor James D. Smith, who will come forward in August 2005 to corroborate revelations about the Able Danger unit and its findings (see August 22-September 1, 2005). The New York Post later says there is “no suggestion that Rice or any of the others had done anything wrong.” [NEW YORK POST, 8/27/2005] However, articles first appear one month later and through 2001 in the conservative publications WorldNetDaily and NewsMax, which connect Perry and Rice to Hua Di, a Chinese missile scientist and possible spy, and question the nature of their relationship with him. [WORLDNETDAILY, 12/21/1999; WORLDNETDAILY, 4/5/2000; NEWSMAX, 1/24/2001] Di defected to the US in 1989 and worked most of the 1990s at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Arms Control, which was co-directed by Perry. Di later returned to China and is subsequently sentenced to ten years in prison for writing influential articles said to reveal vital Chinese state secrets. [STANFORD REPORT, 2/7/2001] However, other accounts claim that he was in fact passing on disinformation through these articles, successfully misleading the US military for a couple of years about the abilities of certain Chinese missile programs. [WORLDNETDAILY, 12/21/1999] Additionally, Hua Di teamed in 1994 with Stanford professor Dr. John Lewis and William Perry to buy an advanced AT&T fiber-optic communications system for “civilian” use inside China that instead is used by the Chinese army. The General Accounting Office later criticized the sale. In 1997, Stanford University investigated Dr. Lewis for his role in it, but Condoleezza Rice, serving as a Stanford provost at the time, apparently stopped the investigation. [WORLDNETDAILY, 4/5/2000; NEWSMAX, 1/24/2001] Able Danger and LIWA’s data mining efforts will be severely proscribed in April 2000 as part of the fallout from this China controversy (see April 2000), and the destruction of their collected data will follow shortly thereafter (see May-June 2000). Entity Tags: William Perry, James D. Smith, Eric Shinseki, Condoleezza Rice, China, F. Michael Maloof, Louis J. Freeh, Eileen Preisser, Curt Weldon, Hua Di, Land Information Warfare Activity Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Able Danger

Q3 1999Edit

July 1999: Campaign Finance Report Criticizes ‘Wall’ Procedures Edit

The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General issues a report into the FBI’s use of intelligence information in an investigation into campaign finance, and this report is critical of the “wall”. The “wall” regulates the passage of some information from FBI intelligence investigations to criminal FBI agents and prosecutors, to ensure such information can legitimately be used in court (see Early 1980s). After the procedures were formalized (see July 19, 1995), the FBI drastically reduced its consultations with Justice Department attorneys about intelligence investigations, because any consultation with such attorneys could result in an intelligence warrant not being granted, as it may lead authorities reviewing a warrant application to conclude that the warrant was really being sought for a criminal investigation, not an intelligence investigation. The result is that the FBI does not ask for input from prosecutors until it is ready to close an intelligence investigation and “go criminal.” The campaign finance report finds that FBI failed to disclose some information from intelligence investigations not only to Congress and the Attorney General, but also to its own Director, Louis Freeh. The “wall” procedures are found to be vague and ineffective, as well as misunderstood and often misapplied. [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 32-33 ] The “wall” procedures are also criticized by other reports (see May 2000). Entity Tags: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Department of Justice Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

July 1999: Ex-ISI Head Is Providing Taliban Information on US Missile Launches

Hamid Gul. [Source: Public domain] The US gains information that former ISI head Hamid Gul contacts Taliban leaders at this time and advises them that the US is not planning to attack Afghanistan to get bin Laden. He assures them that he will provide them three or four hours warning of any future US missile launch, as he did “last time.” Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke later suggests Gul gave al-Qaeda warning about the missile strike in August 1998 (see August 20, 1998). [NEW YORKER, 7/28/2003] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, Hamid Gul, Taliban, Richard A. Clarke Category Tags: Hunt for Bin Laden, Pakistan and the ISI

July 1999: Terrorists Could Use Drones to Commit Attacks, Expert Says

Bruce Hoffman. [Source: RAND Corporation] In a keynote address at a National Defense University conference, Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert with the RAND Corporation, predicts that terrorists will turn to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, among other innovative tactics, to commit attacks. He says: “[A]s we harden embassies and other likely terrorist targets… [terrorists] will need to turn to alternative weapons.… And here is an obvious class of weapon choices: ultralights, UAVs, all types of distance and stand-off weapons, surface-to-air missiles, rocket-propelled grenades fired from a distance, remote control mortars, and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). Rather than saying that these are tactics or weapons that terrorists will use, I believe terrorists are experimenting with these types of weapons today and perfecting them for use.” [HOFFMAN, 2001 ; HOMELANDSECURITY.ORG, 2001] Entity Tags: Bruce Hoffman Category Tags: Warning Signs

July 1999: FBI Investigates Individual Linked to Al-Qaeda and Nuclear Science Edit

The FBI begins an investigation of an unnamed person for ties to important al-Qaeda figures and several organizations linked to al-Qaeda. The FBI is concerned that this person is in contact with several experts in nuclear sciences. After 9/11, the FBI determines that hijacker Marwan Alshehhi had contact with this person on the East Coast of the US. This person also may have ties to Mohamed Atta’s sister. Most additional details about this person, including his/her name, when and how often Alshehhi had contact, and if the investigation was ever closed, remain classified. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003 ]


July-August 1999: Taliban Leaders Visit US About a dozen Afghan leaders visit the US. They are militia commanders, mostly Taliban, and some with ties to al-Qaeda. A few are opponents of the Taliban. Their exact names and titles remain classified. For five weeks, they visit numerous locales in the US, including Mt. Rushmore. All their expenses are paid by the US government and the University of Nebraska. Thomas Gouttierre, an academic heading an Afghanistan program at the University of Nebraska, hosts their visit. Gouttierre is working as a consultant to Unocal at the time, and some Taliban visits to the US are paid for by Unocal, such as a visit two years earlier (see December 4, 1997). However, it is unknown if Unocal plays a role in this particular trip. Gouttierre had previously been paid by the CIA to create Afghan textbooks promoting violence and jihad (see 1984-1994). It is unknown if any of these visitors meet with US officials during their trip. [CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/21/2001] Entity Tags: Thomas Gouttierre, University of Nebraska, Taliban, Unocal Category Tags: Pipeline Politics


Early July 1999: Persian Gulf Sheikhs Reportedly Give Bin Laden $50 Million in Single Bank Transfer In early July 1999, it is reported that a high-powered US delegation from the National Security Council, State Department, and other agencies is visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain to investigate reports that $50 million has been given to Osama bin Laden. Apparently the money mostly comes from rich Saudis and is sent through the Dubai Islamic Bank in a single bank transfer. Journalist Jonathan Randal meets an unnamed US diplomat in Dubai several months later and the diplomat confirms that the transfer took place. Randal asks him why the money is sent in such an easily traceable procedure instead of dividing the sum up into a series of smaller transfers, or even using the nearly untraceable hawala system instead of a formal bank at all. The diplomat merely replies that this was the same question the Maktoum family that rules the UAE asked the US delegation. [RANDAL, 2005, PP. 211-212] On July 8, 1999, the New York Times reports on this bank transfer, asserting, “The Central Intelligence Agency has obtained evidence that Mr. bin Laden has been allowed to funnel money through the Dubai Islamic Bank in Dubai, which the United Arab Emirates Government effectively controls.” The Times adds, “United States intelligence officials said they had evidence that Mr. bin Laden had a relationship with the bank, which they believed had been arranged with the approval of the officials who control the bank.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/8/1999] Entity Tags: Jonathan Randal, Dubai Islamic Bank, National Security Council, Osama bin Laden Category Tags: Terrorism Financing, Other Government-Militant Collusion

1999: Egyptian Trial Cripples Islamic Jihad and Exposes Its Links to Al-Qaeda A large group of Islamic Jihad operatives are sentenced in Cairo in what becomes known as the “Trial of the Albanian Returnees.” Various disclosures are made at the trial about the way Islamic Jihad operated and how it provided support to al-Qaeda by forging travel documents, transferring money, and arranging communications. One of the revelations is that al-Qaeda has a key communication hub in Yemen. Despite this revelation (see Late 1998-Early 2002), al-Qaeda will continue to use it through 2001 (see Early 2000-Summer 2001). The defendants were arrested not only in Egypt, but also in Albania, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, and the United Arab Emirates. In 1995, the CIA arranged a deal with Egypt to capture Islamic Jihad operatives around the world and send them to Egypt to be tortured and prosecuted (see Summer 1995). Eighty-seven of the defendants are convicted and ten are sentenced to death, including al-Zawahiri, who is tried in absentia. [NEW YORK TIMES, 11/21/2001] One of the convicted is Khaled Abu el-Dahab, who was operating a sleeper cell in California with double agent Ali Mohamed throughout the 1990’s (see 1987-1998). El-Dahab is sentenced to fifteen years in prison (see September 10, 1998). There are credible reports that many of the defendants confessed after being tortured in Egypt and Albania. [NEW YORK TIMES, 11/21/2001; WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 269] The trial nearly eradicates the remnants of Islamic Jihad in Egypt and, according to some of the defendants, leaves only about forty members outside of Egypt. Al-Zawahiri and the other remaining members end up allying even closer to al-Qaeda. The two organizations will formally merge in early 2001 (see June 2001). [WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 336] Entity Tags: Ayman al-Zawahiri, Khaled Abu el-Dahab, Islamic Jihad, Egypt, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Yemen Hub, Counterterrorism Action Before 9/11

July 4, 1999: Executive Order Issued Against Taliban With the chances of a pipeline deal with the Taliban looking increasingly unlikely, President Clinton finally issues an executive order prohibiting commercial transactions with the Taliban. The order also freezes the Taliban’s US assets. Clinton blames the Taliban for harboring bin Laden. [CNN, 7/6/1999; US PRESIDENT, 7/12/1999] Entity Tags: Taliban, Osama bin Laden, William Jefferson (“Bill”) Clinton Category Tags: Pipeline Politics, Hunt for Bin Laden

July 4, 1999: During Regional Crisis, Clinton Threatens to Publicly Expose Pakistan’s Support for Bin Laden

Nawaz Sharif [Source: Publicity photo] In early May 1999, the Pakistani army, at the instigation of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, seizes a strategic height called Kargil in the Indian province of Kashmir. This creates a grave crisis between Pakistan in India. By early July, the CIA picks up intelligence that Pakistan is preparing to launch nuclear missiles against India if necessary. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif comes to the US on July 4 to meet with President Clinton about this. Clinton is livid and yells at Sharif for breaking promises, not only about Kashmir but also about failing to help with bin Laden. According to notes taken at the meeting, Clinton says he had “asked repeatedly for Pakistani help to bring Osama bin Laden to justice… [Sharif] promised often to do so but had done nothing. Instead, the ISI worked with bin Laden and the Taliban to foment terrorists.” Clinton threatens to release a statement calling worldwide attention to Pakistan’s support for terrorists. He adds, “You’ve put me in the middle today, set the US up to fail, and I won’t let it happen. Pakistani is messing with nuclear war.” Sharif backs down and immediately withdraws his troops from Kargil, ending the crisis. But as a result, Sharif becomes deeply unpopular in Pakistan. A few months later he will be ousted in a coup by Musharraf (see October 12, 1999), the general who started the crisis in the first place. [COLL, 2004, PP. 476-478] Entity Tags: Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, William Jefferson (“Bill”) Clinton, Nawaz Sharif Timeline Tags: A. Q. Khan's Nuclear Network Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI

July 8, 1999: FBI Told KSM Is Living in United Arab Emirates In 2008, the website Intelwire.com will obtain a declassified FBI document from this date. The content is heavily redacted, including the title, but the full title appears to be, “Summary of information obtained from the United Arab Emirates with regard to Manila Air fugitive Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.” The document appears to detail a briefing by United Arab Emirates (UAE) officials from the General Department of State Security to FBI officials visiting the UAE. It mentions that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) “who was reported to be in _____ during mid-1998, is still currently living in Sharjah, UAE, with his family.” The report also mentions that “in July 1998, authorities from ______ based on information probably obtained from Qatar, located KSM living and working in ____. After questioning him about his activities with the [Muslim Brotherhood], he was deported to Bahrain.” [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 7/8/1999 ] The 9/11 Commission will later mention this document a single time, and reveal that one of the redacted sections discusses KSM’s links to the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the Philippines. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 488] Sharjah is a major hub of al-Qaeda activity at this time (see Mid-1996-October 2001), and one of the 9/11 hijackers, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, is from the emirate of Sharjah (see 1980s and 1990s). 9/11 plot facilitator Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi will be based in Sharjah in the months before the 9/11 attacks, and some of the 9/11 hijackers will pass through there and visit him (see Early-Late June, 2001). It is not known what action US intelligence takes in response to this briefing. Entity Tags: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Muslim Brotherhood, General Department of State Security Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action Before 9/11, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed

July 14, 1999: Pakistani Intelligence Agent Says WTC ‘Are Coming Down’ in Recorded Conversation

This unnamed Pakistani intelligence agent was captured on undercover video in January 2001. [Source: Corbis] In a conversation recorded by US government agents as part of a sting operation, a Pakistani ISI agent named Rajaa Gulum Abbas points to the WTC and says, “Those towers are coming down.” He later makes two other references to an attack on the WTC (for more details on this sting operation, (see Spring 1999), (see July 14, 1999), and (see June 12, 2001)). [COX NEWS SERVICE, 8/2/2002; WPBF 25 (WEST PALM BEACH), 8/5/2002; PALM BEACH POST, 10/17/2002] Entity Tags: World Trade Center, Rajaa Gulum Abbas Category Tags: Warning Signs, Randy Glass/ Diamondback

July 14, 1999: Pakistani ISI Agent Promises Attack on WTC in Recorded Conversation

Shireen Shawky holding a guided missile system (left), and Mohammed Malik (right). [Source: Getty Images] US government informant Randy Glass records a conversation at a dinner attended by him, illegal arms dealers Diaa Mohsen, Mohammed Malik, 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. [MSNBC, 8/2/2002; WPBF 25 (WEST PALM BEACH), 8/5/2002] Abbas says he wants to buy a whole shipload of weapons stolen from the US military to give to bin Laden. [COX NEWS SERVICE, 8/2/2002] 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. [COX NEWS SERVICE, 8/2/2002; WPBF 25 (WEST PALM BEACH), 8/5/2002; PALM BEACH POST, 10/17/2002] 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.” [NBC, 3/18/2003] The meeting is secretly recorded, and parts are shown on television in 2003. [MSNBC, 3/18/2003] Entity Tags: Diaa Mohsen, Mohammed Malik, Shireen Shawky, Randy Glass, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Osama bin Laden, World Trade Center, Rajaa Gulum Abbas Timeline Tags: A. Q. Khan's Nuclear Network Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Randy Glass/ Diamondback, Other Possible Moles or Informants

July 26, 1999: FEMA Sets Out Criteria for Government Agencies’ Responses to Emergencies, Including Terrorist Attacks The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issues a circular that provides guidance for government agencies to develop plans for continuity of government operations in the event of an emergency, including a terrorist attack. The circular, FPC 65, goes out to the heads of federal departments and agencies, senior policy officials, and emergency planners. It confirms FEMA’s coordinating role in the nation’s Continuity of Government (COG) program, and contains criteria for agencies to develop their continuity plans. It states that an agency’s continuity of operations (COOP) capability “Must be maintained at a high level of readiness”; “Must be capable of implementation both with and without warning”; “Must be operational no later than 12 hours after activation”; “Must maintain sustained operations for up to 30 days”; and “Should take maximum advantage of existing agency field infrastructures.” [FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, 7/26/1999; US CONGRESS. HOUSE. COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM, 4/22/2004] Presidential Decision Directive 67 (PDD-67), issued in October 1998 (see October 21, 1998), required agencies to prepare plans to allow the government to continue functioning in the event of a major terrorist attack on the US, and had placed FEMA in charge of the COG program. [KNIGHT RIDDER, 11/17/1999; WASHINGTON POST, 6/4/2006] The COG plan detailed in that directive will be activated for the first time on the morning of 9/11 (see (Between 9:45 a.m. and 9:56 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [ABC NEWS, 4/25/2004] Entity Tags: Federal Emergency Management Agency Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline, Civil Liberties Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

Late Summer 1999: NSA Intercepts Calls Mentioning 9/11 Hijacker Almihdhar, Does Not Disseminate Information The NSA intercepts more calls involving an al-Qaeda communications hub in Sana’a, Yemen (see Early 1999 and Summer 1999). The names of Khaled, who turns out to be 9/11 hijacker Khalid Almihdhar, and others are mentioned in the calls. However, the NSA reportedly does not think the intelligence gleaned from the calls is important and does not disseminate it. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 156 ] However, the FBI regarded the hub as a key element in al-Qaeda’s communications network and after 9/11 a senior US counterterrorism official will say, “The NSA was well aware of how hot the number was… and how it was a logistical hub for al-Qaeda.” Several plots are stopped based on information obtained from listening to calls to and from the hub (see Late 1998-Early 2002). [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 12/21/2005] Entity Tags: National Security Agency, Khalid Almihdhar Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Alhazmi and Almihdhar, Remote Surveillance, Yemen Hub

August 3, 1999: Wright Removed from Vulgar Betrayal Investigation Chicago FBI agent Robert Wright is abruptly removed from the Vulgar Betrayal investigation into terrorism financing (see 1996). The entire investigation apparently winds down without his involvement, and will shut down altogether in 2000 (see August 2000). A New York Post article will state, “[T]he official reason was a fear that Wright’s work would disrupt FBI intelligence-gathering. My sources find this dubious: After years of monitoring these individuals, the bureau had likely learned all it could.… [But] conversations with FBI personnel indicate that he was told informally that his work was too embarrassing to the Saudis. In support of this is the fact that Wright was shut down as he seemed to be closing in on Yassin al-Qadi.” [WASHINGTON POST, 5/11/2002; NEW YORK POST, 7/14/2004] Wright later will claim that a reason he is given for being taken off the investigation is a recent dispute he is having with a Muslim FBI agent who refuses to wear a wire (see Early 1999-March 21, 2000). [FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, 6/2/2003] He is also accused of sexually harassing a female FBI agent. This charge is investigated and later dropped. [CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/22/2004] Wright is removed from counterterrorism work altogether and remains that way at least through early 2002. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 3/15/2002] In September 1999, he will hire Chicago lawyer David Schippers, famed as House investigative counsel in the Clinton impeachment, to help fight the closure of the investigation. Although Schippers is known as an enemy of President Clinton, Wright will say, “I’m confident President Clinton had absolutely nothing to do with the lack of support and eventual closure of the Vulgar Betrayal investigation.” [FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, 6/2/2003; CNN, 6/19/2003] Entity Tags: International Terrorism Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Vulgar Betrayal, Robert Wright, David Schippers, Yassin al-Qadi Category Tags: Robert Wright and Vulgar Betrayal, Terrorism Financing, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

August 4, 1999: FAA Considers Suicide Hijacking Possibility: Al-Qaeda Could Hijack Jet and ‘Slam It into a US Landmark’ The FAA’s Office of Civil Aviation Security Intelligence sends an internal memo summarizing the al-Qaeda hijacking threat. After reciting information available on the topic, a few principal scenarios are presented. One of them is a “suicide hijacking operation.” The 9/11 Commission will comment on this and another memo the previous year, “In 1998 and 1999, the FAA intelligence unit produced reports about the hijacking threat posed by bin Ladin and al-Qaeda, including the possibility that the terrorist group might try to hijack a commercial jet and slam it into a US landmark.” However, FAA analysts consider this an option of last resort, because “it does not offer an opportunity for dialogue to achieve the key goal of obtaining [Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman] and other key captive extremists.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 345, 561; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 53 ] Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration, Omar Abdul-Rahman, Al-Qaeda Category Tags: Warning Signs, US Air Security, Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman

August 7-8, 1999: Chechen Militia Raids Neighboring Dagestan

Attack on Dagestan [Source: BBC] A group of Chechen rebels led by Shamil Basayev and Ibn Khattab cross into neighboring Russian region of Dagestan and seize two villages near the border with Chechnya. According to most Russian and international news accounts, the militia has about 2,000 fighters. They are Islamic militants aiming to unify Chechnya and Dagestan into a single Islamic state under Sharia (strict Islamic law). The Russian government reacts immediately by sending a large number of troops to drive them back into Chechnya. [BBC, 8/8/1999; NEW YORK TIMES, 8/8/1999; BBC, 8/9/1999; NEW YORK TIMES, 8/13/1999; BBC, 8/16/1999] Basayev and Khattab preceded the attack by building fortified bases in Dagestan. Russian intelligence officer Anton Surikov will later say that Russian officials had indications that something was being planned at the Dagestan border. “It was not being hidden. There was a certain panic here.” A senior Russian official will also say, “The dates [of the assault] were definitely known several days before.” But “the area is hilly and difficult to guard. There are hundreds of different paths, plenty of canyons, mountain paths. There is no border, actually.… That is why it is not possible just to line up soldiers to guard the border.” [WASHINGTON POST, 3/10/2000] Entity Tags: Shamil Basayev, Ibn Khattab Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Islamist Militancy in Chechnya

August 9, 1999: Russian President Yeltsin Sacks Government, Nominates Vladimir Putin Acting Prime Minister

Yeltsin and Putin [Source: BBC] Russian President Boris Yeltsin dismisses his prime minister, Sergei Stepashin, and the entire Russian government, naming Vladimir Putin as acting prime minister. Putin is the head of the Federal Security Service (FSB), which is the new name of the KGB. [BBC, 8/9/1999] For many observers, Stepashin was dismissed because he had been unable to become a politically viable heir to Yeltsin, who must step down in 2001. Putin, who is unknown to the public, seems to have been hand-picked mainly for his loyalty. [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/10/1999] The Russian news service Park.ru offers this fairly representative analysis: “Only a trusted person from one of the ‘power ministries’ can ensure the safety of Yeltsin’s entourage after his term in office, and the former FSB boss can prove indispensable.” [BBC, 8/9/1999] Entity Tags: Boris Yeltsin, Russian Federal Security Service, Vladimir Putin, Sergei Stepashin, KGB Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Islamist Militancy in Chechnya

August 17, 1999: Arms Merchants Seek Nuclear Materials in US; Report Is Sanitized

Randy Glass, holding a Stinger missile. [Source: David Friedman/ Getty Images] 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 it is shown Stinger missiles as part of a sting operation. [SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, 3/20/2003] US intelligence soon discovers connections between two in the group, Rajaa Gulum Abbas and Mohammed Malik, Islamic militant groups in Kashmir (where the ISI assists them in 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, 8/2/2002; NBC, 3/18/2003] According to Dick Stoltz, a federal undercover agent posing as a black market arms dealer, one of the Pakistanis at the warehouse claims he is working for A.Q. Khan. A Pakistani nuclear scientist, Khan is considered the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program and also the head of an illegal network exporting nuclear technology to rogue nations. [MSNBC, 1/14/2005] 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.” [WPBF 25 (WEST PALM BEACH), 8/5/2002] In June 2002, the US secretly indicts Abbas, 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, 8/2/2002] Entity Tags: Diaa Mohsen, Taliban, Rajaa Gulum Abbas, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Randy Glass, Abdul Qadeer Khan, Mohammed Malik, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: A. Q. Khan's Nuclear Network Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Randy Glass/ Diamondback, Other Possible Moles or Informants, Pakistani Nukes & Islamic Militancy

August 18, 1999: Yeltsin Opponents Join Forces

Yevgeny Primakov. [Source: BBC (2000)] Yevgeny Primakov, who was Russian prime minister until he was summarily dismissed by President Boris Yeltsin in May 1999, announces that he will lead Yuri Luzhkov’s Fatherland-All Russia party for the upcoming Duma elections in December. Polls indicate Primakov is the country’s most trusted politician. He has demonstrated his willingness to investigate corruption. The Primakov-Luzhkov alliance threatens the Kremlin’s plans for a political succession that would protect Yeltsin’s entourage after the next presidential elections, scheduled for June 2000. But in an attempt to re-assure the Kremlin, Primakov proposes a new law guaranteeing “full security and a worthy life” to presidents after they leave office. Reports the New York Times: “That last proposal was an obvious olive branch to Mr. Yeltsin and his presidential administration, whose increasingly desperate battle to influence the choice of a presidential successor is widely thought to be driven by concern for their own future.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/18/1999] Entity Tags: Yuri M. Luzhkov, Boris Yeltsin, Yevgeny Primakov Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Islamist Militancy in Chechnya

August 25-September 22, 1999: Russia Begins Bombing Chechnya in Advance of Full-Scale Invasion Following raids by Chechen forces into the neighboring Russian region of Dagestan earlier in the month (see August 7-8, 1999), the Russian military pushes the Chechens back into Chechnya. Then, on August 25, Russian planes bomb two villages just inside Chechnya, near the Dagestan border. [CNN, 8/26/1999] There is intermittent fighting and bombing for several weeks, and then, around September 22, a more intense Russian bombing campaign begins. This is to soften up the opposition so a full scale invasion can start at the end of September (see September 29, 1999). [CNN, 9/29/1999] Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Islamist Militancy in Chechnya

August 31, 1999: Moscow Shopping Mall Is Bombed In the first instance of what will later become a series of bombings during the month of September 1999, the Manezh, a luxury underground shopping mall in Moscow and within walking distance of the Kremlin, is bombed. Forty people are injured; only one is killed. [BBC, 9/1/1999] Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Islamist Militancy in Chechnya

Fall 1999: Army Intelligence Program Begins Gathering Information on Al-Qaeda

Gen. Pete Schoomaker. [Source: US Defense Department] A data mining program called Able Danger was set up by US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in late 1998. It had been collecting data mostly on Bosnia and China (see Late December 1998). But at this time, it begins collecting data on al-Qaeda. [GOVERNMENT SECURITY NEWS, 9/2005] At least some of the data is collected on behalf of Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Lambert, the J3 at US Special Operations Command. [US CONGRESS. SENATE. COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY, 9/21/2005] Eleven intelligence employees are directly involved in Able Danger’s work. Six are with SOCOM’s Able Danger unit. Four more, including Dr. Eileen Preisser and Maj. Eric Kleinsmith, are with the US Army’s Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA), which joins the effort in December 1999. LIWA had been conducing data mining already on a wide variety of topics, including international drug cartels, corruption in Russia and Serbia, terrorist linkages in the Far East, and the proliferation of sensitive military technology to China (see April 2000). [NORRISTOWN TIMES HERALD, 6/19/2005; GOVERNMENT SECURITY NEWS, 8/2005; NEW YORK TIMES, 8/9/2005; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 8/10/2005; BERGEN RECORD, 8/14/2005; GOVERNMENT SECURITY NEWS, 9/2005; US CONGRESS, 9/21/2005; US CONGRESS. SENATE. COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY, 9/21/2005] Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, running a military unit called Stratus Ivy in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), will also take part in the effort. According to Shaffer, Stratus Ivy is tasked “to take on ‘out of the box’ ideas, and develop them into real intelligence operations.” So the goal is to use the information gathered by Able Danger to conduct real operations against al-Qaeda targets. [US CONGRESS, 2/15/2006] Using computers, the unit collects huge amounts of data in a technique called “data mining.” They get information from such sources as al-Qaeda Internet chat rooms, news accounts, web sites, and financial records. Using sophisticated software, they compare this with government records such as visa applications by foreign tourists, to find any correlations and depict these visually. [BERGEN RECORD, 8/14/2005; GOVERNMENT SECURITY NEWS, 9/2005] The program will be shut down early in 2001 (see January-March 2001). Entity Tags: Geoffrey Lambert, Anthony Shaffer, Eric Kleinsmith, Russia, Special Operations Command, Hugh Shelton, Al-Qaeda, Curt Weldon, Peter J. Schoomaker, Bosnia, China, Able Danger, Eileen Preisser Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Able Danger

Autumn 1999: Bizarre Connection Between Moussaoui and Future Beheading Victim

Nick Berg. [Source: Associated Press] Nick Berg is an American who will become known for being beheaded on video in Iraq in 2004 (see March 24-May 11, 2004). It will later come out that he had a curious connection to Zacarias Moussaoui. In the autumn of 1999, Berg is a university student in Norman, Oklahoma, where Moussaoui will attend flight school in early 2001. According to Berg’s father, one day Nick Berg is riding a bus to his classes and he meets Moussaoui on the bus. Moussaoui asks him for his password so he can use Berg’s laptop to check the Internet. Berg gives him his password. FBI investigators later will discover Moussaoui’s use of this password, and will interview Berg about it in 2002. Berg will be cleared of any criminal connection with Moussaoui. Jayna Davis, a former NBC reporter known for her controversial investigation of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, calls the explanation as to why Moussaoui had Berg’s password “totally nonsensical.” She will note the low odds of anyone being able to log onto the Internet on a bus in 1999 and will say, “You’re sitting on a bus. It’s a five- to ten-minute ride. How in the world would a stranger sitting next to you say, ‘Hey, can I borrow your laptop computer because I want to log on to your e-mail?’” She also notes that the FBI insists Berg gave his password to an acquaintance of Moussaoui, while Berg’s family insists it was Moussaoui himself on the bus. [NEWSMAX, 5/18/2004; CBS NEWS, 5/21/2004] The London Times will note that this acquaintance “is believed to have been Hussein al-Attas,” Moussaoui’s roommate when he will be arrested in Minnesota in August 2001. The Times will note that Berg’s “past links to an al-Qaeda terrorist have raised questions in some quarters as to whether he might even have been working for the intelligence services.” [LONDON TIMES, 5/23/2004] Entity Tags: Jayna Davis, Hussein al-Attas, Nick Berg, Zacarias Moussaoui Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui

September 1999: US Report Predicts Spectacular Attack on Washington; Al-Qaeda Could ‘Crash-Land Aircraft’ into Buildings

’The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism.’ [Source: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress] A report prepared for US intelligence titled the “Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism: Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why” is completed. It states: “Al-Qaeda’s expected retaliation for the US cruise missile attack… could take several forms of terrorist attack in the nation’s capital. Al-Qaeda could detonate a Chechen-type building-buster bomb at a federal building. Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al-Qaeda’s Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and Semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House. Whatever form an attack may take, bin Laden will most likely retaliate in a spectacular way.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4/18/2002] The report discusses the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and includes a picture of the WTC towers. [HUDSON, 1999, PP. 4 ; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 5/17/2002] It was prepared by the Federal Research Division, an arm of the Library of Congress, for the National Intelligence Council, which advises the president and US intelligence on emerging threats. Its author is Rex A. Hudson. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4/18/2002; HUDSON, 2005] The Bush administration will later claim to have never heard of this report until May 2002, despite the fact that it had been publicly posted on the Internet since 1999, and “widely shared within the government,” according to the New York Times. [CNN, 5/18/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 5/18/2002] Entity Tags: Bush administration, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Pentagon, National Intelligence Council, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Key Warnings, Warning Signs

September 1999: Bin Laden to Attack in US, Possibly in California and New York City US intelligence obtains information that bin Laden and others are planning an attack in the US, possibly against specific landmarks in California and New York City. The reliability of the source is unknown. [US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden Category Tags: Warning Signs

September 1999: FBI Investigates Flight School Attendee Connected to Bin Laden Agents from Oklahoma City FBI office visit the Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma to investigate Ihab Ali Nawawi, who has been identified as bin Laden’s former personal pilot in a recent trial. The agents learned that Nawawi received his commercial pilot’s license at the school 1993, then traveled to another school in Oklahoma City to qualify for a rating to fly small business aircraft. He is later named as an unindicted coconspirator in the 1998 US Embassy bombing in Kenya. The trial witness who gave this information, Essam al Ridi, also attended flight school in the US, then bought a plane and flew it to Afghanistan for bin Laden to use (see Early 1993). [BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18/2001; CNN, 10/16/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 5/19/2002; US CONGRESS, 10/17/2002] When Nawawi was arrested in May 1999, he was working as a taxi driver in Orlando, Florida (see May 18, 1999). Investigators discover recent ties between him and high-ranking al-Qaeda leaders, and suspect he was a “sleeper” agent. [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/28/2001] However, the FBI agent visiting the school is not given most background details about him. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003] It is not known if these investigators are aware of a terrorist flight school warning given by the Oklahoma City FBI office in 1998. Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi later visit the Airman school in July 2000 but ultimately will decide to train in Florida instead. [BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18/2001] Al-Qaeda agent Zacarias Moussaoui will take flight lessons at Airman in February 2001 (see February 23-June 2001). One of the FBI agents sent to visit the school at this time visits it again in August 2001 asking about Moussaoui, but he will fail to make a connection between the two visits (see August 23, 2001). Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mohamed Atta, Essam al Ridi, Ihab Ali, Marwan Alshehhi, Zacarias Moussaoui Category Tags: Warning Signs

September 1999: CIA Analyst Suggests US Use Muslims to Further US Interests in Central Asia Graham Fuller, former Deputy Director of the CIA’s National Council on Intelligence, advocates using Muslim forces to further US interests in Central Asia. He states, “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against [the Russians]. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.” Later in 1999, investigative journalist Richard Labeviere suggests that Fuller is revealing actual US foreign policy in Central Asia and comments, “the convergence of strategic and economic interests between the American government and Sunni Islam is doing just fine….” [LABEVIERE, 1999, PP. 5-6] Entity Tags: Richard Labeviere, Graham Fuller Category Tags: US Dominance

September 1999: Atta Obtains US Store Membership Before Alleged Arrival in US BJ’s Wholesale Club, a store in Hollywood, Florida, later tells the FBI that Mohamed Atta may have held a BJ’s membership card since at least this time (“more than two years” before 9/11). Several cashiers at the store vaguely remember seeing Atta there. [MIAMI HERALD, 9/18/2001] According to the official story, Atta does not arrive in the US until June 3, 2000. [MIAMI HERALD, 9/22/2001] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mohamed Atta, BJ’s Wholesale Club Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Mohamed Atta


Fall 1999: Radical London Cleric and Informer Calls on Followers to ‘Kill the Infidels’ Leading London-based radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, an informer for the British authorities (see Early 1997), calls on his followers to “kill the infidels” during a sermon delivered in Arabic in Finsbury Park mosque. He says: “When the forbidden months are past, it is a timed period, then fight and kill the infidels wherever you find them. He [Allah] did not say only here or here or here. Wherever you find them, except where it is forbidden like the Sacred Mosque. Wherever you find them, the kuffar is killed. Wherever you find them, take them and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem.” [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 57-58] Entity Tags: Abu Hamza al-Masri, Finsbury Park Mosque Category Tags: Abu Hamza Al-Masri, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

Fall 1999: CIA Draws Up New Plan to Combat Al-Qaeda; Includes Disruption, Rendition and Capture Operations The CIA drafts a new plan to combat al-Qaeda. The document, entitled “The Plan,” has several elements:

Continue with the CIA’s rendition program, which had begun some time previously (see Summer 1995); 
Continue with disruption operations against al-Qaeda; 
Hire and train better officers with counterterrorism skills; 
Recruit more assets and try to penetrate al-Qaeda’s ranks; 
Close gaps in the collection of signals and imagery intelligence; 
Increase contacts with the Northern Alliance (see Summer 1999). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 142]

Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

September 4, 1999: Bomb Targets Military Barracks in Dagestan, Next to Chechnya

Buinaksk Blast [Source: Terror99.ru] A powerful bomb hits military housing for Russian soldiers in Buinaksk, Dagestan, killing 64. A car bomb is also discovered near a military hospital and defused. The attack is believed to have been committed by Chechen rebels in retaliation for Russian operations in Chechnya and neighboring Dagestan. [BBC, 9/5/1999; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/5/1999; NEW YORK TIMES, 9/6/1999; DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/6/1999] Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Islamist Militancy in Chechnya

September 9, 1999: Apartment Blast in Moscow Kills 94; Chechen Rebels Blamed

The Guryanov Street bombing. [Source: NTV/Terror.ru] A powerful explosion levels the central portion of a block-long Moscow apartment building shortly after midnight, killing 94 people. The building is located on Guryanov Street in a working-class suburb, far from the heart of Moscow. Yuri Luzhkov, the mayor of Moscow, who has a degree in chemistry, identifies the probable explosive as hexagen, also called RDX. He says the attack was probably carried out by Chechen terrorists: “Visual signs suggest that it was a terrorist act similar to the one carried out in Buinaksk” (see September 4, 1999). Interfax reports that an anonymous caller declared that the explosion is “our response to air strikes against peaceful villages in Chechnya and Dagestan.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/10/1999; MOSCOW TIMES, 9/10/1999; BBC, 8/10/2000] Another Moscow apartment building is bombed on September 13, killing over 100 (see September 13, 1999). Later in the month, explosives will be found in an apartment building in the nearby city of Ryazan. The Russian government will initially declare it a foiled bombing until the suspects arrested turn out to be FSB agents. The government will then claim it was merely a training exercise (see September 22-24, 1999). This will lead some to suspect that all three apartment bomb incidents this month were false flag attacks by the FSB (see March 6, 2002, December 30, 2003 and January 2004). Entity Tags: Yuri M. Luzhkov Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Islamist Militancy in Chechnya

September 13, 1999: Second Moscow Apartment Bombing Kills 118; Chechen Rebels Blamed

The Kashirskoye Street bombing. [Source: AP/Terror99.ru] A powerful early-morning blast levels an apartment building on Kashirskoye Street, Moscow, killing 118 people. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Moscow’s mayor Yuri M. Luzhkov blame Chechen terrorists. [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/13/1999; BBC, 9/13/1999] Another Moscow apartment building was bombed on September 9, killing nearly 100 (see September 9, 1999). Later in the month, explosives will be found in an apartment building in the nearby city of Ryazan. The Russian government will initially declare it a foiled bombing until the suspects arrested turn out to be FSB agents. The government will then claim it was merely a training exercise (see September 22-24, 1999). This will lead some to suspect that all three apartment bomb incidents this month were false flag attacks by the FSB (see March 6, 2002, December 30, 2003 and January 2004). Entity Tags: Yuri M. Luzhkov, Russian Federal Security Service, Vladimir Putin Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Islamist Militancy in Chechnya

September 15, 1999: Bipartisan Commission Concludes Terrorist Attack Will Occur on US Soil, Killing Many The first phase of the US Commission on National Security/21st Century, co-chaired by former Senators Gary Hart (D) and Warren Rudman (R), is issued. It concludes: “America will be attacked by terrorists using weapons of mass destruction and Americans will lose their lives on American soil, possibly in large numbers.” [US COMMISSION ON NATIONAL SECURITY, 9/15/1999] Entity Tags: Gary Hart, Commission on National Security/21st Century, Warren Rudman Category Tags: Warning Signs

September 16, 1999: Truck Bomb in Southern Russia Kills 17

Apartment building in Volgondosk after blast [Source: BBC] A huge truck bomb outside an apartment block in Volgodonsk, Southern Russia, shears off the front of the building, killing 17 people. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declares, “We must stamp out this vermin.” Putin has blamed Chechen separatists for previous attacks. [BBC, 9/16/1999] Entity Tags: Vladimir Putin Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Islamist Militancy in Chechnya

September 21, 1999: German Intelligence Records Calls Between Hijacker and Others Linked to Al-Qaeda German intelligence is periodically tapping suspected al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Haydar Zammar’s telephone, and on this day investigators hear Zammar call hijacker Marwan Alshehhi. Officials initially claim that the call also mentions hijacker Mohamed Atta, but only his first name. [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 11/24/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 1/18/2003] However, his full name, “Mohamed Atta Al Amir,” is mentioned in this call and in another recorded call. [FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG (FRANKFURT), 2/2/2003] Alshehhi makes veiled references to plans to travel to Afghanistan. He also hands the phone over to Said Bahaji (another member of the Hamburg cell under investigation at the time), so he can talk to Zammar. [STERN, 8/13/2003] German investigators still do not know Alshehhi’s full name, but they recognize this “Marwan” also called Zammar in January, and they told the CIA about that call. 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 SPIEGEL (HAMBURG), 2/3/2003] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Central Intelligence Agency, Said Bahaji, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, United Arab Emirates Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, Al-Qaeda in Germany, Key Hijacker Events, Remote Surveillance

September 22-24, 1999: FSB Agents Plant Large Bomb in Ryazan: ‘Security Exercise’ or Terror Plot?

Ryazan bomb detonator. [Source: Cryptome.org] On the evening of September 22, 1999, several residents of an apartment block in Ryazan, a city about a hundred miles south of Moscow, observe three strangers at the entrance of their building. The two young men and a woman are carrying large sacks into the basement. The residents notice that the car’s plate has been partially covered with paper, although they can still see a Moscow license plate number underneath. They decide to call the local police. After several bombings of apartment buildings in Moscow earlier in the month (see September 9, 1999 and September 13, 1999), their vigilance is understandable. When the police arrive, around 9:00 p.m., they uncover what appears to be huge bomb: three sacks of sugar filled with a granular powder, connected to a detonator and a timing device set for 5:30 a.m. The bomb squad uses a gas testing device to confirm that it is explosive material: it appears to be hexagen, the military explosive that is believed to have been used to blow up two Moscow blocks. The residents are evacuated. Then the bomb carted away and turned over to the FSB. (In an apparent oversight, the FSB fails to collect the detonator, which is photographed by the local police.) The following morning, September 23, the government announces that a terrorist attack has been averted. They praise the vigilance of the local people and the Ryazan police. Police comb the city and find the suspects’ car. A telephone operator for long-distance calls reports that she overheard a suspicious conversation: the caller said there were too many police to leave town undetected and was told, “Split up and each of you make your own way out.” To the police’s astonishment, the number called belongs to the FSB. Later this day, the massive manhunt succeeds: the suspects are arrested. But the police are again stunned when the suspects present FSB credentials. On Moscow’s orders, they are quietly released. On September 24, the government reverses itself and now says the bomb was a dummy and the whole operation an exercise to test local vigilance. The official announcement is met with disbelief and anger. Ryazan residents, thousands of whom have had to spend the previous night outdoors, are outraged; local authorities protest that they were not informed. However, the suspicion of a government provocation is not widely expressed and press coverage fades after a few days. It is only several months later that an investigation by the independent weekly Novaya Gazeta re-ignites the controversy (see February 20, 2000 and Fall 1999). The government’s explanations will fail to convince skeptics (see March 23, 2000). The Ryazan incident later becomes the main reason for suspecting the government of having orchestrated previous bombings. The controversy is then widely reported in the international press. [BBC, 9/24/1999; MOSCOW TIMES, 9/24/1999; CNN, 9/24/1999; BALTIMORE SUN, 1/14/2000; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 1/15/2000; MOSCOW TIMES, 1/18/2000; INDEPENDENT, 1/27/2000; OBSERVER, 3/12/2000; NEWSWEEK, 4/3/2000; INSIGHT, 4/17/2000; NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE, 4/30/2002; LE MONDE (PARIS), 11/17/2002; SATTER, 2003; MOSCOW TIMES, 9/24/2004] Entity Tags: Russian Federal Security Service, Novaya Gazeta Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Islamist Militancy in Chechnya

September 29, 1999: Russian Ground Invasion Begins Second Chechen War By September 29, 1999, Russian ground forces begin invading Chechnya. Chechnya has been a de facto independent country since the end of the first Chechen war in 1996, but violence has been escalating. In early August, some Chechen fighters attacked the neighboring Russian region of Dagestan (see August 7-8, 1999). In late August, the Russian military began bombing parts of Chechnya (see August 25-September 22, 1999), and by late September that turned into a heavy aerial bombardment. [CNN, 9/29/1999] By October 5, Russia claims that its forces control about one-third of Chechnya. But this is only the flat terrain north of the capital of Grozny. [CNN, 10/5/1999] The battle for Grozny will take months and securing the mountainous terrain in the southern third of Chechnya will take years. Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Islamist Militancy in Chechnya

Q4 1999Edit

Main article: Q4 1999

1999 and othersEdit

To sortEdit

  1. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 11/18/2001; FARAH AND BRAUN, 2007, PP. 120-121]
  2. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 486
  3. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 11/18/2001; FARAH AND BRAUN, 2007, PP. 120-121]
  4. [NEWSWEEK INTERNATIONAL, 3/16/2006]
  5. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 2/8/2002]
  6. [DAILY MAIL, 7/16/2002; LONDON TIMES, 7/16/2002]
  7. [PRESS TRUST OF INDIA, 1/3/2000]
  8. [BBC, 7/16/2002; DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/16/2002; VANITY FAIR, 8/2002]
  9. [PRESS TRUST OF INDIA, 1/3/2000]
  10. [PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/3/2002]
  11. [INDEPENDENT, 12/11/2001]
  12. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 5/19/2002]
  13. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 12/13/2001]
  14. [INDEPENDENT, 12/11/2001]

Timeline linksEdit

September 8 September 9 September 10 September 11

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