This article has been assessed as havingUnknown importance.
Good scope? Timeline? + wikified? red links < 10? all red links fixed? referenced? Illustrated? Googled and added info? Checked 9/11 records archives? Checked Wikinews? Checked Wikisource?
|This article needs better categories. Please help out by fixing categories to it so that it can be listed with similar articles.|
|This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Historycommons.org - link|
August 20, 2001: Hanjour Passes Check Ride, but Apparently Does Not Obtain Certification Edit
Alleged Flight 77 pilot Hani Hanjour successfully conducts “a challenging certification flight supervised by an instructor at Congressional Air Charters of Gaithersburg, Maryland, landing at a small airport with a difficult approach,” according to the 9/11 Commission Report. The instructor, Eddie Shalev, thinks that “Hanjour may have had training from a military pilot because he used a terrain recognition system for navigation.” However, it is unclear what certification the 9/11 Commission thinks Hanjour receives. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 248, 531] Shalev is an Israeli national and has a military background. He began working at Congressional Air Charters in April 2001. [9/11 COMMISSION, 4/9/2004] A stipulation used as evidence at the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui will mention the flight, but fail to mention any certification Hanjour allegedly receives based on it, merely saying it is a “check ride with a flight instructor.” Hanjour will subsequently rent aircraft from the company on August 26 and 28. [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006, PP. 68 ] Entity Tags: Congressional Air Charters, Eddie Shalev, Hani Hanjour Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Hani Hanjour, Alleged Hijackers' Flight Training
August 20, 2001: Fort Meade Increases Base Security Edit
Fort Meade, a US Army installation located between Baltimore and Washington, DC, begins strict new entrance restrictions. For decades, visitors such as churchgoers and parents taking their children to schools on the base have been able to enter the post freely. But the Army is now closing seven access points, with only four points remaining open full time and four others part time. The restrictions, part of a security crackdown ordered by Army leaders concerned about terrorism, will require visitors to stop at a visitor’s center and obtain a day pass allowing them to enter and travel on the base. [WASHINGTON POST, 8/15/2001; LAUREL LEADER, 8/23/2001; LAUREL LEADER, 8/23/2001] Fort Meade is home to about 10,000 military personnel and 25,000 civilian employees. Its major tenant units include the National Security Agency (NSA), the US Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), and the US Air Force’s 694th Intelligence Group. [MILITARY DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON, 8/2000; GLOBALSECURITY (.ORG), 4/9/2002] All other installations in the Military District of Washington are currently implementing similar access restrictions (see August 15, 2001). [MDW NEWS SERVICE, 7/2001] Entity Tags: Fort Meade, Military District of Washington Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Military Exercises
August 20, 2001: Atta Announces Approximate Date of Attack in E-mail to Bin Al-Shibh In a later interview, would-be hijacker Ramzi bin al-Shibh claims that roughly around this day, he receives a coded e-mail about the 9/11 plot from Mohamed Atta. It reads, “The first term starts in three weeks.… There are 19 certificates for private studies and four exams.” Bin al-Shibh learns the exact day of the attack on August 29. [GUARDIAN, 9/9/2002] Hijacker Hani Hanjour also makes surveillance test flights near the Pentagon and WTC around this time, showing the targets have been confirmed as well. [CBS NEWS, 10/9/2002] Information in a notebook later found in Afghanistan suggests the 9/11 attack was planned for later, but was moved up at the last minute. [MSNBC, 1/30/2002] The FBI later notices spikes in cell phone use between the hijackers just after the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui and just before the hijackers begin to buy tickets for the flights they would hijack. [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/10/2002] CIA Director Tenet has hinted that Zacarias Moussaoui’s arrest a few days earlier (on August 15 (see August 16, 2001)) may be connected to when the date of the attack was picked. [US CONGRESS, 6/18/2002] On the other hand, some terrorists appear to have made plans to flee Germany in advance of the 9/11 attacks one day before Moussaoui’s arrest (see August 14, 2001). Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, George J. Tenet, Hani Hanjour, Mohamed Atta, Ramzi bin al-Shibh Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Mohamed Atta
August 20, 2001: Moussaoui Associate Bailed out of Custody by Subject of Counterterrorism Investigation
M. A. Menepta (Melvin Lattimore). [Source: Public domain] Hussein al-Attas, an associate of Zacarias Moussaoui, is released from an immigration detention center on bail. Al-Attas was questioned and detained shortly after Moussaoui’s arrest (see August 16, 2001 and August 16, 2001). His bail is paid by Mujahid Abdulqadir Menepta, who was investigated by the FBI over terrorism suspicions. When agents from the Minneapolis field office investigate Menepta, they find that he knows Moussaoui and attended the same mosque as him in Norman, Oklahoma. They also discover that he has an extensive criminal history and was the subject of a New York criminal-terrorism related investigation. Minneapolis agent Harry Samit writes in a memo to FBI headquarters that he thinks Menepta may be involved in whatever Moussaoui is plotting. Samit explains that he told immigration officers that he traveled to Pakistan in 1989 as part of a missionary effort. Samit says the international Islamic organization that sponsored the trip has been linked by the FBI to the recruitment of militants. Samit also reports that Menepta wasn’t entirely truthful with the INS. Samit says Pakistan apparently issued him a visa in April 1990, something he failed to disclose to the INS. Additionally, Menepta told immigration officers that he is al-Attas’ roommate, but al-Attas has been living with Moussaoui and another man for one month at an address different than the one indicated by Menepta. Samit says that the the explanation that he flew to Minneapolis to post al-Attas’ bond so that al-Attas can return to teach children at the Oklahoma mosque seems “farfetched.” [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 135-6 ; US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 3/1/2006 ; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006 ] Entity Tags: Hussein al-Attas, Zacarias Moussaoui, Mujahid Abdulqadir Menepta, Harry Samit, FBI Minnesota field office Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui
August 20, 2001: Pakistani President Musharraf Denounces UN Sanctions against Taliban Both Russia and France have recently presented intelligence to the United Nations Security Council documenting that Pakistan is continuing to heavily support the Taliban (see March 7, 2001), in direct violation of UN sanctions (see January 19, 2001). Up to 30 ISI trucks a day are crossing into Afghanistan (see June 13, 2001 and Summer 2001). But on August 20, 2001, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf openly condemns the UN sanctions, saying: “The Taliban are the dominant reality in Afghanistan.… The unilateral arms embargo on the Taliban is unjustified, discriminatory, and will further escalate the war [between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance].” [RASHID, 2008, PP. 60, 416] Entity Tags: Taliban, United Nations, Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI
August 20, 2001 and After: Key Justice Department Unit Not Consulted about Moussaoui Warrant Request
A memo from Attorney General John Ashcroft about the FISA process, obtained by the Center for Grassroots Oversight by FOIA request. [Source: Office of the Attorney General] (click image to enlarge) A key Justice Department unit, the Office of Intelligence and Policy Review (OIPR), is not consulted about a request to search Zacarias Moussaoui’s belongings. Although it is this office that would submit an application for a search warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the legal aspects of the application are discussed only with the National Security Law Unit, which is beneath the OIPR (see August 22-28, 2001). FBI officials discuss what they think the OIPR will want in a warrant application, but do not ask it directly. Sherry Sabol, an attorney in the lower National Security Law Unit, will later say that she would have contacted the OIPR to discuss a possible warrant application, if FBI headquarters agents had not withheld information from her (see August 22-28, 2001). When shown the relevant documentation for the Moussaoui case after 9/11, the OIPR’s general counsel will say he would have considered the application and, if submitted, he “would have tied bells and whistles” to a comment by Moussaoui’s imam that Moussaoui and an associate wanted to “go on jihad” (see August 17, 2001). [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 132-166, 182-4, 201 ] However, a memo from Attorney General John Ashcroft issued in May to improve the efficiency of the FISA process recommended communications between field offices, FBI headquarters, and the OIPR. In addition, the OIPR and the FBI should hold regular monthly meetings to discuss FISA warrants. It is unclear if such a meeting is held in the three weeks between Moussaoui’s arrest and 9/11. However, one of the people supposed to attend such meetings is Spike Bowman, chief of the National Security Law Unit, who is involved in the Moussaoui case (see August 28, 2001). [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 5/18/2001 ] Entity Tags: Marion (“Spike”) Bowman, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Zacarias Moussaoui, Radical Fundamentalist Unit, FBI Headquarters, Sherry Sabol, National Security Law Unit, Office of Intelligence Policy and Review Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui
(August 20, 2001 or after): Radical Fundamentalist Unit Delays Advising FAA of Moussaoui Case At a meeting attended by Mike Maltbie of the Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU), RFU chief Dave Frasca, FBI agent Rita Flack, and an FAA representative who is familiar with the Moussaoui case, a decision is made not to advise the FAA about the Moussaoui investigation at this point because Moussaoui and Al-Attas are presumably in custody. (Al-Attas is bailed out of custody on August 20) [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 134, 149-150 ; US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 3/1/2006 ] Al-Attas is suspected of involvement in terrorism at this point and investigators believe he and Moussaoui may be involved in a plot against the US that involves the hijacking of an airplane (see August 17, 2001 and August 24, 2001). The FBI will eventually warn the FAA, but it will fail to mention that its Minneapolis office believes Moussaoui intends to hijack an airliner (see September 4, 2001). Entity Tags: Michael Maltbie, David Frasca, Federal Aviation Administration, Rita Flack, FBI Headquarters, Radical Fundamentalist Unit Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui (August 20, 2001): FBI Headquarters Opens Informal Communication Channel with CIA over Moussaoui After the Zacarias Moussaoui case (see August 16, 2001) is transferred from the Iran unit to the Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU) at FBI headquarters (see August 20-September 11, 2001), RFU chief Dave Frasca contacts Charles Frahm, an FBI manager detailed to the CIA with responsibility for Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit. According to Frahm, who has already been contacted by the FBI Minneapolis field office (see August 18, 2001 or Shortly Before), Frasca asks CIA headquarters to quickly share any information it has on Moussaoui with the FBI, but does not send the agency a formal request, even though FBI headquarters continues to coordinate the case with the CIA. In an e-mail sent around August 28, Frahm will indicate that the CIA has still not received a formal request from the bureau. [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 123, 154-5, 231-2 ; WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 313] The CIA will tell FBI agent Harry Samit that it thinks there is enough information to firmly link Moussaoui to a terrorist group (see August 24, 2001). Entity Tags: Radical Fundamentalist Unit, David Frasca, Charles Frahm, Central Intelligence Agency, Alec Station, FBI Headquarters Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui