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October 7, 2001: ISI Director Replaced at US Urging; Role in Funding 9/11 Plot Is One Explanation Edit
The on-line Wall Street Journal article discussing the connections between Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed, Saeed Sheikh, and Mohamed Atta. [Source: Public domain] ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed is replaced in the face of US pressure after links are discovered between him, Saeed Sheikh, and the funding of the 9/11 attacks. Mahmood instructed Saeed to transfer $100,000 into hijacker Mohamed Atta’s bank account prior to 9/11. This is according to Indian intelligence, which claims the FBI has privately confirmed the story. [PRESS TRUST OF INDIA, 10/8/2001; TIMES OF INDIA, 10/9/2001; INDIA TODAY, 10/15/2001; DAILY EXCELSIOR (JAMMU), 10/18/2001] The story is not widely reported in Western countries, though it makes the Wall Street Journal. [AUSTRALIAN, 10/10/2001; AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 10/10/2001; WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/10/2001] It is reported in Pakistan as well. [DAWN (KARACHI), 10/8/2001] The Northern Alliance also repeats the claim in late October. [FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, 10/31/2001] In Western countries, the usual explanation is that Mahmood is fired for being too close to the Taliban. [LONDON TIMES, 10/9/2001; GUARDIAN, 10/9/2001] The Times of India reports that Indian intelligence helped the FBI discover the link, and says, “A direct link between the ISI and the WTC attack could have enormous repercussions. The US cannot but suspect whether or not there were other senior Pakistani Army commanders who were in the know of things. Evidence of a larger conspiracy could shake US confidence in Pakistan’s ability to participate in the anti-terrorism coalition.” [TIMES OF INDIA, 10/9/2001] There is evidence some ISI officers may have known of a plan to destroy the WTC as early as July 1999. Two other ISI leaders, Lt. Gen. Mohammed Aziz Khan and Lt. Gen. Muzaffar Usmani, are sidelined on the same day as Mahmood (see October 8, 2001). [FOX NEWS, 10/8/2001] Saeed had been working under Khan. The firings are said to have purged the ISI of its fundamentalists. However, according to one diplomat, “To remove the top two or three doesn’t matter at all. The philosophy remains.… [The ISI is] a parallel government of its own. If you go through the officer list, almost all of the ISI regulars would say, of the Taliban, ‘They are my boys.’” [NEW YORKER, 10/29/2001] It is believed Mahmood has been living under virtual house arrest in Pakistan (which would seem to imply more than just a difference of opinion over the Taliban), but no charges have been brought against him, and there is no evidence the US has asked to question him. [ASIA TIMES, 1/5/2002] He also has refused to speak to reporters since being fired [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 2/21/2002] , and outside India and Pakistan, the story has only been mentioned infrequently in the media since. [SUNDAY HERALD (GLASGOW), 2/24/2002; LONDON TIMES, 4/21/2002] He will reemerge as a businessman in 2003, but still will not speak to the media (see July 2003). Entity Tags: Muzaffar Usmani, Mohamed Atta, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Northern Alliance, Mohammed Aziz Khan, Taliban, Saeed Sheikh, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Mahmood Ahmed, India, World Trade Center Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Mahmood Ahmed, Afghanistan
October 7, 2001: US Hesitates, Fails to Kill Mullah Omar On the first night of the Afghan war, an unmanned Predator drone identifies a convoy of vehicles fleeing Kabul. Mullah Omar, head of the Taliban, is determined to be inside this convoy. The CIA is in control of the Predator attack drone and wants to use it to kill Omar, but they have to ask for permission from military commanders who are based in Florida. General Tommy Franks decides not to fire any missiles or launch an air strike against the building in which Omar takes shelter. Eventually fighters attack and destroy the building, but by then Omar and his associates have moved on. One anonymous senior official later says of this failure to kill Omar, “It’s not a f_ckup, it’s an outrage.” According to one senior military officer, “political correctness” and/or slow bureaucratic procedures are to blame. [NEW YORKER, 10/16/2001] It is later revealed that this is part of a pattern of delays that will hinder many attacks on al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders (see Early October-Mid-November, 2001). Entity Tags: Thomas Franks, Central Intelligence Agency, Mullah Omar Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan
October 7, 2001: Stolen 9/11 Documents Appear in Mysterious Circumstances On this day, Zeljko E., a Kosovar Serb, enters a Hamburg, Germany, police station and says he wants to turn himself in. He tells the police that he has robbed a business and stolen piles of paper written in Arabic, with the hopes of selling them. A friend of his told him that they relate to the 9/11 attacks. The 44 pounds of papers are translated and they prove to be a “treasure trove.” The documents come from Mamoun Darkazanli’s files, which were not in Darkazanli’s apartment when police raided it two days after 9/11. “It makes for a great story. A petty thief pilfers files containing critical information about the largest terrorist attack in history and dutifully turns them over to the police. [But German] agents do not buy this story for a minute; they suspect that some other Secret Service was trying to find a way of getting evidence into [their] hands. The question is, whose Secret Service?” Some German investigators later suggest that the CIA was responsible; there are also reports that the FBI illegally monitored Darkazanli after 9/11. [DER SPIEGEL (HAMBURG), 10/27/2001; DER SPIEGEL, 2002, PP. 166-67; CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/17/2002] Entity Tags: Germany, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Der Spiegel, Secret Service, Central Intelligence Agency Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Germany, Mamoun Darkazanli
October 7, 2001: Bin Laden Issues Video, Warning the US, but Does Not Claim Responsibility for 9/11
Bin Laden appears on Al Jareeza, in a taped statement broadcast shortly after US-led strikes on Afghanistan begin. [Source: Al Jazeera] In a recorded statement broadcast on television worldwide, Osama bin Laden issues a strongly worded message to the United States, but makes no claim of responsibility for 9/11. The recording is broadcast on the Al Jazeera television network within an hour of the first US strikes on Afghanistan, and is then shown by CNN. There is no date on the tape and no immediate way of determining where it was made. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/8/2001] Bin Laden is shown sitting in a stone cave. His top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, appears at his side. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 10/8/2001] Referring to the 9/11 attacks, bin Laden says, “What the United States tastes today is a very small thing compared to what we have tasted for tens of years.” He praises those responsible, saying, “I ask God Almighty to elevate their status and grant them paradise.” [BBC, 10/7/2001] It is the first time he has spoken publicly about 9/11. But he makes no claim in his statement of having been responsible for the attacks. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 10/8/2001] He has previously explicitly denied responsibility for 9/11 (see September 16, 2001 and September 28, 2001). Bin Laden concludes his message warning, “[N]either the United States nor he who lives in the United States will enjoy security before we can see it as a reality in Palestine and before all the infidel armies leave the land of Mohammed.” [BBC, 10/7/2001] The following day, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer will tell reporters that, after watching this message, President Bush concluded that bin Laden “virtually took responsibility” for 9/11. [CNN, 10/8/2001] Entity Tags: Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden, Other 9/11 Investigations, Alleged Al-Qaeda Media Statements