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April 2001: Hekmatyar Predicts US Will Soon Attack Afghanistan and Overthrow Taliban Edit

Journalist Hamid Mir talks to Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is living in exile in Iran at the time. Hekmatyar predicts that the Taliban will fall by the end of the year. Mir will later recall, “he was telling me that the Americans will attack Afghanistan, Taliban government will fall, and then we’ll continue our jihad against the Americans.” Hekmatyar is opposed to the Taliban but openly supports bin Laden. He tells Mir, “Osama bin Laden is a great man and I support his ideology and I support his objectives.… He is a good friend of mine and he is a real muhjahid.” [BERGEN, 2006, PP. 287] A senior Taliban official will make a similar prediction to Mir before 9/11 and hint the justification for the US attack would be a major attack against US interests (see August 2-3, 2001).

April 2001: Cole Investigator Again Asks for Malaysia Information, CIA Again Reveals NothingEdit

Ali Soufan in Afghanistan after 9/11. [Source: FBI] Ali Soufan, a lead investigator into the bombing of the USS Cole, again requests information from the CIA about leads turned up by the investigation. He made a similar request in late 2000, but got no reply (see Late November 2000). After learning that some of the bombers made calls between one of their houses in Yemen, the Washington Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, where some of them stayed, and a payphone in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (see (January 5-8, 2000) and Early December 2000), Soufan sends an official teletype with the request for information and also a photo of al-Qaeda manager Khallad bin Attash. The CIA is well aware that there was an al-Qaeda summit at an apartment near the payphone in Kuala Lumpur (see January 5-8, 2000), and in fact considered it so important that CIA Director George Tenet and other CIA leaders were repeatedly briefed about it (see January 6-9, 2000). [NEW YORK TIMES, 4/11/2004; WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 330-331; NEW YORKER, 7/10/2006 ] The CIA even has photos from the Malaysia summit of al-Quso standing next to hijacker Khalid Almihdhar, and other photos of bin Attash standing next to Almihdhar. [NEWSWEEK, 9/20/2001] However, the CIA does not share any of what they know with Soufan, and Soufan continues to remain unaware the Malaysia summit even took place. Author Lawrence Wright will later comment, “If the CIA had responded to Soufan by supplying him with the intelligence he requested, the FBI would have learned of the Malaysia summit and of the connection to Almihdhar and Alhazmi. The bureau would have learned—as the [CIA] already knew—that the al-Qaeda operatives were in America and had been there for more than a year. Because there was a preexisting indictment for bin Laden in New York, and Almihdhar and Alhazmi were his associates, the bureau already had the authority to follow the suspects, wiretap their apartment, intercept their communications, clone their computer, investigate their contacts—all the essential steps that might have prevented 9/11.” [WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 330-331]

April 2001: A. Q. Khan Linked to Pakistani Militant GroupEdit

Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. [Source: BBC] In April 2001, the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) holds its annual public meeting in Pakistan. Pakistani nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan attends the meeting as an honored guest. Accompanying Khan at the podium is Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, another Pakistani nuclear scientist who had met with Osama bin Laden the year before (see 2000). He will meet with bin Laden again shortly before 9/11 and advise him on how to build a “dirty bomb” (see Mid-August 2001). [ASIA TIMES, 6/4/2004] French journalist Bernard Henri-Levy, the author of a book about Pakistani militant Saeed Sheikh, will later claim in the Wall Street Journal that Khan was a secret member of LeT. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/17/2004] The US will ban LeT after 9/11 because of its involvement in a string of attacks against India (see December 20, 2001). LeT is considered linked to al-Qaeda, and bin Laden addressed the annual LeT meeting by phone in some past years. Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the founder and leader of LeT, has publicly declared that Pakistan should share its nuclear technology with other Islamic nations, a position also advocated by Khan. In 2002, he will claim that people loyal to his organization “control two nuclear missiles.” [ASIA TIMES, 6/4/2004] Entity Tags: Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Abdul Qadeer Khan, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: A. Q. Khan's Nuclear Network Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Pakistani Nukes & Islamic Militancy

April 2001: Courier Working for Bin Laden and CIA Flees Afghanistan, Warns Al-Qaeda Planning to Hijack Airplane in US

Peter Jouvenal. [Source: Dominc Medley] British cameraman Peter Jouvenal is reporting on Afghanistan at this time and using a young Afghan known only as “Ahmed” to run errands. Ahmed also has a job running errands for Osama bin Laden at the same time. Jouvenal will later recount that Ahmed was helping bin Laden by “meeting people in Pakistan and taking them across the border, taking messages around for Osama, buying his food, taking messages to the Internet and logging on and receiving, printing, sending.” Ahmed buys bin Laden’s meals most every day. But Jouvenal says that “somewhere on the line Ahmed tied up with the CIA” and decided that working for bin Laden was too dangerous. Ahmed asks Jouvenal for help to get a visa for himself and his family to defect to the US, which Ahmed eventually gets. He also tells Jouvenal that al-Qaeda is planning to hijack an airplane in the US in an attempt to get Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman released from prison. [BERGEN, 2006, PP. 287-289] There are some similarities between Ahmed’s case and the case of “Max” who leaves Afghanistan around the same time and warns of a hijacking, but there are differences as well (see March-April 2001). It is not known if they are the same person. Regardless, Ahmed’s case contradicts CIA assertions that they never had any asserts close to bin Laden. It is not known why the CIA did not use Ahmed to track bin Laden’s location or poison his food. One month later the White House will be warned of the hijacking plot, but it is unknown if this came from Ahmed or other sources (see May 23, 2001). Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Ahmed (Afghan courier), Osama bin Laden, Peter Jouvenal, Omar Abdul-Rahman Category Tags: Warning Signs, Hunt for Bin Laden, Other Possible Moles or Informants

April 2001: Speculation That Commercial Pilots Could Be Al-Qaeda Operatives A source with al-Qaeda connections speculates to US intelligence that “bin Laden would be interested in commercial pilots as potential terrorists.” The source warns that the US should not focus only on embassy bombings, because al-Qaeda is seeking “spectacular and traumatic” attacks along the lines of the WTC bombing in 1993. Because the source is offering personal speculation and not hard information, the information is not disseminated widely. [US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 9/18/2002] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, World Trade Center Category Tags: Warning Signs

April 2001: Surveillance of Al-Qaeda and Hamas in US Curtailed A surveillance program known as Catcher’s Mitt is curtailed, and ten to twenty al-Qaeda wiretaps, as well as some Hamas wiretaps, are not renewed. This follows the discovery of errors in applications for warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) related to both al-Qaeda and Hamas and the introduction of new procedures (see Summer 2000-September 11, 2001, Summer-October 2000, October 2000, and March 2001). [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/19/2001; NEWSWEEK, 5/27/2002; NEWSWEEK, 3/29/2004] In addition, other similar programs such as Able Danger and Monarch Passage are shut down at the same time (see (February-March 2001) and January-March 2001). Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Catcher’s Mitt, Hamas Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action Before 9/11, Robert Wright and Vulgar Betrayal, Remote Surveillance

April 2001: Al-Qaeda Intelligence Intercepts Lead to Closure of Al Taqwa’s Bahamas Branch The charters of the Bahamas branch of the Al Taqwa Bank and the related Akida Bank are revoked. Al Taqwa’s headquarters in Switzerland will be shut down after 9/11 following accusations that it helped fund al-Qaeda and other Islamist militant groups (see November 7, 2001). [RANDAL, 2005, PP. 225] The US Treasury Department will later state that the Bahamas branch of “Al Taqwa and Akida Bank are not functional banking institutions in the conventional sense. They are shell companies lacking a physical presence and sharing the same address in the Bahamas where they were licensed.” [US DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, 8/29/2002] Press reports at the time say the closure is the result of Jordanian, French, and US intelligence reports indicating al-Qaeda money coming from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates had been channeled through Al Taqwa. [FORWARD, 10/17/2003] Journalist Jonathan Randal will later note that US intelligence on Al Taqwa was solid enough before 9/11 to lead to this closure. “Egyptian, US, and other Western specialists had long suspected this well-known Muslim Brotherhood bank had ties to al-Qaeda as well as to radical Algerian, Egyptian, and Palestinian Islamist groups. One persistent rumor suggested Osama had been bugged telephoning the bank in Nassau, [Bahamas,] in 1996 to discuss rearranging his finances at the time of his departure from Khartoum, [Sudan.]” [RANDAL, 2005, PP. 225] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Akida Bank, Al Taqwa Bank Category Tags: Terrorism Financing, Al Taqwa Bank

April 2001: FBI Translators Learn Al-Qaeda Suicide Pilots Plan to Hit Skyscrapers in US and Europe FBI translators Sibel Edmonds and Behrooz Sarshar will later claim to know of an important warning given to the FBI at this time. In their accounts, a reliable informant on the FBI’s payroll for at least ten years tells two FBI agents that sources in Afghanistan have heard of an al-Qaeda plot to attack the US and Europe in a suicide mission involving airplanes. Al-Qaeda agents, already in place inside the US, are being trained as pilots. By some accounts, the names of prominent US cities are mentioned. A report on the matter is filed with squad supervisor Thomas Frields, but it’s unclear if this warning reaches FBI headquarters or beyond. The two translators will later privately testify to the 9/11 Commission. [WORLDNETDAILY, 3/24/2004; SALON, 3/26/2004; WORLDNETDAILY, 4/6/2004; VILLAGE VOICE, 4/14/2004] Sarshar’s notes of the interview indicate that the informant claimed his information came from Iran, Afghanistan, and Hamburg, Germany (the location of the primary 9/11 al-Qaeda cell). However, anonymous FBI officials will claim the warning was very vague and doubtful. [CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/21/2004] In reference to this warning and apparently others, Edmonds will say, “President Bush said they had no specific information about September 11, and that’s accurate. However, there was specific information about use of airplanes, that an attack was on the way two or three months beforehand, and that several people were already in the country by May of 2001. They should’ve alerted the people to the threat we were facing.” [SALON, 3/26/2004] She will add, “There was general information about the time-frame, about methods to be used but not specifically about how they would be used and about people being in place and who was ordering these sorts of terror attacks. There were other cities that were mentioned. Major cities with skyscrapers.” [INDEPENDENT, 4/2/2004] Entity Tags: George W. Bush, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Behrooz Sarshar, Thomas Frields, Sibel Edmonds, Al-Qaeda, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Category Tags: Warning Signs, Sibel Edmonds, Key Warnings, Other Possible Moles or Informants

April 2001: Informer Shares Some Information on Moussaoui with CIA A CIA informer who is aware of Zacarias Moussaoui’s connection to terrorism and met him in Azerbaijan in 1997 (see 1997) shares some information on him with the CIA. However, the informer is not aware of Moussaoui’s real name and knows him under an alias, “Abu Khalid al-Francia.” An intelligence official will indicate in 2002 that the source reports on Moussaoui under this name. However, CIA director George Tenet, writing in 2007, will say that the informer only reports on Moussaoui as “al Francia.” One of Moussaoui’s known aliases in 2001 is Abu Khalid al-Sahrawi, similar to the name the source knows him under, but when Moussaoui is arrested in the US (see August 16, 2001) the CIA apparently does not realize that Abu Khalid al-Francia is Moussaoui. [MSNBC, 12/11/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 6/4/2002; TENET, 2007, PP. 201] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Zacarias Moussaoui Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui, Other Possible Moles or Informants

April-May 2001: Florida FBI Investigates Atta Associate While monitoring a plot to blow up Mount Rushmore and carry out other attacks (see November 2000-Spring 2002), the Florida FBI investigates Adnan Shukrijumah, an apparent associate of Mohamed Atta (see May 2, 2001). Imran Mandhai is a leader of the Mount Rushmore plot, and he attends the same mosque in the greater Miami area that Shukrijamah does. Mandhai tries to recruit him for the plot. However, Shukrijumah declines and never says anything incriminating within earshot of undercover surveillance teams or an FBI informer using the alias Mohamed who has gotten close to Mandhai. The FBI investigates Shukrijumah anyway, but only finds that he lied on his green card application regarding a prior arrest. The Florida FBI is apparently unaware of his connection to the 9/11 hijackers. An investigator on the case will tell USA Today, “Shukrijumah sensed what Mandhai did not: that ‘Mohamed’ was an FBI informant.” After 9/11 the FBI will give Mandhai a lie detector test and ask him if he knew any of the terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks. He says he did not, but his answer is judged to be false, and he confesses he was thinking of Shukrijumah. The FBI is also investigating Shukrijumah over another plot at this time (see (Spring 2001)). Shukrijumah apparently disappears from the Miami area around the time Mandhai and Jokhan are first interviewed by the FBI. He then travels around North America (see July-September 2001). [MIAMI HERALD, 3/31/2003; US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, 4/7/2003; USA TODAY, 6/15/2003; ABC NEWS, 9/10/2009] The FBI will later find that Shukrijumah is a top al-Qaeda operative and offer a reward of $5 million for information leading to his capture (see Late March 2003 and After). [REWARDS FOR JUSTICE, 3/2003] Entity Tags: Adnan Shukrijumah, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Imran Mandhai Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Mohamed Atta, Counterterrorism Action Before 9/11, Other Possible Moles or Informants

April-August 2001: Would-Be Buffalo Sleeper Cell Attends Training Camps, Meets Bin Laden

The Lackawanna Six. Top row, from left: Faysal Galab, Mukhtar al-Bakri, and Sahim Alwan. Bottom row, from left: Yahya Goba, Shafel Mosed, and Yaseinn Taher. [Source: Associated Press] A group of seven men in Lackawanna, near Buffalo, New York, are influenced by religious discussions with two al-Qaeda operatives, Kamal Derwish and Juma al-Dosari. The seven US citizens—Yaseinn Taher, Yahya Goba, Shafel Mosed, Mukhtar al-Bakri, Sahim Alwan, Faysal Galab, and Jaber Elbaneh—leave for jihad training in Afghanistan. They tell friends they are merely going to Pakistan for religious instruction. Escorted by Derwish, the men travel separately and attend a six-week long weapons course at the Al Farooq camp. Some of them meet Osama bin Laden in Kandahar and they all hear him give a speech (see (June 2001)). However, most of them apparently think they are in over their heads and find excuses to cut their basic training course short and return home. The six who return show little to no evidence of any al-Qaeda plotting in the following months. Jaber Elbaneh, however, becomes committed and stays overseas with al-Qaeda. The six who return will later be arrested and dubbed an al-Qaeda cell known as the “Lackawanna Six” (see September 13, 2002). [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/16/2003] Entity Tags: Yaseinn Taher, Al Farooq training camp, Shafel Mosed, Yahya Goba, Osama bin Laden, Faysal Galab, Jaber Elbaneh, Juma al-Dosari, Sahim Alwan, Mukhtar al-Bakri, Kamal Derwish Category Tags: "Lackawanna Six"

April-May 2001: Hambali Identified as Top Al-Qaeda Planner, But His Connection to Malaysia Summit Apparently Not Made

Al- Qaeda leader Hambali. [Source: Virtual Information Center] In April 2001, the Malaysian government connects al-Qaeda leader Hambali with a gun-smuggling syndicate, and as a result police place an all points bulletin for him. A month later, Hambali is connected to a botched bank robbery also in Malaysia. Twenty-six members of the Malaysian militant group Kumpulan Militan Malaysia (KMM) are arrested and questioned about the robbery. Authorities discover the group has been responsible for a number of attacks, including the bombing of a Hindu temple, and that Hambali is a top leader. [NEW STRAITS TIMES, 2/10/2002; NEW STRAITS TIMES, 8/16/2003] A photograph of Hambali is found in a raid at this time, and is matched with a photo of him discovered in 1995 on Ramzi Yousef’s computer that contained files detailing the Bojinka plot (see January 6, 1995). [NEW STRAITS TIMES, 2/2/2002] His picture appears in the media no later than mid-August. [NEW STRAITS TIMES, 8/18/2001; NEW STRAITS TIMES, 9/9/2001] The US is already aware of Hambali’s involvement in the Bojinka plot (see May 23, 1999). However, this new evidence of Hambali’s importance does not lead to any renewed focus on the January 2000 al-Qaeda summit attended by Hambali and two of the 9/11 hijackers that was monitored by Malaysian intelligence (see January 5-8, 2000). Entity Tags: Kumpulan Militan Malaysia, Hambali, Malaysian Secret Service Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Hambali, Al-Qaeda Malaysia Summit, Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia

(April-July 2001): Hani Hanjour Receives More Flight Training; Rents Small Aircraft According to the 9/11 Commission, soon after settling in the area (see March 2001-September 1, 2001) hijacker Hani Hanjour starts receiving “ground instruction” at Air Fleet Training Systems, a flight school in Teterboro, New Jersey. While there, he flies the Hudson Corridor: “a low-altitude ‘hallway’ along the Hudson River that passes New York landmarks like the World Trade Center.” His instructor refuses a second request to fly the Corridor, “because of what he considered Hanjour’s poor piloting skills.” Soon after, Hanjour switches to Caldwell Flight Academy in Fairfield, New Jersey, about 25 miles from lower Manhattan, from where he rents small aircraft several times during June and July. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 242] In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Caldwell’s owner will confirm that several suspects sought by the FBI, reportedly including Mohamed Atta, had rented planes from him, though when they did so is unstated. A search of the Lexis Nexus database indicates there are no media accounts of any witnesses recalling Hanjour or any of the other hijackers attending these schools. [NEW JERSEY STAR-LEDGER, 9/24/2001; EVENING STANDARD, 9/25/2001] Entity Tags: Hani Hanjour, Air Fleet Training Systems, Mohamed Atta, Caldwell Flight Academy Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Hani Hanjour, Mohamed Atta, Alleged Hijackers' Flight Training

Early April 2001: CIA Meets Northern Alliance Leader in Paris, Receives Warning of Major Al-Qaeda Attack CIA managers Gary Schroen, of the Near East division, and Richard Blee, responsible for Alec Station, the agency’s bin Laden unit, meet Northern Alliance commander Ahmed Shah Massoud in Paris, France. [COLL, 2004, PP. 560] Massoud, who is in Europe to address the European Parliament (see April 6, 2001), tells Schroen and Blee “that his own intelligence had learned of al-Qaeda’s intention to perform a terrorist act against the United States that would be vastly greater than the bombings of the American embassies in East Africa.” [WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 337] Declassified Defense Intelligence Agency documents from November 2001 will say that Massoud has gained “limited knowledge… regarding the intentions of [al-Qaeda] to perform a terrorist act against the US on a scale larger than the 1998 bombing of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.” They will further point out he may have been assassinated two days before 9/11 (see September 9, 2001) because he “began to warn the West.” [PAKTRIBUNE (ISLAMABAD), 9/13/2003; AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 9/14/2003] Schroen and Blee assure Massoud that, although he has been visited less by the CIA recently, they are still interested in working with him, and they will continue to make regular payments of several hundred thousand dollars each month. Commenting on the military situation in Afghanistan, Massoud says his defenses will hold for now, but the Northern Alliance is doing badly and no longer has the strength to counterattack. [COLL, 2004, PP. 561-2] Entity Tags: Rich B., Gary C. Schroen, Defense Intelligence Agency, Lawrence Wright, Alec Station, Ahmed Shah Massoud, Central Intelligence Agency, Al-Qaeda Category Tags: Warning Signs

Early April-Early May, 2001: Associate of Suspicious Imam Helps 9/11 Hijackers Rent Flat Nawaf Alhazmi and Hani Hanjour rent an apartment in Alexandria, Virginia, for about a month, with the help of Eyad Alrababah, a man whom they met at a local mosque. The mosque is run by Anwar Aulaqi, an associate of Alhazmi’s from San Diego who was investigated by the FBI over terrorism suspicions (see March 2001 and After). Alhazmi and Hanjour had previously lived in Phoenix, Arizona (see December 12, 2000-March 2001) and will later move to Paterson, New Jersey (see March 2001-September 1, 2001). Alrababah will later say that he just happened to meet them after a service in the mosque, when they mentioned they were looking for an apartment and he had a friend who had one to rent. However, given Al Aulaqi’s previous association with Alhazmi, some FBI agents will later doubt this and suspect that Aulaqi told Alrababah to help the hijackers. The 9/11 Commission will comment, “We share that suspicion, given the remarkable coincidence of Aulaqi’s prior relationship with Alhazmi.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 230] Entity Tags: Nawaf Alhazmi, Anwar Al Aulaqi, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11 Commission, Hani Hanjour, Eyad M. Alrababah Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Alhazmi and Almihdhar, Hani Hanjour

April 1, 2001: Hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi Gets Speeding Ticket, but His Illegal Status Is Not Noticed

A poor photocopy of Nawaf Alhazmi’s US driver’s license. [Source: FBI] Hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi is stopped by an Oklahoma police officer for speeding. He is stopped while traveling east on interstate highway 40, near Clinton, Oklahoma. It is likely he is with Hani Hanjour and the two are driving across the US, because they moved out of an apartment in Arizona the day before and will be seen in Virginia several days later. [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 10/2001, PP. 131-132 ; DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 1/20/2002] Alhazmi’s license information is run through a computer to determine whether there are any warrants for his arrest. There are none, so he is issued a ticket and sent on his way. He is driving the Toyota Corolla that he bought in San Diego the year before (see March 25, 2000). The CIA has known that Alhazmi is an al-Qaeda operative possibly living in the US since March 2000, but has failed to share this knowledge with other agencies. [DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 1/20/2002; NEWSWEEK, 6/2/2002] Police do not check his immigration status, which would require a call to an Law Enforcement Support Center hotline. Had such a call been made, it would have revealed he had been in the US illegally since January 2001. [US CONGRESS, 9/20/2002; GOVEXEC, 3/16/2004] This incident is added to the NCIC, a widely used nationwide police database (see September 5, 2001). [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 10/2001, PP. 131 ] Entity Tags: Hani Hanjour, National Crime Information Center, Nawaf Alhazmi Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Alhazmi and Almihdhar, Hani Hanjour, Hijacker Contact w Government in US

(Spring 2001): FBI Investigates Atta Associate over Second Plot Edit

The FBI investigates Adnan Shukrijumah, an apparent associate of Mohamed Atta (see 2000-2001 and May 2, 2001), in connection with a South Florida -based Islamic militant group that is plotting to recruit operatives and finance attacks and assassinations in the Middle East (see (October 1993-November 2001)). The group includes Jose Padilla associates Adham Amin Hassoun and Mohammed Hesham Youssef, and is connected to Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman and the suspect charity Benevolence International Foundation (see 1988-1989). Shukrijumah keeps his distance from the core plotters and despite FBI wiretaps on the group’s phones, the FBI is unable to establish a firm connection between him and the plans. Shukrijumah is also being investigated over a plot to attack various businesses in Florida and blow up Mount Rushmore around this time (see April-May 2001). The FBI later determines that Shukrijumah is a top al-Qaeda operative and will issue a $5 million reward for his capture (see Late March 2003 and After). [US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, 4/7/2003; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/23/2003; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/3/2006] Entity Tags: Adnan Shukrijumah, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Benevolence International Foundation Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action Before 9/11, Mohamed Atta

April 1, 2001-September 10, 2001: Nearly Half of FAA’s Daily Intelligence Summaries Mention Bin Laden or Al-Qaeda; No Action is Taken In 2005 (see February 10, 2005), it will be revealed that of the FAA’s 105 daily intelligence summaries between these dates, 52 mention bin Laden, al-Qaeda, or both. Most of the mentions are “in regard to overseas threats.” None of the warnings specifically predict something similar to the 9/11 attacks, but five of them mention al-Qaeda’s training for hijackings and two reports concern suicide operations unconnected to aviation. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 2/11/2005] One of the warnings mentions air defense measures being taken in Genoa, Italy, for the July 2001 G-8 summit to protect from a possible air attack by terrorists (see July 20-22, 2001). However, the New Jersey Star-Ledger is virtually the only newspaper in the US to report this fact. [NEW JERSEY STAR-LEDGER, 2/11/2005] Despite all these warnings, the FAA fails to take any extra security measures. They do not expand the use of in-flight air marshals or tighten airport screening for weapons. A proposed rule to improve passenger screening and other security measures ordered by Congress in 1996 has held up and is still not in effect by 9/11. The 9/11 Commission’s report on these FAA warnings released in 2005 (see February 10, 2005) will conclude that FAA officials were more concerned with reducing airline congestion, lessening delays, and easing air carriers’ financial problems than preventing a hijacking. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 2/11/2005] The FAA also makes no effort to expand its list of terror suspects, which includes only a dozen names by 9/11 (see April 24, 2000). The former head of the FAA’s civil aviation security branch later says he wasn’t even aware of TIPOFF, the government’s main watch list, which included the names of two 9/11 hijackers before 9/11. Nor is there any evidence that a senior FAA working group responsible for security ever meets in 2001 to discuss “the high threat period that summer.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 2/10/2005] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Federal Aviation Administration, 9/11 Commission, US Congress, Al-Qaeda Category Tags: Warning Signs, Key Warnings, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics, US Air Security

April 1-May 27, 2001: Additional 9/11 Hijackers Spend Time in Malaysia

Satam al Suqami. [Source: FBI] Two of the 9/11 hijackers travel to Malaysia and spend some time there. Satam al Suqami arrives on April 1 and stays there for just under two weeks, before traveling to the United Arab Emirates. Abdulaziz Alomari arrives on May 7 and spends three weeks there, before departing for the same destination. [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006, PP. 42, 50 ] There are no reports about what Alomari and al Suqami do in Malaysia or who they meet. Lead hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar visit Malaysia before 9/11 and meet other extremists there (see January 5-8, 2000), as does Zacarias Moussaoui (see September-October 2000). Almihdhar again visits Malaysia in the summer of 2001 (see June 2001), and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, an associate of the plot leaders, travels there in June 2001. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 243-4] Entity Tags: Satam Al Suqami, Abdulaziz Alomari Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Hijackers, Al-Qaeda Malaysia Summit, Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia

April 3-4, 2001 and around: Hijackers Atta and Alshehhi Make Second Unexplained Trip to Virginia Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi make a second visit to Virginia Beach (see February 19-February 20, 2001). They close their recently rented mailbox there and, after checking out of the Diplomat Inn, cash a check for $8,000 at a nearby SunTrust Bank branch. [NATIONAL REVIEW, 9/27/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/16/2004, PP. 8; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 228, 523; WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/22/2005] They also cash another check for $10,000 in the same place at around the same time. [VIRGINIAN PILOT, 9/27/2001; RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 12/10/2005] Bank surveillance footage of Atta on April 4 will be found after 9/11. [KEAN AND HAMILTON, 2006, PP. 238] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta

April 4, 2001: Bugging Techniques Reach New Heights

One of the approximately 30 radomes at the Echelon station in Menwith Hill, England. A radome covers an antenna to protect it from the weather and disguise the direction it is pointing. [Source: Matt Crypto / Public domain] The BBC reports on advances in electronic surveillance. The US’s global surveillance program, Echelon, has become particularly effective in monitoring mobile phones, recording millions of calls simultaneously and checking them against a powerful search engine designed to pick out key words that might represent a security threat. Laser microphones can pick up conversations from up to a kilometer away by monitoring window vibrations. If a bug is attached to a computer keyboard, it is possible to monitor exactly what is being keyed in, because every key on a computer has a unique sound when depressed. [BBC, 4/4/2001] Furthermore, a BBC report on a European Union committee investigation into Echelon one month later notes that the surveillance network can sift through up to 90 percent of all Internet traffic, as well as monitor phone conversations, mobile phone calls, fax transmissions, net browsing history, satellite transmissions and so on. Even encryption may not help much. The BBC suggests that “it is likely that the intelligence agencies can crack open most commercially available encryption software.” [BBC, 5/29/2001] Entity Tags: Echelon Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline, Civil Liberties Category Tags: Remote Surveillance

April 6, 2001: Rebel Leader Warns Europe and US About Large-Scale Imminent Al-Qaeda Attacks

Ahmed Shah Massoud speaking before European Parliament. [Source: Robert Sanchez/ Black Star] Ahmed Shah Massoud, leader of the Northern Alliance fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, has been trying to get aid from the US but his people are only allowed to meet with low level US officials. In an attempt to get his message across, he addresses the European Parliament: “If President Bush doesn’t help us, these terrorists will damage the US and Europe very soon.” [DAWN (KARACHI), 4/7/2001; TIME, 8/4/2002] A classified US intelligence document states, “Massoud’s intelligence staff is aware that the attack against the US will be on a scale larger than the 1998 embassy bombings, which killed over two hundred people and injured thousands (see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998).” [DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, 11/21/2001 ] Massoud also meets privately with some CIA officials while in Europe. He tells them that his guerrilla war against the Taliban is faltering and unless the US gives a significant amount of aid, the Taliban will conquer all of Afghanistan. No more aid is forthcoming. [WASHINGTON POST, 2/23/2004] Entity Tags: Northern Alliance, Taliban, George W. Bush, Ahmed Shah Massoud, Central Intelligence Agency Category Tags: Warning Signs, Hunt for Bin Laden

April 8, 2001: Czech Intelligence Informant Claims Iraqi Agent Met Arab Man in Prague; He Later Claims Man was Mohamed Atta An informant for the BIS, the Czech intelligence agency, reportedly sees Iraqi diplomat Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani meeting in a restaurant outside Prague with an Arab man in his 20s. This draws concern from the intelligence community because the informant suggests the person is “a visiting ‘student’ from Hamburg—and… potentially dangerous.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 11/19/2003 SOURCES: JAN KAVAN] The young man is never positively identified or seen again. Fearing that al-Ani may have been attempting to recruit the young man for a mission to blow-up Radio Free Europe headquarters, the diplomat is told to leave the country on April 18. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/27/2001; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 10/20/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 11/19/2003 SOURCES: UNNAMED US OFFICIALS, JAN KAVAN] Information about the incident is passed on to US intelligence. After the 9/11 attacks and after it is reported on the news that Atta had likely visited Prague, the BIS informant will say the young man at the restaurant was Atta. (see September 14, 2001) This information leads hawks to come up with the so-called “Prague Connection” theory, which will hold that 9/11 plotter Mohomed Atta flew to Prague on April 8, met with al-Ani to discuss the planning and financing of the 9/11 attacks, and returned to the US on either April 9 or 10. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/27/2001; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 10/20/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 11/19/2003 SOURCES: UNNAMED US OFFICIALS, UNNAMED BIS INFORMANT, JAN KAVAN] The theory will be widely discounted by October 2002. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/21/2002 SOURCES: UNNAMED US OFFICIALS, UNNAMED BIS INFORMANT] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Radio Free Europe, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Jabir Salim Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

April 11, 2001: Hijacker Atta and Alshehhi Move to Coral Springs

The Tara Gardens Condominiums complex. [Source: Coralsprings.com] Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi move into Apartment 122 in the Tara Gardens Condominiums complex in Coral Springs, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale in southeast Florida. Atta rents the apartment using his own name and they pay $840 per month in rent. Atta will list the apartment as his address when he applies for a driver’s license in May. According to the London Times, while in Coral Springs, Alshehhi spends his days “washing piles of laundry for the gang in the development’s washing machines,” and Atta is “often in the parking lot, chain smoking.” [SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, 9/13/2001; CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/16/2001; BOSTON GLOBE, 9/23/2001; SUNDAY TIMES (LONDON), 2/3/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 228, 230] Diana Padilla, who lives upstairs from them, later recalls, “You would say hello to [Atta] and nothing—no reaction.” [DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/22/2001] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta

April 11-June 28, 2001: 9/11 ‘Muscle’ Hijackers Arrive in Dubai on Way to US The muscle hijackers arrive in Dubai on their way to the US (see April 23-June 29, 2001):

April 11: It is not known when Ahmed Alghamdi first arrives in Dubai, but he leaves on April 8, traveling to an unknown destination, and returns on April 11; 
April 12: Satam al Suqami arrives in the United Arab Emirates from Malaysia (see April 1-May 27, 2001); 
May 7, 2001: Ahmed Alhaznawi arrives in Abu Dhabi from Karachi by plane; 
May 13: Ahmed Alnami arrives in the United Arab Emirates by plane from Saudi Arabia; 
May 26: Hamza Alghamdi enters the United Arab Emirates; 
May 27: Abdulaziz Alomari arrives in Dubai from Malaysia (see April 1-May 27, 2001); 
June 1: It is not known when Wail Alshehri first arrives in Dubai, but he leaves on May 29, traveling to an unknown destination, and returns on June 1 with Ahmed Alhaznawi, who previously arrived on May 7, but must have left in the meantime; 
June 12: Saeed Alghamdi arrives in the United Arab Emirates from Saudi Arabia; 
June 28: Salem Alhazmi arrives in the United Arab Emirates from Saudi Arabia. [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006, PP. 42-50 ]

The hijackers typically remain in Dubai for a few weeks before moving on to the US (see April 23-June 29, 2001). While in Dubai the hijackers purchase traveler’s checks:

April 28: Majed Moqed purchases $2,980 in MasterCard travelers’ checks from the Thomas Cook Exchange in the nearby emirate of Sharjah; 
May 27, 2001: Ahmed Alnami purchases $10,000 of American Express travelers’ checks and Hamza Alghamdi purchases the same amount of Visa travelers’ checks in Dubai; 
June 6, 2001: Ahmed Alhaznawi purchases $3,000 of American Express travelers’ checks in Dubai; 
June 7, 2001: Wail Alshehri purchases $14,000 of American Express travelers’ checks in Sharjah; 
June 24: Fayez Ahmed Banihammad purchases $4,000 of Thomas Cook travelers’ checks in Sharjah. [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006, PP. 44-48 ]

In addition, Wail Alshehri obtains an international driving permit in Sharjah on June 5. [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006, PP. 47 ] Some of these hijackers are assisted by plot facilitator Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi (see Early-Late June, 2001). It is not clear who helps the others, although Dubai-based Ali Abdul Aziz Ali previously assisted some of the hijackers (see June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000), and Saeed Sheikh, who has Dubai connections, may also assist some of them (see Early August 2001). In addition, Victor Bout, an arms dealer who flies shipments for al-Qaeda and the Taliban through the UAE, is based in Sharjah (see Mid-1996-October 2001). Entity Tags: Satam Al Suqami, Wail Alshehri, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Abdulaziz Alomari, Ahmed Alghamdi, Salem Alhazmi, Saeed Sheikh, Victor Bout, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, Saeed Alghamdi, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, Ahmed Alnami, Majed Moqed, Hamza Alghamdi Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Hijackers

Before April 13, 2001: FBI Reports Extremists Linked to Chechnya Leader and Bin Laden Are Planning Attack Dale Watson, head of the FBI’s counterterrorism program, sends a memo to FBI Director Louis Freeh warning that Islamic radicals are planning a “terrorist operation.” The memo states that “Sunni extremists with links to Ibn al Kahhatb, an extremist leader in Chechnya, and to Osama bin Laden [have been involved in] serious operational planning… since late 2000, with an intended culmination in late spring 2001.” Watson says the planning was sparked by the renewal of the Palestinian Intifada in September 2000. “[A]ll the players are heavily intertwined,” the memo notes. Additionally, the memo says that “[m]ultiple sources also suggest that [bin Laden’s] organization is planning a terrorist attack against US interests.” The memo is also sent to other FBI officials, such as International Terrorism Operations Section (ITOS) chief Michael Rolince, who will later be involved in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui (see Late August 2001 and (August 30-September 10, 2001)) [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 4/2001 ] Based on this report, ITOS sends an e-mail (see April 13, 2001) to all field offices, asking agents to help identify information pertaining to the “current operational activities relating to Sunni extremism.” The e-mail does not mention Ibn Khattab. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 3/21/2006] These plans may be for the 9/11 attacks—at least some of the alleged hijackers are linked to bin Laden (see January 5-8, 2000), and Zacarias Moussaoui is linked to Ibn Khattab (see Late 1999-Late 2000). Some of the hijackers fought in Chechnya and therefore might also be linked to Ibn Khattab (see 1996-December 2000). Officials at FBI headquarters will later refuse a search warrant for Zacarias Moussaoui’s belongings saying they believe Ibn Khattab is not closely connected to Osama bin Laden and is not hostile to the US (see August 22, 2001 and August 23-27, 2001). Entity Tags: Louis J. Freeh, Michael Rolince, Dale Watson, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ibn Khattab Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui, Warning Signs, Islamist Militancy in Chechnya

April 12, 2001: Report on Energy Security Argues US Needs to Review Policy on Iraq A report commissioned by former US Secretary of State James Baker and the Council on Foreign Relations, titled “Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century,” is completed and submitted to Vice President Dick Cheney. The report was drafted by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. Edward L. Morse, an energy industry analyst, chaired the project, and Amy Myers Jaffe was the project’s director. The paper urges the US to formulate a comprehensive, integrated strategic energy policy to address the current energy crisis, which it attributes to infrastructural restraints, rapid global economic expansion, and the presence of obstacles to foreign investment in the oil-rich Middle East. The report says the world’s supply of oil is not a factor in the crisis. “The reasons for the energy challenge have nothing to do with the global hydrocarbon resource base…. The world will not run short of hydrocarbons in the foreseeable future,” the paper says. One of the report’s recommendations is to “[r]eview policies toward Iraq” with the ultimate goal of stemming the tide of anti-Americanism in the Middle-East and “eas[ing] Iraqi oil-field investment restrictions.” Iraq, under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, remains a “destabilizing influence… to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East.” It also notes, “Saddam Hussein has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his own export program to manipulate oil markets.” Therefore, the report says, the “United States should conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq, including military, energy, economic, and political/diplomatic assessments” and work with key allies to develop a new integrated strategy toward Iraq. Key elements of the new policy should include narrowing the focus of sanctions and using diplomatic means to enforce existing UN resolutions. [UNIVERSITY, 4/2/2001 ; SUNDAY HERALD (GLASGOW), 10/5/2002; SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 12/26/2002] Entity Tags: Council on Foreign Relations, James A. Baker, Edward L. Morse, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, Amy Myers Jaffe, James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

(Show related quotes) April 12-September 7, 2001: Hijackers Collect Multiple Drivers’ License Copies

The most famous image of Mohamed Atta came from his Florida driver’s license. [Source: 9/11 Commission] At least six hijackers get more than one Florida driver’s license. They get the second license simply by filling out change of address forms:

Waleed Alshehri—first license May 4, duplicate May 5; 
Marwan Alshehhi—first license, April 12, duplicate in June; 
Ziad Jarrah—first license May 2, duplicate July 10; 
Ahmed Alhaznawi—first license July 10, duplicate September 7 (see September 7, 2001); 
Hamza Alghamdi—first license June 27, two duplicates, the second in August; and 
“A sixth man” with a Florida duplicate is not named. [SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, 9/28/2001] Additionally, some hijackers obtained licenses from multiple states. For instance, Nawaf Alhazmi had licenses from California, New York, and Florida at the same time, apparently all in the same name. [NEWSDAY, 9/21/2001; SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, 9/28/2001; SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, 9/28/2001; DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 1/20/2002]

Entity Tags: Nawaf Alhazmi, Hamza Alghamdi, Ziad Jarrah, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Marwan Alshehhi, Waleed M. Alshehri Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, Ziad Jarrah, Other 9/11 Hijackers

April 13, 2001: FBI Warned to Search for Information on Muslim Extremist Threat Shortly after discovering that Osama bin Laden and Chechen rebel leader Ibn Khattab may be planning an attack against the US (see Before April 13, 2001), the FBI sends a message to all its field offices summarizing intelligence reporting to date on the Sunni extremist threat (see February 6, 2001). (Bin Laden is the most wanted Sunni extremist by this time.) The offices are told to task all resources, including human sources and electronic databases, for any information pertaining to “current operational activities relating to Sunni extremism.” No domestic threat is mentioned. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 255; US DISTRICT COURT OF EASTERN VIRGINIA, 5/4/2006, PP. 1 ] There is no mention about what is done, if anything, in response to this message. This also appears to be the last time before 9/11 that FBI field offices are tasked to work on any Muslim extremist threat in the US. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 264] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ibn Khattab, Osama bin Laden Category Tags: Warning Signs

(Mid April 2001): Hijackers Alhazmi and Hanjour Mention Jihad to Roommates While staying in a flat in Alexandria, Virginia (see Early April-Early May, 2001), Nawaf Alhazmi and Hani Hanjour tell two roommates that they had thought of going to Afghanistan for jihad. According to the 9/11 Commission, “The al-Qaeda operatives spent little time with their roommates, but did mention at one point that they had considered going to Afghanistan for jihad.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 523] In fact, Alhazmi, an al-Qaeda veteran, has already spent time in Afghanistan (see 1993-1999). Hanjour may also have traveled to Afghanistan already (see (Early 2000-November 2000)). Alhazmi made similar comments when he lived in San Diego (see (Spring 2000)). Entity Tags: Hani Hanjour, Nawaf Alhazmi Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Alhazmi and Almihdhar, Hani Hanjour

April 17-26, 2001: Joint Chiefs of Staff Holds Exercise for Continuity of Government if US is Attacked; Proposal to Simulate Airliner Crash into Pentagon Rejected The Joint Chiefs of Staff holds a large, worldwide exercise called Positive Force, which focuses on the Defense Department’s ability to conduct large-scale military operations and coordinate these operations. [CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, 8/14/2000 ] The 2001 Positive Force exercise is a “continuity of operations exercise,” meaning it deals with government contingency plans to keep working in the event of an attack on the US. [GUARDIAN, 4/15/2004] Over a dozen government agencies, including NORAD, are invited to participate. The exercise prepares them for various scenarios, including non-combatant evacuation operations, cyber attacks, rail disruption, and power outages. It includes “a series of simulated attacks against the maritime, surface and aviation sectors” of America’s national security transportation infrastructure. [US CONGRESS, 5/8/2001; PROVIDER UPDATE, 10/2001; GLOBALSECURITY (.ORG), 6/9/2002] Apparently, one of the scenarios that was considered for this exercise involved “a terrorist group hijack[ing] a commercial airliner and fly[ing] it into the Pentagon.” But the proposed scenario, thought up by a group of Special Operations personnel trained to think like terrorists, was rejected. Joint Staff action officers and White House officials said the additional scenario is either “too unrealistic” or too disconnected to the original intent of the exercise. [AIR FORCE TIMES, 4/13/2004; BOSTON HERALD, 4/14/2004; WASHINGTON POST, 4/14/2004; NEW YORK TIMES, 4/14/2004; GUARDIAN, 4/15/2004] Entity Tags: US Department of Defense, Pentagon, Bush administration Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Military Exercises, US Air Security

April 18, 2001: Hijacker Alshehhi Flies Between Miami and Amsterdam Hijacker Marwan Alshehhi flies from Miami, Florida, to Amsterdam, Netherlands. He returns on May 2. Investigators have not divulged where he went or what he did while in Europe. Hamburg, Germany, is less than 250 miles from Amsterdam. [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 5/20/2002] Entity Tags: Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Marwan Alshehhi

April 18, 2001: FAA Warns Airlines About Middle Eastern Hijackers The FAA sends a warning to US airlines that Middle Eastern militants could try to hijack or blow up a US plane and that carriers should “demonstrate a high degree of alertness.” The warning stems from the April 6, 2001, conviction of Ahmed Ressam over a failed plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport during the millennium celebrations. This warning expires on July 31, 2001. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 5/18/2002] This is one of 15 general warnings issued to airlines in 2001 before 9/11 (see January-August 2001), but it is more specific than usual. [CNN, 3/2002; CNN, 5/17/2002] Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration, Los Angeles International Airport, Ahmed Ressam Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics, Warning Signs, US Air Security

April 19-20, 2001: Bush Warned ‘Bin Laden Planning Multiple Operations’ On April 19, 2001, the interagency Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG) chaired by counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke discusses recent reports that al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida is planning an attack. The next day, a Senior Executive Intelligence Brief (SEIB) with the title “Bin Laden Planning Multiple Operations” is sent to top White House officials. The New York Times will later report that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were among those who received this warning. Since SEIBs are usually based on previous days’ President Daily Briefings, President Bush probably learned about this report on April 19 (see January 20-September 10, 2001). [NEW YORK TIMES, 4/18/2004; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 255; US DISTRICT COURT OF EASTERN VIRGINIA, 5/4/2006, PP. 2 ] Entity Tags: White House, Richard A. Clarke, George W. Bush, Abu Zubaida, Counterterrorism and Security Group, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Warning Signs, Key Warnings, Abu Zubaida, Presidential Level Warnings

April 21, 2001: 9/11 Hijacker Alnami Receives Passport Possibly Containing Suspicious Indicator of Islamist Extremism, May Be Tracked by Saudi Authorities Ahmed Alnami receives a new passport from Saudi Arabia. According to the 9/11 Commission, the passport may contain an “indicator of extremism” that is “associated with al-Qaeda.” However, although it is certain some of the other hijackers have such indicator in their passports, it is not certain that Alnami does. The commission will merely say that there “is reason to believe” his passport may contain such indicator and note that it was “issued in the same Saudi passport office” that issued passports with the indicator to some of the other hijackers. In addition, Alnami obtains two passports before 9/11 (see also November 6, 1999), and it is not clear whether the commission thinks both of the passports have the indicator, or just one of them. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 564; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 9, 21, 33 ] According to author James Bamford, the indicator is a “secret coded indicator, placed there by the Saudi government, warning of a possible terrorist affiliation.” [BAMFORD, 2008, PP. 58-59] The Saudi government reportedly uses this indicator to track some of the Saudi hijackers before 9/11 “with precision” (see November 2, 2007). Entity Tags: Ahmed Alnami Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Hijackers

April 22-June 27, 2001: Some Hijackers Transit London on Way to US, One or More Apparently on British Watch List

Mohand Alshehri, apparently in Afghanistan. [Source: As Sahab] Some of the “muscle hijackers” transit London when traveling between Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the US (see April 11-June 28, 2001 and April 23-June 29, 2001):

Satam al Suqami and Waleed Alshehri leave Dubai on April 22, change planes in London, and arrive in Orlando the next day. 
Majed Moqed and Ahmed Alghamdi fly from Dubai via London to Washington on May 2. 
Hamza Alghamdi, Ahmed Alnami, and Mohand Alshehri pass through London on their way from Dubai to Miami on May 28. 
Ahmed Alhaznawi and Wail Alshehri travel from Dubai to Miami via London on June 8. 
Fayez Ahmed Banihammad and Saeed Alghamdi transit London en route from Dubai to Orlando on June 27. [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006, PP. 42-50 ]

There are also some reports that some of the hijackers spend more time in Britain (see January-June 2001 and June 2001). Ahmed Alghamdi is later said to have been on a British watch list and the Sunday Herald will say that he should have been “instantly ‘red-flagged’ by British intelligence” as he passed through Britain. Alghamdi was linked by the FBI to Raed Hijazi, an associate of Osama bin Laden in prison in Jordan for plotting a bombing campaign there, so the British may have watchlisted him based on information from the US. Two other hijackers that may have been on the British watch list are Satam al Suqami and Hamza Alghamdi, who were investigated by US customs together with Ahmed Alghamdi. If Ahmed Alghamdi was watchlisted based on US information, the names of the other two hijackers may have been passed to the British along with his name. Al Suqami and Ahmed Alghamdi are connected to both Hijazi and one of his associates, Nabil al-Marabh, and are reported to be under investigation, starting between autumn 2000 and spring 2001, by US customs and the FBI (see September 2000, Spring 2001 and September 11, 2001). A British intelligence source will say: “There is no way that MI5 and MI6 should have missed these guys. Britain has a history of having Islamic extremists in the country. We should have been watching them.” [SUNDAY HERALD (GLASGOW), 9/30/2001] Alghamdi appears to have been questioned about bin Laden after arriving in the US from London, but he is not stopped from entering the country (see May 2, 2001). According to The Times, the identities of some of the men are in question: “Officials hope that the inquiries in Britain will disclose the true identities of the suicide team. Some are known to have arrived in Britain using false passports and fake identities that they kept for the hijack. There are serious question marks over the identities of at least four of the visitors to Britain.” [LONDON TIMES, 9/26/2001] Entity Tags: Saeed Alghamdi, Wail Alshehri, Mohand Alshehri, Majed Moqed, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, Waleed M. Alshehri, Ahmed Alghamdi, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Ahmed Alnami, Hamza Alghamdi, Satam Al Suqami Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Hijackers, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

April 23, 2001: 9/11 Hijacker Alnami Obtains Another US Visa, despite Incomplete Application After acquiring a new Saudi passport (see April 21, 2001), future 9/11 hijacker Ahmed Alnami obtains a new US visa at the US consulate in Jeddah, even though he already has a valid US visa in his old passport (see October 28, 2000). [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 21 ] The visa is issued by Shayna Steinger, a consular official who apparently issues the 9/11 hijackers with 12 visas (see July 1, 2000) and had issued Alnami’s previous visa. [9/11 COMMISSION, 12/30/2002, PP. 2; OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL (US DEPARTMENT OF STATE), 1/30/2003] A handwritten note on Alnami’s application indicates that he is interviewed briefly, either by Steinger or another staff member. Previous Visa - Alnami marks the “no” box in response to a question asking if he has ever applied for a US visa previously, but changes his answer to “yes,” possibly due to the brief interaction with Steinger or another consular official. However, he fails to specify when he applied for the visa. Had he done so, it would have been clear that he was applying for another visa long before his previous visa had expired, which would have raised questions. The information about his previous visa is available at the consulate, but is not accessed, as consular workers do not usually examine previous visa issuances, only refusals. Not Interviewed - The 9/11 Commission will later say that Saudis were rarely interviewed at this time. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 21, 184-5 ] However, according to a consular officer serving in Jeddah at the time, while most Saudis may not have been interviewed, “the majority” of males traveling alone aged between 16 and 40 are interviewed and officers are “not shy” of turning them down on security grounds. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 36 ] Suspicious Indicator in Passport - The 9/11 Commission will also suggest that one or more of Alnami’s passports may contain a suspicious indicator of Islamic extremism, but this is not certain (see April 21, 2001 and November 2, 2007). Some of the radicals who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 also had Saudi passports with the same indicator (see Around February 1993). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 563-4; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 14-15 ] Entity Tags: Ahmed Alnami, Shayna Steinger, US Consulate, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Office Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Hijackers

April 23-June 29, 2001: 9/11 ‘Muscle’ Hijackers Arrive in US at This Time or Earlier

This Ahmed Al-Haznawi picture is a photocopy of his 2001 US visa application. [Source: 9/11 Commission] The 13 hijackers commonly known as the “muscle” allegedly first arrive in the US. The muscle provides the brute force meant to control the hijacked passengers and protect the pilots. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/30/2001] Yet, according to the 9/11 Commission, these men “were not physically imposing,” with the majority of them between 5 feet 5 and 5 feet 7 tall, “and slender in build.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/16/2004, PP. 8] According to FBI Director Mueller, they all pass through Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and their travel was probably coordinated from abroad by Khalid Almihdhar. [US CONGRESS, 9/26/2002] However, some information contradicts their official arrival dates:

April 23: Waleed Alshehri and Satam Al Suqami arrive in Orlando, Florida. Suqami in fact arrived before February 2001. A man named Waleed Alshehri lived with a man named Ahmed Alghamdi in Virginia and Florida between 1997 and 2000. However, it is not clear whether they were the hijackers or just people with the same name (see 1999). [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/20/2001] Alshehri appears quite Americanized in the summer of 2001, frequently talking with an apartment mate about football and baseball, even identifying himself a fan of the Florida Marlins baseball team. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/21/2001] 
May 2: Majed Moqed and Ahmed Alghamdi arrive in Washington. Both actually arrived by mid-March 2001. A man named Ahmed Alghamdi lived with a man named Waleed Alshehri in Florida and Virginia between 1997 and 2000. However, it is not clear whether they were the hijackers or just people with the same name (see 1999). [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/20/2001] Alghamdi apparently praises Osama bin Laden to Customs officials while entering the country and Moqed uses an alias (see May 2, 2001). 
May 28: Mohand Alshehri, Hamza Alghamdi, and Ahmed Alnami allegedly arrive in Miami, Florida. Alnami may have a suspicious indicator of terrorist affiliation in his passport (see April 21, 2001), but this is apparently not noticed by US authorities. The precise state of US knowledge about the indicator at this time is not known (see Around February 1993). The CIA will learn of it no later than 2003, but will still not inform immigration officials then (see February 14, 2003). According to other reports, however, both Mohand Alshehri and Hamza Alghamdi may have arrived by January 2001 (see January or July 28, 2001). 
June 8: Ahmed Alhaznawi and Wail Alshehri arrive in Miami, Florida. Alhaznawi may have a suspicious indicator of terrorist affiliation in his passport (see Before November 12, 2000), but this is apparently not noticed by US authorities. 
June 27: Fayez Banihammad and Saeed Alghamdi arrive in Orlando, Florida. 
June 29: Salem Alhazmi and Abdulaziz Alomari allegedly arrive in New York. According to other reports, however, Alhazmi arrived before February 2001. Alhazmi has a suspicious indicator of terrorist affiliation in his passport (see June 16, 2001), but this is apparently not noticed by US authorities.

After entering the US (or, perhaps, reentering), the hijackers arriving at Miami and Orlando airports settle in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area along with Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, and Ziad Jarrah. The hijackers, arriving in New York and Virginia, settle in the Paterson, New Jersey, area along with Nawaf Alhazmi and Hani Hanjour. [US CONGRESS, 9/26/2002] Note the FBI’s early conclusion that 11 of these muscle men “did not know they were on a suicide mission.” [OBSERVER, 10/14/2001] CIA Director Tenet’s later claim that they “probably were told little more than that they were headed for a suicide mission inside the United States” [US CONGRESS, 6/18/2002] and reports that they did not know the exact details of the 9/11 plot until shortly before the attack [CBS NEWS, 10/9/2002] are contradicted by video confessions made by all of them in March 2001 (see March 2001). Entity Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohand Alshehri, Majed Moqed, Mohamed Atta, Ziad Jarrah, Saeed Alghamdi, Khalid Almihdhar, Waleed M. Alshehri, Wail Alshehri, Satam Al Suqami, Nawaf Alhazmi, Hani Hanjour, Salem Alhazmi, George J. Tenet, Hamza Alghamdi, Abdulaziz Alomari, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Ahmed Alghamdi, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ahmed Alnami Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Key Hijacker Events, Other 9/11 Hijackers

April 24, 2001: Declassified Documents Reveal US Military Planned for Attacks Against Americans in 1960s to Justify Attacking Cuba

The first lines of the declassified Northwoods document. [Source: Public domain] (click image to enlarge) James Bamford’s book, Body of Secrets, reveals a secret US government plan named Operation Northwoods. All details of the plan come from declassified military documents. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4/24/2001; BALTIMORE SUN, 4/24/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 4/26/2001; ABC NEWS, 5/1/2001] The heads of the US military, all five Joint Chiefs of Staff, proposed in a 1962 memo to stage attacks against Americans and blame Cuba to create a pretext for invasion. Says one document, “We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington.… We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba. Casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of indignation.” In March 1962, Lyman L. Lemnitzer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented the Operation Northwoods plan to President John Kennedy and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. The plan was rejected. Lemnitzer then sought to destroy all evidence of the plan. [BALTIMORE SUN, 4/24/2001; ABC NEWS, 5/1/2001] Lemnitzer was replaced a few months later, but the Joint Chiefs continued to plan “pretext” operations at least through 1963. [ABC NEWS, 5/1/2001] One suggestion in the plan was to create a remote-controlled drone duplicate of a real civilian aircraft. The real aircraft would be loaded with “selected passengers, all boarded under carefully prepared aliases,” and then take off with the drone duplicate simultaneously taking off near by. The aircraft with passengers would secretly land at a US military base while the drone continues along the other plane’s flight path. The drone would then be destroyed over Cuba in a way that places the blame on Cuban fighter aircraft. [HARPER'S, 7/1/2001] Bamford says, “Here we are, 40 years afterward, and it’s only now coming out. You just wonder what is going to be exposed 40 years from now.” [INSIGHT, 7/30/2001] Some 9/11 skeptics will claim that the 9/11 attacks could have been orchestrated by elements of the US government, and see Northwoods as an example of how top US officials could hatch such a plot. [OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 3/27/2004] Entity Tags: John F. Kennedy, James Bamford, Lyman L. Lemnitzer, Robert McNamara Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Warning Signs

April 26, 2001: Hijacker Mohamed Atta Given Ticket for Having No Driver’s License Mohamed Atta is stopped at a random inspection near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and given a citation for having no driver’s license. He will get a new Florida driver’s license on May 5. However, he will fail to show up for his May 28 court hearing, and a warrant will be issued for his arrest on June 4. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/16/2001; AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 11/12/2001; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/14/2001] Police do not check his immigration status, which would require a call to a Law Enforcement Support Center hotline. Had such a call been made, it would have revealed Atta had overstayed his visa. [GOVEXEC, 3/16/2004] An FBI timeline compiled after 9/11 does not mention whether this incident is entered into the NCIC, a nationwide police database. [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 10/2001, PP. 138 ] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Mohamed Atta, Hijacker Contact w Government in US

April 30, 2001: Annual Terrorism Report Says Focusing on Bin Laden Is Mistake; Pakistan and Taliban Are Criticized But Not Punished The US State Department issues its annual report on terrorism. The report cites the role of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and notes the Taliban “continued to provide safe haven for international terrorists, particularly Saudi exile Osama bin Laden and his network.” However, as CNN describes it, “Unlike last year’s report, bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization is mentioned, but the 2001 report does not contain a photograph of bin Laden or a lengthy description of him and the group. A senior State Department official told CNN that the US government made a mistake last year by focusing too tightly on bin Laden and ‘personalizing terrorism… describing parts of the elephant and not the whole beast.’” [CNN, 4/30/2001] The report is unusually critical of Pakistan, noting, “Pakistan increased its support to the Taliban and continued its support to militant groups active in Indian-held Kashmir, such as the Harkat ul-Mujahedeen (HUM), some of which engaged in terrorism.… Credible reporting indicates that Pakistan is providing the Taliban with materiel, fuel, funding, technical assistance, and military advisers. Pakistan has not prevented large numbers of Pakistani nationals from moving into Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban. [Pakistan] also failed to take effective steps to curb the activities of certain madrassas, or religious schools, that serve as recruiting grounds for terrorism.” However, despite this criticism and a further critique that Afghanistan has been the “primary hub” for militants “involved in most major terrorist plots or attacks against the United States in the past 15 years and now engaged in international militant and terrorist acts around the world,” neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan is placed on the official list of countries sponsoring terrorism. The report merely hints that both of them could be added to the list in the next year unless their behavior improves. [US DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 4/30/2001; CNN, 4/30/2001] In 1999, an unnamed Western diplomat explained to Human Rights Watch that if Pakistan were designated a terrorist state, it would mean the termination of international financial assistance. This would result in the near-collapse of the Pakistani economy, since two-thirds of Pakistan’s budget is funded by international loans and credits. [HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, 7/1/2001] Entity Tags: Pakistan, Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, Harkat ul-Mujahedeen, Human Rights Watch, Taliban, US Department of State Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

April 30, 2001: State Department Finds No External Terror Support from Iraqi Government The US State Department’s 2000 annual report states in its section on state-sponsored terrorism that the Iraqi government’s “terrorist” activities consist primarily of its use of violence to silence dissident exiles. The report also notes that Iraq has not supported any militant operations against the West “since its failed plot to assassinate former President Bush in 1993 in Kuwait.” Significantly the report does not tie Iraq to international Islamic militant groups like al-Qaeda. [US DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 4/30/2001; US DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 4/30/2001; NEWSDAY, 12/24/2001] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

April 30, 2001: Wolfowitz Claims that Iraq is Involved in Terrorism and Was Behind 1993 WTC Bombing During a National Security Council deputy principals meeting on April 30, 2001, Paul Wolfowitz is challenged by White House counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke after asserting that Iraq is involved in terrorism. Recalling the meeting, Clarke tells The Guardian in a March 2004 interview: “April was an initial discussion of terrorism policy writ large and at that meeting I said we had to talk about al-Qaeda. And because it was terrorism policy writ large [Paul] Wolfowitz said we have to talk about Iraqi terrorism and I said that’s interesting because there hasn’t been any Iraqi terrorism against the United States. There hasn’t been any for 8 years. And he said something derisive about how I shouldn’t believe the CIA and FBI, that they’ve been wrong. And I said if you know more than I know tell me what it is, because I’ve been doing this for 8 years and I don’t know about any Iraqi-sponsored terrorism against the US since 1993. When I said let’s start talking about bin Laden, he said bin Laden couldn’t possibly have attacked the World Trade Center in ‘93. One little terrorist group like that couldn’t possibly have staged that operation. It must have been Iraq.” [GUARDIAN, 3/23/2004] During the same meeting, Wolfowitz also allegedly dismisses bin Laden and al-Qaeda as a serious threat (see April 30, 2001). Entity Tags: Richard A. Clarke, Paul Wolfowitz Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: 1993 WTC Bombing, Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

April 30, 2001: Wolfowitz in Deputy Secretary Meeting: Who Cares About [Bin Laden]? The Bush administration finally has its first Deputy Secretary-level meeting on terrorism. [TIME, 8/4/2002] According to counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, he advocates that the Northern Alliance needs to be supported in the war against the Taliban, and the Predator drone flights need to resume over Afghanistan so bin Laden can be targeted. [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 231] Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz says the focus on al-Qaeda is wrong. He states, “I just don’t understand why we are beginning by talking about this one man bin Laden,” and “Who cares about a little terrorist in Afghanistan?” Wolfowitz insists the focus should be Iraqi-sponsored terrorism instead. He claims the 1993 attack on the WTC must have been done with help from Iraq, and rejects the CIA’s assertion that there has been no Iraqi-sponsored terrorism against the US since 1993 (see April 30, 2001). (A spokesperson for Wolfowitz later calls Clarke’s account a “fabrication.”) [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 30, 231; NEWSWEEK, 3/22/2004] Wolfowitz repeats these sentiments immediately after 9/11 and tries to argue that the US should attack Iraq. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage agrees with Clarke that al-Qaeda is an important threat. Deputy National Security Adviser Steve Hadley, chairing the meeting, brokers a compromise between Wolfowitz and the others. The group agrees to hold additional meetings focusing on al-Qaeda first (in June and July), but then later look at other terrorism, including any Iraqi terrorism. [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 30, 231-32] Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin also attend the hour-long meeting. [TIME, 8/4/2002] Entity Tags: Stephen J. Hadley, Richard Armitage, Richard A. Clarke, Taliban, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, Central Intelligence Agency, John E. McLaughlin, Northern Alliance, Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, Bush administration Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

May 2001: CIA Learns Bin Laden Associates Are Heading to US, Preparing for Martyrdom The Washington Post will later report, “In May 2001, the CIA learned supporters of bin Laden were planning to infiltrate the United States; that seven were on their way to the United States, Canada and Britain; that his key operatives ‘were disappearing while others were preparing for martyrdom,’ and that bin Laden associates ‘were planning attacks in the United States with explosives.’” [US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002; WASHINGTON POST, 9/19/2002] This information may be related to a warning given by captured al-Qaeda operative Ahmed Ressam this month that al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida is seeking Canadian passports for himself and five other top militants in order to plant explosives in US cities (see May 30, 2001 and May 2001). [CALGARY HERALD, 4/3/2002] It is not known if the seven traveling to the US, Canada, and Britain refer to any of the 9/11 hijackers, but 11 of the hijackers travel to the US in May and June (see April 23-June 29, 2001), stopping in Britain along the way (see January-June 2001). Investigators will later say that they are not sure if the aliases Zubaida wanted on the Canadian passports could have been used by some of the 9/11 hijackers. [CALGARY HERALD, 4/3/2002] Entity Tags: Abu Zubaida, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Central Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Ressam Category Tags: Warning Signs, Abu Zubaida

May 2001: US Military Drafts Scenario for Afghan Operation

Gen. William F. Kernan (2002) [Source: Wikipedia] General William Kernan, commander in chief of the Joint Forces Command, later mentions: “The details of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan which fought the Taliban and al-Qaeda after the September 11 attacks, were largely taken from a scenario examined by Central Command in May 2001.” [AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 7/23/2002] This seems to contradict other accounts suggesting the military made no Afghanistan invasion plans or preparations after Bush took office (see December 2000). Entity Tags: William Kernan, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, George W. Bush Category Tags: Hunt for Bin Laden

May 2001: US Army Sees ‘Military Implications’ for Caspian Sea Oil Pipelines An article published in Military Review, which bills itself as “the professional journal for the US Army,” states, “the Caspian Sea appears to be sitting on yet another sea—a sea of hydrocarbons.… The presence of these oil reserves and the possibility of their export raises new strategic concerns for the United States and other Western industrial powers. As oil companies build oil pipelines from the Caucasus and Central Asia to supply Japan and the West, these strategic concerns gain military implications.” [SCOTT, 2007, PP. 20, 281] Entity Tags: US Department of the Army Category Tags: Pipeline Politics, US Dominance

May 2001: Iranian Tells of Plot to Attack WTC An Iranian in custody in New York City tells local police of a plot to attack the WTC. No more details are known. [FOX NEWS, 5/17/2002] Interestingly, an Iranian in prison in Germany will also warn of an attack on the WTC (see Early September 2001), but it is not known if the two cases are related. Entity Tags: World Trade Center Category Tags: Warning Signs

May 2001: Feith, Perle, and Wolfowitz Discuss Iraq Invasion; Scowcroft Initially Favorable According to FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, “Four months before 9/11”, FBI monitoring overhears Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, Pentagon adviser Richard Perle, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz “discussing with the Turkish ambassador in Washington an arrangement whereby the US would invade Iraq and divide the country.… They were negotiating what Turkey required in exchange for allowing an attack from Turkish soil.” National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, later a critic of the Iraq War, is initially in favor of the plan, but will later drop his support when it becomes clear Turkish demands for control of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq will not be granted. [THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE, 11/1/2009] Entity Tags: Sibel Edmonds, Brent Scowcroft, Douglas Feith, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Paul Wolfowitz Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Sibel Edmonds, Pipeline Politics, US Dominance

May 2001: Effort to Keep Able Danger Alive Is Unsuccessful According to a later account by Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, Capt. Scott Phillpott calls him “in desperation” around this time. Able Danger has been effectively shut down, but Phillpott wants to know if he can bring the Able Danger options that had been presented to higher officials in early 2001 (see Early 2001, January-March 2001 and March 2001) and use one of Shaffer’s Stratus Ivy facilities to continue to work. Shaffer claims that he replies, “I tell him with all candor that I would love nothing better than to loan him my facility and work the options with him (to exploit them for both [intelligence] potential and for actual offensive operations) but tell him that my DIA chain of command has directed me to stop all support to him and the project. In good faith, I ask my boss, Col. Mary Moffitt if I can help Scott and exploit the options—and that there would be a DIA quid pro quo of obtaining new ‘lead’ information from the project. She takes offense at me even mentioning Able Danger in this conversation, tells me that I am being insubordinate, and begins the process of removing me from my position as chief of Stratus Ivy. As a direct result of this conversation, she directs that I be ‘moved’ to a desk officer position to oversee Defense [human intelligence] operations in Latin America.” [US CONGRESS, 2/15/2006] Entity Tags: Scott Phillpott, Mary Moffitt, Able Danger, Anthony Shaffer Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Able Danger

May 2001: Bush, Who Has Yet to Take Any Action Against Al-Qaeda, Is Tired of ‘Swatting at Flies’ It is claimed that after a routine briefing by CIA Director Tenet to President Bush regarding the hunt for al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida, Bush complains to National Security Adviser Rice that he is tired of “swatting at flies” and wants a comprehensive plan for attacking terrorism. Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke already has such a plan, but it has been mired in bureaucratic deadlock since January. After this, progress remains slow. [TIME, 8/4/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 3/24/2004] Entity Tags: George W. Bush, George J. Tenet, Abu Zubaida, Richard A. Clarke, Condoleezza Rice Category Tags: Abu Zubaida, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

May 2001: Medics Train for Airplane Hitting Pentagon The Army’s DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic (DTHC) and the Air Force Flight Medicine Clinic, both housed within the Pentagon, hold a tabletop exercise along with Arlington County Emergency Medical Services. The scenario practiced for is of an airplane crashing into the Pentagon’s west side—the same side as is impacted in the attack on 9/11. [US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, 7/2002, PP. B17; GOLDBERG ET AL., 2007, PP. 23 AND 107] Reportedly, the purpose of the exercise is “to fine-tune their emergency preparedness.” [US MEDICINE, 10/2001] According to US Medicine newspaper, the plane in the scenario is a hijacked Boeing 757. [US MEDICINE, 1/2002] (Flight 77, that targets the Pentagon on 9/11, is a 757. [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/13/2001] ) But a federally funded report on the response to the Pentagon attack says it is a commuter airplane. [US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, 7/2002, PP. B17] The Defense Department’s own book about the Pentagon attack says the plane in this exercise is a twin-engine aircraft (757s, like Flight 77, are twin-engine aircraft), but that it crashes into the Pentagon by accident in the scenario. [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/13/2001; GOLDBERG ET AL., 2007, PP. 107] The idea of a plane hitting the Pentagon was suggested by Colonel John Baxter, the commander of the Air Force Flight Medicine Clinic, who has often been reminded that the Pentagon is on the flight path of nearby Reagan National Airport. The scenario was approved by Air Force Surgeon General Paul Carlton Jr. [GOLDBERG ET AL., 2007, PP. 107 AND 109] Baxter and Col. James Geiling, the commander of the DTHC, later say this exercise prepares them well to respond to the Pentagon attack on 9/11. For example, the Air Force Flight Medicine Clinic retools its trauma packs as a result. [US MEDICINE, 10/2001] And, due to the exercise, staffers of both clinics will wear special blue vests on 9/11 labeled “physician,” “nurse,” or “EMT,” to allow for easy identification. [UNIFORMED SERVICES UNIVERSITY, 1/2002 ] Paul Carlton will say, “We learned a lot from that exercise and applied those lessons to September 11.” [MURPHY, 2002, PP. 222] And Major Lorie Brown, the chief nurse of the DTHC, who leads the exercise, will later recall, “The training made a huge difference” on 9/11. [NURSING SPECTRUM, 9/24/2001] The two Pentagon clinics routinely hold mass casualty tabletop exercises. The scenario changes for each drill. [GOLDBERG ET AL., 2007, PP. 107] Entity Tags: Air Force Flight Medicine Clinic, Arlington County Emergency Medical Services, John Baxter, Lorie Brown, Paul Carlton, DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic, James Geiling, Pentagon Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Military Exercises

May 2001: US and Jordan Let Suspected Al-Qaeda Figure Go Free Khalil Deek, member of an al-Qaeda cell in Anaheim, California, is mysteriously released in Jordan and allowed to go free. Deek had been arrested on suspicions that he masterminded a series of planned millennium attacks in Jordan (see December 11, 1999). Investigators believe he may have masterminded an attempted bombing of the Los Angeles airport as well (see December 15-31, 1999), and in fact US intelligence had been interested in him since the late 1980s (see Late 1980s, December 14-25, 1999, and May 2000). But despite is the seemingly strong evidence against him, he is released this month after mounting a hunger strike. Relatives tell a US newspaper that US government officials pressured Jordan to let him go. [ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 9/12/2005] Despite the fact that US officials had previously labeled him a terrorist mastermind, they do not protest his release. [ORANGE COUNTY WEEKLY, 6/15/2006] The Jordanian government claims they lacked evidence Deek was aware of terrorist activities. [ORANGE COUNTY WEEKLY, 6/17/2004] The Los Angeles Times reports that he had cooperated with US investigators in deciphering al-Qaeda computer documents. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 3/29/2000] He is deported to the United Arab Emirates. He is rearrested there and held for several days, and then let go again. [ORANGE COUNTY WEEKLY, 5/31/2001] A few days later, Deek emerges at the US embassy in Pakistan with his wife and family. He approaches the embassy gates, asking staffers there help to bring his family back to the US. However, he is only able to speak to someone through an intercom and is not allowed in the building. He is told to come back in two weeks. A newspaper will later comment, “Given that the US government already considered him a dangerous man, it’s not surprising that embassy officials weren’t eager to provide him with travel visas. But it is weird that they didn’t let him inside the building and simply arrest him.” [ORANGE COUNTY WEEKLY, 6/15/2006] It will later be alleged that Deek was actually a mole for the Jordanian government (see Shortly After December 11, 1999). Entity Tags: US intelligence, Jordan, Khalil Deek Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action Before 9/11, Millennium Bomb Plots, Khalil Deek

May 2001: Clinton Impeachment Lawyer Learns About Al-Qaeda Manhattan Attack Warning David Schippers, the House Judiciary Committee’s chief investigator in the Clinton impeachment trial, was hired to represent FBI agent Robert Wright in September 1999 (see August 3, 1999). After 9/11, Schippers will claim that he began privately informing congresspeople about Wright’s investigation into terrorism financing in the US in early 2001, but found little interest (see February-March 2001). Schippers appears to have had different sources than Wright who began telling him about attack warnings. Supposedly, the first warning was based on a secret February 1995 report which stated that bin Laden was planning three attacks on the US: the bombing of a federal building in the heartland of the US, shooting down or blowing up an airplane, and a massive attack in lower Manhattan. Schippers believes the first warning was a prediction of the April 1995 Oklahoma City bombing (see April 19, 1995) and the second was a prediction of the 1996 explosion of TWA Flight 800 (see July 17, 1996-September 1996). In some versions of this warning, the Manhattan attack was meant to be caused by a “dirty bomb” - explosives mixed with radioactive materials - but other accounts described the use of planes as weapons instead. He says one of his sources for this early warning was Yossef Bodansky, director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. Schippers will claim that his sources continued to uncover further information. The Manhattan warning “had started out just a general threat, but they narrowed it and narrowed it, more and more with time,” until the “same people who came out with the first warning” tell him in May 2001 that “an attack on lower Manhattan is imminent.” Schippers speaks to several FBI agents directly, and hears that “there are [other agents] all over the country who are frustrated and just waiting to come out.” They are frustrated by “a bureaucratic elite in Washington short-stopping information,” which gives “terrorism a free reign in the United States.” Schippers later claims that some FBI agents later told him that before 9/11, “they had [Mohamed] Atta in their sights.” They also had attempted to “check out” the names and activities of “very strange characters training at flight schools.” He will claim that “FBI agents in Chicago and Minnesota” tell him “there [is] going to be an attack on lower Manhattan.” Schippers will later claim that he will attempt to contact Attorney General John Ashcroft and other politicians about this warning in coming months, but that they will show little interest (see July-Late August 2001). [WORLDNETDAILY, 10/21/2001; INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/18/2002; AHMED, 2004, PP. 258-260] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Yossef Bodansky, Al-Qaeda, David Schippers, William Jefferson (“Bill”) Clinton, John Ashcroft, Robert Wright, Federal Bureau of Investigation Category Tags: Warning Signs, Terrorism Financing, Robert Wright and Vulgar Betrayal

May 2001: NSA Analyst Warns of Terrorist Planes into Buildings Plot; But Described as ‘Obsessed’ By Superiors A National Security (NSA) linguist who only allows himself to be identified to the media as “J” warns his superiors at the agency that terrorists may be planning to hijack passenger planes to ram into buildings, and that security measures need to be implemented to prevent this. Instead, J is ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation. (J was given similar treatment in another instance eight years before; see September 11, 1993). J will later claim that NSA officials dismissed his warnings, and instead labeled him as “obsessed” with the idea of a “kamikaze” threat because of time he had spent in Japan. In 2006, J will say that any time his analysis countered conventional wisdom, he was ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluations. He will eventually develop an irregular heartbeat due to the stress of anticipating further retaliatory, potentially career-damaging psychological evaluations. “I believe it was retaliation, but how do you prove that?” he will ask. J will spend his last decade at NSA with no promotion or raise, and will say that another linguist left the agency during that time out of disgust with what was happening. “Who was going to listen to us? Who could do anything anyway?” he asks in 2006. In 2006, other current and former NSA officials will claim that the NSA routinely uses unfavorable psychological evaluations to retaliate against whistleblowers and those employees who come into conflict with superiors (see January 25-26, 2006). [CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE, 1/26/2006] It is not clear whether J’s warnings are related to the 33 other warnings picked up by NSA analysts during this same time period (see May-July 2001.) Entity Tags: National Security Agency, “J” Category Tags: Warning Signs, Remote Surveillance

May 2001: Tenet Secretly Visits Pakistan, but ISI Director Refuses to Share Information about Bin Laden

Richard Armitage. [Source: NATO] Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a former covert operative and Navy Seal, travels to India on a publicized tour while CIA Director Tenet makes a quiet visit to Pakistan to meet with President Pervez Musharraf. Armitage has long and deep Pakistani intelligence connections (as well as a role in the Iran-Contra affair). While in Pakistan, Tenet, in what was described as “an unusually long meeting,” also secretly meets with his Pakistani counterpart, ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed. [SAPRA (NEW DELHI), 5/22/2001] According to a senior ISI officer in 2006, Tenet urges Mahmood to trade information on Osama bin Laden. However, Mahmood does not cooperate. [LEVY AND SCOTT-CLARK, 2007, PP. 309, 520] Entity Tags: Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Richard Armitage, George J. Tenet, Mahmood Ahmed, Pervez Musharraf Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Mahmood Ahmed

May 2001: Report Warns of Al-Qaeda Infiltration from Canada US intelligence obtains information that al-Qaeda is planning to infiltrate the US from Canada and carry out an operation using high explosives. The report does not say exactly where, when, or how an attack might occur. Two months later, the information is shared with the FBI, the INS, the US Customs Service, and the State Department, and it will be shared with President Bush in August. [US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002; WASHINGTON POST, 9/19/2002] This information could come from captured al-Qaeda operative Ahmed Ressam, who warns around this month that al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida has been seeking Canadian passports as part of a plot to attack the US, possibly by planting explosives in several US cities (see May 30, 2001 and May 2001). [CALGARY HERALD, 4/3/2002] Entity Tags: US Customs Service, George W. Bush, US Department of State, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Ahmed Ressam, Al-Qaeda, Abu Zubaida, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation Category Tags: Warning Signs, Abu Zubaida

May 2001: CIA Official Connected to Cases of Moussaoui and 9/11 Hijackers Starts Helping FBI Tom Wilshire, a former deputy chief of Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, is detailed to the FBI to help with its counterterrorism work. Wilshire was involved in the failure to watchlist Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar during the al-Qaeda Malaysia summit (see 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 5, 2000), and will also be involved in the failed search for them in the summer of 2001 (see May 15, 2001, Late May, 2001, and July 13, 2001), as well as the failure to obtain a search warrant for Zacarias Moussaoui’s belongings (see August 24, 2001). He acts as the CIA’s chief intelligence representative to Michael Rolince, head of the Bureau’s International Terrorism Operations Section. His primary role is apparently to help the FBI exploit information for intelligence purposes. [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 282-348 ] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Alec Station, Michael Rolince, Tom Wilshire, International Terrorism Operations Section Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Alhazmi and Almihdhar, CIA Hiding Alhazmi & Almihdhar, Zacarias Moussaoui, Al-Qaeda Malaysia Summit

May 2001: Hijackers Take Advantage of New, Anonymous Visa Express Procedure

A portion of Salem Alhazmi’s New Jersey identification card. [Source: 9/11 Commission] (click image to enlarge) The US introduces the “Visa Express” program in Saudi Arabia, which allows any Saudi Arabian to obtain a visa through his or her travel agent instead of appearing at a consulate in person. An official later states, “The issuing officer has no idea whether the person applying for the visa is actually the person in the documents and application.” [US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, 12/12/2001; US CONGRESS, 9/20/2002] At the time, warnings of an attack against the US led by the Saudi Osama bin Laden are higher than they had ever been before— “off the charts” as one senator later puts it. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 5/18/2002; US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002] A terrorism conference had recently concluded that Saudi Arabia was one of four top nationalities in al-Qaeda. [STAR-TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS), 5/19/2002] Suspect Travel Agency - Ten Saudi travel agency companies are allowed to issue US visas as part of the program. One company, Fursan Travel and Tourism, is a subsidiary of Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp., a multibillion Saudi banking conglomerate. Fursan is also the only one out of the ten deputized to handle the collection and initial processing of US visas. After 9/11, the CIA will suggest taking action against Al Rajhi for its suspected support of Islamist militancy, but the Bush Administration will decide not to do anything (see Mid-2003 and Mid-2003). It is believed that al-Qaeda and other militant groups advised their operatives to use Al Rajhi for their banking needs (see Before September 11, 2001). [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/13/2003] Used by 9/11 Plotters - Five hijackers—Khalid Almihdhar, Abdulaziz Alomari, Salem Alhazmi, Saeed Alghamdi, and Fayez Ahmed Banihammad—use Visa Express over the next month to enter the US. [US CONGRESS, 9/20/2002] Alomari has a bank account with Al Rajhi, but it is unknown if he or any of the other hijackers use Fursan, the Al Rajhi subsidiary, since the names of travel agencies do not appear on copies of the hijackers’ visa applications that are later made public. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/13/2003] Even 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed will successfully get a US Visa through the “Visa Express” program in July (using a false name but real photograph), despite a posted $2 million reward for his capture. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 1/27/2004] Saudi Visas Almost Never Rejected - Only three percent of Saudi visa applicants are turned down by US consular officers in fiscal 2000 and 2001. In contrast, about 25 percent of US visa seekers worldwide are rejected. Acceptance is even more difficult for applicants from countries alleged to have ties to terrorism such as Iraq or Iran. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/31/2001] The widely criticized program is finally canceled in July 2002, after a public outcry. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/13/2003] Entity Tags: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Khalid Almihdhar, Fursan Travel and Tourism, Salem Alhazmi, Abdulaziz Alomari, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden, Saeed Alghamdi Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Key Hijacker Events, Alhazmi and Almihdhar, Other 9/11 Hijackers, Saudi Arabia

May 2001: Associate Sends Atta $1,000 from Germany

Kay Nehm [Source: Generalbundesanwalt] An associate of the hijackers named Mounir El Motassadeq sends $1,000 to an account of Mohamed Atta in Florida. The money is sent from an account of Marwan Alshehhi in Germany for which El Motassadeq has a power of attorney. This transaction is not mentioned by US authorities, but is disclosed by Kay Nehm, a prosecutor in the case against Motassadeq in Germany. Motassadeq will later be convicted for membership of al-Qaeda (see August 19, 2005). [DAWN (KARACHI), 9/1/2002; CNN, 2/19/2003 SOURCES: KAY NEHM] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Mounir El Motassadeq, Kay Nehm, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, Al-Qaeda in Germany

May-June 2001: Muslim Convert Inadvertently Learns of 9/11 Plot

John Walker Lindh. [Source: Alexandria, Virginia, Sheriff's Department] John Walker Lindh, a young Caucasian man from California who has converted to Islam, travels to Peshawar, Pakistan, in an attempt to fight for Islamic causes. He had been studying the Koran for about six months elsewhere in Pakistan, but otherwise had no particularly special training, qualifications, or connections. Within days, he is accepted into al-Qaeda and sent to the Al Farooq training camp in Afghanistan. Seven other US citizens are already training there (see April-August 2001). He inadvertently learns details of the 9/11 attacks. In June, he is told by an instructor that “bin Laden had sent forth some fifty people to carry out twenty suicide terrorist operations against the United States and Israel.” He learns that the 9/11 plot is to consist of five attacks, not the four that actually occur. The other fifteen operations are to take place later. He is asked if he wants to participate in a suicide mission, but declines. [MAHONEY, 2003, PP. 162, 216; BAMFORD, 2004, PP. 234-36] Author James Bamford comments, “The decision to keep CIA employees at arm’s length from [al-Qaeda] was a serious mistake. At the same moment the CIA was convinced al-Qaeda was impenetrable, a number of American citizens were secretly joining al-Qaeda in Afghanistan—and being welcomed with open arms.” [BAMFORD, 2004, PP. 161] Entity Tags: Al Farooq training camp, John Walker Lindh, Central Intelligence Agency, Al-Qaeda, James Bamford, Osama bin Laden Category Tags: Hunt for Bin Laden

May-July 2001: No Cabinet Level Meetings on Terrorism Despite New Warnings Around this time, intercepts from Afghanistan warn that al-Qaeda could attack an American target in late June or on the July 4 holiday. However, the White House’s Cabinet-level principals group does not meet to discuss this prospect. This group also fails to meet after intelligence analysts overhear conversations from an al-Qaeda cell in Milan suggesting that bin Laden’s agents might be plotting to kill Bush at the European summit in Genoa, Italy, in late July (see July 20-22, 2001). In fact, the group will only hold one meeting on terrorism before 9/11 (see September 4, 2001). [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/30/2001] According to 9/11 Commissioner Tim Roemer, before 9/11 the principals group met 32 times on other issues, such as Iraq, Russia, China, the Middle East, and missile defense. [EDITOR & PUBLISHER, 10/1/2006] By comparison, the principals group met to discuss terrorism around once a week between 1998 and 2000 under Clinton (see Late August 1998-November 2000). [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/30/2001] Entity Tags: George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

May-July 2001: NSA Picks Up Word of ‘Imminent Terrorist Attacks’ Over a two-month period, the NSA reports that “at least 33 communications indicating a possible, imminent terrorist attack.” None of these reports provide any specific information on where, when, or how an attack might occur. These reports are widely disseminated to other intelligence agencies. [US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002; MSNBC, 9/18/2002] National Security Adviser Rice later will read what she calls “chatter that was picked up in [2001s] spring and summer. ‘Unbelievable news coming in weeks,’ said one. ‘A big event… there will be a very, very, very, very big uproar.’ ‘There will be attacks in the near future.’” [WASHINGTON POST, 4/8/2004] The NSA director will claim in 2002 that all of the warnings were red herrings not related to the 9/11 attacks. [US CONGRESS, 10/17/2002] However, in 2004 it will be revealed that the 9/11 attacks were originally planned to take place between May and July, but were delayed to September (see May-July 2001). Entity Tags: Condoleezza Rice, National Security Agency Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Warning Signs, Remote Surveillance, Key Warnings

May-July 2001: 9/11 Attacks Originally Planned for Early Date In 2001, bin Laden apparently pressures Khalid Shaikh Mohammed for an attack date earlier than 9/11. According to information obtained from the 9/11 Commission (apparently based on a prison interrogation of Mohammed), bin Laden first requests an attack date of May 12, 2001, the seven-month anniversary of the USS Cole bombing. Then, when bin Laden learns from the media that Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would be visiting the White House in June or July 2001, he attempts once more to accelerate the operation to coincide with his visit. [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/16/2004] The surge of warnings around this time could be related to these original preparations. By mid-July, US intelligence will learn of this delay (see July 13, 2001). Entity Tags: USS Cole, Ariel Sharon, Osama bin Laden, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Warning Signs, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Osama Bin Laden

May-August 2001: Nurse Witnesses Hijackers at Rehab Clinic Owned by Convicted Felon; Fired After 9/11 for Speaking to FBI

Eileen Luongo. [Source: CNN] A nurse at a drug rehabilitation clinic in a suburb of Miami allegedly witnesses several 9/11 hijackers using one of the clinic’s computers. Eileen Luongo, the director of nursing at the Seawinds Healthcare Services in Miami Shores, sees Mohamed Atta at the center in May. She says, “His features were so striking I stared at him for like two minutes and he stared back at me.” In August, she claims, she sees three other alleged 9/11 hijackers there: Marwan Alshehhi, Satam Al Suqami, and Waleed Alshehri. She spends 45 minutes with them after they come into her office to write a letter on a computer. She says, “They just came in like they knew where they were going and they had been there before.” Luongo later says she wondered if the men were acquaintances of the center’s Egyptian owner, Mohammed Ibrahim, or his relatives. [MIAMI HERALD, 11/29/2001; CNN, 11/30/2001; FOX NEWS, 12/7/2001] Ibrahim, according to the Miami New Times, is a “convicted felon and charming con man,” who, despite a dubious past, “remains remarkably unhindered by legal considerations and is constantly acquiring properties and embarking on new business ventures.” Since autumn 2000, unknown armed men have occasionally been witnessed showing up at Seawinds, such as a Cuban man who drove up and said to a member of staff, “Tell your boss I’m gonna kill him if he doesn’t pay me.” Furthermore, according to its former medical director Dr. Evan Zimmer, the clinic does not have the necessary licenses for the treatments it administers. [MIAMI NEW TIMES, 2/22/2001] Ibrahim is deported from the US in June 2001 and Seawinds will close three months later. After seeing photos of the suspected hijackers in a newspaper in late September 2001, Eileen Luongo will contact the FBI and report her encounters with four of them. Agents will meet her at Fort Lauderdale Hospital, where she works part-time. FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela says Luongo’s information provides “credible leads we needed to follow up on.” Yet immediately after she meets the agents, Luongo will be fired for doing so. At the time, the hospital will be under investigation by the FBI itself for possible health care fraud. [MIAMI HERALD, 11/29/2001; CNN, 11/30/2001; CNN, 11/30/2001] Entity Tags: Seawinds Healthcare Services, Waleed M. Alshehri, Satam Al Suqami, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Mohammed Ibrahim, Eileen Luongo Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, Other 9/11 Hijackers

After April 2001: Italian Authorities Uncover Extremists’ Route to Afghanistan Following the arrest of extremists based around Milan, Italy, in April 2001 (see 2000-April 2001 and Early 2000-2001), local authorities begin to investigate associates of the arrested men. They find that when the group wants to send people to training camps in Afghanistan, this is arranged through two people based at the Islamic Cultural Institute, a well-known radical mosque in Milan. The two men who take care of the arrangements are Abdelhalim Remadna, an Algerian secretary of the mosque’s imam, and a Moroccan named Yassin Chekkouri, both of whom live inside the mosque and almost never leave. After several months of investigation, the authorities find them to be key players in a sophisticated network that is recruiting hundreds of European Muslims for al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. They also find that Remadna communicates frequently with a man named Abu Jaffa (a.k.a. Abu Jafar al-Jaziri), who runs a guesthouse for Algerian militants in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, and that the two of them coordinate the trainees’ movements. The group does not use the usual route for trainees through Pakistan, as it is aware Pakistani stamps in a passport indicate an affiliation with al-Qaeda. Instead, volunteers travel through Turkey and Iran. Members of Remadna’s network say that Iran provides “complete cooperation” with this. Remadna provides the volunteers with addresses of hotels and safe houses, where members of the network meet them and help them cross from Iran into Afghanistan. By analyzing phone traffic, the authorities find that militants from at least six European countries rely on Remadna to reach the Afghan camps. [VIDINO, 2006, PP. 219-221] Entity Tags: Yassin Chekkouri, Abu Jaffa, Abdelhalim Remadna, Islamic Cultural Institute Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Italy, Remote Surveillance

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