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August 2002: Former UN Inspector Says Allegations Iraqi Government Using Salman Pak to Train Terrorists Are False Edit

Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter casts doubt on Salman Pak’s characterization as a terrorist training facility (see April 6, 2003), in an August 2002 interview later included in his book War on Iraq. Ritter says in part,

“Iraqi defectors have been talking lately about the training camp at Salman Pak, south of Baghdad. They say there’s a Boeing aircraft there. That’s not true. There’s an Antonov aircraft of Russian manufacture. They say there are railroad mock-ups, bus mock-ups, buildings, and so on. These are all things you’d find in a hostage rescue training camp, which is what this camp was when it was built in the mid-1980s with British intelligence supervision. In fact, British SAS special operations forces were sent to help train the Iraqis in hostage rescue techniques. Any nation with a national airline and that is under attack from terrorists—and Iraq was, from Iran and Syria at the time would need this capability. Iraq operated Salman Pak as a hostage rescue training facility up until 1992. In 1992, because Iraq no longer had a functioning airline, and because their railroad system was inoperative, Iraq turned the facility over to the Iraqi Intelligence service, particularly the Department of External Threats. These are documented facts coming out of multiple sources from a variety of different countries. The Department of External Threats was created to deal with Kurdistan, in particular, the infusion of Islamic fundamentalist elements from Iran into Kurdistan. So, rather than being a camp dedicated to train Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, it was a camp dedicated to train Iraq to deal with Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. And they did so. Their number one target was the Islamic Kurdish party, which later grew into [Ansar al-Islam]. Now, Jeff Goldberg claimed in the New Yorker that Ansar al-Islam is funded by the Iraqi Intelligence service. But that’s exactly the opposite of reality: the Iraqis have been fighting Ansar for years now. Ansar comes out of Iran and is supported by Iranians. Iraq, as part of their ongoing war against Islamic fundamentalism, created a unit specifically designed to destroy these people. It would be ludicrous for Iraq to support al-Qaeda, either conventionally, as many have claimed, or even worse, to give it weapons of mass destruction…” [RITTER AND PITT, 9/25/2002]


August 2002: Former FBI Translator Sues Bureau for Documents Relating to Allegations against Co-Worker Accused of Breaching Security =Edit

Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds hires attorney David Colapinto of the Washington firm Kohn, Kohn and Calapinto, who sues the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act for full disclosure of all documents related to her allegations against Melek Can Dickerson (see December 4, 2001 and Afternoon February 12, 2002) and her dismissal from the FBI (see March 22, 2002). [VANITY FAIR, 9/2005] Entity Tags: David Colapinto, Sibel Edmonds, Federal Bureau of Investigation Category Tags: Sibel Edmonds

August 2002: US Justice Department Prevents Prosecutors from Indicting Possible Future 7/7 London Bombings Mastermind In 2002, federal prosecutors are building a case against a group of Islamist militants for attempting to start a militant training camp in Oregon in 1999 (see November 1999-Early 2000). They prepare charges against radical London imam Abu Hamza al-Masri, his “highly public aide” Haroon Rashid Aswat, Oussama Kassir (who visited the prospective camp with Aswat), and James Ujaama. Ujaama is living in Seattle, but the others are believed to be overseas. Seattle prosecutors want to seek a grand jury indictment against all of them, which would result in arrest warrants and possible detention for extradition. However, this plan is blocked by higher-level officials at Justice Department headquarters, who want most of the case to be handled by the US Attorney’s Office in New York City. Seattle prosecutors are only allowed to bring charges against Ujaama. [SEATTLE TIMES, 7/24/2005] They go ahead and arrest Ujaama in August 2002, finding weapons and training materials, and charge him with conspiring with Abu Hamza “to provide material support and resources” to the Taliban. One of his associates, Feroz Abbasi, is already in Guantanamo Bay, and is talking to interrogators about trips Ujaama has made to Afghanistan (see December 2000-December 2001). Ujaama quickly agrees to co-operate with the authorities, giving them details about Abu Hamza’s activities, and is given a two-year sentence for a lesser offence. [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 189-190, 198-200] The others are merely listed in Ujaama’s indictment as unindicted co-conspirators. Abu Hamza has actually been working as an informant for British intelligence (see Early 1997), but by early 2004 his relationship with the British has soured (see April 2003 and April 26, 2004), and the US Justice Department will finally indict him for charges relating to the training camp in May 2004. However, Aswat still will not be indicted. When asked why Aswat is not indicted as well, a federal official in Seattle will reply with frustration, “That’s a great question.” [SEATTLE TIMES, 7/24/2005] Shortly after the 7/7 London bombings (see July 7, 2005), it will be widely reported that Aswat was the attack’s mastermind (see Late June-July 7, 2005). Then a counterterrorism expert will claim that Aswat was also an informant for British intelligence, and this explains why the US never indicted him and other mysteries surrounding him (see July 29, 2005). Entity Tags: US Department of Justice, James Ujaama, Abu Hamza al-Masri, Haroon Rashid Aswat, Oussama Kassir Category Tags: Abu Hamza Al-Masri, Haroon Rashid Aswat, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, 2005 7/7 London Bombings, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

August 2002: Neocons Give Unconvincing Presentation on Iraq Ties to Al-Qaeda; Information Used by Bush, Tenet, Right-Wing Supporters Edit

Two influential neoconservatives, Defense Intelligence Agency [DIA] reservist and Penn State political science professor Chris Carney and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, give two presentations on Iraq’s alleged ties to al-Qaeda to the CIA at the agency’s Langley headquarters. CIA analysts are not impressed, having seen much of the information before and having already determined that it was not credible. Some of the information will nevertheless be included in speeches by Bush and in testimony by Tenet to Congress. The information is also put into a classified memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee by Feith, which is later leaked to the Weekly Standard, a neoconservative magazine (see November 14, 2003). [VANITY FAIR, 5/2004, PP. 238] Entity Tags: Senate Intelligence Committee, Chris Carney, Weekly Standard, Central Intelligence Agency, Douglas Feith, US Congress, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion, Neoconservative Influence Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

August or September 2002: Air Forces Investigation Concludes that Major, Accused of Espionage and Obstruction, Has Not Done Anything Wrong The Air Force Office of Special Investigations completes its investigation into Major Douglas Dickerson’s relationship with the American-Turkish Council. The inquiry had been launched in response to allegations by FBI translator Sibel Edmonds that Dickerson’s wife was using her position as an FBI translator to shield certain targets working for the ATC from surveillance (see December 2, 2001 and Afternoon February 12, 2002). On September 10, 2002, Colonel James N. Worth, the Air Force’s director of inquiries, writes in a letter to Edmonds’ attorneys: “We have determined the allegations contained in your letter of August 7, 2002, involving Major Douglas Dickerson do not show improprieties and therefore do not warrant a formal inquiry” by the Air Force’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). After conducting “a complete and thorough review,” he continued, the Office of Special Investigations could find “no evidence of any deviation from the scope of his duties. Absent new and relevant information we have closed this matter.” [VILLAGE VOICE, 7/13/2004; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 1/24/2005] Edmonds, who was never interviewed as part of the investigation, will continue to press for an investigation. In a September 19 letter to Joseph E. Schmitz, the Air Force’s Inspector General, Edmonds’ attorney will request that the OIG reopen the case and thoroughly investigate her charges. [COLAPINTO, 9/19/2004] Entity Tags: American-Turkish Council, Sibel Edmonds, Douglas Dickerson, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, James N. Worth Category Tags: Sibel Edmonds

August 2002: Al-Qaeda Restarts Training Camps in Pakistan’s Border Region Since its defeat in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in late 2001, thousands of al-Qaeda-linked militants have been regrouping in the Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan (see December 2001-Spring 2002). The Pakistani army finally entered Waziristan in May 2002 (see Late May 2002), but the army remains in the administrative capital of Wana, leaving al-Qaeda free to operate in the countryside. Emboldened, al-Qaeda begins setting up small mobile training camps in South Waziristan by August 2002. [RASHID, 2008, PP. 148] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Pakistani Army Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Haven in Pakistan Tribal Region

August 2002: Radical Imam Abu Qatada Has Alleged Madrid Bomber Live with Him in London It will later be alleged that in August 2002, radical imam Abu Qatada calls Spanish militant Moutaz Almallah and asks him to live with him in London. Almallah does move to London one month later. For most of 2002, Qatada is supposedly hiding in London, but in fact British intelligence knows where he is (see Late September 2001-Summer 2002 and Summer-Early November 2002), and he has a history of being an British informant (see June 1996-February 1997). The account of Moutaz moving to London comes from the estranged wife of his brother Mouhannad Almallah. Shortly after the Madrid bombings, she will tell a Spanish judge about the call and much more. She will say both brothers had frequent contact with Abu Qatada before moving. Spanish authorities also are aware that the brothers are linked to Barakat Yarkas, who frequently traveled to London to meet with Abu Qatada for many years (see 1995-February 2001). Abu Qatada will be arrested in October 2002, not long after Moutaz moves there (see October 23, 2002), but Moutaz will continue to live in London while making occasional trips back to Spain. Moutaz will be arrested in Britain in 2005. He will be extradited to Spain for a role in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, but will not have been put on trial by July 2007. In 2007, Mouhannad will be sentenced to 12 years for his role in the bombings (see October 31, 2007). [EL MUNDO (MADRID), 7/28/2005] Entity Tags: Mouhannad Almallah’s wife, Abu Qatada, Barakat Yarkas, Mouhannad Almallah, Moutaz Almallah Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Al-Qaeda in Spain, 2004 Madrid Train Bombings, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

August 2002: Al-Qaeda Videos Uncovered in Afghanistan; Tapes Show Capabilities, Global Reach

Al-Qaeda videos. [Source: CNN] CNN reporter Nic Robertson obtains a large number of al-Qaeda videos in Afghanistan. The tapes show the organization’s capabilities in bomb-making and assassination techniques, and its efforts to develop chemical weapons (see Before December 2001). Among the 250 tapes obtained, many provide instructions in terror techniques. Others show al-Qaeda meetings with Osama bin Laden, or bin Laden interviews with journalists. Al-Qaeda’s global reach is also evident from the tapes provided by affiliated groups in Bosnia, Chechnya, Eritrea, Uzbekistan, Burma, Algeria, and Sudan. According to counterterrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna, the tapes show that al-Qaeda has become “an organization of organizations… waging a universal jihad campaign.” The earliest are from the 1980s; the latest include news reporting of the 9/11 attacks. “This is their history, the record room of Osama bin Laden,” says Gunaratna. “No terrorist organization is ever known to have put this much knowledge on videotape before,” reports CNN. [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/19/2002; CNN, 8/19/2002; CNN, 8/23/2002] CNN does not disclose how it obtained the material, except to say that a trusted source drove Robertson to a remote part of Afghanistan and that the tapes had been moved from their original location. [CNN, 8/19/2002] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden Category Tags: Afghanistan, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

August 2002: Pentagon Officials Pressure CIA to Delay CIA Assessment on Iraq; They Disagree with CIA’s View about Alleged Prague-Atta Link At the request of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, Pentagon officials visit CIA Director George Tenet at Langley headquarters to voice their objections to the final draft of a CIA assessment on Iraq’s supposed links to militant Islamic groups. The officials dispute the report’s conclusion that intelligence suggesting an alleged April 2001 Prague meeting between Mohamed Atta and Iraqi diplomat Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani (see 1999) is not credible. As a result of Pentagon officials’ objections, the CIA’s assessment is postponed until September 18. Tenet will later say he “didn’t think much of” the briefing. [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/11/2004; NEWSWEEK, 7/19/2004] Entity Tags: Douglas Feith, US Department of Defense, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, George J. Tenet, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

August 2002: Al-Qaeda Operative Captured, Warns of Attack on Oil Tanker near Yemen; Disappears into CIA Custody In August 2002, alleged al-Qaeda operative Ahmed Muhammad al-Darbi, a Saudi, reportedly comes into US custody. On October 6, 2002, a French oil tanker is attacked by a suicide bomber off the coast of Yemen (see October 6, 2002). Later that month, the Washington Post will report that al-Darbi warned in interrogation interviews that a Yemen cell was planning an attack on a Western oil tanker. It will later be claimed that he was arrested based on information gained by the interrogation of prisoner Abu Zubaida (see June 2002). [WASHINGTON POST, 10/18/2002; HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, 11/30/2005] In December 2002, another Post article will mention that al-Darbi remains “under CIA control.” [WASHINGTON POST, 12/26/2002] However, his whereabouts will then be unknown for some time. In late 2005, Human Rights Watch will list him as a likely “ghost prisoner” probably still being held by the CIA. [HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, 11/30/2005] Entity Tags: Ahmed Muhammad al-Darbi, Central Intelligence Agency Category Tags: Key Captures and Deaths, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

Early August 2002: Wolfowitz Pressures FBI to Confirm That Prague Meeting Took Place Several Pentagon officials, including Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, meet with the FBI’s assistant director for counterterrorism, Pat D’Amuro, to discuss the latest intelligence concerning the alleged April 2001 (see April 8, 2001) meeting between 9/11 plotter Mohamed Atta and Iraqi diplomat Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani. Wolfowitz pressures the FBI briefers to confirm that the Prague meeting had in fact happened. The FBI concedes that the occurrence of the meeting, though not proven, was at least possible. [TIME, 9/2/2002] Entity Tags: Pasquale D’Amuro, Paul Wolfowitz, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

August 1, 2002: Consular Officer Who Issued 9/11 Hijackers with 12 Visas Gives Incorrect Testimony to House Committee Shayna Steinger, a consular officer who issued 12 visas to the 9/11 hijackers (see July 1, 2000), gives incorrect testimony about one of the visa issuances to the House Committee on Government Reform. The incorrect testimony concerns the issue of a visa to Hani Hanjour, the alleged pilot of Flight 77, which hit the Pentagon. Steinger initially refused to grant Hanjour a visa (see September 10, 2000), but then reversed her decision two weeks later (see September 25, 2000). Steinger claims that she initially denied Hanjour a visa because he applied under the Visa Express program. However, the visa was denied in September 2000 and the Visa Express program did not begin until May 2001 (see May 2001). Steinger claims to have a memory of the event which cannot be correct. “I remember that I had refused him for interview, because he had applied for a tourist visa and he said that his reason for going to the United States was to study,” she tells the committee. The denial was “for administrative reasons,” she adds. It meant: “No. Come in. I want to talk to you.” The 9/11 Commission will point out that this cannot have been the case, stating, “In fact, the date Hanjour applied (as shown on his written application) and the date he was denied (as shown both on the application and on [the State Department’s] electronic records) are the same: September 10, 2000.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 37-38 ] This is apparently the first time Steinger has been interviewed by anyone about the 12 visa issuances. [OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL (US DEPARTMENT OF STATE), 1/30/2003] Steinger will be interviewed twice more about the visas, changing her story about Hanjour. One interview is by the State Department’s inspector general (see January 20, 2003), the other by the 9/11 Commission (see December 30, 2003). Entity Tags: Shayna Steinger, 9/11 Commission, House Committee on Government Reform Category Tags: Other 9/11 Investigations

August 1, 2002: Justice Department’s ‘Golden Shield’ Memo Approves Torture of Terrorism Suspects Edit

Jay Bybee. [Source: Public domain] The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) sends a non-classified memo to White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, offering the opinion that a policy allowing suspected al-Qaeda members to be tortured abroad “may be justified.” [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 8/1/2002 ] This memo will later be nicknamed the “Golden Shield” by insiders in the hopes that it will protect government officials from later being charged with war crimes (see Spring 2002 and Beyond). [ABC NEWS, 4/9/2008] Multiple Authors - The 50-page “torture memo” is signed and authored by Jay S. Bybee, head of OLC, and co-authored by John Yoo, a deputy assistant attorney general. It is later revealed that Yoo authored the memo himself, in close consultation with Vice President Cheney’s chief adviser David Addington, and Bybee just signed off on it (see December 2003-June 2004). [WASHINGTON POST, 6/9/2004] Deputy White House counsel Timothy Flanigan also contributed to the memo. Addington contributed the claim that the president may authorize any interrogation method, even if it is plainly torture. Addington’s reasoning: US and treaty law “do not apply” to the commander in chief, because Congress “may no more regulate the president’s ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield.” [WASHINGTON POST, 6/25/2007] Statute Only Prohibits 'Extreme Acts' - Gonzales had formally asked for the OLC’s legal opinion in response to a request by the CIA for legal guidance. A former administration official, quoted by the Washington Post, says the CIA “was prepared to get more aggressive and re-learn old skills, but only with explicit assurances from the top that they were doing so with the full legal authority the president could confer on them.” [WASHINGTON POST, 6/9/2004] “We conclude that the statute, taken as a whole,” Bybee and Yoo write, “makes plain that it prohibits only extreme acts.” Addressing the question of what exactly constitute such acts of an extreme nature, the authors proceed to define torture as the infliction of “physical pain” that is “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” Purely mental pain or suffering can also amount to “torture under Section 2340,” but only if it results “in significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g. lasting for months or even years.” [WASHINGTON POST, 6/9/2004] Torture Legal and Defensible - Bybee and Yoo appear to conclude that any act short of torture, even though it may be cruel, inhuman or degrading, would be permissible. They examine, for example, “international decisions regarding the use of sensory deprivation techniques.” These cases, they notice, “make clear that while many of these techniques may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, they do not produce pain or suffering of the necessary intensity to meet the definition of torture. From these decisions, we conclude that there is a wide range of such techniques that will not rise to the level of torture.” More astounding is Bybee and Yoo’s view that even torture can be defensible. “We conclude,” they write, “that, under the current circumstances, necessity or self-defense may justify interrogation methods that might violate Section 2340A.” Inflicting physical or mental pain might be justified, Bybee and Yoo argue, “in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the al-Qaeda terrorist network.” In other words, necessity or self-defense may justify torture. Moreover, “necessity and self-defense could provide justifications that would eliminate any criminal liability.” [WASHINGTON POST, 6/8/2004] International anti-torture rules, furthermore, “may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogations” of suspected terrorists. [US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, 6/21/2004] Laws prohibiting torture would “not apply to the president’s detention and interrogation of enemy combatants” in the “war on terror,” because the president has constitutional authority to conduct a military campaign. [WASHINGTON POST, 6/27/2004] Protecting US Officials from Prosecution - In 2007, author and reporter Charlie Savage will write: “In case an interrogator was ever prosecuted for violating the antitorture law (see October 21, 1994 and January 26, 1998, Yoo laid out page after page of legal defenses he could mount to get the charges dismissed. And should someone balk at this strained interpretation of the law, Yoo offered his usual trump card: Applying the antitorture law to interrogations authorized by the president would be unconstitutional, since only the commander in chief could set standards for questioning prisoners.” [SAVAGE, 2007, PP. 155-156] Virtually Unrestricted Authority of President - “As commander in chief,” the memo argues, “the president has the constitutional authority to order interrogations of enemy combatants to gain intelligence information concerning the military plans of the enemy.” [WASHINGTON POST, 6/9/2004] According to some critics, this judgment—which will be echoed in a March 2003 draft Pentagon report (see March 6, 2003)—ignores important past rulings such as the 1952 Supreme Court decision in Youngstown Steel and Tube Co v. Sawyer, which determined that the president, even in wartime, is subject to US laws. [WASHINGTON POST, 6/9/2004] The memo also says that US Congress “may no more regulate the president’s ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield.” [WASHINGTON POST, 6/27/2004] Ashcroft Refuses to Release Memo - After the memo’s existence is revealed, Attorney General John Ashcroft denies senators’ requests to release it, and refuses to say if or how the president was involved in the discussion. “The president has a right to hear advice from his attorney general, in confidence,” he says. [NEW YORK TIMES, 6/8/2004; BLOOMBERG, 6/8/2004; WASHINGTON POST, 6/9/2004] Privately, Ashcroft is so irritated by Yoo’s hand-in-glove work with the White House that he begins disparagingly referring to him as “Dr. Yes.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/4/2007] Only 'Analytical' - Responding to questions about the memo, White House press secretary Scott McClellan will claim that the memo “was not prepared to provide advice on specific methods or techniques,” but was “analytical.” But the 50-page memo seems to have been considered immensely important, given its length and the fact that it was signed by Bybee. “Given the topic and length of opinion, it had to get pretty high-level attention,” Beth Nolan, a former White House counsel from 1999-2001, will tell reporters. This view is confirmed by another former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer who says that unlike documents signed by deputies in the Office of Legal Counsel, memorandums signed by the Office’s head are considered legally binding. [WASHINGTON POST, 6/9/2004] Memo Will be Withdrawn - Almost two years later, the OLC’s new head, Jack Goldsmith, will withdraw the torture memos, fearing that they go far beyond anything countenanced by US law (see December 2003-June 2004). Memo Addresses CIA Concerns - The administration, particularly the axis of neoconservatives centered around Cheney’s office, has enthusiastically advocated the use of violent, abusive, and sometimes tortuous interrogation techniques, though the US has never endorsed such tactics before, and many experts say such techniques are counterproductive. The CIA, responding to the desires from the White House, hastily put together a rough program after consulting with intelligence officials from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where detainees are routinely tortured and killed in captivity, and after studying methods used by former Soviet Union interrogators. The legal questions were continuous. The former deputy legal counsel for the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center, Paul Kelbaugh, recalls in 2007: “We were getting asked about combinations—‘Can we do this and this at the same time?… These approved techniques, say, withholding food, and 50-degree temperature—can they be combined?’ Or ‘Do I have to do the less extreme before the more extreme?’” The “torture memo” is designed to address these concerns. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/4/2007] Entity Tags: John C. Yoo, Paul Kelbaugh, Timothy E. Flanigan, Scott McClellan, John Ashcroft, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, Jay S. Bybee, Office of Legal Counsel, David S. Addington, Alberto R. Gonzales, Beth Nolan, Al-Qaeda, Charlie Savage, Central Intelligence Agency, Jack Goldsmith Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives, Civil Liberties Category Tags: Destruction of CIA Tapes, High Value Detainees, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

August 2, 2002: CIA Memo Says Evidence of Saudi Government Support for Hijackers Is ‘Incontrovertible’ According to Sen. Bob Graham (D), the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry he co-chairs later will uncover a CIA memo written on this date. The author of the memo writes about hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi and concludes that there is “incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists within the Saudi government.” [GRAHAM AND NUSSBAUM, 2004, PP. 169] Apparently, this memo will be discussed in the completely censored section of the Inquiry’s final report that deals with foreign government involvement in the 9/11 plot (see August 1-3, 2003). Osama Basnan, one of the key players in a suspected transfer of funds from the Saudi government to these two hijackers, is arrested in the US a few weeks after this memo is written, but he will be deported two months after that (see August 22-November 2002). Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency, Nawaf Alhazmi, Bob Graham Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Saudi Arabia, Alhazmi and Almihdhar, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Key Hijacker Events, Bayoumi and Basnan Saudi Connection

August 2, 2002: Judge Rules Identities of Hundreds Secretly Arrested in US after 9/11 Must Be Disclosed A federal judge rules that the Bush administration must reveal the identities of the hundreds of people secretly arrested after the 9/11 attacks within 15 days. [WASHINGTON POST, 8/3/2002] The judge calls the secret arrests “odious to a democratic society.” The New York Times applauds the decision and notes that the government’s argument that terrorist groups could exploit the release of the names makes no sense, because the detainees were allowed a phone call to notify anyone that they were being held. [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/6/2002] Two weeks later, the same judge agrees to postpone the release of the names until an appeals court can rule on the matter. [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/16/2002] Entity Tags: Bush administration Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline, Civil Liberties Category Tags: Other 9/11 Investigations

August 2, 2002: ISI Tried to Buy Nuclear Material for Bin Laden

This unnamed Pakistani intelligence agent was captured on undercover video in January 2001 as part of Operation Diamondback. [Source: Dateline NBC] MSNBC airs recordings informant Randy Glass made of arms dealers and Pakistani ISI agents attempting to buy nuclear material and other illegal weapons for bin Laden. [MSNBC, 8/2/2002] Meanwhile, it is reported that federal investigators are re-examining the arms smuggling case involving Glass “to determine whether agents of the Pakistani government tried to buy missiles and nuclear weapons components in the United States last year for use by terrorists or Pakistan’s military.” [WASHINGTON POST, 8/2/2002] Two such ISI agents, Rajaa Gulum Abbas and Abdul Malik, are already secretly indicted by this time. But Glass still says, “The government knows about those involved in my case who were never charged, never deported, who actively took part in bringing terrorists into our country to meet with me and undercover agents.” [COX NEWS SERVICE, 8/2/2002] One such person may be a former Egyptian judge named Shireen Shawky, who was interested in buying weapons for the Taliban and attended a meeting in July 1999 in which ISI agent Rajaa Gulum Abbas said the WTC would be destroyed. [MSNBC, 8/2/2002; WPBF 25 (WEST PALM BEACH), 8/5/2002] Others not charged may include Mohamed el Amir and Dr. Magdy el Amir. Entity Tags: Randy Glass, Taliban, World Trade Center, Rajaa Gulum Abbas, Shireen Shawky, Pakistan, Mohamed el Amir, Osama bin Laden, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Magdy el Amir, Abdul Malik Timeline Tags: A. Q. Khan's Nuclear Network Category Tags: Randy Glass/ Diamondback, Pakistan and the ISI, Pakistani Nukes & Islamic Militancy

August 2, 2002: FBI Questions Members of 9/11 Congressional Inquiry about 9/11 Leaks Edit

Senator Richard Shelby. [Source: US Senate] The Washington Post reveals that FBI agents have questioned nearly all 37 senators and congresspeople making up the 9/1 Congressional Inquiry about 9/11-related information leaks. In particular, in June 2002 the media reported that the day before 9/11 the NSA intercepted the messages “The match is about to begin” and “Tomorrow is zero hour”(see September 10, 2001). The FBI has asked the members to submit to lie detector tests but most have refused. Congresspeople express “grave concern” for this historically unprecedented move. A law professor states: “Now the FBI can open dossiers on every member and staffer and develop full information on them. It creates a great chilling effect on those who would be critical of the FBI.” [WASHINGTON POST, 8/2/2002] Senator John McCain (R-AZ) suggests that “the constitutional separation of powers is being violated in spirit if not in the letter. ‘What you have here is an organization compiling dossiers on people who are investigating the same organization. The administration bitterly complains about some leaks out of a committee, but meanwhile leaks abound about secret war plans for fighting a war against Saddam Hussein. What’s that about? There’s a bit of a contradiction here, if not a double standard.’” [WASHINGTON POST, 8/3/2002] Later the search for the source of the leak intensifies to unprecedented levels as the FBI asks 17 senators to turn over phone records, appointment calendars, and schedules that would reveal their possible contact with reporters. [WASHINGTON POST, 8/24/2002] Most, if not all, turn over the records, even as some complain that the request breaches the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. One senator says the FBI is “trying to put a damper on our activities and I think they will be successful.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/29/2002] In January 2004, it will be reported that the probe is focusing on Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL). He will not be charged with any crime relating to the leak. [WASHINGTON POST, 1/22/2004] In November 2005, the Senate Ethics Committee will announce it has dropped a probe of Shelby, citing insufficient evidence. [REUTERS, 11/13/2005] Inquiry co-chair Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) will write in a book in late 2004 that, at the time, he guessed “the leak was intended to sabotage [the inquiry’s] efforts. I am not by nature a conspiracy theorist, but the fact that we were hit with this disclosure at the moment we began to make things uncomfortable for the Bush administration has stuck with me. Over a year later, I asked [inquiry co-chair] Congressman [Porter] Goss (R-FL) whether he thought we had been set up. Nodding, he replied, ‘I often wonder that myself.’” [GRAHAM AND NUSSBAUM, 2004, PP. 140] Author Philip Shenon will observe that this tactic of intimidation worked, as “Members of the joint committee and their staffs were frightened into silence about the investigation.” [SHENON, 2008, PP. 55] Entity Tags: 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bob Graham, Philip Shenon, Porter J. Goss, Richard Shelby, John McCain, House Intelligence Committee Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, FBI 9/11 Investigation

August 3, 2002: US Pilots Believe 9/11 Conspirators Used Utmost Professional Skill A Portuguese newspaper reports on an independent inquiry into 9/11 by a group of military and civilian US pilots that challenges the official version of events. The group’s press statement says, “The so-called terrorist attack was in fact a superbly executed military operation carried out against the [US], requiring the utmost professional military skill in command, communications, and control. It was flawless in timing, in the choice of selected aircraft to be used as guided missiles and in the coordinated delivery of those missiles to their preselected targets.” A member of the inquiry team, a US Air Force officer who flew over 100 sorties during the Vietnam War, says: “Those birds (airliners) either had a crack fighter pilot in the left seat, or they were being maneuvered by remote control.” [NEWS (PORTUGAL), 8/3/2002; NEWS (PORTUGAL), 8/8/2002] Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Investigations

August 4, 2002: Time Magazine Briefly Mentions Key Pre-Attack Meeting Left out of 9/11 Commission Report An article in Time magazine briefly mentions a key meeting between the CIA and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, where top CIA officials warned Rice of an impending attack (see July 10, 2001). The meeting will be left out of the 9/11 Commission report, although CIA Director George Tenet will tell the Commission about it (see January 28, 2004). Time writes: “In mid-July, Tenet sat down for a special meeting with Rice and aides. ‘George briefed Condi that there was going to be a major attack,’ says an official; another, who was present at the meeting, says Tenet broke out a huge wall chart… with dozens of threats. Tenet couldn’t rule out a domestic attack but thought it more likely that al-Qaeda would strike overseas.” [TIME, 8/4/2002] According to a transcript of Tenet’s testimony to the 9/11 Commission, he told Rice there could be an al-Qaeda attack in weeks or perhaps months, that there would be multiple, simultaneous attacks causing major human casualties, and that the focus would be US targets, facilities, or interests. As Time reports, Tenet says the intelligence focuses on an overseas attack, but a domestic attack could not be ruled out. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/3/2006] News of the meeting will emerge in 2006 (see September 29, 2006), but the 9/11 Commission members will deny they were told about it. After the transcript is shared with reporters, they will reverse their denials (see September 30-October 3, 2006). Rice will also deny the meeting took place, only to reverse her position as well (see October 1-2, 2006). Entity Tags: George J. Tenet, 9/11 Commission, Condoleezza Rice Category Tags: Other 9/11 Investigations

August 4, 2002: Firefighters Saw Only Limited Fire in South Tower

This picture of the hole created in the WTC by Flight 11 supports recordings indicating that fires weren’t burning out of control. In the close-up insert at the top left, note the person standing at the edge of the hole. [Source: unknown] A “lost tape” of radio messages from firefighters inside the WTC on 9/11 is made public. Supposedly, “city fire officials simply delayed listening” to this tape until after the official report on the fire department’s response to the attacks was published, and they still refuse to allow any officials to discuss the contents. The tape reveals that two firefighters were able to reach the crash site on the 78th floor of the South Tower. While there, “Chief Palmer could see only two pockets of fire, and called for a pair of engine companies to fight them.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/4/2002; GUARDIAN, 8/5/2002] Entity Tags: New York City Fire Department, World Trade Center Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: WTC Investigation

August 11, 2002: Bush’s Advisers Advocate Attacking Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, and Other Countries A Newsweek article suggests that some of President Bush’s advisers advocate not only attacking Iraq, but also Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Egypt, and Burma, shocking many. One senior British official tells the magazine: “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.” [NEWSWEEK, 8/11/2002; NEWSWEEK, 8/11/2002] In February 2003, US Undersecretary of State John Bolton will say in meetings with Israeli officials that he has no doubt America will attack Iraq, and that it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran, and North Korea afterward. This is largely unreported in the US media. [HA'ARETZ, 2/17/2003; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 2/19/2003; WORLDNETDAILY, 2/25/2003] In April 2003, former CIA Director James Woolsey will say that the US is engaged in a “world war,” where the enemies include not only Islamic extremists like al-Qaeda, but also the religious rulers of Iran, and the “fascists” of Iraq and Syria (see April 3, 2003). [OBSERVER, 4/6/2003] Wesley Clark, the former NATO supreme allied commander, later recalls having been told of a Defense Department plan to take out “seven countries in five years,” beginning with Iraq and Syria, and ending with Iran (see Early November 2001). [SALON, 10/12/2007] Entity Tags: Wesley Clark, James Woolsey, John R. Bolton, Bush administration Category Tags: US Dominance

August 11, 2002: Afghans Directly Producing and Exporting Heroin in Broad Daylight

An Afghan refines opium into heroin. [Source: BBC] In the past, Afghanistan had mostly exported raw opium, but now many new refineries are converting the opium into heroin. The British government has spent £20 million to eradicate opium, but the program is marred by corruption and largely seen as a failure. The new heroin factories are said to be “working in broad daylight.” There has been a rash of bombings and assassinations in Afghanistan as various factions fight over drug profits. Reporters for a British newspaper are able to determine the precise location of some of these factories, but the US-led forces in Afghanistan are doing nothing to stop them. [OBSERVER, 8/11/2002] Entity Tags: United Kingdom Category Tags: Afghanistan, Drugs

August 12, 2002: FAA Releases No New Information About 9/11 A group of FAA flight controllers hold a press conference to talk about the 9/11 events for the first time. However, virtually no new information is disclosed. As the Boston Globe put it, “questions about detailed communications from the hijacked planes was avoided, with FAA officials saying that information remains under investigation.” [BOSTON GLOBE, 8/13/2002] Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Investigations

August 13, 2002: Electronic Warfare Methods May Have Brought Flight 93 Down The Independent carries a story entitled, “Unanswered Questions: The Mystery of Flight 93,” a rare critique of the official version of events around that plane’s crash. Most of the information is a summation of what was reported before. However, there is one interesting new theory. Theorizing why witnesses did not see smoke from the faltering plane, the article points to the 1996 research of Harvard academic Elaine Scarry, “showing that the Air Force and the Pentagon have conducted extensive research on ‘electronic warfare applications’ with the possible capacity to intentionally disrupt the mechanisms of an aeroplane in such a way as to provoke, for example, an uncontrollable dive. Scarry also reports that US Customs aircraft are already equipped with such weaponry; as are some C-130 Air Force transport planes. The FBI has stated that, apart from the enigmatic Falcon business jet, there was a C-130 military cargo plane within 25 miles of the passenger jet when it crashed (see September 14, 2001). According to the Scarry findings, in 1995 the Air Force installed ‘electronic suites’ in at least 28 of its C-130s—capable, among other things, of emitting lethal jamming signals.” [NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, 11/19/2000; INDEPENDENT, 8/13/2002] Entity Tags: Pentagon, Central Intelligence Agency, Elaine Scarry Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Investigations

August 15, 2002: 9/11 Victims’ Relatives File Lawsuit Against Alleged Saudi Al-Qaeda Financiers

Deena Burnett, wife of Flight 93 passenger Tom Burnett, speaks on behalf of the victims’ relatives suing the Saudis. [Source: Associated Press] More than 600 relatives of victims of the 9/11 attacks file a 15-count, $1 trillion lawsuit against various parties they accuse of financing al-Qaeda and Afghanistan’s former Taliban regime. The number of plaintiffs will quickly increase to 2,500 after the suit is widely publicized. Up to 10,000 were eligible to join this suit. The lawsuit does not allege that Saudi defendants directly participated in the 9/11 attacks, or approved them. Instead, it is alleged they helped fund and sustain al-Qaeda, which enabled the attacks to occur. [WASHINGTON POST, 8/16/2002; NEWSWEEK, 9/13/2002] Defendants named include:

The Saudi Binladin Group, the conglomerate owned by the bin Laden family. [CNN, 8/15/2002] 
The National Commercial Bank, one of the largest banks in Saudi Arabia. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/15/2002] 
The government of Sudan, for letting bin Laden live in that country until 1996. [WASHINGTON POST, 8/16/2002] 
The World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). [WASHINGTON POST, 8/16/2002] 
The SAAR Foundation. [WASHINGTON POST, 8/16/2002] 
Al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp., which the plaintiffs contend is the primary bank for a number of charities that funnel money to terrorists. (This bank will later be dismissed from the suit (see November 14, 2003-September 28, 2005).) [WASHINGTON POST, 8/16/2002] 
The Benevolence International Foundation. [WASHINGTON POST, 8/16/2002] 
The International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) and its parent organization, the Muslim World League (MWL). The suit claims that the IIRO gave more than $60 million to the Taliban. [WASHINGTON POST, 8/16/2002] 
Khalid bin Mahfouz, one-time prominent investor in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) who had to pay a $225 million fine following the collapse of that bank. It is claimed he later operated a bank that funneled millions of dollars to charities controlled by al-Qaeda. (Mahfouz denies supporting terrorism and has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.) [WASHINGTON POST, 8/16/2002] 
Mohammed al Faisal al Saud, a Saudi prince. (His name will later be dismissed from the suit because of diplomatic immunity (see November 14, 2003-September 28, 2005).) [WASHINGTON POST, 8/16/2002] 
Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan. (His name will later be dismissed from the suit because of diplomatic immunity (see November 14, 2003-September 28, 2005).) [WASHINGTON POST, 8/16/2002] 
Prince Turki al-Faisal, former chief of Saudi intelligence. (His name will later be dismissed from the suit because of diplomatic immunity (see November 14, 2003-September 28, 2005).) [WASHINGTON POST, 8/16/2002] “The attorneys and investigators were able to obtain, through French intelligence, the translation of a secretly recorded meeting between representatives of bin Laden and three Saudi princes in which they sought to pay him hush money to keep him from attacking their enterprises in Saudi Arabia.” [CNN, 8/15/2002] The plaintiffs also accuse the US government of failing to pursue such institutions thoroughly enough because of lucrative oil interests. [BBC, 8/15/2002] Ron Motley, the lead lawyer in the suit, says the case is being aided by intelligence services from France and four other foreign governments, but no help has come from the Justice Department. [STAR-TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS), 8/16/2002] The plaintiffs acknowledge the chance of ever winning any money is slim, but hope the lawsuit will help bring to light the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks. [BBC, 8/15/2002] A number of rich Saudis respond by threatening to withdraw hundreds of billions of dollars in US investments if the lawsuit goes forward (see August 20, 2002). More defendants will be added to the suit later in the year (see November 22, 2002). [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 8/20/2002]

Entity Tags: Saudi Binladin Group, Sudan, Taliban, SAAR Foundation, Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Ron Motley, International Islamic Relief Organization, Khalid bin Mahfouz, Al-Qaeda, National Commercial Bank, Al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp., Turki al-Faisal, World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Benevolence International Foundation Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Saudi Arabia, Terrorism Financing, BIF, Bin Laden Family, Other 9/11 Investigations, 9/11 Related Lawsuits

August 15, 2002: Son of Saudi Official Associated with 9/ 11 Hijackers

Saud al-Rashid. [Source: FBI] A picture of a young Saudi man named Saud al-Rashid is discovered on a CD-ROM that also contains the pictures of three 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Abdulaziz Alomari, in an al-Qaeda safe house in Pakistan. A senior US official says that investigators “were able to take this piece of information and it showed clear signals or lines that he was connected to 9/11.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/21/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 526] Al-Rashid was in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001, where he met 9/11 hijacker Ahmed Alhaznawi “once or twice” in a guest house. [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/29/2003; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 526] Six days after the raid, the US issues a worldwide dragnet to find him. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/21/2002] But they are unable to catch him because a few days later, he flees from Egypt to Saudi Arabia and turns himself in to the Saudi authorities. The Saudis apparently will not try him for any crime or allow the FBI to interview him. [CNN, 8/26/2002; CNN, 8/31/2002] Although detainees identify him as a candidate 9/11 hijacker, he claims not to have met Osama bin Laden or Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM), or even have heard of al-Qaeda. Under interrogation, KSM says he was headstrong and immature and dropped out of the plot after returning to Saudi Arabia for a visa, either due to second thoughts or the influence of his family. However, doubts will be raised about the reliability of KSM’s statements under interrogation (see August 6, 2007). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 526] Intriguingly, Al-Rashid’s father is Hamid al-Rashid, a Saudi government official who paid a salary to Omar al-Bayoumi, an associate of both Almihdhar and Alhazmi who is later suspected of being a Saudi agent. [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/29/2003] Entity Tags: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Khalid Almihdhar, Al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Abdulaziz Alomari, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Saud al-Rashid, Hamid al-Rashid, Omar al-Bayoumi Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Alhazmi and Almihdhar, Other 9/11 Hijackers, Bayoumi and Basnan Saudi Connection, Saudi Arabia

August 15, 2002: US General Believes Troops Will Remain in Afghanistan for Long Time General Tommy Franks, commander of US troops in Central Asia, says, “It does not surprise me that someone would say, ‘Oh gosh, the military is going to be in Afghanistan for a long, long time.’ Sure we will be.” He likens the situation to South Korea, where the US has stationed troops for over 50 years. A few days earlier, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers said the war on terrorism “could last years and years.” [CBS NEWS, 8/16/2002] Entity Tags: Richard B. Myers, Thomas Franks Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, US Dominance

August 15, 2002: CNN General Manager Concedes Media Censored Itself Rena Golden, the executive vice-president and general manager of CNN International, claims that the press has censored itself over 9/11 and the Afghanistan war. “Anyone who claims the US media didn’t censor itself is kidding you. It was not a matter of government pressure but a reluctance to criticize anything in a war that was obviously supported by the vast majority of the people. And this isn’t just a CNN issue—every journalist who was in any way involved in 9/11 is partly responsible.” [PRESS GAZETTE (LONDON), 8/15/2002] These comments echo criticisms by Dan Rather in May 2002 (see May 17, 2002). Entity Tags: Rena Golden Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion, 9/11 Timeline, Domestic Propaganda Category Tags: Media

August 16, 2002: US Military Plans New Strategies, Including Conducting Secret Operations Aimed at ‘Stimulating Reactions’ Among Terrorists and States The Defense Science Board authors a report titled “Special Operations and Joint Forces in Countering Terrorism” recommending an increase of more than $7 billion in the Pentagon’s budget. It says the war on terrorism is a “real war” and describes the enemy as “committed, resourceful and globally dispersed… with strategic reach.” The US will have to wage “a long, at times violent, and borderless war” that “requires new strategies, postures and organization,” it adds. The report includes suggestions to develop the capability to tag key terrorist figures with special chemicals so they can be tracked by laser; a proposal to create a special SWAT team charged with secretly seeking and destroying chemical, biological and nuclear weapons anywhere in the world; and a plan to establish a “red team” known as the Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group, (P2OG), which would conduct secret operations aimed at “stimulating reactions” among terrorists and states suspected of possessing weapons of mass destruction. [BOARD, 8/16/2002; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 9/26/2002; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 10/27/2002; ASIA TIMES, 11/5/2002] Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group, (P2OG) - The unit would provoke terrorist cells into action, perhaps by stealing their money or tricking them with fake communications, in order to expose them. The exposed cells would then be taken care of by “quick-response” teams. The US would use the revelation of such cells as an opportunity to hold “states/sub-state actors accountable” and “signal to harboring states that their sovereignty will be at risk.” The P2OG would require at least $100 million and about 100 people, including specialists in information operations, psychological operations, computer network attack, covert activities, signal intelligence, human intelligence, special operations forces and deception operations. According to the DSB, it should be headed by the Special Operations Executive in the White House’s National Security Council. But according to sources interviewed by United Press International (UPI), people in the Defense Department want to see the group under the Pentagon’s authority. [BOARD, 8/16/2002; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 9/26/2002; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 10/27/2002; ASIA TIMES, 11/5/2002] Tagging terrorists - Intelligence operatives would penetrate terrorist cells and tag leaders’ clothes with chemicals that would make them trackable by a laser. The agents would also collect DNA samples from objects and papers that are handled by the targets. Information about the terrorist’s DNA would be kept in a database. The program would cost $1.7 billion over a 5-year period beginning in 2004. [BOARD, 8/16/2002; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 9/26/2002] Special SWAT team - The SWAT Team would consist of special forces soldiers whose specialty would be searching and destroying nuclear, chemical or biological weapons sites anywhere in the world. They would also be trained to offer protection to US soldiers operating nearby and be responsible for “consequence management,” like enacting quarantines. The program would cost about $500 million a year and would be headed by US Special Operations Command. To effectively detect the presence of such weapons, the DSB advocates allocating about $1 billion a year on the research and development of new sensor and “agent defeat” technologies. [BOARD, 8/16/2002; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 9/26/2002] Expanding US Special Forces - The panel recommends increasing the size of US Special Forces by about 2 percent a year. It also proposes that more special forces operations be conducted jointly with conventional forces. Its budget should be increased by “billions,” the report also says. [BOARD, 8/16/2002; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 9/26/2002] Panel to speculate on possible terrorist attack scenarios - A panel of roughly 24 creative, highly respected analysts would be convened to speculate on the nature of future terrorists attacks against the US. The report recommends allocating $20 million a year for the program. [BOARD, 8/16/2002; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 9/26/2002] Intelligence Reserve - A $100 million-a-year reserve program would be established that would put former intelligence retirees on call to assist with intelligence tasks and to participate in counterterrorism exercises when needed. [BOARD, 8/16/2002; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 9/26/2002; ASIA TIMES, 11/5/2002] Addition of 500 people who would focus on identifying characteristics of potential adversaries - $800 million would be spent on the addition of over 500 people to existing military and intelligence agencies who would “focus on understanding effects of globalization, radicalism, cultures, religions, economics, etc., to better characterize potential adversaries.” [BOARD, 8/16/2002; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 9/26/2002] Increase budget of Joint Warfare Analysis Center (JWAC) and Joint Forces Command's net assessment center - $200 million more would be allocated to the Joint Warfare Analysis Center and Joint Forces Command’s net assessment center. JWAC is a cell of about 500 planners and target analysts who work in Dahlgren, Va. [BOARD, 8/16/2002; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 9/26/2002] Increase surveillance and reconnaissance budgets - The panel envisions infusing $1.6 billion per year into intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance budgets over the next six years. Spending would be focused on tying together unmanned aerial vehicles, manned platforms, space-based sensors and databases. A portion of the funds would also be used to develop “a rich set of new ground sensor capabilities” aimed at the surveillance of small terrorist cells. [BOARD, 8/16/2002; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 9/26/2002] Urban Training Center - A dedicated urban training range would be constructed on the West Coast emphasizing “small unit action, leadership initiative and flexibility.” Relatively low-level soldiers would also be trained on how to determine the logistics of the back-up fire they need while they are in battle. The program would need $300 million a year for the next six years. [BOARD, 8/16/2002; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 9/26/2002] Database providing 3-d view of most of the cities of the world - The report recommends developing a detailed database of most of the cities in the world which would allow soldiers to view a three-dimensional display of the cities including “buildings [doors and windows included],… streets and alleys and underground passages, obstacles like power lines and key infrastructure like water and communications lines,” the UPI reports. [BOARD, 8/16/2002; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 9/26/2002] Critics warn that the changes proposed by the report would allow the military to engage in covert activities currently handled by the CIA. However unlike the CIA, the military would not be subject to Congressional oversight. But William Schneider Jr, the DSB chairman, downplays those concerns. “The CIA executes the plans but they use Department of Defense assets,” Schneider says, adding that his board’s recommendations do not advocate any changes to US policies banning assassinations, or requiring presidents to approve US covert operations in advance. He also insists that such changes would not preclude congressional oversight. [ASIA TIMES, 11/5/2002] Entity Tags: Defense Science Board, Donald Rumsfeld, William Schneider Jr. Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks, US Military Category Tags: US Dominance

August 18, 2002: Los Angeles Times: No Al-Qaeda Leaders Held at Guantanamo The Los Angeles Times reports that “despite intense interrogations and investigations,” no senior al-Qaeda leaders appear to be amongst the nearly 600 detainees at the Guantanamo prison. One US official says that some usual intelligence has been gained from the detainees, but “it’s not roll-up-plots, knock-your-socks-off-kind of stuff.” This official says the detainees are mostly “low-and middle-level” fighters and supporters, not “the big-time guys” high enough to help unravel plots and understand al-Qaeda’s structure. Another official similarly says there are “no big fish” there. “Some of these guys literally don’t know the world is round.” The Times also notes that several European countries “have quietly offered to take prisoners home and put them on trial if US officials can provide evidence that they have committed a crime.” But none has been released for trial so far. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 8/18/2002] The New York Times will confirm in June 2004 that no al-Qaeda or Taliban leaders are being held at the prison and that in fact the vast majority are innocent of any militant connections (see June 21, 2004). Some al-Qaeda leaders will be sent into the prison from secret CIA prisons in September 2006 (see September 2-3, 2006). Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

August 20, 2002: Saudis Retract Billions from US in Response to 9/11 Lawsuit The Financial Times reports that “disgruntled Saudis have pulled tens of billions of dollars out of the US, signaling a deep alienation from America.” Estimates range from $100 billion to over $200 billion. Part of the anger is in response to reports that the US might attack Saudi Arabia and freeze Saudi assets unless Saudi Arabia makes a serious effort al-Qaeda and other Islamic militant groups. It is also in response to a lawsuit against many Saudi Arabians that also may lead to a freeze of Saudi assets (see August 15, 2002). Estimates of total Saudi investments in the US range from $400 billion to $600 billion. [FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/20/2002] Entity Tags: United States Category Tags: Saudi Arabia, 9/11 Related Lawsuits

August 20, 2002: Rumsfeld Compares Resistance to Iraq Invasion to Nazi Appeasement; Alleges Al-Qaeda-Iraq Links Again During an interview with Fox News, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld mocks calls from Washington, Europe and the Arab world demanding that the Bush administration show them evidence to substantiate the hawk’s claim that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the US and its allies. “Think of the prelude to World War Two,” the Defense Secretary says. “Think of all the countries that said, well, we don’t have enough evidence. I mean, Mein Kampf had been written. Hitler had indicated what he intended to do. Maybe he won’t attack us. Maybe he won’t do this or that. Well, there were millions of people dead because of the miscalculations. The people who argued for waiting for more evidence have to ask themselves how they are going to feel at that point where another event occurs.” [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 8/21/2002; GUARDIAN, 8/22/2002; FOX NEWS, 8/20/2003] Rumsfeld also says during a news conference that according to “intelligence reports,” Saddam’s government is “hosting, supporting or sponsoring” an al-Qaeda presence in Iraq. Responding to a question about whether he has any evidence to support the claim that al-Qaeda is operating in Iraq, Rumsfeld states, “There are Al-Qaeda in a number of locations in Iraq…. The suggestion that… [Iraqi government officials] who are so attentive in denying human rights to their population aren’t aware of where these folks [al-Qaeda] are or what they’re doing is ludicrous in a vicious, repressive dictatorship…. [I]t’s very hard to imagine that the government is not aware of what’s taking place in the country.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/20/2002] Shortly after Rumsfeld’s remarks, a senior US intelligence official tells The Guardian that there is no evidence to back the defense secretary’s claims. “They are not the official guests of the government,” a second official says, adding that any al-Qaeda in the region are still “on the run.” [GUARDIAN, 8/22/2002] Entity Tags: Donald Rumsfeld Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

August 20, 2002: Rumsfeld Claims Iraqi Government Is Supporting Al-Qaeda in Iraq Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, citing various “intelligence reports,” claims that the Iraqi government is “hosting, supporting or sponsoring” an al-Qaeda presence in Iraq. This is a likely reference to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his followers, whom the US alleges is an al-Qaeda operative with links to the Iraqi government. When asked if he has evidence to support this claim Rumsfeld responds: “There are al-Qaeda in a number of locations in Iraq…. The suggestion that… [Iraqi government officials] who are so attentive in denying human rights to their population aren’t aware of where these folks [al-Qaeda] are or what they’re doing is ludicrous in a vicious, repressive dictatorship.” He also says, “It’s very hard to imagine that the government is not aware of what’s taking place in the country.” [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 8/20/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 8/20/2002] Shortly after the defense secretary’s allegations, an unnamed intelligence official tells the Guardian, “They are not the official guests of the government,” adding that any al-Qaeda in the region are still “on the run.” A month later, Knight Ridder reports that according to an anonymous US official, Rumsfeld’s charge is based on information from Kurdish opposition groups which are feeding information to the Pentagon. [GUARDIAN, 8/22/2002; KNIGHT RIDDER, 9/25/2002 SOURCES: UNNAMED US INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL, UNNAMED US OFFICIAL] Entity Tags: Donald Rumsfeld, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

August 21, 2002: Commencement of NIST Investigation Announced Edit

in a template

NIST announces details of its forthcoming investigation into the collapses of the World Trade Center Twin Towers and Building 7 Wikipedia on 9/11.

The NIST investigation aims “to investigate the building construction, the materials used, and the technical conditions that contributed to the outcome of the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster.” It also aims to examine the activities of building occupants and emergency responders on 9/11, studying such issues as emergency communications within the WTC, the movement of people during the evacuations, and issues around persons with disabilities. Leading technical experts from industry, academia, and other laboratories, alongside NIST’s own expert staff, will participate in the investigation.

Expert professionals from the private sector will also be involved. Glenn Corbett, a fire science professor at John Jay College, says, “This is going to be the most extensive building disaster investigation ever performed.” [1]

The investigation is formally authorized in October 2002, when the National Construction Safety Team Act is signed into law. The act, which gives NIST authorization to investigate major building failures in the US, is written largely as a result of the World Trade Center collapses.[2]

NIST’s investigation is originally proposed to last two years, with a budget of $16 million.[3] [NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY, 8/21/2002] However, it eventually will last three years, with its final report into the collapses of the Twin Towers being released in October 2005 [see 1]. A previous analysis of the WTC collapses conducted by FEMA Wikipedia and the American Society of Civil Engineers Wikipedia (ASCE) was completed earlier in 2002 [see 2], but this had a budget of just $1.1 million. By the time NIST starts its investigation, much of the crucial steel debris from the WTC collapses has already been destroyed [see 3]. They later refer to there being a “scarcity of physical evidence that is typically available in place for reconstruction of a disaster.” [4]

August 21, 2002: US Warns Governments that Al-Qaeda Wants to Attack Nightclubs and Restaurants in Southeast Asia, Possibly in BaliEdit

Mohammed Mansour Jabarah. [Source: CBC] A number of governments are given warnings suggesting an upcoming attack on nightclubs on the island of Bali, Indonesia, but this does not prevent the bombing of two nightclubs in Bali in October 2002 (see October 12, 2002). Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, an al-Qaeda operative with Canadian citizenship, attended a meeting held in January 2002 in southern Thailand led by Hambali, an al-Qaeda leader who also heads the al-Qaeda affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). Hambali announces a new plan to target nightclubs and restaurants in Southeast Asia. A second meeting held shortly thereafter also attended by Jabarah (but not Hambali) narrowed the target to nightclubs in Bali. Jabarah was arrested in Oman in April 2002 and deported to Canada. By August, he is in the US and is interrogated by US agents, and he reveals this attack plan. He also reveals code phrases, such as the use of “white meat” to refer to US targets. As a result, the FBI completes an intelligence report on his interrogation on August 21, and passes a warning to all Southeast Asian governments immediately thereafter. A leading counterterrorism expert will later say, “There is absolutely no question [Australia] would have received [the report] under our intelligence-sharing agreement with the US, [Britain], and Canada.” [AGE (MELBOURNE), 1/23/2003; SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 10/10/2003] A US intelligence report in early September will list six likely targets, including two nightclubs in Bali (see Early September 2002).

August 22, 2002: Counterterrorism ‘Tsar’ Richard Clarke Appears to Praise Bush Administration’s Record on Fighting Terrorism Edit

Although he will later come to prominence for accusing it of failing to adequately address the al-Qaeda threat before 9/11 (see March 21, 2004), in a background briefing to reporters, former counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke appears to praise the Bush administration for aggressively pursuing al-Qaeda from the outset. [CNN, 3/24/2004] 'Rapid Elimination' - During the briefing, Clarke says that when the Bush administration came into office in January 2001, it had “decided then” to “vigorously pursue the existing policy” on al-Qaeda, “including all of the lethal covert action findings.” He says that in the first week of February 2001, the administration decided in principle “to add to the existing Clinton strategy and to increase CIA resources, for example, for covert action, five-fold, to go after al-Qaeda.” He says the strategy was changed “from one of rollback with al-Qaeda over the course of five years, which it had been, to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of al-Qaeda.” Response to Time Magazine - Clarke responds to a recent Time magazine article that suggested the Bush administration was unwilling to adopt suggestions made in the Clinton administration because of a general animus against its foreign policy. He says: “This is the one issue where the National Security Council leadership decided continuity was important and kept the same guy around, the same team in place. That doesn’t sound like animus against, uh, the previous team to me.” He is asked, “You’re saying that the Bush administration did not stop anything that the Clinton administration was doing while it was making these decisions, and by the end of the summer had increased money for covert action five-fold?” Clarke replies, “All of that’s correct.” No Plan, No Delay - One reporter asks about an alleged Clinton administration plan against al-Qaeda, to which Clarke responds, “There was never a plan.” Regarding problems the Clinton administration faced in dealing with the al-Qaeda threat, a reporter asks, “And none of that really changed until we were attacked [on 9/11]?” Clarke says: “No, that’s not true. In the spring, the Bush administration changed—began to change Pakistani policy, um, by a dialogue that said we would be willing to lift sanctions.… So that’s really how it started.” He is asked, “[W]hat you’re saying is that… one, there was no plan; two, there was no delay; and that actually the first changes since October of ‘98 were made in the spring months just after the [Bush] administration came into office?” Clarke replies: “You got it. That’s right.” [FOX NEWS, 3/24/2004] Comments Published - In March 2004, the White House will violate a long-standing confidentiality policy by authorizing Fox News to publish these comments that Clarke has made off the record (see March 24, 2004). [COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW, 3/25/2004; FINDLAW, 4/9/2004] Clarke's Explanation - Around that time, when Clarke appears before the 9/11 Commission (see March 24, 2004), Commissioner James Thompson will ask him about the apparent discrepancies between his comments during this briefing and the criticisms he makes of the Bush administration in his book Against All Enemies. Clarke will explain that his briefing was in the context of Time magazine’s critical story. He will say, “So I was asked by several people in senior levels of the Bush White House to do a press backgrounder to try to explain that set of facts in a way that minimized criticism of the administration.” He will add, “I was asked to highlight the positive aspects of what the administration had done, and to minimize the negative aspects of what the administration had done.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 3/24/2004] Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean will defend Clarke, writing, “The truth is that the background briefing simply does not conflict with anything Clarke says openly, if more bluntly, in his book.” [FINDLAW, 4/9/2004] Previous Briefing for 9/11 Congressional Inquiry - Two months before this, Clarke had briefed the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry on the Bush administration’s counterterrorism record and had been largely uncritical of its policies (see June 11, 2002). Entity Tags: Richard A. Clarke, Clinton administration, Bush administration, John Dean, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

August 22-November 2002: Possible Hijacker Associate Is Arrested, Then Deported Edit

Osama Basnan, an alleged associate of 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, and his wife are arrested for visa fraud. [NEWSWEEK, 11/22/2002; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 11/24/2002] One report says he is arrested for allegedly having links to Omar al-Bayoumi. [ARAB NEWS, 11/26/2002] On October 22, Basnan and his wife, Majeda Dweikat, admit they used false immigration documents to stay in the US. [KGTV 10 (SAN DIEGO), 10/22/2002] Possible financial connections between Basnan and al-Bayoumi, Alhazmi and Almihdhar, and the Saudi royal family are known to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry (as well as the FBI and CIA) at this time. Remarkably, Basnan is deported to Saudi Arabia on November 17, 2002. His wife is deported to Jordan the same day. [WASHINGTON POST, 11/24/2002] Less than a week after the deportations, new media reports make Basnan a widely known suspect. [NEWSWEEK, 11/22/2002] Entity Tags: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Osama Basnan, Central Intelligence Agency, Omar al-Bayoumi, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Majeda Dweikat Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Alhazmi and Almihdhar, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11, Bayoumi and Basnan Saudi Connection, Internal US Security After 9/11

August 23, 2002: Zinni: Bigger Issues Than Iraq Confront US In a speech to the Economic Club of Florida in Tallahassee, retired Marine General Anthony Zinni, who recently served as the president’s special envoy to the Middle East, argues that there are more pressing issues than Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. Specifically, he points to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instability in Afghanistan, the continuing existence of the al-Qaeda network, and the theocracy in Iran. He adds that the proposed war with Iraq would be expensive and would put considerable strain on the military’s resources, which already are “stretched too tight all over the world.” Furthermore, notes the general, invading Iraq would further antagonize America’s allies in the Middle East. “We need to quit making enemies that we don’t need to make enemies out of,” he says. He also notes, “It’s pretty interesting that all the generals see it the same way and all the others who have never fired a shot and are hot to go to war see it another way.” [TAMPA TRIBUNE, 8/24/2002] Entity Tags: Anthony Zinni Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Iraq War Impact on Counterterrorism

August 25, 2002: CIA Collects No Intelligence About Saudi Arabia Appearing on NBC’s Dateline, former CIA agent Robert Baer says the US collects virtually no intelligence about Saudi Arabia nor are they given any intelligence collected by the Saudis. He says this is because there are implicit orders from the White House that say: “Do not collect information on Saudi Arabia because we’re going to risk annoying the royal family.” On the same television program, despite being on a US list of suspected terrorist financiers since October 2001, Saudi millionaire Yassin al-Qadi says, “I’m living my life here in Saudi Arabia without any problem” because he is being protected by the Saudi government. Al-Qadi admits to giving bin Laden money for his “humanitarian” work, but says this is different from bin Laden’s militant activities. Presented with this information, the US Treasury Department only says that the US “is pleased with and appreciates the actions taken by the Saudis” in the war on terror. The Saudi government still has not given US intelligence permission to talk to any family members of the hijackers, even though some US journalists have had limited contact with a few. [MSNBC, 8/25/2002] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, United States, Saudi Arabia, Robert Baer, Yassin al-Qadi, US Department of the Treasury Category Tags: Saudi Arabia, Robert Wright and Vulgar Betrayal

August 27, 2002: US Stengthens Military Presence in Uzbekistan

The K2 (Karshi-Khanabad) US airbase in southeastern Uzbekistan. It was established in late 2001. [Source: Confidential source via Robin Moore] The Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan has recently signed a treaty committing the US to respond to “any external threat” to the country. Uzbekistan’s foreign minister explains: “The logic of the situation suggests that the United States has come here with a serious purpose, and for a long time.” According to a Washington Post report, the other Central Asian nations—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan—have similar agreements with the US. The US claims it is supporting democracy in these nations, but experts say authoritarianism has been on the rise since 9/11. The US military has been in Uzbekistan since 2001. A new US military base in Uzbekistan currently holds about 1,000 US soldiers, but is being greatly enlarged. The article makes the general point that the US is replacing Russia as the dominant power in Central Asia. [WASHINGTON POST, 8/27/2002] Entity Tags: United States, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan Category Tags: US Dominance

August 27, 2002: Close Relationship Between Saudi Ambassador and Bush Raises Questions Edit

Prince Bandar, Saudi ambassador to the US, meets privately for more than an hour with President Bush and National Security Adviser Rice in Crawford, Texas. [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 8/28/2002] Press Secretary Ari Fleischer characterizes it as a warm meeting of old friends. Bandar, his wife Princess Haifa, and seven of their eight children stay for lunch. [FOX NEWS, 8/27/2002] Bandar, a long-time friend of the Bush family, donated $1 million to the George W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. [BOSTON HERALD, 12/11/2001] This relationship later becomes news when it is learned that Princess Haifa gave between $51,000 and $73,000 to two Saudi families in California who may have financed two of the 9/11 hijackers (see December 4, 1999). [NEW YORK TIMES, 11/23/2002; MSNBC, 11/27/2002] Entity Tags: Bandar bin Sultan, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Ari Fleischer Category Tags: Saudi Arabia

August 28, 2002: UN Calls Attempt to Thwart Al-Qaeda Money Flow a Failure The Washington Post reports, “A global campaign to block al-Qaeda’s access to money has stalled, enabling the terrorist network to obtain a fresh infusion of tens of millions of dollars and putting it in a position to finance future attacks, according to a draft UN report.” In the months immediately following 9/11, more than $112 million in assets was frozen. Since then, only $10 million more has been frozen, and most of the original money has been unfrozen due to lack of evidence. Private donations to the group, estimated at $16 million a year, are believed to “continue, largely unabated.” The US and other governments are not sharing information about suspected militants, and known militants are not being put on official lists of suspected terrorists. [WASHINGTON POST, 8/29/2002] One month later, a report by the Council on Foreign Relations, an influential US think tank, largely blames the US relationship with Saudi Arabia for the failure. The report says, “It is worth stating clearly and unambiguously what official US government spokespersons have not. For years, individuals and charities based in Saudi Arabia have been the most important source of funds for al-Qaeda, and for years the Saudi officials have turned a blind eye to this problem.” The report will also note that the Bush administration “appears to have made a policy decision not to use the full power of US influence and legal authorities to pressure or compel other governments to combat terrorist financing more effectively.” [WASHINGTON POST, 10/16/2002] News reports from early 2006 will show little change to the situation (see November 29, 2005; January 15, 2006). Entity Tags: Bush administration, Al-Qaeda, Saudi Arabia Category Tags: Terrorism Financing, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

August 29, 2002: Germany Charges Moroccan with Complicity in 9/11 German authorities charge Mounir El Motassadeq with complicity in the 9/11 attacks. He was arrested in Germany two months after 9/11. He is only the second person in the world to be charged with any crime related to the 9/11 attacks (after Zacarias Moussaoui). He is charged with helping finance Mohamed Atta and others in the Hamburg terrorist cell. [AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 8/29/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 8/29/2002] Entity Tags: Germany, Mohamed Atta, Mounir El Motassadeq Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Germany

August 31, 2002: Indonesian Military Shoots US Teachers, Blames Attack on Rebel Group

Patsy Spier, an American teacher wounded in the attack. Her husband Rick Spier was killed. [Source: US Department of Justice] A group of US teachers traveling in the Indonesian province of Papua (also known as Irian Jaya) are ambushed on a jungle road. Two American teachers and one Indonesian teacher are killed, and eight American teachers are injured. The ambush takes place on a road owned by the company Freeport-McMoRan, which owns an extremely lucrative gold and copper mine nearby. The road is tightly controlled by the Indonesian military, the TNI, and a military check point is only 500 yards away. The TNI quickly blames the killings on the Free Papua Movement (OPM), a separatist group in the province. But a preliminary Indonesian police investigation finds that “there is a strong possibility” the ambush was carried out by members of the Indonesian military. Other classified reports presented to Congress by the CIA and FBI suggest the TNI was behind the ambush. [WASHINGTON POST, 6/22/2003] The weeks later, a US intelligence report suggests that senior Indonesian military officials discussed an operation against Freeport shortly before the ambush (see Mid-September 2002). [WASHINGTON POST, 11/3/2002] Matthew P. Daley, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, later says: “The preponderance of evidence indicates to us that members of the Indonesian army were responsible for the murders in Papua. The question of what level and for what motive did these murders take place is of deep interest to the United States.” At the time, over 2,000 security personnel were guarding the Freeport mine, and this has been a lucrative business for the TNI. However, Freeport had made recent comments in the local media that they were planning on cutting the security forces. The Washington Post will report in 2003 that the FBI is investigating the possibility that the ambush was designed to make Freeport increase its payments to the TNI. The Post will additionally report US officials also believe that “elements of the military may have wanted to frame the [OPM] in the hope of prompting the State Department to add the group to the department’s terrorist list. If the separatists were listed as a terrorist group, it would almost guarantee an increase in US counterterrorism aid to the Indonesian military.” [WASHINGTON POST, 6/22/2003] In 2006, the New York Times will report that, despite all the evidence, “Bush administration officials [have] consistently sought to absolve the Indonesian military of any link to the killings.” In November 2005, the US officially restores ties to the TNI despite the unresolved nature of the killings. The ties had been cut for 12 years due to widespread human rights abuses by the TNI. Also in 2006, Anthonius Wamang, the main suspect in the killings who was recently arrested, will confess that he did shoot at the teachers, but so did three men in Indonesian military uniforms. Furthermore, he says he was given his bullets by a senior Indonesian soldier. Wamang is said to belong to the OPM, but a human rights group connects him to the TNI. [NEW YORK TIMES, 1/14/2006] After the Bali bombings less than two months later (see October 12, 2002), the Asia Times will point to the Papua ambush to suggest that elements in the TNI could have had a role in the Bali bombings as well. [ASIA TIMES, 11/7/2002] Entity Tags: Tentara Nasional Indonesia, Free Papua Movement, Freeport-McMoRan, Bush administration, Anthonius Wamang, Matthew P. Daley Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia, Indonesian Militant Collusion

Autumn 2002: Taliban and Al-Qaeda Regrouping in Afghanistan With the US having diverted much of their best troops and equipment to Iraq, the Taliban and al-Qaeda begin regrouping inside Afghanistan. In August 2002, it is reported that former Taliban head Mullah Omar has secretly returned to Afghanistan and is living in remote hideouts near Kandahar. [GUARDIAN, 8/30/2002] In September, US intelligence officials say “al-Qaeda operatives who found refuge in Pakistan are starting to regroup and move back into Afghanistan… The movement back into Afghanistan is still relatively small and involves al-Qaeda members traveling in small groups, the officials say.… American officials say the world’s largest concentrations of al-Qaeda operatives are now in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the recent influx into Afghanistan is creating new dangers.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/10/2002] In December, a United Nations report claims that al-Qaeda training camps have recently been reactivated in Afghanistan, and new volunteers are making their way to the camps. While the new camps are basic, they are said to be “increasing the long-term capabilities of the al-Qaeda network.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/17/2002] Entity Tags: Taliban, Al-Qaeda, United Nations, Mullah Omar Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Iraq War Impact on Counterterrorism, Haven in Pakistan Tribal Region


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