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1980sEdit

1986: CIA Analyst Finds State Department Officials Are Approving Export of US Equipment for Pakistan Nuclear Program CIA analyst Richard Barlow finds that a small group of senior US officials have been directly aiding the Pakistan nuclear weapons program by approving export licenses for US equipment to be shipped to Pakistan. The State Department is also withholding intelligence about the program from other US agencies to help Pakistan (see 1986). Barlow will later say, “They were issuing scores of approvals for the Pakistan embassy in Washington to export hi-tech equipment that was critical for their nuclear bomb program and that the US Commerce Department had refused to license.” Barlow complains to his boss, CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence Richard Kerr, who summons senior State Department officials to a meeting at CIA headquarters. Barlow will recall: “Kerr tried to do it as nicely as he could. He said he understood the State Department had to keep Pakistan on side—the State Department guaranteed it would stop working against us.” [NEW YORKER, 3/29/1993; GUARDIAN, 10/13/2007] Entity Tags: Office of Scientific and Weapons Research (CIA), Central Intelligence Agency, Richard Barlow, Richard Kerr, US Department of State Timeline Tags: A. Q. Khan's Nuclear Network

July 1987 or Shortly After: Stormy Hearing Exposes Pakistan’s Nuclear Program to Congress Following an incident where a Pakistani procurement agent was arrested in the US trying to buy components for a nuclear weapon (see Before July 1987), there is a serious row about it between a CIA manager and a CIA analyst at a Congressional hearing. The hearing is called by Stephen Solarz (D-NY), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, to vet intelligence concerning Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. CIA manager General David Einsel says it is “not cut and dried” that the arrested Pakistani, Arshad Pervez, and his handler, Inam ul-Haq, are agents of the Pakistani government. Richard Barlow, a CIA analyst there to help Einsel, is surprised by the false answer, as it is a criminal offense to lie to Congress. He realizes, “Einsel’s testimony was highly evasive, and deliberately so.” He will also later comment: “These congressmen had no idea what was really going on in Pakistan and what had been coming across my desk about its WMD program. They did not know that Pakistan already had a bomb and was shopping for more with US help. All of it had been hushed up.” When Barlow is asked the same question, he says it is “clear” Pervez is working for Pakistan, at which point Einsel screams, “Barlow doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Solarz then asks whether there are any more cases involving the Pakistan government. Einsel says there are not, but Barlow replies, “Yes, there have been scores of other cases.” Barlow is then hustled out of the room and returns to CIA headquarters. A senior government official not cleared to attend the briefing comes in and tries to repair the damage, saying that Barlow was referring to intelligence reports, but “not all intelligence reports are accurate.” The official will later indicate that he is not proud of what he does, saying, “I didn’t know what I was getting into.” [NEW YORKER, 3/29/1993; GUARDIAN, 10/13/2007] Barlow will subsequently be forced out of the CIA because of this hearing (see August 1987-1988). Entity Tags: Stephen Solarz, Richard Barlow, Inam ul-Haq, House Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, Arshad Pervez, Office of Scientific and Weapons Research (CIA), David Einsel, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: A. Q. Khan's Nuclear Network

1990sEdit

July 20, 1991: Iran-Contra Prosecutor Has Tapes, Transcripts of CIA Conversations The New York Times reports that Iran-Contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh (see December 19, 1986) is in possession of tapes and transcripts documenting hundreds of hours of telephone conversations between CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and CIA agents in Central America. The time period of the taped conversations corresponds to the period in which NSC officer Oliver North, retired Air Force General Richard Secord, and arms dealer Albert Hakim were running their secret arms pipeline informally known as either “Airlift Project” or “The Enterprise” (see November 19, 1985 and February 2, 1987). Former Deputy Director for Operations Clair George (see Summer 1986) installed the taping system in the early- to mid-1980s. The contents of the conversations are not known, though it is known that Walsh is using the tapes to force accurate testimony from North and others either standing trial or serving as witnesses in Iran-Contra prosecutions (see March 16, 1988). [TIME, 7/22/1991] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Albert Hakim, Oliver North, Richard Secord, Lawrence E. Walsh, Clair George Timeline Tags: Iran-Contra Affair

January 25, 1993: Militant Kills Two at CIA Headquarters

Mir Aimal Kasi. [Source: FBI] A Pakistani militant named Mir Aimal Kasi walks up to the main headquarters of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and opens fire with an AK-47. He shoots five CIA personnel as they sit in their cars, killing two of them. Remarkably, Kasi simply walks off and then flies back to Pakistan. A massive international manhunt ensues, and a joint FBI-CIA team will capture him in a central Pakistan town in 1997. He is then rendered to the US instead of going through the less controversial but lengthier extradition process (see June 15, 1997). [TENET, 2007, PP. 41-42] While Kasi apparently acted alone, he will be treated as a hero and sheltered by radical Islamists in Afghanistan until his capture. Kasi will be convicted of murder later in 1997. Four US oil workers will be killed in Pakistan one day later in apparent retaliation. [WASHINGTON POST, 11/13/1997] Kasi will later say that he was upset with US policy in the Middle East and was hoping to assassinate the CIA director. He will be convicted of murder and executed in 2002. [TENET, 2007, PP. 41-42] Entity Tags: Mir Aimal Kasi, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

Late December 1994-April 1995: Evidence against Bin Laden’s Brother-in-Law Continues to Grow Bin Laden’s brother-in-law Mohammed Jamal Khalifa was arrested in the US in mid-December 1994 (see December 16, 1994-May 1995), and as he is held the evidence tying him to terrorism continues to grow:

One week after his arrest, the State Department tells the immigration judge handling Khalifa’s case that he had “engaged in serious terrorist offenses” and that his release “would endanger US national security.” [LANCE, 2006, PP. 158-159] 
In early January, police in the Philippines uncover the Bojinka plot, involving associates of Khalifa. A Philippine investigator makes a chart connecting the Bojinka figures and places Khalifa in the middle of it (see Spring 1995). The plot, if successful, would have killed thousands while also assassinating the Pope (see January 6, 1995). Meanwhile, The FBI translates literature in Khalifa’s luggage advocating training in assassination, explosives, and weapons, including discussions of the “wisdom of bombing churches and murdering Catholic priests.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 5/2/2002; LANCE, 2003, PP. 233-35] 
Phone numbers to Khalifa’s Philippine charity fronts are found on bomber Ramzi Yousef’s laptop seized in early January 1995 as the Bojinka plot is exposed. Khalifa’s business card is found in the apartment Yousef was staying in as well. [LANCE, 2006, PP. 158-159, 203] 
Bojinka plotter Wali Khan Amin Shah is arrested in early January 1995. He is found with multiple phone numbers for Khalifa. [STEPHEN HANDELMAN, 7/31/1996; LANCE, 2006, PP. 158-159] 
When Yousef is arrested in February 1995 (see February 7, 1995), he will be asked about Khalifa’s business card found in his apartment. According to an FBI report issued at the time, Yousef claims that he did not personally know Khalifa, but had been given the card by fellow Bojinka plotter Wali Khan Amin Shah as a contact in case he needed help. He also says that he is aware that Khalifa is a relative of Osama bin Laden. [LANCE, 2006, PP. 203] 
In February and March, Philippine interrogation of one Bojinka plotter uncovers a planned second wave of attacks that would involve flying airplanes into US buildings, including the World Trade Center, CIA headquarters, and the Pentagon (see February-Early May 1995). This will eventually evolve into the 9/11 attacks. US investigators are notified about this sometime in the spring of 1995 (see Spring 1995). 
On April 1, Philippine authorities arrest six men and announce they are connected to Khalifa and Bojinka plotters such as Ramzi Yousef (see April 1, 1995-Early 1996). The Philippine Interior Secretary calls Khalifa a key figure in Islamic extremist efforts. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4/16/1995] 
The Associated Press reports that Khalifa is believed to be “a key figure in efforts to recruit new members of the Abu Sayyaf group.” On April 4, the Abu Sayyaf raid a Christian town called Ipil and kill over fifty people in what is the group’s largest and most brutal terrorist attack (see April 4, 1995). This increases the importance of Khalifa’s ties with them. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4/16/1995] 
Khalifa is accused by Yemen, Egypt, and Algeria of financing subversion in those countries. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4/16/1995] 

Despite all this evidence, Khalifa will soon be deported to Jordan for retrial there (see May 3, 1995-August 31, 1995), even though the key witness against him has already recanted. He will be found innocent and set free (see July 19, 1995). Entity Tags: Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Abu Sayyaf, Osama bin Laden, Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Department of State, Wali Khan Amin Shah, Philippines, Mohammed Loay Bayazid, Ramzi Yousef Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

January 20, 1995: First Hints of Bojinka Second Wave Revealed

Abdul Hakim Murad. [Source: Justice Department] Philippine and US investigators learn that Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and their fellow plotters were actually planning three different attacks when they were foiled in early January. In addition to the planned assassination of the Pope, and the first phase of Operation Bojinka previously discovered, they also planned to crash about a dozen passenger planes into prominent US buildings. It is often mistakenly believed that there is one Bojinka plan to blow up some planes and crash others into buildings, but in fact these different forms of attack are to take place in two separate phases. [LANCE, 2003, PP. 259] Philippine investigator Colonel Rodolfo Mendoza learns about this second phase through the examination of recently captured Bojinka plotter Abdul Hakim Murad. On January 20, Mendoza writes a memo about Murad’s latest confession, saying, “With regards to their plan to dive-crash a commercial aircraft at the CIA headquarters, subject alleged that the idea of doing same came out during his casual conversation with [Yousef ] and there is no specific plan yet for its execution. What the subject [has] in his mind is that he will board any American commercial aircraft pretending to be an ordinary passenger. Then he will hijack said aircraft, control its cockpit, and dive it at the CIA headquarters. He will use no bomb or explosives. It is simply a suicidal mission that he is very much willing to execute.” [INSIGHT, 5/27/2002; LANCE, 2003, PP. 277-78] Entity Tags: Abdul Hakim Murad, Operation Bojinka, Rodolfo Mendoza, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Ramzi Yousef Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

February-Early May 1995: Bojinka Second Wave Fully Revealed to Philippines Investigators; Information Given to US

Colonel Rodolfo Mendoza. [Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation] As Colonel Mendoza, the Philippines investigator, continues to interrogate Operation Bojinka plotter Abdul Hakim Murad, details of a post-Bojinka “second wave” emerge. Author Peter Lance calls this phase “a virtual blueprint of the 9/11 attacks.” Murad reveals a plan to hijack commercial airliners at some point after the effect of Bojinka dies down. Murad himself had been training in the US for this plot. He names the ten or so buildings that would be targeted for attack:

CIA headquarters. 
The Pentagon. 
An unidentified nuclear power plant. 
The Transamerica Tower in San Francisco. 
The Sears Tower in Chicago. 
The World Trade Center. 
John Hancock Tower in Boston. 
US Congress. 
The White House. [WASHINGTON POST, 12/30/2001; LANCE, 2003, PP. 278-280; PLAYBOY, 6/1/2005] 

Murad continues to reveal more information about this plot until he is handed over to the FBI in April (see April-May 1995). He also mentions that ten suicide pilots have already been chosen and are training in the US (see February 1995-1996). Mendoza uses what he learns from Murad and other sources to make a flow chart connecting many key al-Qaeda figures together (see Spring 1995). Philippine authorities later claim that they provide all of this information to US authorities, but the US fails to follow up on any of it. [LANCE, 2003, PP. 303-4] Sam Karmilowicz, a security official at the US embassy in Manila, Philippines during this time period, will later claim that just before Murad was deported to the US in early May, he picked up an envelope containing all that the Philippine government had learned from Murad. He then sent the envelope to a US Justice Department office in New York City. He believes Mike Garcia and Dietrich Snell, assistant US attorneys who will later prosecute Murad, almost certainly had access to this evidence (see Early 1998). [COUNTERPUNCH, 3/9/2006] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Ramzi Yousef, Rodolfo Mendoza, Hambali, Peter Lance, Dietrich Snell, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Mike Garcia, Abdul Hakim Murad Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Spring 1995: US Authorities Learn of Bojinka Second Wave Plot from Yousef’s Computer

Rafael Garcia. [Source: Newsbreak Weekly] Rafael Garcia, Chairman and CEO of the Mega Group of Computer Companies in the Philippines, often works with the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to decode computer files. He is assigned the task of decoding encrypted files on Ramzi Yousef’s computer. Garcia will later comment to a popular Philippine newsweekly, “This was how we found out about the various plots being hatched by the cell of Ramzi Yousef. First, there was the plot to assassinate Pope John Paul II. Then, we discovered a second, even more sinister plot: Project Bojinka… This was a plot to blow up 11 airlines over the Pacific Ocean, all in a 48-hour period… Then we found another document that discussed a second alternative to crash the 11 planes into selected targets in the United States instead of just blowing them up in the air. These included the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia; the World Trade Center in New York; the Sears Tower in Chicago; the Transamerica Tower in San Francisco; and the White House in Washington, DC… I submitted my findings to NBI officials, who most certainly turned over the report (and the computer) either to then Senior Superintendent Avelino Razon of the [Philippine National Police] or to Bob Heafner of the FBI… I have since had meetings with certain US authorities and they have confirmed to me that indeed, many things were done in response to my report.” [NEWSBREAK WEEKLY, 11/15/2001] Around the same time, Philippine interrogators were learning the same information from captured Bojinka plotter Abdul Hakim Murad (see February-Early May 1995). There has been some question whether Murad’s complete description of Bojinka’s second wave plot reached US authorities (see May 11, 1995), but if it did not, the US appears to have learned the information from Garcia’s report. In fact, after 9/11, Garcia will claim to have spoken to a retired FBI agent who will recall being aware of the Bojinka second wave plot, and says of it, “This was ignored in the preparation of evidence for the trial [of the Bojinka plotters] because there was no actual attempt to crash any plane into a US target.… So there was no crime to complain about.” [VILLAGE VOICE, 9/26/2001] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Abdul Hakim Murad, Rafael Garcia, National Bureau of Investigation, Ramzi Yousef Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Summer 1995: CIA Designs Program to Abduct Islamist Militants and Send them to Egypt The CIA proposes a policy of abducting Islamic Jihad militants and sending them to Egypt which will soon be approved by President Bill Clinton (see June 21, 1995). The Clinton administration began a policy of allowing abductions, known as “renditions,” in 1993 (see 1993). At first, renditions were rarely used because few countries wanted the suspects. Michael Scheuer, head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, is one of the architects of a 1995 agreement with Egypt to send rendered militants there. He will later recall: “It was begun in desperation.… We were turning into voyeurs. We knew where these people were, but we couldn’t capture them because we had nowhere to take them,” due to legal and diplomatic complications. The CIA realized that “we had to come up with a third party.” Egypt was the obvious choice because the Islamic Jihad is the prime political enemy of the Egyptian government, and many Islamic Jihad militants also work for al-Qaeda, an enemy of the US. Turning a Blind Eye - However, the Egyptian secret police force, the Mukhabarat, is notorious for its torture of prisoners. As part of the program, the US helps track, capture, and transport suspects to Egypt (see Before Summer 1995) and then turns a blind eye while the Egyptians torture them. Scheuer claims the US could give the Egyptian interrogators questions they wanted put to the detainees in the morning and get answers by the evening. Because torture is illegal in the US, US officials are never present when the torture is done. Further, the CIA only abducts suspects who have already been convicted in absentia. Talaat Fouad Qassem is the first known person the CIA renders to Egypt (see September 13, 1995). But the number of renditions greatly increases in 1998, when the CIA gets a list of Islamic Jihad operatives around the world (see Late August 1998). These renditions result in a big trial in Egypt in 1999 that effectively destroys Islamic Jihad as a major force in that country (see 1999). [NEW YORKER, 2/8/2005] CIA, NSC, Justice Department Lawyers Consulted - Scheuer will say that lawyers inside and outside the CIA are intensively consulted about the program: “There is a large legal department within the Central Intelligence Agency, and there is a section of the Department of Justice that is involved in legal interpretations for intelligence work, and there is a team of lawyers at the National Security Council, and on all of these things those lawyers are involved in one way or another and have signed off on the procedure. The idea that somehow this is a rogue operation that someone has dreamed up is just absurd.” [GREY, 2007, PP. 140-141] Leadership of Program - The rendition program does not focus solely on al-Qaeda-linked extremists, and other suspected terrorists are also abducted. Scheuer will later tell Congress, “I authored it and then ran and managed it against al-Qaeda leaders and other Sunni Islamists from August 1995, until June 1999.” [US CONGRESS, 4/17/2007 ] A dedicated Renditions Branch will be established at CIA headquarters in 1997 (see 1997), but the relationship between Scheuer and its manager is not known—it is unclear whether this manager is a subordinate, superior, or equal of Scheuer, or whether Scheuer takes on this responsibility as well. After Scheuer is fired as unit chief in May 1999 (see June 1999), his role in the rendition program will presumably be passed on to his successor, Richard Blee, who will go on to be involved in rendition after 9/11 (see Shortly After December 19, 2001). In a piece apparently about Blee, journalist Ken Silverstein will say that he “oversaw… the [Counterterrorist Center] branch that directed renditions.” [HARPER'S, 1/28/2007] Entity Tags: Mukhabarat (Egypt), Rich B., Islamic Jihad, Alec Station, Central Intelligence Agency, Egypt, Michael Scheuer Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives, Complete 911 Timeline

June 3, 1995: Plot to Crash Plane in CIA Headquarters First Mentioned in Media

A 1998 CNN map of likely flights to be hijacked in one version of Operation Bojinka. [Source: CNN] A search of the Lexis-Nexus database indicates that the first media mention of the Bojinka plot to crash an airplane into CIA headquarters occurs on this day. An article in the Advertiser, an Australian newspaper, will first mention the Bojinka plots to assassinate the Pope and then blow up about a dozen airplanes over the Pacific. Then the article states, “Then the ultimate assault on the so-called ‘infidels’: a plane flown by a suicide bomber was to nose-dive and crash into the American headquarters of the CIA, creating carnage.” [ADVERTISER, 6/3/1995] While this first mention may be obscure from a United States point of view, the Bojinka planes as weapons plot will be mentioned in other media outlets in the years to come. In fact, in 2002 CNN correspondent David Ensor will comment about CNN coverage, “[E]veryone, all your viewers who wanted to, could have known that at one point Ramzi Yousef and some others were allegedly plotting to fly an airliner into the CIA headquarters in the United States, that, in fact, the idea of using an airliner as a weapon, that idea at least, had already been aired.…. We talked about it. We’ve done stories about it for years, frankly.” [CNN, 6/5/2002] Entity Tags: Operation Bojinka, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

October 1995: CIA Learns KSM’s Exact Location in Qatar but No Action Is Taken

Melissa Boyle Mahle. [Source: Publicity photo] According to a later account by CIA agent Melissa Boyle Mahle, “a tidbit received late in the year revealed the location” Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) in Qatar (see 1992-1996). [MAHLE, 2005, PP. 247-248] This presumably is information the FBI learned in Sudan that KSM was traveling to Qatar (see Shortly Before October 1995). However, US intelligence should also have been aware that KSM’s nephew Ramzi Yousef attempted to call him in Qatar in February 1995 while Yousef was in US custody (see After February 7, 1995-January 1996). Mahle is assigned to verify KSM’s identity. She claims that at the time the CIA is aware of KSM’s involvement in the Bojinka plot in the Philippines (see January 6, 1995) and in the 1993 WTC bombing (see February 26, 1993) She is able to match his fingerprints with a set of fingerprints the CIA already has in their files. [GUARDIAN, 3/31/2005] By October 1995, the FBI tracks KSM to a certain apartment building in Qatar. Then, using high-technology surveillance, his presence in the building is confirmed. [MINITER, 2003, PP. 85-86] Mahle argues that KSM should be rendered out of the country in secret. The US began rendering terrorist suspects in 1993 (see 1993), and a prominent Egyptian extremist is rendered by the CIA in September 1995 (see September 13, 1995). She argues her case to CIA headquarters and to the highest reaches of the NSA, but is overruled. [GUARDIAN, 3/31/2005] Instead, the decision is made to wait until KSM can be indicted in a US court and ask Qatar to extradite him to the US. Despite the surveillance on KSM, he apparently is able to leave Qatar and travel to Brazil with bin Laden and then back to Qatar at the end of 1995 (see December 1995). KSM will be indicted in early 1996, but he will escape from Qatar a few months later (see January-May 1996). Entity Tags: Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Melissa Boyle Mahle, National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Shortly Before February 1996: CIA Already Aware of Term ‘Al-Qaeda’ as It Sets Up Bin Laden Unit

David Cohen. [Source: Ting-Li Wang / New York Times] David Cohen, head of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, wants to test the idea of having a “virtual station,” which is a station based at CIA headquarters and focusing on one target. He chooses Michael Scheuer to run it. Scheuer is running the Islamic Extremist Branch of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center at the time and had suggested creating a station to focus just on bin Laden. The new unit, commonly called Alec Station, begins operations in February 1996 (see February 1996). The 9/11 Commission will later comment that Scheuer had already “noticed a recent stream of reports about bin Laden and something called al-Qaeda.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 109] It has been widely reported that US intelligence was unaware of the term al-Qaeda until after defector Jamal al-Fadl revealed it later in 1996 (see June 1996-April 1997). But Billy Waugh, an independent contractor hired by the CIA to spy on bin Laden and others in Sudan in 1991 to 1992, will later claim that the CIA was aware of the term al-Qaeda back then (see February 1991- July 1992). And double agent Ali Mohamed revealed the term to the FBI in 1993 (see May 1993). The term will first be used by the media in August 1996 (see August 14, 1996). Entity Tags: Michael Scheuer, Counterterrorist Center, Central Intelligence Agency, Al-Qaeda, Alec Station, David Cohen Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

Late 1996: Effort to Get Nukes Makes Al-Qaeda Clear Threat, CIA Management Tries to Suppress Report Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, writes a report based on information from al-Qaeda defector Jamal al-Fadl saying that al-Qaeda intends to get nuclear weapons (see Late 1993). [SHENON, 2008, PP. 190] Alec Station chief Michael Scheuer will write in 2004 that, by this time, his unit has “acquired detailed information about the careful, professional manner in which al-Qaeda [is] seeking to acquire nuclear weapons… there could be no doubt after this date that al-Qaeda [is] in deadly earnest in seeking nuclear weapons.” [ATLANTIC MONTHLY, 12/2004] Scheuer will add that due to al-Qaeda’s “extraordinarily sophisticated and professional effort to acquire weapons of mass destruction… by the end of 1996, it [is] clear that this [is] an organization unlike any other one we had ever seen.” [CBS NEWS, 11/14/2004] The 50-paragraph report, which describes in detail how Osama bin Laden sought the scientists and engineers he needed to acquire enriched uranium and then weaponize it, is sent to CIA headquarters. However, Scheuer’s superiors refuse to distribute the report, saying it is alarmist. Instead, only two of the paragraphs are circulated, buried in a larger memo. [SHENON, 2008, PP. 190] However, according to Scheuer: “Three officers of the [CIA]‘s bin Laden cadre [protest] this decision in writing, and [force] an internal review. It [is] only after this review that this report [is] provided in full to [US intelligence] leaders, analysts, and policymakers.” [ATLANTIC MONTHLY, 12/2004] The memo’s final distribution will come about a year after it is written. [SHENON, 2008, PP. 190] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Michael Scheuer, Al-Qaeda, Alec Station Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

Early 1998: Prosecutors Turn Down Deal That Could Reveal Bojinka Third Plot

Dietrich Snell. [Source: Morris Mac Matzen/ Associated Press] Abdul Hakim Murad, a conspirator in the 1995 Bojinka plot with Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM), and others, was convicted in 1996 of his role in the Bojinka plot (see January 6, 1995). He is about to be sentenced for that crime. He offers to cooperate with federal prosecutors in return for a reduction in his sentence, but prosecutors turn down his offer. Dietrich Snell, the prosecutor who convicted Murad, will say after 9/11 that he does not remember any such offer. But court papers and others familiar with the case later confirm that Murad does offer to cooperate at this time. Snell will claim he only remembers hearing that Murad had described an intention to hijack a plane and fly it into CIA headquarters. However, in 1995 Murad had confessed to Philippine investigators that this would have been only one part of a larger plot to crash a number of airplanes into prominent US buildings, including the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a plot that KSM later will adjust and turn into the 9/11 plot (see January 20, 1995) (see February-Early May 1995). While Philippine investigators claim this information was passed on to US intelligence, it’s not clear just which US officials may have learned this information and what they did with it, if anything. [NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, 9/25/2001] Murad is sentenced in May 1998 and given life in prison plus 60 years. [ALBANY TIMES-UNION, 9/22/2002] After 9/11, Snell will go on to become Senior Counsel and a team leader for the 9/11 Commission. Author Peter Lance later calls Snell “one of the fixers, hired early on to sanitize the Commission’s final report.” Lance says Snell ignored evidence presented to the Commission that shows direct ties between the Bojinka plot and 9/11, and in so doing covers up Snell’s own role in the failure to make more use of evidence learned from Murad and other Bojinka plotters. [FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE, 1/27/2005] Entity Tags: Ramzi Yousef, World Trade Center, Dietrich Snell, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Abdul Hakim Murad, Operation Bojinka, Pentagon Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

December 18-20, 1998: US Locates Bin Laden but Declines to Strike

The governor’s mansion in Kandahar, Afghanistan. [Source: CBC] On December 18, 2000, CIA receives a tip that bin Laden will be staying overnight on December 20 at the governor’s mansion in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Missile strikes are readied against him. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 130-131] Gary Schroen, head of the CIA’s Pakistan office, e-mails CIA headquarters with the message, “Hit him tonight—we may not get another chance.” However, principal advisers to President Clinton agree not to recommend a strike because of doubts about the intelligence and worries about collateral damage. The military estimates the attacks will kill about 200 people, presumably most of them innocent bystanders. Schroen will later recall, “It struck me as rather insane, frankly. They decided not to attack bin Laden because he was in a building in fairly close proximity to a mosque. And they were afraid that some of the shrapnel was going to hit the mosque and somehow offend the Muslim world, and so they decided not to shoot on that occasion. That’s the kind of reason for not shooting that the policy maker, anyway, came up with endlessly.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 3/24/2004; CBC, 9/12/2006] Later intelligence appears to show that bin Laden left before the strike could be readied, but some aware of the intelligence felt it was a chance that should have been taken anyway. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 130-131] In the wake of this incident, officials attempt to find alternatives to cruise missiles, such a precision strike aircraft. However, US Central Command Chief General Anthony Zinni is apparently opposed to deployment of these aircraft near Afghanistan, and they are not deployed. [9/11 COMMISSION, 3/24/2004] Entity Tags: Clinton administration, Anthony Zinni, Osama bin Laden, Gary C. Schroen Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

Late December 1999: FBI Exposes Errors in CIA Reporting on Millennium Plots, Finds Key Evidence CIA Ignored After the FBI learns of the Millennium plots to attack targets in Jordan (see November 30, 1999), it sends a team of agents to investigate. The team looks at the work the local CIA station has done on the bombing and finds that the reports it has been sending to the US are deeply flawed; twelve cables sent to CIA headquarters are subsequently withdrawn. FBI agent Ali Soufan finds a box of evidence delivered by Jordanian partners on the floor of the CIA’s Amman station. Nobody has examined the box, but Soufan finds it contains key evidence, such as a map of the proposed bomb sites. Author Lawrence Wright will comment, “Soufan’s success embarrassed the CIA.” [NEW YORKER, 7/10/2006 ] Entity Tags: Ali Soufan, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

2000Edit

January 8, 2000: Al-Qaeda Summit Ends; CIA Still Fails to Add Attendees to Watch List The al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000) ends and the participants leave. Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar fly to Bangkok, Thailand, with al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash (see January 8, 2000). Other attendees depart to other locales. There have been no media reports that any of the others were followed by intelligence agents. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/20/2002; US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 131 ] Before the summit started the CIA knew one attendee was named Khalid Almihdhar and that another had the first name Nawaf. At the end of the summit the CIA appears to have learned little more, and still does not know Nawaf’s last name is Alhazmi. Around this time, on January 7 and 10, the CIA searches for their names in their databases but get no hits. Yet they don’t ask for a search of the much larger NSA databases, which had vital information on them (see Early 1999). CIA headquarters asks the NSA to put Almihdhar on their watch list so they can pass on more information about him (see Mid-January 2000). However, neither Alhazmi nor Almihdhar are placed on the State Department’s watch list, which would actually prevent them from coming to the US. [9/11 COMMISSION, 1/26/2004] The CIA still fails to tell the FBI that Almihdhar has a valid US visa, and in fact seems to go out of their way not to tell the FBI about it (see 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 5, 2000, January 6, 2000, Mid-July 2004, and January 5-6, 2000). [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 131 ; STERN, 8/13/2003] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Khalid Almihdhar, Al-Qaeda, Nawaf Alhazmi, Tawfiq bin Attash Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

January 13, 2000: CIA Says It Is Unable to Locate 9/11 Hijackers in Thailand The CIA station in Bangkok, Thailand, sends a cable to Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, saying that it is unable to locate Khalid Almihdhar and two companions, who turn out to be Nawaf Alhazmi and al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash, in Bangkok. The three had been under surveillance in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000), but the CIA’s Bangkok station had been unable to pick them up at the airport when they flew to Thailand on January 8 (see January 8, 2000 and January 8, 2000). According to an official, this was because, “when they arrived we were unable to mobilize what we needed to mobilize.” Despite the high priority allocated to the search by CIA headquarters (see January 9, 2000) and the fact bin Attash was under surveillance in Malaysia when he called the hotel where the three are staying in Bangkok (see (January 5-8, 2000)), they cannot be found. The precise steps taken to locate them are unknown. [9/11 COMMISSION, 1/26/2004 ; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 181, 502; US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 247 ] Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency, Tawfiq bin Attash, Nawaf Alhazmi, Alec Station Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

January 15, 2000: Thai Authorities Note Alhazmi and Almihdhar Depart Bangkok for US, Unclear Whether CIA Informed Thai authorities note that 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi depart Bangkok for the US (see January 15, 2000). They had been put on a Thai watch list shortly before this at the CIA’s request (see January 13, 2000), but the watchlisting only means the Thais note their departure from Thailand—they are not stopped at the airport. The reason for the watchisting was that the CIA was unable to locate them in Thailand, and wanted to be notified of the two future 9/11 hijackers’ departure, so it could start tracking them again. However, it is unclear whether this information is passed to the CIA at this time. One possibility is that the Thais do not pass this information on and, according to author James Bamford, “[What’s] worse, the CIA didn’t bother to ask for it until months later.” When the CIA asks for the information in February, only one of the names, Alhazmi’s, is allegedly passed to CIA headquarters (see March 5, 2000). [BAMFORD, 2004, PP. 230; 9/11 COMMISSION, 1/26/2004, PP. 6 ] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

March 2000: US Team Plans to Capture Al-Qaeda Leader in Afghanistan, but Mission Is Aborted

Maj. Brock Gaston. [Source: State Department] CIA official Gary Berntsen and a US Army Special Forces major known as Brock (an apparent reference to Maj. Brock Gaston) lead a six-person team with the mission to enter Afghanistan and capture one of bin Laden’s top aides. The exact target is not specified; the team is expected to take advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves. The team passes through Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, then meets up with Northern Alliance forces in the part of Afghanistan still under their control. But from the very beginning they encounter resistance from a CIA superior officer who is based in a nearby country and is in charge of CIA relations with the Northern Alliance. Known publicly only by his first name Lawrence, he apparently had a minor role in the Iran-Contra affair and has a personal dispute with Gaston. The team stays at Ahmad Shad Massoud’s Northern Alliance headquarters high in the Afghan mountains for about two weeks. However, they never have a chance to cross into Taliban territory for their mission because Lawrence is sending back a stream of negative messages to CIA headquarters about the risks of their mission. A debate ensues back at headquarters. Cofer Black, head of the CIA’s Counter Terrorist Center, and his assistant Hank Crumpton support continuing the mission. But CIA Director George Tenet and his assistant Jim Pavitt cancel the mission on March 25. Upon returning to the US, Berntsen, Gaston, Black, and Crumpton formally call for Lawrence’s dismissal, but to no effect. Berntsen will later comment that Black and Crumpton “had shown a willingness to plan and execute risky missions. But neither CIA Director George Tenet nor President Bill Clinton had the will to wage a real fight against terrorists who were killing US citizens.” [CNN, 12/15/2001; BERNTSEN AND PEZZULLO, 2005, PP. 43-64] Entity Tags: James Pavitt, Brock Gaston, Cofer Black, Gary Berntsen, William Jefferson (“Bill”) Clinton, George J. Tenet, Hank Crumpton, Lawrence Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

March 5, 2000: CIA Learns Hijackers Alhazmi and Almihdhar Have Entered US, but Does Not Tell FBI or Other Agencies After being prompted by CIA colleagues in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to provide information about what happened to hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, and al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash after they flew from Malaysia to Thailand on January 8, 2000 (see January 8, 2000 and (February 25, 2000)), the CIA station in Bangkok, Thailand, sends out a cable saying that Alhazmi arrived in the US with an apparently unnamed companion from Thailand on January 15 (see January 15, 2000). This information was received from Thai intelligence, which watchlisted Almihdhar and Alhazmi after being asked to do so by the CIA (see January 13, 2000 and January 15, 2000). [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/17/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 181, 502] Companion - The companion to whom the cable refers is presumably Almihdhar. According to later testimony of a senior FBI official, the CIA learns the companion is Almihdhar at this time: “In March 2000, the CIA received information concerning the entry of Almihdhar and Alhazmi into the United States.” [US CONGRESS, 9/20/2002] The CIA disputes this, however. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 157 ] If the companion the cable refers to is Almihdhar, then it is unclear why he would not be named, as the NSA has been intercepting his calls for at least a year (see Early 1999), he was under CIA surveillance earlier in January (see January 5-8, 2000), he is known to have a US visa (see January 2-5, 2000), he is associated with Alhazmi (see January 8-9, 2000), and this cable is prompted by another cable specifically asking where Almihdhar is (see February 11, 2000). Missed Opportunity - Later, CIA officials, including CIA Director George Tenet and Counterterrorist Center Director Cofer Black, will admit that this was one of the missed opportunities to watchlist the hijackers. Black will say: “I think that month we watchlisted about 150 people. [The watchlisting] should have been done. It wasn’t.” Almihdhar and Alhazmi will not be added to the US watchlist until August 2001 (see August 23, 2001). [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/17/2002; US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 157 ] Unclear Who Reads Cable - Although CIA Director George Tenet will tell the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry that nobody at CIA headquarters reads this cable at this time (see October 17, 2002), the CIA’s inspector general will conclude that “numerous” officers access this cable and others about Almihdhar. [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DISTRICT, 3/28/2006 ] These officers are not named, but Tom Wilshire, the CIA’s deputy unit chief in charge of monitoring the two men at this time, will access it in May 2001 at the same time as he accesses other cables about Almihdhar from early 2000 (see May 15, 2001). The 9/11 Commission will say that the cables are “reexamined” at this time, suggesting that Wilshire may have read them before. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 267, 537] Wilshire certainly did access at least two of the cables in January 2000, indicating he may read the cable about the arrival of Alhazmi and the unnamed companion in the US in March 2000. [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 240, 282 ] FBI Not Informed - The knowledge that Alhazmi has entered the US will be disseminated throughout the CIA, but not to the FBI or other US intelligence agencies (see March 6, 2000 and After). When asked about the failure by the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Wilshire will be unable to explain it: “It’s very difficult to understand what happened with that cable when it came in. I do not know exactly why it was missed. It would appear that it was missed completely.” [US CONGRESS, 9/20/2002] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Alec Station, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Malaysian Secret Service, Nawaf Alhazmi, Tom Wilshire, 9/11 Commission, Khalid Almihdhar Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

March 6, 2000 and After: Numerous CIA Officers Learn Hijacker Almihdhar Is in US; Fail to Inform FBI After the CIA learns that hijacker Khalid Almihdhar has a US visa (see January 2-5, 2000) and hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi and a companion have arrived in Los Angeles (see March 5, 2000), operational documents reporting this are accessed by numerous CIA officers, most of whom are in the Counterterrorism Division. [CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, 6/2005 ] In addition, the day after the cable reporting Alhazmi’s arrival in Los Angeles is received, “another overseas CIA station note[s], in a cable to the bin Laden unit at CIA headquarters, that it had ‘read with interest’ the March cable, ‘particularly the information that a member of this group traveled to the US…’” [US CONGRESS, 9/20/2002] However, it is unclear what is done with this information as CIA Director George Tenet and Counterterrorist Center Director Cofer Black will later incorrectly testify that nobody read the cable stating Alhazmi had entered the US (see October 17, 2002), so the use to which the information is put is never investigated. In addition, the CIA fails to inform the FBI that Alhazmi has entered the US. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 182] Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency, Nawaf Alhazmi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

2001Edit

Main article: CIA headquarters:2001

2002Edit

2002-Early 2003: Cheney and Libby Make Visits to CIA Headquarters Vice President Dick Cheney, sometimes accompanied by his chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, visits the offices of US intelligence analysts working at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia “approximately 10” times. He interrogates them on their intelligence work on Iraq. Some analysts later complain that Cheney’s visits made them feel pressured to provide the administration with conclusions that supported the case for war. Other analysts will say they did not feel pressured. [WASHINGTON POST, 6/5/2003; SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/5/2003; GUARDIAN, 7/17/2003; BAMFORD, 2004, PP. 336; VANITY FAIR, 5/2004, PP. 242] Michael Sulick, deputy chief of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, will later recall, “It was like they were hoping we’d find something buried in the files or come back with a different answer.” As a result of these visits, Sulick believes that agency analysts became “overly eager to please.” [ISIKOFF AND CORN, 2006, PP. 4-5] According to Ray McGovern, a 27-year veteran CIA analyst, these visits were “unprecedented.” [COMMON DREAMS, 7/23/2003] In 2006, author Craig Unger will call the visits “a highly irregular occurrence.” Former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman will recall: “I was at the CIA for 24 years. The only time a vice president came to the CIA building was for a ceremony, to cut a ribbon, to stand on a stage, but not to harangue analysts about finished intelligence.… When they go, it’s usually for some ceremonial reason, to hand out an award or to cut a ribbon. Then they get the hell out.” Former DIA analyst Patrick Lang will say: “Many, many of them [CIA analysts] have told me they were pressured. And there are a lot of ways. Pressure takes a lot of forms.” A State Department official will note: “For the vice president to be meeting with analysts, that was a real red flag. It was so unusual. It was clear that people were being leaned on. Usually, if a high-ranking official wants information, it gets tasked out through appropriate channels. It was highly unusual to lock these people in a room and keep pressing. It crossed the line between… intellectual inquiry and not accepting the real answer.” Another intelligence source says: “[Cheney] wanted them to make a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda. He already got them to agree on nuclear weapons. But he wanted the al-Qaeda connection.” Retired CIA officer Richard Kerr, brought back to the agency to study intelligence failures, later describes “overwhelming consumer demand” on agency analysts, which Kerr will say results in flawed intelligence reports. The pressure brought on analysts, another source says, is “brutal.” [DUBOSE AND BERNSTEIN, 2006, PP. 211; UNGER, 2007, PP. 262-263] Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) also makes visits to CIA headquarters in Langley. [GUARDIAN, 7/17/2003] Entity Tags: Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, Melvin A. Goodman, Lewis (“Scooter”) Libby, Craig Unger, Richard Kerr, Newt Gingrich, Patrick Lang, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

Spring 2002: CIA Realizes Bush Administration Is Planning to Invade Iraq CIA official Michael Scheuer will later comment: “By the spring of 2002 the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center (CTC) realized that the administration had decided to go to war with Iraq. There was no announcement to that effect, of course, but the intent was evident as the flow of officers sent to beef up the post-9/11 war against al-Qaeda ended and experienced Arabic-speaking officers were reassigned from CTC to Middle East posts (see Spring 2002) and to the task forces at CIA headquarters charged with preparing for the Iraq war.” [SCHEUER, 2008, PP. 122] He will also say: “It was almost taken for granted that we were going to go to war with Iraq. It was a nightmare, and I know [CIA Director George] Tenet was briefed repeatedly by the head of the bin Laden department that any invasion of Iraq would break the back of our counterterrorism program.” [PBS FRONTLINE, 3/24/2008] Entity Tags: George J. Tenet, Central Intelligence Agency, Michael Scheuer, Counterterrorist Center Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

Between April 2002 and November 2005:: CIA Interrogation Videos Held Overseas Despite Security Risk CIA videotapes of detainee interrogations are held overseas and not sent back to CIA headquarters from the time they are made (see Spring-Late 2002) until the time they are destroyed (see November 2005). They are stored in a safe at the CIA station in the country or countries where the interrogations are performed. Given that there is concern about keeping such highly classified material overseas, it is unclear why the tapes are not sent to the US for security reasons. [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/19/2007] However, portions of the tapes are transmitted to the US so they can be viewed by CIA managers (see Between April 2002 and November 2005). Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives, Complete 911 Timeline

Between April 2002 and November 2005: Parts of CIA Interrogation Tapes Transmitted to US, Reviewed by Headquarters Officials Portions of videotapes of CIA detainee interrogations are transmitted from the foreign countries where the detainees are being held back to CIA headquarters in the US, where they are reviewed by “a small number of officials.” One of the reasons the tapes are made is so that headquarters can check on the methods being used by the interrogators (see Spring-Late 2002 and Mid-May 2002 and After). These methods are said to include waterboarding and other questionable techniques (see Mid-March 2002). It is unclear what happens to these transmitted recordings when many of the videotapes of the interrogations are destroyed (see November 2005). However, in late 2007 an anonymous counterterrorism official will say there is “no reason” to believe the transmitted recordings still exist. [NEWSWEEK, 12/11/2007] A 2003 book by Gerald Posner will also indicate that a team of CIA officials watch the interrogation of al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida live on video from an adjacent room. Interrogators in the room wear earpieces so they can immediately act on suggestions from the team. [POSNER, 2003, PP. 188-190] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Abu Zubaida Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives, Complete 911 Timeline

May 2002: Latin American Specialist Appointed Head of CIA Counterterrorism

Jose Rodriguez. [Source: CIA] Jose Rodriguez, formerly chief of the CIA’s Latin American division, is appointed head of its rapidly expanding Counterterrorist Center. The appointment surprises some, as Latin America is not at the heart of global counterterrorism efforts and Rodriguez, who cannot speak Arabic, has no experience in the Middle East. In addition, Rodriguez was removed from his position in 1997, after he tried to get the government of the Dominican Republic to drop charges against a person described as a “friend,” and was criticized by the CIA Office of Inspector General for showing a “remarkable lack of judgment” over the affair. [INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, 12/8/2007] CIA officer Gary Berntsen, who served under Rodriguez as a station chief in an unnamed South American country, will be critical of him in a 2005 book. When Berntsen, an officer with a wealth of counterterrorism experience, took up his position in South America following the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000, Rodriguez greeted him “by saying that he had heard about my successful record of conducting counterterrorism operations, but that would not, repeat not, be my primary mission as a Chief of Station in South America. He stated categorically that he wanted me to conduct normal foreign intelligence collection against traditional targets and no, repeat no, counterterrorism. I was stunned. Had this man been living in a cave the last two years?” Berntsen was also surprised when, after 9/11, he received a message from CIA headquarters asking for volunteers to fight terrorism, and then a message from Rodriguez ordering all Latin American station chiefs not to volunteer. Berntsen will comment: “I didn’t understand… he was ordering me and other highly skilled officers in Latin America not to step forward? Had this guy taken leave of his senses? In a time of national tragedy was he still thinking of how to protect his Division?” [BERNTSEN AND PEZZULLO, 2005, PP. 69, 71] Rodriguez’s identity is supposedly secret until the summer of 2007, shortly before he retires from the agency. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/8/2007] Rodriguez will be put in charge of the Directorate of Operations in 2004, but will become involved in a scandal over the destruction of videotapes of detainee interrogations (see November 2005 and December 6, 2007). [INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, 12/8/2007] Entity Tags: Gary Berntsen, Central Intelligence Agency, Counterterrorist Center, Jose Rodriguez, Jr. Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives, Complete 911 Timeline

Mid-May 2002 and After: CIA Headquarters Approves and Closely Monitors Zubaida’s Torture In 2007, former CIA official John Kiriakou will claim to have details about the interrogation of al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida. Kiriakou was involved in the capture and early detention of Zubaida (see March 28, 2002), but claims he was transferred to another task before harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding were used on him (see Mid-May 2002 and After). [ABC NEWS, 12/10/2007 ] Kiriakou will claim that the activities of the interrogators were closely directly by superiors at CIA Headquarters back in the US. “It wasn’t up to individual interrogators to decide, ‘Well, I’m gonna slap him.’ Or, ‘I’m going to shake him.’ Or, ‘I’m gonna make him stay up for 48 hours.’ Each one of these steps, even though they’re minor steps, like the intention shake, or the open-handed belly slap, each one of these had to have the approval of the deputy director for operations.… The cable traffic back and forth was extremely specific. And the bottom line was these were very unusual authorities that the [CIA] got after 9/11. No one wanted to mess them up. No one wanted to get in trouble by going overboard. So it was extremely deliberate.” [ABC NEWS, 12/10/2007] Kiriakou also will say, “This isn’t something done willy-nilly. This isn’t something where an agency officer just wakes up in the morning and decides he’s going to carry out an enhanced technique on a prisoner. This was a policy made at the White House, with concurrence from the National Security Council and the Justice Department” (see Mid-March 2002). [LONDON TIMES, 12/12/2007] In 2005, ABC News reported, “When properly used, the [CIA interrogation] techniques appear to be closely monitored and are signed off on in writing on a case-by-case, technique-by-technique basis, according to highly placed current and former intelligence officers involved in the program.” [ABC NEWS, 11/18/2005] CIA Director George Tenet will similarly claim in a 2007 book that the interrogation of high-ranking prisoners like Zubaida “was conducted in a precisely monitored, measured way…” He will also say that “CIA officers came up with a series of interrogation techniques that would be carefully monitored at all times to ensure the safety of the prisoner. The [Bush] administration and the Department of Justice were fully briefed and approved the use of these tactics.” [TENET, 2007, PP. 242] Zubaida’s interrogations are videotaped at the time (see Spring-Late 2002), and CIA Director Michael Hayden will later claim this was done “meant chiefly as an additional, internal check on the [interrogation] program in its early stages.” [CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, 12/6/2007] The videotapes will later be destroyed under controversial circumstances (see November 2005). Entity Tags: John Kiriakou, National Security Council, Central Intelligence Agency, US Department of Justice, George J. Tenet, White House Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives, Complete 911 Timeline

July 20, 2002: Top CIA and MI6 Officials Meet; British Intel Chief Leaves with Impression That Decision to Invade Iraq Has Been Made British Intelligence Chief Sir Richard Dearlove and other top MI6 officials attend an annual CIA-MI6 summit to have candid talks on the issues of counterterrorism and Iraq. CIA Director George Tenet had tried to cancel the summit, but the British, set on getting a better feel for the agency’s intelligence on Iraq and Bush’s Iraq policy, were insistent that the summit take place. Tenet reluctantly agreed to have the meeting, provided that it was held at CIA headquarters. The meeting is held on a Saturday and lasts almost the whole day. At one point during the meeting, Tenet and Dearlove leave to have a private discussion. While it has not been reported what Tenet tells Dearlove during the one-and-a-half-hour long chat, Dearlove’s statements to other top British officials a few days later (see July 23, 2002) make it clear that after the summit he is convinced the US has little evidence to support the allegations they are making about Iraq and that the decision has already been made to invade. [RISEN, 2006, PP. 183-184] Entity Tags: George J. Tenet, Richard Dearlove Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

Late August 2002: Abu Zubaida Subjected to One More Waterboarding Session at Insistence of CIA Headquarters Militant training camp facilitator Abu Zubaida is subjected to one more waterboarding session at the insistence of CIA headquarters. Zubaida has been subject to the CIA’s “enhanced” interrogation techniques for some time, and the agency team applying the techniques considers him compliant and wants to stop using them. However, according to a senior officer at the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center, somebody thinks that Zubaida is continuing to withhold information. This person or persons generates substantial pressure from CIA headquarters to continue waterboarding, and senior officials at the agency’s Directorate of Operations decide to continue. Some people are sent to the facility where Zubaida is being held to observe the final waterboarding session he is subjected to. These people then report back that the enhanced techniques are no longer required. [CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, 5/7/2004, PP. 84-85 ] Entity Tags: Abu Zubaida, Directorate of Operations, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

After September 11, 2002: KSM’s Children Said to Be Tortured Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s (KSM’s) children, who were captured in a September 2002 raid on a house KSM used (see September 11, 2002), are allegedly tortured following their capture. A statement that they are tortured is made in a submission to a Guantanamo Bay hearing to determine the status of a detainee called Majid Khan. The submission is made by Khan’s father, based on information from another of his sons. It reads: “The Pakistani guards told my son that the boys were kept in a separate area upstairs and were denied food and water by other guards. They were also mentally tortured by having ants or other creatures put on their legs to scare them and get them to say where their father was hiding.” [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 4/15/2007 ] Human Rights Watch, based on eyewitness accounts, says that KSM’s children are held in an adult detention center (see June 7, 2007), and KSM also says that his children are abused in US custody (see March 10-April 15, 2007). [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 3/10/2007 ; REUTERS, 6/7/2007] Entity Tags: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Majid Khan, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives, Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

October 17, 2002: Tenet Misinforms Congressional Inquiry about CIA Knowledge of Hijackers’ Entry into US In sworn testimony to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, CIA Director George Tenet repeatedly claims that a March 2000 cable sent to CIA headquarters reporting that hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi had entered the US was not read by anybody. He says, “I know that nobody read that cable,” “Nobody read that cable in the March timeframe,” and “[N]obody read that information only cable.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/17/2002] Former Counterterrorist Center Director Cofer Black will also claim that the cable was not read. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 51 ] However, a later investigation by the CIA Office of Inspector General will find that numerous CIA officers had actually read the cable shortly after it was sent (see March 6, 2000 and After). Nevertheless, the 9/11 Commission will later assert that, “No-one outside the Counterterrorist Center was told any of this” (about Alhazmi’s arrival in the US) and neglect to mention that Tenet had previously misstated the CIA’s knowledge of the hijackers. Neither will the 9/11 Commission investigate the cause of the CIA’s apparent inaction. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 181] Entity Tags: 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/11 Commission, Nawaf Alhazmi, Cofer Black, George J. Tenet Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

November 2002: CIA Team Arrives in Milan for Abduction of Radical Cleric An 11-member team of CIA agents arrives in Milan in preparation for the abduction of Islamist extremist Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr (a.k.a. Abu Omar). The team will remain in Milan until mid-February 2003, leaving shortly after Nasr’s successful kidnap (see Noon February 17, 2003). According to Luciano Pironi, an Italian who helps the CIA with the abduction, the team makes over a dozen unsuccessful attempts before actually taking Nasr; during the false starts they are called off due to unexpected pedestrians or police cars near the planned kidnap site. As the CIA officers’ stay in Milan drags on, discipline on the abduction team breaks down. Two agents use their cell phones to call home; these calls will later be discovered by Italian prosecutors. At least two others take rooms at two of Milan’s more upmarket hotels, the Sheraton Diana Majestic and the Principe di Savoia, for what GQ magazine will call “romantic encounters,” paid for by the agency. One team member, apparently a freelance contractor, uses his real name when checking in to hotels. In addition, the team does not use the walkie-talkies they have been given, because, according to a senior CIA official, they make them “look too much like spies.” Instead, they use their cell phones, which Italian prosecutors will later trace easily. This aspect of the operation will be severely criticised; former CIA officer Milt Bearden will say, “This was amateur hour with a bunch of Keystone Kops.” A senior CIA official who approved the plan will say, “They were told to stop using their phones and stop calling home, but they did it anyway.” He will add that the responsibility for the errors should be laid at the door of the chief of the CIA’s Rome station, Jeff Castelli, who is in charge and whose “brainchild” the operation reportedly was (see Before February 17, 2003). According to the official, Castelli is good, but does not pay attention to details, and fails to inform CIA headquarters about the sloppiness with the cell phones. [GQ, 3/2007 ] Entity Tags: Luciano Pironi, Central Intelligence Agency, Jeff Castelli, Milton Bearden, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

Before December 10, 2002: CIA Officer Involved in Almihdhar and Alhazmi Failures Tells Congressional Inquiry Everything that Could Go Wrong, Did Go Wrong Tom Wilshire, a CIA officer involved in the failed search for hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar before 9/11, is interviewed by the Congressional Inquiry and comments on some of the failures. When asked about the failure to watchlist Nawaf Alhazmi based on a cable telling CIA headquarters he had arrived in the US and was a terrorist (see March 5, 2000 and March 6, 2000 and After), Wilshire says: “It’s very difficult to understand what happened with [the] cable when it came in. I don’t know exactly why it was missed. It would appear that it was missed.” Commenting on a meeting in June 2001 where the CIA failed to tell the FBI what it knew about Almihdhar and Alhazmi despite showing them photographs of the two hijackers (see June 11, 2001), Wilshire says: “[E]very place that something could have gone wrong in this over a year and a half, it went wrong. All the processes that had been put in place, all the safeguards, everything else, they failed at every possible opportunity. Nothing went right.” [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 147, 151 ] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Nawaf Alhazmi, Tom Wilshire, Khalid Almihdhar Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Mid-December 2002: Al-Nashiri Assessed to Be ‘Compliant’ after Torture CIA employees who have been applying “enhanced interrogation techniques” to al-Qaeda leader Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri decide that he is now “compliant.” The techniques, including waterboarding, have been used on al-Nashiri for around a month (see Shortly After Early October 2002). At this point, the agency regards him to be ready to be “debriefed”—a CIA term for part of an interrogation conducted by a more knowledgeable officer who does not use the enhanced techniques, or not to such an extent. Following this decision, the Counterterrorist Center at CIA headquarters sends out a senior operations officer to question al-Nashiri. [CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, 5/7/2004, PP. 36, 41 ] Al-Nashiri is being held at a US base in Thailand. [MAYER, 2008, PP. 225] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, Counterterrorist Center Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

Between December 28, 2002 and January 1, 2003: CIA Official Intimidates Al-Nashiri with Handgun, Power Drill A CIA official known as a “debriefer” attempts to intimidate al-Qaeda leader Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri with a handgun and a power drill. [CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, 5/7/2004, PP. 42 ] The official will later become known as “Albert.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/7/2010] Albert had come to interrogate al-Nashiri at an agency black site in Poland after al-Nashiri had been tortured (see Shortly After Early October 2002), but recently decided that al-Nashiri was still withholding information (see Mid-December 2002). [CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, 5/7/2004, PP. 42 ; MAYER, 2008, PP. 225; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/7/2010] After discussing his plan with someone else whose identity is unknown, Albert takes an unloaded semi-automatic handgun into al-Nashiri’s cell. He racks it once or twice, simulating the loading of a bullet into the chamber, close to al-Nashiri’s ear. After receiving consent from someone else whose identity is unknown, around the same day he takes a power drill into the cell. While al-Nashiri is naked and hooded, he revs the drill to frighten al-Nashiri, but does not touch him with it. [CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, 5/7/2004, PP. 42 ] This abuse will be reported to CIA headquarters (see January 2003), but the Justice Department will decline to prosecute Albert (see September 11, 2003), and the result of the CIA inspector general’s investigation is unknown (see October 29, 2003). Entity Tags: Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, “Albert”, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

2003 and laterEdit

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