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February 2001: Italians Intercept Phone Call about Islamists Trying to Get into US Edit

Mahmoud Es Sayed (aka Abu Saleh), a member of an Italian al-Qaeda cell being monitored by the authorities there, calls an associate, Abdulsalam Ali Abdulrahman, in Yemen to discuss travel to the US. Abdulrahman is a section chief in Yemen’s Political Security Organization (see August 12, 2000), but Italian authorities overhear Es Sayed telling Abdulrahman’s younger brother, “I heard you were going to America.” The brother replies: “I’m sorry to say we’re not able to get in. It is our most important wish and our big target.” [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/20/2002] Italian authorities had previously overheard conversations between Es Sayed and Albdulrahman in which they discussed a massive strike against the enemies of Islam involving aircraft (see August 12, 2000). The US will soon be warned of this (see March 2001). Entity Tags: Mahmoud Es Sayed, Abdulsalam Ali Abdulrahman Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Italy, Yemeni Militant Collusion, Remote Surveillance

February 2001: Almihdhar Possibly Travels to Iran According to the 9/11 Commission, Khalid Almihdhar may take a flight from Syria to Iran and continue from there to a point near the Afghan border. The 9/11 Commission will mention this flight in a section dealing with possible co-operation between Iran, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda on travel issues—Iran was allegedly allowing al-Qaeda operatives to pass through it on their way to and from Afghanistan without stamping their passports (see October 8-13, 2000, After October 12, 2000, and Mid-November, 2000)—but there are no direct links between this flight and Iranian operatives. The 9/11 Commission’s statement that Almihdhar entered Iran at this time will be based on intelligence reports from the NSA, mostly drafted shortly after 9/11. The NSA has been intercepting Almihdhar’s calls for some time, so it may have obtained this information from these intercepts (see and Late August 1998 and Early 2000-Summer 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 241, 529; SHENON, 2008, PP. 370-3] Entity Tags: National Security Agency, Khalid Almihdhar Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Alhazmi and Almihdhar, Yemen Hub, Other Government-Militant Collusion

February 2001: Former CIA Director Attempts to Link Iraqi Government to 1993 WTC Bombing Former CIA director James Woolsey visits Britain to look for evidence tying Saddam Hussein to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He is looking to support the theory (see Late July or Early August 2001) that Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the 1993 WTC bombing, was actually an Iraqi agent who had assumed the identity of a Pakistani student named Abdul Basit. This theory was proposed in a 2000 book praised by Woolsey (see October 2000). He will also make a visit for the same purpose in the weeks after 9/11 (see Late September 2001). On at least one of the trips, Woolsey visits the Swansea Institute, where Basit studied, to see if Basit’s fingerprints match those of Yousef, who is now serving a life sentence in a Colorado prison. Matching fingerprints would discredit the theory. According to Knight Ridder, “Several of those with knowledge of the trips said they failed to produce any new evidence that Iraq was behind the attacks.” [KNIGHT RIDDER, 10/11/2001] But despite a lack of evidence, politicians in Washington interested in the theory will manage to reopen the files into Yousef around August 2001 anyway (see Late July or Early August 2001). An article by Woolsey pushing the theory about Yousef will be published just two days after 9/11 (see September 13, 2001). Entity Tags: James Woolsey, Abdul Basit, Saddam Hussein, Ramzi Yousef Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion, Neoconservative Influence Category Tags: 1993 WTC Bombing, Ramzi Yousef, Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

February 2001: Al-Qaeda Source Indicates Bin Laden Disappointed with Lack of US Response to Cole Bombing According to a US intelligence report drafted in October 2001, a source reports in February 2001 that a person he identifies as “the big instructor” complains frequently that the US has not yet attacked. This is apparently a reference to the lack of a US response to the USS Cole bombing by al-Qaeda (see October 12, 2000). The 9/11 Commission will say that the “big instructor” is “probably a reference to bin Laden.” The Commission will add, “According to the source, bin Laden wanted the United States to attack, and if it did not he would launch something bigger.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 191, 507] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, 9/11 Commission Category Tags: Warning Signs, 2000 USS Cole Bombing

(February-April 2001): Hijacker Atta Possibly Has American Girlfriend; Several Witnesses Confirm Story, Though Supposed Girlfriend Later Denies the Connection

Amanda Keller. [Source: Unknown] A man, possibly Mohamed Atta, stays for a time at the apartment of a 21-year-old blonde-haired pizza restaurant manager named Amanda Keller. Keller lives in the Sandpiper Apartments in Venice, Florida, the same complex in which Atta reportedly shared a (presumably) separate apartment with Marwan Alshehhi and four others months earlier (see (Mid-July 2000 - Early January 2001)). Stephanie Frederickson, a resident at the Sandpiper Apartments, later remembers Keller and Atta. She claims Keller moved in next door to her. She goes on to say, “Then one day in the middle of March she brought home Atta.” Her recollection of Atta mirrors that of others. She will call him “a really nasty guy,” and say that he “had no patience, and seemed mad at the world.” Charles Grapentine, the manager of the Sandpiper Apartments, later recalls seeing Atta at the complex for about three weeks in April, and confirms that he was living with Keller. Keller’s mother, Susan Payne, also meets Atta and later says, “I didn’t like him; he just seemed strange.” As well as his stay at the Sandpiper Apartments, the man, possibly Atta, briefly rents a home in North Port. Its owners, Tony and Vonnie LaConca, know him only as “Mohamed.” They will be questioned in the days after 9/11 by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), and describe him as 25 years old, “very polite,” “very handsome,” and with “beautiful, unblemished skin.” From talking with “Mohamed” and Keller, the couple learns he is training for a commercial pilot’s license at Huffman Aviation, the Venice flight school attended by Atta in 2000 (see July 6-December 19, 2000). The Sarasota Herald-Tribune will claim that Keller’s companion is not Mohamed Atta, but another man of Middle Eastern descent who also took flying lessons in Venice. But authorities will refuse to reveal the full name of this “unidentified fifth man,” and investigators are reportedly unable to find him. [CHARLOTTE SUN, 9/14/2001; SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/23/2001; HOPSICKER, 2004, PP. 57, 60-65 AND 76] According to official accounts, plus the testimony of Huffman Aviation’s owner Rudi Dekkers, Atta left the Venice flight school around the end of 2000, months before “Mohamed” stays in the apartment of Keller. [US CONGRESS, 3/19/2002; US CONGRESS, 9/26/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 17 ] Investigative reporter Daniel Hopsicker later locates and interviews Amanda Keller, and she claims that the Middle Eastern man who was briefly her boyfriend was indeed Mohamed Atta (see March 2004). However, in 2006 she will retract this claim and say she lied to Hopsicker. She will say, “It was my bad for lying. I really didn’t think about it until after I did it.” [SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/10/2006] Keller, Charles Grapentine, and Stephanie Frederickson will all later allege that the FBI intimidated them after 9/11, and told them to keep quiet about what they knew (see (September 12, 2001-2002)). Entity Tags: Stephanie Frederickson, Tony LaConca, Vonnie LaConca, Susan Payne, Daniel Hopsicker, Mohamed Atta, Amanda Keller, Charles Grapentine Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Mohamed Atta

February 2001: Key Leader of Al-Qaeda in Europe Arrested Abu Doha, a key figure in al-Qaeda’s European network, is arrested at Heathrow airport in London. He is attempting to board a plane for Saudi Arabia, but several false passports are found in his hand luggage. A search of his London flat reveals passport photographs depicting him in various disguises, 20 credit cards, a telescopic rifle sight, and what police describe as terrorism paraphernalia. He is found to be involved in various plots around the world, including a section of the Millennium Plot that comprised a bombing of Los Angeles airport (see December 14, 1999), so the US soon asks for his extradition. He is also later said to have worked on plots to bomb the US, British, and Australian embassies in Singapore in December 2001, a planned attack on the Paris-Dakar rally in January 2000, a plot to attack the 1998 World Cup in France (see Late 1997-Early 1998), and other attacks. Abu Doha was close to Abu Hamza al-Masri, an informer for British intelligence (see Early 1997 and May 1999). Abu Doha’s deputy, Rabah Kadre, is also arrested. Although he has been under surveillance by British authorities since 1998 (see 1998), he is released, apparently because British authorities think they have insufficient evidence against him. He will later leave Britain, but be arrested following his re-entry (see November 2002). The British intelligence service MI5 will later say that Kadre is “Abu Doha’s successor” as a leader of the Europe-wide network. [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 117-118, 240] Entity Tags: UK Security Service (MI5), Abu Doha, Rabah Kadre Category Tags: Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Key Captures and Deaths

February 2001: Bush Administration Abandons Global Crackdown on Terrorist Funding According to Time magazine, “The US was all set to join a global crackdown on criminal and terrorist money havens [in early 2001]. Thirty industrial nations were ready to tighten the screws on offshore financial centers like Liechtenstein and Antigua, whose banks have the potential to hide and often help launder billions of dollars for drug cartels, global crime syndicates—and groups like Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization. Then the Bush administration took office.” [TIME, 10/15/2001] After pressure from the powerful banking lobby, the Treasury Department under Paul O’Neill halts US cooperation with these international efforts begun in 2000 by the Clinton administration. Clinton had created a Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Center in his last budget, but under O’Neill no funding for the center is provided and the tracking of terrorist financing slows down. Spurred by the 9/11, attacks, the center will finally get started three days after 9/11 (see October 2000-September 14, 2001). [FOREIGN AFFAIRS, 7/2001; TIME, 10/15/2001] Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke will later claim that efforts to track al-Qaeda’s finances began to make significant headway in 2000, after Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin stepped down and was replaced by Larry Summers. But, Clarke will claim, “When the Bush administration came into office, I wanted to raise the profile of our efforts to combat terrorist financing, but found little interest. The new President’s economic advisor, Larry Lindsey, had long argued for weakening US anti-money laundering laws in a way that would undercut international standards. The new Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neill, was lukewarm at best toward the multilateral effort to ‘name and shame’ foreign money laundering havens, and allowed the process to shut down before the status of Saudi Arabian cooperation was ever assessed.” [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 195-196] Entity Tags: Clinton administration, Paul O’Neill, Richard A. Clarke, Bush administration, US Department of the Treasury, Larry Summers, Lawrence Lindsey, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden Category Tags: Terrorism Financing, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

February 2001: US Fails to Back Plan to Overthrow Taliban Abdul Haq, a famous Afghan leader of the mujaheddin, convinces Robert McFarlane, National Security Adviser under President Ronald Reagan, that Haq and about 50 fellow commanders could lead a force to start a revolt against the Taliban in Southern Afghanistan. However, Haq wants to do this under the authority of Zahir Shah, the popular former king of Afghanistan, whom the US does not support. The CIA fails to give any support to Haq. Says one CIA official to McFarlane a few months later, “We don’t yet have our marching orders concerning US policy; it may be that we will end up dealing with the Taliban.” Haq goes ahead with his plans without US support, and is killed in October (see October 25, 2001). [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 10/28/2001; WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/2/2001] Entity Tags: Robert C. McFarlane, Taliban, Abdul Haq, Zahir Shah, Central Intelligence Agency Category Tags: Hunt for Bin Laden

February 2001: Two Hijackers Seen Living in San Antonio with Swapped Identities At least six people with no connections to one another later claim they recognize hijackers Satam Al Suqami and Salem Alhazmi living in San Antonio, Texas, until this month. The management of an apartment building says the two men abandoned their leases at about this time, and some apartment residents recognize them. However, all the witnesses say that Suqami was going by Alhazmi’s name, and vice versa! [KENS 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS (SAN ANTONIO), 10/1/2001] One pilot shop employee recognizes Alhazmi as a frequent visitor to the store and interested in a 757 or 767 handbook, though he also says Alhazmi used Suqami’s name. [KENS 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS (SAN ANTONIO), 10/3/2001] The apartment-leasing agent also recalls a Ziad Jarrah who once lived there in June 2001 and looked the same as the hijacker. [SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 9/22/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/22/2001] Local FBI confirm that a Salem Alhazmi attended the nearby Alpha Tango Flight School and lived in that apartment building, but they say he is a different Salem Alhazmi who is still alive and living in Saudi Arabia. [KENS 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS (SAN ANTONIO), 10/4/2001] However, that “Salem Alhazmi” says he has never been to the US and has proven to the authorities that he did not leave Saudi Arabia in the two years prior to 9/11. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/20/2001] The FBI does not explain Satam Al Suqami’s presence. Neither hijacker is supposed to have arrived in the US before April 2001. Entity Tags: Ziad Jarrah, Satam Al Suqami, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Salem Alhazmi Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Hijackers

February 2001: Bin Laden’s Sisters Seen Handing Money to Al-Qaeda Member A former CIA counterterrorism expert later claims that an allied intelligence agency sees “two of Osama’s sisters apparently taking cash to an airport in Abu Dhabi [United Arab Emirates], where they are suspected of handing it to a member of bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization.” This is cited as one of many incidents showing an “interconnectedness” between bin Laden and the rest of his family. [NEW YORKER, 11/5/2001] Entity Tags: Bin Laden Family, Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda Category Tags: Saudi Arabia, Terrorism Financing, Bin Laden Family

February 2001: London Home of Prominent Al-Qaeda Imam Is Raided, Police Find Cash for Chechen Fighters

Abu Qatada. [Source: Reuters] British police raid the house of radical London imam Abu Qatada and find the equivalent of $250,000 in cash under his bed. Abu Qatada claims that the money is for the construction of a new mosque. However, $1,174 is in an envelope marked “for the Mujaheddin in Chechnya.” [BBC, 8/11/2005] At the time, Qatada has no money-making job and is living with a wife and four children on government benefits worth $150 a week plus other housing aid. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/26/2002] Spanish intelligence has known for years that al-Qaeda leader Barakat Yarkas has been frequently traveling to London and giving Qatada money for Chechnya that was raised in Spain (see 1995-February 2001). It is not known it the Spanish shared this intelligence with the British. Authors Sean O’Niell and Daniel McGrory will later write, “Jihad supporters have since confirmed that Abu Qatada was known throughout Britain as a conduit for funds destined for the Chechen fighters. Some of that money had been raised—directly and indirectly—in British mosques. There were straightforward appeals for the Chechen struggle, and rather more opaque pleas for charitable donations which were then siphoned off to the militants.” [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 67-8] Abu Qatada has a relationship with British counterintelligence (see June 1996-February 1997 and Early December 2001). Entity Tags: Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade, Abu Qatada, Barakat Yarkas Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Islamist Militancy in Chechnya, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

February 2001: Al-Qaeda Is Expecting US to Invade Afghanistan, Wants War in Iraq and Somalia as Well

Ahmed Zaidan. [Source: PBS] Ahmed Zaidan, a journalist for Al Jazeera, is invited to a wedding also attended by al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Mohammed Atef in Afghanistan (see February 26, 2001), and while there he talks to Atef about al-Qaeda’s military strategy. He will later recall that Atef told him, “He was explaining to me what’s going to happen in the coming five years.… There are two or three places in the world which [are] the most suitable places to fight Americans: Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia. We are expecting the United States to invade Afghanistan. And we are preparing for that. We want them to come to Afghanistan.” Michael Scheuer, head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, will later comment, “Did they want us involve in the war on the ground in Islamic countries? Absolutely. Part of the goal was to make sure that Muslims perceived America as the infidel invader of Muslim lands.” [WILLIAM CRAN, 4/15/2007] It is not known if any Western intelligence agencies were aware of this strategy prior to 9/11. However, other al-Qaeda-linked figures will make similar comments to reporters before 9/11 (see April 2001 and August 2-3, 2001). Entity Tags: Mohammed Atef, Michael Scheuer, Ahmed Zaidan Category Tags: Warning Signs, Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links, Iraq War Impact on Counterterrorism

February-March 2001: Politicians Warned about Terrorism Funding in US In September 1999, FBI agent Robert Wright hired David Schippers as his lawyer to represent him in his troubles with the FBI (see August 3, 1999). Schippers was the House Judiciary Committee’s chief investigator in the Clinton impeachment trial. Schippers later will claim that at this time he begins contacting congresspeople that he knows from the impeachment trial with concerns about terrorism. He later recalls, “I was talking primarily about the infiltration of Hamas [inside the US]—how they’re moving the money. I have evidence on that. I have all kinds of material.” In an obvious reference to the Vulgar Betrayal investigation, he also will assert that he knew US intelligence had “established the sources of the money flow of bin Laden” as early as 1996, but by 1999 had faced high-level obstructions into investigating these matters. But he will claim, “I couldn’t get anybody to talk to me.” [WORLDNETDAILY, 10/21/2001; AHMED, 2004, PP. 258-260] Schippers later claims he will continue to warn politicians about terrorism funding in the US, while also warning them about a potential al-Qaeda attack on lower Manhattan based on information he will receive in May 2001 (see May 2001; July-Late August 2001). Entity Tags: US Congress, Hamas, Federal Bureau of Investigation, David Schippers Category Tags: Robert Wright and Vulgar Betrayal, Terrorism Financing

February 2001-March 2001: Withdrawal of DIA Support Contributes to End of Able Danger Program

Maj. Gen. Rod Isler. [Source: US Defense Department] The new Director of Operations for the DIA, General Ron Isler, has Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer brief him on a series of operations. According to Shaffer, Isler strongly objects to Shaffer assisting Able Danger. “I said, ‘Well, sir, with all due respect, this is an important operation focused on the global al-Qaeda target,’ and he said, ‘You’re not hearing me, Tony. This is not your job.’” After further disagreement, Shaffer recalls the argument ending, “‘Tony, I’m the two star here. I’m the two star. I’m telling you I don’t want you doing anything with Able Danger.’ ‘Sir, if not us then who?’ ‘I don’t know, but it’s not your job.’ And that effectively ended my direct support and my unit’s [Stratus Ivy] support to Able Danger.” Recalling how this helped end Able Danger, Shaffer says, “I remember the last conversation I had with Captain Scott Phillpott on this was a desperate call from him asking me to try to help use one of my operational facilities to at least try to exploit the information [Able Danger had collected] before it got lost.” However, Isler says he cannot recall any discussion with Shaffer about Able Danger. [GOVERNMENT SECURITY NEWS, 9/2005] Entity Tags: Anthony Shaffer, Able Danger, Scott Phillpott, Ron Isler Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Able Danger

February-July 2001: Trial Presents FBI with Information About Pilot Training Scheme A trial is held in New York City for four defendants charged with involvement in the 1998 US African embassy bombings. All are ultimately convicted. Testimony reveals that two bin Laden operatives had received pilot training in Texas and Oklahoma and another had been asked to take lessons. One bin Laden aide becomes a government witness and gives the FBI detailed information about a pilot training scheme. This new information does not lead to any new FBI investigations into the matter. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/23/2001] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Federal Bureau of Investigation Category Tags: Warning Signs, 1998 US Embassy Bombings

(February-March 2001): New Administration Shuts Down Surveillance of Saudi Arabians The Defense Intelligence Agency began a project to monitor Saudi Arabian targets in the 1990s. The project, called Monarch Passage, was originally intended to track Saudi assistance to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, but is expanded to become a comprehensive communications spying program against Saudi businessmen and members of the Royal Family. However, it is shut down in the early days of the Bush administration. [STORIES THAT MATTER, 1/7/2006] Entity Tags: Bush administration, Monarch Passage Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Remote Surveillance, Saudi Arabia, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

Early February 2001: Moussaoui Given US Visa despite Presence on French Watch List The US Embassy in London grants a US student visa to Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen. The Los Angeles Times will later note this is granted “even though he was on a special French immigration watch list of suspected Islamic extremists.” [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 10/14/2001] Entity Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui

Early February 2001: Richard Clarke Urges Vice President Cheney to Take Action Against Al-Qaeda Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke briefs Vice President Cheney about the al-Qaeda threat. He urges decisive and quick action against al-Qaeda. Cheney soon visits CIA headquarters for more information about al-Qaeda. However, at later high-level meetings Cheney fails to bring up al-Qaeda as a priority issue. [TIME, 8/4/2002; CLARKE, 2004, PP. 227-30] Entity Tags: Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, Al-Qaeda, Central Intelligence Agency, Richard A. Clarke Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics, Presidential Level Warnings, Warning Signs

February 1, 2001: Rumsfeld Wants to Get Rid of Hussein in Iraq; Envisions Iraq After Hussein Is Gone The Bush White House holds its second National Security Council meeting. Like the first meeting (see January 30, 2001), the issue of regime change in Iraq is a central topic. [CBS NEWS, 1/10/2004; NEW YORK TIMES, 1/12/2004] Officials discuss a memo titled “Plan for post-Saddam Iraq,” which talks about troop requirements, establishing war crimes tribunals, and divvying up Iraq’s oil wealth. [ [SOURCES: PAUL O’NEILL] Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld interrupts Colin Powell’s discussion of UN-based sanctions against Iraq, saying, “Sanctions are fine. But what we really want to discuss is going after Saddam.” He continues, “Imagine what the region would look like without Saddam and with a regime that’s aligned with US interests. It would change everything in the region and beyond it. It would demonstrate what US policy is all about.” [SUSKIND, 2004, PP. 85-86 SOURCES: PAUL O’NEILL] According to Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, Rumsfeld talks at the meeting “in general terms about post-Saddam Iraq, dealing with the Kurds in the north, the oil fields, the reconstruction of the country’s economy, and the ‘freeing of the Iraqi people.’” [NEW YORK TIMES, 1/12/2004 SOURCES: PAUL O’NEILL] Other people, in addition to O’Neill, Bush, and Rumsfeld, who are likely in attendance include Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers. [US PRESIDENT, 2/13/2001] Entity Tags: Paul O’Neill, George W. Bush, George J. Tenet, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard B. Myers Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

Early 2001: CIA Reduces FBI Access to NSA’s Al-Qaeda Intercepts The CIA’s bin Laden unit, Alec Station, reduces the FBI’s access to NSA material tracking al-Qaeda members. The FBI had previously used such intercepts to map al-Qaeda’s global network (see Late 1998-Early 2002). The NSA intercepts at least one call from the 9/11 hijackers in the US to an al-Qaeda communications hub in Yemen after this (see Mid-October 2000-Summer 2001 and (August 2001)), but does not tell the FBI. Authors Joe and Susan Trento will comment that by doing this and withholding the hijackers’ identities from the FBI, “the CIA effectively ended any chance in the months leading up to 9/11 of discovering that [Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi] were actually al-Qaeda agents destined to play major roles in the 9/11 attacks.” The CIA repeatedly fails to tell the FBI what it knows about Alhazmi and Almihdhar (see 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 5, 2000, January 5, 2001 and After, and June 11, 2001). [TRENTO AND TRENTO, 2006, PP. 194] There is a long history of the NSA not wanting other US government agencies to have access to NSA material about al-Qaeda (see December 1996, Late August 1998, Between 1996 and August 1998, and Before September 11, 2001). Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Nawaf Alhazmi, Susan Trento, Khalid Almihdhar, Alec Station, National Security Agency, Joseph Trento Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Alhazmi and Almihdhar, CIA Hiding Alhazmi & Almihdhar, Remote Surveillance, Yemen Hub, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

February 1, 2001: Cole Investigators Interview Source over Identification of Al-Qaeda Leader, CIA Conceals Key Information Leading to Two 9/11 Hijackers Lead FBI case agent Ali Soufan and another agent investigating the bombing of the USS Cole interview a source, referred to later as “Omar,” who previously identified a photo of one of the bombers as al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash (see November 22-December 16, 2000), but a CIA officer present at the interview fails to add a crucial detail. The interview, which apparently takes place in Pakistan, is held to document the previous identification by Omar of bin Attash, who led the attack on the Cole, based on a photograph provided by Yemeni authorities. The CIA officer present at the meeting is also aware that Omar has identified bin Attash in a surveillance photo taken of al-Qaeda’s Malaysia summit (see January 5-8, 2000 and January 4, 2001). The identification of bin Attash in the photo taken at the summit is important because it connects bin Attash to 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, who were also at the summit, and because it casts light on bin Attash’s interaction with the other Cole bombers. The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General will later say it believes “that had the FBI known about the identification of [bin Attash] in the Kuala Lumpur photographs, they would likely have sought information about the other participants in the meeting, including Almihdhar and Alhazmi, which could have increased the FBI’s chances of locating them before the September 11 attacks.” The same CIA agent had previously failed to notify the FBI of the identification of bin Attash in the Malaysia summit photo (see January 5, 2001 and After), as had the CIA’s bin Laden unit (see Shortly Before February 1, 2001). [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 275-8 ] Entity Tags: CIA Islamabad Station, Ali Soufan, Office of the Inspector General (DOJ), Tawfiq bin Attash, Central Intelligence Agency, “Omar”, Federal Bureau of Investigation Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: 2000 USS Cole Bombing, Alhazmi and Almihdhar, CIA Hiding Alhazmi & Almihdhar, Al-Qaeda Malaysia Summit, Key Hijacker Events

February 2001 and After: Al-Qaeda Communications Hub in Yemen Is Disclosed in Global Media, but Hijacker Continues to Call It During the trial of men accused of the 1998 East African embassy bombings, an FBI witness mentions that one of the defendants, Mohamed al-Owhali, told investigators that he had stayed in a Yemen-based al-Qaeda communications hub run by Ahmed al-Hada. He also revealed that he had called the hub before and after the Nairobi bombing. (Note: al-Hada’s surname is transliterated as “al-Hazza” during the trial.) The existence of the communications hub in Yemen is then reported by the US State Department, CNN, the Guardian, and UPI over the next few months. [UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 2/13/2001; US DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 3/7/2001; UNITED STATE OF AMERICA V. USAMA BIN LADEN, ET AL., DAY 14, 3/7/2001; CNN, 5/2/2001; OBSERVER, 8/5/2001] The hub was also previously mentioned at a big trial of Islamic Jihad operatives in Cairo (see 1999). The 9/11 hijackers have been calling the communications hub by phone since early 1999, at least (see, e.g., Early 1999). The calls are being intercepted by the NSA and some of them have originated from within the US (see Early 2000-Summer 2001). Perhaps unaware that the hub’s existence has been disclosed, they will make at least one more call to the hub (see (August 2001)). Entity Tags: Mohamed al-Owhali, Khalid Almihdhar, National Security Agency, Nawaf Alhazmi, Salem Alhazmi, Ahmed al-Hada Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: 1998 US Embassy Bombings, Remote Surveillance, Yemen Hub, Alhazmi and Almihdhar

February 6, 2001: White House Told of New Rise in Terrorist Threats A Senior Executive Intelligence Brief (SEIB), entitled “Sunni Terrorist Threat Growing,” is sent to top White House officials. It indicates a heightened threat of Sunni extremists, particularly in the Middle East and Europe, against US facilities and personnel. (Bin Laden is the most wanted Sunni extremist by this time.) The briefing states this is considered the most significant spike in threat reporting since the Millennium. The SEIB is usually released one day after the corresponding President Daily Briefing is given to the president and contains similar content (see January 20-September 10, 2001), so it is probable Bush is given this warning. Based on this warning, a terrorist threat advisory will be shared throughout the US intelligence community on March 30, and the FBI will send out a warning to its field offices in April (see April 13, 2001). [US DISTRICT COURT OF EASTERN VIRGINIA, 5/4/2006, PP. 1 ] Entity Tags: White House, George W. Bush Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Warning Signs, Presidential Level Warnings

February 7, 2001: Tenet Warns Congress about Bin Laden CIA Director Tenet warns Congress in open testimony that the “threat from terrorism is real, it is immediate, and it is evolving.” He says bin Laden and his global network remains “the most immediate and serious threat” to US interests. “Since 1998 bin Laden has declared that all US citizens are legitimate targets,” he says, adding that bin Laden “is capable of planning multiple attacks with little or no warning.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 2/7/2001; SUNDAY HERALD (GLASGOW), 9/23/2001] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, US Congress, George J. Tenet Category Tags: Warning Signs, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

February 7, 2001: DIA Director Predicts Major Terrorist Attack on US Interests in Next Two Years

Thomas Wilson. [Source: Defense Intelligence Agency] Navy Vice Adm. Thomas Wilson, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testifies before Congress. He analyzes the current state of the world and lists some of the threats he sees facing the US. He says a terrorist attack is the most likely threat. He predicts that within the next two years there will be a “major terrorist attack against United States interests, either here or abroad, perhaps with a weapon designed to produce mass casualties.” He predicts higher-casualty attacks as terrorists gain “access to more destructive conventional weapons technologies and [weapons of mass destruction].” [AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 2/22/2001; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 2/22/2001] Entity Tags: US Congress, Thomas Wilson Category Tags: Warning Signs

February 8-March 12, 2001: Hanjour Practices on Boeing 737 Simulator, but Has Problems Hani Hanjour practices on a Boeing 737-200 simulator for a total of 21 hours at the JetTech International flight school in Phoenix, Arizona. Hanjour also attends ground school and pays just under $7,500 for the training. Despite only completing 21 of his originally scheduled 34 hours of simulator training, according to the FBI this is the best-trained of the four hijacker pilots (see Spring-Summer 2001). However, an instructor comments: “Student made numerous errors during performance… including a lack of understanding of some basic concepts… Some of the concepts involved in large jet systems cannot be fully comprehended by someone with only small prop plane experience.” [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA; ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006 ] The school contacts the FAA to warn it of Hanjour’s poor English and flying skills (see January-February 2001). Entity Tags: JetTech, Hani Hanjour Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Hani Hanjour, Alleged Hijackers' Flight Training

February 9, 2001: Bin Laden’s Financial Network Supposedly Laid Bare US officials claim significant progress in defeating bin Laden’s financial network, despite significant difficulties. It is claimed that “bin Laden’s financial and operational networks has been ‘completely mapped’ in secret documents shared by the State Department, CIA, and Treasury Department, with much of the mapping completed in detail by mid-1997.” [UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 2/9/2001] While it is unclear exactly how much the US knew about bin Laden’s finances before 9/11, it is known that the names and details of many organizations funding bin Laden were known as far back as 1996 (see January 1996). Shortly after 9/11, Richard Palmer, head of the CIA’s Moscow station in the 1990s, will say of al-Qaeda, “We could have starved the organization if we put our minds to it. The government has had the ability to track these accounts for some time.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/20/2001] The New York Times will later conclude that by 9/11, “The American government had developed a good deal of information about al-Qaeda’s finances, but it was not widely shared among agencies.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/10/2001] Entity Tags: United States, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Richard Palmer Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action Before 9/11, Terrorism Financing

February 9-21, 2001: NSA Supposedly Mapped, Disrupted, and Monitored Bin Laden’s Network In a series of articles for UPI, journalist Richard Sale reveals many details about the NSA’s electronic surveillance of al-Qaeda. “The United States has scored notable successes in an information war against the organization of terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden. US hackers have gone into foreign bank accounts and deleted or transferred money and jammed or blocked the group’s cell or satellite phones.” It is also mentioned that “Bin Laden is surrounded by US listening posts.” The articles discuss the extent to which the NSA’s Echelon satellite network is monitoring al-Qaeda, and even seems to make an oblique reference to monitoring the al-Qaeda safe house in Yemen that enabled the NSA to discover valuable information on hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar (see December 29, 1999). The articles also reveal that since 1995, bin Laden tried to protect his communications with a “full suite of tools,” but “codes were broken.” An expert adds that “you don’t use your highest level of secure communications all the time. It’s too burdensome, and it exposes it to other types of exploitation.” The articles also imply that Echelon is used in illegal ways. An anonymous former senior US intelligence official says, “This isn’t about legality. This is about trying to protect American lives.” [UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 2/9/2001; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 2/13/2001; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 2/21/2001] While bin Laden’s communications were certainly thoroughly monitored before 9/11 (see November 1996-Late August 1998), no evidence has come to light since 9/11 that the US was hacking into bank accounts or jamming signals. Entity Tags: Nawaf Alhazmi, Echelon, Khalid Almihdhar, National Security Agency, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action Before 9/11, Remote Surveillance, Yemen Hub

February 13, 2001: Interagency Counterterrorism Communications Now Channeled Through Rice President Bush issues a little-noticed directive that dramatically changes the way information flows among top Bush administration officials. It states that attendees of National Security Council (NSC) meetings shall continue to include the president, vice president, secretary of state, treasury secretary, defense secretary, CIA director, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and assistant to the president for national security affairs. However, other officials, including the “heads of other executive departments and agencies, as well as other senior officials” are excluded from the automatic right to attend NSC meetings. Instead, they “shall be invited to attend meetings of the NSC when appropriate.” National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is given a pivotal position. In addition to attending all NSC meetings, she is responsible for determining the agenda of all the meetings. The directive also states, “The existing system of Interagency Working Groups is abolished.” Instead, Rice will coordinate a series of eleven new interagency coordination committees within the NSC. She is designated the executive secretary of all eleven committees, meaning that she will schedule the meetings and determine agendas. She is made chairperson of six of the committees, including “Counter-Terrorism and National Preparedness,” “Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence,” and “Records Access and Information Security.” Professor Margie Burns will later ask rhetorically, “How could the White House ever have thought that abolishing the interagency work groups was a good idea, if security was the objective? Why was so much responsibility placed on the shoulders of one person, Condoleezza Rice, whose [only] previous experience had been at Stanford University and Chevron?” [US PRESIDENT, 2/13/2001; CHRONICLES MAGAZINE, 1/2004] Entity Tags: Condoleezza Rice, National Security Council, Margie Burns, George W. Bush Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

February 13. 2001: Bush Expands US Security to Mean ‘Advancement of US Interests Around the Globe’ President Bush’s first national security directive, NPSD-1, dramatically reorganizes the National Security Council. The directive redefines “security” as not only the defense of the US and its borders, but also explicitly defines it as “the advancement of United States interests around the globe. National security also depends on America’s opportunity to prosper in the world economy.” The directive removes many senior advisers and staff from the flow of information and centralizes almost all security information directly to Bush through National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (see February 13, 2001). [US PRESIDENT, 2/13/2001] Entity Tags: Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, National Security Council Category Tags: US Dominance

February 15, 2001: Atta and Alshehhi Offered Jobs as Co-Pilots with New Florida Airline Rudi Dekkers, who owns the Venice, Florida flight school attended by Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, sets up his own commuter airline called Florida Air (FLAIR), which flies out of Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. FLAIR, which also goes by the name Sunrise Airlines, will only be in service for a couple of months in 2001, and eventually has its operating authority revoked by the Department of Transportation. [VENICE GONDOLIER SUN, 3/3/2001; TRANSPORTATION, 2/14/2002, PP. 6963 ; VENICE GONDOLIER SUN, 1/25/2003; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 7/25/2004] Yet, at the same time as he is establishing FLAIR, Dekkers fails to pay his rent for Huffman Aviation flight school on time six months in a row, from February to July 2001, blaming this partly on tight cash flow. [CHARLOTTE SUN, 9/13/2001] According to the 9/11 Commission, at some point in their flight training Rudi Dekkers offers Atta and Alshehhi jobs as co-pilots for FLAIR. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 38 ] Yet they are supposed to have completed training at Huffman Aviation two months earlier, in December 2000, after which Dekkers claims he never saw them again. [US CONGRESS, 3/19/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 227; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 17 ] Considering he reportedly offers him a job with his airline, it seems odd that Dekkers later claims having much disliked Atta when he was at Huffman. He will say he thought Atta was “very arrogant,” and that “My personal feeling was Atta was an asshole first class… I just didn’t like the guy… Sometimes you have that impression from when you meet people in the field and that was my first impression.” [AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 10/21/2001; BBC, 12/12/2001] Entity Tags: Florida Air, Mohamed Atta, Rudi Dekkers, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, Alleged Hijackers' Flight Training

February 15, 2001: Atta and Pakistani Fighter Pilot Associate Denied Airplane Security Job Because of Criminal Record According to a book by Jurgen Roth, described by Newsday as “one of Germany’s top investigative reporters,” on this day Mohamed Atta applies for a job with Lufthansa Airlines at the Frankfurt, Germany, airport. The security post he applies for would give him access to secure areas of the busy international airport. However, when Lufthansa checks his criminal record they find that in 1995 he had been under investigation for petty drug crimes (see 1995), so his application is turned down. Three days later, an Iranian citizen dropping Atta’s name also applies for the same job, and is also turned down. On March 5, a third man applies, with Atta at his side. He tells Lufthansa that he has been a pilot in the Pakistani Air Force. Apparently both the Iranian and Pakistani are members of an Islamic study group with Atta at the Hamburg university they are all attending. While the name of the Pakistani pilot is not revealed in this account, a Pakistani Air Force pilot named Atif bin Mansour is known to have applied together with Atta for a room for a new Islamic study group in early 1999 (see Late 1998-August 10, 1999). After 9/11, Lufthansa Airlines will say they can neither confirm nor deny this account, because all such records for rejected applicants have been routinely deleted. [ROTH, 2001, PP. 9F; NEWSDAY, 1/24/2002] In 2007, it will be reported that French intelligence learned before 9/11 of a meeting in early 2000 in which al-Qaeda planned the hijacking of an airliner departing from Frankfurt, and one of the target airliners considered was Lufthansa (see Early 2000). Entity Tags: Pakistani Air Force, Lufthansa Airlines, Atif bin Mansour, Jurgen Roth, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Mohamed Atta, Pakistan and the ISI, Alleged Hijackers' Flight Training

February 19-February 20, 2001: Hijackers Make Unexplained Trip to Virginia Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi make a brief trip to Virginia Beach, where they cash a check for $4,000 and rent a mailbox. Newsweek later reports that federal investigators believe Mohamed Atta visits Norfolk, Virginia, site of a huge US Navy base, at this time: “The Feds believe that Atta was scoping out an aircraft carrier as a target.” However, the 9/11 Commission will comment, “We have found no explanation for these travels.” [NEWSWEEK, 9/24/2001; NEWSWEEK, 10/29/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/16/2004, PP. 7; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 229, 523; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006 ] Atta and Alshehhi will return to Virginia Beach a few weeks later (see April 3-4, 2001 and around). Entity Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, 9/11 Commission Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta

February 20, 2001: Evidence Suggests Indonesian Military Assisted Al-Qaeda Affiliate with Christmas Eve Bombings

Location of the Indonesian cities hit in the Christmas Eve bombings. [Source: SBS Dateline] A series of 38 church bombings on Christmas Eve, 2000, killed 19 people in 11 Indonesian cities. The al-Qaeda affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) is blamed (see December 24-30, 2000). However, in February 2001, the respected Indonesian newsweekly Tempo publishes a cover story suggesting links between the bombings and the Indonesian military, the TNI. The article points out that Edi Sugiarto, who was quickly arrested and confessed to assembling 15 of the bombs used in the town of Medan, has long run a car repair shop in the province of Aceh, where a separatist group named GAM has been fighting for many years. Members of TNI and Indonesia’s special forces, Kopassus, regularly went to his shop for repairs and just to hang out. As a result, GAM claimed he was a TNI lackey and burned down his shop and house in 1997. Phone records also indicate that Sugiarto called Fauzi Hasbi seven times before the bombings. Hasbi is a leader of JI, but Tempo outs him as an Indonesian government mole. In 2005, two years after Hasbi’s death, the Australian television program SBS Dateline will provide additional evidence of Hasbi’s long-time links to the TNI (see 1979-February 22, 2003). Fasbi also called Jacob Tanwijaya, a businessman well connected with the TNI, 35 times. That businessman in turn talked on the phone to Lt. Col. Iwan Prilianto, a Kopassus special forces intelligence officer, over 70 times. However, these potential military links are never investigated and only Sugiarto and other alleged JI figures are arrested and later convicted for a role in the bombings. SBS Dateline will later report that “reputable sources claim [Sugiarto] was so severely tortured before his trial he would have admitted to anything.” [TEMPO, 2/20/2001; SBS DATELINE, 10/12/2005] Fasbi also made at least one call to another key figure in the bombings. The International Crisis Group, an international think tank, will later comment, “[I]t is hard to avoid the suspicion that someone in the armed forces must have known that at least the Medan part [of the bombings] was in the works…” [INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP, 12/11/2002] Entity Tags: Kopassus, Tentara Nasional Indonesia, Jemaah Islamiyah, Fauzi Hasbi, Iwan Prilianto, Jacob Tanwijaya, Edi Sugiarto Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Other Possible Moles or Informants, Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia, Hambali, 2002 Bali Bombings, Indonesian Militant Collusion, Alleged Al-Qaeda Linked Attacks

February 21, 2001: Mohamed Atta’s Car Is Queried by Police in Georgia A car registered to Mohamed Atta is queried by police in DeKalb County, Georgia. This incident is added to the NCIC, a widely used nationwide police database. [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 10/2001, PP. 126 ] Atta and Marwan Alshehhi are currently living in Georgia (see (January 25-Early March, 2001)). Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, National Crime Information Center Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Mohamed Atta, Hijacker Contact w Government in US

February 22-25, 2001: Atta Spends Weekend in Key West on a ‘Continuous Party,’ then Bails Girlfriend out of Jail? Some reports later suggest that around this time Mohamed Atta has an American girlfriend called Amanda Keller (see (February-April 2001)). According to Tony and Vonnie LaConca, a couple that meet Keller and her boyfriend (who they know only as “Mohamed”), the pair and another woman go on a short trip to Key West, Florida. Tony LaConca later recalls, “They were gone for three days. They didn’t sleep—it was a continuous party.” The three indulge in drugs and alcohol, all paid for by “Mohamed,” even though he does not have a job. After returning from the trip, on February 25 “Mohamed” has to bail Keller out of South County Jail, after police take her in because of an outstanding warrant over a “worthless check charge.” [CHARLOTTE SUN, 9/14/2001; CHARLOTTE SUN, 9/11/2003] The Sarasota Herald-Tribune claims that Keller’s companion is not Mohamed Atta, but another man of Middle Eastern descent named Mohammed. [SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/23/2001] In 2002, Keller will say that her boyfriend was indeed Mohamed Atta, but in 2006 she retracts this claim. [SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/10/2006] Interestingly, other witnesses later describe Atta as frequently drinking alcohol, smoking, and possibly doing drugs (see (Mid-July - December 2000)). Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Mohamed Atta

Between February 23, 2001 and June 2001: Germans Monitor Call Between Moussaoui and Bin Al-Shibh While Zacarias Moussaoui is living in Norman, Oklahoma, and getting flight training there, he makes a phone call to Germany that is monitored by German intelligence. The call is to Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who is intimately involved in the 9/11 plot and has been a roommate of hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi. [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/29/2001] Bin al-Shibh stayed in London for a week in early December 2000 and met with Moussaoui there (see October 2000-February 2001). Phone records further indicate that there was at least one phone call between Moussaoui and the landlord of the Hamburg apartment where Mohamed Atta and other 9/11 hijackers lived. But the timing of the call has not been revealed, nor is it known if that call was monitored as well or not. [INDEPENDENT, 12/11/2001] Entity Tags: Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Zacarias Moussaoui Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui, Remote Surveillance

February 23-August 16, 2001: Moussaoui and 9/11 Hijackers Engage in Parallel Conduct After entering the US, Zacarias Moussaoui engages in activities that appear to mirror those of the 9/11 hijackers. Both Moussaoui and the hijackers do the following:

Take flight training (see February 23-June 2001 and July 6-December 19, 2000); 
Physically import large amounts of cash (see October 2000-February 2001 and January 15, 2000-August 2001); 
Purchase knives with short blades that can be carried onto airliners (see August 16, 2001 and July 8-August 30, 2001); 
Take fitness training (see August 16, 2001 and May 6-September 6, 2001); 
Obtain several identification documents (see April 12-September 7, 2001 and August 1-2, 2001); and 
Purchase flight deck videos from the same shop (see November 5, 2000-June 20, 2001).

In addition, Moussaoui is supported by some of the same al-Qaeda operatives as the 9/11 hijackers: Ramzi bin al-Shibh (see July 29, 2001-August 3, 2001 and June 13-September 25, 2000) and Yazid Sufaat (see September-October 2000 and January 5-8, 2000). At Moussaoui’s trial, the prosecution will cite these parallel activities in its argument that Moussaoui was connected to 9/11, rather than some follow-up plot. There is also one reported meeting between Moussaoui and two of the lead hijackers before 9/11 (see August 1, 2001), but this will not be mentioned at the trial (see March 6-May 4, 2006). [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 3/9/2006] Entity Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui

February 23-June 2001: Moussaoui Takes Lessons at Flight School Previously Used by Al-Qaeda

Airman Flight School. [Source: FBI] Zacarias Moussaoui flies to the US. Three days later, he starts flight training at the Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma. (Other Islamic extremists had previously trained at the same flight school or other schools in the area (see September 1999)). He trains there until May, but does not do well and drops out before getting a pilot’s license. His visa expires on May 22, but he does not attempt to renew it or get another one. He stays in Norman, arranging to change flight schools, and frequently exercising in a gym. [MSNBC, 12/11/2001; US CONGRESS, 10/17/2002] According to US investigators, would-be hijacker Ramzi Bin al-Shibh later says he meets Moussaoui in Karachi (Pakistan) in June 2001. [WASHINGTON POST, 11/20/2002] Entity Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Airman Flight School Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui

(Between February 24-August 16, 2001): Moussaoui Writes Blackwater Phone Number in Notebook

A page of Zacarias Moussaoui’s notebook with a phone number for the security contractor Blackwater. [Source: US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division] Zacarias Moussaoui writes the phone number for the private security contractor Blackwater in his notebook. [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DISTRICT, 7/31/2006 ] It is unclear why he writes the phone number down or whether he has any actual contact with Blackwater, but terrorism analyst J. M. Berger will later comment: “The discovery may best be taken with the proverbial grain of salt, and a large one at that. The phone number is publicly available and connects to a Blackwater training center in North Carolina. Moussaoui was researching physical and combat training options while he was in the United States. The simplest and most innocent explanation is quite possibly the correct one. Nevertheless, a glimpse of the controversial company’s contact information nestled among Moussaoui’s handwritten notes inspires the jaw to drop in a not-entirely unreasonable manner.” [INTELWIRE(.COM), 8/1/2006] Entity Tags: Blackwater USA, Zacarias Moussaoui, John M. Berger Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui

February 25, 2001: 9/11 Hijacker Jarrah Is Given Unusual Length of Stay upon Return to US, despite Breaching Immigration Rules 9/11 hijacker Ziad Jarrah arrives in the US for the fifth time and is admitted at Newark as a business visitor, receiving a six-month stay. This is unusual, as inspectors usually give business visitors one to three months, depending on the port of entry, and six months only when the visitor can document the purpose of the stay, which Jarrah apparently does not do. Jarrah actually should not be admitted at all because he is out of status—he breached immigration rules by taking a flight training course despite entering the US as a tourist—but this is apparently not noticed (see June 27-28, 2000). [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 20 ] Entity Tags: Ziad Jarrah Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Ziad Jarrah, Hijacker Contact w Government in US

February 25-March 4, 2001: 9/11 Hijacker Jarrah Stays in Jacksonville Again, Frequents Strip Club After returning to the US for the fifth time, 9/11 hijacker Ziad Jarrah flies immediately to Jacksonville, Florida, where he stays at the Ramada Inn for a week. He had previously visited Jacksonville (see January 22-26, 2001), as had Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi (see (October 2000)). While in Jacksonville, he frequents Wacko’s strip club. A worker there will later say that the FBI comes to the club after 9/11 to ask questions and show pictures “of the 9/11 terrorists,” and a dancer recognizes Jarrah from a photo line-up. The information about the hotel stay will be discovered by First Coast News in summer 2004 and they will offer to share it with the FBI. The local office will originally agree to meet the reporters, but then cancel at the last minute, saying that the cancellation had been ordered by their superiors at the Justice Department due to a possible impact on the Zacarias Moussaoui trial. First Coast News will comment, “Questions still remain as to what Jarrah was doing in Jacksonville.” [FIRST COAST NEWS, 8/24/2004; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006, PP. 5, 22 ] Jarrah’s whereabouts after he leaves Jacksonville are unknown for a week and a half, but he shows up in Decatur, Georgia, on March 15. There he stays at a hotel previously used by Atta and Alshehhi for two weeks using the name variant Ziad Samir. [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 10/2001, PP. 128 ] Entity Tags: Ziad Jarrah Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Ziad Jarrah

February 26, 2001: Paul Bremer: Bush Administration Paying No Attention to Terrorism Paul Bremer, who will be appointed the US administrator of Iraq in 2003, says in a speech that the Bush administration is “paying no attention” to terrorism. Bremer says, “What they will do is stagger along until there’s a major incident and then suddenly say, ‘Oh my God, shouldn’t we be organized to deal with this?’” He speaks shortly after chairing the National Commission on Terrorism, a bipartisan body formed during the Clinton administration. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4/29/2004; CBS NEWS, 4/30/2004; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 5/3/2004] Entity Tags: L. Paul Bremer, National Commission on Terrorism, Clinton administration, Bush administration Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

February 26, 2001: Osama Attends Son’s Wedding with Other Bin Laden Family Members

Mohammed bin Laden (center), the son of Osama bin Laden (right), marries the daughter of Mohammed Atef (left). [Source: Al Jazeera] Bin Laden attends the wedding of his son Mohammed in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Although Osama bin Laden is supposedly long estranged from his family, bin Laden’s stepmother, two brothers, and sister are also said to attend, according to the only journalist who was invited. [REUTERS, 3/1/2001; SUNDAY HERALD (GLASGOW), 10/7/2001] Entity Tags: Al-Khalifa bin Laden, Osama bin Laden, Mohammed Atef, Mohammed bin Laden Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden, Saudi Arabia, Bin Laden Family

Late February 2001: Enron Influences Cheney’s Energy Task Force to Help Troubled Dabhol Plant Vice President Cheney is holding a series of secret energy task force meetings to determine the Bush administration’s future energy policy. Starting at this time, Enron leader Ken Lay and other Enron officials take part in a least half a dozen of these secret meetings. After one such meeting, Cheney’s energy task force changes a draft energy proposal to include a provision boosting oil and natural gas production in India. The amendment is so narrow that it apparently is targeted to only help Enron’s troubled Dabhol power plant in India. [WASHINGTON POST, 1/19/2002] Entity Tags: Enron, Bush administration, Kenneth Lay, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney Category Tags: Pipeline Politics

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