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Main article: Khalid al-Mihdhar:q1 2000


April 16-18, 2000: Hijackers Receive First Wire Transfer from UAE; Almihdhar Suspected of Being Saudi Intelligence Operative According to the 9/11 Commission, al-Qaeda financial facilitator Ali Abdul Aziz Ali uses the name “Mr. Ali” to make the first wire transfer from abroad to the hijackers in the US. Five thousand dollars is wired from the Wall Street Exchange Center in Dubai to an account of an acquaintance of hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar in San Diego. The Exchange Center makes a copy of Ali’s work ID and notes his cell phone number and work address, which is helpful to the FBI after 9/11. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 220; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 134 ] Ali, who is a nephew of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, is also accused of wiring hijacker Marwan Alshhehi $115,000 (see June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000). Although in a 2007 US military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay he will admit sending this amount to Alshehhi, he will deny sending $5,000 to Alhazmi, saying that his personal information was distributed to “thousands of people from different parts of the world,” so it could have been used by somebody else. Some reports indicate that Saeed Sheikh may also have wired the hijackers some money this year (see Summer 2000). [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 4/12/2007, PP. 17 ] Although the hijackers have at least one US bank account (see February 4, 2000), they tell the administrator of their local mosque, Adel Rafeea, that they do not have one and ask him to allow the money to be paid into his account. It is unclear why they do this. The administrator will come forward after 9/11 and say that Alhazmi and Almihdhar initially described themselves as Saudi government clerks and needed his help to find an English school. After declining Alhazmi’s request for a loan, he permits his account to be used, but then distances himself from them because he is suspicious of the transfer: it came from the United Arab Emirates, not Saudi Arabia, where Alhazmi said it would come from, and the sender is only identified as “Ali.” This causes him to worry that Almihdhar might be an intelligence agent of the Saudi government. [US CONGRESS, 9/26/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 517; MCDERMOTT, 2005, PP. 191] Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Saeed Sheikh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Adel Rafeea Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

May 5 and 10, 2000: Alhazmi and Almihdhar Are ‘Dumb and Dumber’ as Pilot Students Edit

Fred Sorbi, and the Cessna 172 used by the hijackers. [Source: San Diego Channel 10] Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar arrive at Sorbi’s Flying Club, a small school in San Diego, and announce that they want to learn to fly Boeing airliners. Alhazmi had previously had a lesson at another nearby flying school (see April 4, 2000). [WASHINGTON POST, 9/30/2001] They are there with someone named “Hani”—possibly hijacker Hani Hanjour—but only the two of them go up in an airplane. The 9/11 Commission will say that Hanjour is outside the US at this time, although some media reports will place him in San Diego (see (Early 2000-November 2000)). [SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, 9/28/2001] Instructor Rick Garza says that the dream to fly big jets is the goal of practically every student who comes to the school, but he notices an unusual lack of any basic understanding of aircraft in these two. When he asks Almihdhar to draw the aircraft, Almihdhar draws the wings on backwards. Both speak English poorly, but Almihdhar in particular seems impossible to communicate with. Rather than following the instructions he was given, he would vaguely reply, “Very good. Very nice.” [CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/30/2001] The two offer extra money to Garza if he will teach them to fly multi-engine Boeing planes, but Garza declines. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/30/2001] “I told them they had to learn a lot of other things first… It was like Dumb and Dumber. I mean, they were clueless. It was clear to me they weren’t going to make it as pilots.” [OBSERVER, 10/7/2001 SOURCES: RICK GARZA] Entity Tags: Rick Garza, Nawaf Alhazmi, Hani Hanjour, Khalid Almihdhar, Sorbi’s Flying Club Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

May 10-Mid-December 2000: FBI Asset Fails to Share Valuable Information on Hijackers

Abdussattar Shaikh. [Source: courtesy Daniel Hopsicker] While future 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar live in the house of an FBI asset, Abdussattar Shaikh, the asset continues to have contact with his FBI handler. The handler, Steven Butler, later claims that during the summer, Shaikh mentions the names “Nawaf” and “Khalid” in passing and says that they are renting rooms from him. [NEWSWEEK, 9/9/2002; US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 51 ; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 7/25/2003; 9/11 COMMISSION, 4/23/2004; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 220] In early media reports after 9/11, the two will be said to have moved in around September 2000, but the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will imply that Shaikh lied about this, and they moved in much earlier. Alhazmi stays until December; Almihdhar appears to be mostly out of the US after June. [SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 9/16/2001; WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/17/2001; SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, 9/28/2001; US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 157 ] On one occasion, Shaikh tells Butler on the phone he cannot talk because Khalid is in the room. [NEWSWEEK, 9/9/2002] Shaikh tells Butler Alhazmi and Almihdharare are good, religious Muslims who are legally in the US to visit and attend school. Butler asks Shaikh for their last names, but Shaikh refuses to provide them. Butler is not told that they are pursuing flight training. Shaikh tells Butler that they are apolitical and have done nothing to arouse suspicion. However, according to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, he later admits that Alhazmi has “contacts with at least four individuals [he] knew were of interest to the FBI and about whom [he] had previously reported to the FBI.” Three of these four people are being actively investigated at the time the hijackers are there. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 51 ] The report will mention Osama Mustafa as one, and Shaikh will admit that suspected Saudi agent Omar al-Bayoumi was a friend. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 51 ; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 7/25/2003] Alhazmi and Shaikh will remain in contact after Alhazmi leaves San Diego in December. Alhazmi will call Shaikh to tell him he intends to take flying lessons in Arizona and that Almihdhar has returned to Yemen. He also e-mails Shaikh three times; one of the e-mails is signed “Smer,” an apparent attempt to conceal his identity, which Shaikh finds strange. However, Alhazmi will not reply to e-mails Shaikh sends him in February and March of 2001. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 223] The FBI will later conclude that Shaikh is not involved in the 9/11 plot, but it has serious doubts about his credibility. After 9/11 he will give inaccurate information and has an “inconclusive” polygraph examination about his foreknowledge of the 9/11 attack. The FBI will believe he had contact with another of the 9/11 hijackers, Hani Hanjour, but claimed not to recognize him. There will be other “significant inconsistencies” in Shaikh’s statements about the hijackers, including when he first met them and his later meetings with them. The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will conclude that had the asset’s contacts with the hijackers been capitalized upon, it “would have given the San Diego FBI field office perhaps the US intelligence community’s best chance to unravel the September 11 plot.” [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 51 ] The FBI will try to prevent Butler and Shaikh from testifying before the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry in October 2002. Butler ends up testifying, but Shaikh does not. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/11/2002] Entity Tags: Steven Butler, Abdussattar Shaikh, Khalid Almihdhar, Osama (“Sam”) Mustafa, Omar al-Bayoumi, Nawaf Alhazmi, Hani Hanjour, Federal Bureau of Investigation Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Mid-May-December 2000: Almihdhar and Alhazmi Receive Late Night Visits at FBI Informer’s House While living with FBI informer Abdussatar Shaikh (see May 10-Mid-December 2000), hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi receive strange late night visits, as they did in their previous apartment in San Diego. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/16/2001] The visits are seen by their neighbors. For instance, one neighbor says, “There was always a series of cars driving up to the house late at night. Sometimes they were nice cars. Sometimes they had darkened windows. They’d stay about 10 minutes.” [TIME, 9/24/2001] The two hijackers are also reportedly visited by Mohamed Atta and Hani Hanjour at this time (see Mid-May-December 2000). Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Abdussattar Shaikh, Nawaf Alhazmi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Mid-May-December 2000: Atta and Hanjour Reportedly Visit Fellow Hijackers at FBI Informer’s House

Abdussattar Shaikh’€™s house in Lemon Grove, California. [Source: Newsweek] While Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi are living with FBI informer Abdussattar Shaikh in San Diego (see May 10-Mid-December 2000), they are apparently visited frequently by Mohamed Atta, as well as Hani Hanjour, according to neighbors interviewed after 9/11. [KGTV 10 (SAN DIEGO), 9/27/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/29/2001; CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/30/2001; KGTV 10 (SAN DIEGO), 10/11/2001; LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 10/26/2001] However, Shaikh will deny Atta’s visits and the FBI will not mention them. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/29/2001] Shaikh will also deny having met Hanjour, but the 9/11 Commission will say that it has “little doubt” Shaikh met Hanjour at least once. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 518] The two San Diego-based hijackers also receive a series of mysterious late night visits at this time (see Mid-May-December 2000). Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Mohamed Atta, Hani Hanjour, Abdussattar Shaikh, Federal Bureau of Investigation Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Summer 2000: San Diego Hijackers Meet Atta and Al-Bayoumi Anonymous government sources later claim that Mohamed Atta visits fellow hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Omar al-Bayoumi. These same sources claim al-Bayoumi is identified after September 11 as an “advance man” for al-Qaeda. [WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/26/2002] Other reports have suggested Atta visited Alhazmi and Almihdhar in San Diego, but the FBI has not confirmed this. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003 ] Entity Tags: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Mohamed Atta, Omar al-Bayoumi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

June 9, 2000: On Trip to Los Angeles, Alhazmi and Almihdhar Seem to Know Local Muslims Well, Meet Mysterious Associate

The King Fahd Mosque in Culver City. [Source: Damian Dovarganes] Hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi travel to Los Angeles with an associate, Mohdar Abdullah, before Almihdhar leaves the US the next day (see June 10, 2000). When they visit the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, Abdullah is surprised that Alhazmi and Almihdhar already know several people at the mosque. Abdullah will later say, “I was surprised that anybody at the mosque knew them, because as far as I knew Alhazmi and Almihdhar hadn’t visited Los Angeles since they arrived in the US.” They meet one of the hijackers’ Los Angeles acquaintances, known as Khallam, again later that night at their motel. According to the 9/11 Commission, Khallam asks Abdullah to leave the motel room, so he can talk to Alhazmi and Almihdhar in private. However, Abdullah will later dispute this, saying he is not asked leave the room, but that Alhazmi leaves to make an international phone call from a pay phone. The identity of the person he calls is unknown, but it is possible that he talks to Ahmed al-Hada, an al-Qaeda operative whose safe house is monitored by the US and who Alhazmi sometimes calls from the US (see Early 2000-Summer 2001). Khallam will apparently never be found after 9/11. The FBI will consider the possibility that he is Khallad bin Attash, as there are some reports that bin Attash is in the US at this time and met the mosque’s imam, Fahad al Thumairy. However, this theory will never be confirmed. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 7/24/2004; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 216, 514] The next day, Alhazmi, Abdullah and an unknown man make a casing video at Los Angeles Airport (see June 10, 2000). It is possible that the third man is Khallam. Entity Tags: Nawaf Alhazmi, Tawfiq bin Attash, Mohdar Abdullah, Khalid Almihdhar, 9/11 Commission, Fahad al Thumairy, Khallam, Federal Bureau of Investigation Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

June 10, 2000: Almihdhar Flies from San Diego to Germany; Return Date Unclear

Khalid Almihdhar. [Source: FBI] Hijacker Khalid Almihdhar flies from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany. [US CONGRESS, 9/20/2002] He is accompanied to the airport by another hijacker, Nawaf Alhazmi, and an associate (see June 10, 2000). Authorities later believe that Almihdhar visits his cousin-in-law Ramzi Bin al-Shibh and other al-Qaeda members in bin al-Shibh’s cell. Since the CIA fails to notify Germany about its suspicions of Almihdhar and bin al-Shibh, both of whom were seen attending the al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia in January, German police fail to monitor them and another chance to uncover the 9/11 plot is missed. [DIE ZEIT (HAMBURG), 10/1/2002; US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 135 ] FBI Director Mueller and the congressional inquiry into 9/11 will claim that Almihdhar does not return to the US for over a year [US CONGRESS, 9/20/2002; US CONGRESS, 9/26/2002] , although it is possible that Almihdhar does return before then. For instance, there are indications Almihdhar attends a flight school in Arizona in early 2001. [ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/28/2001] Entity Tags: Robert S. Mueller III, Khalid Almihdhar, Germany, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ramzi bin al-Shibh Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(Mid-June-Mid-July 2000): Almihdhar Stays in Yemen House Monitored by US Intelligence When hijacker Khalid Almihdhar leaves the US in June (see June 10, 2000), he flies to Frankfurt, Germany, and then to Oman in the Middle East. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 135 ] From there he returns to his family’s home in Sana’a, Yemen. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 237] His wife and children live at an al-Qaeda communications hub that is run by his father in law, Ahmed al-Hada. The hub is being monitored by the NSA and CIA. Phone calls to and from the hub, including ones made by Almihdhar and other hijackers, are intercepted, rooms in the building are bugged, and spy satellites record visitors (see Late August 1998, Late 1998-Early 2002, and Early 2000-Summer 2001). Based on information gained from monitoring this house, the CIA and local intelligence services mounted a major operation against Almihdhar, other hijackers, and several more al-Qaeda operatives in December 1999 and January 2000, when they were followed around the Middle East and South Asia and monitored during an al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia (see December 29, 1999, January 2-5, 2000, and January 5-8, 2000). So presumably US intelligence should have been aware of this visit to the hub and who Almihdhar was, but what exactly was known and who may have known it has not been made public. Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Ahmed al-Hada Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Summer 2000: NSA Continues to Intercept Calls between Hijackers and Yemen Communications Hub After hijacker Khaled Almihdhar returns to the Middle East (see June 10, 2000 and (Mid-June-Mid-July 2000)), the NSA continues to intercept his telephone calls to and from an al-Qaeda communications hub in Sana’a, Yemen, where his wife and children live. US intelligence understands that this is one of the most important al-Qaeda hot spots, and has been closely monitoring it since at least late 1998 (see August 4-25, 1998 and Late 1998-Early 2002). It also intercepts calls between hijacker Salem Alhazmi and the hub, as well as conversations between his brother, hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi, in the US and the hub (see Mid-October 2000-Summer 2001). [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 157 ; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 222; WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 343] The NSA had previously intercepted calls made by the hijackers to and from the communications hub, both when they were in the US and outside it (see Early 2000-Summer 2001). Entity Tags: Salem Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, National Security Agency, Nawaf Alhazmi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline


Mid-July 2000: Almihdhar Reports to KSM; Claims He and Alhazmi Were Followed to US According to a post-9/11 confession obtained from 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM), al-Qaeda operative Khallad bin Attash persuades hijacker Khalid Almihdhar to return to Afghanistan to meet with KSM. At the meeting, Almihdhar complains about life in the US but says he is confident he will be able to obtain another visa, as he left the US before his first one expired. He also tells Mohammed about the problems he and Nawaf Alhazmi have had enrolling in language schools and says they believe they were monitored when they flew from Bangkok to the US in January 2000 (see January 15, 2000) (it is not clear who may have monitored them). Supposedly, KSM is angry that Almihdhar left the US without permission and wishes to exclude Almihdhar from the mission, but bin Laden himself intervenes and keeps Almihdhar involved. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 237, 269; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, 7/31/2006, PP. 20-21 ] Doubts have been raised about the reliability of KSM’s confession, as it was obtained using torture (see June 16, 2004). According to author Ron Suskind, at one point interrogators even threaten to hurt KSM’s children, a seven-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl, unless he provides more information. [SUSKIND, 2006, PP. 230] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Tawfiq bin Attash, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(Before September 2000): Army Intelligence Unit Said to Discover Hijackers Renting Rooms at New Jersey Motels According to an anonymous Able Danger official speaking to the Bergen Record, a US Army intelligence unit tasked with assembling information about al-Qaeda networks worldwide discovers that several of the 9/11 hijackers are taking rooms at motels in New Jersey and meeting together there. The intelligence unit, called Able Danger, which uses high-speed computers to analyze vast amounts of data, notices that Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi take a room at the Wayne Inn (see (Before September 2000-12 Months Later)). After the existence of the Able Danger unit comes to light in 2005, Bergen Record columnist and reporter Mike Kelly says, “The connect-the-dots tracking by the team was so good that it even knew Atta conducted meetings with the three future hijackers. One of those meetings took place at the Wayne Inn. That’s how close all this was—to us and to being solved, if only the information had been passed up the line to FBI agents or even to local cops. This new piece of 9/11 history, revealed only last week by a Pennsylvania congressman and confirmed by two former members of the intelligence team, could turn out to be one of the most explosive revelations since the publication last summer of the 9/11 commission report.” [BERGEN RECORD, 8/14/2005] The other two hijackers said to be present at the meetings, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, periodically live in the town of Paterson, only one mile away from Wayne (see March 2001-September 1, 2001). However, contradicting this account, a lawyer representing members of Able Danger later testifies, “At no time did Able Danger identify Mohamed Atta as being physically present in the United States.” [CNN, 9/21/2005; US CONGRESS, 9/21/2005] Some media accounts have stated that the Able Danger program determined Atta was in the US before 9/11. For instance, Fox News reported in August 2005, “[Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer] is standing by his claim that he told them that the lead hijacker in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks had been identified in the summer of 2000 as an al-Qaeda operative living in the United States.” [FOX NEWS, 8/17/2005] Entity Tags: Able Danger, Anthony Shaffer, Khalid Almihdhar, Al-Qaeda, Nawaf Alhazmi, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Autumn 2000: Hijackers Live and Work in San Diego; Connected with Other Potential Al-Qaeda Operatives

Sam’s Star Mart gas station. [Source: Daniel Hopsicker] Hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi works at a gas station while living in San Diego. This is the only apparent instance of any of the hijackers having a job while in the US. He and hijacker Khalid Almihdhar also frequently socialize at the gas station and Alhazmi works there on and off for about a month at some point after Almihdhar has gone overseas. [WASHINGTON POST, 12/29/2001; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/1/2002; US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. XII, 11-12, 143-146, 155-157 ] The Texaco gas station, Sam’s Star Mart, is owned by Osama “Sam” Mustafa. [SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/25/2003] Mustafa was first investigated by the FBI in 1991 after he tells a police officer that the US needs another Pan Am 103 attack and that he could be the one to carry out the attack. He also says all Americans should be killed because of the 1991 Iraq War. In 1994, he was investigated for being a member of the Palestinian organizations PFLP and PLO and for threatening to kill an Israeli intelligence officer living in San Diego. The investigation was closed, but reopened again in 1997 when he was tied to a possible plot in North Carolina. Apparently, it is closed again before 9/11. He also associates with Osama Basnan and others who have contacts with the hijackers. Witnesses later claim he cheers when first told of the 9/11 attacks. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. XII, 11-12, 143-146, 155-157 ] The gas station is managed by Ed Salamah. [WASHINGTON POST, 12/29/2001; SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/25/2003] In January 2000, the brother of a known al-Qaeda operative is under surveillance and is seen chatting with Salamah. The Los Angeles FBI office is investigating this operative, and it calls Salamah about it. Salamah refuses to come to Los Angeles for an interview, and refuses to give his home address to be interviewed there. Faced with a reluctant witness, the FBI drops the matter. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. XII, 11-12, 143-146, 155-157 ; NEWSWEEK, 7/28/2003] The hijackers are living with an FBI asset who is aware of their contact with at least Mustafa, and that asset has given reports about Mustafa to the FBI in the past. However, the asset fails to tell the FBI about their contacts with him. The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry strongly implies that Salamah and Mustafa assisted the hijackers with the 9/11 plot, but the FBI appears uninterested in them and maintains that the hijackers received no assistance from anyone. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. XII, 11-12, 143-146, 155-157 ] Entity Tags: Osama (“Sam”) Mustafa, Osama Basnan, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Ed Salamah, Federal Bureau of Investigation Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

September 2000: Chart with Hijacker Atta’s Photo Presented by Able Danger at SOCOM Headquarters; Meetings with FBI Cancelled

Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Lambert. [Source: Special Forces Command] Members of a US Army intelligence unit tasked with assembling information about al-Qaeda have prepared a chart that includes the names and photographs of four future hijackers, who they have identified as members of an al-Qaeda cell based in Brooklyn, New York. The four hijackers in the cell are Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawaf Alhazmi. The members of the intelligence unit, called Able Danger, present their chart at the headquarters of the US military’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa, Florida, with the recommendation that the FBI should be called in to take out the al-Qaeda cell. Lawyers working for SOCOM argue that anyone with a green card has to be granted the same legal protections as any US citizen, so the information about the al-Qaeda cell cannot be shared with the FBI. The legal team directs them to put yellow stickers over the photographs of Mohamed Atta and the other cell members, to symbolize that they are off limits. [NORRISTOWN TIMES HERALD, 6/19/2005; GOVERNMENT SECURITY NEWS, 8/2005; NEW YORK TIMES, 8/9/2005; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 8/10/2005; NEW YORK TIMES, 8/17/2005; GOVERNMENT SECURITY NEWS, 9/2005] Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer later says that an unnamed two-star general above him is “very adamant” about not looking further at Atta. “I was directed several times [to ignore Atta], to the point where he had to remind me he was a general and I was not… [and] I would essentially be fired.” [FOX NEWS, 8/19/2005] Military leaders at the meeting take the side of the lawyers and prohibit any sharing of information about the al-Qaeda cell. Shaffer believes that the decision to side with the lawyers is made by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Lambert (who had previously expressed distress when Able Danger data was destroyed without his prior notification (see May-June 2000)). He also believes that Gen. Peter Schoomaker, head of SOCOM, is not aware of the decision. [GOVERNMENT SECURITY NEWS, 9/2005] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Special Operations Command, Marwan Alshehhi, Al-Qaeda, Nawaf Alhazmi, Peter J. Schoomaker, Khalid Almihdhar, Anthony Shaffer, Able Danger, Geoffrey Lambert Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline


October 2000: Almihdhar Visits Malaysia to Discuss Attack on US Interests in Singapore Faiz abu Baker Bafana, an operative of al-Qaeda affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, receives an Arab visitor and they discuss attacks on US interests in Singapore. Bafana knows the Arab as “Bandar,” but this is not his real name and it appears that “Bandar” is an alias for 9/11 hijacker Khalid Almihdhar. Almihdhar again stays in Yazid Sufaat’s apartment and travels to Afghanistan after the meeting. [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 3/8/2006; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 3/8/2006] The apartment is also used by Zacarias Moussaoui at around the same time (see September-October 2000), and Almihdhar and several other al-Qaeda commanders had used it for a summit at the start of the year (see January 5-8, 2000). Malaysian intelligence had been monitoring the apartment and passing the results on to the US, but the CIA did not ask for the surveillance to continue and it ended, apparently before this visit. Malaysian Legal Affairs minister Rais Yatim will express puzzlement over the CIA’s lack of interest in the apartment: “We couldn’t fathom it, really. There was no show of concern.” [NEWSWEEK, 6/2/2002] Almihdhar will return to Malaysia to continue the planning for the Singapore attack in the middle of 2001 (see June 2001). Entity Tags: Jemaah Islamiyah, Faiz abu Baker Bafana, Khalid Almihdhar, Yazid Sufaat Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Between October 2000 and September 10, 2001: British Banking Company Profiles Fifteen 9/11 Hijackers as High-Risk Likely Terrorists Global Objectives, a British banking compliance company, identifies fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers as high-risk people and establishes profiles for them. The hijackers are regarded as high-risk for loans because they are linked to Osama bin Laden, suspected terrorists, or associates of terrorists. The list of high-risk people maintained by Global Objectives is available to dozens of banks and the hijackers’ files contain their dates and places of birth, aliases, and associates. It is unclear which fifteen hijackers are considered high-risk. It is also unknown if any Western intelligence agencies access this database before 9/11. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 2/21/2002] According to the 9/11 Commission, US intelligence is only aware of three of the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf Alhazmi, Salem Alhazmi, and Khalid Almihdhar, before the attacks. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 181-2] However, media reports will suggest US intelligence agencies may have been aware of another six: Ziad Jarrah (see January 30, 2000); Marwan Alshhehi (see March 1999 and January-February 2000); Mohamed Atta (see January-May 2000 and January-February 2000); and Ahmed Alghamdi, Satam al Suqami, and Hamza Alghamdi (see September 2000 and Spring 2001). Entity Tags: Ahmed Alnami, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Wail Alshehri, Waleed M. Alshehri, Ziad Jarrah, Abdulaziz Alomari, Salem Alhazmi, Saeed Alghamdi, Satam Al Suqami, Mohand Alshehri, Nawaf Alhazmi, Hamza Alghamdi, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, Hani Hanjour, Majed Moqed, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Khalid Almihdhar, Ahmed Alghamdi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Around October 12, 2000: Hijacker Almihdhar in Yemen, Reportedly Involved in Cole Bombing

Damage to the USS Cole, shown in dry dock. [Source: US Navy] 9/11 hijacker Khalid Almihdhar is in Yemen when the USS Cole is attacked in Aden harbor there (see October 12, 2000), and is reported to have had a role in the bombing. Almihdhar leaves shortly after the attack, together with al-Qaeda operative Khallad bin Attash. [MCDERMOTT, 2005, PP. 209] Bin Attash is quickly identified as one of the masterminds of the operation (see Late October-Late November 2000). Almihdhar will subsequently be accused of participating in the operation by the prime ministers of Yemen and Britain (see Early October 2001 and October 4, 2001). The Yemeni militant group Islamic Army of Aden takes credit for the bombing, and a friend of Almihdhar in San Diego will later say that Almihdhar told him he was a member of that group (see ). The Cole attack was a repeat of a failed attempt to bomb the USS The Sullivans (see January 3, 2000), of which Almihdhar had foreknowledge (see Late 1999). Almihdhar, who trained with the Cole bombers (see Late 1999) and attended an apparent planning session for the operation (see January 5-8, 2000), may also be involved in a later ship-bombing operation in Singapore (see June 2001). Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a close associate of the hijackers, also leaves Yemen around this time and is also suspected of involvement in the bombing (see Around September 15-16 and October 10-21, 2000). Entity Tags: Tawfiq bin Attash, Khalid Almihdhar, Islamic Army of Aden Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

October 12, 2000: USS Cole Bombed by Al-Qaeda

Damage to the USS Cole. [Source: Department of Defense] The USS Cole is bombed in the Aden, Yemen harbor by two al-Qaeda militants, Hassan al-Khamri and Ibrahim al-Thawar (a.k.a. Nibras). Seventeen US soldiers are killed and 30 are wounded. The CIA will later conclude that with just slightly more skilled execution, the attack would have killed 300 and sunk the ship. [ABC NEWS, 10/13/2000; COLL, 2004, PP. 532; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 191] The Islamic Army of Aden (IAA) immediately takes credit for the attack. This is a Yemen-based Muslim militant group widely believed to have close ties to al-Qaeda (see 1996-1997 and After). [GUARDIAN, 10/14/2000] The IAA statement is released by its spokesman, Abu Hamza al-Masri (see Early 1997, (June 1998), and December 28, 1998 and After). Abu Hamza says that the attack was timed to mark the anniversary of the execution of the IAA’s former commander (see October 17, 1999). [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 184] The prime minister of Yemen at the time of the bombing will say shortly after 9/11, “The Islamic Army was part of al-Qaeda.” [GUARDIAN, 10/13/2001] The US soon learns the names of some al-Qaeda operatives involved in the attack, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Tawfiq bin Attash and Fahad al-Quso (see Early December 2000), and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (see November-December 2000). 9/11 hijackers Ramzi bin al-Shibh (see Around September 15-16 and October 10-21, 2000) and Khalid Almihdhar (see Around October 12, 2000) may also have been involved. This is a repeat of a previously attempted attack, against the USS The Sullivans, which failed and was apparently undetected (see January 3, 2000). [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 12/22/2002] The 9/11 Commission will later say the Cole bombing “was a full-fledged al-Qaeda operation, supervised directly by bin Laden. He chose the target and location of the attack, selected the suicide operatives, and provided the money needed to purchase explosives and equipment.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 190] Entity Tags: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Tawfiq bin Attash, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Islamic Army of Aden, USS Cole, Osama bin Laden, Ibrahim al-Thawar, Khalid Almihdhar, Fahad al-Quso, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, Hassan al-Khamri, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

October 14-Late November, 2000: Investigation Into USS Cole Bombing Is Thwarted

Barbara Bodine at a press conference days after the bombing of the USS Cole. [Source: Reuters] The first FBI agents enter Yemen two days after the bombing of the USS Cole in an attempt to discover who was responsible. However, the main part of the team initially gets stuck in Germany because they do not have permission to enter Yemen and they are then unable to accomplish much due to restrictions placed on them and tensions between lead investigator John O’Neill and US Ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine. All but about 50 investigators are forced to leave by the end of October. O’Neill’s boss Barry Mawn visits to assess the situation. [MILLER, STONE, AND MITCHELL, 2002, PP. 237; NEW YORKER, 1/14/2002; SUNDAY TIMES (LONDON), 2/3/2002; NEW YORKER, 7/10/2006 ] Mawn will later comment, “It became clear [Bodine] simply hated his guts.” After a ten day investigation, he concludes O’Neill is doing a fine job, tells Bodine that she is O’Neill’s “only detractor,” and refuses her request to recall him. [WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 32] But O’Neill and much of his team are pressured to leave by late November and Bodine will not give him permission to return any time after that. The investigation stalls without his personal relationships to top Yemeni officials. [MILLER, STONE, AND MITCHELL, 2002, PP. 237; NEW YORKER, 1/14/2002; SUNDAY TIMES (LONDON), 2/3/2002] Increased security threats force the reduced FBI team still in Yemen to withdraw altogether in June 2001. [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/3/2002] The prime minister of Yemen at the time later claims (see Early October 2001) that hijacker “Khalid Almihdhar was one of the Cole perpetrators, involved in preparations. He was in Yemen at the time and stayed after the Cole bombing for a while, then he left.” The Sunday Times later notes, “The failure in Yemen may have blocked off lines of investigation that could have led directly to the terrorists preparing for September 11.” [SUNDAY TIMES (LONDON), 2/3/2002] Entity Tags: USS Cole, John O’Neill, Khalid Almihdhar, Barry Mawn, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Barbara Bodine Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Late October 2000-July 4, 2001: 9/11 Hijacker Almihdhar Travels around Asia After leaving Yemen following the bombing of the USS Cole (see Around October 12, 2000), 9/11 hijacker Khalid Almihdhar travels to various countries in Asia.

He is reportedly in Malaysia in October (see October 2000); 
From late 2000 to February 2001 he stays with his cousin in Mecca, Saudi Arabia (see Late 2000-February 2001); 
He then returns to Yemen, to stay with his family at an al-Qaeda communications hub monitored by US intelligence (see Late August 1998); 
Following this he goes to Afghanistan; 
There are some reports he travels to the United Arab Emirates in June (see June 2001); 
He is also said to be in Malaysia again in June (see June 2001); 
Finally, he goes to stay with his cousin in Mecca for another month. Before flying to New York (see July 4, 2001), Almihdhar tells his cousin that Osama bin Laden is planning five attacks on the US and asks the cousin to watch over his family, because he has a job to do. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 237; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 137 ]

After 9/11, there will be speculation that during this period Almihdhar is coordinating the arrival of the other muscle hijackers. According to FBI Director Robert Mueller, this would his explain his stay in Saudi Arabia and his return only after all the other hijackers had arrived. [US CONGRESS, 9/26/2002] However, there is some evidence suggesting that Almihdhar may have visited the US in this time frame, perhaps using a passport in a false name (see June 10, 2000). Entity Tags: Robert S. Mueller III, Khalid Almihdhar Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Late 2000-February 2001: 9/11 Hijacker Almihdhar Enters and Leaves Saudi Arabia, Reportedly Tracked by Saudi Authorities 9/11 hijacker Khalid Almihdhar enters Saudi Arabia, remaining there for about two or three months. He spends some time in Mecca with a cousin. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 237; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 137 ] Almihdhar is on the terrorist watch list there (see 1997), and his passport contains an indicator the Saudi authorities use to track terrorists (see April 6, 1999), so the Saudis presumably register his arrival and departure. Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

December 5, 2000: Hijacker Hanjour Opens Dubai Account Hijacker pilot Hani Hanjour opens an account with Citibank in Deira, Dubai, with a deposit of $3,000. Hanjour’s movements between September 25, 2000, when he obtained a US visa in Jeddah, and this date are unclear, but he flies to the US three days later (see December 8, 2000). [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 13-14 ] According to the 9/11 Commission, plot facilitator Ali Abdul Aziz Ali gave him the initial $3,000 and later deposits another $5,000 in the account. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 138 ] However, these deposits will not be mentioned at a military hearing to determine Ali’s combat status, although other transactions between Ali and the hijackers will be (see March 30, 2007). [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 4/12/2007 ] Hanjour uses the money on this account, together with $9,600 that is deposited in his account with the Saudi British Bank, to pay some of his expenses in the US. Hijackers Fayez Ahmed Banihammed (see June 25, 2001), Marwan Alshehhi (see July 1999-November 2000), and possibly Mohamed Atta (see Late October 2001) also have accounts in the UAE through which money is passed to fund the plot. Khalid Almihdhar and Abdulaziz Alomari (see September 7, 2001) also draw on money from Saudi bank accounts. [US CONGRESS, 9/26/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 138 ] Entity Tags: Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Hani Hanjour, Abdulaziz Alomari, Khalid Almihdhar Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Mid-Late December 2000: CIA Receives Additional Confirmation of Almihdhar’s Al-Qaeda Connection The CIA station in Islamabad, Pakistan, writes a cable noting that further connections have been made between hijacker Khalid Almihdhar and al-Qaeda. This CIA station is already aware that Almihdhar attended an al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia in January 2000 (see January 5-8, 2000). Due to these additional connections, the CIA believes that there may be a connection between Almihdhar and the USS Cole bombers and that Almihdhar may have met Fahad al-Quso and Khallad bin Attash, two of the operatives involved in the bombing, in Southeast Asia in January 2000 (see January 13, 2000 and Early December 2000). The station realizes this is important because bin Attash is linked to Osama bin Laden, but also speculates that bin Attash and Almihdhar may be the same person. The reason given for this speculation is that both Khallad and Almihdhar are in Bangkok, Thailand, at the same time, in the second week of January 2000 (see Mid-Late December 2000). [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 269-270 ] Entity Tags: CIA Islamabad Station, Central Intelligence Agency, Khalid Almihdhar, Tawfiq bin Attash Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Mid-Late December 2000: Some CIA Officers Speculate Almihdhar May Be Al-Qaeda Leader Bin Attash, FBI Not Informed

Khallad bin Attash (left) and Khalid Almihdhar (right) were apparently confused by the CIA. [Source: FBI] Because the CIA thinks hijacker Khalid Almihdhar and al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash are in the same place at the same time—in Bangkok, Thailand, for a meeting with Fahad al-Quso, an operative involved in the attack of the USS Cole, in January 2000—and possibly because of the similarity between Almihdhar’s first name Khalid and bin Attash’s nickname Khallad, some officers apparently theorize that bin Attash and Almihdhar may be the same person. However, the FBI is not informed of this. In order to confirm or refute this theory, the CIA station in Islamabad, Pakistan, asks for surveillance photos of an al-Qaeda summit that Almihdhar attended, intending to show the photos to a source who knows bin Attash and has previously identified him in another photo (see November 22-December 16, 2000 and Early January 2001). However, there is no record of this theory being communicated to the FBI, even though the CIA knows bin Attash was involved in the Cole bombing and the FBI is investigating him (see Late October-Late November 2000). Some CIA cables drafted at this time contain information about bin Attash and information not related to bin Attash; CIA officers are instructed to share the information not related to bin Attash with the FBI, but are not instructed to share the information about bin Attash and al-Qaeda’s Malaysia summit. The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General will later say that if the CIA had told the FBI more about bin Attash around this time, the FBI would have asked for more information about Almihdhar and had a better chance of locating him before 9/11. [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 269-270, 278 ] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Tawfiq bin Attash, Khalid Almihdhar, CIA Islamabad Station, Office of the Inspector General (DOJ) Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

December 30, 2000: Three 9/11 Hijackers Possibly in Eastern US, Despite Official Claims to the Contrary Documents obtained by Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Salem Alhazmi indicate that they are in the New Jersey / New York area at this time, although the cards may be later fakes. All three hijackers obtain USA ID cards whose expiry date is December 30, 2006. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 191-2 ; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006] USAID Systems, the Florida firm that manufactured the system through which the cards were issued, will later tell Time magazine that Almihdhar’s card was issued exactly six years before its expiration date. [TIME, 8/29/2005] However, according to the FBI and the 9/11 Commission, Nawaf Alhazmi is in Arizona (see December 12, 2000-March 2001), and Salem Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar are in the Middle East at this time (see June 10, 2000, Late October 2000-July 4, 2001, and April 23-June 29, 2001). Almihdhar’s card later proves to be a forgery, and may therefore not have been issued on this date. The Alhazmi brothers’ cards may also be forgeries (see (July-August 2001)) Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Salem Alhazmi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

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