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2000: German Intelligence Stops Monitoring Atta’s Apartment Edit

Zakariya Essabar. [Source: Associated Press] German investigators are monitoring Said Bahaji, a member of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell, for his ties to Mamoun Darkazanli. They had been monitoring a Marienstrasse address where Bahaji had been living. But Bahaji moved out after his 1999 wedding (see October 9, 1999) to live down the street with his new wife. A request to continue monitoring the Marienstrasse address is denied in 2000 for lack of evidence. Bahaji had lived at that address with Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi and other members of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. Although Bahaji, Atta, and Alshehhi all moved out by mid-2000, other associates like Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Zakariya Essabar, and Abdelghani Mzoudi moved in. Atta’s name stayed on the lease until early 2001. [NEW YORK TIMES, 6/20/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 495]

2000-2001: Atta and Alshehhi Attend Florida MosqueEdit

Former Brooklyn imam Gulshair Shukrijumah. [Source: lifeinlegacy.com] The Congressional Joint Inquiry will later find that several of the hijackers, including Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, attend mosques in the US and that at least one of the mosques is in Florida. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 169 ] The Florida mosque attended by Atta and Alshehhi may be the Al Hijrah mosque run by Gulshair Shukrijumah in Miramar, Broward Country, Florida. Mohamed Atta and several other hijackers live near the mosque (see April 11, 2001) and train at nearby Opa-Locka airport (see December 29-31, 2000). After 9/11, the FBI will visit the mosque and ask Shukrijumah and his wife if they recognize the hijackers and if their son, Adnan, knew Atta or had mentioned trips to Pakistan and Afghanistan. [MIAMI NEW TIMES, 4/3/2003; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/3/2006] Atta was seen with Adnan Shukrijumah, a suspected al-Qaeda operative, in 2001 (see May 2, 2001). His father previously served as an imam at the Al Farouq mosque in Brooklyn. In addition to working as a translator for Sheikh Abdul-Rahman, he also testified as a character witness at the WTC bombing trial for one of the defendants, Clement Rodney Hampton-El, who attended Al Farouq. [FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE, 10/27/2003; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/3/2006] Gulshair Shukrijumah is receiving money from the Saudi embassy in Washington at this time. [NEWSWEEK, 4/7/2003] The army’s Able Danger data mining program identifies Atta as a member of an al-Qaeda cell centered on Brooklyn. Exactly how it does this is never disclosed, although Atta’s apparent association with Gulshair and Adnan Shukrijumah is one possibile explanation (see January-February 2000). Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Adnan Shukrijumah, Marwan Alshehhi, Gulshair Shukrijumah Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Early 2000: Chechens Begin Working with Bin Laden on Hijacking Plot According to a French intelligence report, in the beginning of 2000 bin Laden meets with Taliban leaders, other al-Qaeda leaders, and armed groups from Chechnya to plan a hijacking, possibly of an airplane flying to the US. They create a list of seven possible airlines to hijack: American, Delta, Continental, United, Air France, Lufthansa, and a vague “US Aero.” The group considers hijacking a US airline flying out of Frankfurt and diverting it to Iran or Afghanistan or hijacking a French or German plane and diverting it to Tajikistan or Afghanistan. The goals are to increase international pressure to force a Russian withdrawal from Chechnya and to force the release of Islamists in US prisons. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4/16/2007; LE MONDE (PARIS), 4/17/2007] This latter goal is a likely reference to the Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, as US intelligence repeatedly hears of al-Qaeda hijacking plots to free him (see 1998, March-April 2001, and May 23, 2001). The Chechens are likely connected to Chechen leader Ibn Khattab, who has a long history of collaboration with bin Laden (see 1986-March 19, 2002 and Before April 13, 2001). According to other news reports, in early 2000, the CIA observed Mohamed Atta as he bought large quantities of chemicals in Frankfurt, apparently to build explosives (see January-May 2000), and in February and March 2001, Atta and two associates will apply for a job with Lufthansa Airlines at the Frankfurt airport that would give them access to secure areas of the airport, but apparently none of them are able to get the job (see February 15, 2001). Bin Laden will apparently uphold the decision to go forward with this plot later in 2000 (see October 2000) and the French will continue to report on the plot in January 2001, apparently passing the information to the CIA (see January 5, 2001). But it is unclear what happens after that and if the plot morphs into the 9/11 attacks, is canceled, or was a ruse all along. Some of the 9/11 hijackers fought in Chechnya and therefore might also be linked to Ibn Khattab (see 1996-December 2000). Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, Ibn Khattab, Mohamed Atta, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

January-May 2000: CIA Has Atta Under Surveillance in Germany Edit

Hijacker Mohamed Atta is put under surveillance by the CIA while living in Germany. [AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 9/22/2001; FOCUS (MUNCHEN), 9/24/2001; BERLINER ZEITUNG (BERLIN), 9/24/2001] He is “reportedly observed buying large quantities of chemicals in Frankfurt, apparently for the production of explosives [and/or] for biological warfare.” “The US agents reported to have trailed Atta are said to have failed to inform the German authorities about their investigation,” even as the Germans are investigating many of his associates. “The disclosure that Atta was being trailed by police long before 11 September raises the question why the attacks could not have been prevented with the man’s arrest.” [OBSERVER, 9/30/2001] A German newspaper adds that Atta is able to get a visa into the US on May 18. According to some reports, the surveillance stops when he leaves for the US at the start of June. However, “experts believe that the suspect [remains] under surveillance in the United States.” [BERLINER ZEITUNG (BERLIN), 9/24/2001] A German intelligence official also states, “We can no longer exclude the possibility that the Americans wanted to keep an eye on Atta after his entry in the US.” [FOCUS (MUNCHEN), 9/24/2001] This correlates with a Newsweek claim that US officials knew Atta was a “known [associate] of Islamic terrorists well before [9/11].” [NEWSWEEK, 9/20/2001] However, a congressional inquiry later reports that the US “intelligence community possessed no intelligence or law enforcement information linking 16 of the 19 hijackers [including Atta] to terrorism or terrorist groups.” [US CONGRESS, 9/20/2002] In 2005, after accounts of the Able Danger program learning Atta’s name become news, newspaper accounts will neglect to mention this prior report about Atta being known by US intelligence. For instance, the New York Times will report, “The account [about Able Danger] is the first assertion that Mr. Atta, an Egyptian who became the lead hijacker in the plot, was identified by any American government agency as a potential threat before the Sept. 11 attacks”(see August 9, 2005) . [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/9/2005] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

January-February 2000: Secret Military Unit Identifies Al-Qaeda ‘Brooklyn’ Cell; Mohamed Atta Is Member Edit

A blurry photograph of a 2005 reconstruction of the pre-9/11 Able Danger chart showing Mohamed Atta and others. [Source: C-SPAN] A US Army intelligence program called Able Danger identifies five al-Qaeda terrorist cells; one of them has connections to Brooklyn, New York and will become informally known as the “Brooklyn” cell by the Able Danger team. This cell includes 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta, and three other 9/11 hijackers: Marwan Alshehhi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawaf Alhazmi. According to a former intelligence officer who claims he worked closely with Able Danger, the link to Brooklyn is not based upon any firm evidence, but computer analysis that established patterns in links between the four men. “[T]he software put them all together in Brooklyn.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/9/2005; WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/22/2005; FOX NEWS, 8/23/2005; GOVERNMENT SECURITY NEWS, 9/2005] However, that does not necessarily imply them being physically present in Brooklyn. A lawyer later representing members of Able Danger states, “At no time did Able Danger identify Mohamed Atta as being physically present in the United States.” Furthermore, “No information obtained at the time would have led anyone to believe criminal activity had taken place or that any specific terrorist activities were being planned.” [CNN, 9/21/2005; US CONGRESS, 9/21/2005] James D. Smith, a contractor working with the unit, discovers Mohamed Atta’s link to al-Qaeda. [WTOP RADIO 103.5 (WASHINGTON), 9/1/2005] Smith has been using advanced computer software and analysing individuals who are going between mosques. He has made a link between Mohamed Atta and Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, ringleader of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. [FOX NEWS, 8/28/2005; GOVERNMENT SECURITY NEWS, 9/2005] Atta is said to have some unspecified connection to the Al Farouq mosque in Brooklyn, a hotbed of anti-American sentiment once frequented by Abdul-Rahman, which also contained the notorious Al-Kifah Refugee Center. [TIMES HERALD (NORRISTOWN), 9/22/2005] Smith obtained Atta’s name and photograph through a private researcher in California who was paid to gather the information from contacts in the Middle East. [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/22/2005] Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer claims the photo is not the well-known menacing Florida driver’s license photo of Atta. “This is an older, more grainy photo we had of him. It was not the best picture in the world.” It is said to contain several names or aliases for Atta underneath it. [JERRY DOYLE SHOW, 9/20/2005; CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/28/2005] LIWA analysts supporting Able Danger make a chart, which Shaffer describes in a radio interview as, “A chart probably about a 2x3 which had essentially five clusters around the center point which was bin Laden and his leadership.” [SAVAGE NATION, 9/16/2005] The 9/11 Commission later claims that Atta only enters the United States for the first time several months later, in June 2000 (see June 3, 2000). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 224] However, investigations in the months after 9/11 find that Mohamed Atta and another of the hijackers rented rooms in Brooklyn around this time (see Spring 2000). Other newspaper accounts have the CIA monitoring Atta starting in January 2000, while he is living in Germany (see January-May 2000). Atta, Alshehhi, Almihdhar, Alhazmi and other hijackers have connections to associates of Sheikh Abdul-Rahman (see Early 2000-September 10, 2001). Entity Tags: Al-Kifah Refugee Center, El Farouq, Al-Qaeda, Khalid Almihdhar, Mohamed Atta, Nawaf Alhazmi, Omar Abdul-Rahman, Al Farouq Mosque, Able Danger, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

January-March 2000: Hijacker Atta Begins E-Mailing US Flight Schools, Seeking Pilot Training Hijacker Mohamed Atta, who is under CIA surveillance at this time, begins sending e-mails to US flight schools, inquiring about their pilot training programs. One e-mail states, “We are a small group (2-3) of young men from different arab [sic] countries.” “Now we are living in Germany since a while for study purposes. We would like to start training for the career of airline professional pilots. In this field we haven’t yet any knowledge, but we are ready to undergo an intensive training program.” Apparently, multiple e-mails are sent from the same Hotmail account. Some e-mails are signed “M. Atta,” while others are signed “Mahmoud Ben Hamad.” [CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/25/2003] According to the 9/11 Commission, Atta e-mails 31 different US flight schools, and requests details on the cost of training, sources of financing, and accommodation. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 168] On March 23, he e-mails the Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma and requests information about their flight training. One recently arrested al-Qaeda operative had trained at this school (see February 23-June 2001), and Zacarias Moussaoui will train there one year later (see February 23-June 2001). [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 10/2001, PP. 57 ] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(2000-August 2001): Atta and Other Hijackers Seen at Charlotte County Airport, Florida Edit

Mohamed Atta, along with others of the alleged 9/11 hijackers, is believed by some to have resided in Punta Gorda, Florida before July 2000 (see Before July 2000), prior to his attending flight school in Venice, about 30 miles north of there (see July 6-December 19, 2000). He is also witnessed in Punta Gorda around July-August 2001 (see Mid-July - Mid-August 2001), well after the time he leaves Venice. Additionally, Atta and some other hijackers are reportedly witnessed at the Charlotte County Airport in Punta Gorda. Cathy Mohr, the owner of a cafe there, later says, “The picture [of Atta] in the paper looked really familiar and people from the airport said, ‘Hey you know they were here.’” [NBC 2 (FORT MYERS), 4/24/2002] After seeing photos of them after 9/11, Frank Cvelbar, whose Aero Precision flight school is based at the airport, believes he has seen four of the alleged hijackers “very occasionally” visiting the airport, shopping in his school’s pilot supplies shop, or hanging around the airport’s lobby. Cvelbar will say he is “very sure” about having seen Atta, and “pretty sure” about seeing Marwan Alshehhi, Saeed Alghamdi, and Ahmed Alnami. [CHARLOTTE SUN, 10/3/2001] A salesperson at Eastern Avionics, a vendor at the airport, later recalls Marwan Alshehhi having bought a pilot’s headset from them. After the sale, he starts receiving e-mails, apparently sent by Mohamed Atta (see Before September 11, 2001). After 9/11, the Punta Gorda Police Department will confirm handing over half a dozen pieces of information to the FBI. [CHARLOTTE SUN, 10/2/2001; NBC 2 (FORT MYERS), 4/24/2002] Yet according to official accounts, Atta and Alshehhi were only in this area when attending flight school in Venice. [US CONGRESS, 9/26/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 223-253] When asked to corroborate or refute reports of the hijackers having been in Charlotte County, FBI spokeswoman Sara Oates will only respond, “The FBI has information but the FBI cannot disclose the information because the investigation is pending.” [CHARLOTTE SUN, 10/3/2001] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Saeed Alghamdi, Ahmed Alnami, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

January 18, 2000: Hijackers Atta and Jarrah Filmed Together in Afghanistan

Mohamed Atta (left) and Ziad Jarrah (right). [Source: London Times] Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Ziad Jarrah are filmed together recording their martyrdom wills in Afghanistan. The video footage will later be captured by US forces in late 2001 and leaked to the media in late 2006 (see September 30, 2006). The footage is significant because it is the only hard evidence that Atta and Jarrah were ever in the same place at the same time. Although the two men were frequently in close proximity to each other, for instance both attended Florida flight schools just a couple of miles apart at around the same time, their paths often just miss each other. However, they appear friendly to each other in this footage, frequently laughing and smiling. Atta reads his will and then Jarrah reads his, but their exact words are unknown since the sound was not recorded and lip-syncing experts apparently failed to understand what they said. [LONDON TIMES, 10/1/2006] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Ziad Jarrah Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

February 24, 2000: Atta Returns to Germany Using Monitored Route Mohamed Atta returns to Germany from Pakistan using the same monitored route as he traveled on the outward journey (see Late November-Early December 1999). He flies from Karachi to Istanbul, Turkey, where he changes planes for Hamburg. Turkish intelligence discovered that militants use this route to travel between Europe and training camps in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s and alerted Germany to it at that time, causing Germany to launch an investigation into one of Atta’s associates (see 1996). However, it is not known whether the intelligence agencies register Atta’s travel at this time. [STERN, 8/13/2003] Fellow alleged 9/11 pilot Ziad Jarrah appears to be noticed on his way back to Germany from Afghanistan (see January 30, 2000) and another member of the cell, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, may be monitored in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at this time (see January 5-8, 2000). Entity Tags: German intelligence, Turkish intelligence, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Spring 2000: Atta and Alshehhi Rent Rooms in Brooklyn and the Bronx Mohamed Atta and another of the 9/11 hijackers (presumably Marwan Alshehhi) rent rooms in New York City, according to a federal investigator. These rooms are in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Following 9/11, Atta is traced back to Brooklyn by a parking ticket issued to a rental car he was driving. However, immigration records have Mohamed Atta entering the US for the first time on June 3, 2000 (see June 3, 2000). The Associated Press article on this subject does not specify if Atta first stayed in New York before or after that date. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/8/2001] According to a brief mention in the 9/11 Commission’s final report, in the month of June, “As [Atta and Marwan Alshehhi] looked at flight schools on the East Coast, [they] stayed in a series of short-term rentals in New York City.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 224; WASHINGTON POST, 8/13/2005] Earlier in 2000, a US Army intelligence program called Able Danger identified an al-Qaeda terrorist cell based in Brooklyn, of which Atta is a member (see January-February 2000). Also, a number of eyewitnesses later report seeing Atta in Maine and Florida before this official arrival date (see April 2000; Late April-Mid-May 2000). Entity Tags: Able Danger, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

March-April 2000: Able Danger Data Confiscated by Federal Agents

James D. Smith. [Source: Getty Images/ Alex Wong] James D. Smith is working for the private company Orion Scientific Systems on a contract that assists the Able Danger project. Smith will later claim that around March or April 2000, armed federal agents come into Orion and confiscate much of the data that Orion had compiled for Able Danger. Orion’s contract stops at this time and Smith has no further involvement with Able Danger. However, Smith happens to have some unclassified charts made for Able Danger in the trunk of his car when the agents raid his office. The chart with Mohamed Atta’s picture on it will thus survive and be remembered well by Smith, though it will be destroyed in the summer of 2004 (see August 22-September 1, 2005). Smith will later state, “All information that we have ever produced, which was all unclassified, was confiscated and to this day we don’t know who by.” [US CONGRESS, 9/21/2005; US CONGRESS, 2/15/2006] Entity Tags: Able Danger, Mohamed Atta, James D. Smith, Orion Scientific Systems Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

April 2000: Atta in Portland Public Library Before Official Arrival Date Spruce Whited, director of security for the Portland, Maine Public Library, later says Mohamed Atta and possibly a second hijacker are regulars at the library and frequently use public Internet terminals at this time. He says four other employees recognize Atta as a library patron. “I remember seeing [Atta] in the spring of 2000,” he says. “I have a vague Memory of a second one who turned out to be [Atta’s] cousin.” Whited also says federal authorities have not inquired about the library sightings. Even a year later, he says the FBI does finally speak to librarians, but not in relation to their 9/11 investigation. [BOSTON HERALD, 10/5/2001; PORTLAND PRESS HERALD, 10/5/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/9/2002] The library’s executive director says that three other employees came to her saying they had seen Atta about half a dozen times in the spring and summer 2000. [MAINE SUNDAY TELEGRAM, 9/30/2001] According to the official story, Atta does not arrive in the US until June 3, 2000. [MIAMI HERALD, 9/22/2001; AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 11/12/2001] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Maine Public Library, Mohamed Atta, Spruce Whited Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

April 2000: Atta Pays For Mysterious Passengers’ Taxi Ride A taxi driver from Bayern, Germany, tells police after 9/11 that this month he drives three Afghanis from Furth, Germany, to meet Mohamed Atta in Hamburg. Atta pays the approximately $650 taxi bill. Police later determine the identities of these suspicious passengers. One of them, aged 44, trained as a pilot in Afghanistan. His 33 year-old brother is another passenger. The brother had military training and had just come back from the US. Video tapes, aviation papers, and documents that are confiscated in their house are investigated after 9/11. [FOCUS (MUNCHEN), 9/24/2001] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Late April-Mid-May 2000: Atta Leaves Numerous Clues While Seeking Crop-Dusting Airplane Loan

Johnelle Bryant. [Source: ABC News] Mohamed Atta reportedly has a very strange meeting with Johnelle Bryant of the US Department of Agriculture (incidentally, one month before the official story claims he arrived in the US for the first time). According to Bryant, in the meeting Atta does all of the following:

He initially refuses to speak with one who is “but a female.” 
He asks her for a loan of $650,000 to buy and modify a crop-dusting plane. 
He mentions that he wants to “build a chemical tank that would fit inside the aircraft and take up every available square inch of the aircraft except for where the pilot would be sitting.” 
He uses his real name even as she takes notes, and makes sure she spells it correctly. 
He says he has just arrived from Afghanistan. 
He tells about his travel plans to Spain and Germany. 
He expresses an interest in visiting New York. 
He asks her about security at the WTC and other US landmarks. 
He discusses al-Qaeda and its need for American membership. 
He tells her bin Laden “would someday be known as the world’s greatest leader.” 
He asks to buy the aerial photograph of Washington hanging on her Florida office wall, throwing increasingly large “wads of cash” at her when she refuses to sell it. [ABC NEWS, 6/6/2002] 
After Bryant points out one of the buildings in the Washington photograph as her former place of employment, he asks her, “How would you like it if somebody flew an airplane into your friends’ building?” 
He asks her, “What would prevent [me] from going behind [your] desk and cutting [your] throat and making off with the millions of dollars” in the safe behind her. 
He asks, “How would America like it if another country destroyed [Washington] and some of the monuments in it like the cities in [my] country had been destroyed?” 
He gets “very agitated” when he isn’t given the money in cash on the spot. 
Atta later tries to get the loan again from the same woman, this time “slightly disguised” by wearing glasses. Three other terrorists also attempt to get the same loan from Bryant, but all of them fail. Bryant turns them down because they do not meet the loan requirements, and fails to notify anyone about these strange encounters until after 9/11. Government officials not only confirm the account and say that Bryant passed a lie detector test, but also elaborate that the account is consistent with other information they have received from interrogating prisoners. Supposedly, failing to get the loan, the terrorists switched plans from using crop dusters to hijacking aircraft. Other department employees also remember the encounter, again said to take place in April 2000. The 9/11 Commission has failed to mention any aspect of Johnelle Bryant’s account. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/25/2001; ABC NEWS, 6/6/2002; LONDON TIMES, 6/8/2002] Compare Atta’s meeting with FBI Director Mueller’s later testimony about the hijackers: “There were no slip-ups. Discipline never broke down. They gave no hint to those around them what they were about.” [CNN, 9/28/2002]

Entity Tags: US Department of Agriculture, Al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11 Commission, Mohamed Atta, Robert S. Mueller III, Johnelle Bryant Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

May-June 2000: Army Officer Told to Destroy Able Danger Documents Edit

Erik Kleinsmith. [Source: C-SPAN] Maj. Eric Kleinsmith, chief of intelligence for the Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA) unit, is ordered to destroy data and documents related to a military intelligence program set up to gather information about al-Qaeda. The program, called Able Danger, has identified Mohamed Atta and three other future hijackers as potential threats (see January-February 2000). According to Kleinsmith, by April 2000 it has collected “an immense amount of data for analysis that allowed us to map al-Qaeda as a worldwide threat with a surprisingly significant presence within the United States.”(see January-February 2000) [FOX NEWS, 9/21/2005; NEW YORK TIMES, 9/22/2005] The data is being collected on behalf of Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Lambert, the J3 at US Special Operations Command, who is said to be extremely upset when he learns that the data had been destroyed without his knowledge or consent. [US CONGRESS. SENATE. COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY, 9/21/2005] Around this time, a separate LIWA effort showing links between prominent US citizens and the Chinese military has been causing controversy, and apparently this data faces destruction as well (see April 2000). The data and documents have to be destroyed in accordance with Army regulations prohibiting the retention of data about US persons for longer than 90 days, unless it falls under one of several restrictive categories. However, during a Senate Judiciary Committee public hearing in September 2005, a Defense Department representative admits that Mohamed Atta was not considered a US person. The representative also acknowledges that regulations would have probably allowed the Able Danger information to be shared with law enforcement agencies before its destruction. Asked why this was not done, he responds, “I can’t tell you.” [CNET NEWS, 9/21/2005] The order to destroy the data and documents is given to Kleinsmith by Army Intelligence and Security Command General Counsel Tony Gentry, who jokingly tells him, “Remember to delete the data—or you’ll go to jail.” [GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVE, 9/21/2005] The quantity of information destroyed is later described as “2.5 terabytes,” about as much as one-fourth of all the printed materials in the Library of Congress. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/16/2005] Other records associated with the unit are allegedly destroyed in March 2001 and spring 2004 (see Spring 2004). [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/21/2005; US CONGRESS, 9/21/2005; FOX NEWS, 9/24/2005] Entity Tags: Able Danger, Eric Kleinsmith, Al-Qaeda, Land Information Warfare Activity, Mohamed Atta, Tony Gentry, Geoffrey Lambert 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

May 31, 2000: Atta Namesake Arrives in Prague, Is Deported A Pakistani businessman called Mohammed Atta (spelt with three ‘m’s) arrives in Prague aboard a Lufthansa flight from Saudi Arabia via Frankfurt. As he does not have a Czech visa, he is sent back, although he remains in the transit area at Prague Ruzyne airport for six hours. Unfortunately, he spends most of his time at the airport out of range of the security cameras. In the confusion immediately after 9/11, Czech counterintelligence will believe he may be the real lead hijacker Mohamed Atta (spelled with two ‘m’s)—he paid cash for his ticket and names are often spelled wrong—and that he had a meeting that could not wait, although this theory is eventually discounted. The real Mohamed Atta has a Czech visa, but it will not come into effect until the next day. Atta arrives in Prague on June 2 (see June 2, 2000). [SLATE, 11/19/2003; CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/29/2004; CZECH RADIO, 9/3/2004] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion, 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

Summer 2000: Saeed Sheikh Frequently Calls ISI Director

Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed in 2000. [Source: Reuters] In 2002, French author Bernard-Henri Levy is presented evidence by government officials in New Delhi, India, that Saeed Sheikh makes repeated calls to ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed during the summer of 2000. Later, Levy gets unofficial confirmation from sources in Washington regarding these calls that the information he was given in India is correct. He notes that someone in the United Arab Emirates using a variety of aliases sends Mohamed Atta slightly over $100,000 between June and September of this year (see June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000 and (July-August 2000)), and the timing of these phone calls and the money transfers may have been the source of news reports that Mahmood Ahmed ordered Saeed Sheikh to send $100,000 to Mohamed Atta (see October 7, 2001). However, he also notes that there is evidence of Sheikh sending Atta $100,000 in August 2001 (see Early August 2001), so the reports could refer to that, or both $100,000 transfers could involve Mahmood Ahmed, Saeed Sheikh, and Mohamed Atta. [LEVY, 2003, PP. 320-324] Entity Tags: United Arab Emirates, Mohamed Atta, Saeed Sheikh, Mahmood Ahmed Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

June 2, 2000: Atta Arrives in Prague on Way to New York Lead hijacker Mohamed Atta arrives in the early morning in Prague, Czech Republic, by bus from Cologne, Germany. He plays on slot machines at the Happy Day Casino, then disappears. It will never be discovered where he sleeps in Prague. He takes the midday flight to New York the next day (see June 3, 2000). [CZECH RADIO, 9/3/2004] After 9/11, this trip will fuel the controversy over whether Atta meets an Iraqi agent in Prague in 2001 (see April 8, 2001 and September 18, 2001-April 2007). It is not entirely clear why Atta chooses to fly to the US from the Czech Republic, although 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed will be reported to have lived in Prague in the late 1990s (see Mid-1996-September 11, 2001). Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion, 9/11 Timeline

June 3, 2000: Atta Supposedly Arrives in US for First Time, Despite Evidence of Prior Entries

A portion of Mohamed Atta’s US visa obtained in May 2000. [Source: 9/11 Commission] Mohamed Atta supposedly arrives in the US for the first time, flying from Prague to Newark on a tourist visa issued May 18 in Berlin. [MIAMI HERALD, 9/22/2001; AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 11/12/2001] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

June 2000: Atta and Alshehhi Stay in New York Area, but Some Accounts Suggest Elsewhere After arriving in the US on May 29 and June 3, 2000, alleged hijackers Marwan Alshehhi and Mohamed Atta meet up and reportedly spend all of June in the New York area. The 9/11 Commission reports them spending the month staying in a series of short-term rentals in New York City while searching for a flight school to attend, e-mailing a New Hampshire school on June 5 and inquiring with a New Jersey school on June 22. A day after arriving in the US, Atta receives a mobile phone he bought listing his address as an Oklahoma flight school he subsequently visits (see July 2-3, 2000). According to the FBI, Alshehhi enrolls at an English language school, and the pair remains in the area until July 2. [US CONGRESS, 9/26/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 519] However, some accounts suggest they leave before this. According to the owner of the Venice, Florida flight school subsequently attended by Atta and Alshehhi, the pair first visits his school on July 1. [US CONGRESS, 3/19/2002] And according to the later statement of a local sheriff, some of the hijackers, including Atta, may live and take flight training in Punta Gorda, Florida, prior to moving to Venice (see Before July 2000). After 9/11, a federal investigator will reveal that Atta and Alshehhi rented rooms in the Bronx and Brooklyn in spring 2000. Whether this included the period prior to when Atta officially first entered the US, in June, is unstated (see Spring 2000). [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/8/2001] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

June 28-July 7, 2000: 9/11 Hijackers Open Florida Bank Accounts

Ziad Jarrah (left) at his flight school in the second half of 2000. [Source: National Geographic] Some 9/11 hijackers open bank accounts in Florida around the time they start flight training there (see July 6-December 19, 2000). Ziad Jarrah opens an account at the First Florida National Bank with a $2,000 deposit and, nine days later, hijacker pilots Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi open a joint account at SunTrust Bank in Venice, Florida. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 139 ; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006 ; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA; ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006 ] It is unclear whether more accounts are opened at this time, although the New York Times will also say that an account is opened with the Century Bank and that money is paid into this account from abroad (see (July-August 2000)). [NEW YORK TIMES, 11/4/2001] It will initially be claimed that the hijackers provide fake and randomly made up social security numbers. [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/10/2002] However, the 9/11 Commission will say that they did not present or give false numbers, but that in some cases bank employees completed the social security number field with a hijacker’s date of birth or visa control number. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 140 ] Reports of the number of accounts the hijackers open in the US vary over time (see Late-September 2001-August 2004), although the hijackers are known to have had several other bank accounts (see February 4, 2000, Early September 2000, May 1-July 18, 2001 and June 27-August 23, 2001). Entity Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Ziad Jarrah, Mohamed Atta, SunTrust Bank Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000: Hijackers Receive $100,000 in Funding from United Arab Emirates Location

Ali Abdul Aziz Ali. [Source: FBI] Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi receive a series of five money transfers from the United Arab Emirates:

On June 29, $5,000 is wired by a person using the alias “Isam Mansur” to a Western Union facility in New York, where Alshehhi picks it up; 
On July 18, $10,000 is wired to Atta and Alshehhi’s joint account at SunTrust from the UAE Exchange Centre in Bur Dubai by a person using the alias “Isam Mansur”; 
On August 5, $9,500 is wired to the joint account from the UAE Exchange Centre by a person using the alias “Isam Mansour”; 
On August 29, $20,000 is wired to the joint account from the UAE Exchange Centre by a person using the alias “Mr. Ali”; 
On September 17 $70,000 is wired to the joint account from the UAE Exchange Centre by a person using the alias “Hani (Fawar Trading).” Some sources suggest a suspicious activity report was generated about this transaction (see (Late September 2000)). [FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/29/2001; NEWSWEEK, 12/2/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 12/10/2001; MSNBC, 12/11/2001; US CONGRESS, 9/26/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 134-5 ; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA; ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006 ] Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar previously received a transfer from the United Arab Emirates from a “Mr. Ali” (see April 16-18, 2000). The 9/11 Commission say this money was sent by Ali Abdul Aziz Ali (a.k.a. Ammar al-Baluchi), a nephew of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 133-5 ] Although he denies making the $5,000 transfer to Nawaf Alhazmi, Ali will admit sending Alshehhi these amounts and say that the money was Alshehhi’s (see March 30, 2007). He also admits receiving 16 phone calls from Alshehhi around this time. [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 4/12/2007 ] The hijackers may also receive another $100,000 around this time (see (July-August 2000)). It is suggested that Saeed Sheikh, who wires the hijackers money in the summer of 2001 (see Early August 2001), may be involved in one or both of these transfers. For example, French author Bernard-Henri Levy later claims to have evidence from sources inside both Indian and US governments of phone calls between Sheikh and Mahmood Ahmed, head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, during this same time period, and he sees a connection between the timing of the calls and the money transfers (see Summer 2000). [FRONTLINE, 10/13/2001; DAILY EXCELSIOR (JAMMU), 10/18/2001; LEVY, 2003, PP. 320-324]

Entity Tags: Fawaz Trdng, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Isam Mansour, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Mahmood Ahmed, Saeed Sheikh, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Al-Qaeda, Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, United Arab Emirates Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Before July 2000: Hijackers Reportedly Living and Attending Flight School in Punta Gorda, Contradicting Official Account

Sheriff William E. Clement [Source: Charlotte County Sheriff's Office] In the weeks after 9/11, Sheriff William E. Clement will say he believes some of the 9/11 hijackers, including Mohamed Atta, resided in the area of Punta Gorda, Florida, and attended a flight school at Charlotte County Airport. Clement will say that some local businesses recognize Atta from pictures shown after 9/11, and say he may have used an alias. According to Clement, “It looks like some of these terrorists were here and then went to Venice.” [CHARLOTTE SUN, 9/21/2001] Along with Marwan Alshehhi, Atta moves to Venice, about 30 miles north of Punta Gorda, at the beginning of July (see July 1-3, 2000). Yet, according to official accounts, Atta first enters the US on June 3, 2000, and, along with Alshehhi, remains in the New York area until the start of July (see June 2000). Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(July-August 2000): Money Paid into Atta Account from Abroad?

Mohamed Atta. [Source: US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division] According to some media reports, Mohamed Atta receives around $100,000 in wire transfers from abroad around this time, as does Marwan Alshehhi. The New York Times will write: “The money for the operation began arriving… in the summer of 2000. Mr. Atta received slightly more than $100,000, Mr. Shehhi just less than that amount.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 11/4/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 12/10/2001] The Financial Times will say Mohamed Atta “received $109,440 in four wire transfers from the United Arab Emirates,” and Marwan Alshehhi “also received wire transfers totaling $100,000 over several months.” [FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/29/2001] PBS comments, “The FBI now says Atta and Alshehhi were being fed streams of money from abroad, eventually more than $100,000 each.” [PBS, 1/17/2002] However, the 9/11 Commission will only mention an amount of approximately $100,000 that is paid into a joint account of which Alshehhi is the main holder (see June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000). Some other transfers to the hijackers are also reported, but not confirmed on-the-record by US authorities (see June 2000-August 2001). Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

July 1-3, 2000: Atta and Alshehhi Move to Florida and Enroll in Pilot Classes

Rudi Dekkers. [Source: Peter Muhly / Agence France-Presse] Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi move to Venice, Florida. [CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/16/2001] They arrive at Huffman Aviation, a flying school at Venice Municipal Airport, on July 1, according to the school’s owner Rudi Dekkers, inquiring about taking lessons there. They are reported to also check out a flight school in Oklahoma at the beginning of this month (see July 2-3, 2000). They then return to Huffman—on July 3 according the Dekkers—and begin flight instruction, subsequently enrolling in the school’s Accelerated Pilot Program. When they register at the school, Atta and Alshehhi use their real names. Dekkers later states that they say they are unhappy with a flying school they attended up north, though he gives no details about the identity of this school. It will later be claimed that Atta and Alshehhi attended a flight school in Punta Gorda before moving to Venice (see Before July 2000). However, Punta Gorda is south, not north, of Venice. Paying by check, Atta will give $18,703.50 in total for his lessons, while Alshehhi gives $20,917.63. The money necessary to cover their training is sent to them in a series of transfers from Dubai (see June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000). [WASHINGTON POST, 9/19/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 9/30/2001; US CONGRESS, 3/19/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 224; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 7/25/2004] Huffman’s owner Rudi Dekkers has what the St. Petersburg Times will describe as “a long history of troubled businesses, run-ins with the Federal Aviation Administration and numerous lawsuits.” [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 7/25/2004] After 9/11 he will face even more lawsuits (see August 23, 2001-April 2004). Entity Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Huffman Aviation, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

July 2-3, 2000: Atta and Alshehhi Visit Oklahoma Flight School Later Attended by Zacarias Moussaoui

Brenda Keene. [Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation] Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, who are looking for a flight school to attend, visit the Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma, to evaluate its training program. Atta had e-mailed the school in April 2000, requesting information. On June 4, 2000, the day after he arrived in the US, he’d received a prepaid cellular telephone from Voicestream Wireless, which he’d purchased actually listing Airman Flight School as his address. The pair stay the night of July 2 at the school’s dormitory in the nearby Sooner Inn, as is shown by documents, including the hotel’s guest list. The next day they take a tour of the school, reportedly lasting “maybe an hour,” before deciding not to attend. [BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 9/19/2001; US CONGRESS, 9/26/2002; CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 3/16/2004; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 3/7/2006; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 3/7/2006] Several months later, al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui will attend Airman, and other Islamic extremists have previously attended the school (see February 23-June 2001). Shohaib Nazir Kassam, a student at the time of Atta and Alshehhi’s visit, will recall bumping into them when they are being given their tour. Kassam subsequently becomes a flight instructor and is Zacarias Moussaoui’s primary instructor at Airman. [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 3/7/2006] Brenda Keene, Airman’s admissions director who gives Atta and Alshehhi their tour, says during the 2006 Moussaoui trial that she does not recall doing so. But, she adds, “After 9/11 and [Atta’s] picture was everywhere, he’s got a very distinctive face, and then I do remember seeing him at the school. I don’t recall anything in specific about… the tour, but just remembered his face.” [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 3/8/2006] Atta and Alshehhi subsequently start lessons at Huffman Aviation in Venice, Florida (see July 1-3, 2000). In August 2001, they will allegedly be witnessed at an Oklahoma City hotel together with Zacarias Moussaoui (see August 1, 2001). Entity Tags: Shohaib Nazir Kassam, Mohamed Atta, Brenda Keene, Airman Flight School, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Early July 2000: Atta and Alshehhi Stay at Home of Flight School Bookkeeper, but Evicted after a Week

Charles Voss. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune] Having arrived in Venice, Florida to take flying lessons, Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi rent a room in the south Venice home of Charles Voss, a bookkeeper at Huffman Aviation, and his wife Drucilla. They arrive in a rental car, but later in the week buy a red 1989 Pontiac, which they register to the Voss’s address. They are found to be unpleasant and messy guests, and after a week are asked to leave. Drucilla Voss later says, “We never talked. They ate all their meals out and really spent all their time in their room.” She describes them as “very sarcastic,” and says, “They gave me the impression they didn’t care much for women.” [CHARLOTTE SUN, 9/13/2001; CHARLOTTE SUN, 9/13/2001; CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/16/2001; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/27/2001; WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/16/2001] Entity Tags: Drucilla Voss, Charles Voss, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

July 6-December 19, 2000: Atta and Alshehhi Attend Huffman Aviation Flight School

Huffman Aviation logo. [Source: Huffman Aviation] Marwan Alshehhi and Mohamed Atta attend Huffman Aviation, a flight school in Venice, Florida and enroll in its Accelerated Pilot Program, aiming to get commercial pilot licenses. According to the school’s owner Rudi Dekkers, Atta already has a private pilot’s license—though where and how he gained this is unstated—and wants to obtain a commercial license. Alshehhi wants to obtain both licenses. They begin their training in a Cessna 172 with instructor Thierry Leklou. According to the 9/11 Commission, by the end of July both are already taking solo flights. However, in August Leklou complains to Chief Flight Instructor Daniel Pursell that the two are failing to follow instructions and have bad attitudes. Pursell considers expelling them, but, according to Dekkers, after a warning they improve their behavior and continue without further problems. [US CONGRESS, 3/19/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 224, 227; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 7/25/2004] Yet Pursell later testifies that the school’s instructors breathed “a collective sigh of relief” when the two left Huffman. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 3/23/2006] Furthermore, reportedly, “Atta and al-Shehhi would rent a plane from Huffman and be gone for days at a time, Pursell said. They could fly to 20 airports across the state and never be noticed.” [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 7/25/2004] Mark Mikarts, another of the school’s instructors, says Atta has “big problems with authority,” and doesn’t take instructions well. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/17/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 17 ] Susan Hall, Huffman’s office manager, refers to Atta as “the little terrorist” while he is at the school, because, she later says, “I just didn’t like the aura he gave off.” [REUTERS, 3/22/2006] In the middle of their training, in late September, Atta and Alshehhi enroll at another flight school, in nearby Sarasota. However, they are soon asked to leave it, and return to Huffman in October (see Late September-Early October 2000). While Atta and Alshehhi attend Huffman Aviation, another of the alleged hijackers, Ziad Jarrah, is taking lessons at a flight school just down the road from them (see (June 28-December 2000)). Yet no reports describe the three ever meeting up while they are all in Venice. According to official accounts, Atta and Alshehhi complete their schooling at Huffman on December 19, 2000, when they take their commercial pilot license tests. Rudi Dekkers says that after returning to the school to settle their bills, they leave and are never seen there again. [US CONGRESS, 3/19/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 17 ] Yet Daniel Pursell will later allege that early in 2001 the two are still connected with Huffman, being reported to the school for practicing nighttime landings in one of its planes at another Florida airport (see Between January and February 2001). Entity Tags: Huffman Aviation, Marwan Alshehhi, Thierry Leklou, Mohamed Atta, Daniel Pursell, Susan Hall Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(Mid-July - December 2000): Atta and Alshehhi Frequent Venice Bars and Drink Alcohol Edit

Lizsa Lehman [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune] While attending flight school in Venice, Florida (see July 6-December 19, 2000), Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi regularly visit a couple of local bars. Most nights, after flying classes, they drink beer at the Outlook. They are observed there as being well dressed and well spoken. Atta comes across as cold and unfriendly, and is disapproving of the presence of women servers behind the bar. Bartender Lizsa Lehman will later say that, after the 9/11 attacks, “I remember thinking that [Atta] was capable of everything they had said was done.” In contrast, Alshehhi is “friendly and jovial and… always eager to interact with bartenders and patrons.” Lehman later says, “I, to this day, have trouble seeing [Alshehhi] doing it [i.e., participating in 9/11].” [SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/10/2006; SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/10/2006] Atta and several friends are also regulars at the 44th Aero Squadron bar. The group drinks Bud Light, talks quietly, and stays sober. The bar’s owner, Ken Schortzmann, says Atta has “a fanny pack with a big roll of cash in it,” and comments, “I never had any problems with them.… They… didn’t drink heavily or flirt with the waitresses, like some of the other flight students.” While he regularly goes to these bars during this period, Atta never visits any of the three mosques in Southwest Florida, and avoids contact with local Muslims. [NEWSWEEK, 9/24/2001; SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/28/2001] Interestingly, other witnesses later describe Atta as possibly doing drugs as well. The owner of a unit of apartments where Atta reportedly lived with some other Middle Eastern men in late 2000 (see (Mid-July 2000 - Early January 2001)) says these men smoked a strange tobacco, which smelled like marijuana. [CHARLOTTE SUN, 9/14/2001] Atta may also be a heavy smoker, as he is reported to spend his time “chain smoking,” when later living in Coral Springs. [SUNDAY TIMES (LONDON), 2/3/2002] Entity Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(Mid-July - December 2000): Atta and Alshehhi Rent House But Are Seldom Seen There

Steve Kona. [Source: Sarasota Herald Tribune] While attending Huffman Aviation flight school in Venice, Florida, alleged 9/11 hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi move into a small, furnished two-bedroom house in Nokomis, about ten miles north of Venice, which they rent for $550 per month. Noting that Atta and Alshehhi also drive a ten-year-old car, Steve Kona, who owns the house, later says, “This house is nothing extravagant at all… It’s not like they were living in a $3,000-a-month rental home and driving a Mercedes.” [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/20/2001; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/27/2001] Kona says, “Atta I never met.” But he talks to Alshehhi “two or three times because I’d go to mow the grass. He was very friendly.” The pair refuses Kona’s offer of free cable TV, don’t use the house’s air conditioning, even in the middle of summer, and leave the place in spotless condition. Although they rent the house for as long as six months, Jeff Duignan, who lives next door, later says, “I never saw them, and when you don’t see them you don’t worry about them.” [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/14/2001; MIAMI HERALD, 9/15/2001; SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/16/2001; SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/10/2006] This apparent absence could be explained by the fact that, according to several witnesses, over about this same duration they live in an apartment in Venice (see (Mid-July 2000 - Early January 2001)). Atta and Alshehhi were evicted from their previous address, in Venice (see Early July 2000). When Rudi Dekkers, the owner of Huffman Aviation, testifies before Congress in 2002, he will claim, “After their eviction there was no mention of where they were staying.” [US CONGRESS, 3/19/2002] No explanation is ever given as to why they have two separate residences at the same time. However, a private consumer database will later reveal that Atta had 12 addresses, including two places where he lived and ten safe houses, so the Nokomis address could possibly be one of these safe houses (see Mid-September 2001). Interestingly, another of the alleged hijackers, Ziad Jarrah, also has a second residence he never stays at while he attends flight school in Venice (see (June 28-December 2000)). Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Jeff Duignan, Steve Kona Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(Mid-July 2000 - Early January 2001): Atta and Alshehhi Live at Sandpiper Apartments, Venice

The Sandpiper Apartments. [Source: Patrick Durand / Corbis] (click image to enlarge) While attending Huffman Aviation flight school in Venice, Florida, Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi share a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with four other Middle Eastern flight school students in unit 26 of the Sandpiper Apartments, near the Venice airport. The apartment they are in is rented by the flight school, and then sublet to its students at a profit. After 9/11, Paula Grapentine, who along with her husband manages the apartments, will remember Atta being her former next-door neighbor. She recalls him being “very unfriendly,” and that he “treated women like they were under him.” She also recalls “a lot of visitors” at the apartment. As a consequence of the students’ unruly behavior, the Grapentines will subsequently stop renting to Huffman Aviation. Vicky Kyser, who owns the apartment complex, says the students smoke a strange tobacco, which smells like marijuana. Postal carrier Neil Patton also later recalls Atta and Alshehhi living in the apartment, and says Atta may have gone by the name Youseff. Patton stops delivering mail to them at the apartment on January 18, 2001, which he says suggests they moved out seven to ten days earlier. After 9/11, the Charlotte Sun will obtain a written list of names of individuals the FBI is pursuing: Gamil, Rami, Mukadam, Ibrahim and Mogadem. Patton confirms all these having been used by the students at the apartment. [CHARLOTTE SUN, 9/14/2001; CHARLOTTE SUN, 9/14/2001] No mention is made of this residence in official accounts, such as the 9/11 Commission Report. [US CONGRESS, 9/26/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 224-227] Over about the same period as they reportedly live in the Sandpiper Apartments, Atta and Alshehhi rent a house in nearby Nokomis, although their next-door neighbor there never sees them at the house (see (Mid-July - December 2000)). Entity Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

August 14-December 19, 2000: Hijackers Atta and Alshehhi Pass Flight Tests at Huffman Aviation

Marwan Alshehhi. [Source: US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division] At Huffman Aviation flying school, 9/11 hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi pass various pilots’ tests. On August 14, 2000, according to the 9/11 Commission, they pass their private pilot airplane tests, with Atta scoring 97 out of 100 and Alshehhi scoring 83. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 12 ] However, Huffman’s owner Rudi Dekkers will later testify before Congress that Atta already had a private pilot’s license when he first arrived at the school, six weeks previously (see July 1-3, 2000). [US CONGRESS, 3/19/2002] Despite having failed their Stage I exam for instruments rating at nearby Jones Aviation a month earlier (see Late September-Early October 2000), on November 6 Atta and Alshehhi pass their instrument rating airplane tests at Huffman, scoring 90 and 75 respectively. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 15 ] On December 19 they pass their commercial pilot license tests, thus completing their training, with Atta scoring 93 and Alshehhi scoring 73. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 17 ] (According to a 2005 Federal Aviation Administration factsheet, the passing score for all the pilot tests Atta and Alshehhi take is 70. Presumably this is also the case in 2000. [ADMINISTRATION, 3/2005 ] ) Yet one fellow student who witnesses the pair at Huffman on an almost daily basis later states that, while he always accompanied Atta during his flying lessons, she never saw Alshehhi at the controls of the training aircraft. [AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 10/18/2001] Rudi Dekkers will state, “I have heard from the instructors that they were average students, the examiner told me the same.” [AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 10/21/2001] The local FAA designated examiner Dave Whitman is responsible for testing Atta and Alshehhi. He issues them temporary 120-day licenses allowing them to fly small, twin-engine planes. He will later say he assumes the FAA made their licenses permanent, as he was not notified otherwise. He says, “I don’t even remember them, specifically. They were foreign students, and foreign students often tend to keep to themselves.” [USA TODAY, 9/13/2001; CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/16/2001; US CONGRESS, 3/19/2002] Entity Tags: Huffman Aviation, Marwan Alshehhi, Dave Whitman, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(August 29-September 15, 2000): Atta and Alshehhi Apply for Student Visas; Questions Over When This Occurs In order to enter a professional flight training program, hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi are required to apply for student visas. They are currently in the US on tourist visas, attending Huffman Aviation flight school in Venice, Florida (see July 6-December 19, 2000). On August 29, 2000, according to the school’s owner Rudi Dekkers, Huffman’s student coordinator Nicole Antini sends I-20M forms demonstrating Atta and Alshehhi’s enrollment at the school to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. She also sends copies of their passports. Their forms state, “The student is expected to report to the school not later than Sept. 1, 2000, and complete studies not later than Sept. 1, 2001.” [CHARLOTTE SUN, 3/13/2002; US CONGRESS, 3/19/2002] However, the 9/11 Commission claims that the forms are filled out later, on September 15. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 224; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 13 ] Interestingly, considering these contradictory dates, Antini later tells the FBI that on “one occasion, Atta was very upset with the date of his visa and wanted it changed,” though he did not say what upset him about the date or why he wanted it changed. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 38 ] Huffman only receives notification that the INS has approved the visa applications 18 months later, well after 9/11 (see March 11, 2002). Atta and Alshehhi will be cleared to stay in the US until October 1, 2001. [CHARLOTTE SUN, 3/13/2002] Entity Tags: Nicole Antini, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi 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

(Before September 2000-12 Months Later): Mohamed Atta Has Long Term Stay in Wayne, New Jersey; Other Hijackers Seen There In 2003, New Jersey state police officials say Mohamed Atta lived in the Wayne Inn, in Wayne, New Jersey, for an unspecified 12-month period prior to 9/11. He lives with one other hijacker who is presumably his usual partner Marwan Alshehhi (Alshehhi is seen eating in nearby restaurants with Atta). [BERGEN RECORD, 6/20/2003] In 2004, an unnamed whistleblower involved in the Able Danger program will claim that prior to 9/11, Able Danger discovered that Atta and Alshehhi were renting a room at the Wayne Inn, and occasionally meeting with Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar at the inn or near it (see (Before September 2000)). From March 2001 onwards, other hijackers, including Alhazmi and Almihdhar, live in Paterson, New Jersey, only one mile away from Wayne (see March 2001-September 1, 2001). Nawaf Alhazmi and Salem Alhazmi rent mailboxes in Wayne at some unknown point before 9/11. Nawaf Alhazmi and Hani Hanjour rent cars from a Wayne car dealership between June and August 2001. There is also evidence Nawaf Alhazmi and Marwan Alshehhi shop in Wayne. [CNN, 9/26/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 9/27/2001] The 9/11 Commission does not mention any hijacker connection to Wayne. This long-term stay in Wayne is surprising because Atta and Alshehhi have generally been placed in Florida most of the time from July 2000 until shortly before 9/11. However, this discrepancy may be explained by one account which states Atta had “two places he lived and 10 safe houses” in the US (see Mid-September 2001). Entity Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Autumn 2000: CIA Front Company Leads to Suspicions CIA Is Attempting to Infiltrate Florida Cell Writing in 2004, veteran British intelligence officer Colonel John Hughes-Wilson will note that, at the same time as hijacker pilots Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi are learning to fly at Huffmann Aviation in Venice, Florida (see July 6-December 19, 2000), “A CIA front company called Air Caribe was also operating out of the very same hangar at Venice airport.” He will go on to comment that “this highly curious coincidence must inevitably raise some suspicions of just how much the CIA really did know before 9/11. Was the CIA trying to infiltrate and ‘double’ the US-based al-Qaeda cell, in the hope of using it against Osama bin Laden’s organization in the future?” [HUGHES-WILSON, 2004, PP. 391] The Air Caribe story is originally broken by investigative reporter Daniel Hopsicker, who will publish a book about Atta’s time in Florida in 2004 (see March 2004). Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Central Intelligence Agency, John Hughes-Wilson, Air Caribe, Marwan Alshehhi, Daniel Hopsicker Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

September 2000: Military Lawyers Prevent Able Danger From Sharing Information about Atta and Others with FBI On three occasions, military lawyers force members of Able Danger to cancel scheduled meetings with the FBI at the last minute. Able Danger officials want to share information about the Brooklyn al-Qaeda cell they believe they’ve discovered which includes Mohamed Atta and other hijackers (see January-February 2000). The exact timing of these meetings remains unclear, but they appear to happen around the time military lawyers tell Able Danger they are not allowed to pursue Mohamed Atta and other figures (see September 2000) . [GOVERNMENT SECURITY NEWS, 9/2005] In 2005, it will be reported that Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer contacted FBI agent Xanthig Magnum in attempts to set up these meetings. Magnum is willing to testify about her communications with Shaffer, but apparently she has not yet been able to do so. [FOX NEWS, 8/28/2005] Shaffer will later elaborate that the meetings were set up around early summer. Col. Worthington, then head of Able Danger, is one of the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) officials scheduled to meet with FBI Counterterrorism agents. Shaffer ater claims the meetings were cancelled because “SOCOM lawyers would not permit the sharing of the US person information regarding terrorists located domestically due to ‘fear of potential blowback’ should the FBI do something with the information and something should go wrong. The lawyers were worried about another ‘Waco’ situation. The critical counterterrorism information is never passed from SOCOM to the FBI before 9-11; this information did include the original data regarding Atta and the terrorist cells in New York and the DC area.” [US CONGRESS, 2/15/2006] Rep. Curt Weldon (R), who in 2005 helps bring to light the existence of the program, says, “Obviously, if we had taken out that cell, 9/11 would not have occurred and, certainly, taking out those three principal players in that cell would have severely crippled, if not totally stopped, the operation that killed 3,000 people in America.” [GOVERNMENT SECURITY NEWS, 8/2005] Entity Tags: Xanthig Magnum, Special Operations Command, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Anthony Shaffer, Curt Weldon, Able Danger, Mohamed Atta 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

September-October 2000: Moussaoui Visits Malaysia After CIA Stops Surveillance There

Yazid Sufaat (left), and his wife, Sejarahtul Dursina (right). [Source: Associated Press] Zacarias Moussaoui visits Malaysia twice, and stays at the very same condominium where the January al-Qaeda summit (see January 5-8, 2000) was held. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 2/2/2002; WASHINGTON POST, 2/3/2002; CNN, 8/30/2002] After that summit, Malaysian intelligence kept watch on the condominium at the request of the CIA. However, the CIA stopped the surveillance before Moussaoui arrived, spoiling a chance to expose the 9/11 plot by monitoring Moussaoui’s later travels. The Malaysians later say they were surprised by the CIA’s lack of interest. “We couldn’t fathom it, really,” Rais Yatim, Malaysia’s Legal Affairs minister, will tell Newsweek. “There was no show of concern.” [NEWSWEEK, 6/2/2002] During his stay in Malaysia, Moussaoui tells Jemaah Islamiyah operative Faiz abu Baker Bafana, at whose apartment he stays for one night, that he had had a dream about flying an airplane into the White House, and that when he told bin Laden about this, bin Laden told him to go ahead. They also discuss purchasing ammonium nitrate, and Moussaoui says that Malaysia and Indonesia should be used as a base for financing jihad, but that attacks should be focused against the US. [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] While Moussaoui is in Malaysia, Yazid Sufaat, the owner of the condominium, signs letters falsely identifying Moussaoui as a representative of his wife’s company. [WASHINGTON POST, 2/3/2002; REUTERS, 9/20/2002] When Moussaoui is later arrested in the US about one month before the 9/11 attacks, this letter in his possession could have led investigators back to the condominium and the connections with the January 2000 meeting attended by two of the hijackers. [USA TODAY, 1/30/2002] Moussaoui’s belongings also contained phone numbers that could have linked him to Ramzi bin al-Shibh (and his roommate, Mohamed Atta), another participant in the Malaysian meeting (see August 16, 2001). [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/12/2001] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Malaysian Secret Service, Faiz abu Baker Bafana, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Yazid Sufaat, Osama bin Laden, Central Intelligence Agency, Rais Yatim, Zacarias Moussaoui Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

September 2000-July 24, 2001: Alleged CIA Informant Said to Be in Contact with Atta In September 2000, Luai Sakra enters Germany seeking asylum, using the name “Louia Sakka” (one of several ways his name is transliterated). He moves with his wife and two children to a government asylum dormitory in a small town in central Germany while waiting for a verdict. [DER SPIEGEL (HAMBURG), 8/15/2005; AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 10/27/2005] After his 2005 arrest in Turkey, Sakra will confess to helping some of the 9/11 hijackers. He will claim to have helped some of the 9/11 hijackers while in Bursa, a city in Turkey 60 miles south of Istanbul (see Late 1999-2000). [WASHINGTON POST, 2/20/2006] But he will also say that he knew Mohamed Atta, which presumably would take place during Sakra’s time in Germany (see Early August 2005). He will warn the Syrian government about the 9/11 attacks one day before they happen (see September 10, 2001) and evidence will suggest he was an informant working for the CIA and other governments (see 2000). He will later admit meeting Asaf Shawkat, head of Syrian intelligence, in Germany, but it is not known when this meeting took place. [BBC, 11/10/2005] Apparently while still living in Germany, Sakra is indicted in Jordan for allegedly supporting planned attacks around the turn of the millennium (see November 30, 1999). His 2001 Jordanian indictment reads, “Current residence: Germany, on the run.” It is not clear if Jordan communicated with the German government about his whereabouts at this time. He will be convicted in absentia in Jordan in early 2002 and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Meanwhile, in Germany he loses his asylum appeal and leaves the country on July 24, 2001. His family flies to Syria around the same time. [DER SPIEGEL (HAMBURG), 8/15/2005] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Central Intelligence Agency, Asaf Shawkat, Luai Sakra Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

(Late September 2000): Suspicious Activity Report Possibly Filed about 9/11 Hijackers’ Banking Activity After 9/11 it will be claimed that a suspicious activity report was filed about one of the money transfers made to the hijackers. The report is sometimes associated with a transfer of around $70,000 made from the United Arab Emirates to the joint SunTrust Bank account of Marwan Alshehhi and Mohamed Atta. This transaction is one of several transfers totaling about $100,000 that are made to Alshehhi and Atta in 2000 (see June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000). [WASHINGTON POST, 10/7/2001; FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/29/2001; LAW AND POLICY IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS, 9/2002] The claim will also be made in a UN report, but will be denied by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The FinCEN will state no report was filed before 9/11 “on terrorist Mohamed Atta.” However, the transfer was allegedly made to a joint account of which Alshehhi was the primary holder. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 5/24/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 528] If filed, it is not clear what impact such report would have, as Law and Policy in International Business comments, “most of these reports are stashed away in basements and remain unread by overworked and under-resourced government employees.” [LAW AND POLICY IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS, 9/2002] In addition, the Wall Street Journal will comment that the bank that handled Atta’s “transaction was sufficiently suspicious that some crime was involved that it alerted authorities last year… But the first time [FinCEN], which is the chief reviewer of [SARs], became aware of the document in its own file was after Mr. Atta is believed to have flown a plane into the side of the World Trade Center… James Sloan, director of FinCEN, declined comment on the report filed about Mr. Atta, citing legal constraints.” [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/10/2001] United Arab Emirates Central Bank governor Sultan Nasser al-Suwaidi will also claim that the $70,000 transfer was reported to US officials, but will apparently later back away from this statement in discussions with the FBI. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 135 ] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Sultan Nasser al-Suwaidi, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Late September-Early October 2000: Sarasota Flight School Finds Atta and Alshehhi Poor Students With ‘Bad Attitudes’

Jones Aviation [Source: Jones Aviation] (click image to enlarge) Having attended Huffman Aviation flight school in Venice, Florida since early July, Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi move to Jones Aviation in Sarasota, about 20 miles north of Venice, to continue their training. However, their instructor finds them rude and aggressive, and claims they sometimes fight with him to take over the controls of the training plane. The instructor later says that when he talks to Atta, “he could not look you in the eye. His attention span was very short.… [T]hey didn’t live up to our standards.” Atta and Alshehhi each complete about 20 hours of flying time in single-engine planes, but early in October fail their Stage I exam for instruments rating. Gary Jones, the vice president of the school, later states, “We told them we wouldn’t teach them anymore. We told them, one, they couldn’t speak English and, two, they had bad attitudes. They wouldn’t listen to what the instructors had to instruct.” The two then return to Huffman Aviation to continue their training. [CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/16/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 9/19/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 224] Entity Tags: Jones Aviation, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

October 2000: DIA Official Refuses to Look at Information about Al-Qaeda, Mohamed Atta Able Danger member Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer meets with the DIA deputy director and offers him a computer disc with information about al-Qaeda (including Mohamed Atta), but the DIA official declines to accept the disc. [SACRAMENTO BEE, 11/24/2005] Entity Tags: Anthony Shaffer, Al-Qaeda, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(October 2000): 9/11 Hijackers Alshehhi and Atta Stop in Jacksonville 9/11 hijacker Marwan Alshhehi and another man, apparently hijacker Mohamed Atta, stop in Jacksonville, Florida. They land at an airfield in a small plane, and Alshehhi purchases about 11 liters of fuel with a credit card belonging to Huffman Aviation, a flight school he studies at around this time. Alshehhi leaves the airport in a courtesy car and then comes back in “an hour or two.” When this story is first reported in late 2004, the FBI will not say why Atta and Alshehhi landed here or where they went, although another of the hijackers, Ziad Jarrah, will stay in Jacksonville twice in 2001 (see January 22-26, 2001 and February 25-March 4, 2001). In 2004, Florida Senator Bill Nelson (D) will say that the hijackers’ time in Jacksonville never came up during the 9/11 Commission hearings, adding: “I want to know… why didn’t the September 11 Commission know about this. [The Commission] was given carte blanche authority to get any piece of intelligence to put together this jigsaw puzzle.” [FIRST COAST NEWS, 11/10/2004] Entity Tags: William Nelson, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

October-November 2000: Suspected 9/11 Hijacker Associates Meet with Prominent Muslim Activist in US

Agus Budiman. [Source: Der Spiegel] Mohammed bin Nasser Belfas and Agus Budiman, two Muslims living in Hamburg, Germany, travel to the US where they stay for two months. During this period, they meet with Abdurahman Alamoudi, a prominent Muslim activist whom the US has linked to Osama bin Laden. [NEWSWEEK, 10/1/2003] In 1994, the FBI learned that bin Laden sent Alamoudi money, which he then passed on to Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, known as the “blind sheikh” (see Shortly After March 1994). [MSNBC, 10/23/2003] Belfas will later say the purpose behind their meetings with Alamoudi was to request some favors. For instance, at Belfas’s request, Alamoudi writes a letter of recommendation for him. But after 9/11, investigators will suspect that the two were part of the Hamburg cell and that their trip to the US was related to the 9/11 attacks, for both Belfas and Budiman have connections to Mohamed Atta and other al-Qaeda operatives. [NEWSWEEK, 10/1/2003] In 1998, Belfas shared an apartment with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, led a prayer group attended by Atta and others (see 1999), and worked in a computer warehouse packing boxes with Atta, bin al-Shibh, and Marwan Alshehhi. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/1/2002] Entity Tags: Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Mohammed bin Nasser Belfas, Marwan Alshehhi, Agus Budiman, Abdurahman Alamoudi, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

October-November 2000: Hijackers’ Associate Fraudulently Obtains Virginia ID Mohammed Belfas, mentor of lead hijacker Mohamed Atta and a former roommate of his associate Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and Belfas’ companion Agus Budiman travel to the US. Belfas, who led an Islamic study group that Atta attended in Hamburg (see 1999) and also worked in a computer warehouse with Atta, bin al-Shibh, and Marwan Alshehhi, obtains an ID card in the same fraudulent way as the 9/11 hijackers later will. After 9/11, investigators will suspect the trip was related to the attacks, as Belfas and Budiman meet a bin Laden associate in the US (see October-November 2000). Belfas and Budiman stay with Budiman’s brother, who lives in the suburbs of Washington, DC, and Budiman takes a job as a night driver for a restaurant delivery service. Belfas often accompanies him to work and offers to help drive the delivery car if Budiman helps him get a US driver’s license, which he does not need to drive the delivery route, but merely claims to want as a souvenir. On November 4 they go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and Belfas gets a Virginia ID card, after Budiman affirms he lives in Arlington. Two days later Belfas uses the ID card to get a Virginia driver’s license. He returns to Germany soon after and has an alleged chance meeting on a train with bin al-Shibh, whom he tells about the trip and the driver’s license. [MCDERMOTT, 2005, PP. 57-8] Several of the 9/11 hijackers will fraudulently obtain Virginia IDs in 2001 (see August 1-2, 2001). Bin al-Shibh will also explain his and Atta’s travel to Afghanistan to join al-Qaeda to another chance meeting on a train. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 165] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Agus Budiman, Mohammed bin Nasser Belfas Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

(October-December 2000): Fellow Flight Student Suspicious of Atta and Alshehhi

Anne Greaves. [Source: History Channel] While they attend Huffman Aviation flying school in Venice, Florida, hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi use the same training airplane as Anne Greaves, a 56-year-old former osteopath from England. Later interviewed for Australian television, Greaves says she saw Atta and Alshehhi on an almost daily basis over roughly six weeks, although earlier reports claim she attended the school with them for as long as six months. [BBC, 9/24/2001; DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/25/2001; AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 10/18/2001] Her instructor tells her that Atta is an Arab prince and Alshehhi is his bodyguard. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/24/2001] Yet Rudi Dekkers, the school’s owner, later claims the two only said they were cousins from Germany. [USA TODAY, 9/13/2001] (Atta and Alshehhi are in fact unrelated. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 160-162] ) Greaves says, “I was really a little bit jealous in that they were always given preference with one of the Warriors which was a much newer, much neater aircraft,” and comments that for Atta “to have progressed as rapidly as he seemed to have done at Huffman he must have had flying skills before he came to Huffman Aviation.” (This fits with claims made by Rudi Dekkers, that Atta already had a private pilot’s license when he first arrived at the school (see July 6-December 19, 2000).) However, though the pair always flies together, she says, “I never saw Alshehhi take the controls of the aircraft. It was always Mohamed Atta.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/24/2001; AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 10/18/2001; US CONGRESS, 3/19/2002] Whereas Alshehhi dresses casually, Greaves sees Atta “always very formally dressed… always neatly pressed trousers of a wool type. A shirt and a waistcoat to match the trousers.” This is in spite of the “extremely hot” weather. [AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 10/18/2001] She says Atta never shows any emotion and appears hypnotized. [BBC, 9/24/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/24/2001] The only time she sees him and Alshehhi show any enthusiasm is around the “middle end of October” or “possibly early in November,” when they have been busy on the Internet in the school’s computer room. She sees them “hugging each other with joy and almost dancing in the room.” Several reports later speculate that this celebrating is in response to the al-Qaeda bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen (see October 12, 2000), though Greaves is unsure. [AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 10/18/2001; BBC, 12/12/2001; PBS, 1/17/2002] She later says, “I couldn’t help but be suspicious as to why [Atta] was there [at Huffman]. There was no love of flying in him.” Although she never considers terrorism, she thinks at the time that there is “an ulterior motive, maybe drug smuggling.” After the 9/11 attacks, due to her suspicion of the pair, she will contact the FBI with her concerns before the names of the suspected hijackers are made public. [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/25/2001; BBC, 12/12/2001; GUARDIAN, 7/5/2002] Entity Tags: Huffman Aviation, Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, Anne Greaves 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

November 5, 2000-June 20, 2001: Atta, Alhazmi, and Moussaoui Purchase Equipment from Same Pilot Store Zacarias Moussaoui and two of the 9/11 hijackers purchase flight training equipment from Sporty’s Pilot Shop in Batavia, Ohio.

November 5, 2000: Mohamed Atta purchases flight deck videos for a Boeing 747-200 and a Boeing 757-200, as well as other items; 
December 11, 2000: Atta purchases flight deck videos for a Boeing 767-300ER and an Airbus A320-200; 
March 19, 2001: Nawaf Alhazmi purchases flight deck videos for a Boeing 747-400, a Boeing 747-200, and a Boeing 777-200, as well as another video. Alhazmi also purchases maps around this time from another shop (see March 23, 2001); 
June 20, 2001: Zacarias Moussaoui purchases flight deck videos for a Boeing 747-400 and a Boeing 747-200. [SPORTY'S, 6/20/2001; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 12/11/2001 ] However, it is not clear whether Moussaoui was to take part in 9/11 or some other operation (see January 30, 2003).

Entity Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui, Mohamed Atta, Nawaf Alhazmi, Sporty’s Pilot Shop Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

December 2000-April 2001: Israeli Investigators Deported After Identifying Two Hijackers According to later German reports, “a whole horde of Israeli counter-terror investigators, posing as students, [follow] the trails of Arab terrorists and their cells in the United States.… In the town of Hollywood, Florida, they [identify]… Atta and Marwan Alshehhi as possible terrorists. Agents [live] in the vicinity of the apartment of the two seemingly normal flight school students, observing them around the clock.” Supposedly, around April, the Israeli agents are discovered and deported, terminating the investigation. [DER SPIEGEL (HAMBURG), 10/1/2002] Entity Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta, Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks (Mossad) Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

December 26, 2000: Hijackers Abandon Stalled Plane on Florida Runway; No Investigation Ensues Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, while learning to fly in Florida, stall a small plane on a Miami International Airport runway. Unable to start the plane, they simply walk away. Flight controllers have to guide the waiting passenger airliners around the stalled aircraft until it is towed away 35 minutes later. They weren’t supposed to be using that airport in the first place. The FAA threatens to investigate the two students and the flight school they are attending. The flight school sends records to the FAA, but no more is heard of the investigation. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/17/2001] “Students do stupid things during their flight course, but this is quite stupid,” says the owner of the flight school. Nothing was wrong with the plane. [CNN, 10/17/2001] Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

December 29-31, 2000: Atta and Alshehhi Train on Flight Simulator; Uncertainty over Whether They Gain Skills Needed for 9/11 Attacks Edit

The Pan Am Boeing 767 flight simulator used by the hijackers. [Source: FBI] Having finished their flight training at Huffman Aviation and passed their commercial pilot license tests (see August 14-December 19, 2000), Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi spend December 29 and 30 at the SimCenter flight school at Opa-Locka Airport, near Miami. Saying they want to join an Egyptian airline and need experience in a large plane, they each pay $1,500 in cash and spend six hours, split over the two days, training in the school’s Boeing 727 simulator. Henry George, the school’s owner who trains them, describes their training as a “mini, mini introduction,” and they spend most of their time practicing maneuvers and turns. George later describes Atta and Alshehhi as “average pilots,” and says they are “quite ordinary. They were respectful and quiet almost to the point of being shy.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/15/2001; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/27/2001; AVIATION INTERNATIONAL NEWS, 11/2001; BBC, 12/12/2001] The FBI claims that Atta and Alshehhi spend December 31 at Pan Am International, also in Opa-Locka, training on a Boeing 767 simulator there. [US CONGRESS, 9/26/2002; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. ZACARIAS MOUSSAOUI, A/K/A SHAQIL, A/K/A ABU KHALID AL SAHRAWI, DEFENDANT, 3/7/2006] Yet no other reports, including the 9/11 Commission Report, mention this. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel specifically claims the alleged hijackers “never approached Pan Am,” although it does not say how it arrived at this conclusion. It points out that, in contrast to the 767s they allegedly pilot on 9/11, the 727 Atta and Alshehhi train to fly at the SimCenter “is a rather old three-engine jet with an old-fashioned cockpit, including a cramped instrument panel loaded down with small dials, knobs and gauges.… But the 767 and 757 have highly sophisticated ‘glass cockpits,’ featuring video screens and digital readouts, and requiring an advanced level of computer skills.” Furthermore, according to Steven Wallach, an aviation consultant and former airline captain, if the hijackers “took the controls at high altitude and a long distance from their targets, then they likely had considerable training in a 767 or 757. They would have had to descend and navigate to Washington and New York. They would have had to know how to operate the autopilot, as well as other intricate functions.” However, “if the hijackers took over the controls at the last moment, that would indicate a minimum of 767-757 training.” [SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, 9/22/2001] SimCenter owner Henry George claims, “I suppose Atta had just enough training to keep the plane in the air—how to make turns and move it up and down. He could not, however, have taxied a 757 or 767 from the gate, got it airborne or landed it safely.” [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/14/2001]

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