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Pre 2001Edit

Main article: Nawaf al-Hazmi:Pre 2001


Main article: Nawaf al-Hazmi:2001

Post 2001Edit

2002: Witness Possibly Connects Hijackers Alhazmi and Almihdhar to Saudi Consulate Official Edit

The FBI Wikipedia interviews Qualid Benomrare, an Arabic-speaking taxi driver who had done chauffeur work for the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles. Benomrare is shown pictures of young Arab men and asked if he recognizes any of them. He quickly picks hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar out of the line-up.

After realizing they were 9/11 hijackers, he denies knowing them. The FBI asks him about his ties to Fahad al Thumairy, an official at the Saudi consulate suspected of a link with those two hijackers. Benomrare says that al Thumairy introduced him to two young Saudi men who had just arrived in the US and needed help. Benomrare drove them to places in Los Angeles Wikipedia and San Diego Wikipedia, including Sea World, a theme park in San Diego.[1] (Curiously, these two hijackers bought season passes to Sea World.) [2] 9/11 Commission staffers will later conclude it is highly likely that the two men were Alhazmi and Almihdhar, despite Benomrare’s later denial. This would mean al Thumairy knew the two hijackers.[3] However, the 9/11 Commission will fail to mention anything about this in their final report.

April 24-25, 2002: Saudi Prince Said to Meet Suspected Hijacker Associate while Visiting Bush; Three Figures in Saudi Crown Prince’s Entourage Are Wanted by FBI Edit

Prince Bandar and President Bush meet at Bush’s ranch in August, 2002. [Source: Associated Press] Crown Prince Abdullah, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, is due to arrive in Houston, Texas, to meet with President Bush at his ranch in nearby Crawford, Texas. Abdullah’s entourage is so large that it fills eight airplanes. As these planes land, US intelligence learns that one person on the flight manifests is wanted by US law enforcement, and two more are on a terrorist watch list. An informed source will later claim that the FBI is ready to “storm the plane and pull those guys off.” However, the State Department fears an international incident. An interagency conflict erupts over what to do. The Wall Street Journal will report in 2003, “Details about what happened to the three men in the end are not entirely clear, and no one at [the State Department] was willing to provide any facts about the incident. What is clear, though, is that the three didn’t get anywhere near Crawford, but were also spared the ‘embarrassment’ of arrest. And the House of Saud was spared an ‘international incident.’” [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/13/2003] The next day, Osama Basnan, an alleged associate of 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, reports his passport stolen to Houston police. [NEWSWEEK, 11/24/2002] This confirms that Basnan is in Houston on the same day that Crown Prince Abdullah, Prince Saud al-Faisal, and Saudi US Ambassador Prince Bandar meet with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, and National Security Adviser Rice at Bush’s Crawford ranch. [US-SAUDI ARABIAN BUSINESS COUNCIL, 4/25/2002] While in Texas, it is believed that Basnan “met with a high Saudi prince who has responsibilities for intelligence matters and is known to bring suitcases full of cash into the United States.” [NEWSWEEK, 11/24/2002; GUARDIAN, 11/25/2002] The still-classified section of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry is said to discuss the possibility of Basnan meeting this figure at this time. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/2/2003] It is unknown if Basnan and/or the Saudi prince he allegedly meets have any connection to the three figures wanted by the FBI, or even if one or both of them could have been among the wanted figures. Basnan will be arrested in the US for visa fraud in August 2002, and then deported two months later (see August 22-November 2002). Entity Tags: Osama Basnan, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, Nawaf Alhazmi, Saud al-Faisal, US Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Condoleezza Rice, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Bandar bin Sultan, Colin Powell, George W. Bush, Khalid Almihdhar Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

June 4, 2002: President Bush Acknowledges Agencies Made Mistakes, Continues to Insist that 9/11 Could Not Have Been Prevented For the first time, Bush concedes that his intelligence agencies had problems: “In terms of whether or not the FBI and the CIA were communicating properly, I think it is clear that they weren’t.” [LONDON TIMES, 6/5/2002] However, in an address to the nation three days later, President Bush still maintains, “Based on everything I’ve seen, I do not believe anyone could have prevented the horror of September the 11th.” [SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/8/2002] Days earlier, Newsweek reported that the FBI had prepared a detailed chart showing how agents could have uncovered the 9/11 plot if the CIA had told them what it knew about the hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar sooner. (FBI Director Mueller denies the existence of such a chart. [WASHINGTON POST, 6/3/2002] ) One FBI official says, “There’s no question we could have tied all 19 hijackers together.” [NEWSWEEK, 6/2/2002] Attorney General Ashcroft also says it is unlikely better intelligence could have stopped the attacks. [WASHINGTON POST, 6/3/2002] Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, John Ashcroft, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nawaf Alhazmi, Central Intelligence Agency, George W. Bush, Robert S. Mueller III Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Summer 2002-Summer 2004: 9/11 Investigations Glance over Intercepts of Hijackers’ Calls Both the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry and the 9/11 Commission examine the NSA’s intercepts of various calls made by the hijackers to an al-Qaeda communications hub in Sana’a, Yemen (see Early 2000-Summer 2001). The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry refers to several of the calls and gives an idea of the content of some of them. But it does not mention those made by Nawaf Alhazmi and possibly other hijackers from the US after the USS Cole bombing, which are only disclosed later in the media (see Mid-October 2000-Summer 2001 and March 15, 2004 and After). However, this section of the Inquiry report is heavily redacted so most details remain unknown. It states that, although the NSA intercepted the calls and disseminated dispatches about some of them, the NSA did not realize the hijackers were in the US at the time the calls were made. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. XII, 11-12, 143-146, 155-157 ] The 9/11 Commission Report contains a briefer section on the intercepts and deals with those which led to the surveillance of the al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000). In addition, it mentions that Almihdhar called his wife from San Diego in the spring of 2000, but fails to mention that his wife lived at an al-Qaeda communications hub and that the calls were intercepted by the NSA (see Spring-Summer 2000). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 181, 222] The Los Angeles Times comments: “The [9/11 Congressional Inquiry] and the Sept. 11 commission that came after it referred indirectly to the calls from Yemen to San Diego. But neither report discloses what the NSA gleaned from the calls, or why they were never disclosed to the FBI.” [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 12/21/2005] The publication of the 9/11 Commission report and revelations about domestic surveillance by the NSA will lead to increased media interest in and revelations about the intercepts starting from 2004 (see March 15, 2004 and After). Entity Tags: Hoda al-Hada, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/11 Commission, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, National Security Agency, Ahmed al-Hada Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

August 2, 2002: CIA Memo Says Evidence of Saudi Government Support for Hijackers Is ‘Incontrovertible’ Edit

According to Sen. Bob Graham (D), the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry he co-chairs later will uncover a CIA memo written on this date. The author of the memo writes about hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi and concludes that there is “incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists within the Saudi government.” [GRAHAM AND NUSSBAUM, 2004, PP. 169] Apparently, this memo will be discussed in the completely censored section of the Inquiry’s final report that deals with foreign government involvement in the 9/11 plot (see August 1-3, 2003). Osama Basnan, one of the key players in a suspected transfer of funds from the Saudi government to these two hijackers, is arrested in the US a few weeks after this memo is written, but he will be deported two months after that (see August 22-November 2002). Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency, Nawaf Alhazmi, Bob Graham Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

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

Saud al-Rashid. [Source: FBI] A picture of a young Saudi man named Saud al-Rashid is discovered on a CD-ROM that also contains the pictures of three 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Abdulaziz Alomari, in an al-Qaeda safe house in Pakistan. A senior US official says that investigators “were able to take this piece of information and it showed clear signals or lines that he was connected to 9/11.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/21/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 526] Al-Rashid was in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001, where he met 9/11 hijacker Ahmed Alhaznawi “once or twice” in a guest house. [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/29/2003; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 526] Six days after the raid, the US issues a worldwide dragnet to find him. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/21/2002] But they are unable to catch him because a few days later, he flees from Egypt to Saudi Arabia and turns himself in to the Saudi authorities. The Saudis apparently will not try him for any crime or allow the FBI to interview him. [CNN, 8/26/2002; CNN, 8/31/2002] Although detainees identify him as a candidate 9/11 hijacker, he claims not to have met Osama bin Laden or Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM), or even have heard of al-Qaeda. Under interrogation, KSM says he was headstrong and immature and dropped out of the plot after returning to Saudi Arabia for a visa, either due to second thoughts or the influence of his family. However, doubts will be raised about the reliability of KSM’s statements under interrogation (see August 6, 2007). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 526] Intriguingly, Al-Rashid’s father is Hamid al-Rashid, a Saudi government official who paid a salary to Omar al-Bayoumi, an associate of both Almihdhar and Alhazmi who is later suspected of being a Saudi agent. [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/29/2003] Entity Tags: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Khalid Almihdhar, Al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Abdulaziz Alomari, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Saud al-Rashid, Hamid al-Rashid, Omar al-Bayoumi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

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

Osama Basnan, an alleged associate of 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, and his wife are arrested for visa fraud. [NEWSWEEK, 11/22/2002; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 11/24/2002] One report says he is arrested for allegedly having links to Omar al-Bayoumi. [ARAB NEWS, 11/26/2002] On October 22, Basnan and his wife, Majeda Dweikat, admit they used false immigration documents to stay in the US. [KGTV 10 (SAN DIEGO), 10/22/2002] Possible financial connections between Basnan and al-Bayoumi, Alhazmi and Almihdhar, and the Saudi royal family are known to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry (as well as the FBI and CIA) at this time. Remarkably, Basnan is deported to Saudi Arabia on November 17, 2002. His wife is deported to Jordan the same day. [WASHINGTON POST, 11/24/2002] Less than a week after the deportations, new media reports make Basnan a widely known suspect. [NEWSWEEK, 11/22/2002] Entity Tags: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Osama Basnan, Central Intelligence Agency, Omar al-Bayoumi, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Majeda Dweikat Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

September 18, 2002: 9/11 Victims’ Relatives Raise Questions about US Agencies’ Conduct

Kristen Breitweiser. [Source: Hyungwon Kang/ Reuters] Two 9/11 victims’ relatives testify before the Congressional 9/11 inquiry. Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband Ronald died at the WTC, asks how the FBI was so quickly able to assemble information on the hijackers. She cites a New York Times article stating that agents descended on flight schools within hours of the attacks. “How did the FBI know where to go a few hours after the attacks?” she asks. “Were any of the hijackers already under surveillance?” [MSNBC, 9/18/2002] She adds, “Our intelligence agencies suffered an utter collapse in their duties and responsibilities leading up to and on September 11th. But their negligence does not stand alone. Agencies like the Port Authority, the City of NY, the FAA, the INS, the Secret Service, NORAD, the Air Force, and the airlines also failed our nation that morning.” [US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002] Stephen Push states, “If the intelligence community had been doing its job, my wife, Lisa Raines, would be alive today.” He cites the government’s failure to place Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi on a terrorist watch list until long after they were photographed meeting with alleged al-Qaeda operatives in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000 and Shortly After). [MSNBC, 9/18/2002] Entity Tags: Stephen Push, Secret Service, New York Port Authority, US Department of the Air Force, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Kristen Breitweiser, Al-Qaeda, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Naturalization Service, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, City of New York, Lisa Raines Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

October 5, 2002: FBI Refuses to Allow FBI Informant to Testify before 9/11 Inquiry The New York Times reports that the FBI is refusing to allow Abdussattar Shaikh, the FBI informant who lived with 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar in the second half of 2000 (see May 10-Mid-December 2000), to testify before the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry. The FBI claims Shaikh would have nothing interesting to say. The Justice Department also wants to learn more about him. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/5/2002] The FBI also tries to prevent Shaikh’s handler Steven Butler from testifying, but Butler will end up testifying before a secret session on October 9, 2002. Shaikh will not testify at all. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/11/2002] Butler’s testimony will uncover many curious facts about Shaikh. [NEW YORK TIMES, 11/23/2002; US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, 11/29/2002; US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003; SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/25/2003] Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Steven Butler, Abdussattar Shaikh, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

October 9, 2002: FBI Agent Handled Hijackers’ Landlord San Diego FBI agent Steven Butler reportedly gives “explosive” testimony to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry. Butler, recently retired, has been unable to speak to the media, but he was the handler for Abdussattar Shaikh, an FBI asset who rented a room to hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. Butler claims he might have uncovered the 9/11 plot if the CIA had provided the FBI with more information earlier about Alhazmi and Almihdhar. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/22/2002] He says, “It would have made a huge difference.” He suggests they would have quickly found the two hijackers because they were “very, very close.” “We would have immediately opened… investigations. We would have given them the full court press. We would… have done everything—physical surveillance, technical surveillance, and other assets.” [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003 ; SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/25/2003] Butler discloses that he had been monitoring a flow of Saudi Arabian money that wound up in the hands of two of the 9/11 hijackers, but his supervisors failed to take any action on the warnings. It is not known when Butler started investigating the money flow, or when he warned his supervisors. [US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, 11/29/2002] The FBI unsuccessfully tries to prevent Butler from testifying. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/11/2002] This testimony doesn’t stop the US government from deporting Basnan to Saudi Arabia several weeks later. [WASHINGTON POST, 11/24/2002] Entity Tags: Abdussattar Shaikh, Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency, Steven Butler, Nawaf Alhazmi, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Federal Bureau of Investigation Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

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

October 21, 2002: 13 Hijackers Were Never Interviewed by US Consular Officials The General Accounting Office, the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, releases a report asserting that at least 13 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were never interviewed by US consular officials before being granted visas to enter the US. This contradicts previous assurances from the State Department that 12 of the hijackers had been interviewed. It also found that, for 15 hijackers whose applications could be found, none had filled in the documents properly. Records for four other hijackers (the four non-Saudis, i.e., Ziad Jarrah, Mohamed Atta, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, and Marwan Al Shehhi) could not be checked because they were accidentally destroyed. [NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE, 10/21/2002; UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, 10/21/2002 ; WASHINGTON POST, 10/22/2002] The State Department maintains that visa procedures were properly followed. In December 2002, Senators Jon Kyl (R) and Pat Roberts (R) state in a chapter of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry that “if State Department personnel had merely followed the law and not granted non-immigrant visas to 15 of the 19 hijackers in Saudi Arabia… 9/11 would not have happened.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/19/2002; US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. PP. 653-673 ] Entity Tags: Pat Roberts, Salem Alhazmi, Waleed M. Alshehri, US Department of State, Satam Al Suqami, Ziad Jarrah, Wail Alshehri, Nawaf Alhazmi, Saeed Alghamdi, Marwan Alshehhi, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Ahmed Alnami, Ahmed Alghamdi, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Abdulaziz Alomari, Mohand Alshehri, Mohamed Atta, Khalid Almihdhar, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, Jon Kyl, Hamza Alghamdi, Hani Hanjour, Government Accountability Office, Majed Moqed Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

November 22, 2002: Newsweek Reports Saudi Royals Sent Money to Hijackers’ Associates Newsweek reports that hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar may have received money from Saudi Arabia’s royal family through two Saudis, Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan. Newsweek bases its report on information leaked from the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry in October. [NEWSWEEK, 11/22/2002; NEWSWEEK, 11/22/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 11/23/2002; WASHINGTON POST, 11/23/2003] Al-Bayoumi is in Saudi Arabia by this time. Basnan was deported to Saudi Arabia just five days earlier. Saudi officials and Princess Haifa immediately deny any connections to Islamic militants. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 11/24/2002] Newsweek reports that while the money trail “could be perfectly innocent… it is nonetheless intriguing—and could ultimately expose the Saudi government to some of the blame for 9/11…” [NEWSWEEK, 11/22/2002] Some Saudi newspapers, which usually reflect government thinking, claim the leak is blackmail to pressure Saudi Arabia into supporting war with Iraq. [MSNBC, 11/27/2002] Senior US government officials claim the FBI and CIA failed to aggressively pursue leads that might have linked the two hijackers to Saudi Arabia. This causes a bitter dispute between FBI and CIA officials and the intelligence panel investigating the 9/11 attacks. [NEW YORK TIMES, 11/23/2002] A number of senators, including Richard Shelby (R), John McCain (R), Mitch O’Connell (R), Joseph Lieberman (D), Bob Graham (D), Joseph Biden (D), and Charles Schumer (D), express concern about the Bush administration’s action (or non-action) regarding the Saudi royal family and its possible role in funding Islamic militants. [REUTERS, 11/24/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 11/25/2002] Lieberman says, “I think it’s time for the president to blow the whistle and remember what he said after September 11—you’re either with us or you’re with the al-Qaeda.” [ABC NEWS, 11/25/2002] FBI officials strongly deny any deliberate connection between these two men and the Saudi government or the hijackers [TIME, 11/24/2002] , but later even more connections between them and both entities are revealed. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003 ] Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Mitch O’Connell, Joseph Lieberman, Richard Shelby, Osama Basnan, Omar al-Bayoumi, Saudi Arabia, Joseph Biden, John McCain, Nawaf Alhazmi, Charles Schumer, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Bob Graham, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Bush administration Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

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

July 24, 2003: 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Suggests Hijackers Received Considerable Assistance Inside US The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry’s final report concludes that at least six hijackers received “substantial assistance” from associates in the US, though it’s “not known to what extent any of these contacts in the United States were aware of the plot.” These hijackers came into contact with at least 14 people who were investigated by the FBI before 9/11, and four of those investigations were active while the hijackers were present. But in June 2002, FBI Director Mueller testified: “While here, the hijackers effectively operated without suspicion, triggering nothing that would have alerted law enforcement and doing nothing that exposed them to domestic coverage. As far as we know, they contacted no known terrorist sympathizers in the United States.” CIA Director Tenet made similar comments at the same time, and another FBI official stated, “[T]here were no contacts with anybody we were looking at inside the United States.” These comments are untrue, because one FBI document from November 2001 uncovered by the Inquiry concludes that the six lead hijackers “maintained a web of contacts both in the United States and abroad. These associates, ranging in degrees of closeness, include friends and associates from universities and flight schools, former roommates, people they knew through mosques and religious activities, and employment contacts. Other contacts provided legal, logistical, or financial assistance, facilitated US entry and flight school enrollment, or were known from [al-Qaeda]-related activities or training.” [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003 ] The declassified sections of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry’s final report show the hijackers have contact with:

Mamoun Darkazanli, investigated several times starting in 1993 (see 1993; Late 1998); the CIA makes repeated efforts to turn him into an informer (see December 1999). 
Mohammed Haydar Zammar, investigated by Germany since at least 1997 (see 1996), the Germans periodically inform the CIA what they learn. 
Osama Basnan, US intelligence is informed of his connections to Islamic militants several times in early 1990s but fails to investigate (see April 1998). 
Omar al-Bayoumi, investigated in San Diego from 1998-1999 (see September 1998-July 1999). 
Anwar Al Aulaqi, investigated in San Diego from 1999-2000 (see June 1999-March 2000). 
Osama “Sam” Mustafa, owner of a San Diego gas station, and investigated beginning in 1991 (see Autumn 2000). 
Ed Salamah, manager of the same gas station, and an uncooperative witness in 2000 (see Autumn 2000). 
An unnamed friend of Hani Hanjour, whom the FBI tries to investigate in 2001. 
An unnamed associate of Marwan Alshehhi, investigated beginning in 1999. 
Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, who had contact with Basnan, al-Bayoumi, Aulaqi, Mustafa, and Salamah, “maintained a number of other contacts in the local Islamic community during their time in San Diego, some of whom were also known to the FBI through counterterrorist inquiries and investigations,” but details of these individuals and possible others are still classified. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003 ] None of the above people have been arrested or even publicly charged with any crime associated with terrorism, although Zammar is in prison in Syria.

Entity Tags: Osama Basnan, Omar al-Bayoumi, Osama (“Sam”) Mustafa, Anwar Al Aulaqi, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Mamoun Darkazanli, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Robert S. Mueller III, George J. Tenet, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency, Ed Salamah Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

August 6, 2003: Two Investigative Journalists Say Almihdhar and Alhazmi Worked for Saudi Intelligence and Were Protected by CIA

Joe Trento. [Source: Canal+] After 9/11, an unnamed former CIA officer who worked in Saudi Arabia will tell investigative journalist Joe Trento that hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar were allowed to operate in the US unchecked (see, e.g., February 4-Mid-May 2000 and Mid-May-December 2000) because they were agents of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency. “We had been unable to penetrate al-Qaeda. The Saudis claimed that they had done it successfully. Both Alhazmi and Almihdhar were Saudi agents. We thought they had been screened. It turned out the man responsible for recruiting them had been loyal to Osama bin Laden. The truth is bin Laden himself was a Saudi agent at one time. He successfully penetrated Saudi intelligence and created his own operation inside. The CIA relied on the Saudis vetting their own agents. It was a huge mistake. The reason the FBI was not given any information about either man is because they were Saudi assets operating with CIA knowledge in the United States.” [STORIES THAT MATTER, 8/6/2003] In a 2006 book the Trentos will add: “Saudi intelligence had sent agents Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi to spy on a meeting of top associates of al-Qaeda in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, January 5-8, 2000. ‘The CIA/Saudi hope was that the Saudis would learn details of bin Laden’s future plans. Instead plans were finalized and the Saudis learned nothing,’ says a terrorism expert who asks that his identity be withheld… Under normal circumstances, the names of Almihdhar and Alhazmi should have been placed on the State Department, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and US Customs watch lists. The two men would have been automatically denied entry into the US. Because they were perceived as working for a friendly intelligence service, however, the CIA did not pass along the names.” [TRENTO AND TRENTO, 2006, PP. 8] Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Saudi General Intelligence Directorate, Central Intelligence Agency, Nawaf Alhazmi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

March 2004: CIA Finds 9/11 Hijackers Used 364 Aliases and Name Variants After investigating the 9/11 hijackers, the CIA finds that the 19 operatives used a total of 364 aliases, including different spellings of their own names and noms de guerre. Although some examples are made public, the full list is not disclosed. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 1, 5 ; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006 ] However, an FBI timeline of hijacker movements made public in 2008 will mention some of the aliases. For example:

Hani Hanjour and Ahmed Alghamdi rent a New Jersey apartment using the names Hany Saleh and Ahmed Saleh. (Saleh is Hanjour’s middle name.) [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 10/2001, PP. 144, 205 ] 
Fayez Ahmed Banihammad uses the aliases Abu Dhabi Banihammad and Fayey Rashid Ahmed. [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 10/2001, PP. 167, 174 ] 
Nawaf Alhazmi uses the aliases Nawaf Alharbi and Nawaf Alzmi Alhazmi. [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 10/2001, PP. 60 ; FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 10/2001, PP. 248 ] 
Mohamed Atta frequently likes to use variants of the name El Sayed, for instance calling himself Awaid Elsayed and even Hamburg Elsayed. Marwan Alshehhi also uses the Elsayed alias. [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 10/2001, PP. 125, 126 ] 
When Majed Moqed flies into the US on May 2, 2001, the name Mashaanmoged Mayed is on the flight manifest. [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 10/2001, PP. 139 ] 

In contrast to this, many reports emphasize that the hijackers usually used their own names. For example, the 9/11 Commission will say, “The hijackers opened accounts in their own names, using passports and other identification documents.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 22 ] In addition, a Commission staffer will tell UPI: “They did not need fake passports. The plotters all used their own passports to get into the country and once here, used US-issued ID documents whenever possible.” [UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 8/17/2005] Entity Tags: Wail Alshehri, Mohand Alshehri, Mohamed Atta, Nawaf Alhazmi, Saeed Alghamdi, Satam Al Suqami, Marwan Alshehhi, Salem Alhazmi, Ziad Jarrah, Waleed M. Alshehri, Majed Moqed, Khalid Almihdhar, Ahmed Alhaznawi, 9/11 Commission, Abdulaziz Alomari, Ahmed Alghamdi, Hani Hanjour, Hamza Alghamdi, Central Intelligence Agency, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, Ahmed Alnami Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

March 15, 2004 and After: Domestic Wiretapping Revelation Reignites 9/11 Hijacker Phone Call Debate It was disclosed in 2003 that the NSA had intercepted several calls between hijackers Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, and Salem Alhazmi and an al-Qaeda communications hub in Sana’a, Yemen (see Early 2000-Summer 2001 and Summer 2002-Summer 2004). But in 2004, after revelations that the NSA has been wiretapping inside the US, some media begin to re-examine the circumstances of the hijackers’ calls from the US, as the Bush administration uses the example of these calls as a justification for the NSA’s domestic wiretapping program. [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/16/2005; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 12/21/2005; US PRESIDENT, 12/26/2005 ] The calls are thought to be a key aspect of the alleged intelligence failures before 9/11. In late 1998, the FBI had started plotting intercepts of al-Qaeda calls to and from the communications hub on a map (see Late 1998-Early 2002). According to author Lawrence Wright, “[h]ad a line been drawn from the [communications hub] in Yemen to Alhazmi and Almihdhar’s San Diego apartment, al-Qaeda’s presence in America would have been glaringly obvious.” [WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 343-344] In 2006, former NSA Director Michael Hayden will tell the Senate that if the NSA’s domestic wiretapping program had been active before 9/11, the NSA would have raised the alarm over the presence of hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi in San Diego. [CNN, 5/19/2006] However, reports in the press suggest otherwise. For example, in one newspaper a senior intelligence official will say that it was not technically possible for the NSA, which had a budget of around $3.6 billion in 2000, to trace the calls. “Neither the contents of the calls nor the physics of the intercepts allowed us to determine that one end of the calls was in the United States,” says the official. [BAMFORD, 2002, PP. 482; US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, 3/15/2004] But another report flatly contradicts this. “NSA had the technical ability to pick up the actual phone number in the US that the switchboard was calling but didn’t deploy that equipment, fearing they would be accused of domestic spying.” [MSNBC, 7/21/2004] It is unclear why concerns about domestic spying allegations would prevent the NSA from passing the information on to the FBI. Almihdhar and Alhazmi were not US citizens, but foreign nationals who had entered the US illegally claiming to be tourists. In addition, there was a wealth of evidence connecting them to al-Qaeda (see Early 1999, January 5-8, 2000, and Early 2000-Summer 2001). In any event, the NSA did reportedly disseminate dispatches about some of these US calls (see Spring-Summer 2000). Some FBI officials will later profess not to know what went wrong and why they were not notified of the hijackers’ presence in the US by other agencies. A senior counterterrorism official will say: “I don’t know if they got half the conversation or none of it or hung up or whatever. All I can tell you is we didn’t get anything from it—we being the people at the FBI who could have done something about it. So were they sitting on it? I don’t know.” [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 12/21/2005] The US intelligence community, through the CIA, also had access to the phone company’s records for the Yemeni communications hub, which would have shown what numbers were being called in the US (see Late 1998-Early 2002). Entity Tags: Michael Hayden, Khalid Almihdhar, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, Ahmed al-Hada, Bush administration, US intelligence, Salem Alhazmi, Nawaf Alhazmi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline, Civil Liberties

April 13, 2004: Attorney General Ashcroft Blames ‘Wall’ for 9/11 Failures, but 9/11 Commission Believes He Is Exaggerating

Attorney General John Ashcroft before the 9/11 Commission. [Source: Associated Press] Attorney General John Ashcroft testifies publicly before the 9/11 Commission. Due to information leaked to the public about Ashcroft’s apparently poor performance and lack of interest in terrorism before the attacks (see Spring 2001, July 12, 2001, and September 10, 2001), in the words of author Philip Shenon, “Everybody expect[s] it to be a difficult day for Ashcroft—maybe the day that mark[s] the end of his tenure as George Bush’s attorney general.” Executing a strategy designed in advance by the Justice Department’s leadership, instead of defending his record, Ashcroft goes on the offensive against the Commission. First, Ashcroft withholds from the Commission a copy of his written statement, although all other witnesses provide this. Then, when his testimony starts, he blames the problems dealing with terrorist threats on information-sharing regulations set up by former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, now a 9/11 commissioner. [SHENON, 2008, PP. 325-327] Ashcroft Exaggerates Effect of Gorelick Memo - He comments: “The single greatest structural cause for September 11 was the ‘wall’ that segregated criminal investigators and intelligence agents. Government erected this ‘wall.’ Government buttressed this ‘wall.’ And before September 11, government was blinded by this ‘wall.’” The wall was a set of procedures that regulated the passage of information from FBI intelligence agents to FBI criminal agents and prosecutors to ensure that information obtained using warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) would not be thrown out from criminal cases (see July 19, 1995). Ashcroft says that the wall impeded the investigation of Zacarias Moussaoui and that a “warrant was rejected because FBI officials feared breaching the ‘wall.’” (Note: two applications to search Moussaoui’s belongings were prepared. The first was not submitted because it was thought to be “shaky” (see August 21, 2001). The second warrant application was prepared as a part of an intelligence investigation under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, so it was not affected by the “wall” (see August 28, 2001)). According to Ashcroft, the wall also impeded the search for hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi because criminal investigators were not allowed to join in. However, the 9/11 Commission will find that they could legally have helped, but were prevented from doing so by FBI headquarters (see August 29, 2001). Ashcroft asserts that 9/11 commissioner Jamie Gorelick was responsible for the wall. He cites a document he just declassified that had been written by Gorelick to deal with the two 1993 World Trade Center bombing cases (see March 4, 1995). That document becomes known as the “wall memo.” However, this memo only governed the two WTC cases; all other cases were governed by a different, but similar memo written by Attorney General Janet Reno a few months later (see July 19, 1995). [9/11 COMMISSION, 4/13/2004] Commission's Response - 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton will say that the “attorney general’s claim was overstated,” and that the two 1995 memos only codified a set of procedures that already existed (see Early 1980s). During questioning, Republican 9/11 commissioner Slade Gorton points out that Ashcroft’s deputy reaffirmed the procedures in an August 2001 memo that stated, “The 1995 procedures remain in effect today” (see August 6, 2001). [KEAN AND HAMILTON, 2006, PP. 194-6] Ashcroft’s accusation against Gorelick produces an immediate public response. Commissioner Bob Kerrey (D) will say: “Ashcroft was still speaking, and the e-mails were already coming in. The e-mails said things like, ‘You traitor, you should be ashamed of yourself for having somebody like Gorelick on the 9/11 Commission.’ I could see that this was a setup.” [SHENON, 2008, PP. 329] Falsely Claims No Clinton Program to Kill Bin Laden - Ashcroft also claims there was no program to kill Osama bin Laden before 9/11, saying, “Let me be clear: my thorough review revealed no covert action program to kill bin Laden.” However, the 9/11 Commission has already found a memorandum of notification signed by President Clinton in 1998 after the African embassy bombings that allowed CIA assets to kill bin Laden, and two commissioners, Fred Fielding and Richard Ben-Veniste, point this out to Ashcroft. [9/11 COMMISSION, 4/13/2004; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 132, 485] Attack Brings Commission Together - Paradoxically, the effect of Ashcroft’s attack is to bring the Commission—made up of five Democrats and five Republicans—together. Shenon will comment, “The Republicans were just as angry as the Democrats over what Ashcroft had done, maybe angrier.” Commissioner Slade Gorton (R) will add, “There was universal outrage on the part of all 10 people.” [SHENON, 2008, PP. 332] Entity Tags: Slade Gorton, Richard Ben-Veniste, Zacarias Moussaoui, Thomas Kean, Khalid Almihdhar, Lee Hamilton, 9/11 Commission, Bob Kerrey, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Fred Fielding, John Ashcroft, Nawaf Alhazmi, Philip Shenon Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

July 2004: Report on FBI’s 9/11 Failures Is Completed, But Remains Unreleased Until After Presidential Election In November 2002, as the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry was finishing its investigation, it had formally asked for a report by the Justice Department (which oversees the FBI) to determine “whether and to what extent personnel at all levels should be held accountable” for the failure to stop the 9/11 attacks. An identical request was made to the CIA (see June-November 2004). [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/14/2004] The Justice Department report, titled “A Review of the FBI’s Handling of Intelligence Information Related to the September 11 Attacks,” is completed this month. [WASHINGTON POST, 4/30/2005] It centers on three FBI failures before 9/11: the failure to follow up on the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui in August 2001 (see August 16, 2001), the failure to follow up on FBI agent Ken Williams’ memo (see July 10, 2001) warning about Islamic militants training in US flight schools, and the FBI’s failure to follow up on many leads to hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. The report provides some new details about miscommunications, inaction, and other problems. [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/14/2004] The report remains classified. Senior Senate Judiciary Committee members Patrick Leahy (D) and Charles Grassley (R) call for its release. The senators state, “While the needs of national security must be weighed seriously, we fear the designation of information as classified, in some cases, serves to protect the executive branch against embarrassing revelations and full accountability. We hope that is not the case here.” [WASHINGTON TIMES, 7/12/2004; NEW YORK TIMES, 9/14/2004] One problem complicating the issuing of even a declassified version is the possibility that the material would taint the criminal proceedings against Zacarias Moussaoui. In early 2005, the Justice Department inspector general’s office will ask the judge presiding over Moussaoui’s case for permission to release a declassified version of the report. But the judge will turn down the request in April 2005, even after Moussaoui pleads guilty (see April 30, 2005). The report will finally be released in June 2005 without the section on Moussaoui (see June 9, 2005). [NEW YORK TIMES, 2/13/2005] Entity Tags: Ken Williams, Khalid Almihdhar, Charles Grassley, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nawaf Alhazmi, US Department of Justice, Zacarias Moussaoui, Patrick J. Leahy Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline, 2004 Presidential Election

August 3, 2004: Al-Qaeda Suspect Arrrested in Britain; Suspected of Planning Major Attacks Edit

Dhiren Barot. [Source: London Metropolitan Police] Dhiren Barot, a Londoner of Indian descent who converted to Islam and fought in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is arrested along with about a dozen other al-Qaeda suspects by British authorities (see August 3, 2004). Barot, who uses a number of pseudonyms, including Abu Eissa al-Hindi, will be charged with several crimes surrounding his plans to launch attacks against British and US targets. Barot’s plans were discovered in a computer owned by al-Qaeda operative Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, who was arrested in July 2004 and was helping US intelligence until his outing by US and Pakistani officials on August 2, 2004 (see August 2, 2004). Though Barot is not believed to be a high-level al-Qaeda operative, he has connections to some of al-Qaeda’s most notorious leaders, including bin Laden and 9/11 plotter Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM), who, according to the 9/11 Commission, dispatched him to “case” targets in New York City in 2001. Under the alias Issa al-Britani, he is known to have been sent to Malaysia in late 1999 or very early 2000 by KSM to meet with Hambali, the head of the al-Qaeda affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah. According to the commission report, Barot may have given Hambali the names of 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi. Barot may have traveled to Malaysia with Khallad bin Attash. Bin Attash is believed to be one of the planners behind the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole (see October 12, 2000). Barot’s trip to Malaysia came just days before the well-documented January 2000 al-Qaeda summit where early plans for the 9/11 bombings were hatched (see January 5-8, 2000), though US officials do not believe that Barot was present at that meeting. British authorities believe that Barot was part of an al-Qaeda plan to launch a mass terror attack using chemical and/or radioactive weapons. Barot and other suspects arrested were, according to Western officials, in contact with al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan, who themselves were communicating with bin Laden and other top al-Qaeda leaders as recently as July 2004. [MSNBC, 8/20/2004] Barot’s plans seem to have focused more actively on British targets, including London’s subway system. In November 2006, Barot will be convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and other crimes, and eventually sentenced to thirty years in prison by a British court. [BBC, 11/7/2006; BBC, 5/16/2007] Entity Tags: Tawfiq bin Attash, USS Cole, Nawaf Alhazmi, Hambali, Dhiren Barot, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Khalid Almihdhar, Jemaah Islamiyah, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

August 21, 2004: 9/11 Commission Confused Over Hijackers’ ID Documents The 9/11 Commission attempts to make a list of all identity documents obtained by the hijackers, but its account, contained mostly in its Terrorist Travel Monograph, may be incomplete:

The Commission says several of the hijackers obtained USA ID cards in the summer of 2001 (see (July-August 2001)), although at least one, and possibly more of the cards is fake, and this is not mentioned by the Commission. According to it, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, and Abdulaziz Alomari obtained their cards on July 10. However, the Commission gives conflicting dates for Salem Alhazmi, Majed Moqed, and Ahmed Alghamdi. For example, in one place it says Alghamdi got his card in July and in another it says he got it in August. At least one card, that of Khalid Almihdhar, is fake and ID forger Mohamed el-Atriss will be arrested after 9/11 and sentenced to jail for forging IDs for the hijackers (see (July-August 2001) and November 2002-June 2003). The Commission further says that the Alhazmi brothers’ cards were “found in the rubble at the Pentagon,” citing a US Secret Service report. Although an image of a damaged USA ID card belonging to Nawaf Alhazmi will be produced as evidence at the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, according to the 9/11 Commission Salem Alhazmi was unable to produce any photo ID when checking in for his flight on 9/11 (see (7:25 a.m.-7:36 a.m.) September 11, 2001), so it is unclear how his card came to be at the Pentagon. In addition, in the Commission’s Terrorist Travel Monograph, the mention of Salem Alhazmi’s card in the list of hijackers’ ID will be followed by a reference to an endnote. However, this endnote is missing; [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 27-29, 31-32, 34-44 ; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006] 
FBI Director Robert Mueller will later say that the six hijackers who obtained USA ID cards plus Mohamed Atta obtained unspecified identification cards in Paterson, New Jersey (see July 2001). However, it is unclear whether this statement refers to the USA ID cards, or a different set of ID cards not mentioned by the 9/11 Commission; 
The Commission will say that Satam Al Suqami did not obtain any ID document in the US, which is why he had to take his passport on his final flight. The passport was found shortly after the plane he was traveling on hit the WTC (see After 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 27-29, 31-32, 34-44 ] However, Florida media reported a man named Satam Al Suqami obtained a Florida ID card on July 3, 2001, around the same time as several other hijackers obtained similar cards; [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/16/2001] 
Ahmed Alhaznawi had a Florida’s driver’s license and two duplicates. Although the Commission mentions the original license and second duplicate, it does not mention the first one, issued on July 24, 2004. [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/14/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 28, 32, 33 ]

Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Salem Alhazmi, Majed Moqed, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Satam Al Suqami, 9/11 Commission, Abdulaziz Alomari, Ahmed Alghamdi, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

September 7, 2004: Senator Bob Graham Claims Cover up of Saudi Connection to Two 9/11 Hijackers Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) alleges that the White House has covered up possible Saudi Arabian government connections to hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. In an interview to promote his new book entitled Intelligence Matters, he contends that evidence relating to these two hijackers, who lived in San Diego, “present[s] a compelling case that there was Saudi assistance” to the 9/11 plot. [GRAHAM AND NUSSBAUM, 2004; COPLEY NEWS, 9/7/2004] In the words of author Philip Shenon, Graham is “convinced that a number of sympathetic Saudi officials, possibly within the sprawling Islamic Affairs Ministry, had known that al-Qaeda terrorists were entering the United States beginning in 2000 in preparation for some sort of attack,” and that “Saudi officials had directed spies operating in the United States to assist them.” [SHENON, 2008, PP. 51] Graham also concludes that President Bush directed the FBI “to restrain and obfuscate” investigations into these ties, possibly to protect US-Saudi relations. The San Diego Union-Tribune notes, “Graham co-chaired the exhaustive Congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11 attacks and is privy to still-classified information about the probe.” Graham claims that Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan are Saudi intelligence agents. He also claims that the FBI deliberately blocked his inquiry’s attempts to interview Abdussattar Shaikh, the FBI asset who was a landlord to the above-mentioned hijackers (see November 18, 2002). The questions the inquiry wanted to ask Shaikh went unanswered because of FBI maneuvering. [GRAHAM AND NUSSBAUM, 2004; COPLEY NEWS, 9/7/2004] Entity Tags: Osama Basnan, Saudi Arabia, Omar al-Bayoumi, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Abdussattar Shaikh, Bob Graham, Bush administration Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

June 9, 2005: Justice Department Report on FBI’s 9/11 Failures Is Finally Released The report by Justice Department’s Inspector General Glenn Fine, completed in July 2004, is finally released (see July 2004). It states that the inability to detect the 9/11 hijacking plot amounts to a “significant failure” by the FBI and was caused in large part by “widespread and longstanding deficiencies” in the way the agency handled terrorism and intelligence cases. In one particularly notable finding, the report concluded that the FBI missed at least five chances to detect the presence of two of the suicide hijackers—Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar—after they first entered the United States in early 2000. The report states, “While we do not know what would have happened had the FBI learned sooner or pursued its investigation more aggressively, the FBI lost several important opportunities to find Alhazmi and Almihdhar before the September 11 attacks.” [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004 ; WASHINGTON POST, 6/10/2005] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Glenn Fine Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

December 17, 2005: Bush Acknowledges Authorizing Warrantless Wiretapping by NSA, Accuses Media of Jeopardizing National Security by Reporting Illegal Surveillance President Bush acknowledges that he issued a 2002 executive order authorizing the National Security Agency (NSA) to wiretap US citizens’ phones and e-mails without proper warrants, and accuses the New York Times of jeopardizing national security by publishing its December 15 article (see Early 2002 and December 15, 2005). Bush says he was within the law to issue such an order, which many feel shatters fundamental Constitutional guarantees of liberty and privacy, but accuses the Times of breaking the law by publishing the article. Bush tells listeners during his weekly radio address that the executive order is “fully consistent” with his “constitutional responsibilities and authorities.” But, he continues, “Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk.” He admits allowing the NSA to “to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al-Qaeda and related terrorist organizations” in a program designed to “detect and prevent terrorist attacks.” Under the law, the NSA must obtain warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court, but after Bush’s executive order, it was no longer required to do so. Bush justifies the order by citing the example of two 9/11 hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, who, he says, “communicated while they were in the United States to other members of al-Qaeda who were overseas, but we didn’t know they were here until it was too late.” Because of the unconstitutional wiretapping program, it is “more likely that killers like these 9/11 hijackers will be identified and located in time, and the activities conducted under this authorization have helped detect and prevent possible terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad.” Bush also admits to reauthorizing the program “more than thirty times,” and adds, “I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al-Qaeda and related groups.” [CNN, 12/16/2005] Bush fails to address the likelihood that the domestic surveillance program began well before 9/11 (see Late 1999, February 27, 2000, December 2000, February 2001, February 2001, Spring 2001, July 2001, and Early 2002). Entity Tags: National Security Agency, George W. Bush, Khalid Almihdhar, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Nawaf Alhazmi, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: Civil Liberties

December 17, 2005: Bush Justifies NSA Wiretapping Program with Reference to 9/11 Hijackers After an NSA program to intercept telephone calls where one party is in the US and the other party is abroad is revealed (see December 15, 2005), President George Bush defends the program in a radio address. He justifies the program by implying that, if it had been in place before 9/11, it may have prevented the attacks: “As the 9/11 Commission pointed out, it was clear that terrorists inside the United States were communicating with terrorists abroad before the September the 11th attacks, and the commission criticized our nation’s inability to uncover links between terrorists here at home and terrorists abroad. Two of the terrorist hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, communicated while they were in the United States to other members of al-Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn’t know they were here until it was too late.” There are conflicting accounts of the circumstances of the hijackers’ calls and the NSA actually intercepted them, so it is unclear why they were not exploited to prevent the attacks (see Early 2000-Summer 2001, (Spring 2000), Summer 2002-Summer 2004, and March 15, 2004 and After). [WHITEHOUSE(.GOV), 12/17/2005; US PRESIDENT, 12/26/2005 ] It is unclear which statements of the 9/11 Commission the president thinks he is referring to. The Commission’s final report touches on the NSA intercepts of the hijackers’ calls from the US in two places; in one it says: “[T]he NSA was supposed to let the FBI know of any indication of crime, espionage, or ‘terrorist enterprise’ so that the FBI could obtain the appropriate warrant. Later in this story, we will learn that while the NSA had the technical capability to report on communications with suspected terrorist facilities in the Middle East, the NSA did not seek FISA Court warrants to collect communications between individuals in the United States and foreign countries, because it believed that this was an FBI role,” (note: we do not actually learn this later in the 9/11 Commission report, this is the only mention). The second passage refers to Almihdhar’s time in San Diego and does not actually mention that the NSA intercepted the relevant calls, “Almihdhar’s mind seems to have been with his family in Yemen, as evidenced by calls he made from the apartment telephone.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 87-8, 222] Entity Tags: National Security Agency, Nawaf Alhazmi, George W. Bush, Khalid Almihdhar, 9/11 Commission Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

2006 and After: Some FBI Agents Believe CIA and Saudi Intelligence Attempted to Recruit Hijackers Almihdhar and Alhazmi After 9/11 there was much discussion about how hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar were able to participate in an operation like 9/11, even though they were well known to US intelligence (see, for example, January 5-8, 2000, Early 2000-Summer 2001, and 9:53 p.m. September 11, 2001). FBI Theory - Based on conversations with FBI agents, author Lawrence Wright speculates on why the CIA withheld information it should have given the FBI: “Some… members of the [FBI’s] I-49 squad would later come to believe that the [CIA] was shielding Almihdhar and Alhazmi because it hoped to recruit them.… [They] must have seemed like attractive opportunities; however, once they entered the United States they were the province of the FBI. The CIA has no legal authority to operate inside the country, although in fact, the bureau often caught the agency running backdoor operations in the United States.… It is also possible, as some FBI investigators suspect, the CIA was running a joint venture with Saudi intelligence in order to get around that restriction. Of course, it is also illegal for foreign intelligence services to operate in the United States, but they do so routinely.” [WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 312-313] Explanation of Acquired Visas - This theory offers a possible explanation, for example, of how Almihdhar and Alhazmi managed to move in and out of Saudi Arabia and obtain US visas there even though they were supposedly on the Saudi watch list (see 1997 and April 3-7, 1999), and why a Saudi agent in the US associated with them (see January 15-February 2000). Wright points out that “these are only theories” but still notes that “[h]alf the guys in the Bureau think CIA was trying to turn them to get inside al-Qaeda.” [WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 313; MEDIA CHANNEL, 9/5/2006] Participant Does Not Know - Doug Miller, an FBI agent loaned to the CIA who was part of a plot to withhold the information from the FBI (see 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 5, 2000), will indicate he does not know why he was ordered to withhold the information, but that his superiors may have had a good reason for keeping it from the FBI. Another intelligence source will claim that the CIA withheld the information to keep the FBI away from a sensitive operation to penetrate al-Qaeda. [CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY, 10/1/2008] CIA Wanted to Keep FBI Off Case - Another unnamed FBI agent loaned to Alec Station before 9/11 will say: “They didn’t want the bureau meddling in their business—that’s why they didn’t tell the FBI. Alec Station… purposely hid from the FBI, purposely refused to tell the bureau that they were following a man in Malaysia who had a visa to come to America. The thing was, they didn’t want… the FBI running over their case.” [BAMFORD, 2008, PP. 20] Similar Explanation - Wright is not the first to have made the suggestion that Alhazmi and Almihdhar were protected for recruitment purposes. Investigative journalist Joe Trento reported in 2003 that a former US intelligence official had told him that Alhazmi and Almihdhar were already Saudi Arabian intelligence agents when they entered the US (see August 6, 2003). Entity Tags: Nawaf Alhazmi, Lawrence Wright, Doug Miller, Saudi General Intelligence Directorate, Central Intelligence Agency, Khalid Almihdhar, Federal Bureau of Investigation Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

January 4, 2006: Cheney Uses Yemen Hub Calls to Justify NSA Warrantless Program

Vice President Cheney mentioned NSA intercepts of the 9/11 hijackers’ calls in a speech to the Heritage Foundation. [Source: David Bohrer / White House] Vice President Dick Cheney uses calls between the 9/11 hijackers in the US and an al-Qaeda communications hub in Yemen that were intercepted by the NSA (see Early 2000-Summer 2001) to justify the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program (see December 15, 2005). Cheney points out that, “There are no communications more important to the safety of the United States than those related to al-Qaeda that have one end in the United States,” and says that if the NSA’s warrantless program had been implemented before 9/11, “we might have been able to pick up on two hijackers [Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar] who subsequently flew a jet into the Pentagon.” He adds: “They were in the United States, communicating with al-Qaeda associates overseas. But we did not know they were here plotting until it was too late.” [WHITE HOUSE, 1/4/2006] Other administration officials make similar claims about the calls by Almihdhar and Alhazmi in the years after the program is revealed by the New York Times (see December 17, 2005). Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline, Civil Liberties

January 23, 2006: Hayden Says NSA Warrantless Program May Have Detected 9/11 Deputy Director of National Intelligence and former NSA Director Michael Hayden says that if the NSA’s recently revealed warrantless wiretapping program (see December 15, 2005) had been in place before 9/11, “it is my professional judgment that we would have detected some of the 9/11 al-Qaeda operatives in the United States, and we would have identified them as such.” Hayden will later say the NSA would have detected calls between an al-Qaeda communications hub in Yemen and 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar in San Diego (see May 18, 2006). Hayden adds: “You know, the 9/11 Commission criticized our ability to link things happening in the United States with things that were happening elsewhere. In that light, there are no communications more important to the safety of this country than those affiliated with al-Qaeda with one end in the United States.” Before the attacks, the NSA intercepted a series of calls between two of the 9/11 hijackers and a known al-Qaeda communications hub in Yemen (see Early 2000-Summer 2001), but failed to notify the FBI about them (see (Spring 2000)). [PRESS CLUB, 1/23/2006] Other administration officials make similar claims about the calls by Almihdhar and Alhazmi in the years after the NSA’s warrantless program is revealed by the New York Times (see December 17, 2005). Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Michael Hayden, Nawaf Alhazmi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline, Civil Liberties

January 25, 2006: Bush Uses Yemen Hub Calls to Justify NSA Warrantless Program

President Bush at the National Security Agency. [Source: Eric Draper / White House] President George Bush uses calls between the 9/11 hijackers in the US and an al-Qaeda communications hub in Yemen that were intercepted by the NSA (see Early 2000-Summer 2001) to justify the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program (see December 15, 2005). Bush says: “We know that two of the hijackers who struck the Pentagon [Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar] were inside the United States communicating with al-Qaeda operatives overseas. But we didn’t realize they were here plotting the attack until it was too late.” Bush also quotes former NSA Director Michael Hayden, who previously said, “Had this program been in effect prior to 9/11… we would have detected some of the 9/11 al-Qaeda operatives in the United States, and we would have identified them as such” (see January 23, 2006). Bush and other administration officials make similar claims about the calls by Almihdhar and Alhazmi in the years after the program is revealed by the New York Times (see December 17, 2005). [WHITE HOUSE, 1/25/2006] Bush made similar remarks at Kansas State University two days previously. [WHITE HOUSE, 1/23/2006] Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, George W. Bush, Nawaf Alhazmi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline, Civil Liberties

November 25, 2007: Al-Qaeda Leader Claims Alhazmi Was Pilot of Flight 77 On November 25, 2007, the London Times publishes an article about Luai Sakra, an al-Qaeda leader imprisoned in Turkey who allegedly was also a CIA informant before 9/11 (see September 10, 2001). The Times reports, “According to Sakra, [9/11 hijacker] Nawaf Alhazmi was a veteran operative who went on to pilot the plane that hit the Pentagon [Flight 77]. Although this is at odds with the official account, which says the plane was flown by another hijacker, it is plausible and might answer one of the mysteries of 9/11,” namely, why the FBI claims Hani Hanjour was the pilot of that plane, when many reports suggest Hanjour was a bad pilot. [LONDON TIMES, 11/25/2007] Although none of the official accounts such as the 9/11 Commission report claim that Alhazmi was a pilot, there is considerable evidence to suggest that he was:

In December 1999, Alhazmi was taught how to use a computer flight simulator program while in an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan (see Early December 1999). 
On April 4, 2000, Alhazmi took one day’s worth of flying lessons, and his instructor later claims he did quite well and was already almost capable of taking off and landing on his own (see April 4, 2000). 
One month later, he took a second one day flying lesson, however his instructor will later call him “dumb” and unskilled (see May 5 and 10, 2000). 
Near the end of 2000, he told two unconnected associates that he was in Arizona and learning to fly with Hanjour (see (December 2000-January 2001)). 
On March 19, 2001, he bought flight deck videos for Boeing 747s and a Boeing 777 (see November 5, 2000-June 20, 2001). 
On March 23, 2001, he bought an aeronautical chart covering the northeastern US (see March 23, 2001). 
In July 2001, he and Hanjour appear to have rented an aircraft together in New Jersey. Alhazmi’s credit card was used to pay for the aircraft rental, as well as fuel in Maryland (a072001haninawafflight). 
Neighbors will later claim that just days before the 9/11 attacks, Alhazmi was practicing flying on a computer flight simulator program. [KGTV 10 (SAN DIEGO), 9/14/2001] 
In 2002, al-Qaeda associate Ramzi bin al-Shibh will claim in an interview several months before his arrest that Alhazmi was one of the 9/11 pilots.

Entity Tags: Nawaf Alhazmi, Luai Sakra, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Hani Hanjour Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

February 2008: Considerable Video Footage of 9/11 Hijackers Remains Unreleased

Hani Hanjour (left) and Majed Moqed (right) captured by surveillance video on September 5, 2001. [Source: FBI] An FBI timeline of the 9/11 hijackers’ activities compiled in late 2001 and released this month indicates that considerable video footage of the hijackers has yet to be released. Most of the footage appears to come from surveillance video discovered after the 9/11 attacks. So far, the only known footage made public has been two video stills of Hani Hanjour and Majed Moqed using an ATM machine, one still each of Waleed Alshehri and Satam Al Suqami, several stills of Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari in Portland the night before 9/11 (see September 10, 2001), and a few more stills and footage of several hijackers in airports on the morning of 9/11 (see (Between 5:45 a.m. and 5:53 a.m.) September 11, 2001 and (7:15 a.m.-7:18 a.m.) September 11, 2001). But the FBI’s timeline reveals video footage that has never even been publicly hinted at:

Mohamed Atta used an ATM in Palm Beach, Florida, on July 19, 2001. 
Salem Alhazmi and Ahmed Alghamdi used an ATM in Alexandria, Virginia, on August 2. 
Hanjour and Mojed used a Kinko’s for half an hour in College Park, Maryland, on August 10. 
Moqed and Nawaf Alhazmi shopped at an Exxon gas station in Joppa, Maryland, on August 28. 
Waleed and Wail Alshehri wandered around a Target store in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on September 4. 
Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari were in a Florida bank lobby on September 4, and the audio of Atta calling Saudi Arabia was even recorded in the process. 
Fayez Ahmed Banihammad used an ATM on September 7 in Deerfield Beach, Florida. 
Salem Alhazmi was at the Falls Church DMV on September 7. Low quality surveillance video at the Milner Hotel in Boston showed Marwan Alshehhi and possibly Mohand Alshehri on multiple occasions in the days just before 9/11. 
Ziad Jarrah and possibly Saeed Alghamdi were videotaped using a Kinko’s for about an hour near Newark on September 10. [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 10/2001 ]

See alsoEdit


  1. .  [SHENON, 2008, PP. 309]
  2. . [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/1/2002]
  3. . [SHENON, 2008, PP. 309]

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