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October 2001: CIA Helps Arrest Egyptian Militant Leader Linked to Bin Laden

Ahmed Refai Taha. [Source: Al-Ahram] Ahmed Refai Taha, head of Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, an Egyptian militant group, is arrested at the airport in Damascus, Syria, and then quietly extradited to Egypt. He is reportedly executed in Egypt soon thereafter. Taha was one of the signers of bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa calling for the killing of Americans and Jews around the world (see February 22, 1998). He also appeared with bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri in a video in 2000 (see September 21, 2000). [MSNBC, 6/22/2005] CIA Director George Tenet will later claim that Taha was living in Syria and was arrested on a tip provided by the CIA. [TENET, 2007, PP. 148] Entity Tags: Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Ahmed Refai Taha, Central Intelligence Agency, George J. Tenet Category Tags: Key Captures and Deaths, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

October 2001: Conference at WTC Would Have Discussed Terrorism and Building Collapses An emergency preparedness conference was originally scheduled, prior to 9/11, to take place some time this month at the World Trade Center. It was going to include a discussion on terrorism. Reportedly, “One of the topics they were going to talk about was the danger of collapsing buildings.” Further details, such as who was organizing the event, are unknown. [FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 9/12/2001] Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other Post-9/11 Events

October 2001: US Military Downplays Importance of Targeting Bin Laden On October 8, 2001, Gen. Tommy Franks, Central Command commander in chief, says of the war in Afghanistan, “We have not said that Osama bin Laden is a target of this effort. What we are about is the destruction of the al-Qaeda network, as well as the… Taliban that provide harbor to bin Laden and al-Qaeda.” [USA TODAY, 10/8/2001] Later in the month, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld makes similar comments, “My attitude is that if [bin Laden] were gone tomorrow, the same problem would exist. He’s got a whole bunch of lieutenants who have been trained and they’ve got bank accounts all over some 50 or 60 countries. Would you want to stop him? Sure. Do we want to stop the rest of his lieutenants? You bet. But I don’t get up in the morning and say that is the end; the goal and the endpoint of this thing. I think that would be a big mistake.” [USA TODAY, 10/24/2001] One military expert will later note, “There appears to be a real disconnect between what the US military was engaged in trying to do during the battle for Tora Bora - which was to destroy al-Qaeda and the Taliban - and the earlier rhetoric of President Bush, which had focused on getting bin Laden.” [CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 3/4/2002] Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers will make a similar comment in April 2002 (see April 4, 2002). [CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 3/4/2002] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Thomas Franks, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Donald Rumsfeld Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan

October 2001: Three of Four Black Boxes from WTC Crashes Secretly Found?

A poster to help law enforcement officers locate the missing “black boxes” in the WTC debris. [Source: FBI/Smithsonian Institution] According to two men who work extensively in the wreckage of the World Trade Center, three of the four black boxes from Flight 11 and Flight 175 are actually found during this month, but the public is not told. New York City Firefighter Nicholas DeMasi will mention the finding in a book published in 2003. He claims to drive federal agents on an all-terrain vehicle during their search and to see the found boxes himself. The Philadelphia Daily News will report on the story in 2004 when another rescue worker, volunteer Mike Bellone, backs up DeMasi’s account and claims to have seen one of the boxes as well. Spokesmen for the FBI and the New York City Fire Department will deny the claims of these two workers. [PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/28/2004] In 2005, it will be reported: “A source at the National Transportation Safety Board, the agency that has the task of deciphering the data from the black boxes retrieved from crash sites—including those that are being handled as crimes and fall under the jurisdiction of the FBI—says the boxes were in fact recovered and were analyzed by the NTSB. ‘Off the record, we had the boxes,’ the source says. ‘You’d have to get the official word from the FBI as to where they are, but we worked on them here.’” An NTSB spokesperson denies that the FBI ever gave them the boxes. [COUNTERPUNCH, 12/19/2005] Entity Tags: World Trade Center, Nicholas DeMasi, Mike Bellone, National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York City Fire Department Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: FBI 9/11 Investigation, Other 9/11 Investigations

October 2001: Secret CIA Interrogation Center Set up at US Military Base in Afghanistan According to several press reports, the CIA has set up a secret detention and interrogation center (see October 2001-2004) at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan where US intelligence officers are using aggressive techniques on detainees. The captives—imprisoned in metal shipping containers—are reportedly subjected to a variety of “stress and duress” interrogation tactics. [WASHINGTON POST, 12/26/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 3/9/2003] The detention facility at Bagram is a rusting hulk originally built by the Soviet Army as an aircraft machine shop around 1979, and later described by the New York Times as “a long, squat, concrete block with rusted metal sheets where the windows had once been.” It is retrofitted with five large wire pens and a half-dozen plywood isolation cells, and is dubbed the Bagram Collection Point, or BCP, a processing center for prisoners captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The facility typically holds between 40 to 80 prisoners before they are interrogated and screened for possible transfer to Guantanamo. [NEW YORK TIMES, 5/20/2005] Detainees are often forced to stand or kneel for hours, wear black hoods or spray-painted goggles for long periods of time, and stand or sit in awkward and painful positions. They are also reportedly thrown into walls, kicked, punched, deprived of sleep, and subjected to flashing lights and loud noises. [WASHINGTON POST, 12/26/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 3/9/2003; AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, 8/19/2003] Some detainees tell of being “chained to the ceiling, their feet shackled, [and being] unable to move for hours at a time, day and night” (see December 5-9, 2002). [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/4/2003; NEW YORK TIMES, 9/17/2004] Psychological interrogation methods such as “feigned friendship, respect, [and] cultural sensitivity” are reported to be in use as well. For instance, female officers are said to sometimes conduct the interrogations, a technique described as being “a psychologically jarring experience for men reared in a conservative Muslim culture where women are never in control.” [WASHINGTON POST, 12/26/2002] Human rights monitors are not permitted to visit the facility. [WASHINGTON POST, 12/26/2002; AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 12/29/2002] The US claims that the interrogation techniques used at Bagram do not violate international laws. “Our interrogation techniques are adapted,” Gen. Daniel McNeil claims in early March 2003. “They are in accordance with what is generally accepted as interrogation techniques, and if incidental to the due course of this investigation, we find things that need to be changed, we will certainly change them.” [GUARDIAN, 3/7/2003] Entity Tags: Daniel McNeil, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives, War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

October 2001: Spain-based Al-Qaeda Operative Flees Despite Police Round-up

Amer el-Azizi slipped surveillance after 9/11. [Source: El Pais] Amer el-Azizi, an al-Qaeda operative active in Spain, escapes a round-up of suspected al-Qaeda operatives by fleeing the country two weeks before arrests start to be made, even though he is under surveillance. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/19/2004; WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/7/2004; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 4/29/2004] El-Azizi, who had previously been arrested and released twice (see October 10, 2000), returns to Spain shortly after this and falls under police surveillance, but his arrest is frustrated by Spanish intelligence (see Shortly After November 21, 2001). He goes on to play a role in the Madrid train bombings (see Before March 11, 2004 and 7:37-7:42 a.m., March 11, 2004). Entity Tags: Amer el-Azizi Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action After 9/11, Other Possible Moles or Informants, Al-Qaeda in Spain

October 2001: FBI Recovers Hijacker E-Mails Reports this month indicate that many hijacker e-mails have been recovered. USA Today reports many unencrypted e-mails coordinating the 9/11 plans written by the hijackers in Internet cafes have been recovered by investigators. [USA TODAY, 10/1/2001] FBI sources say, “[H]undreds of e-mails linked to the hijackers in English, Arabic and Urdu” have been recovered, with some messages including “operational details” of the attack. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/4/2001] “A senior FBI official says investigators have obtained hundreds of e-mails in English and Arabic, reflecting discussions of the planned September 11 hijackings.” [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/16/2001] However, in April 2002, FBI Director Mueller says no documentation of the 9/11 plot has been found. By September 2002, the Chicago Tribune reports, “Of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of e-mails sent and received by the hijackers from public Internet terminals, none is known to have been recovered.” [CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/5/2002] The texts of some e-mails sent by Mohamed Atta from Germany are published a few months later. [CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/25/2003] Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Robert S. Mueller III, Federal Bureau of Investigation Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: FBI 9/11 Investigation

October 2001-February 2002: Union Official Concerned Whether Anyone Has Heard Controllers’ Recorded Statements from 9/11 The local vice president of the air traffic controllers’ union checks with a manager at the FAA’s New York Center whether anyone has listened to an audio tape that was recorded on September 11, on which several controllers recalled their experiences of the attacks, and is assured that the tape is going to be destroyed. [US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, 5/4/2004 ] Union Vice President Asks about Tape - Within a few hours of the 9/11 attacks, Kevin Delaney, the New York Center’s quality assurance manager, tape-recorded witness statements from six controllers at the center that had been involved in handling or tracking two of the hijacked aircraft (see 11:40 a.m. September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 10/1/2003 ; WASHINGTON POST, 5/6/2004; AIR SAFETY WEEK, 5/17/2004] On at least two occasions over the following few months, the local vice president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA)—the controllers’ union—asks Delaney whether anyone has listened to the tape of those statements. (Delaney will later recall that he speaks with the union vice president about the tape in October 2001 and again in February 2002.) Delaney Says He Will Destroy Tape - Delaney, who is the custodian of the tape, assures the union vice president that no one has listened to the tape, and it is not going to be provided to anyone. He also says he will “get rid of it” once the center’s formal accident package, which will include the controllers’ written statements about the 9/11 attacks, has been completed (see November 2001-May 2002). [US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, 5/4/2004 ] Center Manager Gave Similar Assurance - Before the taping of the six controllers commenced on September 11, New York Center manager Mike McCormick had given similar assurances to Mark DiPalmo, the local NATCA president. DiPalmo agreed to the recording going ahead on the condition that the tape would only be a temporary record until written statements were obtained, after which it would be destroyed (see (Shortly Before 11:40 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 10/1/2003 ; US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, 5/4/2004 ; NEW YORK TIMES, 5/6/2004] Tape-Recording Statements Not Standard Procedure - The Washington Post will report that, according to union officials representing air traffic controllers, the tape-recording of controllers’ accounts of an accident is almost unheard of, and the normal procedure is for controllers to provide written statements after reviewing radar and other data. [WASHINGTON POST, 5/7/2004] Entity Tags: Kevin Delaney, National Air Traffic Controllers Association Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Investigations

October 2001-September 11, 2002: Army’s History Detachment Conducts Interviews of Witnesses of Pentagon Attack for Book Between October 2001 and September 11, 2002, the US Army’s Military History Detachment works on the US Department of Defense’s own book recording the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. The 305th and 46th Military History Detachments interview every willing survivor and witness from the Pentagon attack. More than 1,000 witnesses are interviewed. The findings are to be published in book form, and kept at the Army Center of Military History in Washington, DC. [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 12/16/2001; FOX NEWS, 12/17/2001; JUNIATA MAGAZINE (JUNIATA COLLEGE), 9/2002; PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/11/2002] The Historical Office of the Office of the Secretary of Defense will eventually publish a 250-page book in September 2007, which is based on many of these witness interviews (see September 2007). [FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER, 9/13/2007; WASHINGTON POST, 9/27/2007] Entity Tags: Pentagon, Military History Detachment Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Investigations

October 2001-September 2003: 9/11 Attacks Result in Increased Funding for Pentagon Renovations The 9/11 attacks result in significant extra funding for the Pentagon. Since 1993, the building has been undergoing major renovations. These were scheduled to be complete by 2014. But in October 2001 this is declared to be too long to leave major areas of the building unprotected, and Congress soon appropriates $300 million so the renovations will be finished four years sooner. Also that month, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz approves a $15 million package to protect command centers and other critical areas of the building against chemical, biological, and radiological attack. A road, Route 110, had been considered a security threat, as it ran within 40 yards of some of the most sensitive areas of the Pentagon. Previously, the possibility of moving it had been dismissed as too expensive, but now $40 million is promptly found to cover the cost of rerouting it, along with making other road-security improvements. Before 9/11, the renovation of the Pentagon was already the largest reconstruction project in the world, costing $2.1 billion. But, as the Washington Post reports in September 2003, following the attack on the Pentagon, “the renovation mushroomed and now encompasses about $5.3 billion worth of projects in and around the Pentagon.” In an e-mail on October 1, 2001, Pentagon Renovation Program manager Lee Evey writes, “Recent events have shaken up complacency and there is unprecedented willingness” among the services to do whatever Paul Wolfowitz and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld want. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/7/2003; VOGEL, 2007, PP. 472-473] Entity Tags: Lee Evey, Paul Wolfowitz, Pentagon Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other Post-9/11 Events

October 2001-February 2002: KSM’s Attempt to Duplicate 9/11 Plot on West Coast of US Fizzles

The Library Tower in Los Angeles. It is later renamed the US Bank Tower. [Source: Kim D. Johnson / Associated Press] 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) attempts to organize a follow up attack to the 9/11 attacks. Beginning in October 2001, KSM and Hambali, a top al-Qaeda leader in Southeast Asia, recruit four operatives for the new plot, all of them Malaysian:

Mohamad Farik Amin (a.k.a. Zubair). 
Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep (a.k.a. Lillie). 
Zaini Zakaria. 
Masran bin Arshad. 

The plan is for these operatives to blow up the doors to airplane cockpits using shoe bombs, take over flying the aircraft, and then crash them into US buildings—essentially the same technique as was used in the 9/11 attacks, except with the addition of the shoe bomb and the use of East Asians instead of Middle Easterners. Apparently several buildings are initially targeted. KSM will later name them as the Library Tower in Los Angeles (later renamed the US Bank tower), the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Empire State Building in New York, and a tall building in Washington State. But the plot soon focuses on just the Library Tower, the tallest building on the West Coast of the US, due to a lack of pilots. The members of the plot go to Afghanistan and swear an oath of loyalty to Osama bin Laden, and then continue to train with Hambali in Asia. However, the plot does not go far because Zakaria, the only trained pilot of the group (see (Spring 2000)), drops out in late 2001, saying he has small children to consider. In February 2002, bin Arshad, the leader of the four operatives, is arrested and other other members decide the plot has been canceled. Zakaria turns himself in to Malaysian authorities in 2002, and apparently remains in detention in Malaysia without being charged. Amin and Bin Lep will be arrested in 2003 with Hambali and taken into US custody (see August 12, 2003). Amin, Bin Lep, and Hambali will all be transferred to Guantanamo prison as high-value detainees in 2006 (see September 2-3, 2006). It is unknown who arrests bin Arshad or what becomes of him. [TIME, 10/5/2003; TIME, 10/6/2003; WHITE HOUSE, 2/9/2006; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 2/10/2006; US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 3/10/2007 ] Entity Tags: Mohamad Farik Amin, Masran bin Arshad, Hambali, Zaini Zakaria, Al-Qaeda, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Hambali, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia, Alleged Al-Qaeda Linked Attacks

October 2001-April 2002: Pentagon Establishes Secret Unit for Conducting Covert Missions Previously Run by CIA In October 2001, the Pentagon establishes what is later known as the Strategic Support Branch (SSB), or Project Icon, to provide Rumsfeld with tools for “full spectrum of humint [human intelligence] operations” in “emerging target countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia, Philippines and Georgia.” It become functional in April 2002. It is said that Rumsfeld hopes the program will end his “near total dependence on CIA.” According to Assistant Secretary of Defense Thomas O’Connell, a possible scenario for which the Strategic Support Branch might be called to action would be if a “hostile country close to our borders suddenly changes leadership… We would want to make sure the successor is not hostile.” When SBB’s existence is revealed in early 2005 (see January 23, 2005), the Pentagon denies that the program was established to sideline the CIA, insisting that its sole purpose is to provide field operational units with intelligence obtained through prisoner interrogations, scouting and foreign spies, and from other units in the field. [CNN, 1/24/2005; WASHINGTON POST, 1/25/2005] As an arm of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) Defense Human Intelligence Service, SSB operates under the Defense Secretary’s direct control and consists of small teams of case officers, linguists, interrogators and technical specialists who work alongside special operations forces. [WASHINGTON POST, 1/23/2005] However some SBB members are reported to be “out-of-shape men in their fifties and recent college graduates on their first assignments,” according to sources interviewed by the Washington Post. [WASHINGTON POST, 1/23/2005] When the SSB’s existence is revealed in 2005, its commander is Army Col. George Waldroup, who reports to Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). SSB’s policies are determined by Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone. [CNN, 1/24/2005] Critics say Waldroup lacks the necessary experience to run SSB and note that he was once investigated by Congress when he was a midlevel manager at the INS. SSB includes two Army squadrons of Delta Force; another Army squadron, code-named Gray Fox; an Air Force human intelligence unit; and the Navy unit known as SEAL Team Six. According to sources interviewed by the Washington Post, the branch is funded using “reprogrammed” funds that do not have explicit congressional authority or appropriation. [WASHINGTON POST, 1/23/2005] However, this will be denied by the Pentagon when the unit’s existence is revealed. [CNN, 1/24/2005] Entity Tags: Strategic Support Branch, or Project Icon, SEAL Team Six, Gray Fox, Donald Rumsfeld, Thomas O’Connell, Delta Force, George Waldroup, Stephen A. Cambone Timeline Tags: US Military Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

October 2001-September 2002: Vital Army Translators Dismissed for Homosexuality Nine Army linguists, including six trained to speak Arabic, are dismissed from the military’s Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, because they are gay. At the same time, the military claims it is facing a critical shortage of translators and interpreters for the war on terrorism. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 11/14/2002] The Miami Herald comments: “The message is unmistakable: We find gay people more frightening than Osama bin Laden, whose stated goal is our destruction.” [MIAMI HERALD, 11/22/2002] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

October 2001-2004: US Creates Multilayered Secret Overseas Prison System Holding 10,000 Prisoners The United States government creates a multi-layered international system of detention centers and prison camps where suspected terrorists, enemy combatants, and prisoners of war are detained and interrogated. [WASHINGTON POST, 5/11/2004, PP. A01] The Washington Post reports in May 2004: “The largely hidden array includes three systems that only rarely overlap: the Pentagon-run network of prisons, jails, and holding facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and elsewhere; small and secret CIA-run facilities where top al-Qaeda and other figures are kept; and interrogation rooms of foreign intelligence services—some with documented records of torture—to which the US government delivers or ‘renders’ mid- or low-level terrorism suspects for questioning…. The detainees have no conventional legal rights: no access to a lawyer; no chance for an impartial hearing; and… no apparent guarantee of humane treatment accorded prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions or civilians in US jails.” [WASHINGTON POST, 5/11/2004, PP. A01] One administration official tells the New York Times that some high-level detainees may be held indefinitely. [NEW YORK TIMES, 5/13/2004] Secrecy permeates the system. For example, renditions are done covertly and the locations of the secret CIA-run interrogation centers are considered “so sensitive that even the four leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees, who are briefed on all covert operations, do not know them.” [WASHINGTON POST, 5/11/2004, PP. A01] In May 2004, it is estimated that there are 10,000 prisoners being held in US facilities around the world. They come from a number of countries including Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Britain, the Palestinian territories, and Yemen. [INDEPENDENT, 5/15/2004] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

Early October 2001: FBI Translation Center Hires Turkish Man Who Is Not Proficient in English The FBI hires Kevin Taskasen as a Turkish translator, despite him having failed language-proficiency tests for English. The FBI will later send Taskasen to Guantanamo to be the detention center’s only Turkish translator. Some time after his return, he is promoted to head of the Turkish department in the FBI translations center. [ANTI-WAR (.COM), 7/1/2004] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Kevin Taskasen Category Tags: Sibel Edmonds

Early October 2001: US Launches Attacks on Afghanistan from Pakistani Bases The US begins using the Shahbaz air force base and other bases in Pakistan in their attacks against Afghanistan. [LONDON TIMES, 10/15/2001] However, because of public Pakistani opposition to US support, the two governments claim the US is there for purely logistical and defensive purposes. Even six months later, the US refuses to confirm it is using the base for offensive operations. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 3/6/2002] Such bases in Pakistan become a link in a chain of US military outposts in Central Asia. Other countries also falsely maintain that such bases are not being used for military operations in Afghanistan despite clear evidence to the contrary. [REUTERS, 12/28/2001] Entity Tags: Pakistan, United States Category Tags: US Dominance, Pakistan and the ISI

Early October 2001: Former Prime Minister of Yemen Says 9/11 Hijacker Was Involved in Attacks on USS Cole Abd al-Karim al-Iryani, who was prime minister of Yemen at the time of the USS Cole attacks, tells the Guardian: “Khalid Almihdhar was one of the Cole perpetrators, involved in preparations. He was in Yemen at the time and stayed after the Cole bombing (see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998) for a while, then he left.” [GUARDIAN, 10/15/2001] Entity Tags: Abd al-Karim al-Iryani Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: 2000 USS Cole Bombing, Alhazmi and Almihdhar

Early October 2001: ISI Director Prevents Key Taliban Leader from Defecting

Jalaluddin Haqqani. [Source: PBS] Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed is supposedly helping the US defeat the Taliban (see September 13-15, 2001) while secretly helping the Taliban resist the US (see September 17-18 and 28, 2001 and Mid-September-October 7, 2001). Jalaluddin Haqqani is a Taliban leader close to bin Laden who controls the Khost region of eastern Afghanistan where most of bin Laden’s training camps and supporters are. Journalist Kathy Gannon will later note, “Had he wanted to, Haqqani could have handed the United States the entire al-Qaeda network.” [GANNON, 2005, PP. 94] He also has extensive ties with the ISI, and worked with the CIA in the 1980s. Journalist Steve Coll will later say, “There was always a question about whether Haqqani was really Taliban, because he hadn’t come out of Kandahar; he wasn’t part of the core group. And it was quite reasonable to believe after 9/11 that maybe he could be flipped.… [US officials] summoned him to Pakistan, and they had a series of meetings with him, the content of which is unknown.” [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/3/2006] In early October 2001, Haqqani makes a secret trip to Pakistan and meets with Mahmood. Mahmood advises him to hold out and not defect, saying that he will have help. Haqqani stays with the Taliban and will continue to fight against the US long after the Taliban loses power. [GANNON, 2005, PP. 94] Entity Tags: Taliban, Mahmood Ahmed, Jalaluddin Haqqani Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Mahmood Ahmed, Afghanistan

Early October-December 2001: US and Pakistan Do Little about Pakistani Nuclear Scientists Who Helped Al-Qaeda

Ummah Tameer-e-Nau’s headquarters in Kabul. [Source: CBC] In early October 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell visits Pakistan and discusses the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. He offers US technical assistance to improve the security of Pakistan’s nukes, but Pakistan rejects the offer. Powell also says that the CIA learned of a secret meeting held in mid-August 2001 between two Pakistani nuclear scientists and al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri (see Mid-August 2001). As a result of US pressure, Pakistan arrests the two scientists, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Chaudiri Abdul Majeed, on October 23. The Pakistani ISI secretly detains them for four weeks, but concludes that they are harmless and releases them. [TENET, 2007, PP. 264-268; FRANTZ AND COLLINS, 2007, PP. 269-271] In mid-November, after the Taliban is routed from Kabul (see November 13, 2001), the CIA takes over the headquarters there of Ummah Tameer-e-Nau (UTN), a charity founded by the two scientists. In addition to charity material, they find numerous documents and pieces of equipment to help build WMD, including plans for conducting an anthrax attack. [LEVY AND SCOTT-CLARK, 2007, PP. 322] As a result, on December 1, CIA Director George Tenet, Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, head of the CIA Counterterrorist Center’s WMD branch, and a CIA analyst named Kevin make an emergency trip to Pakistan to discuss the issue. Accompanied by Wendy Chamberlin, the US ambassador to Pakistan, Tenet meets with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and urges him to take stronger action against the two scientists and their UTN charity. Musharraf reluctantly agrees, and the two men are rearrested. According to a 2007 book by Tenet, after being tested by a team of US polygraph experts and questioned by US officials, “Mahmood confirmed all we had heard about the August 2001 meeting with Osama bin Laden, and even provided a hand-drawn rough bomb design that he had shared with al-Qaeda leaders.” During the meeting, an unnamed senior al-Qaeda leader showed Mahmood a cannister that may have contained some kind of nuclear material. This leader shared ideas about building a simple firing system for a nuclear “dirty bomb” using commercially available supplies. [TENET, 2007, PP. 264-268; FRANTZ AND COLLINS, 2007, PP. 269-271] However, on December 13, the two scientists are quietly released again. The US does not officially freeze UTN’s assets until December 20, and Pakistan apparently follows suit a short time later (see December 20, 2001). [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/24/2001; FRANTZ AND COLLINS, 2007, PP. 271] Entity Tags: Wendy Chamberlin, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Pervez Musharraf, Al-Qaeda, Chaudiri Abdul Majeed, Colin Powell, George J. Tenet, Osama bin Laden, Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Ummah Tameer-e-Nau Timeline Tags: A. Q. Khan's Nuclear Network Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Pakistani Nukes & Islamic Militancy

Early October-Mid-November, 2001: Air Force Is Repeatedly Denied Permission to Bomb Top al-Qaeda and Taliban Leaders In mid-November 2001, the Washington Post will report that senior Air Force officials are upset they have missed opportunities to hit top al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders since the start of the bombing of Afghanistan. According to these officials, the Air Force believes it has the leaders in its crosshairs as many as ten times, but they are unable to receive a timely clearance to fire. Cumbersome approval procedures, a concern not to kill civilians, and a power play between the Defense Department and the CIA contribute to the delays. One anonymous Air Force official later says, “We knew we had some of the big boys. The process is so slow that by the time we got the clearances, and everybody had put in their 2 cents, we called it off.” The main problem is that commanders in the region have to ask for permission from General Tommy Franks, based in Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida, or even Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and other higher-ups. Air Force generals complain to Franks about the delay problem, but never receive a response. For example, at one point in October, a Taliban military convoy is moving north to reinforce front line positions. Targeters consider it an easy mark of clear military value. But permission from Central Command is denied on the suspicion that the target is so obvious that “it might be a trick.” In another example, a target is positively identified by real-time imagery from a Predator drone, but Central Command overrides the decision to strike, saying they want a second source of data. An anonymous official calls this request for independent verification of Predator imagery “kind of ridiculous.” [WASHINGTON POST, 11/18/2001] The London Times paraphrase officials who claim that, “Attempts to limit collateral damage [serve] merely to prolong the war, and force the Pentagon to insert commandos on the ground to hunt down the same targets.” [LONDON TIMES, 11/19/2001] By the end of the war, only one top al-Qaeda leader, Mohammed Atef, is killed in a bombing raid (see November 15, 2001), and no top Taliban leaders are killed. Entity Tags: US Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, Thomas Franks, Mohammed Atef, Donald Rumsfeld, Al-Qaeda, Taliban Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan

October 1Edit

Main article: Ocober 1


Late 2001 and 2003: Al-Qaeda Operative Whose Arrest Was Frustrated by Spanish Intelligence Reportedly Meets Al-Zarqawi Amer el-Azizi, a senior al-Qaeda operative whose arrest was frustrated by Spanish intelligence (see Shortly After November 21, 2001), is said to meet Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who leads a group of foreign fighters in the Iraq war. One meeting may take place after 9/11 in 2001, when el-Azizi reportedly travels to Iran, intending to enter eastern Afghanistan. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/19/2004] According to communications intercepts, another may take place in Iran in 2003, and some evidence indicates el-Azizi may also go to Iraq around this time. In addition, el-Azizi sponsors two recruits who train at a camp run by al-Zarqawi, according to documents obtained by the Spanish police. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/7/2004; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 4/14/2004] El-Azizi and al-Zarqawi also have a common acquaintance, Abdulatif Mourafiq, an associate of al-Zarqawi’s in Afghanistan whose contact details were found in el-Azizi’s flat when it was raided in October or November 2001. [BRISARD, 2005] Entity Tags: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Abdulatif Mourafiq, Amer el-Azizi Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action After 9/11, Other Possible Moles or Informants

GeneralEdit

Autumn 2001: FBI Hires Daughter of Pakistani Spy, Despite Internal Protests The FBI hires Hadia Roberts, the daughter of a former Pakistani general who is thought to have worked as a spy in the US, despite objections by the FBI agent that vets her. John Cole, manager of the FBI national counter-intelligence program for India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, says he is alerted to her by the personnel security officer, who thinks the woman might not be suitable as an Urdu translator. Alarming Information - Cole examines the file and “it stuck out a mile: she was the daughter of a retired Pakistani general who had been their military attaché in Washington.” Cole is aware that “[e]very single military attaché they’ve ever assigned has been a known intelligence officer.” [VANITY FAIR, 9/2005; ANTIWAR (.COM), 10/8/2005; SUNDAY TIMES (LONDON), 1/6/2008] In addition, several hits appear for her father’s name when it is run through the FBI’s computer and at one time he had been the subject of an FBI investigation, which is “an alarming piece of information that was somehow overlooked in the preliminary background check.” Further, the former attaché spends six months in the US a year, and Cole will later comment, “He’s got a lot of friends that are still there in military intelligence, and he more than likely talks to them frequently, living there as he does six months out of the year.” What is more, the results of Roberts’ polygraph examination are inconclusive, so Cole recommends she not be hired. Hired Anyway - However, a week later she is given a job, top secret security clearance, and access to sensitive compartmentalized information. Colleagues say that Roberts frequently boasts her father is a retired general and say she is such an Islamic “zealot” that she tries to convert her colleagues to Islam. [SPERRY, 2005, PP. 155-8] A few weeks later, an FBI field office finds that classified information has been provided to Pakistanis, but it is not known who leaked it, although an investigation will determine that it must have been either the technical agent or one of the Urdu translators. Roberts will still be translating Urdu for the FBI in July 2005, when this incident is first mentioned in the press. [SPERRY, 2005, PP. 155-8; VANITY FAIR, 9/2005; ANTIWAR (.COM), 10/8/2005] Around this time the FBI is investigating a nuclear technology smuggling ring headed by Pakistani intelligence and allegedly assisted by top US officials (see Mid-Late 1990s, (1997-2002), and 2000-2001). Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, John Cole Timeline Tags: A. Q. Khan's Nuclear Network Category Tags: Sibel Edmonds, Pakistan and the ISI, Pakistani Nukes & Islamic Militancy

October 2, 2001: Remote Controlled Passenger Airplane Flew Before 9/11, Despite Claims to the Contrary

A Raytheon 727 lands in New Mexico in August, 2001. [Source: Associated Press] It is reported that the US company Raytheon landed a 727 six times in a military base in New Mexico without any pilots on board. This was done to test equipment making future hijackings more difficult, by allowing ground control to take over the flying of a hijacked plane. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 10/2/2001; DER SPIEGEL (HAMBURG), 10/28/2001] Several Raytheon employees with possible ties to this remote control technology program appear to have been on the hijacked 9/11 flights (see September 25, 2001). Earlier in the year, a specially designed Global Hawk plane flew from the US to Australia without pilot or passengers. [INDEPENDENT TELEVISION NEWS, 4/24/2001] However, most media reports after 9/11 suggest such technology is currently impossible. For instance, the Observer quotes an expert who says that “the technology is pretty much there” but still untried. [OBSERVER, 9/16/2001] An aviation-security expert at Jane’s Defence Weekly says this type of technology belongs “in the realms of science fiction.” [FINANCIAL TIMES, 9/18/2001; ECONOMIST, 9/20/2001] Even President Bush appears to deny the technology currently exists. He gives a speech after 9/11 in which he mentions that the government would give grants to research “new technology, probably far in the future, allowing air traffic controllers to land distressed planes by remote control.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/28/2001] Entity Tags: Raytheon, George W. Bush Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Investigations

October 2Edit

October 2, 2001: US Intelligence Cables Review ‘Hidden Agenda’ of ISI Support for Taliban An agent of the Defense Intelligence Agency sends two classified cables to various US government agencies detailing how Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) created the Taliban and helped al-Qaeda. The agent writes that during the Soviet-Afghan War, the “Pakistan government also had a hidden agenda… Pakistan decided to deliberately influence the outcome. Rather than allow the most gifted Afghan commanders and parties to flourish, who would be hard to control later, Pakistan preferred to groom the incompetent ones [because] they would be wholly reliant on Pakistan for support… Pakistan also encouraged, facilitated, and often escorted Arabs from the Middle East into Afghanistan. Eventually a special facility was constructed… with [ISI] funding.” When Ahmed Shah Mossoud captured Kabul in the early 1990s, “Pakistan could not accept this result and the fragile Afghan coalition began another civil war, with the Pakistan stooge (Gulbuddin Hekmatyar) being backed to seize total power. In the end Pakistan was proved right about only one thing, Hekmatyar was incompetent. He was never able to wrest Kabul from Massoud, despite massive logistical and material (including manpower) support from Pakistan.” When Hekmatyar failed, “[Pakistan] created another force they hoped to have better control over than Hekmatyar’s rabble. It was called Taliban… To lead the Taliban Pakistan chose Mullah Mohammad (Omar), who was willing to do as he was told… Omar’s emergence is credited to Pakistan ISI actions… The fully supported (by Pakistan) Taliban prevailed over the unsupported legitimate government of Afghanistan…” [DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, 10/2/2001 ; DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, 10/2/2001 ] Entity Tags: Taliban, Ahmed Shah Massoud, Mullah Omar, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Category Tags: Soviet-Afghan War, Pakistan and the ISI

October 2-3, 2001: No Jet Fuel in Soil and Water at Flight 93 Crash Site It is reported that soil and groundwater around the spot where Flight 93 crashed show no signs of jet fuel contamination. About a week after 9/11, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) started taking soil samples from the 50-foot hole dug around the crash crater, to check for contamination by the plane’s fuel and other hazardous materials. Three test wells have also been sunk to monitor groundwater. [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/17/2001; WTAE-TV, 10/2/2001; PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/3/2001] According to the National Transportation Safety Board, Flight 93 had about 37,500 lb of fuel remaining when it crashed. [NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD, 2/13/2002, PP. 8 ] Some of the first people who arrived at the crash site reported that there was an “incredibly strong” and “overpowering” smell of jet fuel in the air. [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 213; KASHURBA, 2002, PP. 32, 40, 43 AND 64] Yet, so far, no contamination has been found in either the soil or the groundwater. Betsy Mallison, a spokeswoman for the DEP, says that whether it burned away or evaporated, much of the jet fuel spilled at the site seems to have dissipated. [WTAE-TV, 10/2/2001; PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/3/2001] DEP Secretary David Hess says most of the hazardous fluids must have been consumed by the crash’s fire. [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/17/2001] Yet some of the first people who arrived at the site say they only saw a very small fire, if any at all, at the crash crater. [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 213; MCCALL, 2002, PP. 30-31] Entity Tags: David Hess, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Betsy Mallison Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Investigations

October 3, 2001: FBI Links Alleged Hijacker Associate Basnan to Bin Laden Family and Saudi Government A classified FBI report on this date indicates that alleged hijacker associate Osama Basnan has long-time links to both the bin Laden family and the Saudi government. The report states that Basnan has “been determined to have known Osama bin Laden’s family in Saudi Arabia and to have telephonic contact with members of bin Laden’s family who are currently in the US.” It also states, “The possibility of [Basnan] being affiliated with the Saudi Arabian Government or the Saudi Arabian Intelligence Service is supported by [Basnan] listing his employment in 1992 as the—.” Unfortunately, the rest of that sentence remains redacted. The report further notes that the fact that in July 2001 Basnan moved into the same San Diego apartment building where hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, and hijacker associate Omar al-Bayoumi lived right after al-Bayoumi moved away “could indicate he succeeded Omar al-Bayoumi and may be undertaking activities on behalf of the Government of Saudi Arabia” (see June 23-July 2001). The FBI report, which will be obtained by the website Intelwire.com in 2008, is heavily redacted, and all mentions of Basnan’s name appear to be redacted. However, one can sometimes determine when Basnan is being referred to. For instance, the same paragraph that mentions his link to the bin Laden family also says the same person with that link hosted a party for Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman in 1992, and press reports have indicated that person was Basnan (see October 17, 1992). [FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 10/3/2001 ] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Osama Basnan, Omar Abdul-Rahman, Omar al-Bayoumi Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Bayoumi and Basnan Saudi Connection, Saudi Arabia, Bin Laden Family, FBI 9/11 Investigation

October 3Edit

October 3, 2001: FBI List Mistakenly Posted on Internet Reveals Details of Hundreds of Al-Qaeda Suspects Edit

A confidential list of people suspected of helping the al-Qaeda terrorist network leaks out on the Internet. The list of 370 individuals was put together by the FBI and European security agencies, and had been circulated to central banks and government financial authorities cooperating in the fight against terrorism. The 22-page document is posted on the website of Finland’s Financial Supervision Authority, RATA. [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 10/5/2001; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 10/11/2001] It is the most extensive list of its kind yet made public by authorities anywhere in the world. [HELSINGIN SANOMAT, 10/5/2001] Some of its entries include only a name. [UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 10/11/2001] But, in many cases, aliases, last known addresses, dates of birth, and sometimes phone numbers are given. Many of the addresses are in the United States—with Florida featuring extensively—or Germany, particularly Hamburg. [HELSINGIN SANOMAT, 10/4/2001; DAILY TELEGRAPH, 10/5/2001] More than 300 of the names on the list came from US sources, and are listed with US addresses or Social Security numbers. Out of the 370 individuals, all of whom have Arab names, the FBI and other security authorities have identified the nationalities of 163. Saudi Arabians form the largest group, with 59 being on the list. The FBI has been unable to identify the nationality of the other 207 individuals. According to UPI: “With the exception of the two Americans [on the list], all of those listed would have had to apply for American visas in their home countries to enter the United States legally. Yet the spreadsheet’s sparse information seemed to indicate that the FBI apparently had been unable to locate the information that these applications normally would contain.” At least 77 of those on the list lived near flight schools. Many of the individuals have aliases, with some having up to 20. [UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 10/11/2001] The list includes all 19 of the alleged 9/11 hijackers, who are mostly listed as “possibly deceased.” It also includes al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. It will be removed from the RATA website within 24 hours, at the recommendation of the Finnish data protection commissioner. The London Daily Telegraph cautions, “Like any police intelligence file,” the list “is based on hearsay and unverified leads, and should have been kept strictly confidential to protect those falsely accused. It is far from clear whether the telephone numbers or email addresses are reliable.” For example, “A random call to a suspect in Vero Beach, Florida, was answered by the receptionist of a commercial law firm, who angrily slammed down the receiver.” [RATA, 10/3/2001 ; DAILY TELEGRAPH, 10/5/2001; HELSINGIN SANOMAT, 10/5/2001] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, RATA, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: FBI 9/11 Investigation

oct 4Edit

Main article: 4 October 2001

oct 5Edit

October 5, 2001: Study Reveals Significant Oil and Gas Deposits in Afghanistan Edit

Contrary to popular belief, Afghanistan “has significant oil and gas deposits. During the Soviets’ decade-long occupation of Afghanistan, Moscow estimated Afghanistan’s proven and probable natural gas reserves at around five trillion cubic feet and production reached 275 million cubic feet per day in the mid-1970s.” Nonstop war since has prevented further exploitation. [ASIA TIMES, 10/5/2001] A later article suggests that the country may also have as much copper as Chile, the world’s largest producer, and significant deposits of coal, emeralds, tungsten, lead, zinc, uranium ore, and more. Estimates of Afghanistan’s natural wealth may even be understated, because surveys were conducted decades ago, using less-advanced methods and covering limited territory. [HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/23/2001] Category Tags: Pipeline Politics

October 5-November 21, 2001: Anthrax Letters Kill Five, Heighten Terrorist Attack Fears

The five fatal victims of the anthrax attacks, from to right: Josep Curseen Jr., Thomas Morris, Ottilie Lundgren, Robert Stevens, and Kathy Nguyen. [Source: Reuters and Associated Press] (click image to enlarge) Two waves of letters containing anthrax are received by media outlets including NBC and the New York Post (see September 17-18, 2001), and Democratic senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy (see October 6-9, 2001). The letters sent to the senators both contain the words “Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is Great.” Five people die:

October 5: Robert Stevens, 63, an employee at the Sun, a tabloid based in Florida. 
October 21: Thomas Morris Jr., 55, a postal worker in Washington, DC. 
October 22: Joseph Curseen Jr., 47, a postal worker in Washington, DC. 
October 31: Kathy Nguyen, 61, a hospital employee in New York City. 
November 21: Ottilie Lundgren, 94, of Oxford, Connecticut. 

At least 22 more people get sick but survive. Thirty-one others test positive for exposure. As a result of these deaths and injuries, panic sweeps the nation. On October 16, the Senate office buildings are shut down, followed by the House of Representatives, after 28 congressional staffers test positive for exposure to anthrax (see October 16-17, 2001). A number of hoax letters containing harmless powder turn up, spreading the panic further. [SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, 12/8/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/7/2008] Initially it is suspected that either al-Qaeda or Iraq are behind the anthrax letters (see October 14, 2001, October 15, 2001, October 17, 2001, and October 18, 2001). [OBSERVER, 10/14/2001; BBC, 10/16/2001] However, by November, further investigation leads the US government to conclude that, “everything seems to lean toward a domestic source.… Nothing seems to fit with an overseas terrorist type operation (see November 10, 2001).” [WASHINGTON POST, 10/27/2001; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/10/2001] Entity Tags: Iraq, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Patrick J. Leahy, Tom Daschle, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: 2001 Anthrax Attacks Category Tags: Internal US Security After 9/11

Shortly After October 5, 2001: White House Officials Pressure FBI to Prove Link between Anthrax Attacks and Al-Qaeda In August 2008, the New York Daily News will report that after Robert Stevens is the first to die in the anthrax attacks on October 5, 2001 (see October 5-November 21, 2001), White House officials repeatedly press FBI Director Robert Mueller to prove the attacks were conducted by al-Qaeda. According to an unnamed retired senior FBI official, Mueller was verbally “beaten up” during President Bush’s daily intelligence briefings for not producing proof linking the attacks to al-Qaeda. “They really wanted to blame somebody in the Middle East,” this FBI official will say. But within days, the FBI learned the anthrax was a difficult to make weapons-grade strain. “Very quickly, [experts at Fort Detrick, Maryland] told us this was not something some guy in a cave could come up with. [Al-Qaeda] couldn’t go from box cutters one week to weapons-grade anthrax the next.” But several days after this conclusion is reached, Bush and Cheney nonetheless make public statements suggesting al-Qaeda was the culprit (see October 15, 2001 and October 12, 2001). [NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, 8/2/2008] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert S. Mueller III, Al-Qaeda, White House Timeline Tags: 2001 Anthrax Attacks Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

7Edit

Main article: 7 October 2001

8Edit

Main article: 8 October 2001

9Edit

October 9, 2001: FBI Agents Told to Curtail 9/11 Investigation and Focus on Preventing Future Attacks Edit

It is reported that the FBI and Justice Department have ordered FBI agents across the US to cut back on their investigation of the September 11 attacks, so as to focus on preventing future, possibly imminent, attacks. According to the New York Times, while law enforcement officials say the investigation of 9/11 is continuing aggressively, “At the same time… efforts to thwart attacks have been given a much higher priority.” Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller “have ordered agents to drop their investigation of the [9/11] attacks or any other assignment any time they learn of a threat or lead that might suggest a future attack.” Mueller believes his agents have “a broad understanding of the events of September 11,” and now need “to concentrate on intelligence suggesting that other terrorist attacks [are] likely.” The Times quotes an unnamed law enforcement official: “The investigative staff has to be made to understand that we’re not trying to solve a crime now. Our number one goal is prevention.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/9/2001] At a news conference the previous day, Ashcroft stated that—following the commencement of the US-led attacks on Afghanistan—he had placed federal law enforcement on the highest level of alert. But he refused to say if he had received any specific new threats of terrorist attacks. [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 10/8/2001] The New York Times also reports that Ashcroft and Mueller have ordered FBI agents to end their surveillance of some terrorist suspects and immediately take them into custody. However, some agents have been opposed to this order because they believe that “surveillance—if continued for days or weeks—might turn up critical evidence to prove who orchestrated the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/9/2001] Justice Department communications director Mindy Tucker responds to the New York Times article, saying it “is not accurate,” and that the investigation into 9/11 “has not been curtailed, it is ongoing.” [UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 10/9/2001] Entity Tags: US Department of Justice, John Ashcroft, Mindy Tucker, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert S. Mueller III Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: FBI 9/11 Investigation

October 9, 2001: Richard Clarke Resigns as Counterterrorism ‘Tsar’ Richard Clarke resigns his position as counterterrorism “tsar,” a position he has held since 1998. Frustrated with the Bush administration’s approach to counterterrorism, he had arranged the date of his retirement back in June 2001 (see June 2001). He becomes Special Adviser to the President for Cyberspace Security instead. He is replaced by Gen. Wayne Downing, a highly decorated retired military officer. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/10/2001] Clarke will quit his cyberspace security job in February 2003 and leave government. He will then become a prominent critic of the Bush administration. [WASHINGTON POST, 4/8/2003] Entity Tags: Richard A. Clarke, Wayne Downing Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

October 9, 2001: Afghan Pipeline Idea Is Revived US Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin meets with the Pakistani oil minister. She is briefed on the gas pipeline project from Turkmenistan, across Afghanistan, to Pakistan, which appears to be revived “in view of recent geopolitical developments” —in other words, the 9/11 attacks. [FRONTIER POST, 10/10/2001] Entity Tags: Wendy Chamberlin, Pakistan Category Tags: Pipeline Politics

10Edit

Main article: 10 October 2001

11Edit

Main article: 11 October 2001

12Edit

October 12, 2001: US Declares Al-Qadi Terrorist Financier Edit

Yassin al-Qadi. [Source: Arab News] Yassin al-Qadi is included in a new US list of 39 individuals and organizations designated by the US as connected to terrorism (see October 12, 2001). The US officially declares him a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” and his US assets are frozen. [CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/14/2001; CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/29/2001] Al-Qadi says he is “horrified and shocked” by the allegations. [CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/16/2001] There have been several accusations that al-Qadi laundered money to fund Hamas and al-Qaeda. He headed the Muwafaq (Blessed Relief) Foundation, a Saudi-based charity. Treasury officials allege it has funneled millions of dollars to al-Qaeda (see 1995-1998). [CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/16/2001; CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/29/2001] An investigation into his al-Qaeda connections was canceled by higher-ups in the FBI in October 1998 (see October 1998). In late 2002, Saudi Arabia will freeze al-Qadi’s accounts, an action the Saudis have taken against only three people. However, he has yet to be charged or arrested by the Saudis or the US. [WASHINGTON POST, 12/7/2002] Entity Tags: Yassin al-Qadi, United States, US Department of the Treasury Category Tags: Robert Wright and Vulgar Betrayal, Saudi Arabia, BMI and Ptech, Terrorism Financing

October 12, 2001: Two Suspected Charities Apparently Protected by Saudi Government Ties

Muslim World League logo. [Source: Muslim World League] The International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) and the Muslim World League (MWL) are Saudi charities directly financed by the Saudi government. In 1996, the CIA gave the State Department a report detailing evidence that the IIIRO supported terrorism. It claimed the IIRO has funded Hamas and six militant training camps in Afghanistan, and one funder of the Bojinka plot to blow up airplanes over the Pacific was the head of the IIRO office in the Philippines (see January 1996). US intelligence officials also believe that MWL employees were involved in the 1998 US embassy bombings (see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998). Harper’s magazine claims that it has long been known that both groups helped fund al-Qaeda. However, in October 2001, it is reported that the Bush administration has left the two organizations off an October 12, 2001 list of designated terrorist groups to spare the Saudi government from embarrassment (see October 12, 2001). In March 2002, the Virginia offices of the IIRO and MWL will be raided by US Customs agents (see March 20, 2002). [HARPER'S, 3/2004] In September 2003, it will be reported that US officials recently gave Saudi officials a detailed documenting the IIRO’s terrorism links and asked the Saudis to close all of the organization’s overseas offices. [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/26/2003] However, as of January 2006, it will be reported that it appears the overseas offices of the IIRO and MWL are still open and the US has not officially declared either group to be terrorist sponsors. The US will still be complaining to the Saudis about these two organizations and others, and the Saudis will still not do anything about them (see January 15, 2006). Entity Tags: International Islamic Relief Organization, Bush administration, Saudi Arabia, Muslim World League Category Tags: Saudi Arabia, Terrorism Financing

October 12, 2001: President Bush Decides Against Attempting to Seal the Afghanistan-Pakistan Border to Prevent Al-Qaeda and Taliban from Escaping President Bush briefly considers sealing the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan to prevent the escape of Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders, but then decides against it. According to journalist Bob Woodward, a National Security Council (NSC) meeting held on this day is attended by Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, CIA Director George Tenet, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and others. Intelligence indicates that about 100 people per day are going from Pakistan to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban. Woodward will claim, “There was some talk of sealing the border.” But he adds the idea is immediately dismissed: “It seemed an impossible idea, not practical given the hundreds of miles of mountainous and rough terrain, some of the most formidable in the world. There were few roads. Getting from one point to another could only be done on foot, with mules, or on horseback.” [WOODWARD, 2002, PP. 205] CIA official Michael Scheuer will later comment, “There is no denying that closing that border was a hard job, but if the NSC did not believe that the best military in the world could close the border and trap bin Laden, why did it decide that the task could be safely allotted to the poorly armed and trained and generally anti-US Pakistani forces?” [SCHEUER, 2008] Entity Tags: National Security Council, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, George J. Tenet, George W. Bush Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan

October 12, 2001: Rumsfeld Allegedly Says that Missile Hit Pentagon In an interview for Parade magazine Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld apparently says the Pentagon was hit by a missile. In the printed interview and a Defense Department website re-posting he is quoted as saying: “Here we’re talking about plastic knives and using an American Airlines flight filled with our citizens, and the missile to damage this building and similar (inaudible) that damaged the World Trade Center.” [PARADE MAGAZINE, 10/12/2001] This will be taken by some who think the Pentagon was not hit by American Airlines Flight 77 (see Early March 2002) as an accidental admission of a missile strike. However, in 2004 Parade will say that a “transcription error led to the confusion, but conspiracy theorists latched onto Rumsfeld’s supposed admission and spread it over the Internet.” Although the transcription error is not specified, if the word “and” is replaced by the word “as” the statement becomes “[…] using an American Airlines flight filled with our citizens as the missile to damage this building.” [PARADE MAGAZINE, 9/4/2004] Entity Tags: Donald Rumsfeld Category Tags: Other 9/11 Investigations

October 12, 2001: Vice President Cheney Suggests Al-Qaeda Could Be Responsible for Anthrax Attacks Vice President Dick Cheney suggests al-Qaeda could be behind the recent anthrax attacks (see October 5-November 21, 2001). Cheney tells PBS: “We know that [Osama bin Laden] has over the years tried to acquire weapons of mass destruction, both biological and chemical weapons. We know that he’s trained people in his camps in Afghanistan. For example, we have copies of the manuals that they’ve actually used to train people with respect to how to deploy and use these kinds of substances. So, you start to piece it altogether. Again, we have not completed the investigation and maybe it’s coincidence, but I must say I’m a skeptic.” He adds, “I think the only responsible thing for us to do is proceed on the basis that it could be linked.” [BBC, 10/13/2001] A senior FBI official will claim in 2008 that this comment came shortly after the FBI told the White House that the anthrax strain was most likely too technically advanced to have been made by al-Qaeda (see Shortly After October 5, 2001). Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney Timeline Tags: 2001 Anthrax Attacks Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

October 12, 2001: Additional Suspected Terrorist Supporters’ Assets Frozen The US and Britain freeze the assets of 39 additional individuals and organizations designated by the US as connected to terrorism. $24 million is seized. The British also freeze the assets of 27 other entities named by the US in late September 2001 (see September 24, 2001). The new list includes 33 individuals and six organizations. Twenty-two of the individuals appeared on the FBI’s latest “most wanted terrorists” list. Saudi multimillionaire businessman Yassin al-Qadi is named (see October 12, 2001). So is Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who will later be identified as the mastermind of 9/11. Five of the names were al-Qaeda leaders on a United Nations list published in March 8, 2001, with a recommendation that all nations freeze their assets. Other countries froze the assets of those on that list before 9/11, but the US did not (see March 8, 2001). [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 10/12/2001; GUARDIAN, 10/13/2001; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 10/15/2001] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United Kingdom, United Nations, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Yassin al-Qadi Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Saudi Arabia, Terrorism Financing, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

Shortly After October 12, 2001: Software Company Whistleblowers Ignored Yassin al-Qadi, a Saudi multimillionaire businessman, was officially declared a terrorist financier in October 2001 (see October 12, 2001). [ARAB NEWS, 9/26/2002] That same month, a number of employees at Ptech, a Boston-based computer company that al-Qadi and other individuals suspected of financing officially designated terrorist groups invested in (see 1994), tell the Boston FBI about the connections between Ptech and al-Qadi. However, FBI agents do little more than take their statements. A high-level government source later will claim the FBI does not convey the Ptech-al-Qadi link to Operation Greenquest, a Customs Department investigation into al-Qadi and other suspected financiers, and none of the government agencies using Ptech software are warned about the possible security threat Ptech represents. [BOSTON GLOBE, 12/7/2002; WBZ 4 (BOSTON), 12/9/2002] According to a private counterterrorism expert involved in investigating Ptech at the time, “Frighteningly, when an employee told [Ptech president Oussama Ziade] he felt he had to contact the FBI regarding al-Qadi’s involvement in the company, the president allegedly told him not to worry because Yaqub Mirza, who was on the board of directors of the company and was himself a target of a [Greenquest] terrorist financing raid in March 2002 (see March 20, 2002), had contacts high within the FBI.” [NATIONAL REVIEW, 5/27/2003] A Ptech investigation will finally begin in 2002 after more whistleblowers come forward (see May-December 5, 2002). Entity Tags: US Customs Service, Yacub Mirza, Operation Greenquest, Yassin al-Qadi, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ptech Inc., Oussama Ziade Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Terrorism Financing, BMI and Ptech, FBI 9/11 Investigation

October 13, 2001: Czech Foreign Minister Tells Secretary of State Powell Mohamed Atta May Have Met with Iraqi Spy Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan briefs Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington about the alleged trip 9/11 plotter Mohamed Atta took to the Czech Republic in April 2001 (see April 8, 2001). Kavan tells Powell that the BIS, the Czech intelligence service, has reason to believe that Mohamed Atta may have met near Prague with Iraqi spy Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/20/2001 SOURCES: JAN KAVAN] Entity Tags: Jan Kavan, Colin Powell, Mohamed Atta, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

Mid-October 2001: Al-Qaeda Offers to Arrange Television Interview of Osama bin Laden An al-Qaeda representative offers to arrange a television interview of Osama bin Laden. There are two versions of how this offer is made. According to CNN, an al-Qaeda contact of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera, with which it has a footage-sharing agreement, invites CNN and Al Jazeera to submit questions to bin Laden. CNN, worried about accusations of improper conduct, contacts the other major US television news stations and tells them it will share any footage that emerges. It also says it will only air the interview as long as it is newsworthy and not “propaganda.” CNN then draws up six questions about al-Qaeda’s role in 9/11 and the recent anthrax attacks in the US. It gives the questions to Al Jazeera, which adds another 25 and sends them to its Kabul bureau, which, in turn, passes them on to its al-Qaeda contact. The ethics of this are hotly debated in the US media, with Fox News publicly refusing to participate. Nevertheless, an Al Jazeera manager will later say: “I assure you they [Fox] contacted me to send more questions of their own. I got calls and emails from them.” Fox will later admit to the contacts, but say it would only have agreed to take part in the event of a regular interview. However, Al Jazeera media relations manager Jihad Ballout will contradict CNN’s account of the offer, saying the two organizations are approached independently, and al-Qaeda eventually chooses Al Jazeera. [MILES, 2005, PP. 175-176, 179-180] The interview will take place on October 20 (see October 20, 2001). Entity Tags: Jihad Ballout, Al Jazeera, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, CNN, Fox News Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden

October 14, 2001: ’Strange Coincidence’ Briefly Increases Suspicions Al-Qaeda Is behind Anthrax Attacks

Gloria Irish. [Source: AP / St. Petersburg Times] The FBI confirms that Gloria Irish rented an apartment to two of the 9/11 hijackers. Her husband is Michael Irish, who is an editor of the Sun, a Florida tabloid newspaper, and the first victim of the anthrax attacks earlier this month. Bob Stevens, who also worked at the Sun, and several others at the tabloid offices were injured. The FBI says that Irish rented different apartments in Delray Beach, Florida, to hijackers Marwan Alshehhi and Saeed Alghamdi during the summer of 2001. But one FBI spokesperson says, “Right now it looks like a coincidence,” and another calls it a “strange coincidence.” Two of the hijackers, including Mohamed Atta, also had subscriptions to the Sun. [KNIGHT RIDDER, 10/14/2001; GUARDIAN, 10/16/2001] But Irish says “there is no way” the hijackers could have known about any Sun connection through her. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/15/2001] Michael Irish is a licensed pilot who was a member of the Civil Air Patrol based at Lantana Airport. Atta reportedly rented a plane at that airport in August. Stevens, who died of anthrax on October 5, also lived in Lantana. But there is no evidence that Irish or Stevens crossed paths with Atta. [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/15/2001] The story will quickly die after nothing more is found to the connection. Entity Tags: Mohamed Atta, Saeed Alghamdi, Marwan Alshehhi, Bob Stevens, Gloria Irish Timeline Tags: 2001 Anthrax Attacks Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

October 14, 2001: Bin Laden Reportedly Has Supporters at All Levels of Saudi Arabia The Boston Herald reports: “Three banks allegedly used by Osama bin Laden to distribute money to his global terrorism network have well-established ties to a prince in Saudi Arabia’s royal family, several billionaire Saudi bankers, and the governments of Kuwait and Dubai. One of the banks, Al-Shamal Islamic Bank in the Sudan, was controlled directly by bin Laden, according to a 1996 US State Department report.” A regional expert states, “I think we underestimate bin Laden. He comes from the highest levels of Saudi society and he has supporters at all levels of Saudi Arabia.” [BOSTON HERALD, 10/14/2001] The US has yet to take any official steps against the Al-Shamal bank, and some suggest this is because of its ties to influential Saudi figures (see September 24, 2001 and After). Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Al-Shamal Islamic Bank Category Tags: Saudi Arabia

October 15, 2001: Two Democratic Senators Targets of Anthrax Attacks

The envelope to the Tom Daschle letter. [Source: FBI] Two Democratic senators are targets of the 2001 anthrax attacks (see October 5-November 21, 2001). On this day, Senator Tom Daschle’s office opens a letter mailed October 9, containing a lethal dose of anthrax (see October 6-9, 2001). A similar letter to Senator Patrick Leahy mailed the same day and from the same location is misrouted to Virginia on October 12, and is not discovered until November 17. Neither Leahy nor Daschle come into contact with the anthrax, but some of Daschle’s staffers do. [SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, 12/8/2001] Entity Tags: P. Patrick Leahy, Tom Daschle Timeline Tags: 2001 Anthrax Attacks Category Tags: Internal US Security After 9/11

(Mid-October-mid November 2001): Gold and Silver Recovered from WTC Basement Area; Evidence Suggests Attempted Theft

The Bank of Nova Scotia gold vault, located under WTC Building 4, is examined in late October 2001. [Source: Leslie E. Robertson and Associates] Workers at Ground Zero discover large amounts of gold and other precious metals stored below the ruins of the WTC. As debris is removed they are able to access parts of the 16-acre WTC basement, which drops 70 feet below ground level. Precious metals are stored in numerous vaults within this area. The London Times says the quantity of these “has been a carefully guarded secret,” but estimates $750 million of gold and silver in vaults belonging to the Comex metals trading division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. There appears to have been an attempt, since 9/11, to break into a Comex vault containing $200 million of precious metals belonging to the Bank of Nova Scotia. A government official involved in the recovery work says, “It looked like they used a blowtorch, a crowbar,” but a bank spokeswoman denies there has been any attempted break-in. The banks later states that “All of the silver, gold, platinum, and palladium stored in its vaults at 4 World Trade Center” has been relocated to a depository in Brooklyn. Other gold is discovered in a service tunnel below WTC 5. According to the London Times, this was being transported through the tunnel on the morning of 9/11 (see (Before 9:59 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, 10/31/2001; LONDON TIMES, 11/1/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 11/1/2001; REUTERS, 11/17/2001] Entity Tags: Comex Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other Post-9/11 Events

October 15, 2001: Russian Newspaper Calls Afghanistan War US Political Power Move According to the Moscow Times, the Russian government sees the upcoming US conquest of Afghanistan as an attempt by the US to replace Russia as the dominant political force in Central Asia, with the control of oil as a prominent motive: “While the bombardment of Afghanistan outwardly appears to hinge on issues of fundamentalism and American retribution, below the surface, lurks the prize of the energy-rich Caspian basin into which oil majors have invested billions of dollars. Ultimately, this war will set the boundaries of US and Russian influence in Central Asia—and determine the future of oil and gas resources of the Caspian Sea.” [MOSCOW TIMES, 10/15/2001] The US later appears to gain military influence over Kazakhstan, the Central Asian country with the most resource wealth, and closest to the Russian heartland (see March 30, 2002). Entity Tags: United States, Russia Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, US Dominance

October 15, 2001: President Bush Suggests Link between Anthrax Attacks and Al-Qaeda At a press conference in Italy, President Bush says “there may be some possible link” between the recent anthrax attacks (see October 5-November 21, 2001) and al-Qaeda. He adds: “We have no hard data yet, but it’s clear that [Osama] bin Laden is a man who’s an evil man. He and his spokesmen are openly bragging about how they hope to inflict more pain on our country. So we’re watching every piece of evidence.” [CNN, 10/15/2001] A senior FBI official will claim in 2008 that this comment came shortly after the FBI told the White House that the anthrax strain was most likely too technically advanced to have been made by al-Qaeda (see Shortly After October 5, 2001). Entity Tags: George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: 2001 Anthrax Attacks Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

Mid-October-December 2001: British Muslim Radicalized by Informer Fights Allied Troops in Afghanistan A British Muslim radicalized at Finsbury Park mosque in London, which is run by British intelligence informer and radical imam Abu Hamza al-Masri (see Early 1997), fights against British troops in northern Afghanistan. The man’s name is not known, but he will be said to be a former DJ of Lebanese descent from a rich family. [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 88] Entity Tags: Finsbury Park Mosque Category Tags: Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

October 15, 2001-February 22, 2004: Waiter Who Served Atta Lunch Is Imprisoned for Five Months, Government Attempts to Keep Court Case Secret Mohamed Kamel Bellahouel is arrested and held for five months after investigators discover he worked at a restaurant where Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi sometimes ate lunch in South Florida. In a sworn statement, Michael Rolince, head of the FBI’s International Terrorism Operations Section, says, “It is likely that Bellahouel would have waited on both Atta and Alshehhi since Bellahouel had worked at the restaurant for 10 months, and both Atta and Alshehhi were frequent patrons during shifts that Bellahouel worked.” Rolince also alleges Bellahouel may have waited on a third hijacker, Saeed Alghamdi, and says that a cinema employee claims Bellahouel saw a film with a fourth hijacker, Ahmed Alnami. However, Bellahouel, who denies going to the cinema with Alnami, has trouble gaining access to the evidence used against him. His attorney comments, “They won’t call it secret evidence and they won’t call it classified, but they won’t give it to you, either.” He is held in prison without bond and without charge from October 15, 2001 to March 1, 2002. After he is released, US authorities attempt to deport him, as he entered the US as a student, but then dropped out of college and started work, marrying a US citizen in June 2001. His attorney says the problem is that he is a Muslim. “If he were a Catholic coming from Venezuela or Colombia, they would have let him adjust his immigration status.” Bellahouel sues the government over his incarceration, but the case is shrouded in secrecy and the press only learns the case is ongoing due to a court error. [MIAMI DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW, 3/14/2003] For example, a journalist, who does not event know Bellahouel’s name, attempts to attend a hearing in March 2003. But the court is closed. After some effort, the reporter finally finds the name in the electronic docket. When he tells a court official Bellahouel’s name is on the docket, the official replies, “Is it? We’ll have to fix that, too,” and the name disappears. [REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, 12/2004] In February 2004 the Supreme Court declines an appeal from Bellahouel to have an open hearing, and media organizations are prevented from accessing sealed court proceedings. [NEW YORK TIMES, 1/5/2004; CNN, 2/23/2004] Entity Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Michael Rolince, Ahmed Alnami, Mohamed Kamel Bellahouel, Saeed Alghamdi, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline, Civil Liberties Category Tags: Mohamed Atta, FBI 9/11 Investigation

Mid-October 2001: Bin Laden’s Oldest Son Confirms He Still Works with Family Company Abdullah bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s oldest son, confirms in an interview that he works with the family business, the Saudi Binladin Group, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He declares his allegiance to the Saudi government, but also defends his father and refuses to disown him. Two knowledgeable sources from within Saudi Arabia claim that Abdullah is being prevented from leaving Saudi Arabia, with the implication that the government could bring harm to him if Osama attacks Saudi Arabia. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/2/2001; NEW YORKER, 11/5/2001] Abdullah also says that he lived with Osama in Sudan until 1996, but then moved back to Saudi Arabia when his father moved to Afghanistan, as he did not want to experience the hardships there. [NEW YORKER, 12/5/2005] In 2005 it will be reported that Bakr bin Laden, the family patriarch and chairman of the Saudi Binladin Group, is said to frequently dine in public restaurants in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with Abdullah. [DER SPIEGEL (HAMBURG), 6/6/2005] Entity Tags: Abdullah Awad bin Laden Category Tags: Saudi Arabia, Bin Laden Family

October 16, 2001: Several Israelis Arrested for Curious Sears Tower Surveillance Two men, Moshe Elmakias and Ron Katar, are arrested in rural Pennsylvania after being found with a detailed video of the Sears Tower in Chicago. In addition, a woman named Ayelet Reisler is found with them, carrying conflicting identification information. They are arrested for illegal dumping, using a van with the name Moving Systems Incorporated. The video contains extensive zoom in shots of the Sears Tower; it is not known when the video was filmed. [MERCURY (PHILADELPHIA), 10/17/2001] Entity Tags: Ron Katar, Sears Tower, Ayelet Reisler, Moshe Elmakias Category Tags: Israel

October 16, 2001: Bin Laden Cleared of Insider Trading in Britain “The Financial Services Authority—Britain’s main financial regulator—has cleared bin Laden and his henchmen of insider trading. There has been a widespread suspicion that members of the al-Qaeda organization had cashed in on the US attacks, dumping airline, aerospace and insurance company shares before September 11th. The Authority says that after a thorough investigation, it has found no hard evidence of any such deals in London.” [AMERICAN PUBLIC MEDIA, 10/17/2001] On September 24, Belgium’s Financial Minister had claimed there were strong suspicions that British markets may have been used for 9/11-related insider trading in early September. [CNN, 9/24/2001] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Financial Services Authority Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Insider Trading/ Foreknowledge

October 16, 2001: Czech Minister Refuses to Confirm Atta Meeting with Iraqi Agent in Prague Referring to the claim that 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta met with Iraqi Counsel al-Ani on April 8, 2001 (see April 8, 2001), Stanislav Gross, the Czech interior minister, states, “I can only confirm one visit in the summer” and Petr Necas, chairman of the parliamentary defense committee, says, “I haven’t seen any direct evidence that Mr. Atta met any Iraqi agent.” Citing a senior Czech Republic official, the New York Times will report on October 20 that “firm documentary evidence existed only that Mr. Atta had passed through the Prague airport from Germany to take a flight to Newark.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/20/2001] The rumors, which had first surfaced shortly after the attacks, were based on information from a Czech intelligence source inside Prague’s Middle Eastern community. The source had told the BIS, the Czech Republic’s intelligence service, that he had seen Atta meeting al-Ani in a restaurant outside of Prague on April 8 earlier that year (see April 8, 2001). [CNN, 9/19/2001; NEWSWEEK, 4/28/2002] Entity Tags: Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Stanislav Gross, Mohamed Atta, Petr Necas Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

October 16, 2001: Some Flight Control Transcripts Released, but Sections Are Missing The government releases flight control transcripts of three of the four hijacked planes [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/16/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 10/16/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 10/16/2001] ) . Strangely, Flight 93 is left out. Yet even the three released transcripts are incomplete (for instance, Flight 77’s ends at least 20 minutes before it crashes), and certain events that are part of the official story do not show up on these transcripts. Entity Tags: Bush administration Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Investigations

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October 17, 2001: JCS Chairman Myers Says He Hadn’t Thought of 9/11-Type Scenario Edit

Gen. Richard Myers, acting Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman on 9/11, says of 9/11, “You hate to admit it, but we hadn’t thought about this.” He was promoted from Vice-Chairman to Chairman three days after 9/11. [AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 10/23/2001] Entity Tags: Richard B. Myers Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Warning Signs, 9/11 Denials

October 17, 2001: Top Bush Administration Officials Look to Blame Anthrax Attacks on Al-Qaeda, Iraq, or Russia Vice President Cheney chairs a National Security Council meeting because President Bush is overseas. According to journalist Bob Woodward, who later interviews many participants in the meeting, the topic of the recent anthrax attacks is discussed (see October 5-November 21, 2001). CIA Director George Tenet suggests that al-Qaeda is behind the attacks. He also adds, “I think there’s a state sponsor involved. It’s too well thought out, the powder’s too well refined. It might be Iraq, it might be Russia, it might be a renegade scientist,” perhaps from Iraq or Russia. Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff I. Lewis Libby also suggests the anthrax attacks were state sponsored. “We’ve got to be careful on what we say. If we say it’s al-Qaeda, a state sponsor may feel safe and then hit us thinking they will have a bye because we’ll blame it on al-Qaeda.” Tenet replies, “I’m not going to talk about a state sponsor.” Vice President Cheney comments, “It’s good that we don’t, because we’re not ready to do anything about it.” [WOODWARD, 2002, PP. 244] No strong evidence will emerge tying the attacks to al-Qaeda or any state sponsor. The anthrax attacks still remain completely unsolved. Entity Tags: George J. Tenet, Bob Woodward, National Security Council, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, Lewis (“Scooter”) Libby Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion, 2001 Anthrax Attacks Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

October 18, 2001: Paul Wolfowitz Issues Memo Urging Secrecy Among Defense Department Staff Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz issues a memorandum to senior officials throughout the Defense Department stating that, following President Bush’s declaration of a national emergency on September 14, Defense Department employees should exercise great caution whenever discussing information relating to their department’s work. The memo instructs: “Do not conduct any work-related conversations in common areas, public places, while commuting, or over unsecured electronic circuits. Classified information may be discussed only in authorized spaces and with persons having a specific need to know and the proper security clearance. Unclassified information may likewise require protection because it can often be compiled to reveal sensitive conclusions. Much of the information we use to conduct [the department]‘s operations must be withheld from public release because of its sensitivity. If in doubt, do not release or discuss official information except with other [Defense Department] personnel.” According to the memo, “the security of information critical to the national security will remain at risk for an indefinite period.” [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 10/18/2001; WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/23/2001] Entity Tags: US Department of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz Timeline Tags: Civil Liberties Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

Late October 2001: UAE Confused over Hijacker Bank Accounts Governor of the United Emirates Central Bank Sultan Nasser al-Suwaidi first says that hijacker pilots Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi had accounts in the United Arab Emirates, but then later contradicts this saying that Atta did not have one. Initially, he admits that Atta had an account at a Citibank branch in Dubai, but says it was closed a year before the attacks. “Mohamed Atta was like any adult expatriate in the UAE,” he says. The account was apparently busier than normal, with frequent transfers of $10,000 to $15,000. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 10/20/2001; CNN, 10/22/2001] Although the existence of Alshehhi’s account is confirmed (see July 1999-November 2000), al-Suwaidi denies Atta had an account a few days later. He says that his bank had confused Atta with an Afghan who had a similar name, but different photo, age, and occupation. “They are different people, different nationalities,” he insists. The Afghan had an account with Citibank from 1997 to December 2000, but there were apparently no suspicious transfers to Afghanistan. [UAE INTERACT, 10/25/2001; GULF NEWS, 10/25/2001] Entity Tags: Sultan Nasser al-Suwaidi, Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Marwan Alshehhi, Mohamed Atta

October 19, 2001: New York Times Suggests Link between Anthrax Attacks and 9/11 Hijackers, despite Lack of Evidence

The contents of the anthrax letter to the New York Post. [Source: FBI] The New York Times suggests there could be a link between the recent anthrax attacks (see October 5-November 21, 2001) and the 9/11 hijackers. The Times reports that investigators “say they suspect that the rash of contaminated letters is related to the Sept. 11 attacks and are investigating the possibility that al-Qaeda confederates of the hijackers are behind the incidents.… Senior government officials said investigators were focusing on the ability of the hijackers or their accomplices to obtain highly refined anthrax from a foreign or domestic supplier. While they have not ruled out the possibility that another criminal could be behind the anthrax attacks, investigators are looking intensely at evidentiary threads linking the letters to the hijackers.” Little to No Evidence behind this Theory - FBI agents are said to have recently searched the Jersey City home of three men arrested on suspicion of links to the 9/11 attacks after learning they kept some magazines and newspaper articles about biological warfare there. These men include Ayub Ali Khan and Mohammed Azmath. Both men will later be cleared of having any al-Qaeda ties (see October 20, 2001). The hijackers did show some interest in crop dusters, which could be used in a biological attack, but a senior government official says no actual evidence has appeared linking any of the hijackers to the anthrax attacks in any way. Domestic Loner Theory - The article notes that the FBI is also pursuing a competing theory, “that a disgruntled employee of a domestic laboratory that uses anthrax carried out the attacks.” However, no evidence has emerged yet to support this. Iraq Not Likely - The article is dismissive of theories that Iraq or another foreign government was behind the attacks. It notes that the anthrax letters used the Ames strain of anthrax, and experts say the Iraqi government never obtained that strain. For instance, former UN weapons inspector Richard Spertzel says, “The Iraqis tried to get it but didn’t succeed.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/19/2001] Entity Tags: Richard Spertzel, Mohammed Azmath, Syed Gul Mohammad Shah Timeline Tags: 2001 Anthrax Attacks Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

October 19, 2001: Madrid Bombings Mastermind Photographed with Head of Al-Qaeda in Spain

Serhane Abdelmajid Fakhet. [Source: Spanish Interior Ministry] Serhane Abdelmajid Fakhet, later considered one of about three masterminds of the 2004 Madrid train bombings (see 7:37-7:42 a.m., March 11, 2004), is already being monitored by Spanish intelligence. On this day, he is photographed with Barakat Yarkas, leader of al-Qaeda’s main cell in Spain. Yarkas will be arrested for an alleged role in the 9/11 attacks less than a month later (see November 13, 2001). [EL MUNDO (MADRID), 8/16/2005] Fakhet had been under surveillance since 2000. [IRUJO, 2005, PP. 182-186] He will allegedly blow himself up not long after the bombings (see 9:05 p.m., April 3, 2004). There are allegations that he was an informant at least by 2003 (see Shortly After October 2003). Also seen in the pictures are Yusuf Galan, another member of Yarkas’s cell who will be arrested with Yarkas and later convicted (see September 26, 2005), and Mouhannad Almallah, who has been under surveillance since at least 1998. Almallah will later be sentenced to 12 years in prison for a role in the Madrid bombings (see October 31, 2007). [EL MUNDO (MADRID), 10/27/2004] Entity Tags: Serhane Abdelmajid Fakhet, Centro Nacional de Inteligencia, Barakat Yarkas, Mouhannad Almallah, Yusuf Galan Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Spain, 2004 Madrid Train Bombings

October 19, 2001: Al-Marabh’s Former Roommate Arrested, Appears to Have Significant Al-Qaeda Ties

Hassan Almrei. [Source: Public domain via CBC] Hassan Almrei, a Syrian national and an associate of Nabil al-Marabh, is arrested in Canada. He was al-Marabh’s Toronto apartment roommate in early 2001. Canadian authorities say Almrei’s honey and perfume business in the Middle East helped finance al-Qaeda. Following a raid on his apartment, police say they confiscated computers and disks that hold information about Osama bin Laden, numerous images of bin Laden and other al-Qaeda members, a hijacking planner, diagrams of plane cockpits and military weapons, and copies of passports and official IDs. Within a week of his arrest, the Canadian government declares Almrei a “threat to national security” and announces its intention to deport him to Syria. The Federal Court of Canada will later agree with investigators that Almrei is a “a member of an international network of extremist individuals who support the Islamic extremist ideals espoused by Osama bin Laden,” and was “involved in a forgery ring with international connections that produces false documents.” The court will approve his deportation. [CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 10/27/2001; TORONTO SUN, 1/14/2002; ABC NEWS 7 (CHICAGO), 1/31/2002] Almrei will admit to attending training camps in Afghanistan and lying about his past to get into Canada as a refugee claimant in 1999, but will deny any link to al-Qaeda. As of late 2005, he will still be in a Canadian prison, appealing his deportation. He will say he fears death or torture if he is returned to Syria. [TORONTO SUN, 10/20/2005] Almrei will be released from prison in Canada in December 2009 when he wins an appeal against the security certificate he is being held under. The judge, Justice Richard Mosley, says there were “reasonable grounds to believe that Hassan Almrei was a danger to the security of Canada when he was detained in 2001, [but] there are no longer reasonable grounds to believe that he is a security risk today.” [TORONTO STAR, 12/15/2008] Entity Tags: Hassan Almrei, Nabil al-Marabh, Richard Mosley, Canada Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Nabil Al-Marabh, Key Captures and Deaths

20Edit

October 20, 2001: Bin Laden Admits ‘Inciting’ 9/11 in Set-up TV Interview Edit

Osama bin Laden admits “inciting” the 9/11 attacks in a controversial interview by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV station. The interview is conducted by Tayseer Allouni, Al Jazeera’s Kabul correspondent. Allouni had discussed a possible interview of bin Laden with al-Qaeda about a week previously (see Mid-October 2001), but nothing further had been said and Allouni assumed the interview would not be conducted. Taken Blindfolded to Bin Laden - However, he is contacted by al-Qaeda representatives, who tell him they will take him to a story. He is blindfolded and driven around in circles outside Kabul for some time, until the car stops, the blindfold is taken off, and he finds himself in an unknown place, face-to-face with bin Laden. The al-Qaeda leader is wearing camouflage fatigues and has a sub-machine gun close by; there are other armed men present. Allouni is told he cannot use his own questions, but will ask a set of questions prepared by al-Qaeda. Bin Laden 'Ambiguously' Discusses Responsibility for 9/11 - The interview lasts for over an hour and covers several topics. On the key question of responsibility for 9/11, author Hugh Miles will point out that bin Laden speaks “ambiguously, seeming first to deny, then confirm, his involvement in the attacks.” When asked about US allegations of his responsibility, bin Laden answers: “America has made many accusations against us and many other Muslims around the world. Its charge that we are carrying out acts of terrorism is unwarranted.” However, a few seconds later he adds, “If inciting people to do that is terrorism, and if killing those who kill our sons is terrorism, then let history be witness that we were terrorists.” He then says: “We kill the kings of the infidels, kings of the crusaders, and civilian infidels in exchange for those of our children they kill. This is permissible in Islamic law and logically.” Allouni interrupts him and asks, “They kill our innocents, so we kill their innocents?” The reply is, “So we kill their innocents.” Bin Laden also gives a vague non-answer to a question about his responsibility for the recent anthrax attacks in the US: “These diseases are a punishment from God and a response to oppressed mothers’ prayers in Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, and everywhere.” Interview Not Broadcast - Al Jazeera decides not to broadcast the interview. Its media relations manager, Jihad Ballout, will later say the decision is taken because the questions Allouni was forced to ask came from bin Laden, and because “bin Laden was using Al Jazeera to give out a very edited and sanitized statement to his people. It was a message, a pure message.” Neither does Al Jazeera inform CNN of the interview. However, western intelligence services will obtain it (see Before November 11, 2001) and it will eventually be broadcast on CNN in early 2002 (see January 31, 2002). [CNN, 2/5/2002; MILES, 2005, PP. 177-179, 182] Entity Tags: Jihad Ballout, Al-Qaeda, Al Jazeera, Tayseer Allouni, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Investigations, Osama Bin Laden, Alleged Al-Qaeda Media Statements

October 20, 2001: Report Finds None Arrested in Terrorism Investigation Connected to 9/11

Mohammed Azmath, left, and Syed Gul Mohammad Shah/ Ayub Ali Khan, right. [Source: Associated Press] The New York Times reports that, although 830 people have been arrested in the 9/11 terrorism investigation (a number that eventually exceeds between 1,200 and 2,000 (see November 5, 2001), there is no evidence that anyone now in custody was a conspirator in the 9/11 attacks. Furthermore, “none of the nearly 100 people still being sought by the [FBI] is seen as a major suspect.” Of all the people arrested, only four, Zacarias Moussaoui, Ayub Ali Khan, Mohammed Azmath, and Nabil al-Marabh, are likely connected to al-Qaeda. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/21/2001] Three of those are later cleared of ties to al-Qaeda. After being kept in solitary confinement for more than eight months without seeing a judge or being assigned a lawyer, al-Marabh pleads guilty to the minor charge of entering the United States illegally (see September 3, 2002) and is deported to Syria (see January 2004). There is considerable evidence al-Marabh did have ties to al-Qaeda and even the 9/11 plot (see September 2000; January 2001-Summer 2001; January 2001-Summer 2001; Spring 2001; Early September 2001). [WASHINGTON POST, 6/12/2002; CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 8/27/2002] On September 12, 2002, after a year in solitary confinement and four months before he was able to contact a lawyer, Mohammed Azmath pleads guilty to one count of credit card fraud, and is released with time served. Ayub Ali Khan, whose real name is apparently Syed Gul Mohammad Shah, is given a longer sentence for credit card fraud, but is released and deported by the end of 2002. [VILLAGE VOICE, 9/25/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 12/31/2002] By December 2002, only 6 are known to still be in custody, and none have been charged with any terrorist acts (see December 11, 2002). On September 24, 2001, Newsweek reported that “the FBI has privately estimated that more than 1,000 individuals—most of them foreign nationals—with suspected terrorist ties are currently living in the United States.” [NEWSWEEK, 10/1/2001] Entity Tags: Nabil al-Marabh, Al-Qaeda, Mohammed Azmath, Syed Gul Mohammad Shah, Zacarias Moussaoui, Federal Bureau of Investigation Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline, Civil Liberties Category Tags: FBI 9/11 Investigation

October 21, 2001: Radical Imam Abu Qatada Claims British Intelligence Offered to Help Him Escape after 9/11 Radical al-Qaeda-linked imam Abu Qatada claims to The Observer that shortly after 9/11, the British intelligence agency MI5 offered him a passport, an Iranian visa, and an opportunity to escape to Afghanistan. He claims he turned them down because he didn’t trust them. “If I get on a plane, I am afraid I will be shot or handed over to the Jordanians, the Egyptians, or the Saudis.” [OBSERVER, 10/21/2001] Abu Qatada’s claim will gain credibility when it is later revealed that he was an MI5 informant (see June 1996-February 1997) and that MI5 hid him in Britain from December 2001 until he made comments supporting the 9/11 attacks in late 2002 (see Early December 2001 and October 23, 2002). His fear of being handed over will also gain credibility as the CIA’s rendition program is slowly made public in succeeding years. Entity Tags: Abu Qatada, UK Security Service (MI5) Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

October 21, 2001: Four Embassy Bombers Sentenced to Life in Prison

Khalfan Khamis Mohamed. [Source: FBI] Four men are sentenced to life in prison for their roles in the African embassy bombings (see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998). The four are:

Wadih El-Hage. 
Khalfan Khamis Mohamed. 
Mohamed al-Owhali. 
Mohammed Saddiq Odeh. [CNN, 10/21/2001] 

Another man in custody for the embassy bombings, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, attempted to stab a prison guard and was removed from the trail and eventually given 32 years in prison for the stabbing instead. [CNN, 5/4/2004] Double agent Ali Mohamed is also in custody and pleads guilty for a role in the bombings, but he is never sentenced and his fate remains murky (see July 2001-December 2001). A New York jury considered the death penalty for some of them, but deadlocked on that and opted for life in prison without parole instead. Over a dozen people remain wanted for their alleged roles in the embassy bombings, including all of the suspected masterminds. [CNN, 10/21/2001] Entity Tags: Mohammed Saddiq Odeh, Mohamed al-Owhali, Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, Ali Mohamed, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, Wadih El-Hage Category Tags: 1998 US Embassy Bombings, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics, Wadih El-Hage

October 21, 2001: Washington Post Article Hints at US Government’s Use of Rendition and Torture A Washington Post article hints at the US government’s use rendition and torture. It refers to four suspects out of the hundreds arrested in the US—Zacarias Moussaoui, Nabil al-Marabh, Ayub Ali Khan, and Mohammed Azmath—who may actually have links to al-Qaeda (see October 20, 2001). The article quotes an “experienced FBI agent involved in the investigation,” who says: “We are known for humanitarian treatment, so basically we are stuck.… Usually there is some incentive, some angle to play, what you can do for them. But it could get to that spot where we could go to pressure… where we won’t have a choice, and we are probably getting there.” The article goes on to mention: “Among the alternative strategies under discussion are using drugs or pressure tactics, such as those employed occasionally by Israeli interrogators, to extract information. Another idea is extraditing the suspects to allied countries where security services sometimes employ threats to family members or resort to torture.” [WASHINGTON POST, 10/21/2001] Although it is little known in the US at the time, the CIA has already been renditioning suspects to countries known for practicing torture (see September 23, 2001), and has made arrangements with NATO countries to increase the number of such renditions (see October 4, 2001). Azmath and Khan will later be cleared of al-Qaeda ties and released (see October 20, 2001). Al-Marabh will be deported to Syria under mysterious circumstances and rearrested by the Syrian government (see Spring 2004). Moussaoui will be sentenced to life in prison in the US (see May 3, 2006). Entity Tags: Mohammed Azmath, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nabil al-Marabh, Syed Gul Mohammad Shah, Zacarias Moussaoui Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Nabil Al-Marabh, Zacarias Moussaoui, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

October 23, 2001: Yemeni Suspect in Pakistan Is Renditioned by US and Disappears

The Gulfstream V with tail number N379P used to rendition Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed and many others. [Source: Washington Post] Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed, a microbiology student from Yemen who is suspected of membership in al-Qaeda and involvement in the bombing of the USS Cole, is apprehended in Pakistan by the Pakistani ISI at the request of the US. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 10/28/2001; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/28/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 3/11/2002] In the early hours of October 23, 2001, he is taken to a secluded part of Karachi International Airport. Shackled and blindfolded, the Pakistanis deliver him to US agents, according to the Washington Post, “without extradition or deportation papers.” [WASHINGTON POST, 3/11/2002] From there, at about 2:40 a.m., Mohammed is put on a US-registered jet and flown to Jordan. His fate is unknown from then on. [AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, 8/19/2003] The plane is a Gulfstream V with tail number N379P, owned by a company named Premier Executive Transport Services Inc. (PETS), in Dedham, Massachusetts. The company is apparently a CIA front. [WASHINGTON POST, 12/27/2004] Reporter Fredrik Laurin later discovers that the chartered Gulfstream is leased almost exclusively to the US administration. [GUARDIAN, 9/13/2004] Since its discovery, this Gulfstream will be spotted at Washington’s Dulles International Airport, Guantanamo Bay, Amman (the military airport), Baghdad, Baku, Cairo, Dubai, Islamabad, Karachi, Kuwait City, Rabat, Riyadh, and Tashkent, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Stockholm, Larnaca on Cyprus, and other airports in England and Ireland. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/25/2004; WASHINGTON POST, 12/27/2004] The jet will further be found to have a permit to land at US military bases around the world. [GUARDIAN, 9/13/2004] As of early 2008, he still has not been seen or heard of anywhere. Amnesty International has asked the Jordanian government for information on his whereabouts but has not received an answer. [WASHINGTON POST, 12/1/2007] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: 2000 USS Cole Bombing, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

October 23, 2001: White House Press Secretary Suggests Anthrax Attacks Could Be Linked to International Terrorists White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer makes a comment about the recent anthrax attacks (see October 5-November 21, 2001). He says: “There is a suspicion that this is connected to international terrorists. Having said that, investigators also do not rule out that it could be something domestic, that it could be a lone person operating doing this, or it could be terrorism. The suspicion is that it is terrorism, but there is no hard evidence yet at this point to lead anybody who is investigating these matters to reach a conclusion on any of these sources.” [VOICE OF AMERICA, 10/23/2001] The same day, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D) echoes Fleisher’s comment and links the attacks to overseas terrorists. He says, “I don’t think there’s a way to prove that, but I think we all suspect that.” [US DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 10/23/2001] In 2004, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen will say that, at the time it was widely believed that the anthrax attacks were somehow connected to the 9/11 attacks several weeks before. He will cite Fleischer and Gephardt’s comments as one reason why so many made the connection. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/22/2004] Entity Tags: Richard Gephardt, Ari Fleischer, Richard Cohen Timeline Tags: 2001 Anthrax Attacks Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

October 24, 2001: Chinese News Website Claims Bin Laden, Mullah Omar Assassinated The Chinese internet news site Zhongxin Wang publishes a detailed account of the purported assassination of Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar, according to James S. Robbins, a professor of international relations at the National Defense University’s School for National Defense Studies. According to the account, both men were killed by associates at an underground base near Kandahar on October 16. The associates shot them twice in the back, and one of bin Laden’s sons and two of Omar’s were also killed. The report will be picked up by a Japanese daily and the National Review Online, which will cite some circumstantial evidence it says supports the claim. [NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE, 10/25/2001] However, both bin Laden and Mullah Omar will later be reported to have lived past this date (see, for example, November 7, 2001 and October 6, 2002). Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, Mullah Omar, Taliban, James S. Robbins Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden

October 25, 2001: Afghan Resistance Leader Killed

Abdul Haq. [Source: Abdul Haq Foundation] Abdul Haq, a leader of the Afghan resistance to the Taliban, is killed. According to some reports, he “seemed the ideal candidate to lead an opposition alliance into Afghanistan to oust the ruling Taliban.” [OBSERVER, 10/28/2001] Four days earlier, he had secretly entered Afghanistan with a small force to try to raise rebellion, but was spotted by Taliban forces and surrounded. He calls former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane (who had supported him in the past) who then calls the CIA and asks for immediate assistance to rescue Haq. A battle lasting up to twelve hours ensues. (The CIA had previously rejected Haq’s requests for weapons to fight the Taliban, and so his force is grossly underarmed.) [SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 10/29/2001] The CIA refuses to send in a helicopter to rescue him, alleging that the terrain is too rough, even though Haq’s group is next to a hilltop once used as a helicopter landing point. [OBSERVER, 10/28/2001; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 10/28/2001] An unmanned surveillance aircraft eventually attacks some of the Taliban forces fighting Haq, but not until five hours after Haq has been captured. The Taliban executes him. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/2/2001] Vincent Cannistraro, former head of the CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center, and others suggest that Haq’s position was betrayed to the Taliban by the ISI. Haq was already an enemy of the ISI, which may have killed his family. [VILLAGE VOICE, 10/26/2001; USA TODAY, 10/31/2001; KNIGHT RIDDER, 11/3/2001; TORONTO STAR, 11/5/2001] Entity Tags: Robert C. McFarlane, Central Intelligence Agency, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Taliban, Vincent Cannistraro, Abdul Haq Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Afghanistan

October 26, 2001: Washington Investment Firm Ends Relationship with Bin Laden Family

Carlyle Group logo. [Source: Carlyle Group] The Carlyle Group, based in Washington, DC, is one of the world’s largest private-equity investment firms. One of its brochures described it as investing “in niche opportunities created in industries heavily affected by changes in governmental policies.” [FORTUNE, 3/18/2002] It is also the 11th-largest defense contractor in the US. [RED HERRING, 12/11/2001] Since being established in 1987, it has signed up many former politicians and used their contacts and influence to promote itself. [GUARDIAN, 10/31/2001] Those on its payroll include former Secretary of State James Baker, former White House budget director Dick Darman, former British Prime Minister John Major, and former US President George H. W. Bush. Its chairman is former CIA Director Frank Carlucci. [FORTUNE, 3/18/2002] Following 9/11, news reports revealed that Carlyle had a business relationship with Osama bin Laden’s family. According to a Carlyle executive, in 1995 the bin Ladens invested $2 million in the Carlyle Partners II fund, which includes various defense holdings. This was a fairly small amount considering the entire fund is worth $1.3 billion. However, a foreign financier with ties to the bin Ladens claimed their overall investment with Carlyle was much larger. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/27/2001; LONDON TIMES, 5/8/2003] Shafig bin Laden, one of Osama’s brothers, had actually been in Washington, DC, on the morning of 9/11, attending the Carlyle Group’s annual investor conference there (see (9:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Former President George H. W. Bush, who is senior adviser to Carlyle Group’s Asian Partners fund, has twice met with the bin Laden family on behalf of the company (see November 1998; January 2000). On this day though, the Carlyle Group ends its relationship with the bin Ladens, and gives them back their investment. [RED HERRING, 12/11/2001; FORTUNE, 3/18/2002] But the family is very well-connected, and their investment in Carlyle is hardly unusual for them. The New Yorker will note, “Much of the family’s private banking is handled by Citigroup, which is chaired by former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. The family has equity investments with Merrill Lynch and Goldman, Sachs. Among the family’s business partners is General Electric. A spokesman for Jack Welch, the chairman of G.E., says that the family threw a party for him in the nineteen-nineties in Saudi Arabia, and that Welch ‘considers them good business partners.’ One American diplomat says, ‘You talk about your global investors, it’s them. They own part of Microsoft, Boeing, and who knows what else.’” [NEW YORKER, 11/5/2001] Entity Tags: Carlyle Group, Bin Laden Family Category Tags: Saudi Arabia, Bin Laden Family

October 26, 2001: Czech Interior Minister Says It Is Certain that Atta Met with Iraqi Diplomat in Prague Czech interior minister Stanislav Gross says during a press conference that 9/11 plotter Mohamed Atta had in fact met with Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, the consul and second secretary of the Iraqi embassy, in the Czech Republic after arriving in Prague on April 8, 2001 (see April 8, 2001). “We can confirm now that during his… trip to the Czech Republic, he did have a contact with an officer of the Iraqi intelligence,” he says. He also says that Atta had been in Prague at least twice—in May 2000 after coming to Prague from Germany on his way to the United States and then again in April when he allegedly met with Ahni. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/27/2001; CNN, 10/27/2001] Also, by this time, the FBI claims it has physical evidence of Atta’s trip to Prague. The New York Times reports, “On April 4 he was in Virginia Beach. He flew to the Czech Republic on April 8 and met with the Iraqi intelligence officer… By April 11, Atta was back in Florida renting a car.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/27/2001 SOURCES: UNNAMED US OFFICIALS, JAN KAVAN] But this will later be disputed. In late April 2002, Newsweek will report, “The FBI could find no visa or airline records showing he had left or re-entered the United States that month,” quoting an unnamed US official who says, “Neither we nor the Czechs nor anybody else has any information he was coming or going [to Prague] at that time.” [NEWSWEEK, 4/28/2002 SOURCES: UNNAMED US OFFICIAL, JAN KAVAN] And in late 2003, Edward Jay Epstein will similarly report in Slate that there “were no car rental records in Virginia, Florida, or anywhere else in April 2001 for Mohamed Atta, since he had not yet obtained his Florida license… [n]or were there other records in the hands of the FBI that put Atta in the United States at the time.” But Epstein will note that Atta would likely have traveled to Prague using false documents anyway. [NEW YORK TIMES, 11/19/2003] Entity Tags: Stanislav Gross, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

October 26, 2001: USA Patriot Act Becomes Law

President Bush signs the Patriot Act into law. [Source: White House] President Bush signs the USA Patriot Act (see October 2, 2001) into law. The act’s provisions include:

1) Non-citizens can be detained and deported if they provide “assistance” for lawful activities of any group the government chooses to call a terrorist organization. Under this provision the secretary of state can designate any group that has ever engaged in violent activity as a terrorist organization. Representative Patsy Mink (D-HI) notes that in theory supporters of Greenpeace could now be convicted for supporting terrorism. [SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 11/12/2001] 
2) Immigrants can be detained indefinitely, even if they are found not to have any links to terrorism. They can be detained indefinitely for immigration violations or if the attorney general decides their activities pose a danger to national security. They need never be given a trial or even a hearing on their status. [SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 9/8/2002] 
3) Internet service providers can be ordered to reveal the websites and e-mail addresses that a suspect has communicated to or visited. The FBI need only inform a judge that the information is relevant to an investigation. [VILLAGE VOICE, 11/26/2001; SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 9/8/2002] 
4) The act “lays the foundation for a domestic intelligence-gathering system of unprecedented scale and technological prowess.” [WASHINGTON POST, 11/4/2001] It allows the government to access confidential credit reports, school records, and other records, without consent or notification. [SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 9/8/2002] All of this information can now be given to the CIA, in violation of the CIA’s mandate prohibiting it from spying within the US. [VILLAGE VOICE, 11/26/2001] 
5) Financial institutions are encouraged to disclose possible violations of law or “suspicious activities” by any client. The institution is prohibited from notifying the person involved that it made such a report. The term “suspicious” is not defined, so it is up to the financial institutions to determine when to send such a report. 
6) Federal agents can easily obtain warrants to review a library patron’s reading and computer habits (see January 2002). [VILLAGE VOICE, 2/22/2002] Section 215 allows the FBI to ask the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) for an order to obtain documents relating to counterterrorism investigations without meeting the usual standard of legal “probable cause” that a crime may have been committed. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI—see October 9, 2001) says that Section 215 can allow the FBI to “go on a fishing expedition and collect information on virtually anyone.” Librarians will make Section 215 the centerpiece of their objections to the Patriot Act, arguing that the government can now “sweep up vast amounts of information about people who are not suspected of a crime.” In 2005, one librarian will say, “It reminds me of the Red Scare of the 1950s.” However, some FBI officials find it easier to use provisions of Section 505, which expands the usage of so-called “national security letters” (see November 28, 2001). [ROBERTS, 2008, PP. 39-40] 
7) The government can refuse to reveal how evidence is collected against a suspected terrorist defendant. [TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/6/2003] 

Passes with No Public Debate - The law passes without public debate. [VILLAGE VOICE, 11/9/2001; VILLAGE VOICE, 11/26/2001] Even though it ultimately took six weeks to pass the law, there were no hearings or congressional debates. [SALON, 3/24/2003] Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) says: “This was the least democratic process for debating questions fundamental to democracy I have ever seen. A bill drafted by a handful of people in secret, subject to no committee process, comes before us immune from amendment” (see October 2-4, 2001 and October 24, 2001). [VILLAGE VOICE, 11/9/2001] Only 66 congresspeople, and one senator, Feingold, vote against it. Few in Congress are able to read summaries, let alone the fine print, before voting on it. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 10/30/2001] Feingold says, “The new law goes into a lot of areas that have nothing to do with terrorism and have a lot to do with the government and the FBI having a wish list of things they want to do.” [VILLAGE VOICE, 11/9/2001] Supporters of the act point out that some of its provisions will expire in four years, but in fact most provisions will not expire. [CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/1/2001] Mounting Opposition - One year later, criticism of the law will grow. [SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 9/8/2002] Dozens of cities will later pass resolutions criticizing the Patriot Act (see January 12, 2003). Entity Tags: George W. Bush, USA Patriot Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, US Congress, Patsy Mink, Russell D. Feingold, Barney Frank Timeline Tags: Civil Liberties Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics, Internal US Security After 9/11

27Edit

October 27, 2001: US Government No Longer Considers Al-Qaeda Likely Suspect in Anthrax Attacks Edit

The US government no longer thinks al-Qaeda is behind the anthrax attacks (see October 5-November 21, 2001). The Washington Post reports in a front-page story: “Top FBI and CIA officials believe that the anthrax attacks… are likely the work of one or more extremists in the United States who are probably not connected to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist organization, government officials said yesterday.” An unnamed senior official adds, “Everything seems to lean toward a domestic source… Nothing seems to fit with an overseas terrorist type operation.” The Post suggests neo-Nazi and/or right-wing hate groups could be behind it. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/27/2001] Not long after, the FBI releases a profile of the perpetrator of the anthrax attacks. He is suspected of being a lone, male domestic terrorist, with a scientific background and laboratory experience who could handle hazardous materials. [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/10/2001] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Osama bin Laden, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: 2001 Anthrax Attacks Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

October 27, 2001: Pakistan Rewarded With Large Aid Package It is reported that the US has put together a multi-billion dollar aid package for Pakistan that includes “sweeping debt rescheduling, grants stretching over many years and trade benefits as a reward for its support against terrorism.” Critics such as Representative Jim McDermott (D) complain the aid is a “blank check” that could go towards supporting the Pakistani military and Islamic militants fighting in India. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/27/2001] Entity Tags: Jim McDermott, United States, Pakistan Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI

October 27, 2001: Officials Furious over NSA Lack of Cooperation Furious government intelligence officials accuse the NSA of destroying data pertinent to the 9/11 investigation. They claim that possible leads are not being followed because of the NSA’s lack of cooperation. [BOSTON GLOBE, 10/27/2001] Entity Tags: National Security Agency Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: FBI 9/11 Investigation, Remote Surveillance

October 27-November 2001: Zammar Arrested in Morocco Suspected al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Haydar Zammar travels from Germany to Morocco. Not long after, perhaps in November, he is arrested by Moroccan police with US assistance. Although he is a German citizen and under investigation by Germany, German intelligence remain unaware of his arrest, and only learn about it from the newspapers in June 2002. He is sent to Syria, where there are formal charges against him (see December 2001). Zammar reportedly now claims he recruited Mohamed Atta and others into the al-Qaeda Hamburg cell. [WASHINGTON POST, 6/19/2002] It is widely suspected that the US arranged for Zammar to be sent to Syria so that he could be more thoroughly interrogated using torture. The Germans are angry that the US has been submitting questions for Zammar and learning answers from Syria, but have not informed Germany of what they have learned [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 6/20/2002; CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 7/26/2002] Entity Tags: Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Germany, Mohamed Atta, Syria Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Germany, Key Captures and Deaths

October 29, 2001: Neoconservative Scholar: ‘This Is Total War’ Michael Ledeen, speaking at an event sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), states: “No stages. This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq… this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war… our children will sing great songs about us years from now.” [INSTITUTE, 10/29/2001; VILLAGE VOICE, 11/21/2001] Interestingly, several sources credit fellow AEI neoconservative Richard Perle, and not Ledeen, with the quote, including John Pilger’s book The New Rulers of the World [PILGER, 2002, PP. 10] and former State Department and USAID official William Fisher. [INFORMED COMMENT, 2/1/2005] Perle is the moderator of the AEI event where Ledeen speaks. [INSTITUTE, 10/29/2001; VILLAGE VOICE, 11/21/2001] Entity Tags: Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, American Enterprise Institute Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion, Neoconservative Influence Category Tags: US Dominance, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

October 29, 2001: Rumsfeld Establishes Office of Force Transformation

Arthur Cebrowski. [Source: Publicity photo] Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announces the establishment of a new unit within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, called the Office of Force Transformation (OFT). Rumsfeld had called for the establishment of this office “as part of President Bush’s broad mandate to transform the Department of Defense. This transformation process challenges the organizational status quo with a new architecture for American defense in order to ensure an overwhelming and continuing competitive advantage for America’s military for decades to come.” He appoints retired Navy Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski—the former president of the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island—as its director. [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 11/26/2001; NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, 3/10/2002] Also recruited for this new department, as assistant for strategic futures, is Thomas Barnett, a senior strategic researcher at the Naval War College. As the “vision guy,” Barnett’s job is “to generate and deliver a compelling brief that would mobilize the Defense Department toward generating the future fighting force demanded by the post-9/11 strategic environment.” Barnett claims that, over time, senior military officials will come to cite his brief as “a Rosetta stone for the Bush administration’s new national security strategy.” [BARNETT, 2004, PP. 5-6] Prior to 9/11, Barnett was the director of a research partnership between the Naval War College and the Wall Street bond firm Cantor Fitzgerald, called the New Rule Sets Project (see May 1, 2000-June 4, 2001). Considering that the OFT is a personal initiative of the defense secretary, it is interesting that Rumsfeld was in the late 1990s one of the founders of the neoconservative think tank, Project for the New American Century (PNAC) (see June 3, 1997). [BBC, 8/25/2005; WASHINGTON POST, 6/12/2006; FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK, 9/4/2006] In September 2000, PNAC published a strategy document called “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” (see September 2000). Among other things, this laid out the need to establish “four core missions” for US military forces, one of these being to “transform US forces to exploit the ‘revolution in military affairs.’” The OFT appears to be fulfilling this mission. However, the PNAC document had continued, “the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.” [PROJECT FOR THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY, 9/2000, PP. IV AND 51 ] Entity Tags: Donald Rumsfeld, Thomas Barnett, Office of Force Transformation, Art Cebrowski Category Tags: Other Post-9/11 Events

October 29, 2001: Attorney General Ashcroft Issues General Terror Alert Attorney General John Ashcroft issues a second terror alert for the month (see October 11-29, 2001). The intelligence received by the FBI does not, he says, “contain specific information as to the type of attack or specific targets.” [RICH, 2006, PP. 36] Entity Tags: John Ashcroft, Federal Bureau of Investigation Category Tags: Terror Alerts

Late October 2001: Intense Political Pressure to Release Suspected Israeli Spies Arrested on 9/11

From left to right: Oded Ellner, Omer Marmari, and Yaron Shmuel. Three of the five accused Israelis briefly appear on Israeli television in November 2001 after being released and deported. [Source: Public domain via Israeli television] (click image to enlarge) Around this time intense political pressure is put on US officials holding five Israeli men arrested for suspicious behavior at the time of the 9/11 attacks (see 3:56 p.m. September 11, 2001). According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and two unidentified “prominent New York congressmen” lobby heavily for their release. According to a source at ABC News, well-known criminal lawyer Alan Dershowitz also becomes involved as a negotiator to help get the men released. (Dershowitz will later refuse to comment on the matter.) [COUNTERPUNCH, 2/7/2007] ABC News will later report that was “high-level negotiations between Israeli and US government officials” over the five men, resulting in a settlement. [ABC NEWS, 6/21/2002] Apparently the political pressure will succeed because the men will be released a few weeks later (see November 20, 2001]). Entity Tags: Sivan Kurzberg, Yaron Shmuel, Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Alan M. Dershowitz, Omer Marmari, Richard Armitage Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Israel, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

(Late October 2001): FBI Hires Translator with Ties to Group under Federal Investigation Melek Can Dickerson begins working for the FBI as a Turkish translator with top security clearance. She joins Sibel Edmonds and Kevin Taskasen (see September 20, 2001 and Early October 2001, respectively) as the FBI’s only Turkish translators. The FBI hired Dickerson without verifying that the information she provided on her application was correct. Had the bureau done this they would have learned that she spent two years working as an intern for the American-Turkish Council (ATC), a group that is being investigated by the FBI’s own counterintelligence unit and whose phone calls she will be listening in on as an FBI translator. [ANTI-WAR (.COM), 7/1/2004] On her application, Dickerson failed to disclose that she had worked for the organization. She also hid her tie to the group when she was interviewed as part of her background security check. [VANITY FAIR, 9/2005] According to Sibel Edmonds, it’s not clear that Dickerson’s background check was ever completed. [ANTI-WAR (.COM), 7/1/2004] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Melek Can Dickerson Category Tags: Sibel Edmonds

Late October-Early November 2001: Al-Qaeda Fighters and Bin Laden Said to Move into Jalalabad without Hindrance In late October, US intelligence reports begin noting that al-Qaeda fighters and leaders are moving into and around the Afghan city of Jalalabad. By early November, Osama bin Laden is said to be there. [KNIGHT RIDDER, 10/20/2002] Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke will later recall: “We knew from day one the likely places that bin Laden would flee to. There had been lots of work done before 9/11 on where did he hang out, statistical analysis even. We knew Tora Bora was the place where he would be likely to go. People in CIA knew that; people in the counterterrorism community knew about it. We knew that what you should have done was to insert special forces—Rangers, that sort of thing—up into that area as soon as possible.” [PBS FRONTLINE, 6/20/2006] Knight Ridder Newspapers will later report: “American intelligence analysts concluded that bin Laden and his retreating fighters were preparing to flee across the border. However, the US Central Command, which was running the war, made no move to block their escape. ‘It was obvious from at least early November that this area was to be the base for an exodus into Pakistan,’ said one intelligence official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity. ‘All of this was known, and frankly we were amazed that nothing was done to prepare for it.’” [KNIGHT RIDDER, 10/20/2002] The vast majority of al-Qaeda’s leaders and fighters will eventually escape into Pakistan. In 2006, Newsweek reporter and columnist Michael Hirsh will write that Bush’s decision to ignore accurate intelligence about bin Laden’s presence in Tora Bora in favor of realigning the US’s war effort to focus on the “gathering threat” of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was a strategic blunder that ranks alongside Adolf Hitler’s decision to invade the USSR in 1941. [RICH, 2006, PP. 208] Entity Tags: Michael Hirsh, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Central Intelligence Agency, George W. Bush Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden, Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan

Late October-Early December 2001: Gen. Franks Ignores CIA Request to Deploy Unused US Troops to Get Bin Laden

Gary Bernsten. [Source: CNN] Veteran CIA agent Gary Berntsen leads a CIA undercover team, codenamed Jawbreaker, to capture or kill bin Laden in Afghanistan (see September 26, 2001). In a 2005 book, also called Jawbreaker, Berntsen will describe how his team monitored multiple intelligence reports tracking bin Laden on a path through Jalalabad to Tora Bora (see November 13, 2001). He will claim that at the start of December 2001, one of his Arabic-speaking CIA agents finds a radio on a dead al-Qaeda fighter during a battle in the Tora Bora region. This agent hears bin Laden repeatedly attempt to rally his troops. On the same radio, that agent and another CIA agent who speaks Arabic hear bin Laden apologizing to his troops for getting them trapped and killed by US aerial bombing. Based on this information, Berntsen makes a formal request for 800 US troops to be deployed along the Pakistani border to prevent bin Laden’s escape. The request is not granted. Berntsen’s lawyer later claims, “Gary coordinated most of the boots on the ground. We knew where bin Laden was within a very circumscribed area. It was full of caves and tunnels but we could have bombed them or searched them one by one. The Pentagon failed to deploy sufficient troops to seal them off.” Although the area is heavily bombed, bin Laden is able to escape (see Mid-December 2001). [BERNTSEN AND PEZZULLO, 2005, PP. 43-64; LONDON TIMES, 8/14/2005; MSNBC, 12/29/2005; FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/3/2006] A Knight Ridder investigative report will later conclude, “While more than 1,200 US Marines [sit] at an abandoned air base in the desert 80 miles away, Franks and other commanders [rely] on three Afghan warlords and a small number of American, British, and Australian special forces to stop al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters from escaping across the mountains into Pakistan.” Military and intelligence officials warn Franks that the two main Afghan commanders cannot be trusted. This turns out to be correct, as the warlords accept bribes from al-Qaeda leaders to let them escape. [KNIGHT RIDDER, 10/30/2004] In 2005, Berntsen will call himself a supporter of Bush and will say he approves of how CIA Director Porter Goss is running the CIA, but he will nonetheless sue the CIA for what he claims is excessive censorship of his book. [LONDON TIMES, 8/14/2005; MSNBC, 12/29/2005] Entity Tags: Taliban, Osama bin Laden, Gary Berntsen, Al-Qaeda, Central Intelligence Agency, Thomas Franks Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan

October 31, 2001: New Regulation Allows Eavesdropping on Attorney-Client Conversations The Justice Department issues a regulation that allows eavesdropping on attorney-client conversations in federal prisons wherever there is “reasonable suspicion… to believe that a particular inmate may use communications with attorneys to further or facilitate acts of terrorism.” The regulation requires written notice to the inmate and attorney, “except in the case of prior court authorization.” Officials no longer have to show probable cause or get a court order. The Los Angeles Times says the new policy is “sharply criticized by a broad array of lawyers and lawmakers.” [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 11/10/2001; SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 11/12/2001] Entity Tags: US Department of Justice Timeline Tags: Civil Liberties Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

Late Autumn 2001: Document Suggests Link between Al-Qaeda and Pakistani Nuclear Scientists In the late autumn of 2001, when US-allied forces are overrunning Taliban positions in Afghanistan, the Darunta camp run by al-Qaeda is seized and searched. Al-Qaeda leader Midhat Mursi (a.k.a. Abu Khabab al-Masri) ran al-Qaeda’s WMD program and conducted crude chemical weapons experiments there. The CIA recovers one document there by Mursi that refers to connections between al-Qaeda and Pakistani nuclear scientists. It reads, in part, “As you instructed us you will find attached a summary of the discharges from a traditional nuclear reactor, amongst which are radioactive elements that could be used for military ends. One can use them to contaminate an area or halt the advance of the enemy. It is possible to get more information from our Pakistani friends who have great experience in this sphere.” [BERGEN, 2006, PP. 345; LEVY AND SCOTT-CLARK, 2007, PP. 294] This could be a reference to links between al-Qaeda and the Pakistani nuclear scientists working with the Ummah Tameer-e-Nau charity front (see 2000 and Mid-August 2001). Entity Tags: Midhat Mursi, Central Intelligence Agency, Al-Qaeda, Darunta training camp Timeline Tags: A. Q. Khan's Nuclear Network Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Pakistani Nukes & Islamic Militancy

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