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July 2002Edit

=July 2002: Future Alleged Ricin Plotter Arrested in Britain, Police Fail to Notice Illegal Overstay Edit

Kamal Bourgass, a radical who will go on to be involved in an alleged ricin plot and kill a policeman (see January 5, 2003), is arrested for stealing two pairs of jeans in East London. He is taken to a police station, interviewed, charged, and fined £70 (about $110) by a magistrate. However, according to authors Sean O’Neill and Daniel McGrory, “His immigration status as an illegal overstayer [is] not discovered, because on the night he [is] detained there [are] no immigration officers on duty in London with whom his name could [be] cross-referenced.” The jeans were apparently stolen as a part of a terrorism fundraising racket run out of London’s Finsbury Park mosque; members of the racket steal clothes and then sell them on a market stall. British authorities are aware of various illegal financial activities at the mosque (see 1995-April 21, 2000), but what they know of Bourgass at this point is unclear. [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 243] Entity Tags: Kamal Bourgass Category Tags: Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

July 2002: Militants Tied to Al-Qaeda and ISI Indicted by US, but Little Effort Is Made to Find Them The US secretly indicts Rajaa Gulum Abbas and Abdul Malik for attempting to buy $32 million in Stinger missiles and other military weaponry in an undercover arms-dealing investigation. However, a US official states that Abbas is an alleged member of the ISI, and is thought to have ties to Middle Eastern militant groups and arms-trafficking operations. He also appears to have foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Abdul Malik is said to be Abbas’s money man. Abdul Malik is not related to Mohammed Malik, another Pakistani targeted by the undercover operation. The chief US informant in the case, Randy Glass, says that both men also have clear ties to al-Qaeda, and the arms were going to be funneled to al-Qaeda and used against American targets. [PALM BEACH POST, 3/20/2003; SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, 3/20/2003] The indictment is not revealed until March 2003; both men still remain missing and are presumed to be in Pakistan. The US says it is still working on capturing and extraditing Abbas and Malik. [NBC, 3/18/2003] NBC seems to have no trouble reaching Abbas in Pakistan by telephone. [MSNBC, 8/2/2002; NBC, 3/18/2003] The indictment “makes no mention of Pakistan, any ties to Afghanistan’s former Taliban regime or the ultimate destination of the weapons.” [PALM BEACH POST, 3/20/2003] Entity Tags: Taliban, Randy Glass, US Department of Justice, Mohammed Malik, Al-Qaeda, Abdul Malik, Rajaa Gulum Abbas Timeline Tags: A. Q. Khan's Nuclear Network Category Tags: Randy Glass/ Diamondback, Pakistan and the ISI

July 2002: US Special Forces Not Given Permission to Target Mullah Omar A CIA case officer tells Adam Rice, a US Special Forces operations sergeant working out of a safe house near Kandahar, Afghanistan, that a figure believed to be top Taliban leader Mullah Omar has been tracked by a Predator drone to a location in Shah-i-Kot Valley, a short flight away. Omar and the group with him would be vulnerable to a helicopter assault. However, whenever Rice’s team wants to move more than five kilometers from their safe house, they are required to file a request in advance. If fighting is involved, the request has to pass through several layers of bureaucracy, and a three-star general has to give the final okay. The process can take days, and in this case it does. The target eventually moves on before permission is given. [NEWSWEEK, 8/28/2007] Entity Tags: Adam Rice, Mullah Omar Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

July 2002: Alleged ‘20th Hijacker’ Confesses in Guantanamo The FBI takes over interrogations of Saudi Guantanamo detainee Mohamed al-Khatani. He had been captured and taken into US custody months before (see December 2001) but his real identity was only recently discovered. In the months before, military intelligence, using harsh tactics, was unsuccessful in gaining information from him, but the FBI allegedly uses subtle persuasion with an experienced interrogator and succeeds. Khatani discloses:

He is an al-Qaeda member and received terrorist training at two al-Qaeda camps.
He attended an al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia attended by two 9/11 hijackers (see January 5-8, 2000). 
He attempted unsuccessfully to be one of the hijackers himself, failing to enter the US in August 2001 (see August 4, 2001). 
He had been sent to the US by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. 
He had met bin Laden on several occasions and had been in contact with many other senior al-Qaeda leaders. 
He is related to Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, an apparent al-Qaeda sleeper agent already arrested in the US (see September 10, 2001). 
He informs on about thirty other prisoners being held at Guantanamo. 

But he is also believed to have little knowledge of other al-Qaeda plots. [NEW YORK TIMES, 6/21/2004; TIME, 3/3/2006] He will later recant his confession (see October 26, 2006). Entity Tags: Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, Mohamed al-Khatani, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

Early July 2002: Moussaoui Expresses Willingness to Talk, Offer Is Rejected by Justice Department Zacarias Moussaoui indicates that he is willing to disclose information to the US authorities, but his overtures are rejected by the FBI and the Justice Department. After learning of Moussaoui’s offer, Minneapolis FBI counsel Coleen Rowley contacts assistants to FBI director Robert Mueller and to Justice Department manager Michael Chertoff. She says she is worried about Moussaoui’s research into cropdusting and wind patterns, and that the information he could provide may prove useful averting a second strike by al-Qaeda. Rowley will later comment: “But by that time Moussaoui had been charged with the death penalty and I deduced that [attorney general John] Ashcroft would not allow any potential for bargaining leverage to be injected into the case.” [HUFFINGTON POST, 5/2/2007] Entity Tags: Michael Chertoff, Coleen Rowley, FBI Minnesota field office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, John Ashcroft, Zacarias Moussaoui, Robert S. Mueller III, US Department of Justice Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui, FBI 9/11 Investigation

Mid-2002-June 1, 2006: Lack of US Cooperation Hinders Al-Qaeda Prosecutions in Spain Spanish investigators and prosecutors attempting to jail people they believe are important al-Qaeda operatives seek US assistance, but the US fails to provide them with full co-operation. Spanish authorities started to build a case against a Spain-based al-Qaeda cell headed by Barakat Yarkas in the 1990s and some of the suspects were under surveillance as they allegedly assisted the 9/11 plot (see August 1998-September 11, 2001). The US has some information about them, but does not release what the Spanish need because the US apparently does not want to fight terrorism through law enforcement, but through more direct methods. A Spanish official says, “From the US point of view, everything is an intelligence affair, not a judicial matter… That is what is undermining the whole process.” In 2004, the Spanish official complains: “We could clearly prove the Spanish role in 9/11 if we had real cooperation. There are literally two or three elements missing to close the case, but as it is now, all of the suspects will go free.” One key dispute centers on US unwillingness to share evidence linking Spain-based al-Qaeda operative Amer el-Azizi to the 9/11 plot and Spanish officials spend six months persuading the US before getting a copy of a “specific element that provides a concrete link” between el-Azizi and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (see (November 2001)). In addition, the US fails to provide information identifying Saudi Arabian investors in Spanish construction companies owned by a Syrian businessman, Mohammed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi, another suspected militant who is thought to have channeled money to extremists through his group of companies, as well as suspicious Islamic charities. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/4/2004] This lack of co-operation hinders the prosecutions of the operatives and means they receive only relatively light sentences. For example, Yarkas is initially found guilty of both terrorism in Spain and assisting the 9/11 plot, but his 9/11 conviction is overturned on appeal (see September 26, 2005). Entity Tags: Barakat Yarkas, Amer el-Azizi, Mohammed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action After 9/11, Al-Qaeda in Spain

July 2, 2002: Al-Qaeda Is Regrouping in Pakistani Kashmir with Support of ISI Edit

The Christian Science Monitor reports that some al-Qaeda forces have relocated to the Pakistani-controlled portion of Kashmir since being driven out of Afghanistan, and they are there with the tacit support of the Pakistani ISI. This is very problematic for the US, due to diplomatic sensitivities regarding the Kashmir region, which is split by a UN monitored Line of Control between Pakistan and India, and is claimed by both countries. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently commented that he had “seen indications that there are al-Qaeda operating near the [Kashmir] Line of Control.” Pakistani militant groups linked to al-Qaeda such as Harkat ul-Mujahedeen operate openly in Pakistani Kashmir, even though they have been officially banned by the US and Pakistan. For many years, the ISI has used such group to harass the Indian army on India’s portion of Kashmir, and they continue to do so. [CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 7/2/2002] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Harkat ul-Mujahedeen, Donald Rumsfeld Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Haven in Pakistan Tribal Region

July 3, 2002: Few Detained on Immigration Charges Still in Custody The Justice Department announces that only 74 of the 752 people detained on immigration charges after 9/11 are still in US custody. By December, only six of them will remain in custody (see December 11, 2002). Hundreds more were detained on other charges or as material witnesses, but no numbers pertaining to them have been released. 611 were subject to secret hearings. Senator Carl Levin (D), who had requested the figures, says, “It took the Justice Department more than three months to produce a partial response to my letter.” But the answers raise “a number of additional questions, including why closed hearings were necessary for so many people.” Though many were held for months, “the vast majority were never charged with anything other than overstaying a visa.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/11/2002] All the deportation hearings for these people have been held in secret as well. Some say the government is cloaking its activities out of embarrassment, because none of these people have turned out to have any ties to terrorism. [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/11/2002; DETROIT FREE PRESS, 7/18/2002] Entity Tags: US Department of Justice, Carl Levin Timeline Tags: Civil Liberties Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics, Internal US Security After 9/11

July 6, 2002: Afghan Vice President Assassinated Afghan Vice President Hajji Abdul Qadir is assassinated by Afghan warlords. Some believe that Qadir was assassinated by opium warlords upset by Qadir’s efforts to reduce the rampant opium farming and processing that has taken place since the US occupation. Qadir had been overseeing a Western-backed eradication program, and had recently complained that the money meant to be given to reward farmers for not planting opium was in fact not reaching the farmers. Additionally, Qadir “had long been suspected of enriching himself through involvement in the opium trade.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/8/2002; CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/8/2002] Entity Tags: Hajji Abdul Qadir Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Drugs

July 10, 2002: Defense Policy Board: ‘Saudis Are Active at Every Level of the Terror Chain’

Laurent Murawiec. [Source: Hudson Institute] A briefing given to a top Pentagon advisory group by RAND Corp. analyst Laurent Murawiec states: “The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader.… Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies.” Saudi Arabia is called “the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent.” This position still runs counter to official US policy, but the Washington Post says it “represents a point of view that has growing currency within the Bush administration.” The briefing suggests that the Saudis be given an ultimatum to stop backing terrorism or face seizure of their oil fields and financial assets invested in the United States. The advisory group, the Defense Policy Board, is headed by Richard Perle. [WASHINGTON POST, 8/6/2002] An international controversy follows the public reports of the briefing in August 2002 (for instance, [SCOTSMAN, 8/12/2002] ). In an abrupt change, the media starts calling the Saudis enemies, not allies, of the US. Slate reports details of the briefing the Post failed to mention. The briefing states, “There is an ‘Arabia,’ but it needs not be ‘Saudi.’” The conclusion of the briefing: “Grand strategy for the Middle East: Iraq is the tactical pivot. Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot. Egypt the prize.” [SLATE, 8/7/2002] Note that a similar meeting of the Defense Policy Board appears to have preceded and affected the United States’ decision to take a warlike stance against Iraq (see September 19-20, 2001). Murawiec is later identified as a former editor of the Executive Intelligence Review, a magazine controlled by Lyndon LaRouche, an infamous far-right conspiracy theorist and convicted felon. Perle invited Murawiec to make his presentation. [NEW YORKER, 3/17/2003] Entity Tags: Saudi Arabia, Richard Perle, Lyndon LaRouche, Laurent Murawiec, RAND Corporation, Defense Policy Board, Bush administration, Executive Intelligence Review Category Tags: Saudi Arabia

July 11, 2002: Al-Qaeda Leader Allegedly Arrested in Pakistan, Disappears into US Custody

Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan. [Source: FBI] Al-Qaeda leader Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan is allegedly arrested in Methadar, a slum region of Karachi, Pakistan. Swedan, a Kenyan, had been wanted for a key role in the 1998 embassy bombings (see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998). He is said to have bought the trucks used in the bombings and then left Kenya five days before the bombs went off. The US bounty on him rose to $25 million after 9/11. The slum area where he was arrested was said to have been used by al-Qaeda to ship gold and al-Qaeda operatives out of Pakistan after 9/11, and thousands of dollars, fake passports, and visa stamps are found in his house. Pakistani agents are said to have been led to Swedan by satellite telephone intercepts provided by the FBI. Neighbors claim to have seen Sweden taken away, but both the US and Pakistani governments deny that he has been arrested. [DAILY TIMES (LAHORE), 9/9/2002; ASIA TIMES, 9/11/2002] His name has yet to be taken off an FBI wanted list years after his alleged arrest. In 2007, Amnesty International and other human rights groups will claim that he has been secretly held by the US or renditioned to another country (see June 7, 2007). In 2008, counterterrorism expert Peter Bergen will conclude based on various reports that Swedan was renditioned by the US from Pakistan in 2002, but his current fate is unknown. [MOTHER JONES, 3/3/2008] Entity Tags: Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Remote Surveillance, Key Captures and Deaths, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

July 13, 2002: US Military Plans for Global Dominance The US military releases a new Defense Planning Guidance strategic vision. It “contains all the key elements” of a similar document written ten years earlier (see March 8, 1992) by largely the same people now in power. Like the original, the centerpiece of this vision is preventing any other powers from challenging US world dominance. Some new tactics are proposed, such as using nuclear weapons for a preemptive strike, but the basic plan remains the same. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 7/13/2002; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 7/16/2002; HARPER'S, 10/2002] David Armstrong notes in Harper’s magazine: “[In 1992] the goal was global dominance, and it met with bad reviews. Now it is the answer to terrorism. The emphasis is on preemption, and the reviews are generally enthusiastic. Through all of this, the dominance motif remains, though largely undetected.” [HARPER'S, 10/2002] Entity Tags: US Department of Defense Category Tags: US Dominance

July 15, 2002: US Media Ignore ISI Link in Reports on Saeed Sheikh’s Conviction Saeed Sheikh and three co-defendants are judged guilty for the murder of reporter Daniel Pearl. Saeed, the supposed mastermind of the murder, is sentenced to death by hanging, and the others are given 25-year terms. Saeed threatens the judge with retribution. As if to confirm that his death covers up unpleasant truths, in the stories of his sentencing every major US media story fails to report Saeed’s connections to 9/11 and even to the ISI. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 7/15/2002; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 7/15/2002; CBS NEWS, 7/15/2002; CNN, 7/15/2002; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 7/15/2002; MSNBC, 7/15/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 7/15/2002; REUTERS, 7/15/2002; WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/15/2002; WASHINGTON POST, 7/15/2002; DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/16/2002] In contrast, the British media connects Saeed to the ISI [GUARDIAN, 7/16/2002; GUARDIAN, 7/16/2002; DAILY MAIL, 7/16/2002] , al-Qaeda [INDEPENDENT, 7/16/2002] , the 9/11 attacks [SCOTSMAN, 7/16/2002] , or some combination of the three [LONDON TIMES, 7/16/2002; DAILY MAIL, 7/16/2002; DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/16/2002] (with one exception [BBC, 7/16/2002; BBC, 7/16/2002] ). The US and British governments both approve of the verdict. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/15/2002; BBC, 7/15/2002] In the US, only the Washington Post questions the justice of the verdict. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/15/2002; WASHINGTON POST, 7/16/2002] By contrast, all British newspapers question the verdict, and subsequently raise additional questions about it (see July 16-21, 2002). Saeed has appealed the decision, but a second trial has yet to begin. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/18/2002] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Saeed Sheikh, Daniel Pearl Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Saeed Sheikh, Media

July 16, 2002: Blair Claims Attack on Afghanistan Only Possible After 9/11 British Prime Minister Tony Blair states, “We knew about al-Qaeda for a long time. They were committing terrorist acts, they were planning, they were organizing. Everybody knew, we all knew, that Afghanistan was a failed state living on drugs and terror. We did not act.… To be truthful about it, there was no way we could have got the public consent to have suddenly launched a campaign on Afghanistan but for what happened on September 11.” [LONDON TIMES, 7/17/2002] In a book released one month later, Clinton’s former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger will similarly state, “You show me one reporter, one commentator, one member of Congress who thought we should invade Afghanistan before September 11 and I’ll buy you dinner in the best restaurant in New York City.” [MILLER, STONE, AND MITCHELL, 2002, PP. 219] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Sandy Berger, Tony Blair Category Tags: Hunt for Bin Laden, Pipeline Politics

July 16-21, 2002: More Controversy Surrounds Trial of Saeed Sheikh More questions emerge in British newspapers about the conviction of Saeed Sheikh for reporter Daniel Pearl’s murder in the days immediately after the verdict. Pakistani police have secretly arrested two men who many believe are the real masterminds of Pearl’s murder, and official confirmation of these crucial arrests could have ended Saeed’s trial. [GUARDIAN, 7/18/2002] On May 16, Pearl’s body was found and identified, but the FBI does not officially release the DNA results because official confirmation of the body would also have meant a new trial. [INDEPENDENT, 7/16/2002] Pakistani officials admit they waited to release the results until after the verdict. [GUARDIAN, 7/18/2002] After the trial ends, Pakistani officials admit that the key testimony of a taxi driver is doubtful. The “taxi driver” turns out to be a head constable policeman. [GUARDIAN, 7/18/2002] One of the co-defendants turns out to be working for the Special Branch. [INDEPENDENT, 7/21/2002] According to Pakistani law, the trial needed to be completed in a week, but in fact it took three months. The trial judge and the venue were changed three times. [BBC, 7/16/2002] The trial was held in a bunker underneath a prison, and no reporters were allowed to attend. When all the appeals are done, it is doubtful that Saeed will be extradited to the US, “because Mr. Sheikh might tell the Americans about the links between al-Qaeda and Pakistan’s own intelligence organization.” [INDEPENDENT, 7/16/2002] Meanwhile, at least seven more suspects remain at large. All have ties to the ISI, and as one investigator remarks, “It seems inconceivable that there isn’t someone in the ISI who knows where they’re hiding.” [TIME, 5/6/2002] Entity Tags: Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Daniel Pearl, Al-Qaeda, Saeed Sheikh, Federal Bureau of Investigation Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Saeed Sheikh

July 18, 2002: FBI Official Says Bin Laden ‘Probably’ Dead FBI Executive Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Dale Watson says he thinks Osama bin Laden is “probably” dead. According to the BBC, this is “thought to be the first time a senior US law enforcement official has publicly offered an opinion on whether bin Laden… is dead or alive.” “Is [bin Laden] alive or is he dead?” Watson says at a law enforcement conference in Washington, DC. “I am not really sure of the answer.… I personally think he is probably not with us anymore but I have no evidence to support that.” The BBC will add that “Watson’s comments suggest that the FBI, at least, has no firsthand information that confirms bin Laden is still alive.” However, other US officials tell the Associated Press they are surprised by Watson’s remarks, as the US administration’s official position remains that it does not know where bin Laden is, or whether he is still alive. [BBC, 7/18/2002] Entity Tags: Dale Watson, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden

July 19, 2002: US Finally Ends Controversial Visa Program in Saudi Arabia Faced with growing criticism of its Visa Express program, the State Department decides to change the program’s name in early July 2002. When that fails to satisfy critics, the program is abandoned altogether on July 19. The Visa Express program allowed anyone in Saudi Arabia to apply for US visas through their travel agents instead of having to show up at a consulate in person. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/11/2002] Mary Ryan, the head of the State Department’s consular service that was responsible for letting most of the hijackers into the US, is also forced to retire. It has been pointed out that Ryan deceived Congress by testifying that “there was nothing State could have done to prevent the terrorists from obtaining visas.” However, after all this, Ryan and the other authors of the Visa Express program are given “outstanding performance” awards of $15,000 each. The reporter who wrote most of the stories critical of Visa Express is briefly detained and pressured by the State Department. [WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/23/2002; PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 12/30/2002] Entity Tags: US Department of State, Mary Ryan, US Congress Category Tags: Saudi Arabia

July 19, 2002: Why Is US Not Interrogating Saeed Sheikh, Indian Newspaper Wonders An editorial in an Indian newspaper wonders why the US is still not interrogating Saeed Sheikh, recently convicted of murdering Daniel Pearl. Saeed was briefly interrogated by the FBI in February, but they were unable to ask about his links to al-Qaeda, and no known US contact has taken place since. [INDEPENDENT, 7/16/2002; INDIAN EXPRESS, 7/19/2002] The editorial suggests that if the US pressures its close ally Pakistan to allow Saeed to be interrogated in his Pakistani prison, they could learn more about his financing of the 9/11 attacks and the criminal underworld that Saeed was connected to. Also, US attempts to find al-Qaeda cells in Pakistan could be strongly boosted with new information. [INDIAN EXPRESS, 7/19/2002] Entity Tags: Pakistan, Daniel Pearl, Al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Saeed Sheikh Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Saeed Sheikh

(Late July-Early August, 2002): Moussaoui E-mails May Have Vanished Although US authorities are aware that Zacarias Moussaoui has one e-mail account and recover e-mails from it, he now says that he has another two, but the FBI is unable to find any trace of them (see August 17-November 11, 2001 and After). E-mails sent from the first address, pilotz123@hotmail.com, have been recovered and will be produced at his trial. However, the other two addresses, xdesertman@hotmail.com and olimahammed@hotmail.com, were not uncovered by the FBI’s post-9/11 investigation and US authorities only learn of them from a statement made at this time by Moussaoui, who says the e-mails could provide him with an alibi and that he accessed the accounts from various computers, including his laptop, one at a Kinko’s outlet, and one at the University of Oklahoma. However, Microsoft, which operates Hotmail, says it is unable to locate any records of the accounts and that they do not exist. As the accounts have been inactive for over a year and all data for a hotmail account is deleted after 90 days of inactivity, no e-mails can be retrieved. Had the FBI asked Microsoft about the addresses within the 90-day period, they may have found information about the e-mails, but they did not do so because they did not know about them—the FBI decided not to interview Moussaoui after 9/11 (see September 11-12, 2001 and Early July 2002). The hard drives at the Kinko’s outlet had been wiped by the time the FBI arrived in September 2001 and no record of Moussaoui’s computer use there is found. Moussaoui had a receipt for the Kinko’s outlet with him when he was arrested, so the FBI might have been able to examine the Kinko’s computers before the hard drives were wiped if they had acted more promptly (see August 17-November 11, 2001 and After). [WIRED NEWS, 8/30/2002; INTERNETNEWS (.COM), 8/30/2002; CNN, 9/4/2002; CNN, 12/31/2002; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006] Entity Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui, Federal Bureau of Investigation Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui, FBI 9/11 Investigation

July 22, 2002: Rumsfeld Authorizes Killing Terrorists Defense Secretary Rumsfeld issues a secret directive to Special Operations forces allowing them to “capture terrorists for interrogation or, if necessary, to kill them” anywhere in the world. [NEW YORKER, 12/16/2002] Bush already issued a presidential finding authorizing the killing of terrorist leaders, but this increases such efforts. [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/15/2002] However, Bush has not rescinded a presidential executive order dating from the 1970s that bans all assassinations, claiming that terrorists are military combatants. “Many past and present military and intelligence officials have expressed alarm” at the legality, wisdom, ethics, and effectiveness of the assassination program. Apparently much of the leadership of Special Operations is against it, worrying about the blowback effect. In February 2002, a Predator missile targeting someone intelligecet agents thought was bin Laden hit its target, but killed three innocent Afghan farmers instead. [NEW YORKER, 12/16/2002] The first successful assassination takes place in November (see November 3, 2002). Entity Tags: Donald Rumsfeld, Special Operations Command Timeline Tags: Civil Liberties Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

July 22, 2002: New Rumsfeld Policy Prefers Interrogation or Killing of Terrorists Over Legally Arresting Them

Wreckage left behind where a missile struck Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi’s truck in Yemen. [Source: Associated Press] Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld issue a secret directive ordering commander of Special Operations Air Force General Charles Holland “to develop a plan to find and deal with members of terrorist organizations.” The directive says, “The objective is to capture terrorists for interrogation or, if necessary, to kill them, not simply to arrest them in a law-enforcement exercise.” The manhunt would be global in its reach. Holland is to cut through the Pentagon bureaucracy and process deployment orders “in minutes and hours, not days and weeks.” In internal Defense Department memos, Rumsfeld and the civilian officials close to him lay out the case for a new approach to the war on terrorism, one that would partly rely on the killing of individuals outside war zones. [NEW YORKER, 12/16/2002] The first public manifestation of this new policy will be the November 2002 assassination of al-Qaeda leader Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi in Yemen with a Predator missile strike (see November 3, 2002). Entity Tags: Donald Rumsfeld, Charles Holland Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives, Civil Liberties Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

July 22, 2002-February 20, 2003: Saudi Princes and Pakistani General Later Implicated in 9/11 Plot Die Mysteriously

Mushaf Ali Mir. [Source: Publicity photo] Three prominent members of the Saudi royal family die in mysterious circumstances. Prince Ahmed bin Salman, a nephew of the Saudi king, prominent businessman, and owner of the winning 2002 Kentucky Derby horse, is said to die of a heart attack at the age of 43. The next day, Prince Sultan bin Faisal, another nephew of the king, dies driving to Prince Ahmed’s funeral. A week later, Prince Fahd bin Turki supposedly “dies of thirst” in the Arabian desert. Seven months later, on February 20, 2003, Pakistan’s air force chief, Mushaf Ali Mir, dies in a plane crash in clear weather, along with his wife and closest confidants. Controversial author Gerald Posner implies that all of these events are linked together and the deaths are not accidental, but have occurred because of the testimony of captured al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida in March 2002 (see Early April 2002). The deaths all occurred not long after the respective governments were told of Zubaida’s confessions. Only one other key figure named by Zubaida remains alive: Saudi Intelligence Minister Prince Turki al-Faisal. Posner says, “He’s the J. Edgar Hoover of Saudi Arabia,” too powerful and aware of too many secrets to be killed off. Prince Turki lost his intelligence minister job ten days before 9/11, and is later made Saudi ambassador to Britain, giving him diplomatic immunity from any criminal prosecution. [POSNER, 2003, PP. 190-94; TIME, 8/31/2003] Entity Tags: Ahmed bin Salman, Sultan bin Faisal, Turki al-Faisal, Mushaf Ali Mir, Fahd bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabir, Abu Zubaida Category Tags: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the ISI, Abu Zubaida

July 23, 2002: British Intelligence Chief Says Bush Has Decided on War; ‘Facts… Being Fixed around the Policy’ Top British officials attend a meeting to discuss Britain’s potential role in the Bush administration’s confrontation with Iraq. According to the minutes of the meeting, transcribed by Matthew Rycroft, Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the British intelligence service, MI6, says that during his last visit (see July 20, 2002) to Washington he noticed a “perceptible shift in attitude. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and [weapons of mass destruction]. But the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy.” Furthermore, he states, Bush’s National Security Council indicated it “had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record.” He also noted that there “was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.” [UNITED KINGDOM, 7/23/2002; SALON, 5/6/2005; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 5/12/2005] Foreign Minister Jack Straw appears to agree with Dearlove’s assessment, saying that it seems clear that President Bush has already decided on using military force to depose Saddam Hussein. But Straw notes that the Bush administration’s case against Saddam was “thin.” The Iraqi leader “was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran,” the minutes say, summarizing his remarks. [GUARDIAN, 5/2/2005; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 5/12/2005] There is no indication in the minutes that anyone present at the meeting disputed Dearlove’s or Straw’s observations. [UNITED KINGDOM, 7/23/2002] Furthermore, the account provided by the intelligence official and Straw are corroborated by a former senior US official who is later interviewed by Knight Ridder. It is “an absolutely accurate description of what transpired,” the official will say. [KNIGHT RIDDER, 5/2/2005] Straw proposes that the next step would be to “work up an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors,” which “would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.” [GUARDIAN, 5/2/2005; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 5/12/2005] Britain’s attorney general, Lord Peter Goldsmith, warns that “the desire for regime change [is] not a legal base for military action,” the minutes say. But Blair says that “it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors.” [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 5/12/2005] Finally, the officials agree that the British government “should continue to work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action” but “not ignore the legal issues.” [GUARDIAN, 5/2/2005] The minutes do not provide any indication that officials discussed how war might be avoided. [SALON, 6/10/2005] The minutes of this meetings will be revealed by the British Sunday Times three years later (see May 1, 2005). Commonly referred to as the “Downing Street Memo,” the minutes will re-spark the controversy over politicized intelligence. Entity Tags: Richard Wilson, Michael Boyce, Peter Goldsmith, Richard Dearlove, Jonathan Powell, Geoff Hoon, Jack Straw, Alastair Campbell, Francis Richards, Sally Morgan, John Scarlett, Tony Blair Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Iraq War Impact on Counterterrorism

July 23, 2002: New York City Declares Records of Firefighters’ Actions on 9/11 Will Be Kept Secret The New York City government decides that the audio and written records of the Fire Department’s actions on 9/11 should never be released to the general public. The New York Times has been trying to get copies of the materials, which include firsthand accounts given to Fire Department officials by scores of firefighters and chiefs. The city claims the firefighters were told their accounts would be kept confidential, but senior fire officials say they were never told that their remarks would be kept confidential. [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/23/2002] The records will be released in 2005 after a legal battle (see August 12, 2005). Entity Tags: New York Times, New York City Fire Department, City of New York Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: WTC Investigation

July 25, 2002: Moussaoui Claims Accomplice Was British Agent Zacarias Moussaoui claims that one of his associates, Atif Ahmed, was an informer for British intelligence and had foreknowledge of 9/11. In court Moussaoui says Ahmed “is a British agent who has taken a very important part of this,” adding, “My aim in pleading guilty was to expose the information I have.” Ahmed, the only associate named by Moussaoui during his initial questioning (see August 17, 2001), was arrested and released in November 2001 (see Mid-November 2001). Although Moussaoui was monitored by British authorities (see 1999, Mid-2000-December 9, 2000, and August 21, 2001-September 13, 2001), the security services say that Ahmed was not one of their agents. Moussaoui attempts to get British lawyer Sadiq Khan to investigate Ahmed, but the results of his inquiries, if any, are not known. [COUNTERPUNCH, 7/16/2002; DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/26/2002; FINANCIAL TIMES, 9/19/2002; COUNTERPUNCH, 9/25/2002] Ahmed’s name will be mentioned at Moussaoui’s trial in 2006, but both the prosecutor and FBI agent Harry Samit will indicate he was not deeply involved in 9/11. [UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. ZACARIAS MOUSSAOUI, A/K/A SHAQIL, A/K/A ABU KHALID AL SAHRAWI, DEFENDANT, 3/6/2006; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 3/9/2006] It is unclear why Moussaoui thinks Ahmed is an informer. Moussaoui does not say whether he suspected Ahmed was an informer before he gave his name to the FBI, or whether he surmised this because the British did little with the information, and then let him go soon after arresting him. Entity Tags: Harry Samit, Atif Ahmed, Zacarias Moussaoui Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other Possible Moles or Informants, Zacarias Moussaoui, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

July 25, 2002: Pentagon Memo Disputes View that Hussein Will Not Work with Al-Qaeda A memo written by an intelligence analyst working under Pentagon policy chief Douglas Feith asserts that while “some analysts have argued” that Osama bin Laden will not cooperate with secular Arab groups like Iraq, “reporting indicates otherwise.” A subsequent investigation by the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General (see February 9, 2007) will criticize the memo, titled “Iraq and al-Qaeda: Making the Case,” saying that it constituted an “alternative intelligence assessment” and therefore should have been developed in accordance with intelligence agency guidelines for publishing alternative views. [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 2/9/2007 ; NEW YORK TIMES, 2/9/2007] Nevertheless, Bush administration officials such as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, CIA Director George Tenet, DIA Director Thomas Wilson, Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, and the chief of staff for Vice President Cheney, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, embrace the memo. Cheney’s office is particularly enamoured of the report; journalists Franklin Foer and Spencer Ackerman later report a White House official as saying of Cheney and his staffers, “They so believed that the CIA were wrong, they were like, ‘We want to show these f_ckers that they are wrong.” The memo is based on an earlier briefing by Feith entitled “Assessing the Relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda,” which accused the CIA of using overly rigorous standards to analyze information that might show links between Iraq and the terrorist organization. Feith’s briefing uses almost no evidence to claim a “mature, symbiotic” relationship between the two, alleging “more than a decade of numerous contacts” between al-Qaeda and the Hussein government, and asserting “possible Iraqi coordination with al-Qaeda specifically related to 9/11.” [SCOBLIC, 2008, PP. 220-222] An updated version of the “Making the Case” briefing will be presented to the White House in September 2002 (see September 16, 2002). Entity Tags: Office of the Vice President, Thomas Wilson, Office of Special Plans, Stephen J. Hadley, Spencer Ackerman, Lewis (“Scooter”) Libby, Franklin Foer, Donald Rumsfeld, Bush administration, George J. Tenet, Douglas Feith Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

Late July 2002: 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Concludes Atta Did Not Have Prague Meeting The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry investigating the 9/11 attacks concludes that there is no evidence that Mohammad Atta—under any of his known aliases—visited Prague in April 2001 (see April 8, 2001). [BOSTON GLOBE, 8/3/2003] However, the Bush administration will delay the publication of the Inquiry’s final report for many months, so this conclusion will not be made public until after the US invasion of Iraq is done (see January-July 2003). Entity Tags: Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Mohamed Atta, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

Late July 2002: Taliban General Reportedly Captured, but Released After Questioning US Special Forces apprehend Mullah Akhter Mohammed Osmani, a top general and one of the six most-wanted Taliban, in Kandahar. He is flown to a detention center north of Kabul for interrogation, but is released a few weeks later and escapes to Pakistan. Contradicting the statements of many soldiers in Kandahar, the Defense Intelligence Agency says it “has no knowledge that Mullah Akhter Mohammed Osmani was ever in US custody in Afghanistan.” [WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/18/2002] Curiously, the CIA took part in secret talks with Osmani over the fate of bin Laden (see Mid-September-October 2, 2001). Osmani will be killed in an air strike at the end of 2006 (see December 19, 2006). Entity Tags: Mullah Akhter Mohammed Osmani, Defense Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan, Key Captures and Deaths

Late July -September 2002: As Much as $700 Million Diverted from Afghanistan to Prepare for Invasion of Iraq President Bush allegedly approves a request from the Pentagon for $700 million to help fund military preparations underway in the Gulf for war against Iraq. The charge is made by Bob Woodward in his book, Plan of Attack, released in the spring of 2004. [WOODWARD, 2004; CBS NEWS, 4/18/2004] The White House and Pentagon will deny the charge claiming that Bush only approved the spending of $178.4 million out of a requested total of $750 million. According to the Pentagon, $178.4 million is spent on 21 projects in Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman. At least 11 of them are in Kuwait, which becomes the major staging ground for operations in Iraq. In that country alone, $24 million is spent constructing an ammunition storage and supply system for an Army brigade, and $15 million worth of communications equipment is installed at the Arifjan Base Camp. The military also builds a $3 million detention facility and a $6.5 million inland petroleum-distribution system. In Qatar, $36.4 million goes toward the construction of a forward headquarters facility for Central Command. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/22/2004] The money for these projects is taken from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War without congressional approval. [CBS NEWS, 4/18/2004] Entity Tags: George W. Bush Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion, War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan

July 31, 2002: Sheriff Raids Business that Supplied 9/11 Hijackers with Fake ID

Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale. [Source: Triborochamber] A business owned by Mohamed el-Atriss, who supplied the 9/11 hijackers with fake IDs (see (July-August 2001)), is raided by the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department. The raids are carried out in a blaze of publicity and are strongly opposed by the US attorney’s office for New Jersey and the FBI, which has a relationship with el-Atriss (see July 31, 2002 and After, September 13, 2001-Mid 2002). [BERGEN RECORD, 8/7/2002] The sheriff is suspicious of el-Atriss and raids his business because, in addition to providing hijackers Abdulaziz Alomari and Khalid Almihdhar with at least two pieces of fake ID, el-Atriss:

Talked repeatedly on the phone to another hijacker (see (July-August 2001)); 
Is an associate of an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 ‘Landmarks’ bomb plot (see Before September 11, 2001); 
Wired $29,000 to the Arab National Bank in Mecca in 2002; [WASHINGTON POST, 1/3/2003] 
Made inquiries to a parts manufacturer about navigational systems for commercial jetliners to be shipped to Egypt in 1999; [NEWARK STAR-LEDGER, 10/20/2003] 
Downloaded a list of the 9/11 hijackers from the Internet after 9/11, underlined some names, and circled Khalid Almihdhar’s. [NEWARK STAR-LEDGER, 10/20/2003] 

El-Atriss is not present during the raid, having traveled to Egypt a short time before, but later returns to the US and is arrested at JFK airport in New York. [CBS NEWS, 7/31/2002; BBC, 8/21/2002] He will later say that he came back to the US to clear his name after learning of the raid while in Egypt. He will be charged with over two dozen counts of selling false documents. [NEWARK STAR-LEDGER, 10/20/2003] Secret evidence will be used against him at the trial. He will plead guilty to one of charges, while the rest will be dropped. (see November 2002-June 2003). Entity Tags: Mohamed el-Atriss, Khalid Almihdhar, Passaic County Sheriff’s Department Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: FBI 9/11 Investigation, Internal US Security After 9/11, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

July 31, 2002 and After: US Attorney Threatens to Arrest Local Sheriff in Row over Raid on Hijackers’ Associate, FBI Also Highly Critical Edit

US attorney for New Jersey Christopher Christie opposed a raid on an associate of the 9/11 hijackers. [Source: Public domain] Both the FBI and the US attorney’s office for New Jersey are highly critical of a raid by the Passaic County sheriff’s office on the business of Mohamed el-Atriss, who supplied the 9/11 hijackers with false IDs (see (July-August 2001) and July 31, 2002). El-Atriss is later arrested and will plead guilty to selling fake IDs (see November 2002-June 2003). According to the sheriff, when US attorney for New Jersey Christopher Christie learns the sheriff intends to hold a news conference about the raid, he tells the sheriff that “he [will] be arrested and the US attorney [will] come down and shut down the Sheriff’s Department.” However, a spokesman for Christie will deny this. [NEWARK STAR-LEDGER, 10/20/2003] The FBI also hammers the sheriff in the media after the arrest, calling the raid, in which officers were accompanied by several press representatives, a “shameful media grab” and saying that the sheriff killed an FBI investigation. The Bergen County Record will point out that this is unusual, as “the feds don’t make a habit of lambasting other law enforcement officials publicly or of confirming the existence of secret investigations.” [BERGEN RECORD, 8/7/2002] Federal officials then tell the sheriff’s department not to proceed with any investigations related to el-Atriss until they get clearance from the FBI. [NEWARK STAR-LEDGER, 10/20/2003] El-Atriss cooperated with the FBI after 9/11 and promised to “keep his eyes and ears open” for other terrorists (see September 13, 2001-Mid 2002). Entity Tags: US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, Mohamed el-Atriss, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Christopher J. Christie, Passaic County Sheriff’s Department Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: FBI 9/11 Investigation, Internal US Security After 9/11, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

AugustEdit

Main article: August 2002

SeptemberEdit

Main article: September 2002

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