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TimelineEdit

September 10Edit

September 10, 2001Edit

In a speech to the Department of Defense, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld announces that the Department of Defense “cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” CBS later calculates that 25 percent of the yearly defense budget is unaccounted for, and quotes a long-time defense budget analyst[who?]: “[Their] numbers are pie in the sky. The books are cooked routinely year after year.” Coverage of this rather shocking story is nearly nonexistent given the events of the next day. [1][2] In April 2002 it will be revealed that $1.1 trillion of the missing money comes from the 2000 fiscal year. Auditors won’t even quantify how much money is missing from fiscal year 2001, causing “some [to] fear it’s worse” than 2000. The Department of the Army will state that it won’t publish a stand-alone financial statement for 2001 because of “the loss of financial-management personnel sustained during the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.” [3][4] This $1.1 trillion plus unknown additional amounts continues to remain unaccounted for, and auditors say it may take eight years of reorganization before a proper accounting can be done.[5] [6]

September 10, 2001Edit

Amr Elgindy orders his broker to liquidate his children’s $300,000 trust account fearing a sudden crash in the market. He also tells his stockbroker that the Dow Jones average, then at 9,600, will fall to below 3,000. Elgindy is arrested in San Diego in May 2002, along with FBI agents Jeffrey Royer and Lynn Wingate, who, according to government prosecutors, were using their FBI positions to obtain inside information on various corporations. They also questioned whether Elgindy had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. [7] A report published in the San Diego Union-Tribune, however, casts some doubt on the government’s allegations.[8] In 2005, now former FBI agent Jeffrey Royer admits to giving Elgindy confidential details of federal investigations, including a probe of the 9/11 attacks. Royer claims he did it to use Elgindy’s knowledge to help develop evidence of criminal wrongdoing. A court case against Royer and Elgindy continues. [9]


September 10, 2001Edit

Attorney General Ashcroft Wikipedia rejects a proposed $58 million increase in financing for the FBI’s counterterrorism programs. The money would have paid for 149 new counterterrorism field agents, 200 additional analysts and 54 additional translators. On the same day, he sends a request for budget increases to the White House. It covers 68 programs—but none of them relate to counterterrorism. He also sends a memorandum to his heads of departments, stating his seven priorities—none of them relate to counterterrorism. [10] He further proposes cutting a program that gives state and local counterterrorism grants for equipment like radios and preparedness training from $109 million to $44 million. Yet Ashcroft stopped flying public airplanes in July due to an as yet undisclosed terrorist threat [see 1], and in a July speech he proclaimed, “Our No. 1 priority is the prevention of terrorist attacks.” [11]

September 10, 2001Edit

CBS later reports that on this day, bin Laden is admitted to a military hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, for kidney dialysis treatment. Pakistani military forces guard bin Laden. They also move out all the regular staff in the urology department and send in a secret team to replace them. It is not known how long he stays there. [12]


September 10, 2001:Three 9/11 Hijackers Stay at Same Hotel as Senior Saudi OfficialEdit

Template:Confusing Three hijackers, Hani Hanjour, Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawaf Alhazmi, check into the Marriott Residence Inn hotel in Herndon,the same one used by a prominent Saudi government official, Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen. [13] Hussayen originally stayed at a different nearby hotel, but moved to this hotel on the same day the hijackers checked in.[14]Investigators have not found any evidence that the hijackers met with Hussayen, and stress it could be a coincidence.[15]

However,one prosecutor[who?] working on a related case will assert, “I continue to believe it can’t be a coincidence.”[16] An FBI agent[who?] will later say that Hussayen “may have had some connection to the attacks and is likely to have met with those funding the hijackers if not the hijackers themselves.”[14] Hussayen is interviewed by the FBI shortly after 9/11, but according to testimony from Michael Gneckow, an FBI agent, the interview is cut short when Hussayen “feign[s] a seizure, prompting the agents to take him to a hospital, where the attending physicians [find] nothing wrong with him.” The agent recommends that Hussayen “should not be allowed to leave until a follow-up interview could occur.” [13] The agent returns to the hotel the next day, but finds Hussayen unhelpful. After she leaves, Hussayen calls the Saudi embassy, which contacts the FBI. Another, less aggressive agent is sent to talk to Hussayen and finds no additional information, so the FBI says he can leave the US. The first agent does not want him to go without answering her questions, but, according to authors Joe and Susan Trento, “Because of pressure from [Saudi ambassador to the US] Prince Bandar on the Bush administration… the agent’s superiors overruled her.” The superiors are not named. [14]

For most of the 1990s, Hussayen was director of the SAAR Foundation, a Saudi charity that is being investigated for terrorism ties and will be raided in early 2002 [see 2]. A few months after 9/11 he is named a minister of the Saudi government and put in charge of its two holy mosques. Hussayen had arrived in the US in late August 2001 planning to visit some Saudi-sponsored charities. Many of the charities on his itinerary, including the Global Relief Foundation, Muslim World League, IIRO (International Islamic Relief Organization), IANA (Islamic Assembly of North America), and World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), have since been shut down or investigated for alleged ties to Islamic militant groups. [13] His nephew, Sami Omar Hussayen, will be indicted in early 2004 for using his computer expertise to assist militant groups, and will be charged with administering a website associated with IANA, an organization which expressly advocated suicide attacks and using airliners as weapons in the months before 9/11. Investigators also will claim the nephew was in contact with important al-Qaeda figures. [13][17] The nephew will be acquitted later in 2004 of the terrorism-related charges. The defense will not dispute that he posted messages advocating suicide bombings, but will argue that he had the Constitutional right to do so. The jury will deadlock on most of the counts. [18] IANA apparently will remain under investigation, as well as the flow of money from the uncle to nephew. [19] The uncle is not charged with any crime. [16]

evening September 10Edit

In the Pink Pony strip club in Daytona Beach, Florida the night before the 9/11 attacks, three men make anti-American sentiments and talk of impending bloodshed. One says, “Wait ‘til tomorrow. America is going to see bloodshed.” These are not any of the hijackers, since they had all left Florida by this time, but it is suspected these men knew the hijackers. [20] Mohamed Atta is said to have regularly frequented the same bar (see Before September 11, 2001).

September 10, 2001Edit

Template:Confusing FBI agent Robert Fuller began looking for Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar on September 4, 2001 (see September 4-5, 2001) . Within one day, he found that Almihdhar had not stayed at the New York City hotel[which?] he listed as a destination when he arrived in the US in July 2001. Alhazmi and Almihdhar had traveled to Los Angeles on January 15, 2000. Immigation records indicated that they claimed to be destined for a Sheraton hotel in Los Angeles. On this day, Fuller drafts an investigative lead for the Los Angeles FBI office, asking that office to search Sheraton hotel records concerning any stays by Almihdhar and Alhazmi in early 2000. However, the lead is not transmitted to Los Angeles until the next day, after the 9/11 attacks have begun. The search will also turn up nothing, since neither of them stayed at a Sheraton hotel.[21] Both men had been living in nearby San Diego for much of the previous two years. The San Diego FBI office is not notified about the need for a search until September 12, and even then, they are only provided with “sketchy” information.[22] The FBI handling agent in San Diego[who?] is certain they could have been located quickly had they known where to look. The FBI agent running the San Diego office[who?] will claim they could have easily found the two hijackers by looking their names up in the phone book (see September 11, 2001). [23] There is some evidence from eyewitnesses that a few days before 9/11, Almihdhar and two other hijackers are living in the same San Diego apartment that they had been living in off and on for the past two years, the address that was listed for them in the public phone book (see Early September 2001).

September 10, 2001Edit

Senator Dianne Feinstein, who, with Senator Jon Kyl, has sent a copy of draft legislation on counterterrorism and national defense to Vice President Cheney’s office on July 20, is told by Cheney’s top aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby on this day “that it might be another six months before he would be able to review the material.” [24]

afternoon September 10Edit

According to CBS News, in the afternoon before the attack, “alarm bells were sounding over unusual trading in the US stock options market.” It has been documented that the CIA, the Mossad, and many other intelligence agencies monitor stock trading in real time using highly advanced programs such as Promis. Both the FBI and the Justice Department have confirmed the use of such programs for US intelligence gathering through at least this summer. This would confirm that the CIA could have had additional advance warning of imminent attacks against American and United Airlines planes.[25] There are even allegations that bin Laden was able to get a copy of Promis. [26]

evening September 10, 2001Edit

Silverstein Properties, Larry Silverstein Wikipedia’s company which took over the lease of the WTC weeks earlier (see July 24, 2001), has a meeting planned for the morning of 9/11 in it’s temporary offices on the 88th floor of the WTC North Tower, along with Port Authority officials. It is to discuss what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. However, this evening the meeting is canceled because one participant cannot attend.[27] Of Silverstein Properties’ 160 staff, 54[who?] are in the North Tower when it is hit, and four of them[who?] die. [28]

September 10, 2001Edit

US officials later will admit American agents had infiltrated al-Qaeda cells in the US, though how many agents and how long they had been in al-Qaeda remains a mystery. On this day, electronic intercepts connected to these undercover agents hear messages such as, “Watch the news” and “Tomorrow will be a great day for us.” When asked why these messages did not lead to boosted security or warnings the next day, officials will refer to them as “needles in a haystack.” What other leads may have come from this prior to this day will not be revealed.[29] At least until February 2002, the official story will be that the “CIA failed to penetrate al-Qaeda with a single agent.” [30]


evening September 10, 2001Edit

According to a Newsweek report on September 13, “[t]he state of alert had been high during the past two weeks, and a particularly urgent warning may have been received the night before the attacks, causing some top Pentagon brass[who?] to cancel a trip. Why that same information was not available to the 266 people who died aboard the four hijacked commercial aircraft may become a hot topic on the Hill.” [31] Far from becoming a hot topic, the only additional media mention of this story will be in the next issue of Newsweek: “a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns.” [32]

September 10, 2001Edit

Credit card receipts later discovered by the FBI apparently show that alleged lead hijacker Mohamed Atta is in Manhattan on this day. According to FBI agents[who?], he visits the observation deck on the 107th floor of the south WTC tower. CNN will report, “Officials speculate Atta may have been in New York… to program the towers’ location into a global positioning system.” According to the FBI, Atta bought himself such a device, costing about $500, by mail order. [33] Investigators will reportedly consider this trip necessary, “because they believe the hijackers were too inexperienced to handle the jumbo jets without help.” [34] BBC reporter Jane Corbin points out that Atta was also witnessed at Logan Airport the previous morning (see September 9, 2001), where he could have entered start-point co-ordinates for his 9/11 flight into the GPS device. [35] However, there is no mention of Atta’s New York visit in the 9/11 Commission Report. According to FBI Director Robert Mueller, Atta spent the previous night at the Milner Hotel in Boston, and then shortly after noon on this day is in Boston where he picks up Abdulaziz Alomari and drives to Portland, Maine.[36] The 200-mile journey from Boston to New York takes approximately four hours by car.[37] So if Mueller’s account is correct, it seems difficult to comprehend Atta having time to travel to New York, go up the WTC, make purchases on his credit card, and then return to Boston, all in the space of one morning. An article in the New York Post will in fact claim that the person in Manhattan was “a distinguished renal and gene specialist at Johns Hopkins University Hospital” in Baltimore, Maryland. This man, who is also called Mohamed Atta, happened to have visited New York in the days before 9/11, “for a whirlwind weekend with his new bride.” The article claims that it had erroneously been reported that alleged hijacker Mohamed Atta “was casing the Twin Towers days before Sept. 11—even after the FBI concluded it was just the kidney doctor, who had planned to take his wife to Windows on the World for dinner in the North Tower.” [38]


September 10, 2001Edit

In a major post-9/11 speech, British Prime Minister Tony Blair Wikipedia will claim that

“shortly before September 11, bin Laden told associates that he had a major operation against America under preparation, [and] a range of people were warned to return back to Afghanistan because of action on or around September 11.”
His claims will come from a British document[which?] of telephone intercepts and interrogations revealing al-Qaeda orders to return to Afghanistan by September 10. [39] However, Blair may have the direction incorrect, since would-be hijacker Ramzi bin al-Shibh Wikipedia later will claim that he is the one who passes to bin Laden the date the attacks will happen and warns others to evacuate.[40]

evening September 10, 2001Edit

At 6:30 p.m., President Bush arrives at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort on Longboat Key, Florida. [41][42]

He is in Florida as part of a weeklong effort to place a national spotlight on education and reading, and visited a school in Jacksonville earlier in the day. [43][44]

In preparation for the president’s visit to the resort, all guests have been cleared out of the building “to make way for the invasion of White House staffers, aides, communications technicians—even an antiterrorism unit.” Overnight, snipers and surface-to-air missiles are located on the roof of the Colony and adjacent structures, to protect the president. “The Coast Guard and the Longboat Key Police Department manned boats that patrolled the surf in front of the resort all night. Security trucks with enough men and arms to stop a small army parked right on the beach. An Airborne Warning and Control System Wikipedia (AWACS) plane circled high overhead in the clear night sky.” [45][46][47] SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/10/2002] Whether this is a typical level of security for a presidential visit, or is increased due to recent terror warnings, is unstated.

September 10, 2001Edit

Howard Rubenstein cancels a meeting he had scheduled at the World Trade Center for the morning of September 11. Rubenstein, a famous public relations man for powerful New Yorkers, has represented Larry Silverstein, the World Trade Center leaseholder (see July 24, 2001), for many years. [48] He will later recount how a staff meeting at his own firm requires him to cancel a meeting he has scheduled for the morning of 9/11 with John O’Neill, who was recently appointed as director of security at the World Trade Center (see August 23, 2001): “The Monday before the Tuesday, I get a call from John O’Neill.… He said, ‘Why don’t you come down on 9/11, come to a breakfast meeting at 8:00, where we’ll talk about what we’re doing to prevent terror attacks?’ So I said, ‘Okay.’ And he said, ‘Bring your staff, two people.’ I said that’s fine, because we were then representing the World Trade Center. Then I thought about it on Monday, and I called him, I said, ‘I have a staff meeting on Tuesday, do you mind if I don’t go?’ He said, ‘No, send somebody.’ I said, ‘But that somebody is also at my staff meeting.’ He said come at 9:00 instead of 8:00.” Rubenstein’s cancellation of this meeting appears to save his life. He will recall that, the morning of 9/11: “I’m sitting in my staff meeting, and my secretary runs in and said the World Trade Center just got hit, and you were supposed to be there. Everyone at that breakfast meeting died, including John O’Neill.” [49] After the attacks, Rubenstein and his firm, Rubenstein Associates, will play a leading role in publicizing Larry Silverstein’s legal claims against several insurance companies (see September 12, 2001). [50]

September 10, 2001Edit

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is in the early stages of a major training exercise called Vigilant Guardian that is to take place off the shores of the northeastern US and Canada. The exercise is not scheduled to really take off until the following day, September 11 [see 3], but simulated intelligence briefings and meetings are now being held to set the stage for the mock engagements to come.

According to author Lynn Spencer, Vigilant Guardian “is the kind of war game that the Russians usually respond to, even in this post-Cold War era.” The Russians have in fact announced that they will be deploying aircraft to several of their “Northern Tier” bases on September 11. Russian jets have penetrated North American airspace during previous NORAD exercises, and Colonel Robert Marr, the commander of NEADS, has prepared for them to do so again during the current exercise. If this happens, armed US fighter jets will intercept the Russian aircraft and escort them back to their own territory. In case there is any confrontation, Marr has ordered that his alert fighter jets be loaded with additional fuel and weapons.

According to Spencer, on September 11, all alert fighters will be “loaded with live missiles in anticipation of any show of force that might be needed to respond to the Russians.” [51] NORAD has already announced that it is deploying fighters to Alaska and Northern Canada to monitor a Russian air force exercise being conducted in the Russian Arctic and North Pacific Ocean throughout this week [see 4].[52] [53][54][55]According to the 9/11 Commission, the Vigilant Guardian exercise will in fact postulate “a bomber attack from the former Soviet Union.”[56]

September 10, 2001: Training Exercise Scenario at NORAD’s Southeast Sector Involves Cubans Hijacking Plane, Wanting to Go to New YorkEdit

Personnel at NORAD’s Southeast Air Defense Sector (SEADS) at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, practice for the scenario of an aircraft being hijacked by Cuban asylum seekers. The scenario is part of the annual NORAD training exercise, Vigilant Guardian. [57][58]

In the scenario, the fictitious hijackers take over an Ilyushin IL-62 Wikipedia jet airliner that took off from Havana, Cuba. The hijackers, who are “demanding political asylum, demand to be taken to” New York City, according to a document later produced by the 9/11 Commission. As the scenario plays out, the FAA requests support from NORAD. The FAA directs the plane toward Jacksonville, Florida, but the hijackers then demand to be taken to Atlanta, Georgia. Finally, the hijacked plane lands safely at Dobbins Air Force Base Wikipedia in Georgia. [57]

The following morning, September 11, personnel at NEADS in Rome, New York, are scheduled to practice what is apparently a similar plane hijacking scenario, presumably as part of the same Vigilant Guardian exercise (see (9:40 a.m.) September 11, 2001). According to Vanity Fair, that scenario will involve “politically motivated perpetrators” seeking asylum “on a Cuba-like island.” [59]


September 10, 2001Edit

A fifth grader in Dallas, Texas, casually tells his teacher, “Tomorrow, World War III will begin. It will begin in the United States, and the United States will lose.” The teacher reports the comment to the FBI, but does not know if they act on it at the time. The student skips the next two days of school. The event may be completely coincidental, but the newspaper that reports the story also notes that two charities, Holy Land Foundation and InfoCom, located in an adjacent suburb have been under investigation based on suspected fund-raising activities for Islamic militant organizations. One InfoCom employee had his name in the telephone book of Wadih El-Hage, bin Laden’s personal secretary, and he was seen with El-Hage as recently as 1998 (see September 16, 1998-September 5, 2001). [60]The FBI investigates and decides “no further investigation [is] warranted.” [61]

September 10, 2001Edit

Patrick Fitzgerald was involved in the prosecution of all the major al-Qaeda legal cases in the US before 9/11. Just before 9/11, he switched to prosecuting political corruption cases and will later become known for prosecuting the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity. On this day, he sends an e-mail to a colleague who is also switching from working on terrorism cases. He writes, “You can’t leave, they’re going to hit us again and someone has got to be around to work it.” [62]

September 10, 2001Edit

A group of second-year students at the Army School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) produces a 68-page plan for sending peacekeepers to Israel in the event that the Israelis and Palestinians agree to a peace plan and the creation of a Palestinian state.An article about the report appears in the Washington Times on September 10, 2001. Though the cover of the report indicates that the report has been written for the Template:Wikipedialink, Maj. Chris Garver, a Fort Leavenworth spokesman, says that it was only an academic exercise. The report refers to Israel’s armed forces as a “500-pound gorilla in Israel” that is “well armed and trained” and is “known to disregard international law to accomplish mission.” Of the Mossad, the report says: “Wildcard. Ruthless and cunning. Has capability to target US forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act.” It describes Palestinian youths as “loose cannons; under no control, sometimes violent.” .  [63]

evening September 10, 2001Edit

The night before 9/11, two men are observed behaving suspiciously on a United Airlines flight[which?] from San Diego to Boston. This is according Elaine Lawrence, who is one of the plane’s flight attendants. She later recalls that the men—one who appears Middle Eastern, the other Caucasian—upgrade from coach to first class, and then sit “on the left side of the plane, seats 3A and 3B,” near the cockpit door. She will comment:

“It was really weird. They didn’t eat, they didn’t sleep, they didn’t watch the movie. Why upgrade?”

Furthermore, she recalls:

“When we were getting close to Boston they asked if we could see the World Trade Center towers. ‘Do we see the towers?’ the guy kept asking. I told him we wouldn’t be going by New York.”

After the attacks the following day, she will call the FBI Wikipedia and inform them of this incident. Lawrence was in fact originally scheduled to be an attendant on Flight 175 on 9/11. However, as she is planning to go on vacation, she has traded shifts with another flight attendant, Amy Jarret (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001). . [64]

September 10, 2001Edit

A sixth-grade student of Middle Eastern descent in Jersey City, New Jersey, says something that alarms his teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School. “Essentially, he [warns] her to stay away from lower Manhattan because something bad [is] going to happen,” says Sgt. [[Edgar Martinez], deputy director of police services for the Jersey City Police Department. [65]

September 10, 2001Edit

John O’Neill, who is later described by the New Yorker magazine as the FBI’s “most committed tracker of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network of terrorists,” recently retired from the bureau and started a new job as director of security at the World Trade Center (see August 23, 2001). [66] On this day he meets up with his old friend Raymond Powers, the former New York Police Department chief of operations, to discuss security procedures. Their conversation turns to Osama bin Laden. According to journalist and author Murray Weiss, “just as he had reiterated since 1995 to any official in Washington who would listen, O’Neill said he was sure bin Laden would attack on American soil, and expected him to target the Twin Towers again.” He says to Powers, “It’s going to happen, and it looks like something big is brewing.”[67] Later on, O’Neill goes out in the evening with his friends Robert Tucker and Jerome Hauer. Again, he starts discussing bin Laden. He tells his friends, “We’re due. And we’re due for something big.” He says, “Some things have happened in Afghanistan. I don’t like the way things are lining up in Afghanistan.” This is probably a reference to the assassination of Afghan leader Ahmed Shah Massoud the previous day (see September 9, 2001). He adds, “I sense a shift, and I think things are going to happen.” Asked when, he replies, “I don’t know, but soon.” [68] O’Neill will be in his office on the 34th floor of the South Tower the following morning when the first attack occurs, and dies when the WTC collapses. [69]

September 10, 2001Edit

Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari arrive in Portland, Maine Wikipedia, where they spend the night. In October 2001, the FBI will release detailed information and photographs of the two hijackers in the town in an apparent attempt to find out from the public more about what they were doing there. According to the FBI, the pair leave Boston Wikipedia in the afternoon in a blue Nissan Altima and drive to South Portland, where they check into a Comfort Inn around 5:45 p.m. They are caught on security cameras visiting a gas station, two ATMs, and shopping at a Wal-Mart. The next morning they fly back to Boston, where they board the airplane they will hijack.[70] In September 2002, the New York Times speculates, “There have been many theories [for going to Portland]: that they made contact with a confederate in Portland who gave them the final go-ahead, or more likely, that by arriving on a connecting flight, they would avoid the security check in Boston. None of those explanations seems entirely satisfactory, given the risk….” [71] The 9/11 Commission will later speculate that the most “plausible theory” is that the hijackers make the trip so as to help avoid suspicion that might be created from all ten hijackers departing on Boston flights arriving in the Boston airport at roughly the same time. [72]

September 10, 2001Edit

[clarification needed]

Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, from Qatar but a legal US resident, arrives in the US with his wife and five children, reportedly to pursue a master’s degree in computer science at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.[73] Al-Marri appears to have been sent to the US by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM). During his interrogation, KSM will identify al-Marri as “the point of contact for al-Qaeda operatives arriving in the US for September 11 follow-on operations.” He will describe al-Marri as “the perfect sleeper agent because he has studied in the United States, had no criminal record, and had a family with whom he could travel.” [74] However, there are doubts about the reliability of KSM’s interrogation, which is believed that have been obtained through the use of torture [see 5]. Al-Marri also lived in Illinois for part of 2000 under a different name. [75] He is apparently related to Mohamed al-Khatani, who attempted to enter the US in August 2001 to join the 9/11 plot (see July 2002). [76] In December 2001, al-Marri will be detained as a material witness to the 9/11 attacks [see 6]

September 10, 2001Edit

In his 2007 book At the Center of the Storm, former CIA Director George Tenet will write that on September 10, 2001, “a source we were jointly running with a Middle Eastern country went to see his foreign handler and basically told him that something big was about to go down. The handler dismissed him.” Tenet claims the warning was “frightening but without specificity.” [77] While Tenet will not mention the name of the source, his description perfectly matches a Syrian-born militant named Luai Sakra. Sakra will be arrested in Turkey in 2005 (see July 30, 2005) and reportedly will tell interrogators after his arrest, “I was one of the people who knew the 9/11 perpetrators, and I knew the plans and times beforehand.” He claims to have provided the pilots with passports and money (see September 2000-July 24, 2001). Der Spiegel will report, “Western investigators accept Sakra’s claims, by and large, since they coincide with known facts. On September 10, 2001, he tipped off the Syrian secret service… that terrorist attacks were about to occur in the United States. The evidently well-informed al-Qaeda insider even named buildings as targets, and airplanes as weapons. The Syrians passed on this information to the CIA—but only after the attacks.” [78] In 2007, Sakra will also claim to have trained some of the 9/11 hijackers in Turkey starting in late 1999 (see Late 1999-2000). If Tenet is referring to Sakra, then it appears Sakra did develop a relationship with the CIA that continued at least through 9/11 (see 2000).


September 10, 2001Edit

Mohamed Atta calls Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) in Afghanistan. KSM gives final approval to Atta to launch the attacks. The specifics of the conversation haven’t been released. [79] Unnamed intelligence officials later tell Knight Ridder Newspapers that the call is monitored by the NSA, but only translated after the 9/11 attacks. KSM, “using coded language, [gives] Atta final approval” for the attacks. [80] NSA monitored other calls between KSM and Atta in the summer of 2001 but did not share the information about this with other agencies (see Summer 2001). Additionally, it will later be revealed that an FBI squad[who?] built an antenna in the Indian Ocean some time before 9/11 with the specific purpose of listening in on KSM’s phone calls, so they may have learned about this call to Atta on their own (see Before September 11, 2001).

September 10, 2001Edit

Marwan Alshehhi checks out of his hotel[which?] in Boston. It is unclear where he spends the night before 9/11, but at 11:57 a.m. on this day he wires some money to a co-conspirator in the Middle East from the Greyhound bus station in Boston.[81] One eyewitness[who?] will claim to see him at Dulles Airport in Washington later this evening (see Around 8:15 p.m. September 10, 2001), but apparently he is back in Boston by the next morning (see (6:20 a.m.-7:27 a.m.) September 11, 2001).

September 10, 2001Edit

The domestic terrorism task force announced by President Bush and Vice President Cheney in May 2001 is just gearing up. Cheney appointed Admiral Steve Abbot to lead the task force in June, but he does not receive his White House security pass until now. Abbot has only hired two staffers and been working full time for a few days prior to 9/11. The task force was to have reported to Congress by October 1, 2001, a date they could not have met. [82][83]

September 10, 2001Edit

At least two messages in Arabic are intercepted by the NSA. One states, “The match is about to begin” and the other states, “Tomorrow is zero hour.” Later reports translate the first message as, “The match begins tomorrow.” [84] The messages were sent between someone in Saudi Arabia and someone in Afghanistan.

The NSA will claim that they are not translated until September 12, and that even if they had been translated in time, “they gave no clues that authorities could have acted on.” [85][86] Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Wikipedia Bob Graham Wikipedia will later confirm that the messages were from al-Qaeda sources—a location or phone number—that made them a high priority, but that they were not from bin Laden or one of his top commanders. [87]

On the morning of September 12, 2001, the CIA will tell President Bush that a recently intercepted message from al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida referred to the 9/11 attacks as “zero hour,” but it is not clear if this is the same message or a different message [see 7].

These messages turn out to be only two of about 30 pre-9/11 communications from suspected al-Qaeda operatives or other militants referring to an imminent event. An anonymous official will say of these messages, including the “Tomorrow is zero hour” message: “You can’t dismiss any of them, but it does not tell you tomorrow is the day.” [88] There will be a later attempt to explain the messages away by suggesting they referred to the killing of Afghan opposition leader Ahmed Shah Massoud the day before [see 8]. [89]

September 10, 2001Edit

The trading ratio on United Airlines Wikipedia is 25 times greater than normal at the Pacific Exchange. Pacific Exchange officials later decline to state whether this abnormality is being investigated. [90]

Around 8:15 p.m. September 10, 2001Edit

A group of five Arabs attempts to penetrate a secure area leading to parked aircraft at Dulles Airport. However, they are seen by two security guards, Eric Gill and Nicolas de Silva.

Gill, who will later identify two of the men as 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Marwan Alshehhi, notices they approach a door to the secure area in a suspicious manner and that only three of them are dressed as United Airlines ramp workers and have the correct passes. Gill, a Pakistani, prevents the two without passes from entering the secure area, and realizes that he does not recognize the other three, and that their uniforms are unusually dirty for United employees. The men tell Gill to “f_ck off” and say that they are “important people,” but Gill still refuses to let the two without passes enter, and eventually all five men retreat.

Gill goes off duty at 10:00 p.m. and his supervisor will comment after 9/11, “If someone wanted access to the aircraft, say to plant weapons, it would have been easy for the group Eric saw to come back after he got off duty and simply use the ID cards they had to activate the electronic lock and slip through.”

Reporters Joe and Susan Trento, who break this story, will be unable to interview another security guard, Khalid Mahmoud, who was guarding the next door, as he will be immediately taken by the INS after 9/11 and presumably deported. De Silva has a poor memory for faces and will recall the incident happening, but will not be able to identify any of the Arabs. The FBI and 9/11 Commission will apparently not place much weight on Gill’s identification of the hijackers, as Alshehhi is believed to be in Boston at this time [91]. [92][93] However, Alshehhi checks out of his hotel[which?] on this date and his last recorded action in Boston is before noon, so he may have flown to Dulles in the afternoon and could return by the following morning (see September 10, 2001). An INS employee will tell journalist Seymour Hersh that guns were placed on the planes on 9/11 [94]. Security cameras record two of the hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar and possibly Salem Alhazmi, at Dulles this same day, but it is unclear whether their presence is related to this incident.[95][96]

All September 9-11, 2001Edit

September 9-11, 2001Edit

NORAD begins Operation Northern Vigilance. For this military operation, it deploys fighters to Alaska and Northern Canada to monitor a Russian air force exercise in the Russian Arctic and North Pacific Ocean, scheduled for September 10 to September 14. The Russian exercise involves its bombers staging a mock attack against NATO planes that are supposedly planning an assault on Russia. [97] The NORAD fighters are due to stay in Alaska and Canada until the end of the Russian exercise. [98] It is unknown from which bases NORAD sends fighters for Operation Northern Vigilance, and how many US military personnel are involved. However, in December 2000, it took similar action—called Operation Northern Denial—in response to a “smaller scale” Russian “long-range aviation activity in northern Russia and the Arctic.” More than 350 American and Canadian military personnel were involved on that occasion. [99]

September 9-11, 2001Edit

9/11 facilitators Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi leave the United Arab Emirates Wikipedia (UAE) in a hurry. At a hearing held in Guantanamo Bay in 2007 to determine Ali’s combat status, his departure from the UAE just before 9/11 will be included in the facts supporting his designation as an enemy combatant. However, he will deny having foreknowledge of 9/11 and say he had to leave the UAE as his work permit was canceled. [100] Al-Hawsawi leaves Dubai on the morning of 9/11 for Karachi. Shortly before, he had learned that the operation for which the hijackers had traveled to the US would take place on September 11, and had been advised by fellow operatives Ramzi bin al-Shibh Wikipedia and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed that he should return to Pakistan. [101] Before leaving, al-Hawsawi transferred $40,000 the hijackers had returned to him to his Visa card [see 9] He makes six ATM withdrawals on the card in Pakistan two days later and then disappears. [102]

All Before September 11,2001Edit

Before September 11, 2001Edit

Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, misses a chance to capture an unnamed high-ranking al-Qaeda leader in the Netherlands. The US intelligence community learned of the chance through intercepts of al-Qaeda communications, but there is a battle over access to such intelligence. The NSA, which acquires the information, insists that it will not provide the CIA will full transcripts of calls between al-Qaeda members that it intercepts, but only with summaries of them, which the CIA finds less useful. In this case, there is a delay by the NSA in preparing the summary, and by the time it is passed to Alec Station, the al-Qaeda leader is no longer within reach. [103]

Before September 11, 2001Edit

A 2003 CIA report will claim that extremists “ordered operatives in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Yemen” to use accounts at the Al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp. The Al-Rajhi Bank is one of the biggest Saudi banks, with billions in assets. Who gave this order and when has not been made public. However, some examples of militants using the bank are later alleged:

When al-Qaeda leader Mamdouh Mahmud Salim Wikipedia is arrested in late 1998 [see 10], he is carrying records of an Al-Rajhi account.

When Wadih El-Hage’s house in Kenya is raided in 1997, investigators find contact information in his address book for Salah Al-Rajhi, one of the billionaire co-owners of the bank (see Shortly After August 21, 1997). [104]

Some of the 9/11 hijackers use the bank. For instance, Hani Hanjour is sent wire transfers from Al-Rajhi bank in Saudi Arabia at least six times in 1998 and 1999. In September 2000, Nawaf Alhazmi uses $2,000 in Al-Rajhi traveler’s checks paid for by an unnamed person in Saudi Arabia. [105] And Abdulaziz Alomari has an account at the bank [see 11].

The bank is used by a number of charities suspected of militant links, including the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), the Muslim World League, the Saudi branch of Red Crescent, Global Relief Foundation, and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY).. [106]

An al-Qaeda affiliate in Spain holds accounts at the bank. According to a fax later recovered by Spanish police, the group’s chief financier[who?] tells a business partner[who?] to use the bank for their transactions. [107]

In 2000, Al-Rajhi Bank couriers deliver money to insurgents in Indonesia to buy weapons and bomb-making materials.

According to a 2003 German report, bank co-founder Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi contributes to a charity front buying weapons for Islamic militants in Bosnia in the early 1990s. He also was on the “Golden Chain,” a list of early al-Qaeda funders (see 1988-1989).

A US intelligence memo[which?] from shortly after 9/11 says that a money courier for al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri travels on a visa obtained by the bank. The 2003 CIA report[which?] will state: “Islamic extremists have used Al-Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation since at least the mid-1990s as a conduit for terrorist transactions.… Senior al-Rajhi family members have long supported Islamic extremists and probably know that terrorists use their bank.” [108]

Before September 11, 2001Edit

The US military never uses its elite units to hunt bin Laden or any other al-Qaeda leaders. US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) is said to have less than 1000 operatives, mainly Navy Seals and Army Delta Force, which are the most trained and qualified personnel in the US for hunting fugitives. Professor Richard Shultz at Tufts University’s Fletcher School will be commissioned by the Pentagon shortly after 9/11 to research why such special forces were not used before 9/11 to hunt bin Laden or other al-Qaeda leaders. He will find that US military leaders always said they needed better intelligence. They did a lot of planning but took no action. Shultz will say, “It’s your strike force, and yet it was never used once for its primary mission before Sept. 11.” JSOC forces will have more successes after 9/11, including playing roles in the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 2006 (see June 8, 2006). [109]

Before September 11, 2001Edit

Staff members at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) are apparently briefed on the possibility of terrorists deliberately crashing a plane into the World Trade Center. According to author Lynn Spencer, when Trey Murphy—a former US Marine who is now a weapons controller at NEADS—first sees the television footage on September 11 showing that a plane has hit the WTC, the news will bring to mind one of his briefings: “What if a terrorist flies an airplane with a weapon of mass destruction into the World Trade Center? It had always been one of the military’s big fears.… [T]he image on the [television] screen certainly reminded him of his briefing.” [110] It is also later reported that, in the two years prior to 9/11, NORAD conducts exercises simulating terrorists crashing hijacked aircraft into targets that include the WTC (see Between September 1999 and September 10, 2001).[111] Yet, in May 2002, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice will claim, “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center… that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile” (see May 16, 2002). [112] And in 2004, NORAD commander General Ralph Eberhart will say, “Regrettably, the tragic events of 9/11 were never anticipated or exercised.” [113]

Before September 11, 2001Edit

Though the NSA specializes in intercepting communications, the CIA and FBI intercept as well. After 9/11, CIA and FBI officials will discover messages with phrases like, “There is a big thing coming,” “they’re going to pay the price,” and “We’re ready to go.” Supposedly, most or all of these intercepted messages will not be analyzed until after 9/11.[114]

Before September 11, 2001Edit

In June 2004, future 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey will say that before 9/11, “There’s no question the Taliban was getting money from the Saudis… and there’s no question they got much more than that from the Pakistani government. Their motive is a secondary issue for us.” He claims this finding is based almost entirely on information known to the US government before 9/11. “All we’re doing is looking at classified documents from our own government, not from some magical source. So we knew what was going on, but we did nothing.”[115] However, the 9/11 Commission will leave such material out of its final report and in fact make the claim in its last staff statement, “There is no convincing evidence that any government financially supported al-Qaeda before 9/11.” [116]

Before September 11, 2001Edit

[clarification needed]

On the morning of 9/11, David Welna, National Public Radio’s Congressional correspondent, will say, “I spoke with Congressman Ike Skelton—a Democrat from Missouri and a member of the Armed Services Committee—who said that just recently the Director of the CIA George Tenet warned that there could be an attack—an imminent attack—on the United States of this nature. So this is not entirely unexpected.” More details, such as when Tenet said this, who else he may have said it to, and so forth, remain unknown..  [117]

Before September 11, 2001Edit

At some point, a man later believed to be Marwan Alshehhi buys a pilot’s headset from Eastern Avionics, a vendor at the Charlotte County Airport in Punta Gorda, Florida (see (2000-August 2001)). Subsequently, in the months leading up to 9/11, the salesperson receives e-mails, which may have been sent by Mohamed Atta as part of a mass mailing. Some are in Arabic, and appear to express Muslim concerns, with one including a photo taken in the Middle East of a dead child. After 9/11, the FBI will take hold of all these e-mails. The local sheriff[who?] will point out that there are some other people’s e-mail addresses that can be gleaned from the messages, although the FBI never publicly reveals the identities of these individuals.[118] Investigative reporter Daniel Hopsicker, who later obtains copies of the e-mails, will report that some of the 40 or so addresses Atta sent to belong to employees of US defense contractors. [119]

Before September 11, 2001Edit

By the 1980s, a high-tech global electronic surveillance network shared between the US, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand is gathering intelligence all over the world. The BBC describes Echelon’s power as “astounding,” and elaborates: “Every international telephone call, fax, e-mail, or radio transmission can be listened to by powerful computers capable of voice recognition. They home in on a long list of key words, or patterns of messages. They are looking for evidence of international crime, like terrorism.”[120] One major focus for Echelon before 9/11 is al-Qaeda. For instance, one account mentions Echelon intercepting al-Qaeda communications in Southeast Asia in 1996 (see Before September 11, 2001). A staff member[who?] of the National Security Council who regularly attends briefings on bin Laden states, “We are probably tapped into every hotel room in Pakistan. We can listen in to just about every phone call in Afghanistan.” However, he and other critics will claim one reason why US intelligence failed to stop terrorism before 9/11 was because there was too much of a focus on electronic intelligence gathering and not enough focus on human interpretation of that vast data collection. [121]

February to September 10Edit

A number of the hijackers apparently drink alcohol heavily in bars, sleep with prostitutes, and watch strip shows in the US in the months and especially the days leading up to 9/11. In late February 2001, hijacker Ziad Jarrah frequents a strip club[which?] in Jacksonville, Florida (see February 25-March 4, 2001). In July 2001, hijackers Hamza Alghamdi and Marwan Alshehhi make two purchases of “pornographic video and sex toys” from a Florida store [see 12]

Some hijackers, including possibly Satam Al Suqami and Waleed and Wail Alshehri, sleep with prostitutes in the days before 9/11 [see 13]

On September 10, three hijacker associates spend $200 to $300 apiece on lap dances and drinks in the Pink Pony, a Daytona Beach, Florida strip club. While the hijackers had left Florida by this time, Mohamed Atta is reported to have visited the same strip club, and these men appear to have had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks (see September 10, 2001). [122]

Marwan Alshehhi and Mohamed Atta are seen entering the Hollywood, Florida, sports bar Shuckums already drunk. They proceed to drink even more hard alcohol there (see September 7, 2001). Atta and Alshehhi are seen at Sunrise 251, a bar in Palm Beach, Florida. They spend $1,000 in 45 minutes on Krug and Perrier-Jouet champagne. Atta is with a tall busty brunette in her late twenties; Alshehhi is with a shortish blonde. Both women are known locally as regular companions of high-rollers. [123] A stripper at the Olympic Garden Topless Cabaret in Las Vegas, Nevada, later recalls Marwan Alshehhi being “cheap,” paying only $20 for a lap dance. [124]

Several hijackers reportedly patronize the Nardone’s Go-Go Bar in Elizabeth, New Jersey. They are even seen there on the weekend before 9/11. [125]

Majed Moqed visits a porn shop on three occasions and rents a porn video. The mayor of Paterson, New Jersey[who?], later says of the six hijackers who stayed there, “Nobody ever saw them at mosques, but they liked the go-go clubs.”[126] Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar often frequent Cheetah’s, a nude bar in San Diego.[127] Marwan Alshehhi is possibly seen in the Cheetah nightclub in Pompado Beach, Florida, on July 1, 2001. Six dancers who work there later claim to have seen him. [128] Hamza Alghamdi watches a porn video on September 10. [129] Temple University in Philadelphia professor Mahmoud Mustafa Ayoub will later comment: “It is incomprehensible that a person could drink and go to a strip bar one night, then kill themselves the next day in the name of Islam.… People who would kill themselves for their faith would come from very strict Islamic ideology. Something here does not add up.” [130]

Before September 11, 2001Edit

A month after 9/11, the New York Times will report: “Interpreting intercepted communications, which are cryptic and in code, and sorting through all the rumors present a formidable challenge. One intercept before the Sept. 11 attack was, according to two senior intelligence officials, the first early warning of the assault and it set off a scramble by American and other intelligence agencies. In that call, Mr. bin Laden advised his wife[who?] in Syria to come back to Afghanistan. That message, which was intercepted by the intelligence services of more than one country, was passed on to the United States, officials from three countries said.” [131] bin Laden apparently makes a similar phone call to his stepmother[who?] in Syria on September 9, 2001 (see September 9, 2001).

1991 to 2001Edit

Based on interviews with FBI officials[who?], the New Yorker will report that, for several years prior to 9/11, the US government plans for “simulated terrorist attacks, including scenarios [involving] multiple-plane hijackings.” This presumably refers to more than just the Amalgam Virgo 02 exercise (see July 2001), which is based on the scenario of two planes being simultaneously hijacked. [132] Similarly, NORAD will state that before 9/11, it normally conducts four major exercises each year at headquarters level. Most of them include a hijack scenario, and some of them are apparently quite similar to the 9/11 attacks [see 14].[133]According to Lynn Spencer, before September 11, “To prepare for their missions in support of NORAD, the Air National Guard pilots—some of the finest pilots in the world—often use hijacking scenarios to train for intercept tactics.” [134] John Arquilla, an associate professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, later says that while “No one knew specifically that 20 people would hijack four airliners and use them for suicide attacks against major buildings… the idea of such an attack was well known, [and] had been war gamed as a possibility in exercises before Sept. 11.” [135]

Before September 11, 2001Edit

Some of the 9/11 hijackers rent mailboxes from a company called Sphinx Trading, which was also used by ‘Blind SheikhOmar Abdul-Rahman and at least one of his associates. The mailboxes are located in Jersey City, New Jersey, four doors down from the mosque where Abdul-Rahman was imam in the early 1990s. El Sayyid Nosair, who assassinated Rabbi Meir Kahane and was linked to the Islamic militant cell Abdul-Rahman headed (see November 5, 1990 and December 7, 1991), also had a mailbox there before he was arrested in 1990. Sphinx Trading is owned by Waleed al-Noor, who was named an unindicted co-conspirator at the ‘Landmarks’ bomb plot trial (see June 24, 1993). The hijackers will later obtain fake IDs from al-Noor’s partner, Mohamed el-Atriss. The names of the hijackers who had mailboxes there are never given, but in the summer of 2001 el-Atriss interacts with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi, Abdulaziz Alomari, Khalid Almihdhar, and Hani Hanjour (see (July-August 2001)), at least. [136] An FBI agent[who?] will later comment: “The fact that this location was where Almihdhar, in particular, got his bogus credentials, is not only shocking, it makes me angry. The [[[Joint Terrorist Task Force]]] in the [[[New York Office]]] had this location back in 1991. In the mid-90s they listed al-Noor, the coowner, as a coconspirator, unindicted in the plot to blow up bridges and tunnels. And now we find out that this is the precise location where the most visible of all the hijackers in the US got his ID? Incredible. All the Bureau’s New York Office had to do was sit on that place over the years and they would have broken right into the 9/11 plot.” [137]

Before September 11, 2001Edit

In October 2001, an Iranian named Mehrzad Arbane will tell an associate that he may have smuggled two of the 9/11 hijackers into the US. The associate[who?], a known cocaine smuggler, will be so alarmed that he will become a government informant against Arbane. In 2004, Arbane will be convicted of smuggling cocaine from Latin America into the US and it will be reported he is also being investigated for money laundering and smuggling people from the Middle East into the US. It is not known which hijackers he may have smuggled into the US or when this may have taken place. [138] This runs counter to the 9/11 Commission’s claim, as expressed by one 9/11 Commission staffer, “The plotters all used their own passports to get into the country.”[139]

Before September 11, 2001Edit

It has been widely reported that the CIA never had any assets near bin Laden before 9/11. For instance, Lawrence Wright will write in his 2006 book, The Looming Tower, “The fact is that the CIA had no one inside al-Qaeda or the Taliban security that surrounded bin Laden.” [140] But author Ronald Kessler will write in a 2004 book, “Often, the CIA used operatives from Arab intelligence services like those of Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and other countries to infiltrate bin Laden’s organization.” A longtime CIA officer[who?] says, “Egyptians, Jordanians, [and] Palestinians penetrated the bin Laden organization for us. It’s B.S. that we didn’t.” Kessler further explains that such operations remain one of the CIA’s best-kept secrets and often occur even with intelligence agencies the CIA is sometimes otherwise at odds with. Kessler says, “In return for help, the CIA provided them with money, equipment, and intelligence on their adversaries. Over the years, the Jordanians, for example, relied on the CIA to alert them to plots against the king. Over time, the Jordanians became so good at the intelligence game that they were better at detecting plots than the CIA.” [141]Jack Cloonan, an FBI expert on al-Qaeda, will later say, “There were agents run into the camps. But most of them were not very well placed,” and lacked access to the inner circles.[142] One example of such an asset may be Khalil Deek, who worked closely with al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida (see 1998-December 11, 1999) and was reportedly a mole for Jordanian intelligence (see Shortly After December 11, 1999). In the months before 9/11, Jordan will warn the US that al-Qaeda is planning a major attack inside the US using aircraft (see Late Summer 2001), and Egypt will warn the CIA that al-Qaeda has 20 operatives on a mission in the US, some of them training to fly (see Late July 2001).

Before September 11, 2001Edit

In a 2007 book[which?], CIA Director George Tenet will say, “As a result of the intelligence community’s efforts, in concert with our foreign partners, by September 11, Afghanistan Wikipedia was covered in human and technical operations.” Tenet claims:

  • The CIA is working with eight separate Afghan tribal networks.
  • The CIA has “more than 100 recruited sources inside Afghanistan.”
  • Satellites are repositioned over Afghanistan.
  • Al-Qaeda training camps are systematically mapped.
  • Efforts are stepped up to closely monitor news about al-Qaeda in the media around the world.
  • “Major collection facilities” are placed on the borders of Afghanistan.
  • Other “conventional and innovative collection methods” are used to penetrate al-Qaeda worldwide.

According to Tenet, “Leadership of the FBI Wikipedia [is] given full transparency” into the CIA’s efforts. [143] Tenet has not explained how the CIA managed to miss learning about the 9/11 attacks if this is so, given that a major attack was being widely discussed in Afghanistan training camps in the months before 9/11 (see Summer 2001).

Just Before September 11 - States of things rather than eventsEdit

Just Before September 11, 2001Edit

The number of US air marshals(specially trained, plainclothes armed federal agents deployed on airliners) has shrunk from about 2,000 during the Cold War to 32 by 9/11. None are deployed on domestic flights. The number is later increased to about 2,000, but it would take about 120,000 marshals at a cost of $10 billion a year to protect all daily flights to, from, or within the US.[144]

Just Before September 11, 2001Edit

The position of Deputy Secretary for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, the Defense Department post traditionally dealing the most with counterterrorism, still has not been filled since being vacated in January 2001 when Bush became president. Aides to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld later tell the 9/11 Commission that “the new [[[Defense Department]]] team was focused on other issues” and not counterterrorism. [145]

Just Before September 11, 2001Edit

Another deputies meeting further considers policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, and makes further revisions to the National Security Presidential Directive regarding al-Qaeda.[146] By the end of the meeting, a formal, three-phase strategy is agreed upon. An envoy is to go to Afghanistan and give the Taliban another chance to expel bin Laden. If this fails, more pressure will be put on the Taliban, including more support for the Northern Alliance and other groups. If the Taliban still refuse to change, the US will try to overthrow the Taliban through more direct action. The time-frame for this strategy is about three years.[147] CIA Director Tenet is formally tasked to draw up new authorities for the covert action program envisioned, and request funding to implement it. [148]

The directive is then to be sent to National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice for approval. President Bush is apparently aware of the directive and prepared to sign it (though he hasn’t attended any of the meetings about it), but he does not sign it until October. [149] [150] [151]

Just Before September 11, 2001Edit

Newsweek will report in 2006, “The intelligence community generally agrees that the number of true A-list al-Qaeda operatives out there around the time of 9/11 was no more than about 1,000, perhaps as few as 500, most in and around Afghanistan.” [152] John Arquilla, a Special Operatives expert at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, makes a higher end estimate, claiming “there were probably 3,000 core al-Qaeda operatives” around the time of 9/11.[153] US intelligence will later conclude that about 20,000 people passed through al-Qaeda training camps from 1996 to 9/11, and many of them will keep some level of affiliation with the group. However, only about 180 operatives had pledged loyalty to bin Laden by 9/11. Counterterrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna will say, “Al-Qaeda is an elite organization that takes very few members.” [154]

Just Before September 11, 2001Edit

Just prior to 9/11, the CIA and FBI do not have enough staff working on al-Qaeda. Only 17 to 19 people are working in the FBI’s special unit focusing on bin Laden and al-Qaeda. [155] The FBI has a $4.3 billion anti-terrorism budget, but of its 27,000 employees, just 153 are devoted to terrorism analysis. [156] The FBI’s “analytic expertise has been ‘gutted’ by transfers to operational units” and only one strategic analyst is assigned full time to al-Qaeda. The FBI office in New York is very aware of the threat from bin Laden, but many branch offices remain largely unaware.[157]A senior FBI official[who?] later tells Congress that there are fewer FBI agents assigned to counterterrorism on this day than in August 1998, when the US embassy bombings in Africa made bin Laden a household name. [158] The CIA has only about 35 to 40 people assigned to their special bin Laden unit. It has five strategic analysts working full time on al-Qaeda. [159]The CIA and FBI later complain that some of these figures are misleading. [160]“Individuals in both the CIA and FBI units… reported being seriously overwhelmed by the volume of information and workload prior to September 11, 2001.”[who?] Despite numerous warnings that planes could be used as weapons, such a possibility was never studied, and a congressional report later blames lack of staff as a major reason for this. [161] Senator Patrick Leahy also notes, “Between the Department of Justice and the FBI, they had a whole task force working on finding a couple of houses of prostitution in New Orleans. They had one on al-Qaeda.” [162]

Shortly Before September 11, 2001 - in the last few weeksEdit

Shortly Before September 11, 2001Edit

Pilot Jason Dahl, who will be at the controls of United Airlines Flight 93 on 9/11, is not originally scheduled for that flight, but wants to get in extra hours so he can take time off work for his fifth wedding anniversary on September 14. [163] Therefore, some time shortly before 9/11, he trades a trip later in September in order to fly September 11. [164] Yet the week before September 11, he sends out an e-mail seeking another pilot to take his place, so he can have that day with his family.[165] Pilots on two of the other aircraft hijacked on 9/11 are also not originally scheduled to fly that day, but are booked onto those planes shortly before September 11 (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001 and Shortly Before September 11, 2001).


Shortly Before September 11, 2001Edit

The day after 9/11, Newsday will report that, according to security guard Hermina Jones, bulletproof windows and fireproof doors have recently been installed in a 22nd-floor computer command center in one of the WTC towers. Jones will claim that this was done to secure the tower from aerial attacks, though it is not clear if this is merely her post-9/11 opinion or if she had evidence to believe that was the reason for the improvement.[166]

Shortly Before September 11, 2001Edit

John Ogonowski, who will pilot American Airlines Flight 11 on 9/11, is not originally supposed to be on that flight, but is scheduled to fly it shortly before September 11. The original pilot is Walter Sorenson. But, according to the Georgetown Record, Sorenson is “disappointed when he [is] replaced by Captain John Ogonowski, who [has] seniority over Sorenson and requested to fly [on 9/11].”[167]However, other reports indicate Ogonowski is later unhappy about having to fly on September 11, and tries, unsuccessfully, to switch to another flight. [168] Pilots on two of the other aircraft hijacked on 9/11 are also not originally scheduled to fly that day, but are booked onto those planes shortly before September 11 (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001 and Shortly Before September 11, 2001).

Shortly Before September 11, 2001Edit

One of the pilots on American Airlines Flight 77 is not originally booked to be on that flight, and only accepts it shortly before September 11. American Airlines pilot Bill Cheng is originally due to fly Flight 77 on 9/11. But in late August he applies for that day off, so he can go camping. “When another pilot signed up for the slot, Mr. Cheng’s application was accepted.” Whether his replacement is Charles Burlingame, the plane’s captain, or David Charlebois, its first officer, is unstated.[169] Pilots on two of the other aircraft hijacked on 9/11 are also not originally scheduled to fly that day, but are booked onto those planes shortly before September 11 [see 15]

Shortly Before September 11, 2001Edit

Several members of Osama bin Laden’s family cross into Iran on foot shortly before the 9/11 attacks. The exact number of family members that cross at this time is unknown, although 19 of bin Laden’s relatives will soon be present in Iran: one wife, seven children, and 11 grandchildren. The children are Saad, who is 20; Ossman, 17; Mohammed, 15; Fatma, 14; Hamza, 12; Iman, 9; and Bakr, 7. They are placed under virtual house arrest in a high-security compound near Tehran, “for their own safety.” The Iranian authorities will publicly deny their presence in the country, and will attempt to cut off their communications with the outside world. Al-Qaeda operatives will also be held in Iran after 9/11 [see 16]. The whereabouts of the detained family members will remain unknown until November 2009, when they will contact another son of bin Laden, Omar Ossama, who is currently living in Qatar with his wife[who?]. The family will tell Omar they live as normal a life as possible, cooking meals, watching television, and reading. They will be allowed out only rarely for shopping trips. As a number of families are being held in the compound, some of the older siblings will be able to marry and have their own children. “The Iranian government did not know what to do with this large group of people that nobody else wanted, so they just kept them safe,” Omar Ossama will later say. [170]

Shortly Before September 11, 2001Edit

Of the five flight attendants who will be on United Airlines Flight 93 on 9/11, at least three are not originally scheduled to be on this flight, but are assigned to it late: Sandra Bradshaw picks “up Flight 93 late in the planning.” She trades flights with another attendant.[171] Wanda Green is originally scheduled to fly on September 13, but requests a change of shift due to commitments in her other job as a real estate agent. [172] Deborah Welsh usually avoids early morning flights, but agrees to trade shifts with another worker. [173] The pilot, Jason Dahl, is also not originally meant to be on Flight 93 on September 11, but trades a trip later in the month in order to fly on that day (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001). And at least 16 of the passengers[who?] on Flight 93 only book onto it at a late date (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001-Early Morning September 11, 2001). Many of the flight attendants who will be on the other three hijacked planes are also only assigned to those flights shortly before 9/11 (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001-Early Morning September 11, 2001, Shortly Before September 11, 2001, and Shortly Before September 11, 2001-Early Morning September 11, 2001).

Shortly Before September 11, 2001Edit

At least four of the seven flight attendants who will be on United Airlines Flight 175 on 9/11 are not originally supposed to take this flight, and are only assigned to be on it shortly before September 11: Amy Jarret will be on Flight 175 because she switches shifts with one of the original attendants, Elaine Lawrence. [174] Robert Fangman takes the place of attendant Elise O’Kane, who accidentally enters an incorrect code into the computer when signing up for flights, and is instead scheduled for flights to Denver during September 2001.[175] Lauren Gurskis reschedules herself to a September 12 flight so she can drive her son to his first day of kindergarten. Kathryn Laborie is most likely the attendant who takes her place. [176] Barbara McFarland swaps shifts with another attendant so she can spend an extra day with her son. The attendant that replaces her is unstated. [177] Many of the flight attendants who will be on the other three hijacked planes are also only assigned to those flights shortly before 9/11 (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001-Early Morning September 11, 2001, Shortly Before September 11, 2001-Early Morning September 11, 2001, and Shortly Before September 11, 2001).

Shortly Before September 11, 2001Edit

According to a 2007 book[which?] by former CIA Director George Tenet, shortly before 9/11, the CIA learns that a Pakistani charity front has been helping al-Qaeda acquire weapons of mass destruction. The charity, Ummah Tameer-e-Nau (UTN), was founded in 2000 by two prominent nuclear scientists, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Chaudiri Abdul Majeed (see 2000). UTN allegedly is conducting charitable projects in Afghanistan, but a friendly intelligence service tells the CIA that UTN is really helping al-Qaeda build weapons, especially nuclear weapons. Tenet will claim that he presses “all of our contacts worldwide to find out anything we could about the people and organizations with WMD that might be wiling to share expertise with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.” Ben Bonk, deputy chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center (CTC), meets with Musa Kusa, head of Libya’s intelligence service, and Kusa tells him that Libya had contact with UTN. “Yes, they tried to sell us a nuclear weapon. Of course, we turned them down.” According to Tenet, this confirms other information from a different intelligence agency that UTN approached Libya with an offer to provide WMD expertise. The CIA then informs the Pakistani government of this, and Pakistan brings in seven board members of UTN for questioning. But according to Tenet, “The investigation was ill-fated from the get-go” and the UTN officials “were not properly isolated and questioned.” [178] Also shortly before 9/11, the CIA also learns that the two nuclear scientists who founded UTN had recently met with Osama bin Laden and advised him on how to make a nuclear weapon (see shortly Before September 11, 2001). But despite all this the US takes no other action against UTN before 9/11, not even freezing the assets of the charity until December 2001 (see Early October-December 2001).

Shortly Before September 11, 2001Edit

In October 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell visits Pakistan and tells Pakistani officials that, shortly before 9/11, the CIA learned two prominent Pakistani nuclear scientists had met with al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri in mid-August 2001 [see 17]. In the meeting, the two scientists, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Chaudiri Abdul Majeed, discussed helping al-Qaeda make a nuclear weapon [see 18]. [179] In a 2007 book, former CIA Director George Tenet will confirm that the CIA learned of this prior to 9/11. He will write,

"A Western intelligence service came to us in the fall of 2001 [with details of the meeting]… [The] CIA pressed the Pakistanis to confront Mahmood and Majeed with this new information. We put [evidence that a charity named Ummah Tameer-e-Nau run by Mahmood and Majeed tried to sell Libya a nuclear weapon] on the table. We also passed new information that had been collected by other intelligence services. To no avail. Then 9/11 struck, and there was no slowing down in this pursuit.”[180]


But no evidence will come forward that President Bush or other top US officials were warned of this, or that there were any general warnings inside the US government about this. Pakistan is not successfully pressured about it before 9/11 (in fact, the Pakistani ISI already knew about it and failed to warn the US [see 19], and after 9/11 the only action Pakistan will take is to twice arrest and then quickly release the two scientists. Authors Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark will comment in a 2007 book[which?] that “This information, added to the missing canisters of highly enriched uranium [in Pakistan], might have been sufficient to redirect” top Bush officials to take sterner action against al-Qaeda before 9/11.[181]

Shortly Before September 11-Early Morning September 11=Edit

Shortly Before September 11, 2001-Early Morning September 11, 2001Edit

At least two of the four flight attendants who will be on American Airlines Flight 77 on 9/11 are not originally scheduled to be on this plane, and are only assigned to it shortly before—or early in the morning of—September 11: Michele Heidenberger regularly flies from Reagan National Airport to Dallas. But she will tell a colleague she is working Flight 77 on 9/11 as she is building up vacation time so she can go to Italy in October.[182] Renee May is assigned to Flight 77 early in the morning of 9/11. Before she is offered the flight, American Airlines asks another attendant, Lena Brown, to take it, but Brown says she is unable to get to the airport in time. [183] One of the pilots—either Charles Burlingame or David Charlebois—is also not originally scheduled to be on Flight 77 on September 11, and only accepts the flight shortly before then (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001). [184] Many of the flight attendants who will be on the other three hijacked planes are also only assigned to those flights shortly before 9/11 (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001-Early Morning September 11, 2001, Shortly Before September 11, 2001, and Shortly Before September 11, 2001).

Shortly Before September 11, 2001-Early Morning September 11, 2001Edit

At least four of the nine flight attendants who will be on American Airlines Flight 11 on 9/11 are not originally scheduled to be on this flight, but are assgned to it shortly before September 11 or early in the morning of 9/11: Jeffrey Collman does not “normally work the Boston-to-Los Angeles route but [makes] an exception to get vacation time at the end of the month.” [185] Barbara “Bobbi” Arestegui accepts extra shifts as she is saving up her earned vacation time.[186] Jean Roger is on a “standby” work list in September 2001. Someone calls in sick the morning of 9/11 and she takes their place. [187] Sara Low is “not originally scheduled to work” Flight 11.[188] John Ogonowski, the plane’s pilot, is also not originally scheduled to be on Flight 11, but requests to fly it shortly before September 11 (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001). [189] Many of the flight attendants on the other three hijacked planes are also only assigned to those flights shortly before 9/11 (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001, Shortly Before September 11, 2001-Early Morning September 11, 2001, and Shortly Before September 11, 2001).


Shortly Before September 11, 2001-Early Morning September 11, 2001Edit

Of the 33 passengers (excluding the four hijackers) who are on board Flight 93 on September 11, at least 16 are not originally booked on this flight, but arrange to be on it very shortly before 9/11, or—in some cases—on the morning of 9/11 itself: Environmental lawyer Alan Beaven arranges to take Flight 93 to San Francisco the day before 9/11, as he is duty-bound to go there to help settle a case after talks have just broken down. [190] Todd Beamer would normally have flown the night of September 10, as he has a business meeting scheduled for later in the day of 9/11. But he delays his flight, as he wants some time with his children after returning from a trip to Italy. [191] He usually flies Continental Airlines, but chooses United to save his company money.[192] Edward Felt also usually flies Continental Airlines, but books himself onto Flight 93 at the last minute after his company gives him short notice of a meeting he needs to attend in San Francisco. [193] Mark Bingham should be flying on September 10, but delays his flight as he has a hangover after a friend’s birthday party. [194] Deora Bodley is originally scheduled to fly from Newark to San Francisco on September 11 on United Airlines Flight 91. [195] She decides on the night of September 10 to switch to Flight 93, as its departure time is more than an hour earlier.[196] Lauren Grandcolas is booked on Flight 91, but on September 11 arrives early at the airport and switches to Flight 93.[197] Husband and wife Donald and Jean Peterson are booked on Flight 91, but also arrive early and switch to Flight 93. [198] Christine Snyder calls the airport early in the morning of September 11 and transfers from Flight 91 to Flight 93 for an earlier start.[199] Tom Burnett is scheduled for a later flight, but switches to Flight 93 to get home earlier. [200] According to journalist and author Jere Longman, he too is originally booked on Flight 91. [201] But the San Francisco Chronicle says he is originally booked on a Delta Airlines flight in the afternoon of 9/11. [SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 9/17/2001] Georgine Corrigan switches flights when she checks in at the airport early in the morning of 9/11, so as to get home sooner; her original plane would make two stops on the way to San Francisco, but Flight 93 is non-stop. [202] Jeremy Glick should be on a flight the night of September 10. According to some accounts there are problems due to a fire at Newark Airport. [203] The flight is rerouted to JFK Airport in New York and is due to arrive in California at 3:00 a.m., which does not suit Glick.[204] But according to Newsweek, Glick is originally due to take Flight 93 on September 10, but misses it after getting stuck in traffic on the way to the airport.[205] Nicole Miller’s original flight the night of September 10 is canceled due to a thunderstorm. [206] She is then unable to get a seat on the same flight as her close friend Ryan Brown, as this is full, so takes Flight 93 instead. [TOPEKA CAPITAL-JOURNAL, 10/20/2002; MSNBC, 9/11/2006] Toy-company executive Lou Nacke is called by his boss the evening of September 10 and told to take the first plane to San Francisco, in order to help a customer.[207] In the few days prior to September 11, sisters-in-law Patricia Cushing and Jane Folger move forward the time of their flight.[208] Flight 93’s pilot is not originally meant to be flying on September 11 (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001), and at least three of the flight attendants[which?] are also assigned to Flight 93 at a late date (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001). The 37 passengers (including the four hijackers) that are on board constitute just 20 percent of the plane’s passenger capacity of 182.[209]

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  209. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 36 ]

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