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UQ Wire: Major Update To The Complete 911 Timeline

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Notes On The Latest Complete 9/11 Timeline
Update


by Paul Thompson.
FROM: http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline/updates/update18.html

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NOTES: The most recent update to the timeline was made on January 30, 2004 (and is included in full below). On the same date, a fascinating video dealing with an important unheeded warning of the 9/11 attacks was also posted.

To view the video click here…
http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline/main/Glass-Graham.html

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The 9/11 Timeline is finally being updated after far too many months. A move to New Zealand and other activities have kept me busy, but now we're back and better than ever. We are currently in the middle of importing the timeline into a database. It will still look the same, but give you the user much greater ability and flexibility to search through it.

That should be coming within weeks, as well as a fix to all the broken external article links. There will also be many more updates soon to cover all of the news in the past months. In the meantime, this update focuses on the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry's report from May 2003. The most important information coming out of that in my opinion has to do with the revelation that the hijackers had many associates while living in the US. The FBI and CIA had previously adamantly claimed the hijackers were "loners" with no associates in the US whatsoever. It turns out that many of these associates were already under investigation by the FBI, and that quite a few have ties with the Saudi Arabian government.

This update is divided into three thematic parts. (Since this is a mix of new and updated entries, new entries are marked "NEW" at the beginning.) For the sections on the Phoenix Memo and hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, nearly every single entry relating to these topics has been updated, so reading this will give you the complete stories. For the other section on associates of the hijackers in Germany, these entries are but a small part of that story. But for all three sections, we learn the many failures to stop the hijackers were much worse than previously reported.

These new entries have been inputted into the chronologically organized timeline pages but not the other thematic sections of the timeline, because all of those pages will be changing significantly when our new database system goes into effect.

THE PHOENIX MEMO

NEW 1994 (C): The Phoenix FBI office uncovers startling evidence connecting Arizona to radical Muslim terrorists. The office videotapes two men trying to recruit a Phoenix FBI informant to be a suicide bomber. One of the men is linked to terrorist leader Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman (see July 1990). [Los Angeles Times, 5/26/02, New York Times, 6/19/02] In 1998, the office's international terrorism squad investigates a possible Middle Eastern extremist taking flight lessons at a Phoenix airport. By 1990, Arizona has become one of the main centers in the US for radical Muslims and remains so. But terrorism remains a low priority for the office. Meanwhile, hijacker Hani Hanjour moves to Arizona for the first time around 1990 (see 1990) and spends much of the next decade in the state. The FBI apparently remains oblivious about Hanjour, though one FBI informant claims that by 1998 they "knew everything about the guy" (see 1998 (F)). [New York Times, 6/19/02] FBI agent Ken Williams later investigates the possibility of terrorists learning to fly aircraft (see April 17, 2000 and July 10, 2001), but he has no easy way to query a central FBI database about similar cases. As a result of this and other FBI communication problems, he remains unaware of most US intelligence reports about the potential use of airplanes as weapons, as well as other, specific FBI warnings about terrorists training at US flight schools (see May 18, 1998, After May 15, 1998, 1999 (L), and September 1999 (E)). [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

NEW 1997-July 2001: Hijacker Hani Hanjour begins associating with an unnamed individual who is later mentioned in FBI agent Ken Williams' famous flight school memo (see July 10, 2001). Hanjour and this person train at flight schools in Arizona. Several flight instructors later note the two were associates and may have carpooled together. They are known to share the same airplane on one occasion in 1999, and are at the school together on other occasions. This individual leaves the US in April 2000. In May 2001, the FBI attempts to investigate this person, but after finding out the person is out of the country the decision is made to not open a formal investigation. The name of this person is not placed on a watch list, so the FBI is unaware that the person returns in June and stays in the US for another month. By this time, this person is an experienced flight instructor who is certified to fly Boeing 737s. The FBI speculates the person may return to evaluate Hanjour's flying skills or provide final training before 9/11. There is considerable circumstantial evidence placing this person near Hanjour during this month. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

1998 (F): - An American Muslim named Aukai Collins later says he reports to the FBI about hijacker Hani Hanjour for six months this year. [AP, 5/24/02] The FBI later acknowledges they paid Collins to monitor the Islamic and Arab communities in Phoenix between 1996 and 1999. [AP, 5/24/02, ABC News, 5/23/02] Collins claims that he is a casual acquaintance of hijacker Hani Hanjour while Hanjour is taking flying lessons. - [AP, 5/24/02] Collins sees nothing suspicious about Hanjour as an individual, but he tells the FBI about him because Hanjour appears to be part of a larger, organized group of Arabs taking flying lessons. [Fox News, 5/24/02] He says the FBI "knew everything about the guy," including his exact address, phone number and even what car he drove. The FBI denies Collins told them anything about Hanjour, and denies knowing about Hanjour before 9/11. - [ABC News, 5/23/02] Collins later calls Hanjour a "hanky panky" hijacker: "He wasn't even moderately religious, let alone fanatically religious. And I knew for a fact that he wasn't part of al-Qaeda or any other Islamic organization; he couldn't even spell jihad in Arabic." [My Jihad: The True Story of an American Mujahid's Amazing Journey from Usama Bin Laden's Training Camps to Counterterrorism with the FBI and CIA, Aukai Collins, 6/02, p. 248]

May 18, 1998: An FBI pilot sends his supervisor in the Oklahoma City FBI office a memo warning that he has observed "large numbers of Middle Eastern males receiving flight training at Oklahoma airports in recent months." The memo, titled "Weapons of Mass Destruction," further states this "may be related to planned terrorist activity" and speculates that "light planes would be an ideal means of spreading chemicals or biological agents." The memo doesn't call for an investigation, and none is done. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B), NewsOK, 5/29/02, see the memo here] The memo is "sent to the bureau's Weapons of Mass Destruction unit and forgotten." [New York Daily News, 9/25/02] In 1999 it is learned that an al-Qaeda agent had studied flight training in Norman, Oklahoma (see September 1999 (E)). Hijackers Atta and Marwan Alshehhi briefly visit the same school in 2000; Zacarias Moussaoui does study at the school in 2001 (see February 23, 2001 and August 23, 2001 (E)).

After May 15, 1998: At some point in 1998 after an Oklahoma City FBI office warning about possible terrorists training at US flight schools (see May 18, 1998), the FBI receives reports that a terrorist organization might be planning to bring students to the US for flight training. [New York Daily News, 9/25/02] The FBI is aware that people connected to this unnamed organization had performed surveillance and security tests at airports in the US and had made comments suggesting an intention to target civil aviation. Apparently this warning is not shared with other FBI offices or the FAA, and a connection with the Oklahoma warning is not made; a similar warning follows in 1999 (see 1999 (L)). [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)]

1999 (L): The FBI receive reports that a terrorist organization is planning to send students to the US for aviation training. The organization's name remains classified, but apparently it is a different organization than one mentioned in a very similar warning the year before (see After May 15, 1998). The purpose of this training is unknown, but the organization views the plan as "particularly important" and has reportedly approved open-ended funding for it. The Counterterrorism Section at FBI headquarters instructs 24 field offices to pay close attention to Islamic students from the target country engaged in aviation training. Ken Williams at the Phoenix FBI office will later write a memo on this very topic (see July 10, 2001), and his squad receives this notice. Williams, however, doesn't recall reading it. The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry later concludes, "There is no indication that field offices conducted any investigation after receiving the communication." [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)] However, an analyst at FBI headquarters conducts a study and determines that each year there are about 600 Middle Eastern students attending the slightly over 1,000 US flight schools. [New York Times, 5/4/02, Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)] In November 2000 a notice is sent out telling field offices that no information about the terrorist group recruiting students had been uncovered. Apparently Williams doesn't see this notice either. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)]

September 1999 (E): Agents from Oklahoma City FBI office visit the Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma to investigate Ihab Ali, who has already been identified as bin Laden's former personal pilot. Ali attended the school in 1993 and is later named as an unindicted coconspirator in the 1998 US Embassy bombing in Kenya. [CNN, 10/16/01, Boston Globe, 9/18/01, Senate Intelligence Committee, 10/17/02] When Ali was arrested in May 1999, he was working as a taxi driver in Orlando, Florida. Investigators discover recent ties between him and high ranking al-Qaeda leaders, and suspect he was a "sleeper" agent. [St. Petersburg Times, 10/28/01] However, the agent visiting the school is not given most background details about him. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)] it's not known if these investigators are aware of a terrorist flight school warning given by the Oklahoma City FBI office in 1998 (see May 18, 1998). Hijackers Atta and Marwan Alshehhi later visit the Airman school in July 2000 but ultimately decide to train in Florida instead. [Boston Globe, 9/18/01] Al-Qaeda agent Zacarias Moussaoui takes flight lessons at Airman in 2001 (see February 23, 2001). One of the FBI agents sent to visit the school at this time visits it again in August 2001 asking about Moussaoui, but he fails to make a connection between the two visits (see August 23, 2001 (E)).

April 17, 2000: Arizona FBI agent Ken Williams, who later becomes famous for writing a memo correctly diagnosing al-Qaeda's use of US flight schools to train hijackers (see July 10, 2001), gets a tip that makes him suspicious that some flight students might be terrorists. [New York Times, 6/19/02] It appears that flight school student Zacaria Sourba is seen at a shooting range with a known jihad veteran. [Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01 (C)] On this day, he starts a formal investigation into Sourba. [Arizona Republic, 7/24/03] Sourba is the main focus of Williams' later memo. But Williams' work is greatly slowed because of internal politics and personal disputes. When he finally returns to this case in December 2000, he and all the other agents on the international-terrorism squad are diverted to work on a high-profile arson case. Says James Hauswirth, another Arizona agent, "[Williams] fought it. Why take your best terrorism investigator and put him on an arson case? He didn't have a choice." The arson case is finally solved in June 2001 and Williams once again returns to the issue of terrorist flight school students. His memo comes out one month later instead of some time in 2000. Hauswirth writes a letter to FBI Director Mueller in late 2001, complaining, "[Terrorism] has always been the lowest priority in the division; it still is the lowest priority in the division." Others concur that terrorism cases were a low priority in the Arizona FBI. [Los Angeles Times, 5/26/02, New York Times, 6/19/02]

January-February 2001: NOTE: was January 2001: In January, the Arizona flight school JetTech alerts the FAA about hijacker Hani Hanjour. No one at the school suspects Hanjour of terrorist intent, but they tell the FAA he lacks both the English and flying skills necessary for the commercial pilot's license he has. The flight school manager: "I couldn't believe he had a commercial license of any kind with the skills that he had." A former employee says, "I'm still to this day amazed that he could have flown into the Pentagon. He could not fly at all." They also note he is an exceptionally poor student who doesn't seem to care about passing his courses. [New York Times, 5/4/02 (B)] An FAA official named John Anthony actually sits next to Hanjour in class and observes his skills. He suggests the use of a translator to help Hanjour pass, but the flight school points out that that goes "against the rules that require a pilot to be able to write and speak English fluently before they even get their license." [AP, 5/10/02] The FAA verifies that Hanjour's pilot's license is legitimate, but takes no other action. But since 9/11, the FBI appears to have questions about how Hanjour got his license in 1999. They have questioned and polygraphed the Arab American instructor who signed off on his flying skills. [CBS, 5/10/02] His license also in fact had already expired in late 1999. [AP, 9/15/01 (B)] In February, Hanjour begins advanced simulator training, "a far more complicated task than he had faced in earning a commercial license." [New York Times, 6/19/02] The flight school again alerts the FAA about this and gives a total of five alerts about Hanjour, but no further action on him is taken. The FBI is not told about Hanjour. [CBS, 5/10/02] Ironically, a few months later, Arizona FBI agent Ken Williams recommends in a memo that the FBI liaison with local flight schools and keep track of suspicious activity by Middle Eastern students (see July 10, 2001).

February 23, 2001: Al-Qaeda agent Zacarias Moussaoui flies to the US. Three days later he starts flight training at the Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma. The school and the area had a history of training terrorist pilots (see May 18, 1998 and September 1999 (E)). He trains there until May, but doesn't do well and drops out before getting a pilot's license. His visa expires on May 22, but he doesn't attempt to renew it or get another one. He stays in Norman, making arrangements to change flight schools, and frequently exercising in a gym. [Senate Intelligence Committee, 10/17/02, MSNBC, 12/11/01] According to US investigators, would-be hijacker Ramzi bin al-Shibh (see November 20, 2002) later says he meets Moussaoui in Karachi (Pakistan) in June 2001. [Washington Post, 11/20/02] Moussaoui moves to a flight school in Minnesota in August (see August 13-15, 2001) and is arrested by the FBI a short time later (see August 15, 2001). [Senate Intelligence Committee, 10/17/02, MSNBC, 12/11/01]

July 10, 2001: Phoenix, Arizona FBI agent Ken Williams sends a memorandum warning about suspicious activities involving a group of Middle Eastern men taking flight training lessons in Arizona. - The memo is titled: "Zakaria Mustapha Soubra; IT-OTHER (Islamic Army of the Caucasus)," because it focuses on Zakaria Soubra, a Lebanese flight student in Prescott, Arizona, and his connection with a terror group in Chechnya that has ties to al-Qaeda. It is subtitled: "Osama bin Laden and Al-Muhjiroun supporters attending civil aviation universities/colleges in Arizona." [Fortune, 5/22/02, Arizona Republic, 7/24/03] The memo is based on an investigation Williams had begun the year before (see April 17, 2000), but had trouble pursuing because of the low priority the Arizona FBI office gave terror investigations (see 1994 (C)). In the memo, Williams does the following:

1) Names nine other suspect students from Pakistan, India, Kenya, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, in addition to Soubra. [Die Zeit, 10/1/02] Hijacker Hani Hanjour, attending flight school in Arizona in early 2001, is not mentioned in the memo, but one of his acquaintances is (see 1997-July 2001). Another person on the list is later arrested in Pakistan in 2002 with al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida (see March 28, 2002). [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03, Washington Post, 7/25/03 (C)]

2) Notes he interviewed some of these students, and heard some of them make hostile comments about the US. He also noticed they were suspiciously well informed about security measures at US airports. [Die Zeit, 10/1/02]

3) Notes an increasing, "inordinate number of individuals of investigative interest" taking flight lessons in Arizona. [Die Zeit, 10/1/02, Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

4) Suspects that some of the 10 people he's investigated are connected to al-Qaeda. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] He discovered that one of them was communicating through an intermediary with Abu Zubaida. [San Jose Mercury News, 5/23/02] Potentially this is the same member of the list mentioned above who is later captured with Abu Zubaida.

5) Discovers connections between several of the students and a radical group called Al-Muhajiroun. [San Jose Mercury News, 5/23/02] This group supported bin Laden, and issued a fatwa, or call to arms, that included airports on a list of acceptable terror targets. [AP, 5/22/02] Soubra, the main focus of the memo, is a member of Al-Muhajiroun and an outspoken radical, but he is later cleared of any ties to terrorism. [Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01 (C)]

6) Warns of a possible "effort by Osama bin Laden to send students to the US to attend civil aviation universities and colleges" [Fortune, 5/22/02], so they can later hijack aircraft. [Die Zeit, 10/1/02]

7) Recommends, "The FBI should accumulate a listing of civil aviation universities/colleges around the country. FBI field offices with these types of schools in their area should establish appropriate liaison. FBI [headquarters] should discuss this matter with other elements of the US intelligence community and task the community for any information that supports Phoenix's suspicions." [Arizona Republic, 7/24/03] In fact, the FBI has already done this, but because of poor FBI communications, Williams is not aware of the report (see 1999 (L)).

8) Recommends the FBI ask the State Department to provide visa data on flight school students from Middle Eastern countries so the bureau can track them more easily. [New York Times, 5/4/02]

The memo is e-mailed to six people at FBI headquarters in the bin Laden and radical fundamentalist units, and to two people in the FBI New York field office. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] He also shares some concerns with the CIA. [San Jose Mercury News, 5/23/02] But the memo is merely marked "routine," not "urgent." It is generally ignored, not shared with other FBI offices, and the recommendations are not taken. One colleague in New York replies at the time that the memo is "speculative and not very significant." [Die Zeit, 10/1/02, Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Williams also was unaware of many FBI investigations and leads that could have given weight to his memo (see 1998 (F), May 18, 1998, After May 15, 1998, 1999 (L), September 1999 (E), January-February 2001). Authorities later claim Williams was only pursuing a hunch, but one familiar with classified information says, "This was not a vague hunch. He was doing a case on these guys." [San Jose Mercury News, 5/23/02]

August 23, 2001 (E): Two agents from the Oklahoma City FBI office visit Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma, to learn about al-Qaeda agent Zacarias Moussaoui's training there earlier in the year (see February 23, 2001). One of these agents had visited the same school in September 1999 to learn more about Ihab Ali, an al-Qaeda agent who trained there in 1993 (see September 1999 (E)). Apparently this agent forgets the connection when he visits the school to look into Moussaoui. He later admits he should have connected the two cases. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B), Boston Globe, 9/18/01] The staff director of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry later states, "No one will ever know whether a greater focus on the connection between these events would have led to the unraveling of the Sept. 11 plot." [New York Daily News, 9/25/02] The Oklahoma City office also doesn't connect Moussaoui to a memo that had come from its office in 1998 warning that "large numbers of Middle Eastern males" were receiving flight training in Oklahoma and could be planning terrorist attacks (see May 18, 1998). Furthermore, Moussaoui's roommate Hussein Attas is also under suspicion with him at this time. The person who attempted to post bond for Attas had previously been the subject of an extensive investigation by the same Oklahoma City FBI office. That person had numerous terror ties, and was involved in recruiting for a Palestinian terror group. This connection is also not noticed. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)]

HIJACKER ASSOCIATES IN GERMANY

March 1997: An investigation of al-Qaeda contacts in Hamburg by the Constitutional Protection Agency, Germany's domestic intelligence service, begins at least by this time (Germany won't give details). [New York Times, 1/18/03] Telephone intercepts show that a German investigation into Mohammed Haydar Zammar (see November 1, 1998-February 2001 and October 27, 2001) is taking place this month. It is later believed that Zammar, a German of Syrian origin, is a part of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. [Los Angeles Times, 1/14/03] He supposedly later claims he recruited Atta and others into the cell. [Washington Post, 6/19/02] A decade earlier, Germany authorities already identified Zammar as a militant. [New York Times, 1/18/03] From 1995-2000, he makes frequent trips to Afghanistan. [New York Times, 1/18/03, Stern, 8/13/03] German intelligence is aware that he was personally invited to Afghanistan by bin Laden. [FAZ, 2/2/03] Spanish investigators later say Zammar is a longtime associate of Barakat Yarkas, the alleged boss of the al-Qaeda cell in Madrid, Spain (see August 27, 2001). In 1998, Germany is given more evidence of his terror ties, and surveillance intensifies. He is periodically trailed, and all his calls are recorded (see Summer 1999). [Stern, 8/13/03] Its not clear if or when the investigation ends, but it continues until at least September 1999 (see September 21, 1999). [AP, 6/22/02]

August 1998: A German inquiry into Mounir El Motassadeq, an alleged member of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell with Mohamed Atta, begins by this time. Though Germany won't reveal details, documents show that by this month Motassadeq is under surveillance. "The trail soon [leads] to most of the main [Hamburg] participants" in 9/11. On this date, surveillance records Motassadeq and Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who had already been identified by police as a suspected extremist (see March 1997), as they meet at the Hamburg home of Said Bahaji, who is also under surveillance that same year. (Bahaji will soon move into an apartment with Atta and other al-Qaeda members, see November 1, 1998-February 2001.) German police monitor several other meetings between the Motassadeq and Zammar in the following months. [New York Times, 1/18/03] Motassadeq is later convicted in Germany for participation in the 9/11 attacks (see August 29, 2002).

September 20, 1998: Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, an al-Qaeda terrorist from the United Arab Emirates connected to the 1998 US embassy bombings (see August 7, 1998), is arrested near Munich, Germany. [PBS Newshour, 9/30/98] In retrospect, it appears he was making one of many visits to the al-Qaeda cells in Germany. [The Base, Jane Corbin, 8/02, p. 147] US investigators later call him bin Laden's "right hand man." [New York Times, 9/29/01] However, the FBI is unwilling to brief their German counterparts on what they know about Salim and al-Qaeda, despite learning much that could have been useful as part of their investigation into the US embassy bombings. [The Base, Jane Corbin, 8/02, pp. 148-149] By the end of the year, German investigators learn that Salim had a Hamburg bank account. [New York Times, 9/29/01] The cosignatory on the account is businessman Mamoun Darkazanli (see September 24, 2001), whose home number had been programmed into Salim's cell phone. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02] US intelligence had first investigated Darkazanli in 1993, when a suspect was found with his telephone number. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] German authorities had begun to suspect Darkazanli of terrorist money laundering in 1996. Wadih El-Hage, a former personal secretary to bin Laden, is also arrested in the wake of the embassy bombings. El-Hage had created a number of shell companies as fronts for al-Qaeda terrorist activities, and one of these uses the address of Darkazanli's apartment. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02] Darkazanli's phone number and Deutschebank account number are also found in El-Hage's address book. [CNN, 10/16/01] The FBI also discovers Darkazanli had power of attorney over a bank account of Hajer, a person on al-Qaeda's supreme council. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Based on these new connections, investigators ask a federal prosecutor for permission to open a formal investigation against Darkazanli. An investigation begins, at the insistence of the US, though Germany has claimed the request for the investigation was rejected (see December 1999). [AFP, 10/28/01, New York Times, 1/18/03] German investigators also learn of a connection between Salim and Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who is already identified by police as a suspected extremist (see March 1997). [AP, 6/22/02, New York Times, 1/18/03]

NEW January 31, 1999: German intelligence is tapping the telephone of al-Qaeda terrorist Mohammed Haydar Zammar (see March 1997 and September 21, 1999), and on this date Zammar gets a call from a "Marwan." This is later found to be hijacker Marwan Alshehhi. Marwan talks about mundane things, like his studies in Bonn, Germany, and promises to come to Hamburg in a few months. German investigators trace the telephone number and determine the call came from a mobile phone registered in the United Arab Emirates. In March, German intelligence tells the CIA about this Marwan and the phone call, saying that he's been in contact with Zammar and Mamoun Darkazanli, who is also under investigation (see September 20, 1998 and December 1999). He is described as a United Arab Emirates student who has spent some time studying in Germany. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03, Stern, 8/13/03, Deutche Presse-Agenteur, 8/13/03] It is not known what the CIA does with this information, or if they're informed about other calls between Alshehhi and Zammar (see September 21, 1999), but the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry implies that the CIA never learns Alshehhi's last name. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

February 17, 1999: German intelligence is periodically tapping suspected al-Qaeda terrorist Mohammed Haydar Zammar's telephone (see March 1997, January 31, 1999, and September 21, 1999), and on this day investigators hear a caller being told Zammar is at a meeting with "Mohamed, Ramzi, and Said," and could be reached at the phone number of the Marienstrasse apartment where all three of them live. This refers to Mohamed Atta, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and Said Bahaji, all members of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. But apparently the German police fail to grasp its importance of these names, even though Said Bahaji is also under investigation (see November 1, 1998-February 2001). [AP, 6/22/02, New York Times, 1/18/03] Atta's last name is given as well. Agents check the phone number and confirm the street address, but it isn't known what they make of the information. [Der Spiegel, 2/3/03]

NEW Summer 1999: Around this time, US intelligence notes that a man in Hamburg, Germany named Mohammed Haydar Zammar is in direct contact with one of bin Laden's senior operational coordinators. Zammar is an al-Qaeda recruiter with links to Mohammed Atta and the rest of the Hamburg terror cell (see March 1997, January 31, 1999, February 17, 1999, and September 21, 1999). The US had noted Zammar's terror links on "numerous occasions" before 9/11. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] But apparently the US does not share their information on Zammar with German intelligence. Instead, the Germans are given evidence from Turkey that Zammar is running a travel agency as a terror front in Hamburg. In 1998, they get information from Italy confirming he is a real terrorist. But his behavior is so suspicious, they've already started closely monitoring him. [Stern, 8/13/03, Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

September 21, 1999: German intelligence is periodically tapping suspected al-Qaeda terrorist Mohammed Haydar Zammar's telephone (see also March 1997 and February 17, 1999), and on this day investigators hear Zammar call hijacker Marwan Alshehhi. Officials initially claim that the call also mentions hijacker Mohamed Atta, but only his first name. [Telegraph, 11/24/01, New York Times, 1/18/03] But in fact, his full name, "Mohammed Atta Al Amir," is mentioned in this call and in another recorded call. [FAZ, 2/2/03] Alshehhi makes veiled references to plans to travel to Afghanistan. He also hands the phone over to Said Bahaji (another member of the Hamburg cell under investigation at the time November 1, 1998-February 2001), so he can talk to Zammar. [Stern, 8/13/03] German investigators still don't know Alshehhi's full name, but they recognize this Marwan also called Zammar earlier in the year, and they told the CIA about that call (see January 31, 1999). Alshehhi, living in the United Arab Emirates at the time, calls Zammar frequently. German intelligence asks the United Arab Emirates to identify the number and the caller, but the request is not answered. [Der Spiegel, 2/3/03]

December 1999: The CIA begins "persistent" efforts to recruit German businessman Mamoun Darkazanli (see September 24, 2001) as an informer. Darkazanli knows Atta and the other members of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. US and German intelligence had previously opened investigations into Darkazanli (see September 20, 1998). Agents occasionally followed him, but Darkazanli obviously noticed the trail on him at least once. More costly and time-consuming electronic surveillance is not done however, and by the end of 1999 the investigation has produced little of value. German law does not allow foreign governments to have informants in Germany. So this month, Thomas Volz, the undercover CIA representative in Hamburg appears at the headquarters of the Hamburg state domestic intelligence agency, the LFV, responsible for tracking terrorists and domestic extremists. He tells them the CIA believes Darkazanli had knowledge of an unspecified terrorist plot and encourages that he be "turned" against his al-Qaeda comrades. A source later recalls he says, "Darkazanli knows a lot." Efforts to recruit him continue the next year (see Spring 2000). The CIA has not admitted this interest in Darkazanli. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02, Stern, 8/13/03]

Spring 2000: German investigators finally agree to the CIA's idea of recruiting businessman Mamoun Darkazanli as an informer (see September 20, 1998, December 1999 and September 24, 2001). An agent of the LFV, the Hamburg state intelligence agency, casually approaches Darkazanli and asks him whether he is interested in becoming a spy. Darkazanli replies that he is just a businessman who knows nothing about al-Qaeda or terrorism. The Germans inform the local CIA representative that the approach failed. The CIA agent refuses to admit defeat. But when German agents ask for more information to show Darkazanli they know of his terrorist ties, the CIA fails to give any information. As it happened, at the end of January 2000, Darkazanli had just met with terrorist Barakat Yarkas in Madrid, Spain. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02] Darkazanli is a longtime friend and business partner of Yarkas, the most prominent al-Qaeda agent in Spain. [Los Angeles Times, 1/14/03] The meeting included other suspected al-Qaeda figures, and was monitored by Spanish police. If the CIA was aware of the Madrid meeting, they don't tell the Germans. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02] The CIA had also begun surveillance of Atta in January 2000, but they keep all knowledge of that investigation secret from the Germans (see January-May 2000). A second LFV attempt to recruit Darkazanli also fails. The CIA then attempts to work with federal German intelligence officials in Berlin to "turn" Darkazanli. Results of that effort aren't known. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02]

May 22, 2000: By early 2000, German intelligence monitoring al-Qaeda suspect Mohammed Haydar Zammar (see March 1997 and September 21, 1999) notice that Mounir El Motassadeq and Said Bahaji regularly meet with Zammar. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] In March 2000, Germany's internal intelligence service places Motassadeq and Bahaji on a border patrol watch list. The two are members of al-Qaeda's Hamburg cell with Mohamed Atta and others. Their international arrivals and departures are to be reported immediately. On this day, Motassadeq flies to Istanbul, Turkey, and from there goes to an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the border patrol only notes his destination of Istanbul. Bahaji doesn't travel, and when he finally does shortly before 9/11, it isn't noted (see September 3-5, 2001). [Der Spiegel, 2/3/03]

HIJACKERS NAWAF ALHAZMI, KHALID ALMIHDHAR AND THEIR ASSOCIATES

NEW August 1994: A Saudi named Omar al-Bayoumi arrives in San Diego. He will later become well known for his suspicious connections to both some 9/11 hijackers and the Saudi government (see December 4, 1999, Early February 2000, and November 22, 2002). Acquaintances in San Diego long suspect he is a Saudi government spy, reporting on the activities of Saudi-born college students. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/14/02, Newsweek, 11/22/02, San Diego Magazine, 9/03] Says one witness, "He was always watching [young Saudi college students], always checking up on them, literally following them around and then apparently reporting their activities back to Saudi Arabia." [Newsweek, 11/24/02] Just prior to moving to the US, he worked for the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation, headed by Prince Sultan (see August 2001 (G), August 31, 2001, and August 15, 2002). His salary in this job is approved by Hamid al-Rashid, a Saudi government official whose son Saud al-Rashid is strongly suspected of al-Qaeda ties (see August 15, 2002 (E)). [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Once in San Diego, al-Bayoumi tells people that he's a student, or a pilot, and even claims to be receiving monthly payments from "family in India" (despite being Saudi). But these explanations didn't seem credible and he is none of those things. [Sunday Mercury, 10/21/01, Wall Street Journal, 8/11/03] In fact, as he tells some people, he receives a monthly stipend from a Saudi aviation company called Dallah Avco that has extensive ties to the same Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02, Newsweek, 11/24/02] From early 1995 until 2002 he is paid about $3000 a month for a project in Saudi Arabia even though he's living in the US. According the New York Times, Congressional officials believe he is a "ghost employee" doing no actual work. The classified section of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report (see July 24, 2003) notes that his payments increase significantly just after he comes into contact with two hijackers in early 2000. [New York Times, 8/2/03] The FBI is investigating possible ties between Dallah Avco and al-Qaeda. [Newsweek, 10/29/02] The firm’s owner, Saudi billionaire Saleh Abdullah Kamel, has denied the accusation. [Newsweek, 7/28/03] Kamel is on a secret United Nations list of terror financiers (see November 26, 2002). According to leaks from the still-classified section of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report, al-Bayoumi also receives a monthly government stipend that increases sharply just after he comes into contact with two hijackers in early 2000 (see Spring 2000 (D)). A few years later, al-Bayoumi gets an additional ghost job (see June 1998 (D)), is investigated by the FBI, and also is saved from losing his Dallah Avco job by the Saudi government (see September 1998-July 1999).

1996-December 2000 [EXCERPT]: Thirteen of the hijackers disappear for significant periods of time before the end of 2000:

1) Nawaf Alhazmi: The CIA says he first travels to Afghanistan in 1993 as a teenager. In 1995, he travels with Khalid Almihdhar to Bosnia and fights against the Serbs. Sometime before 1998 he returns to Afghanistan and swears loyalty to bin Laden. He fights there against the Northern Alliance. He returns to Saudi Arabia in early 1999 and shares information about the 1998 US embassy bombings. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03, CIA Director Tenet Testimony, 6/18/02]

He fights in Chechnya in or 1998 [Observer, 9/23/01, ABC News, 1/9/02]

2) Khalid Almihdhar: CIA Director calls him, like Nawaf Alhazmi, an "al-Qaeda veteran." He fights in Bosnia with Alhazmi in 1995. He makes his first visit to the Afghanistan training camps in early 1996. He swears loyalty to bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1998. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03, CIA Director Tenet Testimony, 6/18/02] His family claims he fights in Chechnya in 1997. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02]

3) Salem Alhazmi: Spends time in Chechnya with his brother Nawaf Alhazmi. [ABC News, 1/9/02] He also possibly fights with his brother in Afghanistan. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

April 1998: Osama Basnan, a Saudi living in California, later claims that he writes a letter at this time to Saudi Arabian Prince Bandar bin Sultan and his wife, Princess Haifa bint Faisal, asking for financial help because his wife needs thyroid surgery. The Saudi embassy sends Basnan $15,000 and pays the surgical bill. However, University of California at San Diego hospital records say Basnan's wife, Majeda Dweikat, isn't treated until April 2000. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] Basnan will later come under investigation for possibly using some of this money to support two of the 9/11 hijackers who arrive in San Diego (see December 4, 1999 and November 22, 2002). Prior to this time, the FBI had several chances to investigate Basnan, but failed to do so. In 1992 they received information suggesting a connection between him and a terror group later associated with bin Laden. In 1993, they received reports that Basnan hosted a party for terrorist leader Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman (see July 1990) the year before, but again they failed to investigate. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] According to one US official, at a party shortly after 9/11, Basnan "celebrate[s] the heroes of September 11" and talks about "what a wonderful, glorious day it had been." [Newsweek, 12/24/02, San Diego Magazine, 9/03]

June 1998 (D): An unknown Saudi benefactor pays a Saudi named Saad Al-Habeeb to buy a building in San Diego, California for a new Kurdish community mosque. However, the approximately $500,000 needed will only be given on the condition that a Saudi named Omar al-Bayoumi be installed as the building's maintenance manager with a private office at the mosque. Al-Bayoumi is later suspected of being both an al-Qaeda advance man and a Saudi agent (see December 4, 1999, Early February 2000, and November 22, 2002). After taking the job, al-Bayoumi rarely shows up for work. [Newsweek, 11/24/02, San Diego Magazine, 9/03] This means he has two "ghost" jobs at once (see August 1994). The people in the mosque eventually begin a move to replace al-Bayoumi, but he moves to Britain in July 2001 before this can happen. [Newsweek, 11/24/02] An anonymous federal investigator states: "Al-Bayoumi came here, set everything up financially, set up the San Diego [terrorist] cell and set up the mosque." An international tax attorney notes that anyone handling business for a mosque or a church could set it up as a tax-exempt charitable organization "and it can easily be used for money laundering." [San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/27/01, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/22/02]

Late August 1998 (B): NOTE: was Late 1998: An al-Qaeda operative involved in the bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi is captured and interrogated by the FBI. The FBI learns of a safe house telephone number in Yemen, owned by bin Laden associate Ahmed Al-Hada, hijacker Khalid Almihdhar's father-in-law. [Newsweek, 6/2/02, Die Zeit, 10/1/02] US intelligence learns the safe house is an al-Qaeda "logistics center" used by agents around the world to communicate with each other and plan attacks. [Newsweek, 6/2/02] It has been revealed that even bin Laden called the safe house dozens of times from 1996 to 1998 (the two years he had a traced satellite phone). [Sunday Times, 3/24/02, Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] The NSA and CIA together plant bugs inside the house, tap the phones, and monitor visitors with spy satellites. [Mirror, 6/9/02] The NSA later records Khalid Almihdhar and other hijackers calling this house, even from the US (see Early 1999 (B) and Spring-Summer 2000). In late 1999 the phone line will lead the CIA to an important al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia (see December 1999 (B)). [Newsweek, 6/2/02] It appears al-Qaeda still uses the phone line until a Yemeni government raid in February 2002. [CBS News, 2/13/02]

Omar al-Bayoumi.

NEW September 1998-July 1999: The FBI conducts a counterterrorism inquiry on Omar al-Bayoumi, suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent (see December 4, 1999, Early February 2000, and November 22, 2002). The FBI discovers he has been in contact with several people also under investigation. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The FBI is given a tip that he was sent a suspicious package filled with wire from the Middle East, and that large numbers of Arab men routinely meet in his apartment. His landlord notices that he switches from driving a beat up old car to a new Mercedes. [Newsweek, 7/28/03] According to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, the FBI notes that al-Bayoumi has "access to seemingly unlimited funding from Saudi Arabia." For instance, an FBI source identifies him as a person who has delivered about $500,000 from Saudi Arabia to buy a mosque (see June 1998 (D)). But the FBI closes the inquiry "for reasons that remain unclear." [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Also in 1999, al-Bayoumi is working as an employee of the Saudi company Dallah Avco but apparently doing no work (see August 1994). Someone in the company tries to fire him and sends a note to the Saudi government about this, since the company is so closely tied to the government. But Mohammed Ahmed al-Salmi, the director general of civil aviation, replies that it is "extremely urgent" his job is renewed "as quickly as possible," and so he keeps his job. [Wall Street Journal, 8/11/03]

NEW Early 1999 (B): As the NSA continues to monitor an al-Qaeda safe house in Yemen owned by hijacker Khalid Almihdhar's father-in-law (see Late August 1998 (B)), they find references to Almihdhar and the hijacker brothers Salem and Nawaf Alhazmi. In early 1999 the NSA intercepts communications mentioning the full name "Nawaf Alhazmi." More intercepts involving the names Nawaf, Salem, and Khalid together and alone are intercepted during 1999. However, this information is not shared with the CIA or FBI. As a result, as an important al-Qaeda meeting approaches in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000), the CIA doesn't know the last name of the "Nawaf" attending the meeting. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03, AP, 9/25/02, NSA Director Congressional Testimony, 10/17/02] In mid-January, after the Malaysian meeting is over, the CIA reports to the NSA what it has learned about Khalid Almihdhar, and asks the CIA for information about him. Some information about him is given back and some is not. The NSA still doesn't report Alhazmi's last name. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The NSA continues to monitor calls from these hijackers to this safe house after they move to the US (see Spring-Summer 2000).

NEW April 3-7, 1999: Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi, Salem Alhazmi, and Khalid Almihdhar obtains US visas through the US Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)] All three are already "al-Qaeda veterans" and battle-hardened killers (see 1996-December 2000). Almihdhar's visa is issued on April 7, and allows him multiple entries and exits to the US until April 6, 2000. [Stern, 8/13/03] Nawaf Alhazmi gets the same kind of visa; details about Salem are unknown. The CIA claims the hijackers then travel to Afghanistan to participate in "special training" with at least one other suicide bomber on a different mission. The training is led by Khallad bin Attash (see January 5-8, 2000). The US learns about Almihdhar's visa in January 2000 (see January 5, 2000). The Jeddah Consulate keeps in its records the fact that Nawaf and Salem Alhazmi obtain US visas several days before Almihdhar, but apparently these records are never searched before 9/11. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

Anwar Al Aulaqi.

NEW June 1999-March 2000: The FBI conducts a counterterrorism inquiry into imam Anwar Al Aulaqi. From about February 2000, he serves as the "spiritual leader" to several of the hijackers while they live in San Diego, and again in 2001 when he and they move to the East Coast (see March 2001 (D)). During the investigation, the FBI discovers he is in contact with a number of other people being investigated. For instance, in early 2000 he is visited by an associate of Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman (see July 1990). But, as the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry later notes, the investigation is closed "despite the imam's contacts with other subjects of counterterrorism investigations and reports concerning the imam's connection to suspect organizations." [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

July 1999: The FBI begins an investigation of an unnamed person for ties to important al-Qaeda figures and several organizations linked to al-Qaeda. The FBI is concerned this person is in contact with several experts in nuclear sciences. After 9/11, the FBI determines hijacker Marwan Alshehhi had contact with this person on the East Coast of the US. This person also may have ties to Mohammed Atta's sister. Most additional details about this person, including their name, when and how often Alshehhi had contact, and if the investigation was ever closed, remain classified. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

NEW Late 1999: Former Saudi Intelligence Minister Prince Turki al Faisal later claims that his intelligence agency tells the CIA that hijacker Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi have been put on a Saudi terror watch list. Turki says, "What we told [the CIA] was these people were on our watch list from previous activities of al-Qaeda, in both the [1998] embassy bombings and attempts to smuggle arms into the kingdom in 1997.'' However, the CIA strongly denies any such warning. [AP, 10/16/03] Turki admits no documents concerning this were sent to the US, but claims the information was passed via word of mouth. [Salon, 10/18/03] The US doesn't put these two on their watch list until August 2001 (see August 23, 2001 (C)).

November 1999: - The Washington Post refers to hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar when it later reports, "In November 1999, two Saudi Arabian men moved into a ground-floor apartment at the Parkwood Apartments, a town house complex near a busy commercial strip in San Diego." [Washington Post, 9/30/01] Alhazmi's name is on the apartment lease beginning in November 1999. [Washington Post, 10/01] Some reports even have them visiting the US as early as 1996. [Wall Street Journal, 9/17/01, Las Vegas Review Journal, 10/26/01] However, FBI Director Mueller has stated the two first arrived the middle of January 2000 (see January 15-early February 2000) after an important meeting in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000). Some news reports mention that the hijackers first arrive in late 1999 (for instance, Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02, Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02]), but most reports concur with the FBI.

December 1999 (B): A Yemeni safe house telephone monitored by the FBI and CIA (see Late August 1998 (B)), reveals that there will be an important al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia in January 2000, and that a "Khalid," a "Nawaf," and a "Salem" will attend. One intelligence agent notes at the time, "Salem may be Nawaf's younger brother." It turns out they are brothers, and these are the future hijackers Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawaf and Salem Alhazmi. US intelligence is already referring to both of them as "terrorist operatives" because the safe house is known to be such a hotbed of al-Qaeda activity. Their last names are not yet known to the CIA, even though the NSA has learned Nawaf's last name (see Early 1999 (B)). However, Khalid Almihdhar is at the safe house at the time, and as he travels to Malaysia, he is watched and followed (see January 5, 2000). [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

December 4, 1999: Princess Haifa bint Faisal, the wife of Prince Bandar, the Saudi Ambassador to the US, begins sending monthly cashier's checks of between $2,000 and $3,500 (accounts differ) to Majeda Dweikat, the Jordanian wife of Osama Basnan, a Saudi living in San Diego (see April 1998). Accounts also differ over when the checks were first sent (between November 1999 and about March 2000; a Saudi government spokesman has stated December 4 [Fox News, 11/23/02]). Basnan's wife signs many of the checks over to her friend Manal Bajadr, the wife of Omar al-Bayoumi. [Washington Times, 11/26/02, Newsweek, 11/22/02, Newsweek, 11/24/02, Guardian, 11/25/02] Al-Bayoumi is a suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent. Some later suggest that the money from the wife of the Saudi ambassador passes through the al-Bayoumi and Basnan families as intermediaries and ends up in the hands of the two hijackers (see November 22, 2002). The payments from Princess Haifa continue until May 2002 and may total $51,000, or as much as $73,000. [MSNBC, 11/23/02, MSNBC, 11/27/02] While living in the San Diego area, al-Bayoumi and Basnan are heavily involved in relocating and offering financial support to Saudi immigrants in the community (see also August 1994 and June 1998 (D)). [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] In late 2002, Al-Bayoumi claims he did not pass any money along to the hijackers. [Washington Times, 12/04/02] Basnan is also described as an al-Qaeda sympathizer who called 9/11 "a wonderful, glorious day." [Newsweek, 11/22/02] Basnan has variously claimed to know al-Bayoumi, not know him at all, or to know him only vaguely. [Arab News, 11/26/02, ABC, 11/26/02, ABC, 11/25/02, MSNBC, 11/27/02] But earlier reports say Basnan and his wife were "very good friends" of al-Bayoumi and his wife. Both couples lived at the Parkwood Apartments at the same time as the two hijackers; prior to that, the couples lived together in a different apartment complex. Also, the two wives were arrested for shoplifting together in April 2001. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/22/02]

December 11, 1999: The CIA's counterterrorism center sends a cable reminding all personnel about various reporting obligations. The cable clearly states that it is important to share information so terrorists can be placed on watch lists The US keeps a number of watch lists; the most important one is known as TIPOFF, with about 61,000 names of suspected terrorists by 9/11. [Los Angeles Times, 9/22/02, Knight Ridder, 1/27/04] The list is checked whenever someone enters or leaves the US. "The threshold for adding a name to TIPOFF is low," and even a "reasonable suspicion" that a person is connected with a terrorist group, warrants being added to the database. [Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] Within a month, two future hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, are identified (see January 5, 2000 and January 8, 2000), but the cable's instructions are not followed for them. The CIA initially tells the 9/11 Congressional inquiry that no such guidelines existed, and CIA Director Tenet fails to mention the cable in his testimony. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B), New York Times, 5/15/03]

NEW January 5, 2000: Hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi travel to an important al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia. Almihdhar leaves from a safe house in Yemen, and is watched. Agents from eight CIA offices and six friendly foreign intelligence services are all asked to help track him, in the hopes he will lead them to bigger al-Qaeda figures. [Stern, 8/13/03] On his way to Malaysia, a friendly intelligence service secretly makes copies of his passport as he is passing through an airport and immediately reports this to the CIA. So by the time he reaches Malaysia, the CIA knows his full name, and the fact that he has a multiple entry visa to the US good from April 1999 to April 2000 (see April 3-7, 1999). Nawaf Alhazmi meanwhile is in Pakistan and arrives in Malaysia on the same day. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Even though the CIA now knows Almihdhar has a year long visa to the US and presumably plans to travel there, they don't place him on a terror watch list, despite recent and clear guidelines on the importance of doing so (see December 11, 1999). The FBI also is not informed a known terrorist has a valid US visa. The FBI is merely told, "The operation is still going on. Until now, many suspicious activities were watched. But no evidence was found that indicated a coming attack or criminal acts." The FBI also should watch list Almihdhar merely from his description as a "terrorist operative," but they fail to do so. [Stern, 8/13/03, Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

Attendees of the Malaysian meeting. From left to right top row: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and Khallad bin Attash. Left to right bottom row: Hambali, Yazid Sufaat, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and Fahad al-Quso. Other attendees are not certain.

January 5-8, 2000: - About a dozen of bin Laden's trusted followers hold a secret, "top-level al-Qaeda summit" in the city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. [CNN, 8/30/02, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/27/02] Plans for the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole (see October 12, 2000) and the 9/11 attacks are discussed. [USA Today, 2/12/02, CNN, 8/30/02] At the request of the CIA, the Malaysian secret service monitors the meeting and then passes the information on to the US (see January 6-9, 2000). Attendees of the meeting include:

1 and 2) Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. The CIA and FBI will later miss many opportunities to foil the 9/11 plot through these two hijackers and the knowledge of their presence at this meeting. The CIA already knows many details about these two by the time the meeting begins (see December 1999 (B) and January 5, 2000).

3) Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a top al-Qaeda leader and the alleged "mastermind" of the 9/11 attacks. The US had known Mohammed was a major terrorist since the exposure of Operation Bojinka in 1995 (see January 6, 1995 and January-May 1996), and knew what he looked like, as can be seen from a 1998 wanted poster (see Mid-1996-September 11, 2001). US officials have stated that they only realized the meeting was important in the summer of 2001, but the presence of Mohammed should have proved the meeting's importance. [Los Angeles Times, 2/2/02]

The possible presence of Mohammed at this meeting is highly disputed. In 2003, one terrorism expert testifies before the 9/11 Independent Commission that he has access to transcripts of Mohammed's interrogations since his capture, and that Mohammed admits leading this meeting. [Newsweek, 7/9/03, New York Post, 7/10/03] Many media reports identify him there as well (for instance, [Independent, 6/6/02, CNN, 8/30/02, CNN, 11/7/02, CBC, 10/29/03]). However, US officials deny the claim. Says Newsweek, "Mohammed’s presence would make the intelligence failure of the CIA even greater. It would mean the agency literally watched as the 9-11 scheme was hatched - and had photographs of the attack’s mastermind ... doing the plotting." [Newsweek, 7/9/03]

4) An Indonesian terrorist known as Hambali. He was the main financier of Operation Bojinka. [CNN, 8/30/02, CNN, 3/14/02] Philippine intelligence officials learned of Hambali's importance in 1995, but didn't track him down or share information about him. [CNN, 3/14/02]

5) Yazid Sufaat, a Malaysian man who owned the condominium where the meeting was held. [New York Times, 1/31/02, [Newsweek, 6/2/02, Newsweek, 6/2/02] A possibility to expose the 9/11 plot through Sufaat's presence at this meeting is later missed (see September-October 2000). Sufaat travels to Afghanistan in June 2001, and is arrested by Malaysian authorities when he returns to Malaysia in late 2001. [Australian, 12/24/02]

6) Fahad al-Quso, a top al-Qaeda operative. [Newsweek, 9/20/01] Al-Quso is arrested by Yemeni authorities in late 2000, but the FBI is not given a chance to interrogate him before 9/11 (see Early December 2000). He escapes from prison in 2003. [CNN, 5/15/03]

7) Tawifiq bin Attash, better known by his alias "Khallad." Bin Attash, a "trusted member of bin Laden’s inner circle," was in charge of bin Laden's bodyguards, and served as bin Laden's personal intermediary at least for the USS Cole attack. [Newsweek, 9/20/01] He is also thought to be the "mastermind" of that attack. A possibility to expose the 9/11 plot through bin Attash's presence at this meeting is later missed (see January 4, 2001). Bin Attash had been previously arrested in Yemen for suspected terror ties, but let go. [Contemporary Southeast Asia, 12/1/02] He is captured in Pakistan by the US in April 2003. [New York Times, 5/1/03]

8) Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who investigators believe wanted to be the twentieth hijacker. His presence at the meeting may not have been realized until after 9/11, despite a picture of him next to bin Attash, and even video footage of him. [Washington Post, 7/14/02, Time, 9/15/02, Die Zeit, 10/1/02, Newsweek, 11/26/01, CNN, 11/7/02] German police have credit card receipts indicating bin al-Shibh is in Malaysia at the same time. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Anonymous Malaysian officials claim he is there, but US officials deny it. [AP, 9/20/02] One account says he is recognized at the time of the meeting, which makes it hard to understand why is wasn't tracked back to Germany and the Hamburg cell with Mohamed Atta and other hijackers. [Der Spiegel, 10/1/02] Another possibility to expose the 9/11 plot through bin al-Shibh's presence at this meeting is later missed (see June 10, 2000). It appears bin al-Shibh and Almihdhar are directly involved in the attack on the USS Cole (see October 12, 2000) [Newsweek, 9/4/02, Washington Post, 7/14/02, Guardian, 10/15/01], so better surveillance or follow-up from this meeting could have prevented that attack as well.

9) Some documents purport to show that an al-Qaeda agent of Iraqi nationality, Ahmad Hikmat Shakir, is also at the meeting. [Newsweek, 10/7/02, Australian, 12/24/02] But his presence at the meeting is uncertain. [AP, 10/2/02]

10) Very few accounts mention it, but there is the possibility that another hijacker, Salem Alhazmi, also attends the meeting. [Australian, 12/24/02] US intelligence intercepts from before the meeting show that he at least had plans to attend. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

11 and more?) Unnamed members of the Egyptian based Islamic Jihad are also known to have been at the meeting. [Cox News, 10/21/01] Islamic Jihad had merged with al-Qaeda in February 1998. [ABC News, 11/17/01]

NEW January 6-9, 2000: The Malaysian secret service is monitoring an important al-Qaeda summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000), and begins passing what it knows to the CIA even before the meeting is over. Media accounts are consistent that the terrorists at the meeting are photographed and even videotaped, but there is no wiretapping or other recording of their conversations. [Newsweek, 6/2/02, Ottawa Citizen, 9/17/01, Observer, 10/7/01, CNN, 3/14/02, New Yorker, 1/14/02, CBC, 10/29/03, Stern, 8/13/03] However, Malaysian officials aren't informed what to look for, and focus more on monitoring the local Malaysian and Indonesian hosts who serve as drivers than the visitors attending the meeting. [AP, 9/20/02] Authorities find out what hotel Khalid Almihdhar is staying at and he and his associates are photographed there [Newsweek, 9/20/01, Observer, 10/7/01], as well as coming and going from the condo where the meeting is held. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] On January 6, the CIA office in Malaysia begins passing details of the meeting to the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center (CTC). Cofer Black, head of the CTC, orders that he be continually informed about the meeting, and CIA Director Tenet is frequently informed as well. [Stern, 8/13/03] The 9/11 Independent Commission later reports that "the top officials in the US government" are also advised about this meeting around this time, but it does not mention exactly who these officials are. [New York Times, 1/27/04] (Note that the fact that top officials are advised at the time contradict early reports claiming US intelligence had no idea the meeting was important until August 2001 (see for instance [Cox News, 10/21/01].)) On January 7, Khalid Almihdhar and others go shopping, giving Malaysian security ample opportunity to collect information about them. They spend hours at internet cafes, and after they leave Malaysian intelligence searches the hard drives of the computers they used. [Australian, 12/24/02, Stern, 8/13/03] But no photos or video from any this surveillance has been publicly released, and details are few. It is known that some photos show Khallad bin Attash with Almihdhar, some show Fahad al-Quso next to Almihdhar, and that some photos are of bin al-Shibh. By January 9, all the data and footage the Malaysians have collected are in the hands of the CIA. [Stern, 8/13/03, Newsweek, 9/20/01]

NEW January 8, 2000: The al-Qaeda terror summit in Malaysia ends (see January 5-8, 2000) and the participants leave. Hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi fly to Bangkok, Thailand, traveling under their real names. Al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash also travels with them and the three sit side by side in the airplane, but bin Attash travels under the false name Salah Said. [AP, 9/20/02, Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The CIA knows that a "Nawaf" has attended the meeting, but doesn't know his last name. Shortly afterwards, the CIA is told of this airplane flight, and the fact that the person sitting next to Almihdhar on the plane is named "Nawaf Alhazmi." But neither Alhazmi nor Almihdhar are placed on a terror watch list. The CIA still fails to tell the FBI that Almihdhar has a valid US visa, and fails to give them Alhazmi's last name. [Stern, 8/13/03, Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The CIA tries but fails to find them in Thailand (see January 8-15, 2000).

NEW January 8-15, 2000: Hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi stay in Thailand. The CIA is trying to find Almihdhar since they know his full name and the fact that he's just come from an important al-Qaeda meeting (see January 5-8, 2000, January 6-9, 2000, and January 8, 2000). For six weeks they look for him in Thailand. But the search is unsuccessful, because, as one official puts it, "when they arrived we were unable to mobilize what we needed to mobilize." Nevertheless, in February, the CIA rejects a request from foreign authorities to give assistance. The CIA gives up the search in early March when an unnamed foreign government tells the CIA that Nawaf Alhazmi has already flown to the US (see January 15-early February 2000 and March 5, 2000). [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

January 15-early February, 2000: NOTE: was November 1999 (B): - A week after an important al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000), hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar fly together from Bangkok, Thailand (see January 8-15, 2000), to Los Angeles, California. [MSNBC, 12/11/01] In March, the CIA learns that at least Alhazmi is on the flight, and some FBI officials claim they learn Almihdhar is on it as well (see March 5, 2000). This is probably at least the second time these two have entered the US (see November 1999). They stay in Los Angeles for around two weeks. At some point during that time, Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent (see August 1994, June 1998 (D), and September 1998-July 1999), arrives in Los Angeles and visits the Saudi Consulate there. According to Newsweek, "Law-enforcement officials believe al-Bayoumi may [have] a closed-door meeting with Fahad al Thumairy, a member of the consulate’s Islamic and Culture Affairs Section." [Newsweek, 7/28/03] In March 2003, al Thumairy is stripped of his diplomatic visa and barred from entry to the US, reportedly because of suspected links to terrorism. [Washington Post, 11/23/03] Later that day, Al-Bayoumi goes to a restaurant and meets Alhazmi and Almihdhar. Al-Bayoumi later claims that this first contact with the hijackers is accidental. But one FBI source later recalls that before he drives to Los Angeles that day he says he's going "to pick up visitors." [Newsweek, 7/28/03, Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Al-Bayoumi invites the two hijackers to move to San Diego. Then he returns to San Diego after leaving the restaurant, and Alhazmi and Almihdhar follow him to San Diego shortly thereafter (see Early February 2000). [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The FBI’s "best source" in San Diego says that al-Bayoumi "must be an intelligence officer for Saudi Arabia or another foreign power." A former top FBI official working on the al-Bayoumi investigation claims: “We firmly believed that he had knowledge [of the 9/11 plot], and that his meeting with them that day was more than coincidence." [Newsweek, 7/28/03]

Early February 2000: NOTE: was Mid-January 2000: Omar al-Bayoumi, suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent (see August 1994, June 1998 (D) and September 1998-July 1999), helps hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar settle in the US. Having met them in Los Angeles and bought them to San Diego (see January 15-early February 2000), he finds them a place to live. Al-Bayoumi lives at the Villa Balboa apartments with a wife and children, and the two hijackers move into the Parkwood apartments directly across the street. [Sunday Mercury, 10/21/01, Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] It appears the lease was actually signed by Alhazmi a few months earlier (see November 1999). Al-Bayoumi cosigns the lease and pays $1500 cash for their first month's rent and security deposit. Some FBI officials claim the hijackers immediately pay him back, others claim they don't. [Newsweek, 11/24/02, Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Within days of bringing them from Los Angeles, al-Bayoumi throws a welcoming party that introduces them to the local Muslim community. [Washington Post, 12/29/01] One associate later says an al-Bayoumi party "was a big deal ... it meant that everyone accepted them without question." [San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/25/01] He also introduces hijacker Hani Hanjour to the community a short time later. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/14/02] He tasks an acquaintance, Modhar Abdallah, to serve as their translator, help get driver's licenses, Social Security rides, information on flight schools, and more. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/8/02, Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The hijackers live openly in San Diego for much of the next two years (see Early February-Summer 2000, Summer-December 2000 and Early September 2001). Al-Bayoumi is arrested and released after 9/11 (see September 21-28, 2001), and the possibility the Saudi government funded him creates headlines in late 2002 (see November 22, 2002).

Nawaf Alhazmi in the 2000-2001 San Diego phone book. [Newsweek]

Early February-Summer 2000: NOTE: was January 15-August 2000: - Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar move to San Diego and live there openly. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The two of them have just arrived from overseas (see January 15-early February 2000), but there is evidence Alhazmi signed their apartment lease back in November 1999 (see November 1999). Hijacker Hani Hanjour joins them as a roommate in February 2000 but apparently doesn't stay long. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/21/01, San Diego Channel 10, 9/18/01] They get considerable help moving in from al-Bayoumi, a suspected al-Qaeda advance man (see Early February 2000). The hijackers use their real names on their rental agreement [Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02], driver's licenses, Social Security cards, and credit cards [Newsweek, 6/2/02], car purchase, and bank account. Alhazmi is even listed in the 2000-2001 San Diego phone book. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01, Newsweek, 6/2/02] Neighbors notice odd behavior: they have no furniture, they are constantly using cell phones on the balcony, constantly playing flight simulator games, keep to themselves, and strange cars and limousines pick them up for short rides in the middle of the night. [Washington Post, 9/30/01, Time, 9/24/01]

March 5, 2000: - An unnamed nation tells the CIA that hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi had flown from an important meeting in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000) to Los Angeles in mid-January 2000 (see January 15-early February 2000). [New York Times, 10/17/02] According to a senior FBI official, the information is also about hijacker Khalid Almihdhar: "In March 2000, the CIA received information concerning the entry of Almihdhar and Alhazmi into the United States." [Michael Rolince Testimony, 9/20/02] The CIA disputes this, however. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] A cable is immediately sent to CIA Headquarters noting (at least) that Nawaf Alhazmi has traveled to Los Angeles. The cable is marked "Action Required: None, FYI [For Your Information]." CIA Director Tenet later claims that "Nobody read that cable in the March timeframe." [New York Times, 10/17/02] Yet the day after the cable is received, "another overseas CIA station note[s], in a cable to the bin Laden unit at CIA headquarters, that it had 'read with interest' the March cable, 'particularly the information that a member of this group traveled to the US...'" [Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] Yet again, CIA fails to put their names on a watch list, and again fails to alert the FBI so they can be tracked. [Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] Senior CIA counterterrorism official Cofer Black later says, "I think that month we watch listed about 150 people. [The watch listing] should have been done. It wasn't." [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

Spring 2000 (D): According leaks from the still-classified part of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, monthly payments to Omar al-Bayoumi, suspected hijacker "advance man" and possible Saudi agent, increase significantly at this time. Al-Bayoumi has been receiving a salary from the Saudi civil authority of about $500 a month. But shortly after hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar move to San Diego, al-Bayoumi's salary increases to about $3,000 to $3,500 a month. [New York Times, 7/29/03 (B)] From early 1995, al-Bayoumi has been paid for a job with a Saudi aviation company called Dallah Avco that is closely tied to the Saudi government. Apparently it's a "ghost" job that involves no work (see August 1994). Accounts appear to be confused if this pay spike is from his Dallah Avco job, or an additional payment by the government [New York Times, 7/29/03 (B), New York Times, 8/2/03], but it appears to be a separate stream of money because another report has documents showing his Dallah Avco job started with $3,000 a month payments and remained consistent. [Wall Street Journal, 8/11/03] It also fits in with his claims to acquaintances at the time that he is receiving a regular government scholarship. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Additionally, since 1998, a mysterious rich Saudi forced a San Diego mosque to hire al-Bayoumi for a job where he does little work (see June 1998 (D)). Also around December 1999, the wife of his close friend Osama Basnan begins receiving monthly payments from the wife of the Saudi ambassador to the US, and there is speculation this money passes through al-Bayoumi to the hijackers (see December 4, 1999). So it is possible al-Bayoumi has been receiving four channels of money that have connections with the Saudi government for virtually nothing in return.

Spring-Summer 2000: NOTE: was Spring 2000 (D): Hijacker Khalid Almihdhar, while living in San Diego (see Early February-Summer 2000), telephones an al-Qaeda safe house in Yemen owned by his father-in-law (note that the facility is not named, but references in the Congressional Inquiry report are consistent with other mentions of this safe house). This safe house has been closely monitored since 1998, as even bin Laden himself makes calls to it (Late 1998). The NSA intercepts these calls, but they don't realize the "Khalid" calling the safe house is calling from the US. This is only determined by an analysis of phone toll records obtained after 9/11. The NSA had been aware of a "Khalid," "Nawaf Alhazmi," and his brother "Salem" having communications with this safe house in 1999 (see Early 1999 (B) and December 1999 (B)). In summer 2000 there are additional communications to the safe house from "Khalid" and "Salem," but again the NSA doesn't realize the meaning or importance of these calls. There may have been more communications - the section of the Congressional Inquiry dealing with these calls is heavily censored. Some but not all of the information about certain calls are passed on to the FBI and CIA. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

June 10, 2000: Hijacker Khalid Almihdhar flies from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany. [Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] Authorities later believe that Almihdhar visits his cousin-in-law Ramzi bin al-Shibh and bin al-Shibh's roommate Atta and other al-Qaeda members in bin al-Shibh's terrorist cell. But since the CIA fails to notify Germany about their suspicions of either Almihdhar or bin al-Shibh, both of whom were seen attending the al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000), German police fail to monitor them and a chance to uncover the 9/11 plot is missed. [Die Zeit, 10/1/02] [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Note that FBI Director Mueller and the Congressional inquiry into 9/11 claim that Almihdhar doesn't return to the US for over a year (see July 4, 2001) [Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02, Congressional Inquiry, 9/26/02], despite obvious evidence to the contrary. For instance, an FBI agent is told Khalid Almihdhar is in the room when he calls Almihdhar's landlord in autumn 2000 (see Autumn 2000 (B) and Summer-December 2000) and there are indications Almihdhar attends a flight school in Arizona in early 2001. [Arizona Republic, 9/28/01]

Summer 2000: NOTE: was Summer 2001 (E): Anonymous government sources later claim that Atta visits fellow hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, and suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent Omar al-Bayoumi (see August 1994, December 4, 1999, Early February 2000, and November 22, 2002). These same sources claim al-Bayoumi is identified after September 11 as an "advance man" for al-Qaeda. [Washington Times, 11/26/02] Other reports have suggested Atta visited Alhazmi and Almihdhar in San Diego (see Summer-December 2000), but the FBI has never confirmed this. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

Shaikh's house in Lemon Grove, California. [Newsweek]

Summer-December 2000: NOTE: was September-December 2000: Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar move to the house of Abdussattar Shaikh in San Diego. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/16/01] Shaikh, a local Muslim leader, is later revealed to be a "tested" undercover "asset" working with the local FBI. [Newsweek, 9/9/02] Shaikh inexplicably fails to tell his FBI handler important details about the hijackers and appears to be lying about many matters concerning them (see Autumn 2000 (B)). In early media reports, the two are said to have moved in around September (for instance, [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/16/01, Wall Street Journal, 9/17/01]) but the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry implies that Shaikh lied about this, and they moved in much earlier. Alhazmi stays until December (see also Autumn 2000); Almihdhar appears to be mostly out of the US after June (see June 10, 2000). [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Neighbors claim that Atta is a frequent visitor, and Hani Hanjour visits as well. [Chicago Tribune, 9/30/01, AP, 9/29/01, Las Vegas Review Journal, 10/26/01, San Diego Channel 10, 9/27/01, San Diego Channel 10, 10/11/01] But Shaikh denies Atta's visits, the FBI never mentions them, and the media appears to have forgotten about them. [AP, 9/29/01] There is even one report that the two hijackers and Atta meet with suspected Saudi agent Omar al-Bayoumi around this time (see Summer 2000). Echoing reports from their first apartment (see Early February-Summer 2000), neighbors witness strange late night visits with Alhazmi and Almihdhar. [AP, 9/16/01] For instance, one neighbor says, "There was always a series of cars driving up to the house late at night. Sometimes they were nice cars. Sometimes they had darkened windows. They'd stay about 10 minutes." [Time, 9/24/01]

NEW Autumn 2000: Hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi works at a gas station while living in San Diego (see Early February-Summer 2000 and Summer-December 2000). This is the only apparent instance of any of the hijackers having a job while in the US. He and hijacker Khalid Almihdhar also frequently socialize at the gas station, and Alhazmi works there on and off for about a month at some point after Almihdhar has gone overseas. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03, Washington Post, 12/29/01, Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] The station, Sam's Star Mart, is owned by Osama "Sam" Mustafa. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/25/03] Mustafa is first investigated by the FBI in 1991 after he tells a police officer that the US needs another Pan Am 103 attack and that he could be the one to carry it out. He also says all Americans should be killed because of the 1991 Iraq War. In 1994 he is investigated for being a member of the Palestinian terror groups PFLP and PLO and for threatening to kill an Israeli intelligence officer living in San Diego. The investigation is closed, but opens again in 1997 when he is tied to a possible terror plot in North Carolina. Apparently it is closed again before 9/11. He also associates with Osama Basnan (see April 1998 and December 4, 1999 ) and others who have contacts with the hijackers. Witnesses claim he cheers when first told of the 9/11 attacks. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The gas station is managed by Ed Salamah. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/25/03, Washington Post, 12/29/01] In January 2000, the brother of a known al-Qaeda operative is under surveillance and is seen chatting with Salamah. The Los Angeles FBI office is investigating this operative, and calls Salamah about it. Salamah refuses to come to Los Angeles for an interview, and refuses to give his home address to be interviewed there. Faced with a reluctant witness, the FBI drops the matter. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03, Newsweek, 7/28/03] The hijackers are living with an FBI informant who is aware of their contact with at least Mustafa, and that informant has given reports about Mustafa to the FBI in the past. But the informant fails to tell the FBI about their contacts with him (see Autumn 2000 (B)). The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry strongly implies Salamah and Mustafa assisted the hijackers with the 9/11 plot, but the FBI appears uninterested in them and maintain the hijackers received no assistance from anyone. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

Abdussattar Shaikh has only allowed the media to publish a photo of his profile. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

NEW Autumn 2000 (B): While hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar live in the house of an FBI informant, Abdussattar Shaikh (see Summer-December 2000), the informant continues to have contact with his FBI handler. The handler, Steven Butler, later claims that during summer Shaikh mentions the names "Nawaf" and "Khalid" in passing and that they are renting rooms from him. [Newsweek, 9/9/02, AP, 7/25/03 (B), Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] On one occasion, Shaikh tells Butler on the phone he can't talk because Khalid is in the room. [Newsweek, 9/9/02] Butler is told they are good, religious Muslims who are legally in the US to visit and attend school. Butler asks Shaikh for their last names, but is not given them. He is not told they're pursuing flight training. Shaikh says they are apolitical and have done nothing to arouse suspicion. However, according to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, he later admits that Alhazmi has "contacts with at least four individuals [he] knew were of interest to the FBI and about whom [he] had previously reported to the FBI." Three of these four people are being actively investigated at the time the hijackers are there. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The report mentions Osama Mustafa as one (Autumn 2000), and Shaikh admits that suspected Saudi agent Omar al-Bayoumi was a friend (see September 1998-July 1999). [Los Angeles Times, 7/25/03, Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The FBI later concludes Shaikh is not involved in the 9/11 plot, but they have serious doubts about his credibility. After 9/11 he gives inaccurate information and has an "inconclusive" polygraph examination about his foreknowledge of the 9/11 attack. The FBI believes he has contact with hijacker Hani Hanjour, but he claims to not recognize him. There are other "significant inconsistencies" in the informant's statements about the hijackers, including when he met first them and later meetings with them. The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry later concludes that had the informant's contacts with the hijackers been capitalized on, it "would have given the San Diego FBI field office perhaps the Intelligence Community's best chance to unravel the September 11 plot." [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The FBI later tries to prevent Butler and Shaikh from testifying before the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry. Butler ends up testifying but Shaikh does not (see October 5, 2002 and October 9, 2002).

Fahad al-Quso.

Early December 2000: Terrorist Fahad al-Quso is arrested by the government of Yemen. [PBS Frontline, 10/3/02, PBS Frontline, 10/3/02] In addition to being involved in the USS Cole bombing, al-Quso was at the January 2000 Malaysian meeting with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar (see January 5-8, 2000). FBI head investigator John O'Neill feels al-Quso is holding back important information and wants him interrogated. But O'Neill had been kicked out of Yemen by his superiors a week or two before (see October 12, 2000), and without his influential presence the Yemeni government won't allow an interrogation. Al-Quso is finally interrogated days after 9/11, and admits to meeting with Alhazmi and Almihdhar in January 2000. One investigator calls the missed opportunity of exposing the 9/11 plot through al-Quso's connections "mind-boggling." [PBS Frontline, 10/3/02] There are pictures from the Malaysian meeting of al-Quso next to hijacker Khalid Almihdhar, but the CIA doesn't share the pictures with the FBI. [Newsweek, 9/20/01]

Khallad bin Attash.

January 4, 2001: The FBI's investigation into the USS Cole bombing learns that terrorist Khallad bin Attash had been a principal planner of the bombing [AP, 9/21/02], and that two other participants in the bombing had delivered money to bin Attash at the time of the January 2000 al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000). The FBI shares this information with the CIA. Based on a description of bin Attash from an informant, CIA analysts reexamine pictures from the Malaysian meeting and identify bin Attash with both hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi. The CIA has already been informed that Alhazmi at least has entered the US (see March 5, 2000), yet once again they failed to watch list either Alhazmi or Almihdhar. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] CNN later notes that at this point the CIA at least "could have put Alhazmi and Almihdhar and all others who attended the meeting in Malaysia on a watch list to be kept out of this country. It was not done." [CNN, 6/4/02] More incredibly, even bin Attash is not placed on the watch list at this time, despite being labeled as the principal planner of the Cole bombing (he is finally placed on the watch list in August 2001 (see August 23, 2001 (C))). [Los Angeles Times, 9/22/02] CIA headquarters is told what these CIA analysts have learned, but it appears the FBI is not told. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

Dar al Hijrah mosque.

NEW March 2001 (D): Hijackers Hani Hanjour and Nawaf Alhazmi move to Falls Church, Virginia, a large Muslim community near Washington. [Washington Post, 9/10/02 (B)] They live only a few blocks from where two nephews of bin Laden with ties to terrorism work (see September 11, 1996). They continue to live there off and on until around August (see August 1-2, 2001). They begin attending the Dar al Hijrah mosque. [Washington Post, 9/10/02 (B)] When they and Khalid Almihdhar lived in San Diego in early 2000 (see Early February-Summer 2000), they attended a mosque there led by the imam Anwar Al Aulaqi. This imam moved to Falls Church in January 2001, and now the hijackers attend his sermons at the Dar al Hijrah mosque. Some later suspect that Aulaqi is part of the 9/11 plot because of their similar moves, and other reasons:

1) The FBI says Aulaqi had closed door meetings with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar in 2000 while all three of them are living in San Diego. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

2) Police later find the phone number of Aulaqi's mosque when they search "would-be twentieth hijacker" Ramzi bin al-Shibh's apartment in Germany. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

3) The FBI was investigating Aulaqi for terrorist ties in early 2000 (see June 1999-March 2000).

4) A neighbor of Aulaqi later claims that in the first week of August 2001, Aulaqi knocks on his door and tells him he is leaving for Kuwait: "He came over before he left and told me that something very big was going to happen, and that he had to be out of the country when it happened." [Newsweek, 7/28/03]

5) Aulaqi is apparently in the country in late September, 2001, and claims to not recognize any of the hijackers. [Copley News, 10/1/01]

6) A week after 9/11, he says the hijackers were framed, and suggests Israel was behind 9/11. [Washington Post, 7/23/03]

6) Aulaqi leaves the US in early 2002. [Time, 8/11/03] In late 2002 he briefly returns and is temporarily detained as part of the Green Quest money laundering investigation (see December 5, 2002). But he is let go. [WorldNetDaily, 8/16/03]

By late 2003 the US is looking for him in Yemen. [New Republic, 8/21/03] The FBI appears to be divided about him, with some thinking he's part of the 9/11 plot and some disagreeing. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03, Time, 8/11/03]

NEW May 15, 2001: A Supervisor at the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center sends a request to CIA headquarters for the surveillance photos of the al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia at the start of 2000 (see January 5-8, 2000 and January 6-9, 2000). Three days later, the supervisor explains the reason for the interest in an e-mail to a CIA analyst: "I'm interested because Khalid Almihdhar's two companions also were couriers of a sort, who traveled between [the Far East] and Los Angeles at the same time (hazmi and salah)." Hazmi refers to hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi, and Salah Said is the alias al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash traveled under during the meeting. Apparently the supervisor receives the photos. Towards the end of May, a CIA analyst contacts a specialist working at FBI headquarters about the photographs. The CIA wanted the FBI analyst to review the photographs and determine if a person who had carried money to Southeast Asia for Khallad bin Attash in January 2000 could be identified. The CIA fails to tell the FBI analyst anything about Almihdhar or Alhazmi. Around the same time, the CIA analyst receives an e-mail mentioning Alhazmi's travel to the US. These two analysts travel to New York the next month and again the CIA analyst fails to divulge what he knows (see June 11, 2001). [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

June 11, 2001: A CIA analyst and FBI analyst travel to New York and meet with FBI officials at FBI headquarters about the USS Cole investigation. The CIA analyst has already showed photographs from the al-Qaeda Malaysia meeting attended by hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi (see January 5-8, 2000), to the FBI analyst, but failed to explain what he knows about them (see May 15, 2001). The CIA analyst now shows the same photos to the additional FBI agents. He wants to know if the FBI agents can identify anyone in the photos for a different case he's working on. "The FBI agents recognized the men from the Cole investigation, but when they asked the CIA what they knew about the men, they were told that they didn't have clearance to share that information. It ended up in a shouting match." [ABC News, 8/16/02] The CIA analyst later admits that at the time he knows Almihdhar had a US visa (see April 3-7, 1999), that Alhazmi had traveled to the US (see March 5, 2000), that al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash had been recognized in one of the photos (see January 4, 2001), and that Alhazmi was known to be an experienced terrorist. But he doesn't tell any of this to any FBI agent. He doesn't let them keep copies of the photos either. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] He promises them more information later, but the FBI agents don't receive more information until after 9/11. [Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] Two days after this meeting, Almihdhar has no trouble getting a new multiple reentry US visa. [US News and World Report, 12/12/01, Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] CIA Director Tenet later claims, "Almihdhar was not who they were talking about in this meeting." When Senator Carl Levin (D) reads the following to Tenet, "The CIA analyst who attended the New York meeting acknowledged to the joint inquiry staff that he had seen the information regarding Almihdhar's US visa and Alhazmi's travel to the United States but he stated that he would not share information outside of the CIA unless he had authority to do so," Tenet claims that he talked to the same analyst and was told something completely different. [New York Times, 10/17/02]

NEW July 4, 2001: Hijacker Khalid Almihdhar reenters the US. The CIA and FBI have recently been showing interest in him (see May 15, 2001 and June 11, 2001), but have still failed to place him on a terrorist watch list. Had he been placed on a watch list by this date, he would have been stopped and possibly detained as he tried to enter the US. He enters on a new US visa obtained in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on June 13, 2001 (see also May 2001 (H)). [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] The FBI notes he returns just days after the last of the hijacker "muscle" has entered the US (see April 23-June 29, 2001), and speculate he returns because his job in bringing them over is finished. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

July 13, 2001: The same Supervisor of the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center (CTC) who expressed interest in surveillance photos from the al-Qaeda Malaysia meeting (see January 5-8, 2000) two months earlier (see May 15, 2001) now finds a cable he'd been looking for regarding that same meeting. The cable from January 2001 discusses al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash's presence at the meeting (see January 4, 2001). He explains later that bin Attash's presence at the meeting had been troubling him. He writes an e-mail to the Counter Terrorism Center, stating, "[Bin Attash] is a major league killer, who orchestrated the Cole attack and possibly the Africa bombings." Yet bin Attash is still not put on a terrorist watch list. An FBI analyst assigned to the CTC is given the task to review all other CIA cables about the Malaysian meeting. It takes this analyst until August 21 - over five weeks later - to put together that Almihdhar had a US visa (see April 3-7, 1999), and that Alhazmi had traveled to the US (see March 5, 2000). Yet there are other CIA agents who are already very aware of these facts and not sharing the information (see June 11, 2001). Working with immigration officials, this analyst then learns that Almihdhar entered and left the US in 2000, and entered again on July 4, 2001 (see July 4, 2001) and that Alhazmi appears to still be in the US. As a result, the two terrorists are finally placed on a terrorist watch list two days later (see August 23, 2001 (C)). [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]

August 23, 2001 (C): Thanks to the request of an unnamed FBI analyst assigned to the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center (see July 13, 2001), - the CIA sends a cable to the State Department, INS, Customs Service, and FBI requesting that "bin Laden-related individuals" Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, and two others be put on the terrorism watch list. Since March 2000, if not earlier, the CIA had good reason to believe these two were al-Qaeda terrorists living in the US, but did nothing and told no other agency about it until now (see March 5, 2000). They are not be found in time, and both die in the 9/11 attacks. - FBI agents later state that if they been told about Almihdhar and Alhazmi sooner, "There's no question we could have tied all 19 hijackers together" given the frequent contact between these two and the other hijackers. [Newsweek, 6/2/02] However, in what the Washington Post calls a "critical omission," the FAA, Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the FBI's Financial Review Group are not notified. The two later groups have the power to tap into private credit card and bank data, and claim they could have readily found Alhazmi and Almihdhar given the frequency the two used credit cards. [Washington Post, 7/25/03 (C)] At the same time, the CIA requests that Khallad bin Attash be added to the watch list - eight months after he was known to have been the main planner of the USS Cole bombing (see January 4, 2001). One other attendee of the Malaysian meeting (see January 5-8, 2000) is also put on the watch list, but that name remains confidential. [New York Times, 9/21/02] The CIA later claims the request was labeled "immediate," the second most urgent category (the highest is reserved for things like declarations of war). [Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01] The FBI denies that it was marked "immediate" and other agencies treated the request as a routine matter. [Los Angeles Times, 10/18/01, Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] The State Department places all four on the watch list the next day. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] However, this watch list, named TIPOFF (see December 11, 1999), only checks their names if they use international flights. There is another watch list barring suspected terrorists from flying domestically. On 9/11 it contains about two dozen names. But none of these four are place on that list. [Knight Ridder, 1/27/04]

August 23, 2001 (D): The FBI begins a search for hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar in response to a CIA cable about them (see August 23, 2001 (C)). The FBI later claims that they responded aggressively. An internal review after 9/11 found that "everything was done that could have been done" to find them. [Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01] However, even aside from a failed attempt to start a criminal investigation (see August 28, 2001), the search is halfhearted at best. As the Wall Street Journal later explains, the search "consisted of little more than entering their names in a nationwide law enforcement database that would have triggered red flags if they were taken into custody for some other reason." [Wall Street Journal, 9/17/01] A national motor vehicle index is checked, but a speeding ticket issued to Alhazmi the previous April is not detected. [Daily Oklahoman, 1/20/02, Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Nor is a recorded interaction between Alhazmi and local police in Fairfax, Virginia in May that could have led investigators to Alhazmi's East Coast apartment. [San Diego Union-Tribune,9/27/02] Even though the two were known to have entered the US through Los Angeles, drivers' license records in California are not checked. The FBI also fails to check national credit card or bank account databases, and car registration. All of these would had positive results. Alhazmi's name was even in the 2000-2001 San Diego phone book, listing the address where he and Almihdhar may have been living off and on until about September 9, 2001 (see Early February-Summer 2000 and Early September 2001). [Newsweek, 6/2/02, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/28/01, Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01]

August 24, 2001 (B): Hijacker Khalid Almihdhar buys his 9/11 plane ticket on-line using a credit card; Nawaf Alhazmi does the same the next day. [Congressional Inquiry, 9/26/02] Both men are put on a terrorist watch list this same day (see August 23, 2001 (C)), but the watch list only means they will be stopped if trying to enter or leave the US. Procedures are in place for law enforcement agencies to share watch list information with airlines and airports and such sharing is common, but the FAA and the airlines are not notified about this case, so the purchases raise no red flags. - [Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01] An official later states that had the FAA been properly warned, "they should have been picked up in the reservation process." [Washington Post, 10/2/02]

August 27, 2001 (C): NOTE: was August 28, 2001 (B): The FBI contacts the State Department and the INS to find out the visa status of recently watch listed hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi. Almihdhar's visa obtained in June (see July 4, 2001) is revoked the same day; Alhazmi's visa has already expired and he's in the country illegally. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] However neither agency is asked "to assist in locating the individuals, nor was any other information provided [that] would have indicated either a high priority or imminent danger." An INS official later states, "if [the INS] had been asked to locate the two suspected terrorists ... in late August on an urgent, emergency basis, it would have been able to run those names through its extensive database system and might have been able to locate them." The State Department says "it might have been able to locate the two suspected terrorists if it had been asked to do so." [Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02]

August 28, 2001: A report is sent to the FBI's New York office recommending that an investigation be launched "to determine if [Khalid] Almihdhar is still in the United States." The New York office tries to convince FBI headquarters to open a criminal investigation, but are immediately turned down. The reason given is a "wall" between criminal and intelligence work - Almihdhar could not be tied to the USS Cole investigation without the inclusion of sensitive intelligence information. [Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02] So instead of a criminal case, the New York office opens an "intelligence case", excluding all the "criminal case" investigators from the search. [FBI Agent Testimony, 9/20/02] One FBI agent expresses his frustration in an e-mail the next day, saying, "Whatever has happened to this - someday someone will die - and wall or not - the public will not understand why we were not more effective and throwing every resource we had at certain 'problems.' Let's hope the [FBI's] National Security Law Unit will stand behind their decisions then, especially since the biggest threat to us now, UBL [Usama bin Laden], is getting the most 'protection."' [New York Times, 9/21/02, FBI Agent Testimony, 9/20/02]

August 29, 2001 (B): The FBI learns that when hijacker Khalid Almihdhar arrived in the US in July 2001 (see July 4, 2001), he indicated that he would be staying at a Marriott hotel in New York City. By September 5, an investigation of all New York area Marriott hotels turn up nothing. The FBI office in Los Angeles receives a request on the day of 9/11 to check Sheraton Hotels in Los Angeles, because that where Almihdhar said he would be staying when he entered the country over a year and a half earlier. That search also turns up nothing. [Congressional Inquiry, 9/20/02, Senate Intelligence Committee, 9/18/02] The San Diego FBI office isn't notified about the need for a search until September 12, and even then they are only provided with "sketchy" information. [Los Angeles Times, 9/16/01] The FBI handling agent in San Diego is certain they could have been located quickly had they known to look. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] 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 they'd been living in off and on for the past two years (see Early February-Summer 2000 and Early September 2001).

Sami Omar Hussayen, nephew of Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen.

September 10, 2001 (U): Three hijackers, Hani Hanjour, Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawaf Alhazmi, check into the same hotel as a prominent Saudi government official. [Washington Post, 10/2/03] Investigators have not found any evidence that the hijackers met with the official, and stress it could be a coincidence. [Telegraph, 3/10/03] But one prosecutor working on a related case asserts, " "I continue to believe it can't be a coincidence." [Wall Street Journal, 10/2/03] The official, Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, is interviewed by the FBI shortly after 9/11, but according to testimony from 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." But that "recommendation, for whatever reason, [is] not complied with." Hussayen returns to Saudi Arabia a few days later, as soon as the US ban on international flights has ended (see September 14-19, 2001). [Washington Post, 10/2/03] For most of the 1990s, Hussayen is director of the SAAR Foundation, a Saudi charity that is being investigated for terrorism ties. 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, World Muslim League, IIRO, IANA, WAMY (see September 11, 1996), have since been shut down or investigated for alleged ties to terrorism. [Washington Post, 10/2/03] His nephew, Sami Omar Hussayen, is indicted in early 2004 for using his computer expertise to assist terrorist groups. He is charged with administering a website associated with IANA (the Islamic Assembly of North America) that expressly advocated suicide attacks and using airliners as weapons in the months before 9/11. Investigators also claim the nephew was in contact with important al-Qaeda figures. [Washington Post, 10/2/03, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/10/04] IANA is being investigated, including the flow of money from the uncle to nephew. [Telegraph, 3/10/03] The uncle has not been charged with any crime. [Wall Street Journal, 10/2/03]

September 11, 2001 (CC): Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, already on a terrorist watch list only for international flights (see August 23, 2001 (C)), are able to fly domestically on their Flight 77 suicide mission without being stopped. However, they and seven other hijackers are selected for extra screening before boarding. Their bags are thoroughly screened for explosives, but their bodies are not searched. A computer program named CAPPS had selected them for suspicious behavior such as buying one way tickets or paying with cash. [Washington Post, 1/28/04] The 9/11 Independent Commission also later concludes that the passports of these two are "suspicious" and could have been linked to al-Qaeda upon inspection but it hasn't been explained why or how. Three other hijackers, Salem Alhazmi, Ahmed Alnami and Ahmad Alhaznawi, also have these same suspicious indicators on their passports. None of them are prevented from flying because of this. [Baltimore Sun, 1/27/04]

September 21-28, 2001: Omar al-Bayoumi, suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent (see August 1994 and Early February 2000), is arrested and held for one week in Britain. He moved from San Diego to Britain in July 2001 and is a studying at Aston University Business School in Birmingham when he is taken into custody by British authorities working with the FBI. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/27/01, Washington Post, 12/29/01, MSNBC, 11/27/02] During a search of al-Bayoumi's Birmingham apartment (which includes ripping up the floorboards), the FBI finds the names and phone numbers of two employees of the Saudi embassy's Islamic Affairs Department. [Newsweek, 11/24/02] "There was a link there," a Justice Department official says, adding that the FBI interviewed the employees and "that was the end of that, in October or November of 2001." The official adds: "I don't know why he had those names." Nail al-Jubeir, chief spokesman for the Saudi embassy in Washington, says al-Bayoumi "called [the numbers] constantly." [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] They also discover jihadist literature, and conclude he "has connections to terrorist elements" including al-Qaeda. [Washington Post, 7/25/03] However, he is released after a week. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02, Newsweek, 11/24/02] British intelligence officials are frustrated that the FBI failed to give them information that would have enabled them to keep al-Bayoumi in custody longer then the seven days allowed under British anti-terrorism laws. [London Times, 10/19/01, San Diego Channel 10, 10/25/01] Even FBI officials in San Diego appear to have not been told of al-Bayoumi's arrest by FBI officials in Britain until after he is released. [Sunday Mercury, 10/21/01] Newsweek claims that still classified sections of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry (see July 24, 2003) indicate the Saudi Embassy pushed for al-Bayoumi's release - "another possible indicator of his high-level [Saudi] connections." [Newsweek, 7/28/03] A San Diego FBI agent later secretly testifies that supervisors fail to act on evidence connecting to a Saudi money trail (see October 9, 2002). The FBI is said to conduct a massive investigation of al-Bayoumi within days of 9/11 that shows he has connections to foreign terrorists [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03, Sunday Mercury, 10/21/01, Newsweek, 7/28/03], but even two years later witnesses connecting him to Saudi money appear to be uninterviewed by the FBI (see August 2003). Al-Bayoumi continues with his studies in Britain and is still there into 2002, and yet is still not rearrested. [Washington Post, 12/29/01, Newsweek, 10/29/02] He disappears into Saudi Arabia by the time he reenters the news in late 2002 (see November 22, 2002). [San Diego Magazine, 9/03]

April 25, 2002: Osama Basnan, an alleged associate of 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi (see April 1998, December 4, 1999, and November 22, 2002), reports his passport stolen to Houston, Texas police. [MSNBC, 12/2/02] This confirms that Basnan is in Houston on the same day that Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, and Saudi US Ambassador Prince Bandar meet with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, and National Security Advisor Rice at Bush's ranch in nearby Crawford, Texas. [US-Saudi Arabian Business Council, 4/25/02] Abdullah's entourage passes through Houston that week en route to Bush's ranch. While in Texas, it is believed that Basnan "met with a high Saudi prince who has responsibilities for intelligence matters and is known to bring suitcases full of cash into the United States." [MSNBC, 12/2/02, Guardian, 11/25/02] The still-classified section of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry (see August 1-3, 2003) is said to discuss the possibility of Basnan meeting this figure at this time. [AP, 8/2/03]

Saud al-Rashid. [FBI]

August 15, 2002 (D): The picture of a young Saudi man named Saud al-Rashid is discovered on a CD-ROM with the pictures of four 9/11 hijackers in an al-Qaeda safe house in Pakistan. A senior US official says investigators "were able to take this piece of information and it showed clear signals or lines that he was connected to 9/11." [AP, 8/21/02 (B)] Rashid was in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001. [New York Times, 7/29/03 (B)] Six days later, the US issues a worldwide dragnet to find him. [AP, 8/21/02] But they are unable to catch him because a few days later, he flees from Egypt to Saudi Arabia and turns himself in to the Saudi authorities. The Saudis apparently won't try him for any crime or allow the FBI to interview him. [CNN, 8/26/02, CNN, 8/31/02] Intriguingly, Al-Rashid's father is Hamid al-Rashid, a Saudi government official who paid a salary to Omar al-Bayoumi, an associate of two hijackers who is later suspected of being a Saudi agent (see August 1994). [New York Times, 7/29/03 (B)]

August 22, 2002: Osama Basnan, an alleged associate of 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi (see April 1998 and December 4, 1999), and his wife are arrested for visa fraud. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02, MSNBC, 11/23/02] One report says he is arrested for allegedly having links to Omar al-Bayoumi (see August 1994 and Early February 2000). [Arab News, 11/26/02] On October 22, Basnan and his wife, Majeda Dweikat, admit they used false immigration documents to stay in the US. [San Diego Channel 10, 10/22/02] Possible financial connections between Basnan and al-Bayoumi, Almihdhar and Alhazmi, and the Saudi royal family are known to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry (as well as the FBI and CIA) at this time (see October 9, 2002), but Basnan is deported to Saudi Arabia on November 17, 2002 anyways. His wife is deported to Jordan the same day. [Washington Post, 11/24/02] Less than a week after the deportations, new media reports make Basnan an internationally-known wanted man (see November 22, 2002).

October 5, 2002: The New York Times reports that the FBI is refusing to allow Abdussattar Shaikh, the FBI informant who lived with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar (see September-December 2000), to testify before the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry. The FBI claims the informer would have nothing interesting to say. The Justice Department also wants to learn more about the informant. [New York Times, 10/5/02] The FBI also tries to prevent Shaikh's handler Steve Butler from testifying, but Butler does end up testifying before a secret session (see October 9, 2002). Shaikh doesn't testify at all. [Washington Post, 10/11/02] Butler's testimony uncovers many curious facts about Shaikh (see Autumn 2000 (B)).

October 9, 2002: San Diego FBI agent Steven Butler reportedly gives "explosive" testimony to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry. Butler, recently retired, has been unable to speak to the media, but he was the handler for Abdussattar Shaikh, an FBI informant who rented a room to hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar (see Summer-December 2000 and Autumn 2000 (B)). Butler claims he might have uncovered the 9/11 plot if the CIA had provided the FBI with more information earlier about Alhazmi and Almihdhar. [New York Times, 11/23/02] He says, "It would have made a huge difference." He suggests they would have quickly found the two hijackers because they were "very, very close." "We would have immediately opened ... investigations. We would have given them the full court press. We would ... have done everything - physical surveillance, technical surveillance, and other assets." [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/25/03] Butler discloses that he had been monitoring a flow of Saudi Arabian money that wound up in the hands of two of the 9/11 hijackers, but his supervisors failed to take any action on the warnings. It is not known when Butler started investigating the money flow, or warned his supervisors. [US News and World Report, 11/29/02] Some details of this Saudi money trail will cause headlines in November 2002 (see November 22, 2002). The FBI unsuccessfully tried to prevent Butler from testifying (see October 5, 2002). Despite the knowledge about the Saudi money trail involving Osama Basnan and Omar al-Bayoumi revealed at this time, Basnan is nonetheless deported to Saudi Arabia the next month, where he disappears (see August 22, 2002), and al-Bayoumi, who had been living in Britain, disappears as well (see September 22, 2001).

November 22, 2002: Newsweek reports that hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi may have received money from Saudi Arabia's royal family through two Saudis, Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan (see August 1994, April 1998, and December 4, 1999), based on information leaked from the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry the month before (see October 9, 2002). [Newsweek, 11/22/02, MSNBC, 11/23/02, Washington Post, 11/24/02, New York Times, 11/23/02] Al-Bayoumi is in Saudi Arabia by this time (see September 21-28, 2001); Basnan was deported to Saudi Arabia just five days earlier (see August 22, 2002). Saudi officials and Princess Haifa immediately deny any terrorist connections. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] Newsweek reports that while the money trail "could be perfectly innocent ... it is nonetheless intriguing - and could ultimately expose the Saudi government to some of the blame for 9/11 ..." [Newsweek, 11/22/02] Some Saudi newspapers which usually reflect government thinking claim the leak is blackmail to pressure Saudi Arabia into supporting war with Iraq. [MSNBC, 11/25/02] Senior government officials claim the FBI and CIA failed to aggressively pursue leads that might have linked the two hijackers to Saudi Arabia. This causes a bitter dispute between FBI and CIA officials and the intelligence panel investigating the 9/11 attacks (see December 11, 2002 (B)). [New York Times, 11/23/02] A number of senators, including Richard Shelby (R), John McCain (R), Mitch O'Connell (R), Joe Lieberman (D), Bob Graham (D), Joe Biden (D), and Charles Schumer (D), express concern about the Bush administration's action (or non-action) regarding the Saudi royal family and its possible role in funding terrorists. [New York Times, 11/25/02, Reuters, 11/24/02] Lieberman says, "I think it's time for the president to blow the whistle and remember what he said after September 11 - you're either with us or you're with the terrorists." [ABC, 11/25/02] FBI officials strongly deny any deliberate connection between these two and the Saudi government or the hijackers [Time, 11/24/03], but later even more connections between them and both entities are revealed (Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03).

December 11, 2002 (B): The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry concludes its seven month investigation of the performance of government agencies before the 9/11 attacks. A report hundred of page long has been written, but only nine pages of findings and 15 pages of recommendations are released at this time, and those have blacked out sections. [Los Angeles Times, 12/12/02] After months of wrangling over what has to be classified (see January-July 2003), the final report is released in July 2003 (see July 24, 2003). In the findings released at this time, the Inquiry accuses the Bush administration of refusing to declassify information about possible Saudi Arabian financial links to US-based terrorists, criticizes the FBI for not adapting into a domestic intelligence bureau after the attacks and says the CIA lacked an effective system for holding its officials accountable for their actions. Asked if 9/11 could have been prevented, Senator Bob Graham (D), the committee chairman, gives "a conditional yes." Graham says the Bush administration has given Americans an "incomplete and distorted picture" of the foreign assistance the hijackers may have received." [ABC, 12/10/02] Graham further says, "There are many more findings to be disclosed" that Americans would find "more than interesting," and he and others express frustration that information that should be released is being kept classified by the Bush administration. [St. Petersburg Times, 12/12/02] Many of these findings remain classified after the Inquiry's final report is released (see July 28, 2003 and August 1-3, 2003). Sen. Richard Shelby (R), the vice chairman, singles out six people as having "failed in significant ways to ensure that this country was as prepared as it could have been": CIA Director Tenet; Tenet's predecessor, John Deutch; former FBI Director Louis Freeh; NSA Director Michael Hayden; Hayden's predecessor, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minihan; and former Deputy Director Barbara McNamara. [Washington Post, 12/11/02; Committee Findings, 12/11/02, Committee Recommendations, 12/11/02] Shelby says that Tenet should resign. "There have been more failures on his watch as far as massive intelligence failures than any CIA director in history. Yet he's still there. It's inexplicable to me." [Reuters, 12/10/02, PBS Newshour, 12/11/02] "A list of 19 recommendations consists largely of recycled proposals and tepid calls for further study of thorny issues members themselves could not resolve." [Los Angeles Times, 12/12/02]

NEW January-July 2003: The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry is originally expected to release its complete and final report in January 2003, but the panel spends seven months negotiating with the Bush Administration about what material could be made public, and the final report is not released until July 2003 (see July 24, 2003). [Washington Post, 7/27/03] The Administration originally wanted two thirds of the report to remain classified. [AP, 5/31/03] Former Senator Max Cleland, (D), member of the 9/11 Independent Commission, later claims, "The administration sold the connection (between Iraq and al-Qaeda) to scare the pants off the American people and justify the war. There's no connection, and that's been confirmed by some of bin Laden's terrorist followers ... What you've seen here is the manipulation of intelligence for political ends. The reason this report was delayed for so long - deliberately opposed at first, then slow-walked after it was created - is that the administration wanted to get the war in Iraq in and over ... before (it) came out. Had this report come out in January [2003] like it should have done, we would have known these things before the war in Iraq, which would not have suited the administration." [UPI, 7/25/03]

Senator Bob Graham holds the Congressional Inquiry report. [AP]

July 24, 2003: The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry's final report comes out (see the report here: Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 and Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)). Officially, the report was written by the 37 members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, but in practice, cochairmen Bob Graham (D) and Porter Goss (R) exercised "near total control over the panel, forbidding the inquiry's staff to speak to other lawmakers." [St. Petersburg Times, 9/29/02] Both Republican and Democrats in the panel complained how the two cochairmen withheld information and controlled the process. [Palm Beach Post, 9/21/02] The report was finished in December 2002 and some findings were released then (see December 11, 2002 (B)), but the next seven months were spent in negotiation with the Bush Administration over what material had to remain censored (see January-July 2003). The Inquiry had a very limited mandate, focusing just on the handling of intelligence before 9/11. It also completely ignores or censors out all mentions of intelligence from foreign governments. Thomas Kean, the Chairman of 9/11 Independent Commission says the Inquiry's mandate covered only "one-seventh or one-eighth" of what his newer investigation will hopefully cover. [Washington Post, 7/27/03] The report blames virtually every government agency for failures:

1) Newsweek's main conclusion is: "The investigation turned up no damning single piece of evidence that would have led agents directly to the impending attacks. Still, the report makes it chillingly clear that law-enforcement and intelligence agencies might very well have uncovered the plot had it not been for blown signals, sheer bungling - and a general failure to understand the nature of the threat." [Newsweek, 7/28/03]

2) According to the New York Times, the report also concludes, "the FBI and CIA had known for years that al-Qaeda sought to strike inside the United States, but focused their attention on the possibility of attacks overseas." [New York Times, 7/26/03]

3) CIA Director Tenet was "either unwilling or unable to marshal the full range of Intelligence Community resources necessary to combat the growing threat." [Washington Post, 7/25/03]

4) US military leaders were "reluctant to use ... assets to conduct offensive counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan" or to "support or participate in CIA operations directed against al-Qaeda." [Washington Post, 7/25/03]

5) "There was no coordinated ... strategy to track terrorist funding and close down their financial support networks" and the Treasury Department even showed "reluctance" to do so. [Washington Post, 7/25/03]

6) According to the Washington Post, the NSA took "an overly cautious approach to collecting intelligence in the United States and offered 'insufficient collaboration' with the FBI's efforts." [Washington Post, 7/25/03]

Many sections remain censored, especially an entire chapter detailing possible Saudi support for 9/11 (see August 1-3, 2003). The Bush Administration insisted on censoring even information that was already in the public domain. [Newsweek, 5/25/03 (B)] The Inquiry attempted to determine "to what extent the President received threat-specific warnings" but received very little information. The was a focus on learning what was in Bush's briefing on August 6, 2001 (see August 6, 2001) but the White House refused to release this information, citing "executive privilege." [Washington Post, 7/25/03 (B), Newsday, 8/7/03] Pressure builds to release more classified information, but it remains secret except for some media leaks (see July 28, 2003 and August 1-3, 2003). The report also causes pressure to reopen an investigation into Saudi connections to 9/11 and possible associates of the hijackers (see July 24, 2003 (B)), but a halfhearted effort to do so apparently dies in less than a month (see August 2003).

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

1) Mamoun Darkazanli, investigated several times starting in 1991 (see September 20, 1998); the CIA makes repeated efforts to turn him into an informer (see December 1999, and Spring 2000).

2) Mohammed Haydar Zammar, investigated by Germany since at least 1997 (see March 1997), the Germans periodically inform the CIA what they learn (see January 31, 1999 and Summer 1999).

3) Osama Basnan, US intelligence is informed of his terror connections several times in early 1990s but fails to investigate (April 1998).

4) Omar al-Bayoumi, investigated in San Diego from 1998-1999 (see September 1998-July 1999).

5) Anwar Al Aulaqi, investigated in San Diego from 1999-2000 (see June 1999-March 2000 and March 2001 (D)).

6) Osama "Sam" Mustafa, owner of a San Diego gas station, and investigated beginning in 1991 (see Autumn 2000)

7) Ed Salamah, manager of the same gas station, and uncooperative witness in 2000 (see Autumn 2000).

8) Unnamed friend of Hani Hanjour, FBI tries to investigate in 2001 (see 1997-July 2001).

9) Unnamed associate of Marwan Alshehhi, investigated beginning in 1999 (see July 1999).

10 and more) Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, who had contact with numbers 3-7 above, "maintained a number of other contacts in the local Islamic community during their time in San Diego, some of whom were also known to the FBI through counterterrorist inquiries and investigations," but details of these individuals and possible others are still classified. [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] None of the above figures have been arrested or even publicly charged of any terrorist crime, although Zammar is in prison in Syria (see October 27, 2001).

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal after meeting Bush over the 9/11 report. [AP]

July 28, 2003: In the wake of the release of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry's final report (see July 24, 2003), pressure builds to release most of the still-censored sections of the report, but on this day Bush says he is against the idea. [AP, 7/29/03 (B), New York Times, 7/29/03] Though an obscure rule the Senate could force the release of the material with a majority vote [USA Today, /5/29/03], but apparently the number of votes in favor of this idea falls just short. MSNBC reports, "the decision to keep the passage secret ... created widespread suspicion among lawmakers that the administration was trying to shield itself and its Saudi allies from embarrassment. ... Three of the four leaders of the joint congressional investigation into the attacks have said they believed that much of the material on foreign financing was safe to publish but that the administration insisted on keeping it secret." [MSNBC, 7/28/03] Senator Richard Shelby (R), one of the main authors of the report, states that "90, 95 percent of it would not compromise, in my judgment, anything in national security." Bush ignored a reporter's question on Shelby's assessment. [AP, 7/29/03 (B)] Even the Saudi government claims to be in favor of releasing the censored material so it can better respond to Saudi criticism. [MSNBC, 7/28/03] All the censored material remains censored; however, some details of the most controversial censored sections are leaked to the media (see August 1-3, 2003).

NEW August 1-3, 2003: In the wake of the release of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry's full report (see July 24, 2003), anonymous officials leak some details from a controversial, completely censored 28 page section that focuses on possible Saudi support for 9/11. According to leaks given to the New York Times, the section says that Omar al-Bayoumi and/or Osama Basnan "had at least indirect links with two hijackers were probably Saudi intelligence agents and may have reported to Saudi government officials." It also says that Anwar Al Aulaqi "was a central figure in a support network that aided the same two hijackers." Most connections drawn in the report between the men, Saudi intelligence, and 9/11 is said to be circumstantial. [New York Times, 8/2/03] One key section is said to read, "On the one hand, it is possible that these kinds of connections could suggest, as indicated in a CIA memorandum, 'incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists' ... On the other hand, it is also possible that further investigation of these allegations could reveal legitimate, and innocent, explanations for these associations." Some of the most sensitive information involves what US agencies are doing currently to investigate Saudi business figures and organizations. [AP, 8/2/03] According to the New Republic, the section outlines "connections between the hijacking plot and the very top levels of the Saudi royal family." An anonymous official is quoted as saying, "There's a lot more in the 28 pages than money. Everyone's chasing the charities. They should be chasing direct links to high levels of the Saudi government. We're not talking about rogue elements. We're talking about a coordinated network that reaches right from the hijackers to multiple places in the Saudi government. ... If the people in the administration trying to link Iraq to al-Qaeda had one-one-thousandth of the stuff that the 28 pages has linking a foreign government to al-Qaeda, they would have been in good shape. ... If the 28 pages were to be made public, I have no question that the entire relationship with Saudi Arabia would change overnight." [New Republic, 8/1/03] The section also is critical that the issue of foreign government support remains unresolved. One section reads, ''In their testimony, neither CIA or FBI officials were able to address definitely the extent of such support for the hijackers, globally or within the United States, or the extent to which such support, if it exists, is knowing or inadvertent in nature. This gap in intelligence community coverage is unacceptable.'' [Boston Globe, 8/3/03]

NEW August 2003: In the wake of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report (see July 24, 2003), and "under intense pressure from Congress," as the Boston Globe puts it, the FBI and CIA reopen an investigation into whether Saudi Arabian officials aided the 9/11 plot. [Boston Globe, 8/3/03] In early August, Saudi Arabia allows the FBI to interview Omar al-Bayoumi. However, the interview takes place in Saudi Arabia, and apparently on his terms, with Saudi government handlers present. [New York Times, 8/5/03, AP, 8/6/03] Says one anonymous government terrorism consultant, "They are revisiting everybody. The [FBI] did not do a very good job of unraveling the conspiracy behind the hijackers." [Boston Globe, 8/3/03] But by September, the Washington Post reports that the FBI has concluded that the idea al-Bayoumi was a Saudi government agent is "without merit and has largely abandoned further investigation... The bureau's Sept. 11 investigative team, which is still tracking down details of the plot, has reached similar conclusions about other associates named or referred to in the congressional inquiry report." [Washington Post, 9/10/03] Yet another article claims that by late August, some key people who interacted with al-Bayoumi have yet to be interviewed by the FBI. "Countless intelligence leads that might help solve" the mystery of a Saudi connection to the hijackers "appear to have been underinvestigated or completely overlooked by the FBI, particularly in San Diego." [San Diego Magazine, 9/03] Not only were they never interviewed when the investigation was supposedly reopened, they were not interviewed in the months after 9/11 either, when the FBI supposedly opened an "intense investigation" of al-Bayoumi, visiting "every place he was known to have gone, and [compiling] 4,000 pages of documents detailing his activities. [Newsweek, 7/28/03]

**********

STANDARD DISCLAIMER FROM UQ.ORG: UnansweredQuestions.org does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the above article. We present this in the interests of research -for the relevant information we believe it contains. We hope that the reader finds in it inspiration to work with us further, in helping to build bridges between our various investigative communities, towards a greater, common understanding of the unanswered questions which now lie before us.

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