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  1. #51
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    The Warnings

    A while back, I decided to "collect" all of the warnings from www.cooperativeresearch.org. I'm sure it has been updated since then. As you read through these, try to think about what we were told immediately after 9/11. I believe Ari Fleischer said, "There were no warnings." Bush said, "had I had any inkling whatsoever that the people were going to fly airplanes into buildings, we would have moved heaven and earth to save the country", and I believe there's a clip of him saying, I don't think anyone in our Government, or the prior Government at least could imagine planes being used as missiles (not verbatim) in 9/11: Press For Truth. The point is, they obviously lied in that regard.

    Some will view these as "LIHOP" material. However, imagine what people within the Government could do with some of this information to insure the success of an impending attack. I don't claim to know exactly what happened on 9/11, so for me to say, "These were planted to create a story" would be wrong, and I think it devalues the information. Which to me, is very valuable. Especially when you take into account the recent report of a French warning that specifically mentioned, "American Airlines and United Airlines." I apologize that some of these are not dated. - Jon

    In late July 2001, Egyptian intelligence received a report from an undercover agent in Afghanistan that "20 al-Qaeda members had slipped into the US and four of them had received flight training on Cessnas." To the Egyptians, pilots of small planes didn't sound terribly alarming, but they passed on the message to the CIA anyway, fully expecting Washington to request information. "The request never came." [CBS, 10/9/02] Given that there were 19 hijackers and four pilots (who trained on Cessnas) in the 9/11 plot, one might think this would now be a big news item. But in fact, the information has only appeared as an aside in a CBS "60 Minutes" show about a different topic.

    In 1999, British intelligence gave a secret report to the US embassy.^The report stated that al-Qaeda had plans to use "commercial aircraft" in "unconventional ways", "possibly as flying bombs."^[Sunday Times, 6/9/02] On July 16, 2001, British intelligence passed a message to the US that al-Qaeda was in "the final stages" of preparing a terrorist attack in Western countries. [London Times, 6/14/02] In early August, the British gave another warning, telling the US to expect multiple airline hijackings from al-Qaeda. This warning was included in Bush's briefing on August 6, 2001. [Sunday Herald, 5/19/02]

    In late July 2001, Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil learned that Osama bin Laden was planning a "huge attack" on targets inside America. The attack was imminent, and would kill thousands, he learned from the leader of the rebel Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which was closely allied with al-Qaeda at the time. Muttawakil sent an emissary to pass this information on to the US Consul General, and another US official, "possibly from the intelligence services." Sources confirmed that this message was received, but supposedly not taken very seriously, because of "warning fatigue" arising from too many terror warnings. [Independent, 9/7/02, Reuters, 9/7/02]

    An undercover agent from Morocco successfully penetrated al-Qaeda. He learned that bin Laden was "very disappointed" that the 1993 bombing had not toppled the World Trade Center, and was planning "large scale operations in New York in the summer or fall of 2001." He provided this information to the US in August 2001.^[Agence France Presse, 11/22/01, International Herald Tribune, 5/21/02, London Times, 6/12/02]

    In June 2001, German intelligence warned the US, Britain, and Israel that Middle Eastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft and use them as weapons to attack "American and Israeli symbols which stand out." Within the American intelligence community, "the warnings were taken seriously and surveillance intensified" but "there was disagreement on how such terrorist attacks could be prevented." This warning came from Echelon, a spy satellite network that is partly based in Germany. [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 9/11/01, Washington Post, 9/14/01]

    In late summer 2001, Jordan intelligence intercepted a message stating that a major attack was being planned inside the US and that aircraft would be used. The code name of the operation was Big Wedding, which did in fact turn out to be the codename of the 9/11 plot. The message was passed to US intelligence through several channels. ^[International Herald Tribune, 5/21/02, Christian Science Monitor, 5/23/02]

    Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly stated that he ordered his intelligence agencies to alert the US in the summer of 2001 that suicide pilots were training for attacks on US targets. [Fox News, 5/17/02] The head of Russian intelligence also stated, "We had clearly warned them" on several occasions, but they "did not pay the necessary attention." [Agence France-Presse, 9/16/01] The Russian newspaper Izvestia claimed that Russian intelligence agents knew the participants in the attacks, and: "More than that, Moscow warned Washington about preparation for these actions a couple of weeks before they happened." [Izvestia, 9/12/02]

    Five days before 9/11, the priest Jean-Marie Benjamin was told by a Muslim at an Italian wedding of a plot to attack the US and Britain using hijacked airplanes as weapons. He wasn't told time or place specifics. He immediately passed what he knew on to a judge and several politicians in Italy. Presumably this Muslim confided in him because Benjamin has done considerable charity work in Muslim countries and is considered "one of the West's most knowledgeable experts on the Muslim world." [Zenit, 9/16/01]

    Benjamin has not revealed who told him this information, but it could have come from a member of the al-Qaeda cell in Milan, Italy. This cell supplied forged documents for other al-Qaeda operations, and wiretaps show members of the cell were aware of the 9/11 plot. [Los Angeles Times, 5/29/02, Guardian, 5/30/02, Boston Globe, 8/4/02] For instance, in August 2000, one terrorist in Milan was recorded saying to another: "I'm studying airplanes. I hope, God willing, that I can bring you a window or a piece of an airplane the next time we see each other." The comment was followed by laughter [Washington Post, 5/31/02]. In another case in January 2001, a terrorist asked if certain forged documents were for "the brothers going to the United States," and was angrily rebuked by another who told him not to talk about that "very, very secret" plan. [Los Angeles Times, 5/29/02] In March 2001, the Italian government gave the US a warning based on these wiretaps. [Fox News, 5/17/02]

    1993 (C)
    An expert panel commissioned by the Pentagon privately postulates that an airplane could be used as a missile to bomb national landmarks. But the panel doesn't publish this idea in its report, Terror 2000. [Washington Post 10/2/01] One of the authors of the report says. “We were told by the Department of Defense not to put it in… and I said, ‘It's unclassified, everything is available.’ And they said, ‘We don't want it released, because you can't handle a crisis before it becomes a crisis. And no one is going to believe you.’ ” [ABC News 2/20/02] However, in 1994 one of the panel's experts will write in Futurist magazine: “Targets such as the World Trade Center not only provide the requisite casualties but, because of their symbolic nature, provide more bang for the buck. In order to maximize their odds for success, terrorist groups will likely consider mounting multiple, simultaneous operations with the aim of overtaxing a government's ability to respond, as well as demonstrating their professionalism and reach.” [Washington Post 10/2/01]

    1993 (B)
    Bin Laden buys a jet from the US military in Arizona (the Pentagon approved the transaction). This aircraft is later used to transport missiles from Pakistan that kill American Special Forces in Somalia. He also has some of his followers begin training as pilots in US flight schools. These initial flight trainings come to nothing when details are later revealed in a court case about Operation Bojinka (see January 6, 1995). [Sunday Herald 9/16/01]

    February 26, 1993
    An attempt to blow up the WTC fails. Six people are killed in the misfired blast. Analysts later determine that had the terrorists not made a minor error in the placement of the bomb, both towers could have fallen and up to 50,000 people could have been killed. The attempt is organized by Ramzi Yousef, who has close ties to bin Laden. [Congressional Hearings 2/24/98] The New York Times later reports on Emad Salem, an undercover agent who ends up being the key government witness in the trial against the bomber. Salem testifies that the FBI knew about the attack beforehand and told him they would thwart it by substituting a harmless powder for the explosives. However, this plan was called off by an FBI supervisor, and the bombing was not stopped. [ [New York Times 10/28/93] ] Why did the FBI seemingly let the terrorists go ahead with the bombing? Others suspects are ineptly investigated before the bombing (see July 1990 and November 5, 1990). Several of the bombers were trained by the CIA to fight in the Afghan war, and the CIA later concludes in internal documents that it was “partly culpable” for this bombing attempt. [ [Independent 11/1/98] ] Ahmad Ajaj, an associate of Yousef, may have been a mole for the Israeli Mossad, and the Mossad may have had advanced knowledge of the bombing (see September 1, 1992). US officials later state that the overall mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, is a close relative of Ramzi Yousef, [Independent, 6/6/02] probably his uncle. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] One of the attackers even left a message found by investigators stating, “Next time, it will be very precise.” 9/11 can be seen as a completion of this failed attack. [AP 9/30/01]

    1994 (B)
    Coincidentally, three separate attacks this year involve hijacking airplanes to crash them into buildings. A disgruntled Federal Express worker tries to crash a DC-10 into a company building in Memphis but is overpowered by the crew. A lone pilot crashes a small plane onto the White House grounds, just missing the President's bedroom. An Air France flight is hijacked by a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda, with the aim of crashing it into the Eiffel Tower, but French Special Forces storm the plane before it takes off. [New York Times, 10/3/01] The Eiffel Tower suicide plan is detailed in a Time magazine cover story.

    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]

    December 12, 1994
    Terrorist Ramzi Yousef attempts a trial run of Operation Bojinka (see January 6, 1995), planting a small bomb on a Philippine Airlines flight to Tokyo (he gets off on a stopover before the bomb is detonated). It explodes, killing one man, and would have caused the plane to crash if not for what were described as heroic efforts by the pilot. [Los Angeles Times 9/1/02; Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]

    January 6, 1995
    Philippine investigators uncover an al-Qaeda plot to assassinate the Pope that would take place when he visits the Philippines one week later. While investigating that, they also uncover Operation Bojinka, planned by the same people: 1993 WTC bomber Ramzi Yousef (see February 26, 1993) and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (see Early 1994-January 1995). [Independent, 6/6/02, Los Angeles Times, 6/24/02, Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] The plan is to explode 11 or 12 passenger planes over the Pacific Ocean. [Agence France Presse, 12/8/01] If successful, up to 4,000 people would have been killed in planes flying to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, and New York. [Insight, 5/27/02] All the bombs would be planted at about the same time, but some would be timed to go off weeks or even months later. Presumably worldwide air travel could be interrupted for months. [1000 Years for Revenge, by Peter Lance, 9/03, pp. 260-261] Operation Bojinka was scheduled to go forward just two weeks later on January 21. A plan is also found for a second phase of attacks (see January 20, 1995 and February 1995). [Insight 5/27/02]

    End Part I
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #52
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    February 7, 1995
    Terrorist Ramzi Yousef is arrested in Pakistan (see February 26, 1993 and January 6, 1995). 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is staying in the same building at the time, and brazenly gives an interview to Time magazine as “Khalid Sheikh,” describing Yousef's capture. [1000 Years for Revenge, by Peter Lance, 9/03, pp. 328] Yousef had recruited Istaique Parker to implement a limited version of Operation Bojinka (see January 6, 1995). Parker would put bombs on board two flights bound from Bangkok to the US. Parker got cold feet and turned Yousef in instead. [1000 Years for Revenge, by Peter Lance, 9/03, pp. 284-285] The next day, as Yousef is flying over New York City on his way to a prison cell, an FBI agent says to Yousef, “You see the Trade Centers down there, they're still standing, aren't they?” Yousef responds, “They wouldn't be if I had enough money and enough explosives.” [MSNBC, 9/23/01, The Cell, John Miller, Michael Stone and Chris Mitchell, 8/02, p. 135] Yousef also soon admits to ties with Wali Khan Shah, who fought with bin Laden in Afghanistan, and Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, one of bin Laden's brothers-in-law, who is being held by the US at the time. Despite this confession, Khalifa is let go a few months later (see December 14, 1994). But although Yousef talks freely, he makes no direct mention of bin Laden, or the “third plot” - a planned second wave of Operation Bojinka that closely parallels the later 9/11 plot (see February 1995).

    Spring 1995
    In the wake of the uncovering of the Operation Bojinka plot, a letter written by the terrorists who planned the failed 1993 WTC bombing (see February 26, 1993) is found on a computer disk in the Philippines. This letter warns that future attacks would be more precise and they would continue to target the WTC if their demands were not met. This letter was never sent, but its contents are revealed in 1998 congressional testimony. [Congressional Hearings, 2/24/98] The Manila, Philippines police chief also reports discovering a statement from bin Laden around this time that although they failed to blow up the WTC in 1993, “on the second attempt they would be successful.” [AFP, 9/13/01] Why wasn't security at the WTC noticeably improved after these revelations, or later?

    April 3, 1995
    Time magazine's cover story reports on the potential for terrorists to kill thousands in highly destructive acts. Senator Sam Nunn outlines a scenario in which terrorists destroy the US Capitol Building by crashing a radio controlled airplane into it. “Its not far-fetched,” he says. His idea was taken from Tom Clancy's book Debt of Honorpublished in August 1994. [Time, 4/3/95] High-ranking al-Qaeda leaders later claim that Flight 93's target was the Capitol Building. [Guardian 9/9/02]

    July 1995
    A US National Intelligence Estimate concludes that the most likely threat would come from emerging “transient” terrorist groupings that are more fluid and multinational than older organizations and state-sponsored surrogates. This “new terrorist phenomenon” is made up of loose affiliations of Islamist extremists violently angry at the US. Lacking strong organization, they get weapons, money, and support from an assortment of governments, factions, and individual benefactors. [9/11 Commission Report 3/24/04] The estimate warns that terrorists are intent on striking specific targets inside the US, especially landmark buildings in Washington and New York. In 1997, the intelligence estimate is updated with bin Laden mentioned on the first page as an emerging threat and points out he might be interested in attacks inside the US. However, this new estimate is only two sentences long and lacks any strategic analysis on how to address the threat. [Associated Press 04/16/04]

    Early 1996
    The CIA's Counterterrorism Center creates a special unit to focus specifically on bin Laden. About 10-15 individuals are assigned to the unit initially. This grows to about 35-40 by 9/11. [Senate Intelligence Committee, 9/18/02] The unit is set up “largely because of evidence linking him to the 1993 bombing of the WTC.” [Washington Post, 10/3/01 (C)] By early 1997, the unit realizes that bin Laden was not just a financier but an organizer of terrorist activity. It knows that al-Qaeda has a military committee planning operations against US interests worldwide. Although this information is disseminated in many reports, the unit's sense of alarm about bin Laden isn't widely shared or understood within the intelligence and policy communities. Employees in the unit feel their zeal attracts ridicule from their peers. [9/11 Commission 3/24/04 (C)]

    January 1996
    US intelligence gets information concerning a planned suicide attack by individuals connected with Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman (see July 1990) and a key al-Qaeda operative. The plan is to fly from Afghanistan to the US and attack the White House. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]

    1996 (D)
    Having found a business card of a US flight school in the possession of Bojinka plotter Abdul Hakim Murad (see January 6, 1995), the FBI investigates the US flight schools Murad attended. [Washington Post, 9/23/01] He had trained at about 6 flight schools off and on, starting in 1990. Apparently the FBI stops their investigation when they fail to find any other potential suspects (see May 18, 1998). [Insight, 5/27/02] However, Murad had confessed to Philippine authorities the names of about ten other al-Qaeda operatives learning to fly in the US, and this information was given to the US. The US fails to follow up on it before 9/11 (see February 1995 and May 11, 1995).

    July 6 - 11 August, 1996
    US officials identify crop-dusters and suicide flights as potential terrorist weapons that could threaten the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. They take steps to prevent any air attacks. Planes are banned from getting too close to Olympic events. During the games, Black Hawk helicopters and US Customs Service jets are deployed to intercept suspicious aircraft over the Olympic venues. Agents monitor crop-duster flights within hundreds of miles of downtown Atlanta. Armed fighter jets are placed on standby at local air bases. Flights to Atlanta get special passenger screening. Law enforcement agents also fan out to regional airports throughout northern Georgia “to make sure nobody hijacked a small aircraft and tried to attack one of the venues,” says Woody Johnson, the FBI agent in charge. Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke uses this same security blanket approach to other events, referring to them as “Atlanta Rules.” [Chicago Tribune 11/18/01; Wall Street Journal 4/1/04]

    October 1996 (B)
    US intelligence learn of an Iranian plot to hijack a Japanese plane over Israel and crash it into Tel Aviv. While the plot was never carried out, it is one more example of intelligence agencies being aware that planes could be used as suicide weapons. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]

    1997 (C)
    FBI headquarters is concerned that an unnamed terrorist group would possibly use an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for terrorist attacks. The FBI and CIA become aware that this group had purchased a UAV. At the time, the agencies believed that the only reason to use this UAV would be for either reconnaissance or attack. There was more concern about the possibility of an attack outside the United States, for example, by flying a UAV into a US Embassy or a visiting US delegation. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]

    January 20, 1997
    Bill Clinton is re-inaugurated as President. An extensive set of security measures to prevent airplanes as weapons crashing into the inauguration is used. These measures, first used in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and thus referred to as the “Atlanta Rules” (see July 6-August 11, 1996), includes the closing of nearby airspace, intercept helicopters, the basing of armed fighters nearby, and more. This plan will later be used for the 1999 North Atlantic Treaty Organization's 50th anniversary celebration in Washington, the 2000 Republican convention in Philadelphia, the 2000 Democratic convention in New York, and the Bush Jr. inauguration in 2001 (see January 21, 2001). [Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, 3/04, pp. 110-111, Wall Street Journal, 4/1/04] At some point near the end of the Clinton administration, the Secret Service and Customs Service agree to create a permanent air defense unit to protect Washington. However, these agencies are part of the Treasury Department, and the leadership there refuses to fund the idea. The permanent unit is not created until after 9/11. [Wall Street Journal 4/1/04]

    December 1997
    CIA agent Robert Baer (see also August 2001 (G) and January 23, 2002), newly retired from the CIA and working as a terrorism consultant, meets a former police chief from the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. He learns how 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was sheltered from the FBI by the Qatari Interior Minister Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani (see January-May 1996). He passes this information to the CIA in early 1998, but the CIA takes no action against Qatar's al-Qaeda patrons. The ex-police chief also tells him that Mohammed is a key aide to bin Laden, and that based on Qatari intelligence, Mohammed “is going to hijack some planes.” He passes this information to the CIA as well, but again the CIA doesn't seem interested, even when he tries again after 9/11. [UPI 9/30/02; Vanity Fair 2/02; See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism Robert Baer 2/02 pp. 270-271] Baer also tries to interest reporter Daniel Pearl in a story about Mohammed before 9/11, but Pearl is still working on it when he gets kidnapped and murdered (see December 24, 2001-January 23, 2002). [UPI 9/30/02] The ex-police chief later disappears, presumably kidnapped by Qatar. It has been speculated that the CIA turned on the source to protect its relationship with the Qatari government. [ Breakdown: How America's Intelligence Failures Led to September 11, Bill Gertz, pp. 55-58Breakdown: How America's Intelligence Failures Led to September 11, Bill Gertz, pp. 55-58] It appears bin Laden visits Abdallah al-Thani in Qatar between the years 1996 and 2000. [ABC News, 2/7/03] Al-Thani continues to support al-Qaeda, providing Qatari passports and more than $1 million in funds. Even after 9/11, Mohammed is provided shelter in Qatar for two weeks in late 2001. [New York Times, 2/6/03] Yet the US still has not frozen al-Thani's assets or taken other action. Could the US have captured bin Laden if they paid more attention to Robert Baer's information?

    End Part II
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  3. #53
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    1998 (E)
    A son of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the al-Qaeda leader convicted in 1995 of conspiring to blow up tunnels and other New York City landmarks, is heard to say that the best way to free his father from a US prison might be to hijack an American plane and exchange the hostages. This is supposedly the most recent concrete hijacking report Bush hears in his August 2001 briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US”(see August 6, 2001). [Washington Post 5/18/02 (B)]

    February 22, 1998
    Bin Laden issues a fatwa, declaring it the religious duty of all Muslims “to kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military … in any country in which it is possible.” [PBS Frontline, 2001, Sunday Herald, 9/16/01, complete text of the fatwa from al-Quds al-Arabi, 2/23/98] This is an expansion of an earlier fatwa issued in August 1996 (see August 1996).

    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)]

    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)).

    May 26, 1998
    In a press conference from Afghanistan, bin Laden discusses “bringing the war home to America.” [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02] He indicates the results of his jihad will be “visible” within weeks. [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03 (B)]

    June 1998 (C)
    US intelligence obtains information from several sources that bin Laden is considering attacks in the US, including Washington and New York. This information is given to senior US officials in July 1998. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02] Information mentions an attack in Washington probably against public places. US intelligences guesses bin Laden places a high priority on conducting attacks in the US. In spring 1999 there is more information about a planned al-Qaeda attack on a Washington government facility. [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03; Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03 (B)]

    August 1998 (B)
    A CIA intelligence report asserts that Arab terrorists are planning to fly a bomb-laden aircraft from a foreign country into the WTC. The FBI and the FAA don't take the threat seriously because of the state of aviation in that unnamed country. Later, other intelligence information connects this group to al-Qaeda. [New York Times 9/18/02; Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02] An FBI spokesman says the report “was not ignored, it was thoroughly investigated by numerous agencies” and found to be unrelated to al-Qaeda. [Washington Post, 9/19/02 (B)] However, the group in fact did have “ties to al-Qaeda.” [New York Times 9/18/02; Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03]

    Late August 1998
    A captured member of the al-Qaeda cell that bombed the US embassy in Kenya tells an FBI agent about a conversation he had with his cell's leader. The leader told him that al-Qaeda was planning an attack on the US, but “Things are not ready yet. We don't have everything prepared.” [USA Today 8/29/02]

    September 1998 (B)
    US intelligence finds information that bin Laden's next operation could possibly involve crashing an aircraft loaded with explosives into a US airport. This information is provided to senior US officials. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02; Washington Post 9/19/02 (B)]

    September 1998
    US intelligence gives a memorandum to senior officials detailing al-Qaeda's infrastructure in the US. This includes the use of fronts for terrorist activities. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02] This information is provided to senior US officials. [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03]

    Autumn 1998
    US intelligence hears of a bin Laden plot involving aircraft in the New York and Washington areas. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02; New York Times 9/18/02] In December it learns that al-Qaeda plans to hijack US aircraft are proceeding well. Two individuals have successfully evaded checkpoints in a dry run at a New York airport. [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03 (B)]

    October-November 1998
    October-November 1998: US intelligence learns that al-Qaeda is trying to establish a terrorist cell within the US. There are indications they might be trying to recruit US citizens. In the next month, there is information that a terror cell in the United Arab Emirates is attempting to recruit a group of five to seven young men from the US to travel to the Middle East for training. This is part of a plan to strike a US domestic target. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02; Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03 (B)]

    October 8, 1998
    The FAA issues the first of three warnings to the nation's airports and airlines urging a “high degree of vigilance” against threats to US civil aviation from al-Qaeda. It specifically warns against a possible terrorist hijacking “at a metropolitan airport in the Eastern United States.”The information is based on statements made by bin Laden and other Islamic leaders and intelligence information following the US cruise missile attacks in August. All three warnings came in late 1998, well before 9/11. [Boston Globe 5/26/02] This report contradicts numerous later statements by US officials that the US never had any pre-9/11 specific threats inside the US or involving hijackings (for instance, see September 12, 2001 or May 16, 2002 (B)).

    November 1998
    US intelligence learns that a Turkish extremist group named Kaplancilar had planned a suicide attack. The conspirators, who were arrested, planned to crash an airplane packed with explosives into a famous tomb during a government ceremony. The Turkish press said the group had cooperated with bin Laden and the FBI includes this incident in a bin Laden database. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02; Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03]

    December 1, 1998
    A US intelligence assessment: “[Bin Laden] is actively planning against US targets and already may have positioned operatives for at least one operation… Multiple reports indicate [he] is keenly interested in striking the US on its own soil… al-Qaeda is recruiting operatives for attacks in the US but has not yet identified potential targets.” Later in the month, a classified document prepared by the CIA and signed by Clinton states: “The intelligence community has strong indications that bin Laden intends to conduct or sponsor attacks inside the US.” [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02; Washington Post 9/19/02 (B); Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03; Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03 (B)]

    December 21, 1998
    In a Time magazine cover story entitled “The Hunt for Osama,” it is reported intelligence sources “have evidence that bin Laden may be planning his boldest move yet—a strike on Washington or possibly New York City in an eye-for-an-eye retaliation. ‘We've hit his headquarters, now he hits ours,’ says a State Department aide.” [Time 12/21/98]

    1999 (C)
    MI6, the British intelligence agency, gives a secret report to liaison staff at the US embassy in London. The reports states that al-Qaeda has plans to use “commercial aircraft” in “unconventional ways”, “possibly as flying bombs.” [Sunday Times 6/9/02]

    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)]

    End Part III
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  4. #54
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    March 1999
    US intelligence learns of plans by an al-Qaeda member who is also a US citizen, to fly a hang glider into the Egyptian Presidential Palace and then detonate the explosives he is carrying. The individual, who received hang glider training in the US, brings a hang glider back to Afghanistan, but various problems arise during the testing of the glider. This unnamed person is subsequently arrested and is in custody abroad. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]

    Spring 1999
    US intelligence learns of a planned bin Laden attack on a US government facility in Washington (which facility has not been made public). [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02; New York Times 9/18/02]

    June 1999 (B)
    In testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and in a briefing to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffers one month later, the chief of the CTC describes reports that bin Laden and his associates are planning attacks in the US. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]

    July 14, 1999
    US government informant Randy Glass records a conversation at a dinner attended by him, illegal arms dealers Diaa Mohsen and Mohammed Malik (see June 12, 2001), a former Egyptian judge named Shireen Shawky, and ISI agent Rajaa Gulum Abbas, held at a restaurant within view of the WTC. FBI agents pretending to be restaurant customers sit at nearby tables. [WPBF Channel 25, 8/5/02, MSNBC, 8/2/02] Abbas says he wants to buy a whole shipload of weapons stolen from the US military to give to bin Laden. [Cox News 8/2/02] Abbas points to the WTC and says, “Those towers are coming down.” This ISI agent later makes two other references to an attack on the WTC. [WPBF Channel 25, 8/5/02, Cox News, 8/2/02, Palm Beach Post, 10/17/02] Abbas also says, “Americans [are] the enemy,” and, “We would have no problem with blowing up this entire restaurant because it is full of Americans.” [MSNBC, 3/18/03] The meeting is secretly recorded, and parts are shown on television in 2003 (see also August 17, 1999). [MSNBC 3/18/03 (B)]

    September 1999 (D)
    US intelligence obtains information that bin Laden and others are planning a terrorist act in the US, possibly against specific landmarks in California and New York City. The reliability of the source is unknown. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]

    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)).

    September 1999 (C)
    A report prepared for US intelligence entitled the “Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism” is completed. It states: “Al-Qaeda's expected retaliation for the US cruise missile attack … could take several forms of terrorist attack in the nation's capital. Al-Qaeda could detonate a Chechen-type building-buster bomb at a federal building. Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al-Qaeda's Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and Semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House. Whatever form an attack may take, bin Laden will most likely retaliate in a spectacular way.” The report is by the National Intelligence Council, which advises the President and US intelligence on emerging threats. [AP 4/18/02; complete report on-line] The Bush administration later claims to have never heard of this report until May 2002, despite the fact that it had been publicly posted on the internet since 1999, and “widely shared within the government” according to the New York Times. [CNN 5/18/02; New York Times 5/18/02]

    September 15, 1999
    The first phase of the US Commission on National Security/21st Century, co-chaired by former Senators Gary Hart (D) and Warren Rudman (R) is issued. It concludes: “America will be attacked by terrorists using weapons of mass destruction and Americans will lose their lives on American soil, possibly in large numbers” (see also January 31, 2001). [USCNS Reports]

    October 5, 1999
    The highly respected Jane's Terrorism and Security Monitor reports that US intelligence is worried bin Laden is planning a major terrorist attack on US soil. They are said to be particularly concerned about some kind of attack on New York, and they have recommended stepped-up security at the New York Stock Exchange and the Federal Reserve. [NewsMax 10/5/99]

    Early December 1999
    The CIA learns from the Jordanian government about an al-Qaeda millennium bombing plot (see November 30, 1999). Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke is told of this, and he implements a plan to neutralize the threat. [Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, 3/04, p. 205, p. 211] The plan, approved by President Clinton, focuses on harassing and disrupting al-Qaeda members throughout the world. The FBI is put on heightened alert, counterterrorism teams are dispatched overseas, a formal ultimatum is given to the Taliban to keep al-Qaeda under control, and friendly intelligence agencies are asked to help. There are Cabinet-level meetings nearly every day dealing with terrorism. [Washington Post, 4/20/00, AP, 6/28/02] All US embassies, military bases, police departments, and other agencies are given a warning to be look out for signs of an al-Qaeda millennium attack. One alert border agent responds by arresting terrorist Ahmed Ressam, which leads to the unraveling of several bombing plots (see December 14, 1999 and December 14-31, 1999). No terror attacks occur (see December 31, 1999-January 1, 2000). However, Clarke claims the FBI generally remains unhelpful. For example, around this time the FBI says there are no web sites in the US soliciting volunteers for training in Afghanistan or money for terrorist front groups. Clarke has a private citizen check to see if this is true, and within days he is given a long list of such web sites. The FBI and Justice Department apparently fail to do anything with the information. [Newsweek 3/31/04 (B)]

    December 14, 1999
    Al-Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Ressam is arrested in Port Angeles, Washington, attempting to enter the US with components of explosive devices. 130 pounds of bomb-making chemicals and detonator components are found inside his rental car. He subsequently admits he planned to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on December 31, 1999. [New York Times, 12/30/01] Alert border patrol agent Diana Dean stops him; she and other agents nationwide had been warned recently to look for suspicious activity (see Early December 1999). Ressam's bombing would have been part of a wave of attacks against US targets over the New Year's weekend (see ). He is later connected to al-Qaeda and convicted, but he still hasn't been formally sentenced. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02; PBS Frontline 10/3/02]

    December 31, 1999-January 1, 2000
    The CIA expects five to 15 attacks against American targets around the world over the New Year's weekend, but none occur. [Time 8/4/02] A heightened state of alert helps stop some attacks (see November 30, 1999, Early December 1999, December 14, 1999, and December 14-31, 1999), while an attack on a naval ship in Yemen fails through sheer luck (see January 3, 2000).

    December 31, 1999-January 1, 2000
    Earlier in December, the CIA estimates that al-Qaeda will launch between five to 15 attacks against American targets around the world over the New Year's weekend. “Because the US is [bin Laden]'s ultimate goal…we must assume that several of these targets will be in the US… ” [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B), Time, 8/4/02] Since late 1999, there is intelligence that targets in Washington and New York would be attacked at this time. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02] There in fact are a number of planned attacks, including bomb attacks on the Boston and Los Angeles airports, a hotel in Jordan, and a naval ship in Yemen. (see November 30, 1999, December 14, 1999, and January 3, 2000). But all of the attacks are foiled, thanks to a good deal of luck. [Washington Post 1/20/02]

    2000-September 11, 2001
    In a roughly two year period before the 9/11 attacks, NORAD conducts regional war game exercises simulating hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties. One of the imagined targets is the World Trade Center. In another exercise, jets perform a mock shoot-down over the Atlantic Ocean of a jet laden with chemical poisons headed toward the US. A third exercise has the Pentagon as the target, but apparently that drill is not run after officials say it is too unrealistic (see April 2001). NORAD confirms that “Numerous types of civilian and military aircraft were used as mock hijacked aircraft” in these drills. [USA Today, 4/18/04] At some undetermined point before 9/11, a regional exercise simulated the crash of a foreign airplane flying into the US and crashing into a famous US building. The building is not known, but it is said not to be either the WTC or the Pentagon. This exercise “involved some flying of military aircraft as well as a command post exercise in which communications procedures were practiced in an office environment.” NORAD has stated that prior to 9/11, it “normally conducted four major exercises a year, most of which included a hijack scenario.” [CNN 4/19/04]

    End Part IV
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  5. #55
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    2000 (B)
    At some point during this year, an FBI internal memo states that a Middle Eastern nation has been trying to purchase a flight simulator in violation of US restrictions. FBI refuses to disclose the date or details. [Los Angeles Times, 5/30/02] [FTW]

    March 2000 (B)
    US intelligence obtains information about the types of targets that bin Laden's network might strike. The Statue of Liberty is specially mentioned, as are skyscrapers, ports, airports, and nuclear power plants. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]

    April 2000 (B)
    US intelligence learns about an alleged bin Laden plot to hijack a 747. The source is a “walk-in” to the FBI's Newark office who claims that he had been to a training camp in Pakistan where he learned hijacking techniques and received arms training. He also stated that he was supposed to meet five to six other individuals in the US who would also participate in the plot. They were instructed to use all necessary force to take over the plane because there would be pilots among the hijacking team. The plan was to fly the plane to Afghanistan, and if they would not make it there, that they were to blow up the plane. Although the individual passed an FBI polygraph, the FBI was never able to verify any aspect of his story or identify his contacts in the US. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]

    April 2000 (B)
    Niaz Khan, a British citizen originally from Pakistan, is recruited into an al-Qaeda plot. He is flown to Lahore, Pakistan, and then trains in a compound there for a week with others on how to hijack passenger airplanes. He trains on a mock cockpit of a 767 aircraft (an airplane type used on 9/11). He is taught hijacking techniques, including how to smuggle guns and other weapons through airport security and how to get into a cockpit. He is then flown to the US and told to meet with a contact. He says, “They said I would live there for a while and meet some other people and we would hijack a plane from JFK [John F. Kennedy airport in New York City] and fly it into a building.” [London Times, 5/9/04] He has “no doubt” this is the 9/11 plot. But Khan slips away and gambles away the money given to him by al-Qaeda. Afraid he would be killed for betraying al-Qaeda, he turns himself in to the FBI. For three weeks, FBI counterterrorism agents in Newark, New Jersey interview him. [MSNBC, 6/3/04 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5131524/, Observer, 6/6/04 http://observer.guardian.co.uk/inte...232389,00.html] One FBI agent recalls, “We were incredulous. Flying a plane into a building sounded crazy but we polygraphed him and he passed.” [London Times, 5/9/04] A former FBI official says the FBI agents believed Khan and tried to aggressively follow every lead in the case, but word came from FBI headquarters saying, “return him to London and forget about it.” So he is returned to Britain and handed over to British authorities. But the British only interview him for about two hours, and then release him. He is surprised that authorities never asked for his help in identifying where he was trained in Pakistan, even after 9/11. [MSNBC, 6/3/04 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5131524/] His case is mentioned in the 2002 Congressional Inquiry report, but the plot is apparently mistakenly described as an attempt to hijack a plane and fly it to Afghanistan. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]

    April-May 2000
    Around this time hijacker Marwan Alshehhi boasts of planning an attack to a Hamburg librarian. He says, “There will be thousands of dead. You will think of me.” He also specifically mentions the WTC. [AFP, 8/29/02, New York Times, 8/29/02] “You will see,”Alshehhi adds. “In America something is going to happen. There will be many people killed.” [New York Times 9/10/02] This “demonstrates that the members of the Hamburg cell were not quite as careful to keep secret their plans as had previously been thought. And it appears to bury for good the theory that the pilots were informed of their targets only hours before they took off. Not least, though, Marwan Alshehhi's boast provides a key element for the reconstruction of the plot—a date by which the terrorists had decided on their target.” [Guardian 8/30/02]

    April 20, 2000
    The Washington Post writes, “With little fanfare, [President Clinton] has begun to articulate a new national security doctrine in which terrorists and other ‘enemies of the nation-state’ are coming to occupy the position once filled by a monolithic communist superpower.” In his January 2000 State of the Union address, Clinton predicts that terrorists and organized criminals will pose “the major security threat” to the US in coming decades. However, some claim that a “preoccupation with bin Laden has caused errors in judgment.” National Security Advisor Sandy Berger counters that the threat of large-scale terrorist attacks on US soil is “a reality, not a perception…. We would be irresponsible if we did not take this seriously.” Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke predicts that the US's new enemies “will come after our weakness, our Achilles heel, which is largely here in the United States.” [Washington Post 4/20/00]

    Late April-Mid-May 2000
    Atta reportedly has a very strange meeting with Johnelle Bryant of the US Department of Agriculture (incidentally, one month before the official story claims he arrived in the US for the first time). According to Bryant, in the meeting Atta does all of the following:

    He initially refuses to speak with one who is “but a female.”

    He asks her for a loan of $650,000 to buy and modify a crop-dusting plane.

    He mentions that he wants to “build a chemical tank that would fit inside the aircraft and take up every available square inch of the aircraft except for where the pilot would be sitting.”

    He uses his real name even as she takes notes, and makes sure she spells it correctly.

    He says he has just arrived from Afghanistan.

    He tells about his travel plans to Spain and Germany.

    He expresses an interest in visiting New York.

    He asks her about security at the WTC and other US landmarks.

    He discusses al-Qaeda and its need for American membership.

    He tells her bin Laden “would someday be known as the world's greatest leader.”

    He asks to buy the aerial photograph of Washington hanging on her Florida office wall, throwing increasingly large “wads of cash” at her when she refuses to sell it. ABC News, 6/6/02]

    After Bryant points out one of the buildings in the Washington photograph as her former place of employment, he asks her, “How would you like it if somebody flew an airplane into your friends' building?”

    He asks her, “What would prevent [me] from going behind [your] desk and cutting [your] throat and making off with the millions of dollars” in the safe behind her.

    He asks, “How would America like it if another country destroyed [Washington] and some of the monuments in it like the cities in [my] country had been destroyed?” (Atta supposedly comes from Egypt—what cities have been destroyed there in recent decades?)

    He gets “very agitated” when he isn't given the money in cash on the spot.

    Atta later tries to get the loan again from the same woman, this time “slightly disguised” by wearing glasses. Three other terrorists also attempt to get the same loan from Bryant, but all of them fail. Bryant turns them down because they don't meet the loan requirements, and fails to notify anyone about these strange encounters until after 9/11. Government officials not only confirm the account and say that Bryant passed a lie detector test, but elaborate that the account jibes with other information they have received from interrogating prisoners. Supposedly, failing to get the loan, the terrorists switched plans from using crop dusters to hijacking aircraft.

    [ABC News 6/6/02; London Times 6/8/02] Compare Atta's meeting with FBI Director Mueller's later testimony about the hijackers: “There were no slip-ups. Discipline never broke down. They gave no hint to those around them what they were about.” [CNN, 9/28/02] Why would the terrorists have been depending on such a loan in the first place instead of just spending some of bin Laden's millions to buy the plane? Were the terrorists comically inept, and the US just as inept for not catching them, or is the story government propaganda? Could Atta (or someone impersonating him) have been trying to make himself conspicuous as part of a trail of false evidence? Why didn't Bryant report someone who threatened her with violence, and threatened terrorist acts?

    April 30, 2000
    The State Department issues its annual report describing the US attempt to combat terrorism. For the first time it focuses on South Asia. The New York Times notes, “The report reserves its harshest criticism for Afghanistan” and “is also severely critical of Pakistan.” But neither country is placed on the official list of countries sponsoring terrorism, which has remained unchanged since 1993. [New York Times 4/30/00]

    August 12, 2000
    Italian intelligence successfully wiretap the al-Qaeda terrorist cell in Milan, Italy from late 1999 until summer 2001. [Boston Globe, 8/4/02] In a wiretapped conversation from this day, suspected Yemeni terrorist Abdulsalam Ali Abdulrahman tells wanted Egyptian terrorist Es Sayed about a massive strike against the enemies of Islam involving aircraft and the sky, a blow that “will be written about in all the newspapers of the world. This will be one of those strikes that will never be forgotten…. This is a terrifying thing. This is a thing that will spread from south to north, from east to west: The person who came up with this program is a madman from a madhouse, a madman but a genius.” In another conversation, Abdulrahman tells Es Sayed: “I'm studying airplanes. I hope, God willing, that I can bring you a window or a piece of an airplane the next time we see each other.” The comment is followed by laughter. Beginning in October 2000, FBI experts helped Italian police analyze the intercepts and warnings. Neither Italy nor the FBI understands their meaning until after 9/11, but apparently Italians understand enough to give the US an attack warning in March 2001 (see March 2001 (B)). [Los Angeles Times, 5/29/02, Guardian, 5/30/02, Washington Post, 5/31/02] FTW The Milan cell “is believed to have created a cottage industry in supplying false passports and other bogus documents.” [Boston Globe, 8/4/02] If the hijackers were using false identities (see also January 24, 2001), could Abdulrahman, current whereabouts unknown, actually have been one of the 9/11 hijackers?

    End Part V
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  6. #56
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    September 2000 (B)
    L'Houssaine Kherchtou arrives in the US to testify against other al-Qaeda agents. He reveals that from 1992 to 1995 he trained in Nairobi, Kenya to be a pilot for al-Qaeda. His training stopped when he left al-Qaeda in 1995. [State Department 2/22/01]

    September 15-October 1, 2000
    Olympics officials later reveal that “A fully loaded, fueled airliner crashing into the opening ceremony before a worldwide television audience at the Sydney Olympics was one of the greatest security fears for the Games.” During the Olympics, Australia has six planes in the sky at all times ready to intercept any wayward aircraft. In fact, “IOC officials said the scenario of a plane crash during the opening ceremony was uppermost in their security planning at every Olympics since terrorists struck in Munich in 1972.” Bin Laden was considered the number one threat. [Sydney Morning Herald, 9/20/01] These security measures are similar to those used in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics (see July 6-August 11, 1996) and other events (see January 20, 1997). Similar planning is already underway before 9/11 for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah. [Wall Street Journal 4/1/04]

    October 24-26, 2000
    Pentagon officials carry out a “detailed” emergency drill based upon the crashing of a hijacked airliner into the Pentagon. [MDW News Service, 11/3/00, Mirror, 5/24/02] The Pentagon is such an obvious target that, “For years, staff at the Pentagon joked that they worked at ‘Ground Zero’, the spot at which an incoming nuclear missile aimed at America's defenses would explode. There is even a snack bar of that name in the central courtyard of the five-sided building, America's most obvious military bullseye.” [Telegraph 9/16/01] After 9/11, a Pentagon spokesman will claim: “The Pentagon was simply not aware that this aircraft was coming our way, and I doubt prior to Tuesday's event, anyone would have expected anything like that here.” [Newsday, 9/23/01] [FTW]

    Mid-July 2001 (C)
    CIA Director Tenet has a special meeting with National Security Advisor Rice and her aides about al-Qaeda. Says one official at the meeting, “[Tenet] briefed [Rice] that there was going to be a major attack.” Another at the meeting says Tenet displays a huge wall chart showing dozens of threats. Tenet doesn't rule out a domestic attack but says an overseas attack is more likely. [Time 8/4/02]

    Early January 2001
    Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke briefs Secretary of State Powell about the al-Qaeda threat. He urges decisive and quick action against al-Qaeda. Powell meets with the CSG (Counterterrorism Security Group) containing senior counterterrorism officials from many agencies. He sees that all members of the group agree al-Qaeda is an important threat. For instance, Assistant Defense Secretary Brian Sheridan says to Powell, “Make al-Qaeda your number one priority.”

    January 3, 2001
    Richard Clarke, counterterrorism “tsar” for the Clinton administration, briefs National Security Advisor Rice and her deputy, Steve Hadley about al-Qaeda. [Washington Post 1/20/02] Outgoing National Security Advisor Sandy Berger makes an unusual appearance at the start of the meeting, saying to Rice, “I'm coming to this briefing to underscore how important I think this subject is.” He claims that he tells Rice during the transition between administrations, “I believe that the Bush Administration will spend more time on terrorism generally, and on al-Qaeda specifically, than any other subject.” Clarke presents his plan to “roll back” al-Qaeda that he'd given to the outgoing Clinton administration a couple of weeks earlier (see December 20, 2000). [Time 8/4/02] He gets the impression that Rice has never heard the term al-Qaeda before. Rice decides this day to retain Clarke and his staff, but downgrades his official position, National Coordinator for Counterterrorism (see May 22, 1998). While he is still known as the counterterrorism “tsar,” he has less power and now reports to deputy secretaries instead of attending Cabinet-level meetings. He no longer is able to send memos directly to the president. [Guardian 3/25/04]

    Mid-June 2001
    A two-hour video tape of al-Qaeda terrorists training at an Afghanistan camp appears in Kuwait and subsequently makes its way to the internet. The tape shows bin Laden making threats against the US and terrorists attacking targets bearing US emblems. [Sunday Herald 9/23/01]

    Mid-July 2001
    US intelligence reports another spike in warnings (see June 13, 2001 and June 20, 2001) related to the July 20-22 G-8 summit in Genoa, Italy. The reports include specific threats discovered by the head of Russia's Federal Bodyguard Service that al-Qaeda will try to kill Bush as he attends the summit. [CNN, 3/02] Two days before the summit begins, the BBC reports: “The huge force of officers and equipment which has been assembled to deal with unrest has been spurred on by a warning that supporters of Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden might attempt an air attack on some of the world leaders present.” [BBC, 7/18/01] The attack is called off (see July 20-22, 2001).

    January 24, 2001
    On this day, Italian intelligence hear another interesting wiretapped conversation (see also August 12, 2000), this one between terrorists Es Sayed and Ben Soltane Adel, two member's of al-Qaeda's Milan cell. Adel asks, in reference to fake documents, “Will these work for the brothers who are going to the United States?” Sayed responds angrily, saying “Don't ever say those words again, not even joking!” “If it's necessary … whatever place we may be, come up and talk in my ear, because these are very important things. You must know … that this plan is very, very secret, as if you were protecting the security of the state.” This is only one of many clues found from the Italian wiretaps and passed on to US intelligence in March 2001 (see March 2001 (B)). But they apparently are not properly understood until after 9/11. The Spanish government claims to have uncovered 9/11 clues from wiretaps as well (see August 27, 2001), and a priest was told of the 9/11 plot at an Italian wedding (see September 7, 2001), suggesting a surprising number of people in Europe may have had foreknowledge of 9/11. [Los Angeles Times, 5/29/02] Adel is later arrested and convicted of belonging to a terrorist cell and Es Sayed fled to Afghanistan in July 2001. [Guardian 5/30/02]

    January 25, 2001
    Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke submits a proposal to National Security Advisor Rice and “urgently” asks for a Cabinet-level meeting on the al-Qaeda threat. [Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, 3/04, pp. 230-231] He forwards his December 2000 strategy paper (see December 20, 2000) and a copy of his 1998 Delenda plan (see August 27, 1998). He lays out a proposed agenda for urgent action:

    Approve covert assistance to Ahmed Shah Massoud's Northern Alliance fighting the Taliban. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D)]

    Significantly increase funding for CIA counterterrorism activity. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D)]

    Respond to the USS Cole bombing with an attack on al-Qaeda. The link between al-Qaeda and that bombing had been assumed for months and is confirmed in the media two days later (see January 27, 2001)). According to the Washington Post, “Clarke argue[s] that the camps [are] can't-miss targets, and they [matter]. The facilities [amount] to conveyor belts for al-Qaeda's human capital, with raw recruits arriving and trained fighters departing either for front lines against the Northern Alliance, the Afghan rebel coalition, or against American interests somewhere else. The US government had whole libraries of images filmed over Tarnak Qila and its sister camp, Garmabat Ghar, 19 miles farther west. Why watch al-Qaeda train several thousand men a year and then chase them around the world when they left?” No retaliation is taken on these camps until after 9/11. [Washington Post 1/20/02]

    Go forward with new Predator drone reconnaissance missions in the spring and use an armed version when it's ready (see January 10, 2001-September 4, 2001). [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D)]

    Step up the fight against terrorist fundraising. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D)]

    Be aware that al-Qaeda sleeper cells in the US are not just a potential threat, but are a “major threat in being.” Additionally, more attacks have almost certainly been set in motion. [PBS Frontline 10/3/02; Washington Post 1/20/02] />

    Rice's response to Clarke's proposal is that the Cabinet won't address the issue until it has been “framed” at the deputy secretary level. However, this initial deputy meeting is not given high priority and doesn't take place until April 2001 (see April 30, 2001). Henry Shelton, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman until 9/11, says, “The squeaky wheel was Dick Clarke, but he wasn't at the top of their priority list, so the lights went out for a few months. Dick did a pretty good job because he's abrasive as hell, but given the [bureaucratic] level he was at” there was no progress. [Los Angeles Times, 3/30/04, The Age of Sacred Terror, by Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, 10/02, pp. 335-336] Some counterterrorism officials think the new administration responds slowly simply because Clarke's proposal originally came from the Clinton administration. [Time, 8/4/02] For instance, Thomas Maertenson, on the National Security Council in both the Clinton and Bush Jr. administrations, says, “They really believed their campaign rhetoric about the Clinton administration. So anything [that administration] did was bad, and the Bushies were not going to repeat it.”

    February-July 2001
    A trial is held in New York City for four defendants charged with involvement in the 1998 US embassy bombings. All are ultimately convicted. Testimony reveals that two bin Laden operatives had received pilot training in Texas and Oklahoma and another had been asked to take lessons. One bin Laden aide becomes a government witness and gives the FBI detailed information about a pilot training scheme. This new information does not lead to any new FBI investigations into the matter. [Washington Post 9/23/01]

    End Part VI
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  7. #57
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    February 7, 2001
    CIA Director Tenet warns Congress in open testimony that “The threat from terrorism is real, it is immediate, and it is evolving.” He says bin Laden and his global network remains “the most immediate and serious threat” to US interests. “Since 1998 bin Laden has declared that all US citizens are legitimate targets,” he says, adding that bin Laden “is capable of planning multiple attacks with little or no warning.” [AP 2/7/01; Sunday Herald 9/23/01]

    March 2001 (B)
    The Italian government gives the US information about possible attacks based on apartment wiretaps in the Italian city of Milan. [Fox News, 5/17/02] Presumably, the information includes a discussion between two al-Qaeda agents talking about a “very, very secret” plan to forge documents “for the brothers who are going to the United States”(see January 24, 2001). The warning may also have mentioned a wiretap the previous August involving one of the same people that discussed a massive strike against the enemies of Islam involving aircraft (see August 12, 2000). Two months later, wiretaps of the same Milan cell also reveal a plot to attack a summit of world leaders (see May 2001).

    March 7, 2001 (B)
    Deputy National Security Advisor Steve Hadley chairs an informal meeting of some counterparts from other agencies to discuss al-Qaeda. They begin a broad review of the government's approach to al-Qaeda and Afghanistan. According to the New York Times, the approach is “two-pronged and included a crisis warning effort to deal with immediate threats and longer-range planning by senior officials to put into place a comprehensive strategy to eradicate al-Qaeda.” Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke again pushes for immediate decisions on assisting Ahmed Shah Massoud and his Northern Alliance in Afghanistan (see also October 1999 (C), Late Autumn 2000 and April 6, 2001). Hadley suggests dealing with this as part of the broad review. Clarke supports a larger program, but he warns that delay risks the Alliance's defeat. Clarke also advocates using the armed Predator drone (see January 10, 2001-September 4, 2001). But despite an increasing number of alarming warnings following this meeting, there is little follow up. “By June, a draft of a presidential directive authorizing an ambitious covert action plan is circulating through the upper echelons of the administration, but there seem[s] little urgency about putting the plan into effect” (see Early June 2001 (B)). [New York Times 4/4/04; New York Times 3/24/04 (D); 9/11 Commission Report 3/24/04; 9/11 Commission Report 3/24/04 (D)]

    April 2001
    NORAD is planning to conduct a training exercise named Positive Force. Some Special Operations personnel trained to think like terrorists unsuccessfully propose adding a scenario simulating “an event having a terrorist group hijack a commercial airliner and fly it into the Pentagon.” Military higher-ups and White House officials reject the exercise as either “too unrealistic” or too disconnected to the original intent of the exercise. The proposal comes shortly before the exercise, which takes place this month. [Boston Herald 4/14/04; Guardian 4/15/04; Washington Post 4/14/04 (G); New York Times 4/14/04]

    April-May 2001
    President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and national security aides are given briefing papers headlined, “Bin Laden Planning Multiple Operations,” “Bin Laden Public Profile May Presage Attack,” and “Bin Laden Network's Plans Advancing.” The exact contents of these briefings remain classified, but apparently none specifically mention a domestic US attack. [New York Times 4/18/04]

    April 2001 (B)
    A source with terrorist connections speculates to US intelligence that “bin Laden would be interested in commercial pilots as potential terrorists.” The source warns that the US should not focus only on embassy bombings, because terrorists are seeking “spectacular and traumatic” attacks, along the lines of the WTC bombing in 1993. Because the source was offering personal speculation and not hard information, the information is not disseminated widely. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02; New York Times 9/18/02]

    April 6, 2001 (C)
    Ahmed Shah Massoud, leader of the Northern Alliance fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, has been trying to get aid from the US (see October 1999 (C), and March 7, 2001 (B)), but his people are only allowed to meet with low level US officials. In an attempt to get his message across, he addresses the European Parliament: “If President Bush doesn't help us, these terrorists will damage the US and Europe very soon.” [Dawn 4/7/04; Time 8/4/02] Massoud also meets privately with some CIA officials while in Europe. He tells them that his guerrilla war against the Taliban is faltering and unless the US gives a significant amount of aid, the Taliban will conquer all of Afghanistan. No more aid is forthcoming. [Washington Post 2/23/04]

    April 18, 2001 (B)
    The FAA sends a warning to US airlines that Middle Eastern terrorists could try to hijack or blow up a US plane and that carriers should “demonstrate a high degree of alertness.” The warning stems from the April 6, 2001, conviction of Ahmed Ressam over a failed plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport during the millennium celebrations. This warning expires on July 31, 2001. [AP, 5/18/02] This is one of 15 general warnings issued to airlines between January and August (the airlines have been getting an average of more than one warning a month for a long time), but this one is slightly more specific. [CNN 3/02; CNN 5/17/02] As one newspaper later reports, “there were so many that airline officials grew numb to them.” [St. Petersburg Times, 9/23/02] The Bush administration officials have said the threats were so vague that they did not require tighter security. [AP 5/18/02]

    May 2001 (I)
    An Iranian in custody in New York City tells local police of a plot to attack the World Trade Center. No more details are known. [Fox News 5/17/02]

    May 2001 (C)
    The Defense Department gains and shares information indicating that seven people associated with bin Laden have departed from various locations for Canada, Britain, and the US. This is around the time that most of the 19 hijackers enter the US—could those be some of the people referred to? The next month, the CIA learns that key operatives in al-Qaeda are disappearing while others are preparing for martyrdom. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02; Washington Post 9/19/02 (B)]

    May-July 2001
    In a two month time period, the NSA reports “at least 33 communications indicating a possible, imminent terrorist attack.” None of these reports provide any specific information on where, when, or how an attack might occur. These reports are widely disseminated to other intelligence agencies. [Senate Intelligence Committee, 9/18/02, [MSNBC 9/18/02] ] National Security Advisor Rice later reads what she calls “chatter that was picked up in [2001's] spring and summer. ‘Unbelievable news coming in weeks,’ said one. ‘Big event—there will be a very, very, very, very big uproar.’ ‘There will be attacks in the near future.’ ” [Washington Post 4/8/04 (C)] The NSA Director later claims that all of the warnings were red herrings. [NSA Director Congressional Testimony 10/17/02]

    May 2001 (B)
    US intelligence obtains information that al-Qaeda is planning to infiltrate the US from Canada and carry out a terrorist operation using high explosives. The report doesn't say exactly where inside the US, or when, or how an attack might occur. Two months later, the information is shared with the FBI, the INS, US Customs Service, and the State Department, and told to Bush in August (see August 6, 2001). [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02; Washington Post 9/19/02 (B)]

    May 2001 (J)
    US Medicine magazine later reports, “Though the Department of Defense had no capability in place to protect the Pentagon from an ersatz guided missile in the form of a hijacked 757 airliner, DoD [Department of Defense] medical personnel trained for exactly that scenario in May.” The tri-Service DiLorenzo Health Care Clinic and the Air Force Flight Medicine Clinic train inside the Pentagon this month “to fine-tune their emergency preparedness.” [US Medicine 10/01]

    May 30, 2001
    Two Yemeni men are detained after guards see them taking photos at 26 Federal Plaza in New York City. They are questioned by INS agents and let go. A few days later their confiscated film is developed. It shows photos of security checkpoints, police posts and surveillance cameras of federal buildings, including the FBI's counterterrorism office. The two men are later interviewed by the FBI and determined not to be terrorists. However, they had taken the pictures on behalf of a third person living in Indiana. By the time the FBI looks for him, he has fled the country and his documentation is found to be based on a false alias. In 2004 it is reported that it is still unknown if the third man is a terrorist or not. The famous briefing given to President Bush in early August 2001 (see August 6, 2001) mentions the incident, warning that the FBI is investigating “suspicious activity in this country consistent with the preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.” When Bush's briefing is released in 2004, a White House fact sheet fails to mention the still missing third man. [New York Post 7/1/01; New York Post 9/16/01; Washington Post 5/16/04]

    June 2001 (I)
    US intelligence learns that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is interested in “sending terrorists to the United States” and planning to assist their activities once they arrive. The 9/11 Congressional inquiry says the significance of this is not understood at the time, and data collection efforts are not subsequently “targeted on information about [Mohammed] that might have helped understand al-Qaeda's plans and intentions.” [Committee Findings, 12/11/02, Los Angeles Times, 12/12/02, USA Today, 12/12/02] The FBI has a $2 million reward for Mohammed at the time (see Mid-1996-September 11, 2001) That summer, the NSA intercepts phone calls between Mohammed and Mohamed Atta, but apparently fails to pay attention (see Summer 2001), and on September 10, 2001, the US monitors a call from Atta to Mohammed in which Atta gets final approval for the 9/11 attacks, but this also doesn't lead to action (see September 10, 2001 (F)). In mid-2002, it is reported that “officials believe that given the warning signals available to the FBI in the summer of 2001, investigators correctly concentrated on the [USS] Cole investigation, rather than turning their attention to the possibility of a domestic attack.” [New York Times 6/9/02]

    End Part VII
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  8. #58
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    June 2001 (B)
    US intelligence issues a terrorist threat advisory, warning US government agencies that there is a high probability of an imminent terrorist attack against US interests: “Sunni extremists associated with al-Qaeda are most likely to attempt spectacular attacks resulting in numerous casualties.” The advisory mentions the Arabian Peninsula, Israel, and Italy as possible targets for an attack. Afterwards, intelligence information provided to senior US leaders continues to indicate that al-Qaeda expects near-term attacks to have dramatic consequences on governments or cause major casualties. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]

    June 2001
    German intelligence warns the CIA, Britain's MI6, and Israel's Mossad that Middle Eastern terrorists are planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack “American and Israeli symbols, which stand out.” A later article quotes unnamed German intelligence sources who state the information was coming from Echelon surveillance technology, and that British intelligence had access to the same warnings. However, there were other informational sources, including specific information and hints given to, but not reported by, Western and Near Eastern news media six months before 9/11. [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 9/11/01, Washington Post, 9/14/01, Fox News, 5/17/02] [FTW]

    June-July 2001
    Terrorist threat reports, already high (see April-May 2001), surge even higher. President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and national security aides are given briefing papers with headlines such as “Bin Laden Threats Are Real” and “Bin Laden Planning High Profile Attacks.” The exact contents of these briefings remain classified, but according to the 9/11 Commission they consistently predict upcoming attacks that will occur “on a catastrophic level, indicating that they would cause the world to be in turmoil, consisting of possible multiple — but not necessarily simultaneous—attacks.” CIA Director Tenet later recalls that by late July the warnings coming in could not get any worse. He feels that Bush and other officials grasp the urgency of what they are being told. [9/11 Commission Report 4/13/04 (B)] But Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin later states that he feels a great tension, peaking these months, between the Bush administration's need to understand terrorism issues and his sense of great urgency. McLaughlin and others are frustrated when inexperienced Bush officials question the validity of certain intelligence findings. Two unnamed, veteran counterterrorism center officers deeply involved in bin Laden issues are so worried about an impending disaster that they consider resigning and going public with their concerns. [9/11 Commission, 3/24/04 (C)] Dale Watson, head of counterterrorism at the FBI, wishes he had “500 analysts looking at Osama bin Laden threat information instead of two.” [9/11 Commission Report 4/13/04 (B)]

    June 1-2, 2001
    Amalgam Virgo 01, a multi-agency planning exercise sponsored by NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command, in charge of defending US airspace) involves the hypothetical scenario of a cruise missile launched by “a rogue (government) or somebody” from a barge off the East Coast. Bin Laden is pictured on the cover of the proposal for the exercise. [American Forces Press Service, 6/4/02] The exercise takes place at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. [Global Security 4/14/02]

    June 4, 2001
    At some point in 2000, three men claiming to be Afghans but using Pakistani passports enter the Cayman Islands, possibly illegally. [Miami Herald, 9/20/01] In late 2000, Cayman and British investigators begin a yearlong probe of these men which lasts until 9/11. [Los Angeles Times 9/20/01] They are overheard discussing hijacking attacks in New York City. On this day, they are taken into custody, questioned and released some time later. This information is forwarded to US intelligence. [Fox News, 5/17/02] In late August, a letter to a Cayman radio station will allege these same men are agents of bin Laden “organizing a major terrorist act against the US via an airline or airlines”(see August 29, 2001).

    June 13, 2001
    Egyptian President Hasni Mubarak claims that Egyptian intelligence discovers a “communiqué from bin Laden saying he wanted to assassinate George W. Bush and other G8 heads of state during their summit in Italy.” The communiqué specifically mentions this would be done via “an airplane stuffed with explosives.” The US and Italy are sent urgent warnings of this. [New York Times, 9/26/01] Mubarak claims that Egyptian intelligence officials informed American intelligence officers between March and May 2001 that an Egyptian agent had penetrated the bin Laden organization. Presumably this explains how Egypt is able to give the US these warnings (see also Late July 2001 (D) and August 30, 2001). [New York Times, 6/4/02] The warnings are mentioned in the media before the event and the attack is aborted (see June 20, 2001 and July 20-22, 2001).

    June 20, 2001
    Time magazine reports: “For sheer diabolical genius (of the Hollywood variety), nothing came close to the reports that European security services are preparing to counter a Bin Laden attempt to assassinate President Bush at next month's G8 summit in Genoa, Italy. According to German intelligence sources, the plot involved Bin Laden paying German neo-Nazis to fly remote controlled-model aircraft packed with Semtex into the conference hall and blow the leaders of the industrialized world to smithereens. (Paging Jerry Bruckheimer…)” [Time, 6/20/01] This report follows warnings given by Egypt (see June 13, 2001), and there are more warnings (see Mid-July 2001) before the summit (see July 20-22, 2001). James Hatfield, author of an unflattering book on Bush called Fortunate Son , repeats the claim in print a few days later, writing: “German intelligence services have stated that bin Laden is covertly financing neo-Nazi skinhead groups throughout Europe to launch another terrorist attack at a high-profile American target.” [Online Journal 7/3/01] Two weeks later, Hatfield apparently commits suicide. However, there is widespread speculation that his death was payback for his revelation of Bush's cocaine use in the 1970s. [Salon 7/20/01]

    June 21, 2001
    A reporter for the Middle East Broadcasting Company interviews bin Laden. Keeping a promise made to Taliban leader Mullah Omar, bin Laden doesn't say anything substantive, but Ayman al-Zawahiri and top al-Qaeda others say, “The coming weeks will hold important surprises that will target American and Israeli interests in the world.” [AP, 6/24/01, AP, 6/25/01] The reporter later says, “I am 100 percent sure of this, and it was absolutely clear they had brought me there to hear this message.” [A Pretext for War, by James Bamford, 6/04, p. 236] Additionally, the reporter is shown a several-months-old videotape with bin Laden declaring to his followers, “It's time to penetrate America and Israel and hit him them where it hurts most.” [CNN 6/21/01] Author James Bamford theorizes that the original 9/11 plot involved a simultaneous attack on Israel and that shoe bomber Richard Reid may have originally wanted to target an Israeli aircraft around this time. For instance, Reid flies to Tel Aviv, Israel on July 12, 2001 to test if airline security would check his shoes for bombs.

    June 23, 2001
    Reuters reports that “Followers of exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden are planning a major attack on US and Israeli interests in the next two weeks.” The report is based on the impression of a reporter who interviewed bin Laden and some of his followers two days earlier. This reporter is quoted as saying: “There is a major state of mobilization among the Osama bin Laden forces. It seems that there is a race of who will strike first. Will it be the United States or Osama bin Laden?” [Reuters 6/23/01]

    June 28, 2001
    CIA Director Tenet writes an intelligence summary for National Security Advisor Rice: “It is highly likely that a significant al-Qaeda attack is in the near future, within several weeks.” A highly classified analysis at this time adds, “Most of the al-Qaeda network is anticipating an attack. Al-Qaeda's overt publicity has also raised expectations among its rank and file, and its donors.” [Washington Post 5/17/02] Apparently the same analysis also adds, “Based on a review of all-source reporting over the last five months, we believe that [bin Laden] will launch a significant terrorist attack against US and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against US facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning. ” [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03 (B)] This warning is shared with “senior Bush administration officials” in early July. [Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02] Apparently, all this is largely based on a warning given by al-Qaeda leaders to a reporter a few days earlier (see June 21, 2001). Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke also later asserts that Tenet tells him around this time, “It's my sixth sense, but I feel it coming. This is going to be the big one.”

    July 1, 2001
    Senators Dianne Feinstein (D) and Richard Shelby (R), both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, appear on CNN's “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer”, and warn of potential attacks by bin Laden. Says Feinstein: “One of the things that has begun to concern me very much as to whether we really have our house in order, intelligence staff have told me that there is a major probability of a terrorist incident within the next three months.” [CNN 3/02]

    Summer 2001 (C)
    Congressman Porter Goss (R), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, later says on the intelligence monitoring of terrorist groups: “the chatter level went way off the charts” around this time and stayed high until 9/11. Given his history as a CIA operative, presumably he was kept “in the know” to some extent. [Los Angeles Times, 5/18/02] A later Congressional report states: “Some individuals within the intelligence community have suggested that the increase in threat reporting was unprecedented, at least in terms of their own experience.” [Senate Intelligence Committee, 9/18/02] Two counter-terrorism officials [later describe] the alerts of this summer as “the most urgent in decades.” [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]

    July 2001 (B)
    India gives the US general intelligence on possible terror attacks; details are not known. US government officials later confirm that Indian intelligence had information “that two Islamist radicals with ties to Osama bin Laden were discussing an attack on the White House,” but apparently this particular information is not given to the US until two days after 9/11. [Fox News 5/17/02]

    July 2001
    The CIA hears an individual who had recently been in Afghanistan say, “Everyone is talking about an impending attack.” [Senate Intelligence Committee, 9/18/02, Washington Post, 9/19/02] The Telegraph later reports that “the idea of an attack on a skyscraper was discussed among [bin Laden's] supporters in Kabul.” At some unspecified point before 9/11, a neighbor in Kabul saw diagrams showing a skyscraper attack in a house known as a “nerve center” for al-Qaeda activity. [Telegraph, 11/16/01] US soldiers will later find forged visas, altered passports, listings of Florida flight schools and registration papers for a flight simulator in al-Qaeda houses in Afghanistan. [New York Times, 12/6/01] Bin Laden bodyguard later claims that in May 2001 he hears bin Laden tell people in Afghanistan that the US would be hit with a terrorist attack, and thousands would die. [Guardian 11/28/01] CIA Director Tenet later claims that the 9/11 plot was “in the heads of three or four people.” [USA Today 2/7/02] How many people in Afghanistan really knew of the 9/11 attack plans?

    End Part VIII
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  9. #59
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    July 5, 2001
    At the request of National Security Advisor Rice and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke leads a meeting of the CSG (Counterterrorism Security Group), attended by officials from a dozen federal agencies. They discuss intelligence regarding terrorism threats and potential attacks on US installations overseas. Two attendees recall Clarke stating, “Something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it's going to happen soon.” One who attended the meeting later calls the evidence that “something spectacular” is being planned by al-Qaeda “very gripping.” [Time 8/4/02; Washington Post 5/17/02] Clarke directs every counterterrorist office to cancel vacations, defer non-vital travel, put off scheduled exercises, and place domestic rapid-response teams on much shorter alert. By early August, all of these emergency measures are no longer in effect. [CNN, 3/02, Washington Post, 5/17/02] The FAA issues general threat advisories, but neither the FAA's top administrator nor Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta is aware of an increased threat level. [New York Times, 4/18/04] Clarke says rhetorically that he wants to know if a sparrow has fallen from a tree. A senior FBI official attends the meeting and promises a redoubling of efforts. But just five days later, when FBI agent Ken Williams sends off his memo speculating that al-Qaeda may be training operatives as pilots in the US (see July 10, 2001), the FBI doesn't share this information with any other agency. [Washington Post 5/17/02]

    July 6, 2001
    One day after heading a meeting on al-Qaeda with the Counterterrorism and Security Group (CSG) (see July 5, 2001), counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke heads a similar meeting at the White House with senior security officials at the FAA, Immigration, Secret Service, Coast Guard, Customs, and other agencies. The CIA and FBI give briefings on the growing al-Qaeda threat. The CIA says al-Qaeda members “believe the upcoming attack will be a ‘spectacular,’ qualitatively different from anything they have done to date.” [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D)] Then Clarke later claims he says, “You've just heard that CIA thinks al-Qaeda is planning a major attack on us. So do I. You heard CIA say it would probably be in Israel or Saudi Arabia. Maybe. But maybe it will be here. Just because there is no evidence that says that it will be here, does not mean it will be overseas. They may try to hit us at home. You have to assume that is what they are going to do. Cancel summer vacations, schedule overtime, have your terrorist reaction teams on alert to move fast. Tell me, tell each other, about anything unusual.”

    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:

    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)]

    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]

    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]

    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.

    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)]

    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]

    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)).

    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]

    July 16, 2001 (B)
    A Village Voice reporter is told by a New York taxi driver, “You know, I am leaving the country and going home to Egypt sometime in late August or September. I have gotten e-mails from people I know saying that Osama bin Laden has planned big terrorist attacks for New York and Washington for that time. It will not be safe here then.” He does in fact return to Egypt for that time period. The FBI isn't told about this lead until after 9/11. He is later interrogated by the FBI and released. He claims what he knew was known by many. [Village Voice 9/25/02 (B)]

    July 16, 2001
    British spy agencies send a report to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other top officials warning that al-Qaeda is in “the final stages” of preparing a terrorist attack in the West. The prediction is “based on intelligence gleaned not just from MI6 and GCHQ but also from US agencies, including the CIA and the National Security Agency,” which cooperate with the British. “The contents of the July 16 warning would have been passed to the Americans, Whitehall sources confirmed.” The report states there is “an acute awareness” that the attack is “a very serious threat.” [London Times, 6/14/02] This information could be from or in addition to a warning based on surveillance of al-Qaeda prisoner Khalid al-Fawwaz (see August 21, 2001). [Fox News 5/17/02]

    July 20-22, 2001
    The G8 summit is held in Genoa, Italy. Acting on previous warnings that al-Qaeda would attempt to kill Bush and other leaders (see June 13, 2001, June 20, 2001, andMid-July 2001), Italy surrounds the summit with antiaircraft guns, keeps fighters in the air, and closes off local airspace to all planes. [Los Angeles Times, 9/27/01]The warnings are taken so seriously that Bush stays overnight on an aircraft carrier offshore, and other world leaders stay on a luxury ship. [CNN, 7/18/01] No attack occurs. US officials at the time state that the warnings were “unsubstantiated” but after 9/11 claim success in preventing an attack. Lying about Genoa keeps the public and the airlines uninformed about the seriousness of the current terrorist threat. [Los Angeles Times 9/27/01]

    End Part IX
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  10. #60
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    Late July 2001
    The Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil learns that bin Laden is planning a “huge attack” on targets inside America. The attack is imminent, and will kill thousands. He learns this from Tahir Yildash, leader of the rebel Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which is allied with al-Qaeda at the time. Muttawakil sends an emissary to pass this information on to the US consul general, and another US official, “possibly from the intelligence services,” also attends the meeting. The message is not taken very seriously; one source blames this on “warning fatigue”from too many warnings. Also, supposedly the emissary was from the Foreign Ministry, but didn't say the message came from Muttawakil himself. The emissary then takes the message to the Kabul offices of UNSMA, the political wing of the UN. They also fail to take the warning seriously. [Independent, 9/7/02, Reuters, 9/7/02] Isn't it ironic the US destroyed the Taliban, who tried to warn them of the attacks? See for more on this topic.

    Late July 2001 (C)
    Argentina's Jewish community receives warnings of a major terrorist attack against either the United States, Argentina or France from “a foreign intelligence source.” The warning was then relayed to the Argentine security authorities. It was agreed to keep the warning secret in order to avoid panic while reinforcing security at Jewish sites in the country. Says a Jewish leader, “It was a concrete warning that an attack of major proportion would take place, and it came from a reliable intelligence source. And I understand the Americans were told about it.” Argentina has a large Jewish community that has been bombed in the past, and has been an area of al-Qaeda activity. [Forward 5/31/02]

    Late July 2001 (D)
    CBS later has a brief mention in a long story on another topic: “Just days after Atta return[s] to the US from Spain, Egyptian intelligence in Cairo says it received a report from one of its operatives in Afghanistan that 20 al-Qaeda members had slipped into the US and four of them had received flight training on Cessnas. To the Egyptians, pilots of small planes didn't sound terribly alarming, but they [pass] on the message to the CIA anyway, fully expecting Washington to request information. The request never [comes]. ” [CBS 10/9/02] This appears to be one of several accurate Egyptian warnings based on informants (see June 13, 2001 and August 30-September 4, 2001). Could Egypt have known the names of some or all of the hijackers? Given FBI agent Ken Williams' memo about flight schools a short time before (see July 10, 2001), shouldn't the US have investigated this closely instead of completely ignoring it?

    Late summer 2001 (B)
    US intelligence learns that an al-Qaeda operative is considering mounting terrorist operations in the US. There is no information on the timing or specific targets. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]

    Late summer 2001
    Jordanian intelligence (the GID) makes a communications intercept deemed so important that King Abdullah's men relay it to Washington, probably through the CIA station in Amman. To make doubly sure the message gets through it is passed through an Arab intermediary to a German intelligence agent. The message states that a major attack, code named The Big Wedding, is planned inside the US and that aircraft will be used. “When it became clear that the information was embarrassing to Bush Administration officials and congressmen who at first denied that there had been any such warnings before September 11, senior Jordanian officials backed away from their earlier confirmations.” Christian Science Monitor calls the story “confidently authenticated” even though Jordan has backed away from it. [International Herald Tribune, 5/21/02, ] [FTW]

    Late July 2001 (B)
    David Schippers, noted conservative Chicago lawyer and the House Judiciary Committee's chief investigator in the Clinton impeachment trial, claims two days after 9/11 that he had tried to warn federal authorities about plans to strike buildings in lower Manhattan. Schippers says, “I was trying to get people to listen to me because I had heard that the terrorists had set up a three-pronged attack:” an American airplane, the bombing of a federal building in the heartland and a massive attack in lower Manhattan. He tries contacting Attorney General John Ashcroft, the White House, and even the House managers with whom he had worked, but nobody returns his phone calls. “People thought I was crazy. What I was doing was I was calling everybody I knew telling them that this has happened,” he says. “I'm telling you the more I see of the stuff that's coming out, if the FBI had even been awake they would have seen it.” He also claims to know of ignored warnings about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and evidence that Middle Easterners were connected with that attack. [Indianapolis Star, 5/18/02] Other mainstream sources have apparently shied away from Schippers' story, but he has added details in an interview on the partisan Alex Jones Show. He claims that it is FBI agents in Chicago and Minnesota who first contact him and tell him that a terrorist attack is going to occur in lower Manhattan. A group of these agents now want to testify about what they know, but want legal protection from government retribution. [Alex Jones Show 10/10/01]

    August 2001 (C)
    The French magazine Maximale and the Moroccan newspaper al-Ittihad al-Ichtiraki later simultaneously report that a Moroccan agent named Hassan Dabou had penetrated al-Qaeda to the point of getting close to bin Laden by this time. Dabou claims he learns that bin Laden is “very disappointed”that the 1993 bombing had not toppled the WTC, and plans “large scale operations in New York in the summer or fall of 2001.” Dabou is called to the US to report this information directly, and in so doing blows his cover, losing his ability to gather more intelligence. The International Herald Tribune later calls the story “not proved beyond a doubt” but intriguing, and asks the CIA to confirm or deny, which it has not done. [Agence France Presse, 11/22/01, International Herald Tribune, 5/21/02, London Times, 6/12/02] [FTW]

    August 1, 2001
    Actor James Woods, flying first class on an airplane, notices four Arabic-looking men, the only other people in the first class section. He concludes they are terrorists, acting very strangely (for instance, only talking in whispers). [Boston Globe, 11/23/01] He tells a stewardess, “I think this plane is going to be hijacked” adding, “I know how serious it is to say this.” He conveys his worries to the pilots and is assured that the cockpit would be locked. [New Yorker, 5/27/02] The flight staff later notifies the FAA about these suspicious individuals. Though the government won't say, it is highly unlikely that any action is taken regarding the flight staff's worries. [New Yorker, 5/27/02] Woods isn't interviewed by the FBI about this until after 9/11. Woods says the FBI believes that all four men did take part in the 9/11 attacks, and the flight he was on was a practice flight for them. [O'Reilly Factor, 2/14/02] Woods believes one was Khalid Almihdhar and another was Hamza Alghamdi. [New Yorker, 5/27/02] The FBI later reports that this may have been one of a dozen test run flights starting as early as January. Flight attendants and passengers on other flights later recall men looking like the hijackers who took pictures of the cockpit aboard flights and/or took notes. [AP 5/29/02] Given the number of test flights, did others alert authorities before 9/11? The FBI hasn't been able to find any evidence of hijackers on the flight manifest for Woods' flight. [New Yorker, 5/27/02] Were the hijackers using false identities?

    Early August 2001 (C)
    Britain gives the US another warning about an al-Qaeda attack.The previous British warning (see July 16, 2001) was vague as to method, but this warning specifies multiple airplane hijackings. This warning is included in Bush's briefing on August 6. [Sunday Herald 5/19/02]

    Between August 2001 and September 11, 2001
    A NORAD exercise, planned in July 2001 and conducted some time afterwards but apparently before 9/11, involves real planes from airports in Utah and Washington state that simulate a hijacking. Those planes are escorted by US and Canadian aircraft to airfields in British Columbia and Alaska. USA Today notes that this is an exception to NORAD's claim that they focused only on external threats to the US and did not consider the possibility of threats arising from within the US. [USA Today 4/18/04]

    August 2001 (F)
    US intelligence learns of a plot to either bomb the US embassy in Nairobi from an airplane or crash an airplane into it. Two people who were reportedly acting on instructions from bin Laden met in October 2000 to discuss this plot. [Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02]

    Early August 2001 (B)
    AP later reports that the “CIA had developed general information a month before the attacks that heightened concerns that bin Laden and his followers were increasingly determined to strike on US soil.” A CIA official affirmed that: “There was something specific in early August that said to us that [bin Laden] was determined in striking on US soil.” A major excuse given since 9/11 is that the Bush administration was focused on overseas attacks, and didn't expect a domestic attack (for instance see May 16, 2002 (B)). [AP 10/3/01]

    August 2001 (E)
    The CIA issues a report warning the White House, Pentagon and Department of State that bin Laden is intent on launching a terrorist attack soon, possibly inside the US. [Sunday Herald 9/23/01]

    August 2001 (G)
    Former CIA agent Robert Baer (see December 1997 and January 23, 2002) is advising a prince in a Persian Gulf royal family, when a military associate of this prince passes information to him about a “spectacular terrorist operation” that will take place shortly. He is also given a computer record of around 600 secret al-Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The list includes 10 names that will be placed on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list after 9/11. He is also given evidence that a Saudi merchant family had funded the USS Cole bombing (see October 12, 2000), and that the Yemeni government is covering up information related to that bombing. At the military officer's request, he offers all this information to the Saudi Arabian government. But an aide to the Saudi defense minister, Prince Sultan, refuses to look at the list or to pass the names on (Sultan is later sued for his complicity in the 9/11 plot, see August 15, 2002). Baer also passes the information on to a senior CIA official and the CIA's Counter-Terrorism Center, but there is no response or action. Large sections of Baer's book are blacked out, having been censored by the CIA. [Financial Times 1/12/02; See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism Robert Baer 2/02 pp. 270-271; Breakdown: How America's Intelligence Failures Led to September 11 Bill Gertz pp. 55-58]

    August 2001 (D)
    Russian President Putin warns the US that suicide pilots are training for attacks on US targets. [Fox News 5/17/02] The head of Russian intelligence also later states, “We had clearly warned them” on several occasions, but they “did not pay the necessary attention.” [Agence France-Presse 9/16/01] A Russian newspaper on September 12, 2001 claims that “Russian Intelligence agents know the organizers and executors of these terrorist attacks. More than that, Moscow warned Washington about preparation to these actions a couple of weeks before they happened.” Interestingly, the article claims that at least two of the terrorists were Muslim radicals from Uzbekistan. [Izvestia 9/12/01] (the story currently on the Izvestia web site has been edited to delete a key paragraph, the link is to a translation of the original article from From the Wilderness) [FTW]

    End Part X
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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