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October 11, 2001: Early Account of Able Danger Remains Classified[]

Dr. Eileen Preisser testifies before a congressional briefing. Dr. Preisser was one of four analysts in the US Army’s Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA) supporting Able Danger in late 1999 and 2000 [see 1]. While her testimony remains classified, the next day, Representative Christopher Shays gives a brief summary:

“In a briefing we had yesterday, we had Eileen [Preisser], who argues that we don’t have the data we need because we don’t take all the public data that is available and mix it with the security data. And just taking public data, using, you know, computer systems that are high-speed and able to digest, you know, literally floors’ worth of material, she can take relationships that are seven times removed, seven units removed, and when she does that, she ends up with relationships to the bin Laden group where she sees the purchase of chemicals, the sending of students to universities. You wouldn’t see it if you isolated it there, but if that unit is connected to that unit, which is connected to that unit, which is connected to that unit, you then see the relationship. So we don’t know ultimately the authenticity of how she does it, but when she does it, she comes up with the kind of answer that you have just asked, which is a little unsettling.”. [1]


Note that according to some media accounts, the CIA monitored Mohamed Atta purchasing large quantities of chemicals in Germany in the spring of 2000 [see 2]. Atta also sends a series of e-mails to the US in the spring of 2000, inquiring about flight school opportunities for himself and a “small group” of his associates [see 3]. Dr. Preisser is apparently willing to testify about her role in how Able Danger uncovered Atta’s name, but in September 2005 she is prohibited from publicly testifying before Congress [see 4].

October 11, 2001: FBI Incorrectly Claims Majority of 9/11 Hijackers Were Unaware They Were on Suicide Mission[]

According to an FBI report, “FBI investigators have officially concluded that 11 of the 19 terrorists who hijacked the aircraft on September 11 did not know they were on a suicide mission.” “Unlike the eight ‘lead’ attackers, who were all trained pilots, they did not leave messages for friends and family indicating they knew their lives were over,” and they did not have copies of Mohamed Atta’s final prayer note (see September 28, 2001). Personal items found suggest the men thought they were taking part in a conventional hijacking and were preparing for the possibility of prison. [OBSERVER, 10/14/2001] This is later contradicted by video filmed in Afghanistan in March 2001 showing several of the 11 non-lead hijackers proclaiming their willingness to die on an upcoming suicide mission (see March 2001). Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: FBI 9/11 Investigation

October 11, 2001: Attorney General Ashcroft Takes Over All Terrorist Prosecutions It is reported that Attorney General John Ashcroft and his Justice Department is assuming control of all terrorism-related prosecutions from the US Attorney’s office in New York, which has had a highly successful record of accomplishment in prosecuting cases connected to bin Laden. 15 of the 22 suspects listed on a most wanted terrorism list a month after 9/11 had already been indicted by the New York office in recent years. A former federal prosecutor says of the New York office, “For eight years, they have developed an expertise in these prosecutions and the complex facts that surround these groups. If ever there was a case where you’d want to play to your strength, this is it.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/11/2001] A grand jury in the New York district began investigating the 9/11 attacks one week after 9/11. But media accounts of this grand jury’s activity stop by late October 2001 and there appears to be no other grand jury taking its place (see September 18, 2001). Entity Tags: US Department of Justice, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline, Civil Liberties Category Tags: FBI 9/11 Investigation

October 11-29, 2001: General Terror Alerts Issued, Terrorists Said Poised to Attack US ‘in the Next Week’ On October 11, 2001, President Bush uses his first prime-time news conference to give an update on the early stages of the war on terrorism. He confirms that the Justice Department just issued a blanket alert “in recognition of a general threat.” [CNN NEWS, 10/11/2001] This general threat never materializes. On October 29, the administration warns again of plans to strike the United States “in the next week.” In a quickly called news conference, US Attorney General John Ashcroft says intelligence sources have found “credible” information the nation could be the focus for some sort of terrorist attack within the week. No specific information is provided to the public now or later to explain what information may have caused this alert. [CNN NEWS, 10/29/2001] Bush tells Americans “to go about their lives, to fly on airplanes, to travel, to work.” [RICH, 2006, PP. 36] Entity Tags: George W. Bush, John Ashcroft, US Department of Justice Category Tags: Terror Alerts, Internal US Security After 9/11


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  1. [US CONGRESS. HOUSE. COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM. SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY, VETERANS AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, 10/12/2001 SOURCES: CHRISTOPHER SHAYS]
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