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June 13, 2001: Counterterrorism Not Part of Bush Defense Plan[]

At President Bush’s first meeting with NATO heads of state in Brussels, Belgium, Bush outlines his five top defense issues. Missile defense is at the top of the list. Terrorism is not mentioned at all. This is consistent with his other statements before 9/11. Almost the only time he ever publicly mentions al-Qaeda or bin Laden before 9/11 is later in the month, in a letter that renews Clinton administration sanctions on the Taliban. [CNN, 6/13/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 4/1/2004] He only speaks publicly about the dangers of terrorism once before 9/11, in May, except for several mentions in the context of promoting a missile defense shield. [WASHINGTON POST, 1/20/2002]

Entity Tags: Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Clinton administration, Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush

Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics



June 13, 2001: Egypt Warns that Bin Laden Wants to Assassinate President Bush with an Explosives-Filled Airplane

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak later claims that Egyptian intelligence discovers a “communiqué from bin Laden saying he wanted to assassinate President Bush and other G8 heads of state during their summit in Genoa, Italy” on this day. 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, 9/26/2001] Mubarak will claim that Egyptian intelligence officials informed American intelligence officers between March and May 2001 that an Egyptian agent had penetrated al-Qaeda. Presumably, this explains how Egypt is able to give the US these warnings. [NEW YORK TIMES, 6/4/2002]

Entity Tags: Hosni Mubarak, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush

Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline

Category Tags: Warning Signs, Foreign Intelligence Warnings, Al-Qaeda in Italy



June 13, 2001: 9/11 Hijacker Salem Alhazmi Enters Saudi Arabia, Reportedly Tracked by Saudi Authorities

9/11 hijacker Salem Alhazmi enters Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006, PP. 35 ] According to the 9/11 Commission, Alhazmi has had a passport with an indicator of Islamic extremism (see April 4, 1999). Such indicators are used by the Saudi authorities to track some of the hijackers before 9/11 (see November 2, 2007), so the Saudis presumably register his arrival.

Entity Tags: Salem Alhazmi

Category Tags: Other 9/11 Hijackers



June 13, 2001: 9/11 Hijacker Almihdhar Obtains US Visa despite Incorrect Passport and Lies on Application; US Intelligence Knows He Is an Al-Qaeda Operative

Future 9/11 hijacker Khalid Almihdhar obtains a second US visa from the US consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 24-25 ] The visa is issued by Shayna Steinger, a consular official who apparently issues the future 9/11 hijackers with 12 visas (see July 1, 2000). [9/11 COMMISSION, 12/30/2002, PP. 2; OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL (US DEPARTMENT OF STATE), 1/30/2003] Almihdhar’s passport, which was issued two weeks previously (see June 1, 2001), lacks an expiry date, but contains an indicator of possible terrorist affiliation used by the Saudi authorities to track suspected radicals (see November 2, 2007). His application form is incomplete, as it lists his occupation as “businessman,” but does not give his employer’s name and address.

Lies on Application Form - The form, which is submitted through the Visa Express program (see May 2001), meaning Almihdhar is not interviewed, contains two lies: Almihdhar says he has never received an American visa or traveled to the US, whereas he received a visa in 1999 (see April 3-7, 1999) and traveled to the US on it in 2000 (see January 15, 2000). As Almihdhar’s first visa was also issued by the Jeddah consulate, through which the CIA sent radical Arabs to the US for training during the Soviet-Afghan war (see September 1987-March 1989), consular officials could discover he is lying, but information about prior visas issuances is not automatically displayed to them.

Known Terrorist - By this time, several intelligence agencies are aware that Almihdhar is an al-Qaeda operative; for example, the CIA (see 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 5, 2000), NSA (see December 29, 1999), FBI (see January 5-6, 2000), a US Army intelligence program (see January-February 2000), the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate (see 1997), Malaysian Special Branch (see January 5-8, 2000), and an intelligence service in the United Arab Emirates (see January 2-5, 2000)).

Parallels to Case of Blind Sheikh - Almihdhar will re-enter the US on the visa three weeks later (see July 4, 2001). The 9/11 Commission will find that the series of missteps preceding the issuance of visas to Almihdhar and the other future 9/11 hijackers has some “eerie parallels” to the “series of exceptional failures” that led to US visas being issued to the “Blind Sheikh,” Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman (see December 15, 1986-1989 and July 1990). [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 24-27, 33, 49 ]

Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Shayna Steinger, US Consulate, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Office

Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline

Category Tags: Key Hijacker Events, Alhazmi and Almihdhar



June 13, 2001: Extensive ISI Support for Taliban Continues



Arnaud de Borchgrave. [Source: Publicity photo]

United Press International (UPI) reporter Arnaud de Borchgrave interviews top Taliban leader Mullah Omar in Afghanistan on June 13, 2001. The next day, in an article about the interview, de Borchgrave writes, “Saudi Arabia and the [United Arab Emirates] secretly fund the Taliban government by paying Pakistan for its logistical support to Afghanistan. Despite Pakistan’s official denials, the Taliban is entirely dependent on Pakistani aid. This was verified on the ground by UPI. Everything from bottled water to oil, gasoline and aviation fuel, and from telephone equipment to military supplies, comes from Pakistan.” [UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 6/14/2001; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 4/9/2004]

Entity Tags: Arnaud de Borchgrave, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Mullah Omar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Taliban

Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Saudi Arabia

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