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- 1 General 2002
- 2 =
- 2.1 2002: CIA Officals Ask Tenet to Warn White House Invasion of Iraq Will Undermine Counterterrorism Efforts
- 2.2 2002: Blackwater Wins Contract for CIA Security in Afghanistan
- 2.3 2002-2005: US Fails to Monitor Taliban Strongholds in Afghanistan and Pakistan
- 2.4 2002-2004: 7/7 London Bomber Visits Pakistan at Least Once; Details Murky
- 2.5 Early 2002: Bush Takes Part in Travel Industry Marketing Campaign
- 2.6 Q1 2002
- 2.7 Q2 2002
- 2.8 Q3 2002
- 2.9 Q4 2002
2002: Most Members of Bojinka Front Company Linked to 9/11 Mastermind Remain at Large
In 1994, several key members of the Bojinka plot, which would have killed thousands if successful [see 1], formed a front company called Konsonjaya as part of the plot [see 2]. Konsonjaya was a trading company that ostensibly exported Malaysian palm oil to Afghanistan and also traded in honey from Sudan and Yemen. All these countries have been important nodes in al-Qaeda’s network.
The Philippine government was already wiretapping calls to the Konsonjaya offices before the Bojinka plot was foiled [see 3], and definitively linked the company to the plot by the spring of 1995 [see 4]. As late as 1998, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was using Konsonjaya as cover in his international travels [see 5]. By 1999, the FBI had realized the importance of Konsonjaya to the Bojinka plot, and had linked al-Qaeda leader Hambali to it [see 6].
In February 2002, Rodolfo Mendoza, the former head of Philippine counter-terrorism who led that country’s Bojinka investigation, will say, “According to my analysis, Konsonjaya was the nerve center not only for business but also for operational supervision [of the Bojinka plot].… The most critical question now is, ‘Where are the other former directors of Konsonjaya?’” [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 2/7/2002]
Konsonjaya’s eight-person board of directors was made up of: Amein Mohammed (Managing Director). His real name is Mohammed Amin al-Ghafari. He appears to have been heavily involved in the Bojinka plot. However, he has intelligence connections in the Philippines and remains the head of another front connected to Bojinka until November 2002. Then he is implicated in an October 2002 bombing and deported [see 7]. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Amein Alsanani (also Managing Director).
Annamalai N. L. Sundrasan (Secretary).
Wali Khan Amin Shah. He is one of the main Bojinka plotters and will later be sentenced to life in prison in the US for his role in that plot [see 8].
Medhat Abdul Salam Shabana. Company records show Shabana is from Afghanistan.
Riduan bin Isumuddin (Hambali). He is arrested in Thailand in 2003 and taken into US custody [see 9]. He is believed to have roles in the 9/11 attacks, the 2002 Bali bombings, and other attacks. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 2/7/2002; INSTITUTE OF DEFENSE AND STRATEGIC STUDIES, 3/7/2003 ]
Noralwizah Lee Binti Abdullah (Hambali’s wife). She is arrested with Hambali and immediately extradited to Malaysia. Two months later, the Malaysian government will place her in indefinite detention, where she apparently remains. A Malaysian official will say: “She was more than a wife to Hambali. She was a trusted aide who handled funds of the Jemaah Islamiyah [militant group].” [INSTITUTE OF DEFENSE AND STRATEGIC STUDIES, 3/7/2003 ; SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/16/2003; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 10/16/2003]
Hemeid H. Alghamdi. He is described in company records as a thirty-year-old Saudi from Jeddah. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 2/7/2002; INSTITUTE OF DEFENSE AND STRATEGIC STUDIES, 3/7/2003 ]
Cosain Ramos (a.k.a. Abu Ali) is also connected to Konsonjaya, but apparently he used an alias so it is not clear which name matches his. He will be arrested in the Philippines in 2002 after being linked to the 2000 Christmas Eve bombings in Indonesia [see 10]. But bizarrely, not only is he not charged, but he is given the job of janitor at the Philippines’s highest security prison and then helps a key al-Qaeda leader escape in 2003 [see 11].
The Los Angeles Times reports in February 2002 that the whereabouts of most of the Konsonjaya board of directors remains unknown. [see 12] But strangely, investigators seemingly remain uninterested in investigating Konsonjaya’s links. In October 2002, Sundrasan, the company’s secretary as well as one of the directors, will contact Malay Mail, a Malaysian newspaper, and tell them some details about the company, including that Amin Shah opened many bank accounts in the company’s name and that the company never really conducted any business. But he will also say that no investigators, journalists, or officials have ever questioned him about the company. [MALAY MAIL, 10/24/2002]
2002: Iraq, Not Afghanistan, Dominates National Security Council Agenda
CIA official Gary Schoen will later say, “I can remember trying to take issues about Afghanistan to the National Security Council (NSC) during 2002 and early 2003 and being told: ‘It’s off the agenda for today. Iraq is taking the whole agenda.’ Things that we desperately needed to do for Afghanistan were just simply pushed aside by concerns over in Iraq. There just wasn’t the time.” [PBS FRONTLINE, 1/20/2006] A former senior NSC official will similarly recall that the Bush administration turned its attention to Iraq and “discussions about Afghanistan were constrained. Here’s what you have now, you don’t get anything more. No additional missions, no additional forces, no additional dollars.” This official adds that “the meetings to discuss Afghanistan at the time were best described by a comment Doug Feith made in one meeting, when he said we won the war, other people need to be responsible for Afghanistan now. What he meant was that nation building or postconflict stability operations ought to be taken care of by other governments.… To raise Afghanistan was to talk about what we were leaving undone.” [RISEN, 2006, PP. 154] Entity Tags: Gary C. Schroen, National Security Council, Douglas Feith Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Iraq War Impact on Counterterrorism
2002: US Aid to Pakistan Skyrockets after 9/11 US aid to Pakistan skyrockets from a mere $5 million in 2001 to over $1.1 billion in 2002 (see February 14, 2002). [US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, 6/2/2003] In 2003, the New Yorker will report: “Since September 11th, Pakistan has been rescued from the verge of bankruptcy. The United States lifted economic sanctions that were imposed in 1998, after Pakistan began testing nuclear weapons, and it restored foreign aid.” Rahimullah Yusufzai, a Pakistani journalist who has interviewed Osama bin Laden, will say, “Essentially, [Pakistani President Pervez] Musharraf was very lucky this happened in his neighborhood.” [NEW YORKER, 7/28/2003] Ironically, there have been reports that the ISI Pakistani intelligence agency was involved in the 9/11 attacks and even that ISI Director Mahmood Ahmed ordered money to be sent to hijacker Mohamed Atta (see October 7, 2001). Entity Tags: Pervez Musharraf, Rahimullah Yusufzai Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI
2002: US Agencies Evade Law by Using Private Database on US Citizens The FBI and Defense Department begin paying ChoicePoint, a private data-collection company, for access to its data-searching system. Neither agency is legally permitted to keep database records on US citizens, but they are effectively able to circumvent this law by contracting the task to ChoicePoint. Both agencies have steadily expanded their relationship with the company. Exactly what kind of data is being accessed and the legality of doing so remain murky. [GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVE, 11/11/2005] Entity Tags: US Department of Defense, ChoicePoint, Federal Bureau of Investigation Timeline Tags: Civil Liberties Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics
2002: Madrid Bombings Mastermind Is Monitored, Appears to Be Preparing for ‘Violent Action’ A 2005 Spanish police report will detail that Serhane Abdelmajid Fakhet, considered one of the masterminds of the 2004 Madrid train bombings (see 7:37-7:42 a.m., March 11, 2004), is closely monitored with court authorization in 2002. The report will quote Lina Kalaji, a translator for Spanish intelligence (UCI) who translates Fakhet’s Arabic conversations. The report will note she repeatedly warned her superiors he “was a very dangerous man and could be preparing some violent action.” But according to the report, after several months she was told by a superior, Rafael Gome Menor, that the surveillance was to be discontinued. She said this was a very bad mistake. [EL MUNDO (MADRID), 7/29/2005] An informant will report on Fakhet until 2003 (see September 2002-October 2003), and one of Fakhet’s top aides is also an informant (see 2003). There are claims that Fakhet himself is an informant (see 2003). Lina Kalaji’s brother is Ayman Maussili Kalaji, a police officer suspected of a role in the bombings plot (see May 16, 2005). Entity Tags: Centro Nacional de Inteligencia, Ayman Maussili Kalaji, Lina Kalaji, Rafael Gomez Menor, Serhane Abdelmajid Fakhet Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Spain, 2004 Madrid Train Bombings, Remote Surveillance
===2002: Al-Qaeda Could Be Planning Cyber-Attacks; Recovered Computer, Detainee Interrogations Reveal Group’s Intentions
An analysis of the contents of a laptop computer belonging to al-Qaeda obtained by US forces in Afghanistan in January 2002 shows that the organization may be plotting attacks on the US infrastructure by seizing control of the computer systems used to run power plants, dams, or subways. The laptop was used to visit a site that offers a “Sabotage Handbook” for would-be hackers. Other visited sites are devoted to SCADA software (Systems Control And Data Acquisition), which have largely replaced manual controls to operate plants and machinery. The Washington Post reports that Al-Qaeda detainees interrogated at Guantanamo have revealed plans to use such tools although details are not available. The information obtained is strikingly reminiscent of a recent case of electronic intrusion (see Summer 2001). [WASHINGTON POST, 6/27/2002; PBS FRONTLINE, 3/18/2003; WASHINGTON POST, 3/11/2005] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda Category Tags: Internal US Security After 9/11
2002: CIA Officals Ask Tenet to Warn White House Invasion of Iraq Will Undermine Counterterrorism Efforts
Senior CIA officials, including James Pavitt, the deputy director of operations of the CIA, ask CIA Director George Tenet to relay concerns to the White House that invading Iraq will undermine US counterterrorism efforts. They warn that it will divert attention and resources away from the ongoing fight against al-Qaeda, at a time when the United States’ counterterrorism efforts seem to be having a decisive impact. One former aide to Tenet tells author James Risen, “A lot of people went to George to tell him that Iraq would hurt the war on terrorism, but I never heard him express an opinion about war in Iraq. He would just come back from the White House and say they are going to do it.” [RISEN, 2006, PP. 183-184] Entity Tags: George J. Tenet, James Pavitt Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics, Iraq War Impact on Counterterrorism
2002: Witness Possibly Connects Hijackers Alhazmi and Almihdhar to Saudi Consulate Official The FBI interviews Qualid Benomrare, an Arabic-speaking taxi driver who had done chauffeur work for the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles. Benomrare is shown pictures of young Arab men and asked if he recognizes any of them. He quickly picks hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar out of the line-up. After realizing they were 9/11 hijackers, he denies knowing them. The FBI asks him about his ties to Fahad al Thumairy, an official at the Saudi consulate suspected of a link with those two hijackers. Benomrare says that al Thumairy introduced him to two young Saudi men who had just arrived in the US and needed help. Benomrare drove them to places in Los Angeles and San Diego, including Sea World, a theme park in San Diego. [SHENON, 2008, PP. 309] (Curiously, these two hijackers bought season passes to Sea World.) [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/1/2002] 9/11 Commission staffers will later conclude it is highly likely that the two men were Alhazmi and Almihdhar, despite Benomrare’s later denial. This would mean al Thumairy knew the two hijackers. [SHENON, 2008, PP. 309] However, the 9/11 Commission will fail to mention anything about this in their final report. Entity Tags: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Fahad al Thumairy, Qualid Benomrare Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Alhazmi and Almihdhar, Bayoumi and Basnan Saudi Connection, Saudi Arabia, FBI 9/11 Investigation
2002: Al-Qaeda Leader Makes Second Attempt to Meet Hussein, but Is Turned Away Again In 2006, a bipartisan Senate report will conclude that al-Qaeda leader Mahfouz Walad Al-Walid (a.k.a. Abu Hafs the Mauritanian) traveled to Iraq this year in an attempt to meet with Saddam Hussein. This is according to debriefings after the 2003 Iraq war. But Hussein refused to meet him and directed that he should leave Iraq because he could cause a problem for the country. Al-Walid made a similar attempt to meet with Hussein in 1998, and was similarly rebuffed (see March-June 1998). The Senate report will conclude that, despite many alleged meetings, these two attempted meetings by Al-Walid and an actual meeting between bin Laden and an Iraqi agent in 1995 (see Early 1995) were the only attempted contacts between the Iraqi government and al-Qaeda before the Iraq war. [US SENATE AND INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, 9/8/2006 ] Entity Tags: Mahfouz Walad Al-Walid, Saddam Hussein Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links
2002: US Refuses to Exchange Information with Iran about Islamist Militants Twice in 2002, the US passes requests to Iran to deliver al-Qaeda suspects to the the Afghan government. Iran transfers two of the suspects and seeks more information about others. Iran, in turn, asks the US to question four Taliban prisoners held at the US-run Guantanamo prison. The four men are suspects in the 1998 killing of nine Iranian diplomats in Kabul, Afghanistan. But in late 2001, the Bush administration decided on a policy of accepting help with counterterrorism efforts from officially declared state sponsors of terrorism such as Iran, but not giving any help back (see Late December 2001). As a result, the Iranian request is denied. Counterterrorism “tsar” Wayne Downing will later comment, “I sided with the [CIA] guys on that. I was willing to make a deal with the devil if we could clip somebody important off or stop an attack.” The Washington Post will report, “Some believe important opportunities were lost.” [WASHINGTON POST, 10/22/2004] Entity Tags: Wayne Downing, Al-Qaeda, Taliban Timeline Tags: US confrontation with Iran Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action After 9/11
2002: Bush Administration Approves 10 Percent of Funds for Securing Nuclear Facilities Energy Department Secretary Spencer Abraham asks for almost $380 million for added security at US nuclear facilities (see February 15, 2004). The Bush administration approves less than 10 percent of that figure, $26.4 million. Items that are not funded include: secure barriers and fences; funds to secure computer programs vulnerable to hackers; equipment to detect explosives hidden in packages and vehicles entering a nuclear site; and the reduction in the number of sites that store bomb-grade plutonium and uranium. [CARTER, 2004, PP. 18] Entity Tags: Bush administration, US Department of Energy, Spencer Abraham Category Tags: Internal US Security After 9/11
2002: Blackwater Wins Contract for CIA Security in Afghanistan
At some time in 2002, the the private military corporation Blackwater wins a classified contract to provide security for the CIA station in Kabul, Afghanistan. The circumstances and details of the contract are unknown, although this is only one of several contracts Blackwater and the CIA conclude after 9/11 (see, for example 2002 and 2004). [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/20/2009] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Blackwater USA Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action After 9/11
2002: Cheney Tells CIA Not to Brief Assassination and Capture Program to Congress Vice President Dick Cheney tells the CIA not to brief Congress about an agency program to kill and capture al-Qaeda leaders (see Shortly After September 17, 2001). Two reasons will be given for withholding the information. One is that the program never becomes operational. [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/12/2009; NEW YORK TIMES, 7/14/2009; WASHINGTON POST, 8/20/2009; NEW YORK TIMES, 8/20/2009] The other is that the agency already has legal authority to kill al-Qaeda leaders (see September 17, 2001). [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/20/2009] According to the New York Times, Cheney’s instruction to keep the program secret suggests “that the Bush administration had put a high priority on the program and its secrecy.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/12/2009] The fact that the program is never briefed to Congress until it is cancelled in 2009 (see June 24, 2009) will cause controversy after it becomes public knowledge, and the House Intelligence Committee will investigate whether it was a breach of the law (see Before August 20, 2009). The law is apparently unclear on whether this program should be briefed, as it requires the president to make sure the House and Senate intelligence committees “are kept fully and currently informed of the intelligence activities of the United States, including any significant anticipated intelligence activity.” However, such briefings should be done “to the extent consistent with due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.” House Intelligence Committee member Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) will later say that Congress would have approved of the program only in what the New York Times calls “the angry and panicky days after 9/11, on 9/12,” but not later, after fears and tempers had begun to cool. [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/12/2009] Entity Tags: House Intelligence Committee, Peter Hoekstra, Central Intelligence Agency, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, Senate Intelligence Committee Timeline Tags: Civil Liberties Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics
2002-2003: Chertoff Advises CIA Can Use Waterboarding and ‘False Flag’ Trickery on Detainees The New York Times will later report that in 2002 and 2003, Michael Chertoff repeatedly advises the CIA about legality of some aggressive interrogation procedures. Chertoff is head of the Justice Department’s criminal division at the time, and will later become the homeland security secretary. Chertoff advises that the CIA can use waterboarding. And the Times will claim he approves techniques “that did not involve the infliction of pain, like tricking a subject into believing he was being questioned by a member of a security service from another country.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 1/29/2005] It will later be reported that the CIA tricked al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida into believing he was in the custody of the Saudis when in fact several US officials were merely pretending to be Saudis (see Early April 2002). Furthermore, Chertoff seems to have been advising on the legality of techniques used against Zubaida, strengthening allegations that ‘false flag’ trickery was used on him. “In interviews, former senior intelligence officials said CIA lawyers went to extraordinary lengths beginning in March 2002 to get a clear answer from the Justice Department about which interrogation techniques were permissible in questioning Abu Zubaida and other important detainees. ‘Nothing that was done was not explicitly authorized,’ a former senior intelligence said. ‘These guys were extraordinarily careful.’” Chertoff also opposed one technique that “appeared to violate a ban in the law against using a ‘threat of imminent death.’” [NEW YORK TIMES, 1/29/2005] This appears to match claims that the CIA proposed but did not implement a plan to place Zubaida into a coffin to convince him he was about to die (see Between Mid-April and Mid-May 2002). Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Abu Zubaida, Michael Chertoff Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks, Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Destruction of CIA Tapes, High Value Detainees, Abu Zubaida, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics
2002-2003: Afghan Official Believes Pakistani ISI Is Protecting Al-Qaeda and Taliban Leaders Helaluddin Helal, Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister in 2002 and 2003, later claims that he becomes convinced at this time that Pakistani ISI officers are protecting bin Laden. He says that he passes intelligence reports on the location of Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, but nothing is done in response. “We would tell them we had information that al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders were living in specific areas. The Pakistanis would say no, you’re wrong, but we will go and check. And then they would come back and say those leaders are not living there. [The Pakistanis] were going to these places and moving the al-Qaeda or Taliban leaders.” [MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS, 9/9/2007] Some al-Qaeda leaders are captured during this time, but there are also reports that Taliban leaders are living openly in Pakistan (see December 24, 2001 and 2002-2006). Entity Tags: Helaluddin Helal, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Taliban, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Afghanistan, Haven in Pakistan Tribal Region
2002-2005: US Fails to Monitor Taliban Strongholds in Afghanistan and Pakistan
In 2006, British and NATO forces take over from US forces in the southern regions of Afghanistan where Taliban resistance is the strongest. The British discover that between 2002 and 2005, the US had not monitored Taliban activity in the southern provinces or across the border in Quetta, Pakistan, where most of the Taliban leadership resides. NATO officers describe the intelligence about the Taliban in these regions as “appalling.” Most Predators were withdrawn from Afghanistan around April 2002 (see April 2002) and satellites and others communications interception equipment was moved to Iraq around the same time (see May 2002). One US general based in Afghanistan privately admits to a reporter that NATO will pay the price for the lack of surveillance in those regions. This general says the Iraq war has taken up resources and the US concentrated what resources they had left in the region on areas where they thought al-Qaeda leaders were, giving little attention to regions only occupied by the Taliban. As a result, at the end of 2005, NATO intelligence estimates that the Taliban have only 2,000 fighters. But Taliban offensives in 2006 show this number to be a dramatic underestimate. [RASHID, 2008, PP. 359] Entity Tags: British Army, US Military, Taliban, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Remote Surveillance, Iraq War Impact on Counterterrorism, Haven in Pakistan Tribal Region, Afghanistan, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11
2002-2004: 7/7 London Bomber Visits Pakistan at Least Once; Details Murky
Hasib Hussain. [Source: Metropolitan Police] Three of the suicide bombers in the 7/7 London bombings (see July 7, 2005) have families from Pakistan, and two of them, Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, make multiple trips to Pakistan and attend militant training camps there (see July 2001, Late 2003, July-September 2003, and November 18, 2004-February 8, 2005). The third ethnically Pakistani bomber, Hasib Hussain, does go to Pakistan, but exactly when, how many times, and what for remains murky. It is undisputed that he travels there some time in 2002. According to some friends, he visits a madrassa (Islamic boarding school) there, but according to other friends, he only visits relatives. His 2002 trip also takes him to Saudi Arabia, where he goes on the religious haj to Mecca. When he comes back to Britain he is noticeably more religiously observant, growing a beard and starting to wear robes. Friends say he also starts openly supporting Islamist militancy. [SUNDAY HERALD (GLASGOW), 7/17/2005; BBC, 5/11/2006] It will be widely reported just after the 7/7 bombings that he returns to Pakistan on July 15, 2004. However, it will later be determined that the passport record is of someone else with the same name who does go to Pakistan on that date. [BBC, 7/21/2005] But Hussain’s parents say that he is gone for about four months in the middle of 2004, so he could be in Pakistan after all, or in some other unknown destination. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/19/2005] Entity Tags: Hasib Mir Hussain Category Tags: 2005 7/7 London Bombings, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism
2002-2006: US Does Not Strongly Press Pakistan about Taliban Leaders Hiding There Robert Grenier, head of the CIA station in Islamabad, Pakistan, later says that the issue of fugitive Taliban leaders living in Pakistan was repeatedly raised with senior Pakistani intelligence officials in 2002. “The results were just not there. And it was quite clear to me that it wasn’t just bad luck.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/12/2007] For instance, in December 2001 the Guardian reported that many Taliban leaders are living openly in large villas in Pakistan (see December 24, 2001). But Grenier decides that Pakistan will not act on the Taliban and urges them to focus on arresting al-Qaeda operatives instead. “From our perspective at the time, the Taliban was a spent force. We were very much focused on al-Qaeda and didn’t want to distract the Pakistanis from that.” Zalmay Khalilzad, US ambassador to Afghanistan, US military officials, and some Bush administration officials periodically argue that the Taliban are crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan and killing US soldiers and aid workers (see August 18, 2005 and June 18, 2005). But it is not until some time in 2006 that President Bush strenuously presses Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf about acting on the Taliban leaders living in Pakistan. Even then, Bush reportedly tells his aides that he worries the ties between the Pakistani ISI and the Taliban continue and no serious action will be taken despite Musharraf’s assurances. [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/12/2007] Entity Tags: Zalmay M. Khalilzad, George W. Bush, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Pervez Musharraf, Robert Grenier, Taliban Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Afghanistan, Haven in Pakistan Tribal Region
2002-2004: CIA Builds Network of ‘Black Stations’ The CIA begins to build “black stations” around the world. Size of Network - There are around 12 such stations, which are based in front companies. About half of them are located in Europe, including one in Portugal, partly because of the comfortable living conditions and ease of travel. The program costs hundreds of millions of dollars as the stations have to rent office space, hire staff to answer phones, and pay for cars and other props, as well as creating fictitious client lists and resumes that can withstand sustained scrutiny. The black stations differ from normal CIA stations, which are based at US embassies and staffed with officers posing as officials of other US agencies, because their staff pose as employees of investment banks, consulting firms, or other fictitious enterprises with no apparent ties to the US government. Whereas the CIA had previously used one- or two-person consulting firms as vehicles for nonofficial cover, the new black stations are companies employing six to nine officers, plus support staff. Due to the size of the stations, they not only have experienced officers, but also relatively inexperienced ones, who are rotated in and out in much the same way they would be in standard embassy assignments. Reasoning behind Stations - One reason for setting up the network is that embassy-based stations are not as useful against the CIA’s new adversaries as they were against the KGB and its proxies, which were also based in embassies. As a government official will later comment, “Terrorists and weapons proliferators aren’t going to be on the diplomatic cocktail circuit.” In addition, the Bush administration orders the CIA to expand its overseas operation by 50 percent, Congress pressures it to alter its approach to designing cover, and it gets extra funding for the nonofficial cover program—the black stations are a way of dealing with all these three aspects. Further, the CIA has a lot of recruits after 9/11, but no open overseas positions to put them in. Some of the new hires are discouraged by this and leave, and the agency hopes the black stations will encourage people to stay. Method of Use - The plan is to use the stations solely as bases. Officers are forbidden from conducting operations in the country where their company is located. Instead, they are expected to adopt second and sometimes third aliases before traveling to their targets. The companies then remain intact to serve as vessels for the next crop of officers, who will have different targets. Therefore, if an operation goes wrong, the locals will only identify a single agent, but will not be able to trace him back to a black station because he is using a second alias. For example, the officers at the black station in Portugal are to travel to North Africa for missions. Later Curtailed - The program will be significantly curtailed some years later (see Between Late 2005 and February 2008). [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 2/17/2008] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action After 9/11
2002-2004: 7/7 London Bombers Attend Sermons Given by Extremist Imam Abu Hamza Who Has Deal with MI5 Lead 7/7 suicide bomber Mohammed Sidique Khan (see July 7, 2005) first attends the radical Finsbury Park mosque in London in 2002. The mosque is run by extremist imam Abu Hamza al-Masri, an informer for Britain’s security services (see Early 1997). Khan and fellow suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer first heard Abu Hamza preach in Leeds, and when Khan arrives at the mosque he is carrying a letter of recommendation from Haroon Rashid Aswat, a top aide to Abu Hamza, an alleged mastermind of the 7/7 bombings, and a possible British informant (see Late June-July 7, 2005 and July 29, 2005). Reportedly, Khan makes several visits to the mosque, sometimes sleeping in the basement. Aswat recruited young men to join al-Qaeda at Finsbury Park, at least in the late 1990s (see Late 1990s). Khan also takes Tanweer to the mosque, where, according to authors Sean O’Neill and Daniel McGrory, they are “shown gory videos and DVDs portraying the suffering and slaughter of Muslims in hotspots around the world, and [are] urged to make common cause with the people of Chechnya, Iraq, and Afghanistan.” O’Neill and McGrory will later comment: “Instructors at Finsbury Park would have spotted that in Khan they had a small-time street boss who was an ideal candidate to organize his own cell.” Khan, Tanweer, and a third bomber, Jermaine Lindsay, will also attend gatherings led by Abu Hamza outside the mosque after it is closed by police (see January 24, 2003). [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. XIX-XX, 190, 269, 271-272] Entity Tags: Shehzad Tanweer, Mohammad Sidique Khan, Finsbury Park Mosque, Germaine Lindsay, Abu Hamza al-Masri, Haroon Rashid Aswat Category Tags: Abu Hamza Al-Masri, Haroon Rashid Aswat, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, 2005 7/7 London Bombings
2002-2006: Bush Administration Creates ‘Potemkin Village’ Facade to Hide Covert Operations with Few Limits or Rules In late 2001 or early 2002, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld creates Operation Copper Green, which is a “special access program” with “blanket advance approval to kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate ‘high value’ targets.” especially al-Qaeda leaders (see Late 2001-Early 2002). According to a Pentagon counterterrorism consultant involved in the operation, the authorizations are “very calibrated” and vague in order to minimize political risk. “The CIA never got the exact language it wanted.” According to a high-level CIA official involved in the operation, the White House would hint to the CIA that the CIA should operate outside official guidelines to do what it wants to do. The CIA will later deny this, but CIA Director George Tenet will later acknowledge that there had been a struggle “to get clear guidance” in terms of how far to go during detainee interrogations. Slowly, official authorizations are expanded, and according to journalist Seymour Hersh, they turn “several nations in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia into free-fire zones with regard to high-value targets.” But Copper Green has top-level secrecy and runs outside normal bureaucracies and rules. According to Hersh, “In special cases, the task forces could bypass the chain of command and deal directly with Rumsfeld’s office.” One CIA officer tells Hersh that the task-force teams “had full authority to whack—to go in and conduct ‘executive action,’” meaning political assassination. The officer adds, “It was surrealistic what these guys were doing. They were running around the world without clearing their operations with the ambassador or the chief of station.” [NEW YORKER, 6/17/2007] Another former intelligence official tells Hersh, “The rules are ‘Grab whom you must. Do what you want.’” [GUARDIAN, 9/13/2004] The above-mentioned high-level CIA official will claim, “The dirt and secrets are in the back channel. All this open business—sitting in staff meetings, etc…, etc…—is the Potemkin Village stuff.” Over time, people with reservations about the program get weeded out. The official claims that by 2006, “the good guys… are gone.” [NEW YORKER, 6/17/2007] Entity Tags: Seymour Hersh, Central Intelligence Agency, Donald Rumsfeld, Operation Copper Green, White House, George J. Tenet Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics
2002-2006: Pakistani ISI Intimidates Journalists Investigating Taliban and Al-Qaeda Links in Pakistan
Hayatullah Khan. [Source: Public domain] In the wake of the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in January 2002 (see January 31, 2002), Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid will write, “Some Pakistani journalists suspected that hard-line elements in one of the [Pakistani] intelligence agencies may have encouraged militants to carry out the kidnapping of a Western journalist in order to discourage reporters from delving to deeply into extremist groups.” Rashid frequently writes for the Far Eastern Economic Review and the Daily Telegraph and is considered a regional expert. [RASHID, 2008, PP. 153]
In November 2001, Daily Telegraph journalist Christina Lamb was expelled from Pakistan after investigating the links between the ISI and the Taliban (see November 10, 2001). Suspicions that the ISI is intimidating inquisitive journalists are strengthened in December 2003 when two French journalists working for the magazine L’Express are arrested and put on trial for visa violations after visiting the border town of Quetta to investigate how the Taliban is regrouping in Pakistan. Their Pakistani fixer is charged with sedition and conspiracy. These arrests are seen as a blunt warning to journalists to avoid Quetta, where most Taliban leaders are living. In May 2004, journalists working for Newsweek and the New Yorker are arrested and held for several weeks after entering North Waziristan, where al-Qaeda is regrouping. This is considered a similar warning to avoid Waziristan. [RASHID, 2008, PP. 426] Two local journalists are killed by unknown assailants in Pakistan’s tribal region in 2005, causing many other journalists to avoid the region. [RASHID, 2008, PP. 275] On December 1, 2005, the US kills al-Qaeda leader Abu Hamza Rabia in Waziristan with a missile fired from a Predator drone (see December 1, 2005). Pakistan does not want it to be known that they are allowing the US to launch such attacks in their territory, but a local journalist named Hayatullah Khan takes photographs of pieces of the missile, which are then shown all over the world. Several days later, Khan disappears. When his body is eventually discovered, it has military handcuffs, torture marks, and five bullet wounds in the head. His family accuses the ISI of torturing and then killing him. The government promises an investigation into his murder, but does not actually conduct one. [PBS FRONTLINE, 10/3/2006; RASHID, 2008, PP. 275]
Entity Tags: Hayatullah Khan, Christina Lamb, Ahmed Rashid, Daniel Pearl, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Haven in Pakistan Tribal Region
2002-2004: World Trade Center Bombers Encourage Jihad from inside Maximum Security Facility Three of the men convicted for the World Trade Center bombing (see February 26, 1993)—Mohammed Salameh, Mahmud Abouhalima, and Nidal Ayyad—are allowed to write about 90 letters from inside the Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, encouraging fellow extremists around the world. Some of the letters are sent to Morocco and some to a militant cell in Spain. In one, addressed to cell leader Mohamed Achraf, who will be arrested in late 2004 for attempting to blow up the National Justice Building in Madrid (see July-October 18, 2004), Salameh writes, “Oh, God, make us live with happiness. Make us die as martyrs. May we be united on the day of judgment.” Other recipients have links to the 2004 Madrid train bombings (see 7:37-7:42 a.m., March 11, 2004). One of Salameh’s letters, in which he calls Osama bin Laden “the hero of my generation,” is published in a newspaper in July 2002, but this does not result in any new security attempts to stop other letters. The letters urge readers to “terminate the infidels” because “Muslims don’t have any option other than jihad.” Former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy wonders, “He was exhorting acts of terrorism and helping recruit would-be terrorists for the jihad from inside an American prison.” Terrorism specialist Hedieth Mirahmadi says the letters would have been especially useful for recruitment because the convicted bombers have “a power that the average person or the average imam in a mosque doesn’t have.” Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will later comment, “I was surprised. Didn’t seem to make any sense to me and I’m sure the average American would have to wonder, ‘How could this happen?’” Staff at the prison noticed the letters were unmonitored and complained in 2003, but it apparently took management several months to impose a tighter regime. [MSNBC, 3/1/2005; MSNBC, 3/9/2005] Entity Tags: US Bureau of Prisons, Mohamed Achraf, Mohammed Salameh, Hedieth Mirahmadi, Andrew McCarthy, Alberto R. Gonzales, Nidal Ayyad, Mahmud Abouhalima Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Spain, 1993 WTC Bombing, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11, Internal US Security After 9/11
(2002-2003): FBI Agent Who Acquiesced in Withholding of Key Intelligence before 9/11 Becomes Key Briefer at Important Daily CIA Meeting Mark Rossini, an FBI agent detailed to the CIA before 9/11, becomes a key briefer at an important daily CIA meeting. According to CIA Director George Tenet, the meeting is one of “the most significant keys to our accomplishments against the terrorists” after 9/11, and its aim is for all stakeholders in counterterrorism at the agency to come together and discuss recent events and steps the agency will take. Although Rossini is not initially involved in the meetings, which start after 9/11 and run for three years, he later becomes one of the first briefers, presumably some time in 2002 or 2003. Tenet will say Rossini “was affectionately called ‘The Voice,’ because his deep baritone imparted a special sense of urgency.” [TENET, 2007, PP. 230-231] Before 9/11, Rossini became aware that the CIA had withheld information from the FBI about one of the hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar. Rossini protested against this once, but then let the matter drop (see January 6, 2000). He later lied to investigators about what happened (see (February 12, 2004)). Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, George J. Tenet, Mark Rossini Category Tags: Other Post-9/11 Events
2002 and After: Yemeni Militants Pledge Not to Attack within Yemen, Free to Attack Elsewhere
Ali Abdallah Saleh. [Source: Helene C. Stikkel / Defense Department] In 2002, Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh is facing pressure from the US, who wants him to imprison Islamist militants, and many people in Yemen who are sympathetic to militant groups like al-Qaeda. Saleh comes up with a compromise program of “intellectual dialogue.” Hundreds of imprisoned militants are lectured by religious figures and discuss Islamic law and ethics. Those who sign a pledge not to carry out any attacks on Yemeni soil are let go, and are often helped with money and new jobs. Abu Jandal, bin Laden’s former chief bodyguard, goes through the program and later explains that it is basically a political bargain. Few militants actually change their views, but they understand that if they do not attack within Yemen they will be left alone. When interviewed in 2008, Jandal will say he still supports al-Qaeda, and urges other militants to avoid violence in Yemen. The New York Times will later comment, “American counterterrorism officials and even some Yemenis say the Yemeni government… is in effect striking a deal that helps stop attacks here while leaving jihadists largely free to plan them elsewhere.” For instance, Jandal claims to know some men who go through the program, only to later fight against US troops in Iraq. Another militant who went through the program admits to training militants to fight in Iraq, since that is not prohibited either. This program is officially canceled in Yemen in 2005, but it effectively continues. For instance, in 2007 the Yemeni government secretly frees Fahad al-Quso, a key figure in the 2000 USS Cole bombing (see May 2007). The program also is copied in Saudi Arabia and still in use there. [NEW YORK TIMES, 1/28/2008] Entity Tags: Abu Jandal, Ali Abdallah Saleh Category Tags: Yemeni Militant Collusion
Early 2002: Bush Takes Part in Travel Industry Marketing Campaign
The Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) coordinates its effort with the Bush administration to sell America’s airlines and hotel chains to consumers after the 9/11 attacks (see September 27, 2001). According to the TIA, “Travel was also linked to patriotic duty with expressions, such as ‘A return to travel is normal. Restoring travel is restoring our country’s economy.’” President Bush, apparently unaware that sitting presidents do not normally appear in industry ad campaigns, appears in “public service” ads created by TIA. The ads are part of a $20 million advertising campaign steered by, among others, J. W. “Bill” Marriott of Marriott International, one of the world’s largest hotel chains. Marriott personally solicited Bush’s participation in the television advertisements, which run throughout the US and in a number of foreign countries for four weeks. According to TIA polls, the Bush ad campaign reaches 70 percent of Americans, and most understand it as an appeal to travel and spend money. In 2008, author and public policy professor Alasdair Reynolds will write, “Many Americans appreciated that there was something strangely out of kilter about the president’s prominent role in boosting consumption in a moment of crisis.” [ASSOCIATION OF TRAVEL MARKETING EXECUTIVES, 2002; ROBERTS, 2008, PP. 90] Entity Tags: Marriott International, Alasdair Roberts, Bush administration, Travel Industry Association of America, George W. Bush, J. W. (“Bill”) Marriott Timeline Tags: Global Economic Collapse Category Tags: Other Post-9/11 Events
Early 2002: Troops and Equipment Redirected from Afghanistan to Iraq
Members of the US Fifth Special Forces Group pose with future Afghan president Hamid Karzai, whom they are protecting. [Source: US Military] The Atlantic Monthly will later report, “By the beginning of 2002, US and Northern Alliance forces had beaten the Taliban but lost bin Laden. At that point the United States faced a consequential choice: to bear down even harder in Afghanistan, or to shift the emphasis in the global war on terror somewhere else.… Implicitly at the beginning of 2002, and as a matter of formal policy by the end, it placed all other considerations second to regime change in Iraq.” [ATLANTIC MONTHLY, 10/2004] In February, 2002, Gen. Tommy Franks allegedly tells Sen. Bob Graham (D), “Senator, we have stopped fighting the war on terror in Afghanistan. We are moving military and intelligence personnel and resources out of Afghanistan to get ready for a future war in Iraq” (see February 19, 2002). [COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, 3/26/2004] This shift from Afghanistan to Iraq involves a change of focus and attention (see Early 2002). Additionally, while the total number of US troops (less than 10,000) in Afghanistan does not go down, there is a considerable shift of specialized personnel and equipment many months before the war in Iraq will begin:
On February 15, 2002, President Bush directs the CIA to conduct operations in Iraq (see Early 2002). In mid-March, the CIA tells the White House that it is cutting back operations in Afghanistan (see Spring 2002). Most of Task Force 5, a top-secret elite CIA and military special forces group, is called home from Afghanistan to prepare for operations in Iraq (see Early 2002). In March 2002, Fifth Group Special Forces, an elite group whose members speak Arabic, Pashtun, and Dari, that is apparently different from Task Force 5, is sent from Afghanistan to Iraq (see March 2002). The US Air Force’s only two specially-equipped spy planes that had successfully intercepted the radio transmissions and cell phone calls of al-Qaeda’s leaders are pulled from Afghanistan to conduct surveillance over Iraq. NSA satellites are “boreholed,” (or redirected) from Afghanistan to Iraq as well (see May 2002). Almost all Predator drones are withdrawn from Afghanistan and apparently moved to the Persian Gulf region for missions over Iraq (see April 2002).
More personnel will shift to Iraq in late 2002 and early 2003 (see Late 2002-Early 2003). In 2007, retired US Gen. James L. Jones, a former NATO supreme commander, will say that Iraq caused the US to “take its eye off the ball” in Afghanistan. [NEW YORK TIMES, 8/12/2007] Entity Tags: Taliban, Osama bin Laden, Thomas Franks, George W. Bush, Flynt Leverett, Al-Qaeda, National Security Agency, Bob Graham, Central Intelligence Agency, Bush administration, James L. Jones Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Iraq War Impact on Counterterrorism
Early 2002: Top US Officials Want to Invade Iraq to Set Example for Countries Defying US Domination According to a 2006 book by journalist Ron Suskind, around early 2002, in National Security Council briefings, the main stated reason for a war in Iraq is “to make an example of [Saddam] Hussein, to create a demonstration model to guide the behavior of anyone with the temerity to acquire destructive weapons or, in any way, flout the authority of the United States.… More specifically, the theory [is] that the United States… would change the rules of geopolitical analysis and action for countless other countries.” In meetings, President Bush often calls war with Iraq a “game changer.” [SUSKIND, 2006, PP. 123] Entity Tags: National Security Council, George W. Bush Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: US Dominance, Iraq War Impact on Counterterrorism, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics
Early 2002: Most of Task Force 5 Elite Force Is Redeployed from Afghanistan to Iraq Most of Task Force 5’s members are called home from Afghanistan to prepare for operations in Iraq. In early 2002, there were roughly 150 Task Force 5 commandos in Afghanistan. After the massive transfer, Task Force 5’s numbers dip to as low as 30 men. Task Force 5 is a top-secret elite group that includes CIA paramilitary units and military “special mission units,” or SMUs. One of the SMUs is the former Delta Force. The name of the other unit, which specializes in human and technical intelligence operations, is not known. The Washington Post will later note, “These elite forces, along with the battlefield intelligence technology of Predator and Global Hawk drone aircraft, were the scarcest tools of the hunt for jihadists along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.” According to Flynt Leverett, a career CIA analyst assigned to the State Deparmtent, “There is a direct consequence for us having taken these guys out prematurely. There were people on the staff level raising questions about what that meant for getting al-Qaeda, for creating an Afghan security and intelligence service [to help combat jihadists]. Those questions didn’t get above staff level, because clearly there had been a strategic decision taken.” [WASHINGTON POST, 10/22/2004] In 2003, Task Force 5 will be disbanded and then merged into the new Task Force 121, which is to operate in both Iraq and Afghanistan. [NEW YORK TIMES, 11/7/2003] Entity Tags: Flynt Leverett, Task Force 5, Delta Force, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion, War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Iraq War Impact on Counterterrorism
Early 2002: Bin Laden’s Wife and Sons Get Sudanese Passports When al-Qaeda operative Ramzi bin al-Shbih is captured in Karachi, Pakistan, in September 2002 (see September 11, 2002), a sign-in book is found with names and passport numbers. US investigators discover that one of Osama bin Laden’s wives and two of his sons had signed in, and their passports had been issued in their real bin Laden names by Sudan in early 2002, through the Sudanese Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. President Bush is briefed on this, and US intelligence figures suspect that high-ranking Sudanese leaders must have approved the passports and are playing a double game of supporting bin Laden and the US at the same time. The Sudanese government suggests that the officials involved may have been paid off. In a show of good faith, they provide vigorous assistance on several other CIA initiatives. [SUSKIND, 2006, PP. 165-166] Entity Tags: George W. Bush, Sudan, US intelligence, Ramzi bin al-Shibh Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action After 9/11, Other Government-Militant Collusion
Early 2002: Last Good Intelligence Leads on Bin Laden’s Whereabouts
Bruce Riedel. [Source: Brookings Institute] Bruce Riedel, a South Asia expert at the CIA, will say in 2007 shortly after retiring, “There hasn’t been a serious lead on Osama bin Laden since early 2002. What we’re doing now is shooting in the dark in outer space. The chances of hitting anything are zero.” Other intelligence officials interviewed by Newsweek will agree that since that time US intelligence has never had a better than 50 percent certainty about his location. [NEWSWEEK, 8/28/2007] An anonymous former CIA official will similarly tell the Los Angeles Times in 2007 that not only does the US have no idea where bin Laden is, but since 2002 the US has not even had information that “you could validate historically,” meaning a tip on a previous bin Laden location that could be subsequently verified (see May 20, 2007). [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 5/20/2007] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Bruce Riedel, Central Intelligence Agency, US intelligence Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden, Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan
Early 2002-January 2003: Syrian Government Helps US with Al-Qaeda Intelligence until US Cuts Off Relationship Because of Iraq War Priority By early 2002, Syria emerges as one of the CIA’s most effective intelligence sources on al-Qaeda. Syria is one of seven countries on a State Department list of sponsors of terrorism. It has been on that list since 1979, mostly because of its support for Hezbollah combating Israel. But Syria is also an opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Qaeda has many connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, especially its Syrian branch. According to journalist Seymour Hersh in New Yorker magazine, “The Syrians had compiled hundreds of files on al-Qaeda, including dossiers on the men who participated—and others who wanted to participate—in the September 11th attacks. Syria also penetrated al-Qaeda cells throughout the Middle East and in Arab exile communities throughout Europe.” It appears Syrian intelligence may even have penetrated the Hamburg cell tied to the 9/11 plot, as hijacker Mohamed Atta and other cell members, such as Mohammed Haydar Zammar, occasionally worked at a German firm called Tatex Trading, which was infiltrated by Syrian intelligence (see September 10, 2002-June 2003). For a time, the Syrians give much of what they know to the CIA and FBI. A former State Department official says, “Up through January of 2003, the cooperation was top-notch. Then we were going to do Iraq, and some people in the [Bush] administration got heavy-handed. They wanted Syria to get involved in operational stuff having nothing to do with al-Qaeda and everything to do with Iraq. It was something Washington wanted from the Syrians, and they didn’t want to do it.” Hersh reports, “The collapse of the liaison relationship has left many CIA operatives especially frustrated. ‘The guys are unbelievably pissed that we’re blowing this away,’ a former high-level intelligence official told me. ‘There was a great channel… The Syrians were a lot more willing to help us, but they’—[Defense Secretary] Rumsfeld and his colleagues—“want to go in [Syria after the Iraq war].’” [NEW YORKER, 7/18/2003] Entity Tags: Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, Central Intelligence Agency, Syria, Federal Bureau of Investigation Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action After 9/11, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics
Early 2002 and After: US Cannot Cross Pakistan Border to Search for Al-Qaeda Al-Qaeda forces have been driven out of Afghanistan but regroup in the tribal border region of Pakistan called South Waziristan (see December 2001-Spring 2002). However, the Pakistani government is strict about preventing US forces from crossing the border in pursuit of bin Laden or any other al-Qaeda figures. According to author James Risen, “Green Berets who served in southeastern Afghanistan say that there have been a series of tense confrontations—and even firefights—between American and Pakistani forces along the border. Both sides have largely covered up the incidents.” [RISEN, 2006, PP. 181] There is no sign later of a significant change in policy, although minor skirmishes persist. For part of 2002 and into 2003, some US special forces are allowed into the region, but only by traveling with the Pakistani army, and this arrangement does not last for long (see 2002-Early 2003). Entity Tags: Pakistan, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Haven in Pakistan Tribal Region, Afghanistan
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