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Shortly Before February 1, 2001: CIA Bin Laden Unit Asked to ‘Touch Base’ with Cole Investigators about Identification of Al-Qaeda Leader, but Key Information Leading to Two 9/11 Hijackers Is Not Passed A CIA officer in Islamabad, Pakistan, asks Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, to “touch base” with FBI agents investigating the bombing of the USS Cole who are preparing to come to Islamabad to interview a joint FBI/CIA source about the identification of one of the Cole bombers, but the suggested briefing is either never given, or lacks a crucial detail. Alec Station is aware that the source, referred to later as “Omar,” has identified al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash as being present at al-Qaeda’s Malaysia summit (see January 4, 2001) and that the FBI agents are going to Islamabad specifically to document another identification of bin Attash by Omar (see November 22-December 16, 2000). The cable from Islamabad even notes that Omar is “currently of very high interest to our [FBI] colleagues,” but Alec Station fails to notify the Cole investigators that bin Attash attended the summit in Malaysia. This is important because it connects bin Attash to 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, who also attended the summit (see January 5-8, 2000). [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 275-8 ] The CIA officer will meet the FBI agents in Pakistan, but will also fail to mention the identification of bin Attash at the Malaysia meeting to them (see February 1, 2001). Entity Tags: Nawaf Alhazmi, Tawfiq bin Attash, Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Omar”, CIA Islamabad Station, Alec Station Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Early 2001: CIA Reduces FBI Access to NSA’s Al-Qaeda Intercepts The CIA’s bin Laden unit, Alec Station, reduces the FBI’s access to NSA material tracking al-Qaeda members. The FBI had previously used such intercepts to map al-Qaeda’s global network (see Late 1998-Early 2002). The NSA intercepts at least one call from the 9/11 hijackers in the US to an al-Qaeda communications hub in Yemen after this (see Mid-October 2000-Summer 2001 and (August 2001)), but does not tell the FBI. Authors Joe and Susan Trento will comment that by doing this and withholding the hijackers’ identities from the FBI, “the CIA effectively ended any chance in the months leading up to 9/11 of discovering that [Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi] were actually al-Qaeda agents destined to play major roles in the 9/11 attacks.” The CIA repeatedly fails to tell the FBI what it knows about Alhazmi and Almihdhar (see 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 5, 2000, January 5, 2001 and After, and June 11, 2001). [TRENTO AND TRENTO, 2006, PP. 194] There is a long history of the NSA not wanting other US government agencies to have access to NSA material about al-Qaeda (see December 1996, Late August 1998, Between 1996 and August 1998, and Before September 11, 2001). Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Nawaf Alhazmi, Susan Trento, Khalid Almihdhar, Alec Station, National Security Agency, Joseph Trento Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

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Early April 2001: CIA Meets Northern Alliance Leader in Paris, Receives Warning of Major Al-Qaeda Attack CIA managers Gary Schroen, of the Near East division, and Richard Blee, responsible for Alec Station, the agency’s bin Laden unit, meet Northern Alliance commander Ahmed Shah Massoud in Paris, France. [COLL, 2004, PP. 560] Massoud, who is in Europe to address the European Parliament (see April 6, 2001), tells Schroen and Blee “that his own intelligence had learned of al-Qaeda’s intention to perform a terrorist act against the United States that would be vastly greater than the bombings of the American embassies in East Africa.” [WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 337] Declassified Defense Intelligence Agency documents from November 2001 will say that Massoud has gained “limited knowledge… regarding the intentions of [al-Qaeda] to perform a terrorist act against the US on a scale larger than the 1998 bombing of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.” They will further point out he may have been assassinated two days before 9/11 (see September 9, 2001) because he “began to warn the West.” [PAKTRIBUNE (ISLAMABAD), 9/13/2003; AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 9/14/2003] Schroen and Blee assure Massoud that, although he has been visited less by the CIA recently, they are still interested in working with him, and they will continue to make regular payments of several hundred thousand dollars each month. Commenting on the military situation in Afghanistan, Massoud says his defenses will hold for now, but the Northern Alliance is doing badly and no longer has the strength to counterattack. [COLL, 2004, PP. 561-2] Entity Tags: Rich B., Gary C. Schroen, Defense Intelligence Agency, Lawrence Wright, Alec Station, Ahmed Shah Massoud, Central Intelligence Agency, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

May 2001: CIA Official Connected to Cases of Moussaoui and 9/11 Hijackers Starts Helping FBI Tom Wilshire, a former deputy chief of Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, is detailed to the FBI to help with its counterterrorism work. Wilshire was involved in the failure to watchlist Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar during the al-Qaeda Malaysia summit (see 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 5, 2000), and will also be involved in the failed search for them in the summer of 2001 (see May 15, 2001, Late May, 2001, and July 13, 2001), as well as the failure to obtain a search warrant for Zacarias Moussaoui’s belongings (see August 24, 2001). He acts as the CIA’s chief intelligence representative to Michael Rolince, head of the Bureau’s International Terrorism Operations Section. His primary role is apparently to help the FBI exploit information for intelligence purposes. [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 282-348 ] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Alec Station, Michael Rolince, Tom Wilshire, International Terrorism Operations Section Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(Late May-Early June): FBI Agent at CIA Searches Only One of Two Databases with Information about 9/11 Hijackers Margaret Gillespie, an FBI agent detailed to the CIA who has been asked to research the connection between al-Qaeda’s Malaysia summit and the bombing of the USS Cole, checks a CIA database and finds some NSA information about 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi and their travel to an al-Qaeda summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that was monitored by the US. The database she uses is Intelink, which only has information the CIA makes available to other intelligence agencies. However, she does not also examine the CIA’s Hercules database. It is unclear why she does not do so and whether, as an FBI agent, she has access to it. If she did access it, she would have a complete picture of the CIA’s knowledge of Almihdhar and Alhazmi and would know Almihdhar had a US visa and Alhazmi had traveled to the US (see January 2-5, 2000 and March 5, 2000). As Gillespie is only working this line of inquiry in her free time, she does not put together the information contained in the Hercules system until late August (see August 21-22, 2001). [WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 340, 425] Entity Tags: Alec Station, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Margaret Gillespie Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Summer 2001: Two CIA Bin Laden Experts Consider Resigning in Protest According to the 9/11 Commission, two unnamed veteran CIA Counterterrorist Center officers deeply involved in Osama bin Laden-related issues are so worried about an impending attack that they consider resigning and going public with their concerns. Apparently they are also unhappy with the Bush administration’s lack of response to recent warnings. [9/11 COMMISSION, 3/24/2004; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 259-260] In a 2008 book by journalist Philip Shenon, one of the officials will be named as Michael Scheuer, head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, Alec Station, from 1996 to 1999. The other is his replacement Richard Blee (see June 1999), the CIA manager currently responsible for Alec Station. Neither will have commented publicly on their threatened resignations. [SHENON, 2008, PP. 395] Entity Tags: Rich B., Michael Scheuer, Central Intelligence Agency, Counterterrorist Center, Alec Station Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

July 5, 2001: CIA Officer Says Malaysia Summit Attendees May Be Linked to Current Threat Reporting Tom Wilshire, a CIA officer assigned to the FBI, sends an e-mail to managers at Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, saying there is a potential connection between recent warnings of an attack against US interests and al-Qaeda’s Malaysia summit in January 2000 (see January 5-8, 2000). He notes “how bad things look in Malaysia” and points out that hijacker Khalid Almihdhar may be connected to the radicals who attacked the USS Cole (see October 12, 2000). He recommends that the Cole bombing and the Malaysia summit be re-examined for potential connections to the current warnings of an attack. The e-mail ends, “all the indicators are of a massively bad infrastructure being readily completed with just one purpose in mind.” [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 298 ] This is one of a series of e-mails sent around this time by Wilshire to Alec Station about al-Qaeda’s Malaysia summit (see July 13, 2001 and July 23, 2001). Presumably, one of the recipients at CIA headquarters is Richard Blee, the manager responsible for Alec Station, as he apparently receives at least one of the e-mails (see July 13, 2001). Entity Tags: Tom Wilshire, Rich B., Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Alec Station, Khalid Almihdhar Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

July 13, 2001: CIA Reexamines Al-Qaeda Malaysia Summit but ‘Major League Killer’ Is Not Put on Watch List Tom Wilshire, a CIA manager assigned to the FBI who expressed interest two months earlier in surveillance photos from the al-Qaeda Malaysia summit (see January 5-8, 2000), now finds a cable he had been looking for regarding that summit. The cable, from January 2001, discusses al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash’s presence at the summit. Wilshire explains later that bin Attash’s presence there had been troubling him. He writes an e-mail to the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center (CTC), stating, “[Khallad] is a major league killer, who orchestrated the Cole attack (see October 12, 2000) and possibly the Africa bombings (see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998).” Yet Khallad is still not put on a terrorist watch list. Wilshire asks that the FBI be passed this information, but the FBI will not actually be given the information until August 30, a week after it learns future 9/11 hijacker Khalid Almihdhar is in the US. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 157 ; US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 298 ] Although the CIA managers that receive this e-mail are not named, Richard Blee, in charge of the CIA’s bin Laden unit and Wilshire’s former boss, appears to be one of the recipients: According to an endnote to the 9/11 Commission report, on the very same day Wilshire sends this e-mail, Blee writes his own e-mail entitled “Identification of Khallad,” which is sent to another CIA officer. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 537] An FBI analyst assigned to the CTC is given the task of reviewing all other CIA cables about the Malaysian summit. It takes this analyst until August 21—over five weeks later—to put together that Khalid Almihdhar had a US visa and that Nawaf Alhazmi had traveled to the US. Yet other CIA agents are already well aware of these facts but are not sharing the information (see August 22, 2001). Working with immigration officials, this analyst then learns that Almihdhar entered and left the US in 2000, and entered again on July 4, 2001, and that Alhazmi appears to still be in the US. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 157 ; US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 298 ] Entity Tags: Rich B., Tom Wilshire, Tawfiq bin Attash, Nawaf Alhazmi, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Alec Station, Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(July 27, 2001): CIA Checks Out Radicals Mentioned in Phoenix Memo, Also Receives Memo? The FBI sends a request to the CIA, asking the agency to check for information on eight Islamist radicals mentioned in the Phoenix memo (see July 10, 2001). However, the CIA apparently does not find any additional information about them. [USA TODAY, 5/20/2002; WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/23/2002; WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 350-1] Had the CIA investigated these men closely they might have turned up ties connecting them to al-Qaeda. For instance, in 2000, two friends of the main target of the Phoenix memo were detained and deported after twice attempting to enter a US airplane cockpit in what may have been practice for the 9/11 attacks. That same year it was learned by US intelligence that one of these men had received explosives and car bombing training in Afghanistan (see November 1999-August 2001). Other ties between the men in the memo go undiscovered; for instance, another person targeted in the memo had trained in al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and will later be arrested with a top al-Qaeda leader (see July 10, 2001). Around this time, the Phoenix memo is sent to FBI headquarters and its I-49 squad in New York (see July 27, 2001 and after and July 27, 2001 or Shortly After). After 9/11, the CIA will say it did not receive the memo and its Office of Inspector General will agree with this. [US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 3/28/2005 ] However, in a 2006 book journalist Lawrence Wright will report that the memo was also sent to the CIA’s bin Laden unit. One of the sources Wright cites for this passage is Mark Rossini. Rossini is an FBI agent who at one time worked in the unit’s I-49 squad in New York, but was detailed to the bin Laden station in the summer of 2001. [WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 316, 350, 381, 426 SOURCES: MARK ROSSINI] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Ken Williams, Alec Station, Mark Rossini, I-49 Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Late July 2001: FBI Agent Possibly Confused by Error in CIA Cable, Fails to Tell FBI Hijacker Almihdhar Has US Visa An FBI agent assigned to the CIA’s bin Laden unit locates a CIA cable that says hijacker Khalid Almihdhar has a US visa, but fails to disseminate the information to the FBI. It is not clear why the agent, Margaret Gillespie, fails to do this. However, at the same time she locates another CIA cable which mistakenly states that the information about the visa has already been passed to the FBI (see 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 5, 2000). [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 299 ] Entity Tags: Margaret Gillespie, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Alec Station, Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(August 20, 2001): FBI Headquarters Opens Informal Communication Channel with CIA over Moussaoui After the Zacarias Moussaoui case (see August 16, 2001) is transferred from the Iran unit to the Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU) at FBI headquarters (see August 20-September 11, 2001), RFU chief Dave Frasca contacts Charles Frahm, an FBI manager detailed to the CIA with responsibility for Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit. According to Frahm, who has already been contacted by the FBI Minneapolis field office (see August 18, 2001 or Shortly Before), Frasca asks CIA headquarters to quickly share any information it has on Moussaoui with the FBI, but does not send the agency a formal request, even though FBI headquarters continues to coordinate the case with the CIA. In an e-mail sent around August 28, Frahm will indicate that the CIA has still not received a formal request from the bureau. [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 123, 154-5, 231-2 ; WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 313] The CIA will tell FBI agent Harry Samit that it thinks there is enough information to firmly link Moussaoui to a terrorist group (see August 24, 2001). Entity Tags: Radical Fundamentalist Unit, David Frasca, Charles Frahm, Central Intelligence Agency, Alec Station, FBI Headquarters Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

August 21-22, 2001: FBI Agents Finally Realize Hijacker Almihdhar Is in US An FBI agent detailed to the CIA’s bin Laden unit locates CIA cables saying that future 9/11 hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi entered the US in early 2000. The agent, Margaret Gillespie, then checks with the US Customs Service and discovers that another future 9/11 hijacker, Khalid Almihdhar, entered the US on July 4, 2001, and there is no record he has left the country. As there is “an imperative to find anyone affiliated with al-Qaeda if they [are] believed to be in the US,” Gillespie immediately contacts Dina Corsi, an FBI agent in its bin Laden unit. Gillespie, who has been examining the USS Cole bombing and al-Qaeda’s Malaysia summit for some time, will later say that when she learns of their arrival in the US, “it all clicks for me.” The Justice Department’s office of inspector general will find that Gillespie’s “actions on receipt of the information clearly indicate that she understood the significance of this information when she received it. She took immediate steps to open an intelligence investigation.” Gillespie and Corsi meet with Tom Wilshire, a CIA officer involved in the investigation (see August 22, 2001), and Almihdhar and Alhazmi are soon watchlisted (see August 23, 2001). [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 300-301, 313 ; US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006 ] Entity Tags: Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, Margaret Gillespie, Dina Corsi, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Alec Station Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

August 22-September 10, 2001: Unclear If Bin Laden Unit Briefs Top CIA Management about Almihdhar’s Presence in US; Unit Chief Knows He Is Likely Attacker[]

Khalid Almihdhar. [Source: US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division] It is unclear if Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, briefs CIA leaders on information that 9/11 hijacker Khalid Almihdhar is in the US. Margaret Gillespie, an FBI analyst detailed to the station, discovers that Almihdhar is in the US on August 21, immediately informs the FBI (see August 21-22, 2001), and places Almihdhar, hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi, and two more associates on the TIPOFF watch list the next day (see August 23, 2001). The CIA also forwards information about al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash to the FBI on August 30 (see August 30, 2001). No Information on Briefings - There is no indication that Richard Blee, the CIA manager responsible for Alec Station, or anyone at Alec Station informs the CIA’s leadership, the White House, or Richard Clarke’s Counterterrorism Security Group (see August 23, 2001) of Almihdhar’s presence in the US and the clear implications of this presence. For example, no such briefing will be mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report, although the report will mention that CIA Director George Tenet is briefed about Zacarias Moussaoui around the same time, and it does discuss the circulation of the information about Almihdhar at the FBI in detail. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 268-277] The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will not mention any such briefing, although it will discuss how the FBI handles the information. [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 151-4 ] No such briefing will be mentioned in a 2007 book by Tenet, although the book will mention a briefing Tenet receives about Moussaoui. [TENET, 2007, PP. 158-160, 200] The Justice Department inspector general’s report will discuss the FBI’s handling of the information in detail. [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 297-313 ] However, the full CIA inspector general’s report about 9/11 will not be made public, and its executive summary will not mention any such briefing. [CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, 6/2005, PP. 15-16 ] Alec Station Aware of Threat and Almihdhar - Alec Station, the CIA, and the US intelligence community in general are highly aware that preparations for a large al-Qaeda attack are in the final stages (see Shortly After July 5, 2001, June 28, 2001, and June 28, 2001). Blee is, in fact, the lead briefer within the government about the threats, and has briefed not only his superiors at the CIA, but also National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (see May 30, 2001 and June 28, 2001). He has also recently expressed the belief that the attack will be in the US (see Late July 2001) and has apparently received a series of e-mails in which his former deputy told him Almihdhar may well be involved in the forthcoming attack (see July 5, 2001, July 13, 2001, and July 23, 2001). The information that Almihdhar is in the US therefore confirms Blee’s belief that the attack will be in the US, but it appears Alec Station fails to pass this information on. Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, George J. Tenet, Nawaf Alhazmi, Rich B., Alec Station, Khalid Almihdhar Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

August 28, 2001: CIA Fails to Connect KSM, Bin Al-Shibh, and Moussaoui In April 2001, the CIA analyzed some “intriguing information associated with a person known as ‘Mukhtar.’” The CIA didn’t know who this was at the time, only that he was associated with top al-Qaeda deputy Abu Zubaida and that he seemed to be involved in planning al-Qaeda activities. On August 28, 2001, the CIA receives a cable reporting that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) has the nickname of Mukhtar (which means “brain” in Arabic). However, apparently no one at the CIA’s bin Laden unit makes the connection between this new information and the April 2001 information. The 9/11 Commission writes, “Only after 9/11 would it be discovered that Muhktar/KSM had communicated with a phone that was used by [Ramzi] bin al-Shibh, and that bin al-Shibh had used the same phone to communicate with [Zacarias] Moussaoui [who is in US custody by this time.]” [US CONGRESS, 7/24/2003, PP. 322; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 277] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Ramzi Yousef, Alec Station, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Central Intelligence Agency, Zacarias Moussaoui Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

August 29, 2001: CIA Officer Possibly Tells FBI Agent Search for Hijacker Almihdhar Must Be Intelligence Investigation According to author Lawrence Wright, on this day there is a conference call between FBI field agent Steve Bongardt, FBI headquarters agent Dina Corsi, and a CIA supervisor at Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, who tells Bongardt to stand down in the search for future 9/11 hijacker Khalid Almihdhar. Corsi and Bongardt have been arguing over whether the search for Almihdhar in the US should be a criminal or intelligence investigation (see August 28, 2001 and August 28, 2001), and the CIA supervisor apparently sides with Corsi, saying the search should be an intelligence investigation, and so Bongardt, a criminal agent, cannot be involved in it. Bongardt is angry with this and remarks, “If this guy [Almihdhar] is in the country, it’s not because he’s going to f___ing Disneyland!” [WRIGHT, 2006, PP. 353-4] However, there will be no mention of this conversation in the 9/11 Commission Report or the Justice Department’s report into the FBI’s performance before 9/11. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 271; US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 306-7 ] According to the Justice Department report, there is a similar conference call between Bongardt, Corsi, and her supervisor at the FBI around this time (see August 28, 2001). It is possible Wright is confusing the supervisor of the CIA’s bin Laden unit with the supervisor of the FBI’s bin Laden unit, meaning that the CIA supervisor is not involved in this argument. Entity Tags: Steve Bongardt, Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency, Alec Station, FBI New York Field Office, Dina Corsi Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

September 9, 2001: Northern Alliance Informs CIA of Massoud Assassination; News Soon Leaks Northern Alliance leader Amrullah Saleh calls the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center to inform it of the assassination of anti-Taliban commander Ahmed Shah Massoud (see September 9, 2001). His call is taken by Richard Blee, the manager responsible for Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit. Although Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, an expert on Afghanistan, realizes the assassination means “something terrible [is] about to happen” (see September 9, 2001), Blee does not appear to connect the assassination to a spike in warnings about an al-Qaeda attack against US interests, even though he has been briefing senior officials about this all summer (see May 30, 2001, June 28, 2001, July 10, 2001, and Late July 2001). The Northern Alliance realizes that the Taliban will attack them immediately, because they are leaderless, and Saleh asks for support from the CIA. However, some at the CIA think that the Northern Alliance has no chance without Massoud, who held it together. Other officers “[call] frantically around Washington to find a way to aid the rump Northern Alliance before it [is] eliminated.” The CIA informs the White House of the assassination, and the news soon leaks to CNN. This prompts the Northern Alliance to call again, this time complaining about the leak. [COLL, 2004, PP. 582-4] Entity Tags: Rich B., Counterterrorist Center, Alec Station, Amrullah Saleh, Ahmed Shah Massoud, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

Before September 11, 2001: US Misses Chance to Capture High-ranking Al-Qaeda Figure Due to Delay by NSA Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, misses a chance to capture an unnamed high-ranking al-Qaeda leader in the Netherlands. The US intelligence community learned of the chance through intercepts of al-Qaeda communications, but there is a battle over access to such intelligence. The NSA, which acquires the information, insists that it will not provide the CIA will full transcripts of calls between al-Qaeda members that it intercepts, but only with summaries of them, which the CIA finds less useful. In this case, there is a delay by the NSA in preparing the summary, and by the time it is passed to Alec Station, the al-Qaeda leader is no longer within reach. [NEWSWEEK, 8/21/2007] Entity Tags: National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Alec Station Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

Just Before September 11, 2001: CIA, FBI Lack Counterterrorism Resources, and Focus Just prior to 9/11, the CIA and FBI do not have enough staff working on al-Qaeda. Only 17 to 19 people are working in the FBI’s special unit focusing on bin Laden and al-Qaeda. [US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002] The FBI has a $4.3 billion anti-terrorism budget, but of its 27,000 employees, just 153 are devoted to terrorism analysis. [SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/8/2002] The FBI’s “analytic expertise has been ‘gutted’ by transfers to operational units” and only one strategic analyst is assigned full time to al-Qaeda. The FBI office in New York is very aware of the threat from bin Laden, but many branch offices remain largely unaware. [US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002] A senior FBI official later tells Congress that there are fewer FBI agents assigned to counterterrorism on this day than in August 1998, when the US embassy bombings in Africa made bin Laden a household name. [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/22/2002] The CIA has only about 35 to 40 people assigned to their special bin Laden unit. It has five strategic analysts working full time on al-Qaeda. [US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002] The CIA and FBI later complain that some of these figures are misleading. [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/18/2002] “Individuals in both the CIA and FBI units… reported being seriously overwhelmed by the volume of information and workload prior to September 11, 2001.” Despite numerous warnings that planes could be used as weapons, such a possibility was never studied, and a congressional report later blames lack of staff as a major reason for this. [US CONGRESS, 9/18/2002] Senator Patrick Leahy (D) also notes, “Between the Department of Justice and the FBI, they had a whole task force working on finding a couple of houses of prostitution in New Orleans. They had one on al-Qaeda.” [CBS NEWS, 9/25/2002] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Central Intelligence Agency, US Congress, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Patrick J. Leahy, Alec Station, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

September 11, 2001: White House Rejects CIA Idea to Immediately Raid Al-Qaeda Charity Fronts Around the World Within hours of the 9/11 attacks, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, Alec Station, is tasked to come up with actions that can be taken immediately to strike back at al-Qaeda. According to Michael Scheuer, the first head of Alec Station, one of the most promising ideas considered is to ask other countries to raid Islamist charity fronts and seize computers and documents. Scheuer will later assert that the “suggested raids would have netted far more relevant data on how the [charity front-al-Qaeda link] worked than we ever had before.” However, he claims the White House rejects the idea because of concerns that it would offend Muslim popular opinion. [SCHEUER, 2008, PP. 306] Entity Tags: White House, Alec Station, Michael Scheuer Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

September 12, 2001: Former CIA Bin Laden Unit Chief Returns, But Not Given Much to Do Mike Scheuer, former head of Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit (see February 1996), returns to the unit to serve as an adviser, but is not allowed to debrief detainees. Scheuer, who was fired from the unit in 1999 (see June 1999), remains with Alec Station until 2004, when he resigns from the CIA and authors Imperial Hubris, a book critical of the CIA and the US government’s fight against terrorism in general. He had finished his first book, Through Our Enemies’ Eyes, before 9/11, and it is released in 2002. He will later complain that he is given a job title but no official duties. Other CIA officers seek out his services, but these requests are blocked, apparently by James Pavitt, the Deputy Director of Operations. Scheuer comments: “The CIA knew that Through Our Enemies’ Eyes was respected by Islamists and that, as the author, I would be an effective debriefer. Mr. Pavitt, however, put burying my career above using me to elicit information to defend America.” [SCHEUER, 2005, PP. 264; SCHEUER, 2006, PP. XVII] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Alec Station, Michael Scheuer, James Pavitt Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

After September 11, 2001: FBI Launches Internal Investigation into Pre-9/11 Failings The FBI launches an internal investigation into its failings before 9/11, but will not publicize the probe’s course or findings. The only thing known about the investigation is that two FBI agents who were detailed to Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, before 9/11 are interviewed by the investigators and give a different account of their conduct to the version they provide to the Justice Department’s inspector general. The two agents, Doug Miller and Mark Rossini, were involved in the blocking of a CIA cable to the FBI about 9/11 hijacker Khalid Almihdhar (see 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 5, 2000 and January 6, 2000) and falsely claimed to the inspector general that they could recall nothing about this (see (February 12, 2004)). However, they tell the internal investigation the truth, that they were ordered by Alec Station’s deputy chief, Tom Wilshire, and another CIA officer to withhold the cable from the FBI. [CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY, 10/1/2008] Entity Tags: Alec Station, Central Intelligence Agency, Doug Miller, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mark Rossini Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

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