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Main article: 2001

October

Main article: October 2001

November

Main article: November 2001

December

December 2001-Spring 2002: Pakistani Government Allows Al-Qaeda and Taliban to Regroup in Pakistan’s Tribal Region

The mountains of Waziristan. [Source: BBC] (click image to enlarge) In December 2001, al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan are defeated in the battle of Tora Bora, and the survivors generally flee across the border into Pakistan’s tribal region. Many flee into the region of South Waziristan, since it is directly adjacent to Tora Bora and there are no Pakistani government forces guarding the border there (see December 10, 2001). In March 2002, several hundred more militants flee from Afghanistan into South Waziristan after Operation Anaconda (see March 2-13, 2002). They rebuild their central command there, particularly in a remote part of South Waziristan known as the Shakai valley. [NEW YORK TIMES, 6/30/2008] Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid will later describe South Waziristan: “With its high mountains, steep slopes, deep ravines littered with broken rock and shale, and its thick forests, it was an ideal hideout. Many of its valleys were virtually inaccessible, except along steep winding paths that required the agility of mountain climbers, and were easy to defend.” [RASHID, 2008, PP. 148, 268] In the spring of 2002, US intelligence begins reporting that large numbers of foreigners are hiding in South Waziristan and neighboring North Waziristan. But Gen. Ali Jan Orakzai, the commander of Pakistani forces in the area containing Waziristan, is skeptical. Born in the tribal region, Orakzai is said to be Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s close friend and main adviser on the region. Even in 2008, he will tell the New York Times that he considered the US warnings about al-Qaeda to be mere “guesswork” and that his soldiers “found nothing.” Former US intelligence officials will agree that nothing is found, because they say that Orakzai’s military forces only enter the region in large, slow-moving sweeps that are easily avoided by militants. Robert Grenier, CIA station chief in Pakistan at the time, will later suggest that Orakzai did not want to find the foreigners as this could have caused trouble, including a tribal uprising. Grenier will say, “Orakzai and others didn’t want to believe [the foreigners were there] because it would have been an inconvenient fact.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 6/30/2008] Entity Tags: Robert Grenier, Al-Qaeda, Ali Jan Orakzai, Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Haven in Pakistan Tribal Region

Late 2001-Spring 2002: European Intelligence Agencies Monitor Al-Qaeda Relocating in Pakistan In September 2002, shortly after the arrest of al-Qaeda leader Ramzi bin al-Shibh in Karachi, Pakistan (see September 11, 2002), the New York Times will report: “Even before Mr. bin al-Shibh’s arrest, European officials warned that al-Qaeda appeared to have shifted much of its operations in Pakistan to Karachi. A year ago, 90 percent of communications and other links between suspected al-Qaeda members in Europe and individuals in Pakistan were traced to the city of Peshawar, near the Afghan border, a European law enforcement official said. As of this spring, roughly half of intercepted communications and other links were being traced to Karachi.” A European diplomat comments, “Obviously the brains and money for the terrorists have shifted from Peshawar to Karachi.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/15/2002] Presumably many of the communications to Peshawar involve al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida, considered a key communications hub and who has been monitored by a number of intelligence agencies, including the French, since at least 1998 (see October 1998 and After). Zubaida moves from his long-time base in Peshawar to the Pakistani city of Faisalabad after 9/11 and is captured there in March 2002 (see March 28, 2002). Al-Qaeda leaders Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh are interviewed in Karachi around June 2002, a fact that is quickly shared with US intelligence (see June 14, 2002 and Shortly After). Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Abu Zubaida, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Abu Zubaida, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Remote Surveillance

December 2001: CIA Unable to Question Pakistani Nuclear Scientists Linked to Pro-Al-Qaeda Charity Front

A. Q. Khan (left) and Pervez Musharraf (right). [Source: CBC] (click image to enlarge) After CIA Director George Tenet visits Pakistan and pressures the Pakistani government to take stronger action against the charity front Ummah Tameer-e-Nau (UTN) (see Early October-December 2001), the CIA learns more about the organization. The CIA was previously aware that the two prominent nuclear scientists who co-founded UTN, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Chaudiri Abdul Majeed, had met with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, and advised them on how to make a nuclear weapon (see Mid-August 2001). However, the CIA discovers that other nuclear scientists are also connected to UTN, including Mirza Yusef Beg, a former member of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), and Humayun Niaz, also formerly with the PAEC. At least two senior Pakistani military officers are also connected to UTN. All these men are brought in and questioned by US officials. But the CIA is unable to question two others connected to UTN, Muhammad Ali Mukhtar, a nuclear physicist who worked for the PAEC as a weapons expert, and Suleiman Asad, who worked at A. Q. Khan’s Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL) in its weapons design division. The CIA reasons that these two scientists would be the type of nuclear bomb makers bin Laden was most interested in. However, the Pakistani government claims that the two are in Burma working on a top secret project and cannot be brought back to Pakistan for questioning. [LEVY AND SCOTT-CLARK, 2007, PP. 320-321] Shortly after 9/11, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf called one of the leaders of Burma and asked if the two scientists could be given asylum there. [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/9/2001] The CIA is also interested in talking to Hamid Gul, a former ISI director and UTN’s honorary patron, but Pakistan will not allow him to be questioned either, even though he had met with Mahmood in Afghanistan around the time Mahmood met with bin Laden and al-Zawahiri. As a result, the CIA is unable to learn just how much UTN could have assisted al-Qaeda with weapons of mass destruction. [LEVY AND SCOTT-CLARK, 2007, PP. 320-321] Entity Tags: Suleiman Asad, Ummah Tameer-e-Nau, Pervez Musharraf, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Mullah Omar, Humayun Niaz, Hamid Gul, Chaudiri Abdul Majeed, Central Intelligence Agency, Muhammad Ali Mukhtar, Osama bin Laden, Kahuta Research Laboratories, Mirza Yusef Beg Timeline Tags: A. Q. Khan's Nuclear Network Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Pakistani Nukes & Islamic Militancy

December 2001: FBI Monitors 7/7 London Bomber while He Visits US In December 2001, Germaine Lindsay, one of the suicide bombers in the 7/7 London bombings (see July 7, 2005), travels to the US to visit his mother in Cleveland, Ohio. He is allegedly monitored by the FBI after spending a month-long holiday with her. It is unknown what causes the surveillance. He is just graduating from high school around this year. [DAILY MAIL, 7/24/2005] Lindsay will also allegedly come to the US in 2002 or 2003 and make contacts in New Jersey and Ohio, but details are sketchy. [ABC NEWS, 7/15/2005] US intelligence is also given his name by British officials at some point in 2004 after his name comes up in the course of an investigation into a fertilizer bomb plot in Britain early that year (see 2004). At some point, the US places him on a terrorist watch list at the request of Britain. A US official will later say, “He was on the radar, then he was off the radar.” [DAILY MAIL, 7/16/2005] Shortly after the 7/7 bombings, British authorities will deny they had heard of Lindsay prior to the bombings, but in early 2006 Newsweek will report that they “now concede they may have.” [NEWSWEEK, 2/5/2006] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Germaine Lindsay Category Tags: 2005 7/7 London Bombings, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

December 2001: Scientific Journal Describes ‘Eutectic Mixture’ in WTC Steel

A sample of WTC steel eroded and corroded due to eutectic formations. [Source: FEMA] The Journal of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (JOM) reports that the examination of a beam from the remains of WTC Building 7—which collapsed late in the afternoon of 9/11 (see (5:20 p.m.) September 11, 2001)—has revealed “unexpected erosion” of the steel. The article states: “The formation of the eutectic mixture of iron oxide and iron sulfide lowers the temperature at which liquid can form in this steel. This strongly suggests that the temperatures in this region of the steel beam approached around 1,000°C, forming the eutectic liquid by a process similar to making a ‘blacksmith’s weld’ in a hand forge.” [BARNETT, BIEDERMAN, AND SISSON, 12/2001] The New York Times will call this “perhaps the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 2/2/2002] FEMA’s World Trade Center Building Performance Study, released in May 2002 (see May 1, 2002), will add that the same “unusual erosion patterns” have been observed in a sample of the remaining structural steel from one of the Twin Towers. It will state, “This sulfur-rich liquid penetrated preferentially down grain boundaries of the steel, severely weakening the beam and making it susceptible to erosion.” FEMA is unable to explain this phenomenon, saying, “The severe corrosion and subsequent erosion… are a very unusual event. No clear explanation for the source of the sulfur has been identified.… It is possible that this is the result of long-term heating in the ground following the collapse of the buildings. It is also possible that the phenomenon started prior to collapse and accelerated the weakening of the steel structure.” [FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, 5/1/2002, PP. C-1 - C-13] Despite FEMA’s call for further research, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will make no mention of the eutectic formations in its final report into the WTC collapses, released in late 2005, following its three-year investigation. [NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY, 9/2005, PP. 13 ] Entity Tags: National Institute of Standards and Technology, World Trade Center, Federal Emergency Management Agency Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: WTC Investigation

Late 2001-Early 2002: Rumsfeld Creates Ultra-Secret Program to Kill, Capture, and/or Interrogate ‘High Value’ Terrorists Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorizes the creation of a “special-access program,” or SAP, with “blanket advance approval to kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate ‘high value’ targets in the Bush administration’s war on terror.” The operation, known as “Copper Green,” is approved by Condoleezza Rice and known to President Bush. A SAP is an ultra secret project, the contents of which are known by very few officials. “We’re not going to read more people than necessary into our heart of darkness,” a former senior intelligence official tells investigative reporter Seymour Hersh. The SAP is brought up occasionally within the National Security Council (NSC), chaired by the president and members of which are Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Powell. The former intelligence official tells Hersh, “There was a periodic briefing to the National Security Council giving updates on results, but not on the methods.” He also says he believes NSC members know about the process by which these results are acquired. This official claims that fewer than two hundred operatives and officials, including Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers were “completely read into the program.” Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone is generally in charge of running such operations. Motive for the SAP comes from an initial freeze in the results obtained by US agents from their hunt for al-Qaeda. Friendly foreign intelligence services on the other hand, from countries in the Middle East and South-East Asia, which employ more aggressive tactics on prisoners, are giving up much better information by the end of 2001. By authorizing the SAP, Rumsfeld, according to Hersh, desires to adopt these tactics and thus increase intelligence results. “Rumsfeld’s goal was to get a capability in place to take on a high-value target—a stand-up group to hit quickly,” the former intelligence official tells Hersh. The program’s operatives were recruited from among Delta Force, Navy Seals, and CIA’s paramilitary experts. They are permitted to carry out “instant interrogations—using force if necessary—at secret CIA detention centers scattered around the world.” Information obtained through the program is sent to the Pentagon in real-time. The former intelligence official tells Hersh: “The rules are ‘Grab whom you must. Do what you want.’” The operation, according to Seymour Hersh, “encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation.” [NEW YORKER, 5/24/2004; GUARDIAN, 9/13/2004] Both the Defense Department and CIA deny the existence of Copper Green. One Pentagon spokesman says of Hersh’s article about it, “This is the most hysterical piece of journalist malpractice I have ever observed.” [CNN, 5/17/2004] Entity Tags: Stephen A. Cambone, Richard B. Myers, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Operation Copper Green Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action After 9/11, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

December 2001: Zammar Taken to Syria for Torture and Interrogation With help from the US, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, a German and Syrian citizen suspected of being a top al-Qaeda member, is taken in secret to Syria. He had been arrested while visiting Morocco (see October 27-November 2001). When the German government learns of the arrest and transfer, it strongly protests the move. After his arrival in Syria, according to a former fellow prisoner, Zammar is tortured in the Far’ Falastin, or “Palestine Branch,” detention center in Damascus. [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 6/20/2002; WASHINGTON POST, 12/26/2002; HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, 6/2004] The center is run by military intelligence and reportedly is a place “where many prisoners remain held incommunicado.” [WASHINGTON POST, 1/31/2003] His Syrian interrogators are reportedly provided with questions from their US counterparts. [HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, 6/2004] This is alleged by Murhaf Jouejati, Adjunct Professor at George Washington University, who tells the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States that, “Although US officials have not been able to interrogate Zammar, Americans have submitted questions to the Syrians.” [911 COMMISSION, 7/9/2003] In the “Palestine Branch” prison, Zammar is locked up in cell number thirteen. According to Amnesty International, the cell measures 185 cm long, 90 cm wide and less than two meters high. Zammar is said to be about six feet tall and now “skeletal” in appearance. [AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, 10/8/2004] Entity Tags: Mohammed Haydar Zammar Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Germany, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

December 2001: CIA Realizes Prague Visit Was Not Made by Hijacker Atta The CIA realizes that a reported visit by Mohamed Atta to Prague, Czech Republic, was actually made by a Pakistani businessman with a similar name (see May 31, 2000), not by the 9/11 hijacker. Hijacker Atta’s alleged Prague visit was used to bolster the theory that he met an Iraqi intelligence agent there in April 2001 (see September 14, 2001), and that Iraq was connected to 9/11. The Pakistani arrived on May 31, 2000 and was deported, as he did not have a Czech visa. Hijacker Atta arrived two days later on his way to the US on a Czech visa that came into effect on June 1. Shortly after 9/11, it was thought that Atta’s business in Prague in May 2000 was so urgent that he had to fly into the airport and be deported one day before his visa came into effect (note: the theory was that he must have met someone at the airport while waiting for his deportation flight). However, investigation by the CIA, Czech and German authorities finds that the May 30 entry was made by a namesake, not the hijacker. [CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/29/2004] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion, 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Mohamed Atta

December 2001: US Citizen Captured in Afghanistan, Declared to Be ‘Enemy Combatant’

Yaser Esam Hamdi in Afghanistan shortly after being captured there. [Source: Virginian Pilot] Yaser Esam Hamdi, who holds dual Saudi and US citizenship, is captured in Afghanistan by the Northern Alliance and handed over to US forces. According to the US government, at the time of his arrest, Hamdi carries a Kalashnikov assault rifle and is traveling with a Taliban military unit. The following month he will be transferred to Guantanamo. In April 2002, it will be discovered he is a US citizen. He will be officially be declared an “enemy combatant” and transferred to a Navy brig in Norfolk, Virginia (see April 2002). [CNN, 10/14/2004] Entity Tags: Yaser Esam Hamdi Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives, War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action After 9/11, Afghanistan

Between December 2001 and February 2002: Manager at FAA’s New York Center Destroys Tape of Controller’s 9/11 Accounts A manager at the FAA’s New York Center deliberately destroys an audio tape that was made on September 11, on which several of the center’s air traffic controllers recounted their interactions with the hijacked aircraft. [NEW YORK TIMES, 5/6/2004; WASHINGTON POST, 5/7/2004] Within hours of the 9/11 attacks, Kevin Delaney, the New York Center’s quality assurance manager, was instructed to make the tape recording, on which six controllers at the center involved in handling or tracking two of the hijacked aircraft recalled their experiences of what happened (see 11:40 a.m. September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 10/1/2003 ; WASHINGTON POST, 5/6/2004; AIR SAFETY WEEK, 5/17/2004] Crushes Cassette, Cuts Tape into Small Pieces - But a few months later, some time between December 2001 and February 2002, Delaney destroys the tape. He will later recall that he does so by “crushing the cassette case in his hand, cutting the tape into small pieces, and depositing the pieces in trash cans throughout the center.” A Department of Transportation (DOT) report in 2004 will point out, “It is clear [Delaney] went to great lengths to destroy the tape so that it would never leave the center intact.” Superiors Not Consulted - Delaney disposes of the tape of his own volition, and without consulting his superiors. However, Mike McCormick, the New York Center manager, will later say that, had Delaney asked for his permission to destroy the tape, he would have given it, since he viewed the tape as only a temporary record. Two Reasons for Destroying Tape - Delaney will later tell DOT investigators that he destroys the tape for two reasons. Firstly, he considers the creation of the tape to have been contrary to FAA policy for aircraft accidents and incidents, which requires that handwritten statements be made after controllers are able to review certain materials, such as radio transmissions and radar data. (The DOT investigators will dispute this conclusion (see May 6, 2004).) He therefore feels the tape is of limited value relative to the controllers’ written statements (see (Between September 11 and October 2, 2001)). Secondly, Delaney feels the controllers were distressed on 9/11, and therefore not in the correct frame of mind to properly consent to the taping. He bases this assessment partly on what he has seen on television crime shows, about due process and legal rights associated with investigations. But the 2004 DOT report will state, “Under FAA policy, and as supported by air traffic policy experts at FAA headquarters, the tape should have been considered an original record and retained for five years.” A former criminal investigator will comment, “Ray Charles [the blind musician] could see that this was a cover-up.” Others Not Notified - Delaney destroys the tape without anyone having listened to, copied, or transcribed it. He will not inform the New York Center’s management that he has destroyed the tape until he is asked about it in September 2003, following inquiries by the 9/11 Commission. Materials the New York Center prepares for submission to the Commission will even include a chain-of-custody index that mistakenly indicates the tape still exists. And prior to an investigation by the DOT’s Office of Inspector General in late 2003 and early 2004, apparently no one outside the New York Center will be aware of the existence of the tape, or of its destruction. Union Told Tape Would Be Destroyed - Delaney previously assured the local vice president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) that he would “get rid of” the tape once the center’s formal accident package had been completed (see October 2001-February 2002). (This package has now been submitted to FAA headquarters (see November 2001-May 2002).) But Delaney will tell DOT investigators that he did not feel under any pressure from NATCA to destroy the tape. McCormick made a similar agreement with the local NATCA president, that the tape would be destroyed after written statements had been obtained from the controllers (see (Shortly Before 11:40 a.m.) September 11, 2001), but Delaney is unaware of this. No Regrets - Delaney apparently has no subsequent regrets about destroying the tape. He will later say that, under similar circumstances, he would again follow the same course of action. [US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, 5/4/2004 ; AIR SAFETY WEEK, 5/17/2004] Entity Tags: Kevin Delaney, Mike McCormick Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Other 9/11 Investigations

December 2001: Ansar Al-Islam Militant Group Formed The militant group Ansar al-Islam is formed in Iraq. It is created from a merger of two Kurdish rebel groups and it is led by Mullah Krekar, who spends most of his time living in exile in Norway. Ansar al-Islam preaches a radical interpretation of Islam. It controls a small area of only about a dozen villages in a mountainous region right next to Iraq’s border with Iran. [BBC, 3/22/2003] The US will later accuse the group of hosting militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and many al-Qaeda operatives. Entity Tags: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Ansar al-Islam, Mullah Krekar Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

December 2001: Al-Qaeda-Linked Figures and Indonesian Military Attack Christian Villages on Island of Sulawesi

Agus Dwikarna. [Source: Christian Science Monitor] In October 2000, Agus Dwikarna, an Indonesian militant linked to al-Qaeda, helps establish the paramilitary organization Laskar Jundullah. It is modeled after Laskar Jihad, another paramilitary organization formed earlier (see January 1999-July 2001), except Laskar Jihad draws its recruits from the Indonesian island of Java whereas Laskar Jundullah draws its recruits from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Laskar Jundullah gathers about 2,000 recruits to central Sulawesi. Mostly using bats and machetes, they support local Muslims in violent conflicts with Christians near the town of Poso, which have been occurring off and on since 1998, with heavy casualties on both sides. [HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, 12/2002; CONBOY, 2003, PP. 223-224] In the second half of 2001, some al-Qaeda linked figures begin helping Dwikarna and Laskar Jundullah:

Omar al-Faruq, a Kuwaiti, who is said to be a key go-between for al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah. Al-Faruq and Dwikarna hosted al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri when he visited Indonesia in 2000 (see June 2000). 
Syeh Hussein, a.k.a. Rashid, a Saudi. He is al-Faruq’s handler and is said to have access to Osama bin Laden. He is posing as a representative of the Al Haramain Islamic Foundation. Dwikarna is also posing as an Al Haramain employee (see June 2000). [CONBOY, 2003, PP. 223-224] 
Reda Seyam, a.k.a. Abu Daud, an Egyptian. He had fought with al-Qaeda in Bosnia in the early 1990s and also has links to key al-Qaeda figures, including having met directly with bin Laden. He had worked for the Twaik Group, said to be a front for the Saudi intelligence agency, and is in Indonesia working for Rawasin Media Productions, which is also said to be a Saudi intelligence front. [CONBOY, 2003, PP. 223-224; CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/31/2004] 

On December 1, 2001, al-Faruq, Hussein, and Seyam meet with fifty Laskar Jundullah recruits near the town of Poso, in central Sulawesi. They present the recruits with weapons, including high quality M-16s and Uzis (which are very unavailable in Indonesia except from military or overseas sources). Near midnight, the group goes to Sepe, a small Christian village near Poso. They attack the village, burning about two hundred houses and killing an unknown number of people. The attack is filmed using night vision equipment. [CONBOY, 2003, PP. 223-224] There are allegations that some Indonesian military units take part in the attack. Since 90% of Indonesia’s population is Muslim, most Indonesian soldiers are Muslim as well. Human Rights Watch will later comment, “there is evidence that [Indonesian] soldiers did engage the attackers in a fight [at Sepe], as three soldiers from Infantry Battalion 711 from Palu were reported in critical condition.” Around this time, Laskar Jundullah forces attack about seven other Christian villages in the region. There are reports the Indonesian military sometimes joins these attacks and at other times fails to help the attacked villages. These attacks are little noticed outside of Indonesia, and the involvement of al-Qaeda-linked figures will not be publicly revealed until later. But there is pressure within Indonesia for the government to do something. More military units are bought in several days after the Sepe attack, and they largely quell the violence. [HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, 12/2002] Around December 4, six suspicious foreign men, believed to be Islamist militants, are detained in the area and then let go. [BBC, 12/4/2001] Later that month, Laskar Jundullah is implicated in a bombing of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in the city of Ujung Pandang, in southern Sulawesi. The group plans further attacks, but it is divided by internal squabbles. Dwikarna, who was not present in the Sepe attack, is upset at the others for recklessly filming themselves in the attack and then planning to use the footage for propaganda purposes. Seyam will be arrested in Indonesia late 2002 and footage of the Sepe attack apparently will be found with him. Dwikarna will be arrested in 2002 as well. His group, and the violence in Sulawesi, will generally come to an end that same year. [HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, 12/2002; CONBOY, 2003, PP. 223-224] Entity Tags: Laskar Jundullah, Al Haramain Islamic Foundation, Twaik Group, Agus Dwikarna, Reda Seyam, Omar al-Faruq, Syeh Hussein, Al-Qaeda, Rawasin Media Productions Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia, Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia, Indonesian Militant Collusion, Alleged Al-Qaeda Linked Attacks

December 2001: Possible ‘20th Hijacker’ Captured, Given to US Saudi national Mohamed al-Khatani is captured at the Pakistani-Afghan border and transferred to US authorities. [WASHINGTON FILE, 6/23/2004] He tells his captors that he was in Afghanistan to pursue his love of falconry, an explanation no one takes seriously. [TIME, 6/12/2005] His identity and nationality are at this time unknown. However, investigators will later come to believe he was an intended twentieth hijacker for the 9/11 plot (see July 2002). Entity Tags: Mohamed al-Khatani Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives, War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Key Captures and Deaths, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11, Afghanistan

December 2001: Al-Qaeda Computer Provides Intimate Look at Terror Operations Alan Cullison, a Wall Street Journal reporter in Afghanistan, obtains two computers looted from an al-Qaeda house in Kabul. One computer apparently belonged to al-Qaeda military commander Mohammed Atef but contained few files. The other had been used mostly by al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman Al-Zawahiri and had about 1,000 files dating back to 1997. The reporter later gives the computers to the CIA which confirms the authenticity of the files. The computer files reveal how al-Qaeda operates on a day-to-day basis. The files include correspondence, budgets, attack plans, and training manuals. Messages between various al-Qaeda’s offices reveal a fractious, contentious community of terror plotters. There are disputes about theology, strategy, and even expense reports. A montage of 9/11 television reports set to rousing victory reports shows that the computer was used after the attacks. While some of the new information is surprising, for the most part it confirms the claims made about al-Qaeda by Western governments. A letter drafted on the computer in May 2001 confirms that al-Qaeda was behind the assassination of Ahmed Shah Massoud (see September 9, 2001). Other messages shows that the organization orchestrated the 1998 embassy bombings (see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998). However, there is no material relating specifically to the plotting of the 9/11 attacks. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/31/2001; ATLANTIC MONTHLY, 9/2004] Entity Tags: Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda Category Tags: Afghanistan, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

December, 2001: US Congress Fails to Fund Plan to Strengthen Pakistani Government Control over Tribal Region Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf meets with Wendy Chamberlin, the US ambassador to Pakistan, and asks for US support to help him extend his control over the tribal areas near the Afghanistan border. At the time, al-Qaeda and Taliban forces are being defeated in Afghanistan and fleeing to the tribal region. Musharraf suggests the local people can be bought off with basic government services such as schools, clinics, and roads, and that large cash rewards could be offered to locals who help track down fugitive militants. Musharraf claims he would need $40 million to implement such a plan. Chamberlin agrees, but Congress soon refuses to fund the money, and only gives $14 million for local law enforcement. Charlie Flickner, a Republican clerk on the House Appropriations Committee, successfully lobbies his Republican colleagues not to support it. One anonymous Democrat on the committee will later say: “We blew it. There was a window of opportunity, but we lost it by not funding them adequately.” The tribal areas soon become a strong base for al-Qaeda and the Taliban. [NEW YORKER, 7/28/2003] Entity Tags: Wendy Chamberlin, Al-Qaeda, Charlie Flickner, Taliban, Pervez Musharraf Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics, Haven in Pakistan Tribal Region

December 2001-June 2002: Spanish Begin Monitoring Many Future Madrid Bombers In early September 2001, an Egyptian militant named Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed moves from Germany to Spain. By December, Spanish officials open an investigation about him after noticing he is in frequent contact with other Islamist militants. One month later, Spanish investigators notify German officials that they have Ahmed under surveillance and request information about his background. Ahmed apparently is aware he is under surveillance and tries to keep a low profile. [WASHINGTON POST, 11/14/2004] But through him, investigators led by judge Baltasar Garzon begin monitoring other militants he meets. In May 2002, they start tapping the phones of Fouad el Morabit and Basel Ghalyoun. In June, they realize Ahmed is in contact with Serhane Abdelmajid Fakhet, who has already been under surveillance since 2000 (see October 19, 2001). They also learn at some point that he is in contact with the brothers Moutaz and Mouhannad Almallah. Investigators lose track of el Morabit a near the end of 2002 when he changes phones. They also lose track of Ghalyoun aroun the same time because his conversations apparently are not interesting enough. Ahmed also moves to France. [EL MUNDO (MADRID), 7/31/2005] However, in early 2003, investigators begin monitoring an apartment where all the suspects mentioned live or meet (see January 4, 2003). All of them will later be accused of being key players in the 2004 Madrid train bombings (see 7:37-7:42 a.m., March 11, 2004). Entity Tags: Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, Serhane Abdelmajid Fakhet, Mouhannad Almallah, Basel Ghalyoun, Baltasar Garzon, Fouad el Morabit, Moutaz Almallah Category Tags: Al-Qaeda in Spain, 2004 Madrid Train Bombings, Remote Surveillance

December 2001-Mid-2002: Al-Zarqawi Moves Operations to Northern Iraq but Has No Ties to Hussein’s Government Jordanian Islamist militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi flees Afghanistan (see Early 2000-December 2001) and heads to Iran where he continues to run his militant group, al-Tawhid. He uses telephones and a network of couriers to maintain contact with operatives in Europe. By April 2002, he still is based in Iran and has little to no ties to Iraq. But some time in mid-2002, he unites with Ansar al-Islam, an Islamist group based in a part of northern Iraq controlled by Kurdish rebels and opposed to Saddam Hussein (see Mid-2002). He reportedly moves his base of operations there and establishes an explosive training center camp there as well. [INDEPENDENT, 2/6/2003; NEWSWEEK, 6/25/2003] In an effort to justify military action against Iraq, the Bush administration will later claim that Saddam Hussein is aware of al-Zarqawi’s presence in Baghdad and therefore is guilty of knowingly harboring a terrorist (see September 26, 2002). The administration will also allege—falsely—that al-Zarqawi is a senior al-Qaeda agent and that his visit is evidence that Saddam’s regime has ties to Osama bin Laden. [GUARDIAN, 10/9/2002; INDEPENDENT, 2/6/2003; NEWSWEEK, 6/25/2003 SOURCES: SHADI ABDALLAH] But the administration never offers any conclusive evidence to support this allegation. The claim is disputed by intelligence analysts in both Washington and London. [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 2/4/2003] Entity Tags: Saddam Hussein, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

December 2001 and After: Drug Kingpin Let Go by US; Then Rebuilds Drug Network for Taliban and Al-Qaeda Afghan drug kingpin Haji Juma Khan (see July 2000) is arrested and taken into US custody. Although his role in the illegal drug trade is known to US officials, he is let go. A European counterterrorism expert says, “At the time, the Americans were only interested in catching bin Laden and Mullah Omar.” Another major kingpin is arrested and released around this time as well (see Late 2001). After being released, Khan reestablishes a smuggling network that greatly benefits the Taliban and al-Qaeda. For instance, in May 2004, a tip off will reveal that Khan is employing a fleet of cargo ships to move Afghan heroin out of Pakistan to the Middle East. Some return trips bring back plastic explosives, antitank mines, and other weapons to be used against US troops in Afghanistan. In 2004, Assistant Secretary of State Bobby Charles says of Khan, “He’s obviously very tightly tied to the Taliban.… There are central linkages among Khan, Mullah Omar, and bin Laden.” [TIME, 8/2/2004] In 2006, a report by the research arm of Congress will label Khan as one of three prominent drug kingpins with ties to the Taliban and al-Qaeda, but he apparently has not yet been put on the official US list of wanted drug figures. [CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE, 1/25/2006] Entity Tags: Haji Juma Khan, Robert Charles, Taliban, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Drugs, Afghanistan

Early December 2001: Bush Officials Again Look for Saudi Cooperation Bush administration officials go to Saudi Arabia in a second attempt to obtain Saudi government cooperation in the 9/11 investigation. The Saudis have balked at freezing assets of organizations linked to bin Laden. Shortly thereafter, the Boston Herald runs a series of articles on the Saudis, citing an expert who says, “If there weren’t all these other arrangements—arms deals and oil deals and consultancies—I don’t think the US would stand for this lack of cooperation.” Another expert states that “it’s good old fashioned ‘I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine.’ You have former US officials, former presidents, aides to the current president, a long line of people who are tight with the Saudis.… We are willing to basically ignore inconvenient truths that might otherwise cause our blood to boil.” These deals are worth an incredible amount of money; one Washington Post reporter claims that prior to 1993, US companies spent $200 billion on Saudi Arabia’s defenses alone. [PBS, 2/16/1993; BOSTON HERALD, 12/10/2001; BOSTON HERALD, 12/11/2001] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Bush administration, Saudi Arabia Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Saudi Arabia, Other 9/11 Investigations, Terrorism Financing, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

Early December 2001: FBI Wiretaps Reveal that Turkish Groups Attempted to Bribe Congress Persons in Late 1990s Chicago FBI special agent Joel Robertz contacts FBI contract linguist Sibel Edmonds and asks her to review more than 40 wiretaps, some of which are several years old. The wiretaps include what Sibel believes are references to large scale drug shipments and other crimes. The targets of these recordings are individuals at Chicago’s Turkish Consulate and the American-Turkish Consulate, as well as members of the American-Turkish Council and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations. She also finds evidence of attempts to bribe members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, during the late 1990s (see Late 1990s-Early 2001). [ANTI-WAR (.COM), 8/15/2005; VANITY FAIR, 9/2005] Entity Tags: Sibel Edmonds, Assembly of Turkish American Associations, American-Turkish Council, Turkish Consulate of Chicago, Joel Robertz, American-Turkish Consulate Category Tags: Sibel Edmonds

Early December 2001: CIA Again Warns Bush ‘Back Door Is Open’ for Bin Laden to Escape Tora Bora

Radios, weapons, and simple supplies in a Tora Bora cave allegedly occupied by al-Qaeda forces. [Source: Confidential source via Robin Moore] According to author Ron Suskind, the CIA continues to press President Bush to send US troops to surround the caves in Tora Bora where bin Laden is believed to be hiding. It is about a 15 square-mile area. The CIA issued similar warnings a few weeks earlier (see Late November 2001). Suskind relates: “A fierce debate was raging inside the upper reaches of the US government. The White House had received a guarantee from [Pakistani President Pervez] Musharraf in November that the Pakistani army would cover the southern pass from the caves (see November 2001). Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld felt the Pakistani leader’s assurance was sound. Classified CIA reports passed to Bush in his morning briefings of early December, however, warned that ‘the back door is open’ and that a bare few Pakistani army units were visible gathering near the Pakistani border.… Musharraf, when pressed by the White House, said troop movements were slow, but not to worry-they were on their way.” [SUSKIND, 2006, PP. 74] But again, no US troops are sent, and Pakistani troops fail to arrive in time. Bin Laden eventually will escape into Pakistan (see Mid-December 2001). Entity Tags: Pervez Musharraf, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan

Early December 2001: Al-Qaeda ‘Puppet Master’ Abu Qatada Disappears in Britain

Abu Qatada. [Source: Public domain] Al-Qaeda religious leader Abu Qatada disappears, despite being under surveillance in Britain. He has been “described by some justice officials as the spiritual leader and possible puppet master of al-Qaeda’s European networks.” [TIME, 7/7/2002] He supposedly escapes from his house, which the police are monitoring, in a minivan with his heavily pregnant wife and four children. [LONDON TIMES, 10/25/2002; O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 108] Qatada had already been sentenced to death in abstentia in Jordan, and is wanted at the time by the US, Spain, France, and Algeria as well. [GUARDIAN, 2/14/2002] In October 2001, the media had strongly suggested that Qatada would soon be arrested for his known roles in al-Qaeda plots, but no such arrest occurred. [LONDON TIMES, 10/21/2001] In November, while Qatada was still living openly in Britain, a Spanish judge expressed disbelief that Qatada hadn’t been arrested already, as he has previously been connected to a Spanish al-Qaeda cell that may have met with Mohamed Atta in July 2001. [OBSERVER, 11/25/2001] Time magazine will later claim that just before new anti-terrorism laws go into effect in Britain, Abu Qatada and his family are secretly moved to a safe house by the British government, where he is lodged, fed, and clothed by the government. “The deal is that Abu Qatada is deprived of contact with extremists in London and Europe but can’t be arrested or expelled because no one officially knows where he is,” says a source, whose claims were corroborated by French authorities. The British reportedly do this to avoid a “hot potato” trial. [TIME, 7/7/2002] A British official rejects these assertions: “We wouldn’t give an awful lot of credence [to the story].” [GUARDIAN, 7/8/2002] Some French officials tell the press that Qatada was allowed to disappear because he is actually a British intelligence agent. [OBSERVER, 2/24/2002] It appears that Qatada held secret meetings with British intelligence in 1996 and 1997, and the British were under the impression that he was informing on al-Qaeda (though there is disagreement if he was misleading them or not) (see June 1996-February 1997). Qatada will be arrested in London on October 23, 2002 (see October 23, 2002). Entity Tags: Algeria, Al-Qaeda, Abu Qatada, United Kingdom, Mohamed Atta, Central Intelligence Agency, Jordan, France, Spain Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

Early December 2001: More Journalists than US Troops at Tora Bora

Groups of reporters watch US bombing in the Tora Bora region. [Source: CNN] Only about three dozen US soldiers take part in the Tora Bora ground offensive (see December 5-17, 2001). Author Peter Bergen will later comment, “If Fox and CNN could arrange for their crews to cover Tora Bora it is puzzling that the US military could not put more boots on the ground to find the man who was the intellectual author of the 9/11 attacks. Sadly, there were probably more American journalists at the battle of Tora Bora than there were US troops.” [PETERBERGEN (.COM), 10/28/2004] Entity Tags: Peter Bergen Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan

December 2, 2001: FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Invited by Co-Worker to Become Member of Group that Is Under Federal Investigation

Matthew Edmonds sitting in the kitchen where he and his wife Sibel claim their encounter with the Dickersons took place. [Source: Canal+] FBI translator Sibel Edmonds receives a call from co-worker Melek Can Dickerson, whom she barely knows. Dickerson says she and her husband Major Douglas Dickerson are in the area and would like to stop by for a visit. [VANITY FAIR, 9/2005] Douglas is a US Air Force major who procures weapons from the US for various Central Asian and Middle Eastern governments. [ANTI-WAR (.COM), 8/15/2005] “I’m in the area with my husband and I’d love you to meet him. Is it OK if we come by?” Edmonds recalls Dickerson saying. When the couple arrives, Douglas Dickerson encourages Edmonds and her husband Matthew Edmonds to join the American-Turkish Council (ATC) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA). Joining the organizations would get them tied in with a network of high-level people, including officials at the Turkish Embassy. When Sibel’s husband Michael suggests that there are probably strict eligibility requirements for becoming a member of this organization, Douglas says to Sibel, “All you have to do is tell them who you work for and what you do and you will get in very quickly.” Sibel attempts to steer the conversation toward another topic. As part of her job at the FBI, some of the wiretapped conversations she translates involve the very same people the Dickersons are describing as “high-level friends.” She is concerned that the ultimate goal of the Dickersons’ offer is to get Sibel involved in espionage and to help shield those groups from FBI surveillance. [WASHINGTON POST, 6/19/2002; CBS NEWS, 10/25/2002; NEW YORK OBSERVER, 1/22/2004; VANITY FAIR, 9/2005] Major Dickerson brings up the name of a wealthy Turkish man living in nearby McLean, Virginia, who is involved with the ATC and has access to US military information. Sibel Edmonds is surprised because she recognizes his name from an investigation she is working on and knows that he is the target of an FBI counterintelligence operation. The Dickersons intimate that they are so close to this man that they shop for him and his wife. [SPERRY, 2005, PP. 163] “They wanted to sell me for the information I could provide,” she later explains in an interview. They promised her she would receive enough to “live a very comfortable life wherever we wanted. We would never have to work again.” [ANTI-WAR (.COM), 7/1/2004] Entity Tags: Matthew Edmonds, Douglas Dickerson, Assembly of Turkish American Associations, Melek Can Dickerson, Sibel Edmonds, American-Turkish Council Category Tags: Sibel Edmonds

December 2, 2001: Enron Files for Bankruptcy

Enron’s logo. [Source: Enron] Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy—the biggest bankruptcy in history up to that date. [BBC, 1/10/2002] However, in 2002 Enron will reorganize as a pipeline company and will continue working on its controversial Dabhol power plant. [HOUSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/15/2002] Entity Tags: Enron Timeline Tags: Bush's Environmental Record Category Tags: Pipeline Politics

December 3-14, 2001: Bush Administration Officials Tip Off Reporters About Raids on Suspect Charities On December 3, 2001, New York Times reporter Judith Miller telephones officials with the Holy Land Foundation charity in Texas and asks them to comment about what she says is a government raid on the charity planned for the next day. Then in a December 4, 2001, New York Times article, Miller writes that President Bush is about to announce that the US is freezing the assets of Holy Land and two other financial groups, all for supporting Hamas. US officials will later argue that Miller’s phone call and article “increased the likelihood that the foundation destroyed or hid records before a hastily organized raid by agents that day.” Later in the month, a similar incident occurs. On December 13, New York Times reporter Philip Shenon telephones officials at the Global Relief Foundation in Illinois and asks them to comment about an imminent government crackdown on that charity. The FBI learns that some Global Relief employees may be destroying documents. US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald had been investigating the charities. He had been wiretapping Global Relief and another charity in hopes of learning evidence of criminal activity, but after the leak he changes plans and carries out a hastily arranged raid on the charity the next day (see December 14, 2001). Fitzgerald later seeks records from the New York Times to find out who in the Bush administration leaked information about the upcoming raids to Miller and Shenon. However, in 2005 Fitzgerald will lose the case. It is still not known who leaked the information to the New York Times nor what their motives were. Ironically, Fitzgerald will succeed in forcing Miller to reveal information about her sources in another extremely similar legal case in 2005 involving the leaking of the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame. [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/4/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 12/15/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 9/10/2004; WASHINGTON POST, 2/25/2005] The 9/11 Commission will later conclude that in addition to the above cases, “press leaks plagued almost every [raid on Muslim charities] that took place in the United States” after 9/11. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/10/2004] Entity Tags: Philip Shenon, Patrick Fitzgerald, Judith Miller, Hamas, Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, Federal Bureau of Investigation, George W. Bush, Global Relief Foundation, Bush administration Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Robert Wright and Vulgar Betrayal, Terrorism Financing, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

December 4, 2001: Holy Land Foundation Shut Down The Holy Land Foundation is shut down and its assets are seized. Holy Land claimed to be the largest Muslim charity in the US. It claimed to raise millions for Palestinian refugees and denied any support for terrorism. In justifying the move, the US government presents evidence of ties between the Holy Land and Hamas. Much of this evidence dates back to 1993; the Associated Press titles a story on the closure, “Money Freeze A Long Time Coming.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/5/2001] Holy Land offices in San Diego, California; Paterson, New Jersey; and Bridgeview, Illinois, are also raided. [CNN, 12/4/2001] The indictment says Holy Land has been “deeply involved with a network of Muslim Brotherhood organizations dedicated to furthering the Islamic fundamentalist agenda espoused by Hamas.” [WASHINGTON POST, 9/11/2004] Holy Land is represented by the powerful law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. Three partners at Akin, Gump are very close to President Bush: George Salem chaired Bush’s 2000 campaign outreach to Arab-Americans; Barnett “Sandy” Kress was appointed by Bush as an “unpaid consultant” on education reform and has an office in the White House; and James Langdon is one of Bush’s closest Texas friends. [BOSTON HERALD, 12/11/2001; WASHINGTON POST, 12/17/2001] The leaders of Holy Land will be charged with a variety of crimes in 2002 and 2004 (see December 18, 2002-April 2005). Entity Tags: Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, US Department of the Treasury, Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development Category Tags: Robert Wright and Vulgar Betrayal, Terrorism Financing, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

December 4, 2001: FBI Translator Informs Supervisor that Co-Worker Is Shielding Targets of Investigation from Surveillance FBI contract linguist Sibel Edmonds informs supervisor Mike Feghali—first orally and later in writing—about her recent encounter with the Dickersons on September 2 (see December 2, 2001) and describes their self-acknowledged links to the American-Turkish Council (ATC), the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), and certain high-level Turkish Embassy officials, all of which are targets of FBI wiretaps. Edmonds also alleges, either on this day or some time afterwards, that Dickerson has also leaked information to people under investigation and that she has even tried to stop Edmonds and another translator from listening to their wiretapped conversations. [PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI. SIBEL EDMONDS V. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, ET ALL., 8/4/2005, PP. 2 ; GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVE, 8/8/2005; VANITY FAIR, 9/2005] Feghali tells her not to worry and that he will immediately file a report with the security department. [ANTI-WAR (.COM), 7/1/2004; VANITY FAIR, 9/2005] (The security department later tells Edmonds they received no such report [ANTI-WAR (.COM), 7/1/2004; BOSTON GLOBE, 7/5/2004] .) He then changes the subject. “Now, Sibel, I understand you’ve been taking on a lot of coursework at your university. Why not take advantage of our workplace opportunities?” he asks. When she asks what he means, he explains that she could come to the office on Saturday and Sunday to do her school work on the clock, adding another $700 or so to her weekly earnings. On another occasion, one of her supervisors (possibly Feghali) offers to make her next trip to Turkey “TDY” (paid travel). All she would have to do is “stop off in some liaison office in Ankara a couple times, make my little appearance, and suddenly all my flights, hotels and expenses would be paid for by the FBI,” she recalls in a 2004 interview. “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.” [ANTI-WAR (.COM), 7/1/2004] Entity Tags: Douglas Dickerson, Melek Can Dickerson, Mike Feghali, Sibel Edmonds Category Tags: Sibel Edmonds

December 5-17, 2001: Ground Battle for Tora Bora Rages but Is Later Called ‘Grand Charade’

US Special Forces unloading equipment in the Tora Bora region. [Source: Banded Artists Productions] (click image to enlarge) Around December 5, 2001, about three-dozen US special forces position themselves at strategic spots in the Tora Bora region to observe the fighting. Using hand-held laser target designators, they “paint” targets to bomb. Immediately the US bombing becomes more accurate. With this improved system in place, the ground battle for Tora Bora begins in earnest. However, as the Christian Science Monitor later notes, “The battle was joined, but anything approaching a ‘siege’ of Tora Bora never materialized.” No other US troops take part, and US-allied afghans fight unenthusiastically and sometimes even fight for the other side (see Mid-November 2001-Mid-December 2001). [CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 3/4/2002] The Tora Bora battle will end with a victory for the US-allied forces by December 17, 2001 (see December 17, 2001). However, the Daily Telegraph will later report, “In retrospect, and with the benefit of dozens of accounts from the participants, the battle for Tora Bora looks more like a grand charade.” Eyewitnesses express shock that the US pinned in Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, thought to contain many high leaders, on three sides only, leaving the route to Pakistan open. An intelligence chief in Afghanistan’s new government says, “The border with Pakistan was the key, but no one paid any attention to it. In addition, there were plenty of landing areas for helicopters had the Americans acted decisively. Al-Qaeda escaped right out from under their feet.” [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 2/23/2002] Entity Tags: Taliban, Al-Qaeda, US Department of Defense, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan

December 6, 2001: Ashcroft Prohibits FBI from Checking Gun Purchase Records of 9/11 Suspects It is reported that in the wake of 9/11, Attorney General John Ashcroft has prevented the FBI from investigating gun-purchase records to discover if any of the hundreds arrested or suspected since 9/11 had bought any guns. The White House supports him, saying they have no intention of changing the law to clarify the FBI’s ability to search gun-purchase records. [CNN, 12/6/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 12/6/2001] A spokesman for The International Association of Chiefs of Police, the largest group of law enforcement executives in the US, says, “This is absurd and unconscionable. The decision has no rational basis in public safety. It sounds to me like it was made for narrow political reasons based on a right-to-bear-arms mentality.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/6/2001] There were reports that the 9/11 hijackers on at least Flight 11 and Flight 93 used guns in the hijacking (see (8:20 a.m.) September 11, 2001 and 9:27 a.m. September 11, 2001). Entity Tags: John Ashcroft, Federal Bureau of Investigation, International Association of Chiefs of Police Timeline Tags: Civil Liberties Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics, Internal US Security After 9/11

December 7, 2001: Indian Police Shoot Gangster Dead Indian gangster Asif Raza Khan, an associate of Saeed Sheikh and Aftab Ansari, is shot dead by Indian police. Police claim he was trying to escape. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 1/23/2002] A month or two before his death, Indian investigators recorded a confession of his involvement in a plot with Ansari and Saeed to send kidnapping profits to hijacker Mohamed Atta. This information becomes public just before Saeed is suspected in the kidnapping and murder of reporter Daniel Pearl. [INDEPENDENT, 1/24/2002; INDIA TODAY, 2/25/2002] Many in Ansari’s Indian criminal network are arrested in October and November 2001, and they confirm Khan’s money connection to Atta. [INDIA TODAY, 2/14/2002] Entity Tags: Asif Raza Khan, Daniel Pearl, Saeed Sheikh, Aftab Ansari, Mohamed Atta Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Saeed Sheikh

December 8, 2001: US Oil Companies to Invest $200 Billion in Kazakhstan During a visit to Kazakhstan in Central Asia, Secretary of State Powell states that US oil companies are likely to invest $200 billion in Kazakhstan alone in the next five to ten years. [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/15/2001] Entity Tags: Colin Powell Category Tags: Pipeline Politics, US Dominance

December 8-14, 2001: British Special Forces ‘20 Minutes Behind’ Bin Laden, But Are Called Off British special forces soldiers from the Special Air Service (SAS) and the Special Boat Service (SBS) pursue Osama bin Laden as he flees the battle of Tora Bora (see November 16, 2001 and December 5-17, 2001). According to author Michael Smith, at one point they are “twenty minutes” behind bin Laden, but they are “pulled off to allow US troops to go in for the kill.” However, it takes hours for the Americans to arrive, by which time bin Laden has escaped. [LONDON TIMES, 2/12/2007] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Special Boat Service, Special Air Service Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden, Escape From Afghanistan

December 9, 2001: Cheney Claims Atta-Iraqi Agent Meeting in Prague Is ‘Pretty Well Confirmed’ Vice President Cheney says in an interview on Meet the Press, “Well, what we now have that’s developed [recently]… was that report that’s been pretty well confirmed, that [Mohamed Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack. Now, what the purpose of that was, what transpired between them, we simply don’t know at this point. But that’s clearly an avenue that we want to pursue.” [WASHINGTON POST, 12/9/2001] The CIA already believes the reports of Atta visiting Prague are incorrect (see December 2001). Entity Tags: Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

December 9, 2001: CIA’s Bin Laden Unit Boss Becomes New Chief of CIA’s Kabul Station during Tora Bora Battle Richard Blee, a manager at the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center who was responsible for Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, from mid-1999 through 9/11, is made chief of the CIA’s new station in Kabul. Blee replaces Gary Berntsen, who had effectively led the CIA’s war effort against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Berntsen is unhappy with being replaced, saying: “It felt as though someone had just thrown a bucket of cold water in my face. I couldn’t believe they were doing this in the middle of the most important battle of the war.” The battle of Tora Bora begins around this time and, although the US thinks it has Osama bin Laden cornered there, he somehow manages to escape (see November 16, 2001, November 26, 2001 and Early December 2001). Berntsen’s staff are also unhappy with the decision, and slap their hands over their heads and groan when they find out. They tell Berntsen, “No disrespect to Rich, but when you leave, we leave.” Berntsen will attribute Blee’s selection to his closeness to CIA Director George Tenet and Deputy Director of Operations James Pavitt, and will also hint that Blee strongly desired the job. [BERNTSEN AND PEZZULLO, 2005, PP. 296-7, 306] Berntsen pushed hard for US troops to be deployed to catch bin Laden (see Late October-Early December 2001), but it is not known whether Blee is in favor of using US troops or not. Blee will also instigate the transfer of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi from the FBI to Egypt shortly after arriving; this is the first such transfer of a major figure after 9/11 (see Shortly After December 19, 2001). Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Rich B., Gary Berntsen Category Tags: Escape From Afghanistan, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

December 10, 2001: Pakistani Troops Start to Guard Parts of Tora Bora Border but Then Withdraw Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had promised to seal off the Pakistani side of the border near the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan in return for considerable US economic aid (see November 2001). But Musharraf spent two weeks negotiating with tribal chieftains on the border before starting the deployment. Around December 10, two brigades begin to take up positions along the border. [CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 3/4/2002; NEWSWEEK, 8/11/2002] However, Pakistan does not seal several important parts of the border. The regions of North and South Waziristan, Dir, Chitral, and Balochistan have no Pakistani army presence whatsoever. Bin Laden and many other al-Qaeda leaders likely escape into Waziristan, where they begin to rebuild al-Qaeda (see December 2001-Spring 2002). The CIA intercepts communications between Pakistani officers warning not to harass any foreign fighters entering Waziristan. Several US officers will later tell Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid that they suspect Pakistan deliberately failed to guard these regions in order to allow the fighters to escape. [RASHID, 2008, PP. 148] On December 11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says of this border region, “It’s a long border. It’s a very complicated area to try to seal, and there’s just simply no way you can put a perfect cork in the bottle.” [CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 3/4/2002] But armed gunmen storm the Indian Parliament on December 13, and a group based in Pakistan and allied with al-Qaeda is blamed (see December 13, 2001). Tensions suddenly rise between India and Pakistan, and Musharraf halts troop deployments to the Afghan border. The border near Tora Bora still is not adequately guarded by Pakistan when the battle of Tora Bora ends on December 17. Less than 100 stragglers entering Pakistan around December 19 are captured by Pakistani forces, but a number of these subsequently escape. [NEWSWEEK, 8/11/2002] Entity Tags: United States, Pervez Musharraf, Pakistani Army, Central Intelligence Agency, Pakistan Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Haven in Pakistan Tribal Region, Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan

December 11, 2001: Moussaoui Indicted, Could Face Death Penalty Zacarias Moussaoui is criminally indicted for his role in the 9/11 attacks. If he is found guilty, he could be sentenced to death. [MSNBC, 12/11/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/12/2001] Moussaoui has admitted to being a member of al-Qaeda, but while he has been involved in militant activity, many have expressed doubts that he was involved in the 9/11 plot. Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Zacarias Moussaoui Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui

December 12, 2001: Ridge Says Terrorist Attacks ‘Could Happen Within the Next Few Weeks’ Tom Ridge, Director of Homeland Security, warns that terrorist strikes “could happen within the next few weeks.” Ridge states that “the quantity and level of threats… have reached a threshold where we should once again place the public on general alert.” He describes the terrorists as “shadow soldiers… a shadow enemy.” [MOTHERJONES, 12/3/2001] Richard Reid does attempt to blow up an airplane with a shoe-bomb later in the month (see December 22, 2001). Entity Tags: Tom Ridge, US Department of Homeland Security Category Tags: Terror Alerts, Internal US Security After 9/11

December 12, 2001: Al-Marri Detained as Material Witness to 9/11 Attacks Qatari citizen Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a computer science graduate student at Illinois’s Bradley University, is arrested as a material witness to the 9/11 attacks. [PEORIA JOURNAL STAR, 12/19/2001; CNN, 12/13/2005] Al-Marri was interviewed twice by the FBI, once on October 2 and again on December 11. Both times, according to the FBI, he lied in response to their questions. Al-Marri claimed to have entered the US on September 10, 2001, his first visit to the country since 1991, when he earned his undergraduate degree at Bradley. [CBS NEWS, 6/23/2003; CNN, 12/13/2005] Connections to 9/11 Terrorists Alleged - The FBI says al-Marri has been in the US since 2000. Al-Marri denied calling the United Arab Emirates phone number of Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of suspected “20th hijacker” Zacarias Moussaoui. Prosecutors say al-Hawsawi provided financial backing to Moussaoui and the 9/11 hijackers, and allegedly helped some of the hijackers travel from Pakistan to the United Arab Emirates and then to the US in preparation for the attacks. [CBS NEWS, 6/23/2003; PROGRESSIVE, 3/2007] (Al-Hawsawi will be captured in Pakistan in March 2003, and detained in an undisclosed location somewhere outside the US. See Early-Late June, 2001) [CNN, 12/13/2005] The government also alleges that the phone number was a contact number for Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, another unindicted co-conspirator in the Moussaoui indictment. The government says that two calling cards were used to call the number, which was also listed as a contact number on a package it believes was sent by 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta to the UAE on September 8, 2001. The cards were allegedly used to place phone calls from al-Marri’s residence, from his cellphone, and from the Marriott hotel room he was staying in on September 11. However, none of the three calls to the UAE number were made from phones registered to Al-Marri, though, nor is there proof he placed them. Some of the calls made from the card to the UAE were placed to relatives of al-Marri. [BRADLEY SCOUT, 3/29/2002] In March 2002, Justice Department official Alice Fisher will say that an unnamed al-Qaeda detainee “in a position to know… positively identified al-Marri as an al-Qaeda sleeper operative who was tasked to help new al-Qaeda operatives get settled in the United States for follow-on attacks after 9/11.” That unidentified tipster brought al-Marri to the attention of federal law enforcement shortly after the attacks. FBI officials have said that al-Marri is not considered to have played any part in the attacks, but is still considered a danger to the US. [KNIGHT RIDDER, 6/23/2003] In 2003, the FBI adds that it found “an almanac with bookmarks in pages that provided information about major US dams, reservoirs, waterways and railroads.” [KNIGHT RIDDER, 6/24/2003] He is believed to be a relative of Saudi national and future Guantanamo detainee Mohamed al-Khatani, who is said to be an intended 9/11 hijacker (see July 2002). [NEW YORK TIMES, 6/21/2004] Bank and Credit Card Fraud - According to the FBI, al-Marri obtained a bank account under a false name, rented a motel room under a false name to create a mailing address, and formed a fake company, AAA Carpet, using the motel’s address. The FBI also says al-Marri used a fake Social Security number to open three other bank accounts. Al-Marri was carrying well over 15 fake credit card numbers on him when he was interviewed yesterday, says the US Attorney’s office in Illinois. [CBS NEWS, 6/23/2003; PROGRESSIVE, 3/2007] There are also allegedly over 1,000 more in his personal computer files. He has missed so many classes, the FBI says, that he is on the verge of flunking out. The FBI says al-Marri’s computer also contains Arabic lectures by Osama bin Laden, photographs of the 9/11 attacks, and a cartoon of planes crashing into the World Trade Center. The computer has a folder labeled “jihad arena,” and another labeled “chem,” which, government officials say, contains industrial chemical distributor websites used by al-Marri to obtain information about hydrogen cyanide, a poisonous gas used in chemical weapons. [CNN, 12/13/2005] Al-Marri consents to the search and the seizure of his computer and other possessions. [BRADLEY SCOUT, 3/29/2002] Al-Marri will be charged with financial crimes in 2002 (see February 8, 2002), charges that later will be dropped (see June 23, 2003). [CBS NEWS, 6/23/2003] Entity Tags: US Department of Justice, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, Zacarias Moussaoui, Mohamed al-Khatani, Alice Fisher, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mohamed Atta, Al-Qaeda, Bradley University, Osama bin Laden, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Internal US Security After 9/11, Key Captures and Deaths, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

December 12, 2001: Dubious Cease-Fire Gives Al-Qaeda Chance to Escape Tora Bora

Haji Zaman Ghamsharik speaking to reporters on December 16, 2001. [Source: Chris Hondros / Getty Images] US-allied warlord Haji Zaman Ghamsharik makes radio contact with some al-Qaeda commanders in Tora Bora and offers a cease-fire so bin Laden can negotiate a surrender. The other US-allied warlord, Hazrat Ali, is also in secret talks with al-Qaeda and acquiesces to the deal. The US military is reportedly furious, but the fighting stops for the night. US intelligence later concludes that about 800 al-Qaeda fighters escape Tora Bora that night during the cease fire. [NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, 9/11/2005] Other rival Afghan commanders in the area later accuse Ghamsharik of accepting a large bribe from al-Qaeda so they can use the cease fire to escape. [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/30/2002] There are other accounts that the US-allied warlords helped instead of hindered al-Qaeda (see Mid-November 2001-Mid-December 2001). Entity Tags: Haji Zaman Ghamsharik, Hazrat Ali, Al-Qaeda Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan

December 12-15, 2001: News Reports Raises Israeli Spying Questions

Two stills from Carl Cameron’s Fox News report on potential Israeli spying in the US. [Source: Fox News] (click image to enlarge) Fox News reports, “Investigators within the DEA, INS, and FBI have all told Fox News that to pursue or even suggest Israeli spying… is considered career suicide.” “A highly placed investigator says there are ‘tie-ins’ between the spy ring and 9/11. However, when asked for details, he flatly refuses to describe them, saying, ‘evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.’” The report also reveals that Amdocs, an Israeli company, is recording virtually every phone call in the US and could be passing information on to the Israeli government (similar claims were first raised in 2000 [INSIGHT, 5/29/2000] ). Fox News suggests that the position of this company might impede the 9/11 investigation. [FOX NEWS, 12/12/2001] Entity Tags: Israel, Amdocs, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency Category Tags: Israel

December 12, 2001 and After: Al-Qaeda Suspects Cleared for Extradition to US but Stay in Britain Britain’s highest court rules that three alleged al-Qaeda operatives can be extradited to the US to face charges of involvement in the 1998 African embassy bombings (see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998). The three, Khalid al-Fawwaz, Ibrahim Eidarous, and Adel Abdel Bary, were arrested in London in late 1998 and early 1999 (see September 23, 1998-July 12, 1999). But the Washington Post reports that the three “can bring still more appeals in Europe that could delay any US trial for months or even years.” [WASHINGTON POST, 12/18/2001] In 2002, Eidarous is sent to a mental hospital after psychiatrists say he is mentally ill. In July 2004, he is set free in Britain because he has been diagnosed with leukemia. An insider at his hospital says: “Doctors know that his cancer is well advanced and he probably does not have that long to live. Many here were shocked he has been released though. He is wanted by the FBI for one of the worst terrorist atrocities in history.” [MIRROR, 7/22/2004] There have been no reports of him dying since. In 2005, the Times of London will report that al-Fawwaz may be extradited to the US soon. His lawyers are said to be making “last ditch” appeals to delay his extradition. [LONDON TIMES, 8/31/2005] But as of 2008, neither he nor Abdel Bary have been extradited to the US or charged in Britain. Entity Tags: Adel Abdel Bary, Khalid al-Fawwaz, Ibrahim Eidarous Category Tags: 1998 US Embassy Bombings, 2005 7/7 London Bombings

December 13, 2001: Authenticity of Bin Laden ‘Confession’ Video Is Disputed

The man in the picture on the left is supposed to be bin Laden in October 2001. The picture on the right is undisputendly bin Laden in December [Source: Reuters] Following the release of a home video in which Osama bin Laden apparently confesses to involvement in 9/11 (see Mid-November 2001), some commentators question its authenticity, as a number of strange facts about the video soon emerge. For example, all previous videos had been made with the consent of bin Laden, and usually released to the Arabic television channel Al Jazeera. This video was supposedly recorded without his knowledge, found in a house in Afghanistan, and then passed to the CIA by an unknown person or group. Experts point out that it would be possible to fake such a video. So many people doubt the video’s authenticity that President Bush soon makes a statement, saying it was “preposterous for anybody to think this tape was doctored. Those who contend it’s a farce or a fake are hoping for the best about an evil man.” [GUARDIAN, 12/15/2001] Some commentators will suggest that the person thought to be bin Laden is not actually the al-Qaeda leader. For example, arabist Kevin Barrett will say that the person in the video is “at least 40 or 50 pounds heavier, and his facial features [are] obviously different.” [CAPITAL TIMES (MADISON), 2/14/2006] The man said to be bin Laden also makes some questionable statements in the video:

“I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building…” [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 12/13/2001 ] The jet fuel spilled from the planes burned up about 10 minutes after impact (see 8:57 a.m. September 11, 2001), the towers’ structure did not melt (see September 12, 2001-February 2002), and the towers were not made of iron, but steel. [NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY, 9/2005, PP. 6 ] Bin Laden had studied civil engineering at university and had experience as a construction contractor. [BURKE, 2004, PP. 47; LADEN, 2005, PP. XII-XIII] It is unclear why he would think the towers were made of iron. 
“We did not reveal the operation to [the brothers who conducted the operation] until they are there and just before they boarded the planes.” [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 12/13/2001 ] All the hijackers purchased tickets for the 9/11 flights about two weeks in advance (see August 25-September 5, 2001). The six plot leaders had flight training (see July 6-December 19, 2000, (June 28-December 2000), January-February 2001, and May 5 and 10, 2000), and some of the other 13 are thought to have assisted with target surveillance and casing flights (see May 24-August 14, 2001, August 1, 2001, June 2001 and August 2001). 
“Those who were trained to fly didn’t know the others. One group of people did not know the other group.” [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 12/13/2001 ] The opposite is true: the pilots intermingled with the muscle and the teams for the various planes mixed (see April 23-June 29, 2001, April 12-September 7, 2001, and June 27-August 23, 2001). 

There are reports that bin Laden had from four to ten look-alike doubles at the time. [AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 10/7/2001; LONDON TIMES, 11/19/2001] Entity Tags: Bush administration, Kevin Barrett, Central Intelligence Agency, George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden, Other 9/11 Investigations

December 13, 2001: ISI-Connected Militants Attack Indian Parliament

A terrorist lies dead near the entrance to the Indian Parliament building. [Source: R. V. Moorthy] The Indian Parliament building in New Delhi is attacked by Islamic militants. Fourteen people, including the five attackers, are killed. India blames the Pakistani militant groups Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Toiba for the attacks. Twelve days later, Maulana Masood Azhar, head of Jaish-e-Mohammed, is arrested by Pakistan and his group is banned. He is freed one year later. [AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 12/25/2001; CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 12/16/2002] The Parliament attack leads to talk of war, even nuclear war, between Pakistan and India, until Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf cracks down on militant groups in early January. [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 12/28/2001; WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/3/2002; GUARDIAN, 5/25/2002] As a result of the rising tensions, Pakistani troop deployments near the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan are halted, allowing many al-Qaeda and Taliban to escape into Pakistan (see December 10, 2001). It appears that Saeed Sheikh and Aftab Ansari, working with the ISI, were also involved in the attacks. [PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/3/2002; VANITY FAIR, 8/2002] Entity Tags: Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Maulana Masood Azhar, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Saeed Sheikh, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Aftab Ansari Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Saeed Sheikh, Alleged Al-Qaeda Linked Attacks

December 14, 2001: Two US-Based Charities Are Shut Down for Links to Al-Qaeda and Other Militant Groups US intelligence had been investigating the US-based Global Relief Foundation (GRF) long before 9/11 for links to al-Qaeda and other radical militant groups (see 1997-Late Spring 2001 and March 2000).The plan is to shut down a number of GRF’s overseas offices while continuing to monitor the GRF’s main office in Illinois and see how that office reacts to the overseas shutdowns. But on December 13, 2001, New York Times reporter Philip Shenon calls the Illinois office one day before the planned raids and asks them to comment about an imminent crack down on the charity (see December 3-14, 2001). The FBI quickly decides that the GRF is destroying documents after the tip-off, and they hastily arrange a raid on the Illinois office and the overseas offices the next day. Since the GRF and the Illinois-based Benevolence International Foundation (BIF) are considered to be closely linked, the BIF US office is raided and shut down at the same time, and the houses of GRF executive director Mohammad Chehade and BIF executive director Enaam Arnaout are searched. GRF fund-raiser Rabih Haddad is detained on the basis of overstaying a visa while Arnaout remains free in the US. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 98-100 ] October 18, 2002, the Treasury Department will officially designate GRF a terrorism financier. It will do the same to BIF on November 19, 2002. The UN also soon lists both groups as linked to al-Qaeda. [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/21/2004, PP. 98-100 ] Haddad will be imprisoned for 19 months and then deported for the immigration violation. [METRO TIMES, 3/17/2004] Entity Tags: Global Relief Foundation, Al-Qaeda, Benevolence International Foundation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Rabih Haddad, Enaam Arnaout, Mohammad Chehade, Philip Shenon Category Tags: Terrorism Financing, BIF

(December 14, 2001): Would-Be Shoe Bomber Backs out of Plot

Saajid Badat. [Source: BBC] Saajid Badat, a radical Muslim recruited to perform a shoe bombing on a transatlantic flight (see November 20, 2001), backs out of the plot. Although he already has a ticket to travel from Manchester to Amsterdam and then to the US for December 21, he sends his handler in Pakistan a short coded message saying he cannot go through with the attack. He hides the detonator and the explosive at his home, but, after his partner Richard Reid is arrested (see December 22, 2001), police will uncover Belgian telephone cards he had used to keep in touch with a local contact they had shared in Brussels, Nizar Trabelsi. The police will arrest Badat in November 2003 and in April 2005 he will be sentenced to 13 years in jail. The length of the sentence will reflect the co-operation he provides to police. [BBC NEWS, 4/22/2005; O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 231-232] Entity Tags: Saajid Badat, Nizar Trabelsi Category Tags: 2001 Attempted Shoe Bombing, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

December 14, 2001: Britain Passes New Anti-Terrorism Law Britain passes the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act, a controversial piece of legislation whose provisions include a ban on sending another person abroad to undergo terrorist training and instruction. The measure was introduced in response to information indicating there were networks in Britain that sent radical Muslims to foreign camps, such as those in Afghanistan. One of the leaders of such a network was extremist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, an informer for British security services (see Early 1997). Authors Sean O’Neill and Daniel McGrory will comment, “Yet even after the new laws were introduced, Abu Hamza’s followers continued to disappear off to camps run by outlawed groups, and still nobody in authority laid a finger on him.” [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 291] Entity Tags: Sean O’Neill, Daniel McGrory, Abu Hamza al-Masri Category Tags: Abu Hamza Al-Masri, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

December 15, 2001: Bin Laden Said to Make Final Radio Broadcast from Tora Bora and Head North According to author Ron Suskind, on this date bin Laden makes a broadcast on his shortwave radio from somewhere within Tora Bora, Afghanistan. He praises his “most loyal fighters” still fighting in Tora Bora and says “forgive me” for drawing them into a defeat. He says the battle will continue “on new fronts.” Then he leads a prayer and leaves Tora Bora. Suskind says, “With a small band, he escaped on horseback toward the north. The group, according to internal CIA reports, took a northerly route to the province of Nangarhar—past the Khyber Pass, and the city of Jalalabad—and into the province of Konar. That day and the next, much of the remaining al-Qaeda force of about 800 soldiers moved to the south toward Pakistan.” [SUSKIND, 2006, PP. 74-75 SOURCES: RON SUSKIND] A radio had been captured by US allied forces some days earlier, allowing the US to listen in to bin Laden’s communications (see Late October-Early December 2001). In another account, a professional guide and former Taliban official later claims to have led bin Laden and a group of about 30 at this time on a four day trip into Pakistan and then back into a different part of Afghanistan. [NEWSWEEK, 8/11/2002] Still other accounts have bin Laden heading south into Pakistan at this time instead (see Mid-December 2001). An article in the British Daily Telegraph entitled “Bin Laden’s voice heard on radio in Tora Bora” will appear the very next day, detailing some of these communications. [DAILY TELEGRAPH, 12/16/2001] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden

December 2001-Early January 2002: ISI Said to Help Bin Laden and Taliban Escape and Resettle in Pakistan Yunus Qanooni, the interior minister of Afghanistan’s new government, accuses elements of Pakistan’s ISI of helping bin Laden and Mullah Omar escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan. He further asserts that the ISI are still “probably protecting” both bin Laden and Mullah Omar and “concealing their movements and sheltering leaders of Taliban and al-Qaeda.” [BBC, 12/30/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 2/13/2002] In addition, New Yorker magazine will report in early 2002, “Some CIA analysts believe that bin Laden eluded American capture inside Afghanistan with help from elements of the [ISI].” [NEW YORKER, 1/21/2002] Another report suggests that Hamid Gul, former director of the ISI, is behind moves to help the Taliban establish a base in remote parts of Pakistan just across the Afghanistan border. Gul was head of the ISI from 1987 to 1989, but has remained close to Afghan groups in subsequent years and has been nicknamed the “godfather of the Taliban.” One report will later suggest that he was one of the masterminds of the 9/11 plot (see July 22, 2004). The US is said to be interested in interrogating Gul, but “because of his high profile and the ripples it would cause in the Pakistan army, this is unlikely to happen…” Yet, at the same time that the ISI is reportedly helping al-Qaeda and the Taliban escape, the Pakistan army is deployed to the Afghanistan border in large numbers to prevent them from escaping. [ASIA TIMES, 12/13/2001] In November 2001, it was reported that the US was continuing to rely on the ISI for intelligence about Afghanistan, a move none other than Gul publicly derided as “foolish.”(see November 3, 2001). Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Mullah Omar, Osama bin Laden, Younis Qanooni, Hamid Gul, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan

Mid-December 2001: Videotape Shows Bin Laden Heading into Pakistan A videotape obtained by the CIA shows bin Laden at the end of the Tora Bora battle. He is walking on a trail either in Afghanistan and heading toward Pakistan, or already in Pakistan. Bin Laden is seen instructing his party how to dig holes in the ground to lie undetected at night. A US bomb explodes in the distance. Referring to where the bomb was dropped, he says, “We were there last night.” The existence of this videotape will not be reported until late 2006. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/10/2006] In September 2005, the New York Times will report that, “On or about Dec. 16, 2001, according to American intelligence estimates, bin Laden left Tora Bora for the last time, accompanied by bodyguards and aides.… Bin Laden and his men are believed to have journeyed on horseback directly south toward Pakistan.” [NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, 9/11/2005] Other accounts have him heading north into other parts of Afghanistan around this time instead (see December 15, 2001). Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden

December 16, 2001: Fox News Removes Controversial Story from Website, but Story Nonetheless Makes an Impact Fox News removes its series on the “art student spy ring” from its website after only two days, in response to pressure from The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) and others. CAMERA suggests the reporter “has something, personally, about Israel.… Maybe he’s very sympathetic to the Arab side.” [SALON, 5/7/2002] The head of the ADL calls the report “sinister dangerous innuendo which fuels anti-Semitism.” [FORWARD, 12/21/2001] Yet there does not appear to be any substance to these personal attacks (and Forward later reverses its stance on the spy ring (see March 15, 2002)). Fox News also never makes a formal repudiation or correction about the series. The contents of the series continues to be generally ignored by the mainstream media, but it makes a big impact inside the US government: An internal DEA communiqué from December 18 mentions the Fox report by name, and warns of security breaches in telecommunications as described in the Fox report. [SALON, 5/7/2002] Entity Tags: “Israeli art students”, Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Drug Enforcement Agency, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, Fox News Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Israel, Media

December 16, 2001: Czech Police Chief Says No Evidence Atta Met Iraqi Agent in Prague Czech Police Chief Jiri Kolar says that there is no evidence that 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta met an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague in April (see April 8, 2001). He also says—contradicting earlier reports—that there is no documentary evidence that Atta traveled to Prague at all in 2001. Additionally, an unnamed Czech intelligence official tells the newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes, that that the person who had met with al-Ani on April 2001 near Prague was not Atta. Another person with the same name had arrived in Prague in 2001 but he “didn’t have the same identity card number.” Furthermore, “There was a great difference in their ages, their nationalities didn’t match, basically nothing—it was someone else,” the source says. It is also reported that a man named Hassan, described as a businessman and a long-time member of Prague’s Arab community, claims to have been a close friend of al-Ani. Hassan says that he believes the Czechs had mistaken another man for Atta, a used car dealer from Nuremberg by the name of Saleh, who often visited Prague to meet al-Ani and and who sold him at least one car. “I have sat with the two of them at least twice. The double is an Iraqi who has met with the consul. If someone saw a photo of Atta he might easily mistake the two,” Hassan says. [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/16/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/16/2001; DAILY TELEGRAPH, 12/18/2001 SOURCES: HASSAN, JIRI KOLAR, UNNAMED CZECH INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS, UNNAMED INTERIOR MINISTRY OFFICIAL] Responding to the report, Gabriela Bartikova, spokeswoman for the Czech Minister of Interior, says that the Czech intelligence agency still believes that Mohamed Atta and al-Ani, the consul and second secretary of the Iraqi embassy met in April 2001. She says, “Minister Gross had the information from BIS (the Czech Republic’s Intelligence Agency), and BIS guarantees the information. So we stick by that information.” At about the same time, US officials tell the Associated Press they also still believe the meeting had transpired. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/16/2001] Entity Tags: Stanislav Gross, Mohamed Atta, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links

December 17, 2001: Egyptian National Arrested, Suspected of Facilitating 9/11 Hijackings

Abdallah Higazy. [Source: Washington Post] FBI agents arrest Egyptian national Abdallah Higazy in a New York hotel room, and interrogate him over his supposed ownership of an air-band transceiver capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground communications. The FBI suspects Higazy, a student at Brooklyn’s Polytechnic University, of facilitating the 9/11 hijackings. Higazy arrived in New York from Cairo to study engineering under US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Institute for International Education programs, in August 2001. The Institute arranged for Higazy to stay at the Millennium Hilton Hotel, just across the street from the World Trade Center. On September 11, Higazy, along with other hotel residents, was evacuated after the second plane hit the Twin Towers. He was carrying about $100 in cash and his wallet. Higazy does not return to the hotel until December 17, when three FBI agents are waiting for him. Hotel employees had found a transceiver capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground transmissions in his room safe, along with a Koran and his passport. The FBI believes that Higazy may have used the radio as a beacon to guide the hijackers. Higazy denies owning any such transceiver. A federal judge warns the FBI and federal prosecutors that merely finding a radio in a room safe occupied by Higazy does not constitute enough evidence to continue holding the suspect, and absent further evidence he will release Higazy on December 28. Instead, the FBI will browbeat a false confession from Higazy (see December 27, 2001). [WASHINGTON POST, 10/25/2007] Entity Tags: Institute for International Education, Abdallah Higazy, Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Agency for International Development Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

December 17, 2001: US Admits to Losing Track of Bin Laden’s Location US intelligence and Pentagon officials admit having lost track of Osama bin Laden in the Tora Bora area in the Northwest of Afghanistan. “The chatter stopped,” says John Stufflebeem. According to commanders of the Northern Alliance, as many as 500 al-Qaeda members might still be at large. [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/18/2001] The same day, Rumsfeld says he has heard that there were 30 or 31 persons being held in custody around Tora Bora as of December 16. It is unclear whether any high-ranking al-Qaeda members are among them. Meanwhile, a detention center is being built at Kandahar. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/17/2001] Entity Tags: John Stufflebeem, Donald Rumsfeld, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan

December 17, 2001: US Declares Victory at Tora Bora; Afghan War Considered Over

Four prisoners captured at Tora Bora and shown to the media on December 17, 2001. [Source: Getty Images] US-allied forces declare that the battle of Tora Bora has been won. A ten-day ground offensive that began on December 5 has cleared out the remaining Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in Tora Bora. The Afghan war is now widely considered to be over. However, many will later consider the battle a failure because most of the enemy escapes (see December 5-17, 2001), and because the Taliban will later regroup. [CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 3/4/2002] The Christian Science Monitor later reports that up to 2,000 Taliban and al-Qaeda were in the area when the battle began. The vast majority successfully fled, and only 21 al-Qaeda fighters were finally captured. [CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 3/4/2002] US intelligence analysts later estimate that around 1,000 to 1,100 al-Qaeda fighters and an unknown number of leaders escaped Tora Bora, while Pakistani officials estimate 4,000 fighters plus 50 to 80 leaders escaped (see October 2004). [KNIGHT RIDDER, 10/30/2004] Author Ron Suskind will suggest in 2006 that there were just over 1,000 al-Qaeda and Taliban in the area, and of those, 250 were killed or captured. [SUSKIND, 2006, PP. 75 SOURCES: RON SUSKIND] Bin Laden left the area by December 15, if not earlier (see December 15, 2001 and Mid-December 2001). It is believed that al-Qaeda’s number two leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, also escaped the area around the same time. [KNIGHT RIDDER, 10/20/2002] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Taliban, US Department of Defense Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan

December 17-18, 2001: Hamas Threatens to Attack US On December 17, 2001, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad release a joint manifesto declaring, “Americans are the enemies of the Palestinian people [and] a target for future attacks.” The next day, Hamas leaders issues a statement declaring that “Americans [are] now considered legitimate targets as well as Israelis.” So far, Hamas has not followed through with this threat. However, in February 2003, top Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin will called on Muslims to “threaten Western interests and strike them everywhere” in the event of a war in Iraq, which will begin one month later. [NATIONAL POST, 10/18/2003] Despite these threats, known Hamas operatives will continue to live openly in the US. For instance, the US officially declared Mohammad Salah a terrorist in 1995 (see June 2-5, 2003), the FBI knew he was living openly in Chicago since late 1997, and yet he will not be indicted for crimes committed in the early 1990s until 2004 (see August 20, 2004). Entity Tags: Palestinian Islamic Jihad, United States, Hamas Category Tags: Robert Wright and Vulgar Betrayal, Terrorism Financing

December 18, 2001: FBI Officials Testify to Congress about State of Al-Qaeda The Senate Subcommittee on International Operations and Terrorism holds a hearing on the global reach of al-Qaeda and hears testimony from several intelligence community officers. One of them is Tom Wilshire, a CIA officer on loan to the FBI who was involved in several pre-9/11 failures (see 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 5, 2000, August 22, 2001, and August 24, 2001). Wilshire is described as the deputy chief of the FBI’s International Terrorism Operations Section. In his opening remarks, Wilshire describes the “worldwide jihad movement,” which is “considered to be legitimate by many of our allies in terms of defense of Islam,” as a “multibillion effort” active in, for example, Chechnya, Bosnia, and the Philippines. Although some of the “tributaries” to the movement are “somehow legitimate,” al-Qaeda is “one of the most significant off-shoots,” and views the US as “the stabilising mechanism that allows the regimes that [Osama] bin Laden views to be corrupt [such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia] and to stay in power.” Wilshire also says that one of bin Laden’s goals was to provoke a “land war in Afghanistan,” although he perhaps did not anticipate it taking its current form. He discusses how al-Qaeda has changed over the years, the bayat oath of loyalty to bin Laden, and numbers of operatives: he puts the organization’s “elite” in the hundreds, but says it also has “small thousands” fighting in places like Afghanistan and Chechnya, as well as “thousands” more around the world, although perhaps “their skill level is not as high.” He also discusses a recently released videotape in which a man thought to be bin Laden said the “muscle” hijackers did not know they were on a suicide mission until the last minute (see Mid-November 2001), and calls bin Laden “very charismatic.” Wilshire adds that radical Islamists have looked at the possibility of setting up training camps in the US, but that it is easier for them to have introductory training in Europe, which was the case of a group of British citizens arrested in Yemen (see December 23, 1998). Finally, he says that al-Qaeda is linked to Abu Sayyaf, which is not just a local Filipino group and falls under “outside influence.” [US CONGRESS. SENATE. SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS AND TERRORISM, 12/18/2001] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, International Terrorism Operations Section, Senate Subcommittee on International Operations and Terrorism, Tom Wilshire Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

December 18, 2001: Two Suspects Renditioned from Sweden to Be Tortured in Egypt

Ahmed Agiza. [Source: CBC] In Stockholm, Sweden, around 5 p.m., a group of Swedish and US agents seize Egyptian nationals Ahmed Agiza and Muhammed Al-Zery on the street without warning, and drive them immediately to the Stockholm airport. The two men applied for asylum in 2000 and are legal Swedish residents. A Swedish policeman stationed at the airport later reports that the handful of agents escorting the Egyptians are wearing hoods. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/25/2004] At the local airport police office, the clothes of the detainees are cut with scissors, and replaced with red overalls, and the men are tied with handcuffs and leg irons. They are then taken aboard a US-registered Gulfstream V jet, and by 10:00 p.m., they are in the air on their way to Cairo, Egypt, where they allegedly will be tortured. “[I]t was pretty blatant” that they will be tortured, a former intelligence official says. [GUARDIAN, 9/13/2004] More than a month will pass before Swedish officials visit Agiza and Zery to ensure that they are being treated properly. In a report made public shortly after the first visit, Swedish Ambassador to Egypt Sven Linder will write that the two prisoners said they had been treated “excellently” and that “they seemed well-nourished and showed no external signs of physical abuse or such things.” But in the section of the report marked classified, he writes that Agiza complained of having been subjected to “excessive brutality” at the hands of the Swedish security police, and that he was repeatedly beaten in Egyptian prisons. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/25/2004] Agiza’s lawyers later acknowledge that he has been a member of “Egyptian Islamic Jihad,” and was close at one time to al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri. According to his lawyers, however, Agiza has not had ties with Zawahiri since a decade ago, and denounces the use of violence by al-Qaeda. In 1999, while living in Iran, he was convicted in absentia by an Egyptian military court for being a member of an illegal organization. He will later be sentenced to 25 years in prison in Egypt (see October 2003). Al-Zery’s involvement with terrorism, on the other hand, is much less apparent. According to Swedish officials, he too was convicted in absentia in Egypt, though this is disputed by his lawyers and human rights groups. He will be released after two years without being charged (see October 2003). [WASHINGTON POST, 7/25/2004] Entity Tags: Muhammed Al-Zery, Ahmed Agiza, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Sven Linder Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

December 19, 2001: US Learns Little about Bin Laden’s Whereabouts from Captured Prisoners Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz admits interrogations of individuals, who were captured when the al-Qaeda stronghold near Tora Bora fell two days before, have not yielded timely information on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. “Most of what I’ve seen seems to be second-hand reports—that we’re not talking to people who are at least telling us that they met with bin Laden or they talked with bin Laden,” he says. “I think one guy claims that he saw bin Laden from several hundred yards away. It’s that quality of information.” He added: “It was a pretty confused situation.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/19/2001] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Paul Wolfowitz Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan

December 19, 2001: US Official Proclaims ‘We Will Not Leave Central Asia’ after Afghan War Ends Speaking in Kazakhstan, US Deputy Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones states: “We will not leave Central Asia after resolving the conflict [in Afghanistan]. We want to support the Central Asian countries in their desire to reform their societies as they supported us in the war against terrorism. These are not only new but long term relations.” [BBC, 12/19/2001] Entity Tags: Elizabeth Jones Category Tags: US Dominance

December 19, 2001: Sufaat Arrested, May Hold Key to 9/11-Crop Duster Mystery

Yazid Sufaat. [Source: FBI] Yazid Sufaat is arrested in Malaysia. Sufaat is a Malaysian who owns a condominium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where a January 2000 al-Qaeda summit was held (see January 5-8, 2000). He also graduated in 1987 from a California university with a degree in biological sciences. According to interrogations of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Hambali, and other captured prisoners, Sufaat was given the lead in developing chemical and biological weapons for al-Qaeda. But he apparently had been unable to buy the kind of anthrax he wanted for an attack. Zacarias Moussaoui, Mohamed Atta, and other al-Qaeda operatives appeared to have had an interest in crop dusters before 9/11. It has been suggested that this interest served to further Sufaat’s biological weapons plot. This would especially make sense in the case of Moussaoui, since he stayed with Sufaat in Sufaat’s Malaysia apartment for two months in late 2000. Sufaat remains in Malaysian custody. The US has only been able to directly interview him on one brief occasion, in November 2002. [WASHINGTON POST, 3/28/2003; CNN, 10/10/2003; CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/7/2003] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Yazid Sufaat, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Zacarias Moussaoui, Mohamed Atta Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11, Hambali, Key Captures and Deaths, Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia

December 19, 2001: Al-Libi Transferred into US Custody; Responsive to Non-Aggressive Interrogation Tactics Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, captured by Pakistani forces six weeks earlier (see November 11, 2001), is handed over to US authorities at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan. Two FBI agents from New York are tasked with interrogating him. One of the agents, Russell Fincher, spends more than 80 hours with al-Libi discussing religion and prayer in an effort to establish a close bond. It works, and al-Libi opens up to Fincher, giving him information about Zacarias Moussaoui and the so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid (see December 22, 2001). [ISIKOFF AND CORN, 2006, PP. 120] But despite this progress, he will soon be transferred to Egypt and tortured there into making some false confessions (see January 2002 and After). Entity Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui, Richard C. Reid, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, Russell Fincher Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives, War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Alleged Iraq-Al-Qaeda Links, Key Captures and Deaths, 2001 Attempted Shoe Bombing

December 20, 2001: US Translation of Bin Laden ‘Confession’ Video Said to Be Misleading Following the release of a home video in which Osama bin Laden apparently confesses to involvement in 9/11 (see Mid-November 2001), a German TV show checks the translation provided by the Pentagon and finds it is flawed. According to Professor Gernot Rotter, scholar of Islamic and Arabic Studies at the University of Hamburg, “This tape is of such poor quality that many passages are unintelligible. And those that are intelligible have often been taken out of context, so that you can’t use that as evidence. The American translators who listened to the tape and transcribed it obviously added things that they wanted to hear in many places.” For example, the sentence translated by Pentagon contractors as “We calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy,” is said to be wrong, and the words “in advance” were apparently not said by bin Laden. The sentence “We had notification since the previous Thursday that the event would take place that day” is also said to be wrong and the word “previous” is not said by bin Laden. In addition, the sentence “We asked each of them to go to America” is said to be a mistranslation; it should have been “They were required to go to America.” [MONITOR-TV (GERMANY), 12/20/2001] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Gernot Rotter Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

Shortly After December 19, 2001: CIA Station Chief Protests against FBI Interview of Al-Libi CIA officer Richard Blee, who is now chief of the CIA’s station in Kabul, Afghanistan, objects to the FBI interviewing high-ranking al-Qaeda detainee Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi. The FBI obtained access to al-Libi after he was handed over to the US, and is obtaining some information from him about Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid, who will be prosecuted in the US (see December 19, 2001). However, according to FBI agent Jack Cloonan, “for some reason, the CIA chief of station in Kabul is taking issue with our approach.” [AMERICAN PROSPECT, 6/19/2005] CIA Director George Tenet learns of Blee’s complaints and insists that al-Libi be turned over to the CIA (see January-April 2002), which promptly puts him on a plane to Egypt (see January 2002 and After), where he is tortured and makes false statements (see February 2002). Blee was in charge of the CIA’s bin Laden unit on 9/11 and has only recently become chief of its Kabul station. [BERNTSEN AND PEZZULLO, 2005, PP. 59-60, 297] The FBI, which has long experience interviewing suspects, will continue in its attempts to use rapport-building techniques (see Late March through Early June, 2002), whereas the CIA will employ harsher techniques, despite not having much experience with interviews (see Mid-April 2002). Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Rich B., Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: High Value Detainees, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

December 20, 2001: US Bans Pakistani Militant Group, but It Continues Operating Under New Name

The Red Fort in Delhi, India, shortly after being attacked in 2000. [Source: BBC] The US officially blocks the assets of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), a Pakistani militant group, and Ummah Tameer-e-Nau (UTN), a Pakistani charity front. [WHITE HOUSE, 12/20/2001] LeT has frequently attacked targets in India with the tacit support of the Pakistani government. For instance, LeT took credit for an attack on the Red Fort in Delhi in 2000 that killed three people. [BBC, 3/17/2006] But the US fails to mention Pakistani government support for LeT, particularly long-time support by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who is now president of Pakistan (see 1993-1994). The Pakistani government officially bans LeT one month later. But the group changes its name to Jamaat-ud-Dawa and continues operating, though less openly than before. It is said to be closely linked to al-Qaeda. The US action comes just days after LeT was implicated in an attack on the Indian parliament (see December 13, 2001). [ASIA TIMES, 6/4/2004] India will blame the group for major attacks in 2003 and 2005 that each kill about 60 people. [BBC, 3/17/2006] UTN was founded by Pakistani nuclear scientists (see 2000). The CIA was aware before 9/11 that UTN had proposed selling a nuclear weapon to Libya (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001), and that two UTN scientists met with Osama bin Laden (see Shortly Before September 11, 2001), so it is not known why the US waited until now to act against it. Entity Tags: Pervez Musharraf, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Ummah Tameer-e-Nau Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI

December 20, 2001: Bush Says He Did Not Feel ‘Sense of Urgency’ to Deal with Bin Laden Before 9/11 In an interview with the Washington Post, President Bush says that, in contrast to the period before 9/11, “there was a significant difference in my attitude after September 11” about al-Qaeda and the threat it posed to the United States. Before the attacks: “I was not on point, but I knew [Osama bin Laden] was a menace and I knew he was a problem. I knew he was responsible, or we felt he was responsible, for the previous bombings that killed Americans. I was prepared to look at a plan that would be a thoughtful plan that would bring him to justice, and would have given the order to do that. I have no hesitancy about going after him. But I didn’t feel that sense of urgency, and my blood was not nearly as boiling.” Author Philip Shenon will comment that this interview is something Bush “almost certainly regretted later.” Shenon will also comment on who should have imparted such a sense of urgency, “If anyone on the White House staff had responsibility for making Bush’s blood ‘boil’ that summer about Osama bin Laden, it was [National Security Adviser] Condoleezza Rice.” [WASHINGTON POST, 5/17/2002; SHENON, 2008, PP. 154-155] Entity Tags: Philip Shenon, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Osama bin Laden Category Tags: Warning Signs, Counterterrorism Policy/Politics

December 21, 2001: FBI Won’t Release Flight 93 Black Box Information The FBI reveals that it knows what is on the Flight 93 black boxes, but refuses to release the transcript or audio recording. Families of the victims have requested to hear the cockpit voice recording, but the FBI says, “[W]e do not believe that the horror captured on the cockpit voice recording will console them in any way.” [CNN, 12/21/2001] Accuracy in Media immediately submits a Freedom of Information Act request to have the transcript released, but the FBI turns it down because a release “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.” The Philadelphia Daily News asks, “What enforcement proceedings?” and suggests the FBI may be covering up a shootdown of the plane. [PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 12/28/2001] The recordings are later played, but only in private to victims’ relatives and the 9/11 Commission. Entity Tags: 9/11 Commission, Federal Bureau of Investigation Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: FBI 9/11 Investigation

December 21, 2001: Senators Introduce Bills to Create Independent 9/11 Commission Two bipartisan pairs of senators introduce legislation to create independent 9/11 commissions. Senators Joseph Lieberman (D) and John McCain (R) propose to create a 14-member, bipartisan commission with subpoena power. At the same time, Robert Torricelli (D) and Charles Grassley (R) propose to create a 12-member board of inquiry with subpoena power. White House spokeswoman Anne Womack is noncommittal about the proposals, saying, “We look forward to reviewing them. Right now, the president is focused on fighting the war on terrorism.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/21/2001] Entity Tags: John McCain, Joseph Lieberman, Charles Grassley, Robert Torricelli Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: 9/11 Commission

December 21, 2001: Shoe Bomber Misses Flight because of Long Security Checks, Explosives Not Discovered

Richard Reid. [Source: Associated Press] Shoe bomber Richard Reid attempts to board a flight from Paris to Miami, but is delayed by security checks and misses the flight. There are several reasons for the extensive checks:

He bought his $1,800 ticket with cash three days previously. [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 232-233] 
He is bearded and “of Arabic appearance.” 
According to other passengers, he looks “blank” and acts suspiciously. [DAILY MAIL, 12/24/2001] 
He smells bad. [MIRROR, 10/4/2002; O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 232-233] 
He has no large pieces of luggage for a supposed holiday trip. [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 232-233] 
The small amount of luggage he does have contains two magazines, a radio, a cassette player and five Arabic cassettes, including two of verses from the Koran. [MIRROR, 10/4/2002] 

Ten days before, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had issued a warning that radicals might try to smuggle weapons or explosives onto a plane in their shoes, but Reid’s boots, which contain explosives, are never searched. There are holes drilled in the boots and even a casual examination of them would make staff suspicious. After missing the plane because of the checks, Reid re-books for the next day. He then e-mails his al-Qaeda contacts, who tell him to proceed as soon as possible. [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 232-233] According to an FAA source, this incident should lead to a warning in the FAA computer system saying that Reid should be detained if he again attempts to board the flight. The warning would ensure that Reid is questioned the next day and prevented from boarding. However, no such warning is issued. [DAILY MAIL, 12/24/2001] Reid returns the next day and is allowed onto the plane, but fails to blow it up (see December 22, 2001). Entity Tags: Richard C. Reid Category Tags: 2001 Attempted Shoe Bombing, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

December 22, 2001: Shoe Bomber Plot Foiled, Bomber Claims Allegiance to Bin Laden

Richard Reid’s shoe bomb. [Source: NEFA Foundation] British citizen Richard Reid is arrested for trying to blow up a Miami-bound jet using explosives hidden in his shoe. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/19/2002] Reid fails in his attempt to destroy the American Airlines jet because he is unable to detonate the explosives—he cannot get the fuse to light using matches, despite using up six of them before he is overpowered by the stewards and passengers. Authors Sean O’Neill and Daniel McGrory will comment, “Had Reid used a cheap disposable plastic cigarette lighter to ignite the fuse of his bomb, rather than a match that did not burn for long enough, forensic experts are sure there was enough plastic explosive in his boot to puncture the fuselage of Flight 63 and bring down the aircraft.” [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 215-217, 236] The attack is supposed to be one of two simultaneous attacks, but Reid’s partner, Saajit Badat, backs out shortly before the bombing (see (December 14, 2001)). Reid will later plead guilty to all charges, and declare himself a follower of Osama bin Laden. [CBS NEWS, 10/4/2002] He may have ties to Pakistan. [WASHINGTON POST, 3/31/2002] It is later believed that Reid and others in the shoe bomb plot reported directly to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM). [CNN, 1/30/2003] It has been suggested that KSM has ties to the ISI, and that Reid is a follower of Ali Gilani, a religious leader believed to be working with the ISI (see January 6, 2002). Entity Tags: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Daniel McGrory, Sean O’Neill, Richard C. Reid Category Tags: Alleged Al-Qaeda Linked Attacks, Key Captures and Deaths, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, 2001 Attempted Shoe Bombing

December 22, 2001: Karzai Assumes Power in Afghanistan

Hamid Karzai. [Source: United States Agency for International Development] Afghan Prime Minister Hamid Karzai and his transitional government assume power in Afghanistan. It was reported a few weeks before that he had been a paid consultant for Unocal at one time (Karzai and Unocal both deny this), as well as Deputy Foreign Minister for the Taliban. [LE MONDE (PARIS), 12/13/2001; CNN, 12/22/2001] Entity Tags: Unocal, Hamid Karzai, Taliban Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Pipeline Politics, Afghanistan

December 24, 2001: Taliban Leaders Free, Living Openly in Luxury in Pakistan The Guardian reports that many in Afghanistan intelligence say former top Taliban officials are living openly in villas in Afghanistan and Pakistan. At least four top leaders who had been caught have been simply released. Yet another leader, wanted by the US for harboring al-Qaeda operatives at his compound, is able to escape a very loose house arrest in mid-December. Two soldiers were checking on him once a day. One intelligence source claims to know the exact location of many, and says they could be rounded up within hours. A former Taliban minister now working with the Northern Alliance also claims: “Some are living in luxury in fine houses, they are not hiding in holes. They could be in jail by tonight if the political will existed.” The US claims it is working hard to find and catch these leaders. [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/20/2001; GUARDIAN, 12/24/2001] However, it will later be revealed that the US is aware of these Taliban living in Pakistan but will not seriously press Pakistan about them until 2006 (see 2002-2006). Entity Tags: Bush administration, Taliban Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan, Escape From Afghanistan, Haven in Pakistan Tribal Region

December 24, 2001-January 23, 2002: Reporter Daniel Pearl Investigates Sensitive Topics in Pakistan Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl writes stories about the ISI that will lead to his kidnapping and murder (see January 31, 2002).

On December 24, 2001, he reports about ties between the ISI and a Pakistani organization, Ummah Tameer-e-Nau, that was working on giving bin Laden nuclear secrets before 9/11 (see 2000 and Mid-August 2001). [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/24/2001] 
A few days later, he reports that the ISI-supported militant organization Jaish-e-Mohammed still has its office running and bank accounts working, even though President Pervez Musharraf claims to have banned the group. The Jaish-i-Mohammed is connected to the Al Rashid Trust, one of the first entities whose assets were frozen by the US after 9/11 and through which funding may have passed on its way to the hijackers in the US (see Early August 2001 and September 24, 2001). “If [Pearl] hadn’t been on the ISI’s radarscope before, he was now.” [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/31/2001; GUARDIAN, 7/16/2002; VANITY FAIR, 8/2002] 
He begins investigating links between shoe bomber Richard Reid and Pakistani militants, and comes across connections to the ISI and a mysterious religious group called Al-Fuqra. [WASHINGTON POST, 2/23/2002] 
He also may be looking into the US training and backing of the ISI. [GULF NEWS, 3/25/2002] 
He is writing another story on Dawood Ibrahim, a powerful Islamic militant and gangster protected by the ISI, and other Pakistani organized crime figures. [NEWSWEEK, 2/4/2002; VANITY FAIR, 8/2002] 
Former CIA agent Robert Baer later claims to be working with Pearl on an investigation of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. [UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 4/9/2004] It is later suggested that Mohammed masterminds both Reid’s shoe bomb attempt and the Pearl kidnapping, and has connections to Pakistani gangsters and the ISI, so some of these explanations could fit together. [ASIA TIMES, 10/30/2002; CNN, 1/30/2003; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 4/9/2004] Kidnapper Saeed will later say of Pearl, “Because of his hyperactivity he caught our interest.” [NEWS (ISLAMABAD), 2/15/2002] Pearl is kidnapped on January 23, 2002, and his murder is confirmed on February 22, 2002. [CNN, 2/22/2002]

Entity Tags: Dawood Ibrahim, Al-Fuqra, Daniel Pearl, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Osama bin Laden, Pervez Musharraf, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Robert Baer, Ummah Tameer-e-Nau Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Saeed Sheikh, 2001 Attempted Shoe Bombing

December 25, 2001: Experts: WTC Collapse Investigation Inadequate The New York Times reports that “some of the nation’s leading structural engineers and fire-safety experts” believe the investigation into the collapse of the WTC is “inadequate” and “are calling for a new, independent and better-financed inquiry that could produce the kinds of conclusions vital for skyscrapers and future buildings nationwide.” Experts critical of the investigation include “some of those people who are actually conducting it.” They point out that the current team of 20 or so investigators has no subpoena power, inadequate financial support, and little staff support. Additionally, it has been prevented from interviewing witnesses and frequently prevented from examining the disaster site, and has even been unable to obtain basic information like detailed blueprints of the buildings that collapsed. The decision to recycle the steel columns, beams, and trusses from the WTC rapidly in the days immediately after 9/11 means definitive answers may never be known. [NEW YORK TIMES, 12/25/2001] Incredibly, some of the steel is reforged into commemorative medallions selling for $30 apiece. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 1/30/2002] Entity Tags: World Trade Center Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: WTC Investigation

December 26, 2001: Suspected Bojinka and WTC Bomb Plotter Arrested But Only Charged for Minor Offenses A Jordanian suspected of involvement in the 1993 WTC bombing (see February 26, 1993) and 1995 Bojinka plot (see January 6, 1995) is arrested but apparently only charged with minor offenses. Hadi Yousef Alghoul had been arrested in the Philippines in March 1995 and accused of involvement in the Bojinka plot there. (see April 1, 1995-Early 1996). He apparently is the cousin of bomber Ramzi Yousef. [RESSA, 2003, PP. 25] On December 26, 2001, he is arrested in the Philippines again. He is found with nearly 300 sticks of dynamite and other bomb making materials. A police colonel says Alghoul had been under surveillance for years. [CNN, 12/28/2001; CONTEMPORARY SOUTHEAST ASIA, 12/1/2002] Police say he is one of the United States’ 25 most wanted terrorists with a $25 million reward for his arrest in connection with the 1993 WTC bombing. His “fingerprints perfectly matched those of a terrorist tagged in the World Trade Center bombing.” He is also wanted for plotting the assassination of Americans. [MANILA BULLETIN, 1/6/2002] Yet despite all these accusations, he is not extradited to the US as other Bojinka suspects were, and he is merely charged in 2002 with the illegal possession of explosive devices. There have been no further news accounts about him. [MANILA SUN-STAR, 11/16/2002] Entity Tags: Hadi Yousef Alghoul, Ramzi Yousef Category Tags: 1995 Bojinka Plot, Philippine Militant Collusion, Ramzi Yousef, Key Captures and Deaths, Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia

December 26, 2001: Bin Laden Again Denies 9/11 Involvement, but Praises Hijackers

Osama bin Laden making his “Nineteen Students” speech. [Source: Al Jazeera] Osama bin Laden makes a new video statement about 9/11, again denying the US has enough evidence against him to warrant an attack on Afghanistan (see September 16, 2001 and September 28, 2001), which he calls “a vicious campaign based on mere suspicion.” However, in what Professor Bruce Lawrence calls “his most extended and passionate celebration of the hijackers of 9/11,” he praises the 19 who carried out “the blessed strikes against global unbelief and its leader America.” He says of the hijackers, “It was not nineteen Arab states that did this deed. It was not Arab armies or ministries who humbled the oppressor who harms us in Palestine and elsewhere. It was nineteen post-secondary school students—I beg Allah almighty to accept them—who shook America’s throne, struck its economy right in the heart, and dealt the biggest military power a mighty blow, by the grace of Allah Almighty.” He continues by saying that the hijackers “are the people who have given up everything for the sake of ‘There is no Allah but Allah.’” He also criticizes Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and suggests that Israel is trying to expand its borders to Medina, currently in Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden also attacks the sanctions against Iraq, which he notes have resulted in “the murder of over a million children.” [LADEN, 2005, PP. 145-157] Bin Laden’s left arm appears to be injured in the video, fueling speculation he was wounded in the battle for Afghanistan [CNN, 7/23/2002] No new videotapes of Bin Laden speaking are released for nearly three years after this (see October 29, 2004). [BBC, 10/30/2004] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Bruce Lawrence Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden, Alleged Al-Qaeda Media Statements

December 26, 2001: Bin Laden Allegedly Dies of Lung Problems The media reports that Osama bin Laden died of lung problems in the mountains of Tora Bora in mid-December. The report, which quotes a Taliban leader who allegedly attended bin Laden’s funeral, is originally published in the Pakistan Observer, and then picked up by Fox News. According to the Taliban leader, bin Laden was suffering from a serious lung complication and succumbed to the disease. He also claims bin Laden was laid to rest honorably near where he died and his grave was made as per his Wahabi belief. About 30 close associates of bin Laden, including his most trusted and personal bodyguards, his family members, and some “Taliban friends,” attended the funeral. A volley of bullets was also fired to pay final tribute to him. The Taliban leader claims to have seen bin Laden’s face before the burial and says, “he looked pale… but calm, relaxed, and confident.” When asked where bin Laden was buried, the leader says, “I am sure that like other places in Tora Bora, that particular place too must have vanished.” [FOX NEWS, 12/26/2001] A man thought to be bin Laden will continue to issue media statements after his alleged death (see, for example, November 12, 2002). At the time this report becomes public, other accounts suggest bin Laden is alive, has just escaped from the battle of Tora Bora, and is fleeing pursuers (see December 8-14, 2001). Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Taliban Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden

December 27, 2001: FBI Forces False Confession from Terror Suspect The FBI administers a polygraph test to Egyptian national Abdallah Higazy, who has been in custody since December 17, 2001, on suspicion of facilitating the 9/11 attacks (see December 17, 2001). Higazy is about to be released by a judge because no real evidence exists that he had any connections to the attacks. The test is administered by FBI agent Michael Templeton; upon its completion, court documents show, Templeton concludes that Higazy is being evasive with his answers. But Templeton’s conclusion raises questions. Towards the end of the session, Higazy asks that the questioning be stopped because he is feeling intense pain in his arm and is having trouble breathing. Instead of releasing Higazy, Templeton calls him “a baby” and says that “a nine-year-old” could endure that kind of pain. It is not clear what is causing Higazy to be in pain, but from the conversation, it is clear that something untoward is occurring. During the questioning, Templeton threatens Higazy’s family. He tells Higazy that the FBI will make his brother “live in scrutiny” and will “make sure that Egyptian security gives [his] family hell.” According to court documents, by this point Templeton is screaming, smashing his fist into the table, and accusing Higazy of lying. Templetom also hints that the FBI might have Higazy’s family turned over to Egyptian intelligence. “[T]heir laws are different than ours,” he says. “[T]hey are probably allowed to do things in that country where they don’t advise people of their rights, they don’t—yeah, probably about torture, sure.” Higazy knows full well what Egyptian agents could do to his family members. Unwilling for his family to be tortured, he confesses to owning a radio the FBI is asking about. He is denied bail and remains in custody awaiting charge. Templeton will not deny coercing the confession from Higazy in subsequent questioning by Higazy’s lawyers. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/25/2007] Entity Tags: Michael Templeton, Abdallah Higazy, Federal Bureau of Investigation Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives Category Tags: Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

December 30, 2001: Afghan Minister Claims ISI Supports bin Laden The new Afghan Interior Minister Younis Qanooni claims that the ISI helped bin Laden escape from Afghanistan: “Undoubtedly they (ISI) knew what was going on.” He claims that the ISI is still supporting bin Laden even if Pakistani President Musharraf isn’t. [BBC, 12/30/2001] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Younis Qanooni, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Pervez Musharraf Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI

Late 2001: Taliban’s Top Drug Kingpin Arrested by US Then Let Go In the 1990s, Afghan drug kingpin Haji Bashir Noorzai developed close ties to Taliban top leader Mullah Omar, al-Qaeda, and the Pakistani ISI. He becomes the top drug kingpin in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. He is also reputedly the richest person in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s banker. For instance, according to US sources, as the Taliban began their military defeat after 9/11, they entrusted Noorzai with as much as $20 million in Taliban money for safekeeping. But he then surrenders to the US military in Afghanistan. Noorzai later says of this time, “I spent my days and nights comfortably. There was special room for me. I was like a guest, not a prisoner.” [CBS NEWS, 2/7/2002; RISEN, 2006, PP. 152-162] He spends several days in custody at the Kandahar airport. He speaks to US military and intelligence officials, but is released before Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents arrive in the country to question him. [NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO, 4/26/2002] The other top drug kingpin for the Taliban is also arrested then let go by the US at this time (see December 2001 and After). Noorzai then lives in Pakistan, where he has been given a Pakistani passport by the ISI. He operates drug-processing laboratories there and has little trouble traveling to other countries. [RISEN, 2006, PP. 152-162] In 2004 it will be reported, “According to House International Relations Committee testimony this year, Noorzai smuggles 4,400 pounds of heroin out of the Kandahar region to al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan every eight weeks.” [USA TODAY, 10/26/2004] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Haji Bashir Noorzai, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Taliban Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, Drugs, Afghanistan, Key Captures and Deaths

Late 2001: US Opposes Peacekeeping and Counter-narcotics in Afghanistan James Dobbins, the Bush Administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan, later will say that three decisions in late 2001 “really shaped” the future of Afghanistan. “One was that US forces were not going to do peacekeeping of any sort, under any circumstances. They would remain available to hunt down Osama bin Laden and find renegade Taliban, but they were not going to have any role in providing security for the country at large. The second was that we would oppose anybody else playing this role outside Kabul. And this was at a time when there was a good deal of interest from other countries in doing so.” The main reason for this is because it is felt this would tie up more US resources as well, for instance US airlifts to drop supplies. The third decision is that US forces would not engage in any counter-narcotics activities. The Atlantic Monthly will later note, “One effect these policies had was to prolong the disorder in Afghanistan and increase the odds against a stable government. The absence of American or international peacekeepers guaranteed that the writ of the new [Hamid] Karzai government would extend, at best, to Kabul itself.” [ATLANTIC MONTHLY, 10/2004] Entity Tags: Bush administration, Hamid Karzai, Taliban, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan Category Tags: Afghanistan

Late December 2001: US Decides to Accept Iran’s Help against Al-Qaeda but Offer Nothing in Return In late November 2001, State Department officials write a paper suggesting that the US has an opportunity to work with Iran to fight al-Qaeda. The CIA seconds the idea, and is willing to exchange information and coordinate border sweeps with Iran. However, neoconservatives led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld argue that the US cannot engage with Iran and other officially declared state sponsors of terrorism. In late December 2001, at a meeting of deputy cabinet officials, it is decided that the US will accept tactical information about terrorists from countries on the state sponsors list but offer nothing in return. This policy is called the “Hadley Rules” after Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, who chairs the meeting. One month later, President Bush publicly lists Iran as part of an “Axis of Evil,” greatly reducing Iran’s cooperation regarding al-Qaeda. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/22/2004] However, the policy appears to be largely focused on Iran, as the US continues working with countries on the state sponsors list like Sudan and Syria against al-Qaeda (see June 13, 2002 and Early 2002-January 2003). Entity Tags: Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Stephen J. Hadley, US Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency Timeline Tags: US confrontation with Iran Category Tags: Counterterrorism Policy/Politics




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