George W. Bush takes the oath of office

January 2001:
==Jan.04 > [] In a last, unsuccessful bid to broker a peace agreement, Clinton hosts Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Washington.      [lmd]

==Jan.04-10 > [X] Mohammad Atta visits Spain for unknown reasons.  He is briefly detained upon his return to the US, but is finally admitted even though his visa has expired.      [abc.Nov.12.2001]

==early to late Jan > [X] During the presidential transition, counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke briefs top-level Bush administration officials on his proposed strategy for a major international offensive against al-Qaeda, including extensive covert actions in Afghanistan and strong support for the anti-Taliban opposition.  He amplifies these recommendations in a January 25 memo.  Clinton’s National Security Adviser Sandy Berger personally warns Bush’s NS Adviser Condoleeza Rice “You're going to spend more time during your four years on terrorism generally and al-Qaeda specifically than any other issue.” And around mid-January, during a two-and-a-half hour 'secrets' meeting, Bush, Cheney, and Rice are told by CIA chiefs George Tenet and James Pavitt that al-Qaeda is one of the greatest threats facing America. But the incoming Bush administration found the concern about al-Qaeda to be “rather odd,” as Clarke later wrote - preoccupied with other policy proposals, it makes little attempt to change or strengthen counterterrorist efforts. One senior official long involved in counterterrorism later says: “I have a real difficult time pointing to anything from January 20th to September 10th that can be said to be a Bush initiative, or something that wouldn't have happened anyway.”.  See September 4      [time.Aug.04.2002 / clarke / wap.Jan.20.2002 / woodw1]
=Rice decides to downgrade the position of the Counterterrorism Coordinator, cutting Richard Clarke’s access to Cabinet-level meetings.     [clarke]

==Jan.08 > [] Enron Chariman Ken Lay sends the Bush team a list of seven candidates for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission - two of them are subsequently appointed, including FERC’s chairman.  In the 2000 election cycle, Enron is the largest single donor to the Republican Party from the energy sector, and up to this point Enron has given Bush more money throughout his political career than any other contributor. But Ken Lay denies that he’s trying to buy political influence: “there are a few of us that are still maybe idealistic enough (to) think that we can support a candidate because we really believe in the individual.”      [sal.Jun.07.02 / wap.Nov14.2002 / daen / pbsf.2001]

==Jan.10 > [] Israeli peace activists accuse the government of pursuing a policy of assassinating Palestinian leaders deemed to be security threats.  The assassination policy will become overt when Ariel Sharon becomes Prime Minister.      [gdn.Oct.17.2001]

==Jan.11 > [] The FCC sanctions the merger of Time-Warner and AOL to form the world’s largest media conglomerate.      [info]

==Jan.18 > [X] Further UN sanctions against the Taliban regime go into effect, including an arms embargo.  The anti-Taliban Northern Alliance is exempted from the restrictions.      [ap.Dec.19.2000]

==Jan.20 > [] Clinton issues a large batch of last-minute pardons, including one for swindler Marc Rich, provoking widespread outrage.      [info]

==Jan.20 > [] George W. Bush is sworn in as President.  In his inaugural address, he pledges to unite the country in the aftermath of the divisive election crisis.  Dick Cheney becomes Vice President.  Donald Rumsfeld is sworn in as Secretary of Defense; Rumsfeld was selected for the job on Cheney’s advice.  Colin Powell becomes Secretary of State.      [info / defl / usdos]
=The incoming Bush administration accuses Clinton staffers of massively vandalizing the White House, and the news media widely report the charges as fact - but after a prolonged investigation, the General Accounting Office concludes that the damage seems to have been more or less typical of recent outgoing administrations.  The administration disputes these findings.      [wap.Jun.12.2002]

==Jan.22 > [] The president bans US aid to any overseas organization that gives women information on abortions.  This is the first clear indication that Bush, who ran as a moderate conservative, intends to govern from the far right.      [info]

==Jan.28 > [] In a major policy initiative, the Bush administration seeks to provide public funds for religious groups that offer social services.  The plan eventually fizzles out.      [info]

==Jan.29 > [] Bush announces the formation of an energy task force to be led by Vice President Cheney.  Bush pledges that the task force will “act boldly and swiftly” to head off potential energy shortages, but declines to offer any hope of federal assistance to California, saying that that state’s critical electricity shortages should be solved "in California by Californians."  On the same day, leading California utility PG&E warns that it could run out of natural gas within a month.  The crisis is already damaging the California economy.       [cnn.Jan.29.2001 / info]

==Jan.31 > [X] Completing a two and a half year study, a bipartisan commission headed by former Senators Hart and Rudman issues a comprehensive report on terrorism, warning that major attacks on the US are probably imminent.  The commission forcefully urges fast action on sweeping reforms, including the creation of a Cabinet-level National Homeland Security Agency to bring together fragmented counterterrorism efforts. Congress shows some interest, but the study gets very little press coverage.  An unnamed senior reporter from a well-known publication tells a commission member “This isn't important, none of this is ever going to happen.”  The Bush administration takes little action on counterterrorism until May, and then largely ignores the commission’s report.  After 9/11, Hart says “Frankly, the White House shut it down.”  See May 8      [sal.Sep.12.2001]

==Jan.--- > [X] A CDC report concluded that the nation's public health infrastructure is "not adequate to detect and respond to a bioterrorist event."      [wap.Sep.17.2001]

==Jan.--- > [X] A Gallup poll finds that 47% of Americans expect a major terrorist attack on the United States in the next 10 years involving nuclear weapons.     [scmp.Sep.13.2001]

February 2001:
==Feb.01 > [] After a tough debate, the Senate confirms John Ashcroft as Attorney General despite strong Democratic opposition.      [nyt.Feb.01.2001]

==Feb.02 > [] The San Diego Union-Tribune quotes Ken Lay as saying “I believe in God and I believe in free markets.”  On Feb.06, Fortune Magazine names Enron the ‘Most Innovative Company in America’ for the sixth consecutive year.  In April, Worth Magazine names Jeff Skilling number two of the top 50 chief executives in America, even though Skilling has only been CEO for two months.      [sdut.Feb.02.2002 / enron website / wap.Jul.28.2002]

==Feb.06 > [] The ultra-hawkish Ariel Sharon overwhelmingly defeats Prime Minister Ehud Barak in Israeli elections.      [gdn.Oct.17.2001]

==Feb.07 > [X] CIA Director Tenet warns the Senate Intelligence Committee that al-Qaeda was “the most immediate and serious threat” to national security, and points out that increased security at government and military facilities are causing terrorists to start looking at ‘softer’ non-government targets.      [ap.Feb.07.2001]

==Feb.08 > [] The administration abandons Clinton’s Middle East peace plan - the US largely disengages from the Middle East until after 9/11.      [info]
==Feb.08 > [X] Mohamed Atta makes the first of several visits to Norfolk, Virginia, possibly looking for targets at the naval base.   [time.Aug.04.2002]

==Feb.14 > [X] A Palestinian driver rams his bus into a crowd of Israelis, killing eight bystanders.  Israel reimposes a total blockade of the occupied territories.      [gdn.Oct.17.2001]

==Feb.26 > [X] Fresh from Europe and behaving suspiciously, the erratic Zacarias Moussaoui begins flight training school in Norman, Oklahoma.  He flunks out by late May.  In his earlier communications with the flight school, Moussaoui had come up with the e-mail alias ‘Zuluman Tangotango.’  See August 15-16      [ctr.Dec.12.2001 / lat.Dec.12.2001]

==Feb.26 > [X] Osama bin Laden makes his last public appearance at the social celebration of his son’s wedding in Kandahar, where he cheerfully recites a poem celebrating the bombing of the USS Cole.  Hundreds attend the festivities, including a number of Taliban officials.  Bin Laden had also appeared at his son’s religious wedding ceremony on Jan.09.      [reu.Mar.01.2001 / abc.Jan.10.2001]

==Feb.27 > [] Bush introduces his budget, which includes a $1.6 trillion tax cut.      [info]

==Feb.--- > [X] In Florida, Mohammad Atta begins making persistent inquiries about crop-dusting planes.  His interest continues until a few days before 9/11.      [dawn.Nov.24.2001 / wap.Sep.24.2001]

==Feb.--- > [X] Flight school instructors in Arizona alert the FAA that one of their students - future hijacker Hanji Hanjour - has such poor flying skills that they suspect that his pilot’s license could be fraudulent.      [jdw]

March 2001:
==Mar.02 > [] Paul Wolfowitz is sworn in as Deputy Secretary of Defense.      [defl]

==Mar.04 > [X] A Palestinian suicide bombing in Netanya kills three Israelis and injures at least 68.  In response, an Israeli mob beats up and nearly lynches a Palestinian bystander.  Violence in the region is escalating.      [cnn.Mar.05.2001]

==Mar.04 > [X] The premiere episode of the Fox TV series ‘The Lone Gunmen’ - an unsuccessful ‘X-Files’ spin-off - features an attempt to crash a commercial airliner into one of the towers of the World Trade Center by remote control.  In this case, the fictional perpetrators are rogue US government officials hoping to provoke anti-terrorist hysteria followed by a massive military buildup.      [myers.Jun.20.2002]

==early.Mar. > [X] Mohamed Atta briefly flies into eastern Tennessee, where he reportedly shows a strong interest in a dam and some sulfuric acid storage tanks.      [ap.Oct.19.2001]

Ariel Sharon

==Mar.07 > [] Ariel Sharon formally takes office as Israeli Prime Minister, heading a seven-party coalition.      [gdn.Oct.17.2001]

==Mar.07 > [] The Bush administration breaks off talks with North Korea, abandoning Clinton’s attempt to normalize relations.  US relations with South Korea begin to deteriorate.      [info]
==Mar.10 > [X] Despite international protests, the Taliban regime destroys the 2000-year-old giant Buddhist statues at Bamiyan with dynamite and gunfire from tanks.  There are also earlier reports that the Taliban Culture and Finance Ministers visited the National Museum in Kabul and ordered the destruction of all objects that depicted human beings, regardless of their value, antiquity, or beauty.      [hiro1]

==mid-Mar > [] India and Russia are reportedly providing weapons, technical assistance, and tactical advisers to aid the Northern Alliance in its struggle with the Taliban.  In the next few months, the US is also showing signs of becoming involved, with the CIA exchanging intelligence with the anti-Taliban forces, and providing some funds and logistical support.  By spring, the capable Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud is planning a new campaign and is calling back exiled opposition leaders.      [jne.Mar.15.2001 / time.Aug.04.2002]
==Mar.20 > [] Bush meets with Sharon - they show no interest in the possibility of peace talks.      [info]

==Mar.20 > [] Rolling blackouts are occurring in California, as the state’s electricity crisis spins further out of control.      [info]
==Mar.22 > [] The Bush administration abruptly ends the tradition of independent evaluations of judicial nominees by the American Bar Association.      [info]

==Mar.30 > [] The Bush administration abandons the Kyoto Global-Warming Treaty, provoking international outrage.      [info]

==Mar.--- > [X] The Russian UN mission submits an “unprecedentedly detailed report” to the UN Security Council on bin Laden’s whereabouts, al-Qaeda’s organization, and Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan.  The US evidently does nothing with the intelligence.  [jne.Sep.29.2001 / tmi.Oct.06.2001]

==Mar-Apr. > [X] US intelligence receives vague information on possible al-Qaeda attacks during April in California and New York.  One of the operatives is reportedly already living in America.      [senic.Sep.18.2002]

==Mar.--- > [X] The GAO reports that a fifth of the medical supplies held by the federal Office of Emergency Preparedness for a bioterrorist attack were probably ruined by being stored in high temperatures.      [wap.Sep.17.2001]

==Mar.--- > [X] In Kandahar at about this time, future hijacker Ahmed al-Haznawi records a ‘martyrdom tape’ endorsing the planned 9/11 attacks, in which he says “It is time to kill the Americans on their own soil…”  al-Haznawi died on Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania after a passenger revolt.      [cnn.Apr.16.2002]

April 2001:
==Apr.02 > [] A US Navy spy plane collides with a Chinese fighter off the coast of China.  The fighter crashes, and the damaged American plane lands at a Chinese air base where it is detained with its crew.  The incident touches off a sharp American-Chinese crisis.  After an initially tough reaction, the administration follows Secretary of State Powell’s advice and turns conciliatory.  The US crew is released Apr.12.      [info]

==Apr.02 > [] The Senate passes a campaign finance reform bill.  See July 12      [info]

==Apr.02 > [] Egyptian President Mubarak urges the US to become more involved in the growing crisis In the Middle East.  He is ignored.      [info]

==Apr.03 > [X] Israeli helicopters hunt down and rocket an Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, the first such assassination since Sharon took office.      [gdn.Oct.17.2001]

==Apr.06 > [X] Ahmed Ressam, who was caught trying to cross the Canadian border with bomb components in Dec.1999, is convicted of terrorism charges in connection with plans to bomb LA International Airport.  He agrees to give information on al-Qaeda.     [time.Aug.04.2002]

==Apr.07 > [] Large-scale race riots erupt in Cincinnati.      [info]

==Apr.09 > [X] On this date, a Czech informant claims that he witnessed a meeting between Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague.  This dubious story has a long life, but by late 2002 it is no longer considered credible by most intelligence officials.      [slt.Sep.03.2002 / wat.Jul.30.2003]

==Apr.16 > [X] Israel launches air, land, and sea attacks against the Gaza Strip.  The next day, for the first time since the current intifada began, Israelis seize land from Palestinians in the Strip.      [gdn.Oct.17.2001]

==Apr.18 > [X] The FAA warns of possible Islamist terrorist attacks on US airliners, and requests air carriers to “demonstrate a high degree of alertness.”      [ap.May.18.2002]

==Apr.23-Jun.29 > [X] During this time, most of the 13 Saudi assistants to the lead hijackers - often called ‘the muscle’ - arrive in the US and join Atta’s group in Florida.  These men are not informed of the details of the plot until just prior to the attacks.      [jdw]

==Apr.--- > [X] After months of delay, the Bush administration holds its first deputy secretary-level conference on terrorism. Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz scoffs at the idea of focusing on al-Qaeda, insisting that the organization is controlled by Iraq.  The committee decides to hold more meetings to discuss the dispute.      [clarke]

==Apr.--- > [X] An informant with terrorist connections warns US intelligence that al-Qaeda is interested in using commercial pilots for terrorist actions, and warns of an impending "spectacular and traumatic" attack, perhaps along the lines of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  The warning was regarded as speculation and was not widely disseminated.      [senic.Sep.18.2002]

==Apr.--- > [X] The Institute for Homeland Security becomes active, as part of the well-connected defense-related ANSER think tank.  The words ‘homeland security’ first appeared in America in the late 1990s and are used in the Jan.2001 Hart-Rudman Report.  After 9/11 the rather creepy phrase is heavily promoted by ANSER and the conservative Washington Times, and soon becomes part of the official lexicon.      [onlj.Jun.29.2002]

May 2001:
==May.01 > [] Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz orders the destruction of 600,000 military berets because they were made in China.       [bbc.May.02.2001]

==May.06 > [X] Future hijacker Jarrah begins attending a Florida gym to learn fighting techniques.  His trainer finds him to be fit and diligent, but lacking the aggressive instincts of a natural brawler.  Over the next four months, Atta and many of the other hijackers work out at fitness clubs in Florida.      [lat.Sep.20.2001]
==May.07 > [X] A former FAA special agent writes Senator John Kerry: “What protection is there against a rogue terrorist? And with the concept of jihad, do you think it would be difficult for a determined terrorist to get on a plane and destroy himself and all other passengers?… With our current screening system, this is more than possible, almost likely.”  Kerry passes the letter to the GAO.      [lat.Sep.23.2001]

==May.07-09 > [] Bush appoints strongly pro-business figures to head the SEC and several key environmental agencies.      [info]

==May.08 > [X] Disregarding the Hart-Rudman report on terrorism, Bush announces that Vice President Cheney will study the issue and that anti-terrorism will be handled by the Office of National Preparedness, under FEMA  - but at the same time, Bush proposes to cut $200 million from FEMA’s budget.  This is the last significant public statement Bush makes on terrorism before 9/11.  In the next four months, Cheney’s task force accomplishes little, and creation of the preparedness office is bogged down by turf wars between FEMA and the Justice Department.     [wap.Jan.20.2002 / cbs.Sep.22.2001]

==May.08 > [X] The FBI issues ‘threat assessments’ on May 8 and on June 19, recommending that Attorney General Ashcroft avoid flying in commercial airliners.  Justice Department spokesmen later state that the threats had nothing to do with al-Qaeda, but otherwise refuse to give details.      [ap.May.16.2002 / cbs.Jul.26.2001]

==May.09 > [] posts one of the first articles publicly discussing Enron’s suspicious financial transactions. Enron stock is drifting down, falling from above $90 in August 2000 to below $50 by July 2001.      [thestr.May.09.2001 / wap.Jul.28.2002]

==May.10 > [] Congress approves Bush’s immense tax cut.      [info]

==May.10 > [X] In the FBI’s official annual budget goals memo, Ashcroft does not mention counterterrorism in his ‘seven strategic goals.’ Likewise, Ashcroft’s later internal draft of the strategic plan for the Department of Justice, dated Aug.09.2001, does not include counterterrorism among DOJ’s most important issues. This is a sharp departure from Janet Reno, who had listed it as her highest priority.      [camp.Mar.22.2004] 

==May.11 > [] John Bolton is sworn in as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.  Bolton is a protégé of Jesse Helms and a fervent opponent of multilateralism.      [usdos]

==May.14 > [] The unsavory conservative media magnate Berlusconi is elected Prime Minister of Italy.      [info]

==May.14 > [X] Israeli troops kill five Palestinian policemen at a West Bank checkpoint ‘in error.’  Palestinians riot.      [gdn.Oct.17.2001]

==May.16 > [] American General Tommy Franks visits Tajikistan, declares it “a strategically significant country,” and offers military aid.  Tajikistan shares a long border with Afghanistan.      [gdn.Sep.26.2001]

==May.17 > [] Vice President Cheney’s energy task force releases its report, advocating that the government adopt policies highly favorable to the energy industries. The administration refuses to divulge who was consulted, but Cheney insists that he encouraged input from a wide spectrum of groups.  Environmental groups feel that they were blatantly frozen out of the process.  The plan does nothing to address the electricity crisis in California.      [nyt.May.15.2001]
==May.18 > [X] After a bloody suicide bombing in Netanya, the Israelis respond by launching air strikes against the West Bank and Gaza.      [gdn.Oct.17.2001]

==May.21 > [] Former US Senator George Mitchell issues a report on the Middle East, calling for a ceasefire, a renewed peace process, and a halt to new Jewish settlements in the West Bank.  On the same day, the European Union condemns illegal Jewish settlements.  On May 22, Sharon rejects the call for a halt on settlements, describing them as “a vital national enterprise.”       [gdn.Oct.17.2001]

==May.24 > [] Exasperated with the Bush administration’s political tactics, moderate Vermont Senator Jeffords leaves the Republican Party.  The Republicans lose their majority, and the Democrats gain control of the Senate, formally taking control on June 5.      [info]

==May.24 > [X] 9/11 hijacker al-Shehhi flies from JFK to San Francisco, evidently to observe the flight crew’s procedures.  Several of the hijackers take repeated dry runs on transcontinental flights or check out airports.  One dry run is probably witnessed by actor James Woods on a Boston to LA flight about a month before 9/11.  Other hijackers amuse themselves through the summer by tooling around the beaches of Fort Lauderdale on rented motor scooters.  An owner of the rental outlet later remembered “For guys that hated America, they sure looked like they were having a great time here.  They didn't seem to have a care in the world.”      [jdw.May.24.2001 / bog.Oct.11.2001 / wsj.Oct.16.2001]

==May.29 > [X] The State Department issues warnings that US citizens abroad are at high risk of terrorist attacks, specifically naming bin Laden.  The warnings are repeated June 22.      [cnn.Jun.23.2001]

==May.30 > [X] A federal jury in New York finds four defendants guilty of the terrorist bombings of US embassies in East Africa in 1998.      [cnn.May.29.2001]

==May-Jul > [X] Intelligence reports of impending attacks from al-Qaeda reach a crescendo from May to July.
=In these months, the NSA intercepts at least 33 communications that indicate a major terrorist attack is imminent.  None indicate where or when the attack will occur.  Some of the intercepts hint that the attack will be the most devastating al-Qaeda has yet attempted.  [senic.Sep.18.2002 / nyt.May.17.2002]
=In May, the CIA learns that al-Qaeda is “planning attacks in the United States with explosives,” that it’s preparing to infiltrate the US, that seven of its agents were traveling to the United States, Canada and Britain, and that key al-Qaeda operatives “were disappearing while others were preparing for martyrdom.”  In June, the CIA receives more reports of key al-Qaeda figures dropping out of sight.     [senic.Sep.18.2002 / wap.Sep.19.2002]
=Around late spring, intercepts from Afghanistan indicate that al-Qaeda plans to attack a US target in late June or early July.  [nyt.Dec.30.2001]

==May-Jul. > [X] Western intelligence agencies thwart Islamist terrorist plots to attack the US embassies in Paris and Yemen and an American facility in Turkey.  See June 15-18      [hiro1]

==May.--- > [X] The State Department begins a convenient fast-track ‘Visa Express’ program in Saudi Arabia.  Five of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers will take advantage of it when they prepare to come to America.      [jdw]

==May.--- > [] Global Crossing Chairman Gary Winnick unloads $123 million of his company’s stock.  Around this time, his executives are issuing warnings at high-level meetings that Global Crossing’s financial condition is deteriorating fast, but Winnick later claims that no one told him.       [ap.Oct.01.2002]

June 2001:
==Jun.01 > [X] A Palestinian suicide bomber kills 19 young Israelis at a crowded disco in Tel Aviv, in the bloodiest attack yet in the current crisis.  Israeli mobs chant “Death to the Arabs.”  Arafat orders a ceasefire, which sputters off and on for weeks.      [gdn.Oct.17.2001]

==Jun.04 > [X] In Florida, a bench warrant is issued for Atta after he failed to appear at a May.28 hearing for a traffic violation.  See July 5      [jdw]

==Jun.06 > [] The National Academy of Sciences affirms that global warming is rising dramatically.      [info]

==Jun.09 > [X] FBI Special Agent Robert Wright, Jr, who has headed a ten-year investigation into terrorist money-laundering, submits a blistering internal memo criticizing the FBI’s counterterrorism efforts.  “Knowing what I know, I can confidently say that until the investigative responsibilities for terrorism are transferred from the FBI, I will not feel safe… The FBI has proven for the past decade it cannot identify and prevent acts of terrorism against the United States and its citizens at home and abroad.  Even worse, there is virtually no effort on the part of the FBI's International Terrorism Unit to neutralize known and suspected international terrorists living in the United States… Unfortunately, more terrorist attacks against American interests -- coupled with the loss of American lives -- will have to occur before those in power give this matter the urgent attention it deserves.”  The memo becomes publicly known a year later.      [cyns.May.30.2002]

==Jun.09 > [] Iranian voters reelect reformist President Khatami.      [info]

==Jun.11 > [X] Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is executed.  He shows no sign of remorse.      [hrtl]

==Jun.11 > [] CNN reports that Congressional Republicans and the White House are urging major utility companies to spend at least $50 million in a California advertising campaign to defeat electricity price caps.  Republicans are growing alarmed by the angry public reaction in that state to the administration’s energy policies and its failure to intervene in the California electricity crisis.      [cnn.Jun.11.2001]

==Jun.11 > [X] CIA officials meet with FBI agents who are investigating the USS Cole bombing.  The CIA refuses to hand over information on the crucial January 2000 al-Qaeda conference in Malaysia, and the meeting ends in “a shouting match.”      [abc.Aug.16.2001]

==Jun.12 > [] Bush begins his first trip to Europe.  Europeans are already alienated by the US abandonment of the Kyoto Treaty, and Bush's reception is cool.      [info]

==Jun.13 > [X] Egyptian President Mubarak warns the US that al-Qaeda is plotting to assassinate Bush and other leaders at the economic summit in Genoa in July, using an airplane loaded with explosives.      [nyt.Sep.26.2001]

==Jun.15 > [] Russia, China, and the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan sign a declaration creating the Shanghai Co-operation Organization.  The SCO is a loose association primarily directed against Islamist terrorism, but its members are also wary of rising US influence in Central Asia.      [jne.Jul.19.2001]

==Jun.15-18 > [X] Indian  police arrest three al-Qaeda operatives who have been preparing to car bomb the busy visa section of the US embassy in New Delhi.      [cnn.Jun.18.2001]

==Jun.18 > [] Russian President Putin threatens an arms buildup if the US builds a missile defense system.      [info]

==Jun.20 > [X] Around late spring, even as intelligence agencies are secretly monitoring a sharp rise in reports of an imminent terrorist attack, some news sources are publicly implying that the threat from al-Qaeda is overrated. The Jun.20 issue of Time magazine includes a breezy piece entitled 'Bin Laden Rides Again.' "In the language of advertising, bin Laden has become a brand — a geopolitical Keyser Soze, an omnipresent menace whose very name invokes perils far beyond his capability."  The article admits that "his threat is very real," but then dismisses the attention paid to him as "hype… more than a little ludicrous…" A May.31 New York Times article on the embassy bombing trial describes al-Qaeda as a "slipshod" and petty organization.     [time.Jun.20.2001 / nyt.May.31.2001]

==Jun.20 > [] Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf appoints himself president, although his popularity rating has slumped to 23%.  The Guardian remarks “This is an ominous situation…”      [obs.Sep.23.2001 / gdn.Jun.25.2001]

==Jun.21 > [X] Fourteen terrorists are indicted in the US for the Khobar Towers terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia.  Although the accused are being held in Saudi jails, the Saudi authorities are less than cooperative - the Interior Minister says of the indictments “…it does not concern us in any way at all.”  Saudi-American relations are deteriorating.      [cnn.Jun.22.2001 / berg]

==Jun.22-Jun.28 > [X] There is a rash of disturbing intelligence and terrorist warnings in late June.
=On June 22, an official describes CIA Director Tenet as “nearly frantic” over threats of terrorism. Around this time, he tells counterterrorism director Richard Clarke “It’s my sixth sense, but I feel it coming. This is going to be the big one.”     [wap.May,17.2002 / clarke]
=On the same day, the American Central and European commands go on ‘Force Condition Delta,’ the highest level of anti-terrorist alert,   and ships from the US 5th Fleet put to sea from Bahrain.      [wap.May,17.2002 / time.Aug.04.2002]
=Also on June 22, a newsman for the Arab television station MBC who had just interviewed bin Laden reports that al-Qaeda is planning to launch major attacks on American and Israeli targets within the next two weeks.  “There is a major state of mobilisation among the Osama Bin Laden forces. It seems that there is a race of who will strike first. Will it be the United States or Osama Bin Laden?”      [reu.Jun.23.2001]
=On June 23, both the FAA and the State Department issue terrorist warnings.  State orders all diplomatic posts to set up emergency action committees to deal with the threat of terrorist attacks. The CIA speculates that the most probable targets are in Europe.  The State Department, the FAA, and the FBI will issue a total of eight separate warnings between June 22 and August 1.      [wap.May.17.2001 / jdw]
=On June 26, intelligence agencies inform the White House of a spike in terrorist communications about a possible strike on July 4.  Both the State Department and the Pentagon issue more terrorist alerts.      [time.may.27.2002 / jdw]
=A June 28 intelligence summary for National Security Adviser Rice states “It is highly likely a significant al-Qaeda attack is in the near future, within several weeks.”      [wap.May.17.2002]

==Jun.23 > [] The Washington Post reports that Halliburton subsidiaries did $73 million of business with Iraq in the late 1990s while Dick Cheney was CEO.  The extent of these dealings is far more than Cheney has indicated.      [wap.Jun.23.2001]
=The article also quotes the chairman of an oil industry consulting firm: “The American oil industry is very interested in trying to enter Iraq,” but is wary of defying US foreign policy and doing business with Saddam Hussein.  “There is a very strong feeling that in fact he is the greatest threat to oil production in the Middle East.”      [wap.Jun.23.2001]

Louis Freeh

==Jun.25 > [X] After serving for eight years, Louis Freeh steps down as FBI Director.  Freeh has enjoyed strong support from Congress and near immunity from media criticism, but he leaves the FBI in serious disarray.  According to one authority on the agency, he “almost destroyed the bureau through colossal mismanagement, borne of sheer donkey-like stubbornness and arrogance.”  Freeh laid off hundreds of supervisors at FBI headquarters and concentrated power in his own hands and those of a few friends, leading to the poor communications and the many other problems that plagued the FBI’s counterterrorism efforts before 9/11.      [fbi / Ronald Kessler quoted in wap.May.05.2002 / sal.Jun.04.2002 / nyt.Jun.02.2002]

==Jun.26 > [X] Senate Intelligence Committee Vice-Chairman Richard Shelby, just back from a fact-finding tour of the Persian Gulf, optimistically says that US counter-terrorism efforts have bin Laden on the run.      [wap.Jun.26.2001]

The pre-9/11 Coup and Dream Theater covers

==late June > [X] The artwork is completed for the album ‘Party Music,’ to be released around early- or mid-September by the radical hip-hop group Coup. The cover illustration depicts explosions in the World Trade Center Towers at approximately the floors that were hit three months later.  The band’s label pulls the image off their website within hours of the 9/11 attacks and postpones the CD release to November.   Weirdly, the print run for the cover was scheduled for September 11.      [sound.Sep.14.2001 / reu.Sep.13.2001  / wired.Sep.13.2001]
=The cover art for ‘Live Scenes from New York’ by the rock group Dream Theater shows the WTC and the Statue of Liberty engulfed in flames over a big apple wrapped in barbed wire, resembling a sacred heart.  The CD is released on Sep.11 but is immediately yanked from the shelves until the cover can be redesigned.      [hiphop.Sep.13.2001]

==Jun.28 > [] A federal appeals court overturns the court-ordered breakup of Microsoft and rebukes the federal judge who ordered it.      [info]
==Jun.29 > [] Slobodan Milosevic is turned over to the UN for prosecution as a war criminal.       [info]

==Jun.29 > [X] The US envoy to Pakistan warns the Afghan ambassador that the Taliban regime will be held responsible if al-Qaeda attacks American targets.      [time.Aug.04.2002]

==Jun.29-Jul.01 > [X] Atta visits Las Vegas and confers with his fellow conspirators.      [jdw]

==Jun.--- > [X] A videotape of bin Laden is circulated in the Middle East, in which he threatens more massive attacks, saying “With small capabilities, and with our faith, we can defeat the greatest military power of modern times.  America is much weaker than it appears.”  He reassures potential martyrs: “You will not die needlessly.  Your lives are in the hands of God,”  and encourages the killing of Israelis and Americans: “We will see again Saladin carrying his sword, with the blood of unbelievers dripping from it.”      [nyt.Sep.12.2001]

==Jun.--- > [X] The US successfully tests a plan to kill bin Laden with a guided missile fired from a drone aircraft.      [hiro1]

==Jun.--- > [X] Terrorist threats in Yemen force the FBI to pull its agents out of the country.  Several months earlier, chief FBI investigator John O’Neill was barred from the country by US Ambassador Bodine, with whom he’d been feuding.  The US embassy in Yemen is closed for all but its most essential functions and the investigation into the USS Cole bombing grinds to a halt for several months. The Bush administration is unconcerned - "They showed no interest in following up the Cole," Richard Clarke's deputy later recalled.       [berg / naftali]

==Jun.--- > [XX] A powerful Taliban / al-Qaeda offensive fails to defeat the Northern Alliance.      [hiro1]

==mid-year.2001 > [] The stock market slide is beginning to hurt major banks in America.       [wap.Nov.14.2002]

Text Symbols
[] = The Levant: Israel, Palestine,
         Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey
[X]  = Non-Islamist Terrorism
[] = Egypt and North Africa
[X] = Islamist Extremists
[] = The Persian Gulf Region and Arabia
[X] = Islamist Terrorism (not al-Qaeda)
[] = Central and Southern Asia
[X] = al-Qaeda and bin Laden
[] = Africa
[X] = The 9/11 Operation
[] = Europe and the Soviet Union
[X] = Counterterrorism
[] = The United States

This chronology is intended as an outline of developments related to 9/11 and its aftermath, and tends to focus on unrest, war, and terrorism. It is not meant to be a comprehensive timeline of Middle East history.

9/11 Intro          Source Abbreviations

1948-1978      1979-1986      1987-1992      1993-1995      1996-1998      1999-2000

2001, Jul-Sep.10      September 11, 2001, Part I      September 11, 2001, Part II