Mohammad Atta

 

Keys to symbols


July 2001:
==Jul.01 > [X] California Senator Diane Feinstein, who is on the Intelligence Committee, warns CNN “Intelligence staff tell me that there is a major probability of a terrorist incident within the next three months.”       [time.May.27.2002]

==Jul.02 > [X] The FBI warns law enforcement agencies and the White House of possible overseas attacks by al-Qaeda - although it does not rule out domestic attacks.  The warning is reiterated on July 18.      [time.May.27.2002 / jdw]

==Jul.03 > [X] Convicted terrorist Ahmed Ressam, who has been giving detailed accounts of al-Qaeda’s plans, testifies that US airports are a prime target.      [nwwk.May.27.2002]

==Jul.03 > [X] CIA Director Tenet urgently appeals to 20 foreign intelligence services for the arrest of known al-Qaeda operatives.      [wap.May.17.2002]

==Jul.04 > [] The Israeli Cabinet gives the army almost complete freedom to assassinate ‘security risks’ in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.  Next day, the Cabinet falls into an uproar as right-wing members demand full-scale military action against the occupied territories.  Continued assassinations, bombings, and other violence by both sides continues through the summer.      [gdn.Oct.17.2001]

==Jul.05 > [X] Bush becomes aware of the increasing intelligence chatter indicating an imminent terror attack: he directs National Security Adviser Rice to review the situation, and Rice meets with counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke.  In addition to his conference with Rice, the busy Clarke convenes two meetings this same day on the possibility of terrorist attacks.  The larger briefing is held in the White House Situation Room with officials from a dozen federal agencies - Clarke tells them “Something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it's going to happen soon,” and warns that the attack will be designed to inflict mass casualties and will come with little or no warning.  For several weeks, the US government is on the highest level of alert.  July marks the pre-9/11 height of US government fears of a major terrorist attack.      [nyt.May.17.2002 / wap.May.17.2002 / jdw]

==Jul.05 > [X] In Florida, Atta is pulled over for speeding.  During the routine check, the police computer fails to report that he has an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court for a traffic violation.      [inside]

==Jul.06 > [X] The Pentagon issues another anti-terrorism alert to US military forces.      [jdw]

==Jul.06 > [X] Clarke puts the Counterterrorism Security Group on full alert, directs its members to restrict non-essential travel, and orders it to report anything unusual - “even if a sparrow should fall from a tree.” On Jul.07, Clarke meets with senior federal security officials and repeats this urgent request for information… but in the weeks to come, both the CIA and the FBI fail to disclose critical intelligence.      [nyt.May.17.2002 / clarke]

==Jul.08-19 > [X] Atta visits Spain, probably to work out the final details of 9/11 with an al-Qaeda operational commander.      [lat.Sep.01.2002]

==Jul.10 > [X] Agent Kenneth Williams in Arizona sends a memo to FBI headquarters and to two field offices warning that suspected terrorists have been attending flight training schools, and urging a nation-wide investigation.  The FBI takes no action and neglects to pass the memo to other concerned agencies.      [time.Aug.04.2002 / wap.May.17.2002]

==Jul.12 > [] The House scuttles the campaign finance reform bill.      [info]

==Jul.16 > [X] British intelligence agencies warn Prime Minister Blair that al-Qaeda is in “the final stages” of preparing an attack on the West, most likely against US or Israeli interests.  The report is presumably passed on to US intelligence.      [tml.Jun.14.2002]

==Jul.16 > [] A Russian-Chinese friendship treaty is signed, inspired by their opposition to the Bush administration’s missile defense program.      [info]

==Jul.17 > [] India and Pakistan break off talks on Kashmir.      [info]

==Jul.17 > [] Katherine Graham, the widely admired former publisher of the Washington Post, dies at the age of 84.      [info]

==Jul.17-22 > [X] At a UN-sponsored conference on Afghanistan held in Berlin, senior American diplomats tell former Pakistani Foreign Minister Niaz Naik that the US is already planning to attack Afghanistan by mid-October unless bin Laden is handed over.  The warning is presumably passed on to the Taliban.  A US delegate later admits that Naik could have been told that America “might be considering some military action” against the Taliban, but denies mentioning any details.  In any event, it is unlikely that American public opinion would have supported large-scale military operations in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks.  See Sep.09      [hiro1 / gdn.Sep.22.2001]

==Jul.19 > [] VP Cheney refuses a demand from the GAO that he hand over the records of his energy task force.      [cnn.Jul.19.2001]

==Jul.19 > [X] The State Department warns that terrorist attacks could be imminent in the Arabian Peninsula.      [spi.Jul.19.2001]

==Jul.20 > [X] The Pentagon issues yet another anti-terrorism alert to US military forces.      [jdw]

==Jul.20-22 > [X] The Genoa G8 economic summit is held, with Bush, Blair, Chirac, Putin, and other heads of state present.  Western and Russian intelligence agencies have had many warnings of terrorist attacks on the meeting - in particular, Italian officials have received reports that Islamist terrorists are plotting to crash a hijacked airliner into the conference.  Security measures are unprecedented, including deployment of 15,000 police and military personnel in the town, emplacement of surface-to-air missiles at the airport, underwater patrols by frogmen, and the closure of airspace over the city. After an attack fails to materialize, US fears of terrorist attacks subside until September 11.      [lat.Sep.27.2001 / time.May.27+Aug.04.2002 / cnn.Jul.18.2001]

==Jul.23 > [] 178 nations reach an accord on global warming.  The United States is not one of them.      [info]

==Jul.24 > [] Real estate magnate Larry Silverstein finalizes the purchase of the lease of the World Trade Center from the New York Port Authority for $3.2 billion.      [irei.Jul.26.2001]

==Jul.28 > [X] al-Qaeda operative Jamal Beghal is arrested in Dubai on his way to suicide bomb the US Embassy in Paris.  He eventually talks after rough interrogation and reveals the existence of a widespread terrorist network in Western Europe - but the information comes too late to compromise the 9/11 plot.      [nyt.Dec.28.2001 / time.May.27.2002 / gdn.Jan.20.2002]

==Jul.31 > [X] The FAA issues another terrorism advisory, urging “a high degree of alertness” for the possibility of hijackings.  The warning will expire before September 11.      [wap.May.17.2002]

==Jul.31 >  [X] A UN Security Council Resolution calls for posting UN officials on Afghanistan’s borders to enforce the arms embargo against the Taliban.  The Taliban and its Pakistani supporters threaten to kill any UN monitors they can get their hands on.      [hiro1]

==Jul.--- > [X] Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, who opposes his regime’s alliance with bin Laden, reportedly sends warnings to both a US diplomat in Pakistan and UN personnel in Kabul that al-Qaeda is preparing to launch a major attack within the United States.  The warnings are ignored.  An American diplomat later says “We were hearing a lot of that kind of stuff.  When people keep saying the sky's going to fall in and it doesn't, a kind of warning fatigue sets in.”  At about the same time, the CIA learns from an informant that in Afghanistan “Everyone is talking about an impending (terrorist) attack.”  The agency notes an increase in al-Qaeda propaganda efforts.      [reu.Sep.07.2002 / senic.Sep.18.2002]

==Jul.--- > [X] The FAA announces it intends to fine American Airlines $99,000 for lax security.      [wap.Sep.12.2001]



Summer 2001:
== > [X] The Taliban regime begins a harsh policy of burning villages in ethnic minority regions in northern, western, and central Afghanistan.  Many of the troops used in these actions are foreign Muslims enlisted by al-Qaeda.      [bbc.Sep.18.2001]



August 2001:
==Aug.05 > [X] The Taliban arrests 24 aid workers - eight foreigners and 16 Afghans - on the charge of propagating Christianity.  The arrested Afghans could face the death penalty.      [cnn.Aug.07.2001]

==Aug.06 > [•X] A couple days after Bush begins a month-long vacation at his ranch, he is presented with a CIA Presidential Daily Briefing entitled 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.' The PDB reports that al Qaeda is actively preparing for major terrorist attacks inside the United States, possibly involving hijacked planes. New York and Washington are specifically mentioned as likely targets. Despite the alarming nature of the PDB, no action is taken. [cnn.Apr.10.2004 / nyrb.Sep.23.2004]

=Later during Bush's August vacation, alarmed officials at the CIA sent a group of analysts to Crawford to speak directly to the president on the threat of a terrorist attack. Bush was not impressed. After the briefing, he scornfully told one of the CIA men "All right. You've covered your ass, now."     [susk2]

 

==Aug.09 > [X] A Hamas suicide bomber kills 15 Israelis and wounds 90 in a Jerusalem pizza restaurant.  Six of the dead are children.  Next day, Israel levels the Palestinian police headquarters in Ramallah with an air attack.      [gdn.Oct.17.2001]

==Aug.13 > [] A peace agreement is reached in Macedonia, which has been ravaged by fighting for months.      [info]

==Aug.13-14 > [X] Mohammad Atta and the 9/11 hijacker pilots gather in Las Vegas.  It is believed that the plans for 9/11 are finalized at this meeting.  Al-Shehhi pays visits to the Olympic Garden Topless Club - afterwards, his dancer recalls “Some big-man terrorist, huh?… He gave me a really shitty tip.”      [inside / tele.Oct.06.2001]

==Aug.14 > [] Israeli tanks destroy the Palestinian police headquarters in Jenin, in the largest Israeli incursion into the West Bank since the Palestinians took over in 1994.      [gdn.Oct.17.2001]

Jeff Skilling


==Aug.14 > [] Jeff Skilling resigns as CEO of Enron, and Chairman Ken Lay takes over the job.  Showing signs of burn-out, Skilling publicly claims he wants to spend more time with his family, but privately he’s horrified at the potential consequences of Enron’s falling stock prices.  The company is secretly approaching a crisis, but analysts continue to rate it as a “strong buy.”       [wap.Jul.29.2002 / npr.Aug.13.2003]

==Aug.15 > [] Enron Vice President Sherron Watkins writes a memo to Ken Lay warning “I am incredibly nervous that we will implode in a wave of accounting scandals.” By early September, a feeble internal investigation concludes there are no serious problems.  But Watkins memo also reaches Enron’s accounting firm Arthur Anderson, and the previously compliant accountants begin to worry.     [wap.Jul.29+Jul.30.2002]

==Aug.15-16 (night) > [XX] Al-Qaeda operative Moussaoui is arrested in Minnesota for visa violations while making a second attempt at completing flight training, after the suspicious flight school staff reports him to the FBI.      [time.May.27.2002]

==Aug.17 > [] Popular support for Ariel Sharon is falling - because much of the Israeli public considers him too soft on the Palestinians.      [gdn.Oct.17.2001]

==Aug.20 > [] Stephen S. Roach, chief economist of Morgan Stanley, says ''We have gone from boom to bust faster than anytime since the oil shock (of 1973). When you screech to a halt like that, it feels like getting thrown through the windshield.''      [nyt.Aug.20.2001]

==Aug.21 > [X] Minneapolis FBI agents working on the Moussaoui case warn FBI Headquarters that al-Qaeda may be planning to hijack a plane overseas and then use it to attack Washington.      [jdw]

==Aug.21-23 > [XX] Twenty months after it identified them at an al-Qaeda conference in Malaysia, the CIA finally puts the future hijackers Almihdhar and Alhazmi on the terror watch list and alerts the INS and the FBI.  The FBI is unable to find them before 9/11.  [wsj.Oct.16.2001 / senic.Oct.17.2002]

==Aug.21 > [] Three weeks before 9/11, the Washington Post prints an article on the “quiet debate” over the nature of US foreign policy.   Tom Donnelly, deputy director of the highly influential neoconservative Project for the New American Century, believes that the United States should openly conduct itself as an imperial power and should adopt a far more aggressive foreign policy.  Retired army colonel Andrew Bacevich agrees that the US is taking on an imperial role, but suspects “that we'll end up paying a higher cost, morally and materially, than we currently can imagine.”  Other critics point out that greater American belligerence will provoke greater international resistance to American power.  Historian Richard Kohn argues that most Americans would not give long-term support to an imperialist foreign policy, and that they “recognize that it would cost us our soul.”       [wap.Aug.21.2001]

==Aug.22 > [] The Bush administration admits that the budget surplus is dwindling.      [info]

==Aug.23 > [] Bush confirms that the US is abandoning the anti-ballistic missile treaty of 1972.      [info]

==late Aug. > [] The height of the Gary Condit flap.  The conservative Democratic Congressman, whose intern/lover has vanished, is being furiously attacked by pundits.      [info]

==late Aug. > [X] About this time, Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based Arabic magazine al-Quds al-Arabi, is told by sources close to bin Laden that al-Qaeda will soon launch a “huge and unprecedented attack” on American interests.  Atwan, who has heard claims like this before, doesn’t take the warnings seriously.      [irex.Sep.11.2001]

==late Aug. > [X] An anonymous letter accuses three Afghans detained in the Cayman Islands of being involved in “a major terrorist act against the U.S. via an airline or airlines.”      [lat.Sep.20.2001]

==Aug.26-Sep.05 > [X] The 9/11 hijackers buy their tickets - Atta buys his online on August 28.   By this time many of the hijackers are holed up in small groups in modest motels and apartments in Florida.      [inside / aubc.Nov.12.2001 / annot]

==Aug.27 > [XX] In an intercepted phone call to an al-Qaeda leader in Madrid, an operative says “In our lessons we have entered the field of aviation.  We’ve even cut the throat of the bird.”  Another translation of the last sentence could be “We are even going to cut the eagle's throat,” possibly a reference to the impending attacks on America.      [nyt.Dec.28.2001 / obs.Nov.25.2001]

==Aug.27 > [XX] French intelligence informs the FBI that the arrested flight school student Moussaoui has “Islamic extremist beliefs.”  FBI investigators working on the case begin to suspect that Islamists could be planning a terrorist attack involving hijacker-pilots seizing control of airliners - in a memo to FBI Headquarters one of the Minneapolis agents writes that he wanted to make sure that Moussaoui “did not take control of a plane and fly it into the World Trade Center.”   See August 28      [nyt.May.24.2002 / jdw]

==Aug.28 > [XX] FBI Headquarters refuses to approve a search warrant for Moussaoui’s laptop computer, despite urgent requests from its Minneapolis field office.      [jdw]

==Aug.28-30 > [] After four days of bloody attacks and reprisals, the first extended Israeli troop incursion into a Palestinian ruled area occurs at Beit Jala near Jerusalem.     [info / gdn.Oct.17.2001]

==Aug.29 > [] Bush refuses to alter his spending plans despite the rising budget crunch.      [info]

==Aug.29 > [XX] FBI Headquarters rejects urgent requests from a New York agent for an investigation into the whereabouts of 9/11 hijacker Almihdhar.  In response, the agent angrily e-mails “Whatever has happened to this - someday someone will die....the public will not understand why we were not more effective in throwing every resource we had at certain ‘problems.’”      [jdw]

==Aug.29 > [XX] Mohammad Atta informs al-Qaeda leader Ramzi bin al-Shibh that the attacks will take place on September 11.  Bin al-Shibh presumably orders al-Qaeda cells in Europe and elsewhere to evacuate.      [gdn.Sep.09.2002]

==Aug.30 > [X] According to Egyptian President Mubarak, he warns the US that al-Qaeda is in the final stages of preparing a major attack against an American target - information he has gained from an Egyptian agent who has penetrated the terrorist organization.  US officials deny they received such a warning.      [ap.Dec.07.2001 / nyt.Jun.04.2002]

==Aug.--- > []  Newt Gingrich, historian Bernard Lewis, and others complete a report for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s office on how ancient and medieval empires maintained dominance.  New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd later ridicules the study in a piece entitled ‘What Would Genghis Do?’      [nyt.Mar.05.2003]

==Aug.--- > [X] A former FAA special agent warns the agency that security is lax at Boston's Logan Airport. Two of the four hijacked flights will take off from Logan on 9/11.      [911cm]

==Aug.--- > [X] Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft submits a 20-page report on the status of American intelligence agencies in which he recommends a broad reorganization with greater consolidation under the CIA. Scowcroft discusses his proposals with Cheney, who seems supportive. After 9/11, Scowcroft's plans are blocked by Rumsfeld, whose enormous Defense Department intelligence empire would be threatened by the proposed reform.     [susk2]

 

==Aug.--- > [X] US intelligence learns that al-Qaeda has obtained a highly detailed map of the US diplomatic compound in Jakarta - one of the first indications that al-Qaeda and its allies are becoming active in Indonesia.  In August and October, Indonesian authorities briefly detain a number of foreign Muslims who are later found to be linked to al-Qaeda.      [wap.Jan.11.2002]



Late summer 2001:
== > [X] A senior political appointee says that CIA Director Tenet has "repeated (warnings of a terrorist attack) so often that people got tired of hearing it.” The intense terrorist alert of the early summer is relaxing.      [wap.May.17.2002]



September 2001:

Early September:
== > [X] Speaking at a conference in Frankfurt, structural engineer Les Robertson says he designed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to be strong enough to withstand a collision with a Boeing 707.      [ctr.Sep.11.2001]



September 1:
== > [X] In northern Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance detects a build-up of Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, evidently in preparation for an offensive.  See Sep.09      [time.Aug.04.2002]



September 4:
== > [X] More than seven months after Richard Clarke first urgently requested it, the Bush administration finally holds a Cabinet-level ‘Principals’ meeting on terrorism. Most of the counterterrorism plan Clarke drew up at the end of the Clinton administration is agreed to, but no funding is provided for it.  A proposal to use armed Predator drone planes to hunt bin Laden is opposed by the CIA and the Defense Department.  Rumsfeld continues to insist that Iraq is the major source of terrorism and to downplay the significance of al-Qaeda.  Clarke’s proposals amount to "everything we have done since 9/11," a senior administration official later admits.  The new policies are not implemented until after the attacks.      [wap.May.17.2002 /  clarke / time.Aug.04.2002]

== > [X] Robert Mueller is sworn in as FBI Director.      [fbi]

==Sep.04 or Sep.05 > [XX] The FBI cables information on the Moussaoui case to the FAA and to other intelligence agencies.  Nothing in the cable indicates that Moussaoui is linked to terrorist groups, and nothing indicates that he might be part of a larger, ongoing plot.       [senic.Sep.24.2002 / jdw]

== > [] General Mahmood Ahmad, the pro-Taliban head of Pakistani intelligence (the ISI) arrives in Washington and meets with senior US State Department and intelligence officials over the next week.  He is evidently bluntly told to cut the ISI’s ties to the Taliban or face grave consequences.  Ahmad is still in Washington on 9/11 and is left stranded after the attacks.      [tele.Sep.14.2001 / hiro1]



September 5:
== > [X] Three weeks after a Wall Street Journal piece by the anti-Muslim scholar Daniel Pipes had called on federal authorities to suppress anti-Israeli websites, a task force of 80 agents raids InfoCom ISP near Dallas, searching for alleged links to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.  InfoCom’s shut-down causes 500 mostly Arab websites to crash, including al-Jazeera news.  The raid is only the beginning of prolonged legal troubles for InfoCom’s Muslim owners.      [gdn.Sep.10.2001]



September 6:
== > [] The Bush administration drops the anti-trust case against Microsoft.      [info]

== > [X] In a high school classroom in Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, the son of Pakistani immigrants points out the window at the World Trade Center and tells his teacher “Do you see those two buildings?  They won’t be standing there next week.”  Police investigations after 9/11 found no trace of al-Qaeda involvement by the boy or his family.  One cop says “It’s creepy.  But what the hell are we going to do about it now?”  (This unlikely story seems to have been reliably confirmed.)      [msnbc.Oct.12.2001]

== > [X] The 9/11 hijackers evidently begin casing Logan airport in Boston.      [jdw]

== > [XX] Osama bin Laden learns of the date of the 9/11 attacks through a message from Ramzi bin al-Shibh.       [gdn.Sep.09.2002]



September 7:
== > [] America’s jobless rate jumps sharply to 4.9%, a four-year high.      [bbc.Sep.10.2001]

== > [] Fashion Week begins in New York City.  The fashion shows will come to an abrupt end on September 11.      [spi.Sep.14.2001]

== > [X] In south Florida, Mohamed Atta, al-Shehhi, and a third hijacker spend an evening at Shuckum’s Oyster Bar.  While his companions down mixed drinks, Atta drinks cranberry juice and intently plays video golf for four hours.  The hijackers get irate when presented with the bill.  “You think we cannot pay?” Atta screams at the manager.  “Who do you think we are?  We are American Airlines pilots!”  Four days later, Atta flies American Flight 11 into the World Trade Center.      [inside]

== > [X] The US State Department issues a little-noticed worldwide travel advisory in connection with threats from al-Qaeda.  The warnings are mainly directed to American military personnel in Korea and Japan, and no mention is made of any possibility of domestic attacks.   [usdos.Sep.07.2001]

== > [X] While officiating at a wedding in Todi, Italy, Father Jean-Marie Benjamin reportedly mentions to a judge and several politicians that terrorists are preparing an attack on American and British population centers using hijacked airplanes.  Father Benjamin is internationally known for his work in Islamic countries, where he has many contacts.      [zen.Sep.16.2001]

==Sep.07-09 > [X] Most of the hijackers split up and move north to Newark and Boston, staying in hotels.      [jdw / wsj.Oct.16.2001]



September 9:
==Sep.09 or Sep.10 > [] The carrier USS Carl Vinson replaces the USS Enterprise in the Persian Gulf. After the 9/11 attacks, the departing Enterprise will be ordered to turn back and remain in the region.      [wap.Sep.13.2001]

Ahmad Shah Massoud


== > [X] Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud is fatally wounded by al-Qaeda suicide bombers posing as journalists.  Within hours of the assassination, the Taliban launch a powerful offensive, but the Northern Alliance conceals Massoud’s death until September 15 and holds out against the Taliban assault.      [time.Aug.04.2002 / wiki]

== > [X] Defense Secretary Rumsfeld threatens to urge a veto if the Senate diverts $600 million from missile defense to counter-terrorism.      [wap.Jan.20.2002]

== > [X] A National Security Directive authorizing military strikes against al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan is on Condoleeza Rice’s desk, awaiting Bush’s approval.     [msnbc.May.16.2002]

== > [XX] A foreign intelligence service reportedly intercepts a phone call from Osama bin Laden to his adoptive mother in Syria, in which he tells her “In two days, you're going to hear big news, and you're not going to hear from me for a while.”  But the story is apparently false, and US intelligence soon discounts it.      [cnn.Oct.02.2001]

== > [X] Ziad Jarrah is ticketed in Maryland for driving 90 mph in a 65 mph zone.  The fine remains unpaid.      [jdw]

==Sep.09-10 > [X] In Boston, some of the hijackers sow their last oats.  Two hire a hooker, and four others price call girls but evidently can’t afford their last-minute services.      [reu.Oct.10.2001]



September 10:
== > [] Michael Jordan’s pending return to professional basketball is perhaps the hottest news story in America on September 10.      [wap.Sep.12.2001]

== > [] On the eve of 9/11, American stock prices are volatile, but at the end of the trading day the Dow Jones index manages to remain flat.  In the rest of the world, however, share prices drop sharply - the Nikkei index in Tokyo reaches a 17-year low.  Overall, prospects are gloomy but not yet desperate.  The New York Times writes of “the darkening economic outlook” while noting that most economists don’t anticipate a full-blown recession.      [bbc.Sep.10.2001 / nyt.Sep.11.2001]

== > [] The Saudis cancel high-level military talks with the US, in protest against the Bush administration’s inaction in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.  Anti-American sentiment is rising in the Arab world.      [bbc.Sep.10.2001]

== > [] Iran denies US charges that it is seeking to develop a nuclear arsenal, pointing out that Iran itself was a victim of weapons of mass destruction during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.       [reu.Sep.10.2001]

== > [X] A conference of deputy Cabinet secretaries agrees on a three-step strategy to force the Taliban to deport bin Laden. The plan is expected to take up to three years.      [ap.Mar.23.2004]

== > [X] Attorney General Ashcroft rejects a proposed $58 million increase in FBI counterterrorist funding - ignoring urgent requests for more translators, counterterrorism agents, and intelligence researchers - and proposes a $65 million cut in spending for state and local counterterrorism efforts.      [nyt.Jun.02.2002 / camp.Mar.22.2004]

== > [X] After being ignored for weeks, California Senator Feinstein contacts Vice President Cheney’s office to check on the status of urgent proposals for counterterrorism reforms that she submitted on July 20 (Cheney heads the administration’s counterterrorism efforts).  An aide tells her that it could take Cheney another six months to get around to reviewing the material.      [nwwk.May.27.2002 / feinst]

== > [X] The Congressional Research Service releases the report ‘Terrorism: Near Eastern Groups and State Sponsors.’  The paper describes al-Qaeda as a “global threat” and rates its terrorist activity level as ‘Extremely High,’ the highest of any terrorist group on the list.      [crs.Sep.10.2001]

== > [XX] The NSA intercepts several conversations between al-Qaeda members indicating that a terrorist attack is imminent, including “tomorrow is zero hour” and “the match begins tomorrow.” The messages aren’t translated until September 12.      [ust.Jun.20.2002]

== > [X] Neil Levin - executive director of the New York Port Authority, operator of the city’s airports, port facilities, bridges, and tunnels, and landlord of the World Trade Center - tells a reporter what he thinks of his job: “It's just fabulous.  I wake up each morning having no idea what challenges the day will bring.”  Levin works out of the North Tower of the WTC, and next morning he is having breakfast at Windows on the World on the 107th floor when the first plane hits.      [nyt.Sep.15.2001]
  
== > [X] John O’Neill enjoys an evening at Elaine’s Restaurant in New York City.  Formerly the FBI’s leading counterterrorism expert, O’Neill was recently forced out by bureaucratic infighting, and began his new job as head of security for the World Trade Center on August 23.  At Elaine’s he discusses the possibility of a terrorist attack: “We're due. And we're due for something big. Some things have happened in Afghanistan (evidently referring to the al-Qaeda assassination of Massoud the day before).  I don't like the way things are lining up in Afghanistan… I just -- I sense a shift, and I think things are going to happen.” When asked when, he says, “I don't know, but soon.”  Next morning, O’Neill is in the South Tower when it collapses.      [nykr.Jan.14.2002 / pbsf.Oct.03.2002]

== > [X] On the afternoon of September 10, hijacker Marwan al-Shehhi wires $5,400 in unused funds back to the United Arab Emirates from Boston.     [mcder]
=In the late afternoon, Atta and fellow hijacker al-Omari drive from Boston to Portland, Maine, for undetermined reasons.  They eat their last dinner at a Pizza Hut, buy a pair of box cutters at Wal-Mart, and spend their last night in a Comfort Inn.      [inside / prsac.Dec.01.2001]
=The hijackers have apparently been issued a five-page set of instructions that includes a section meant to console them during their final night.  They are advised to pray and to “be optimistic,” and are assured that they are about to enter “the infinite paradise.”      [wap.Sep.29.2001]
=Hijacker Ziad Jarrah has concealed the extent of his extremist beliefs from his family and from his wife, with whom he has only sporadic contact. On the last night of his life, Jarrah writes her a farewell letter: “You should be very proud, because it is an honor and in the end you will see that everyone will be happy.”      [mcder / bbc.Nov.19.2001]

Ziad Jarrah



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, Jan-Jun

September 11, 2001, Part I      September 11, 2001, Part II