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September 2, 2010

9/11 Commission Documents about the US Embassy in Riyadh


This post lists all the documents we are finding in the 9/11 Commission’s archives about the US Embassy in Riyadh, at which four visas were issued to the 9/11 hijackers.The documents have been posted at the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd. I am reading through the commission’s documents gradually and highlighting interesting information. This post will be updated if I find any more information related to the embassy.

A memo of a February 2003 State Department inspector general interview of a consular officer who issued a visa to 9/11 hijacker Satam al Suqami in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in November 2000. The officer says that she did interview al Suqami and recalls his photo, although the 9/11 Commission later suggested she did not interview him. She also says she later helped develop the Visa Express programme. The officer may be Elizabeth Colton, the Vice Consul in Riyadh at this time.

Another version of the memo with a page missing.

A memo of a January 2003 State Department inspector general interview of a consular officer who issued a visa to 9/11 hijacker Hamza Alghamdi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in October 2000. The consular officer says there were hits in the consular database, but that they were for people with similar names and different dates of birth. The officer says he did not interview Alghamdi and he probably would have given him a visa even if he had.

Another version of the document with slightly different redactions.

A memo of a January 2003 State Department inspector general interview of a female consular officer who issued visas to 9/11 hijackers Mohand Alshehri and Majed Moqed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in October and November 2000. She says that there were “hits” the in the consular database for the two men, but she determined these were for similar people, not Alshehri and Moqed. She did not interview them.

Another version of the document with slightly different redactions.

A list of 28 questions put by the US State Department Inspector General to the various consular officers who issued visas to the 9/11 hijackers.

Notes on a June 2002 telephone conversation with a State Department official about the number of US consular positions worldwide.

Withdrawal notices from the 9/11 Commission’s files, one for a telephone directory for the US embassy in Abu Dhabi, the other for a list of consular staff at the US embassies in Riyadh and Berlin.

The masterlist for all documents the 9/11 Timeline has obtained and is analysing can be found here.

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August 28, 2010

FOIA Update: Tenet Memo Found

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline,Document Collection — kevinfenton @ 11:47 am
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The CIA has got back to me about the Tenet ‘We Are at War’ memo with amazing speed. I had filed an FOIA request for the memo a few weeks ago. Instead of saying they couldn’t find it, wanted me to pay thousands of dollars to look and then probably wouldn’t give it to me anyway, they’re telling me they have found it (somebody else has already asked), they only want 10 cents a page for copying (I thought you were supposed to get some pages free?) and won’t give it to me anyway (and won’t definitely tell me they won’t give it to me anyway for a very long, but indeterminate period of time). This is real progress!

Anyway, this is the actual text of the CIA’s reply:

We are currently processing a request for the same records from another requester. Once our research and review of that request is completed, we will forward to you the same CIA-originated records, if released. We will charge you ten cents per page for copies of the relased material. We have a substantial backlog, which we are working diligently to reduce, so we are unable to estimate when we will complete our review. However, we will notify you once the processing of the original request is complete.

August 24, 2010

New FOIA Request: Report from Internal FBI Investigation

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline,Document Collection — kevinfenton @ 2:02 am

I have filed a new FOIA request, this time for a report from an internal FBI investigation into the pre-9/11 intelligence failures. The existence of the report, which is different to the Justice Department inspector general’s report, was first revealed in the 2008 Jeff Stein article “FBI Prevents Agents from Telling ‘Truth’ About 9/11 on PBS.” It was from this article that we learned what Doug Miller and Mark Rossini really knew about the blocking of Miller’s draft cable from Alec Station to the FBI about Pentagon hijacker Khalid Almihdhar’s US visa. So, hopefully, it would be pretty useful if it ever gets released in unredacted form.

A list of successful FOIA requests can be found here and unsuccessful ones here.

August 18, 2010

New FOIA Request: “We Are at War” Memo

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline,Document Collection — kevinfenton @ 8:57 am
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I have filed a new FOIA request, this time for a CIA memo drafted by former agency Director George Tenet on December 4, 1998 in the follow-up to the East African Embassy Bombings. It was entitled “Usama bin Laden” and concerns CIA operations against al-Qaeda. It was sent to several leading CIA officials and his deputy for intelligence community management. Apparently on page 2, it states: “We are at war. I want no resources or people spared in this effort, either inside the CIA or the Community.” The directive has been mentioned repeatedly in numerous accounts, including the 9/11 Commission’s report and Tenet’s own book, At the Center of the Storm.

A list of successful FOIA requests can be found here and unsuccessful ones here.

June 21, 2010

New FOIA Request: Compensation Payments Made to 9/11 Commissioners

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline,Document Collection — kevinfenton @ 1:18 am
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I have filed a new FOIA request. It is for records of compensation payments made to the eleven people who sat on the 9/11 Commission and was submitted to the General Services Adminsitration, which I understand has some records related to admin work for the commission.

The compensation payments were basically salary by another name. As far as I can tell based on partial records Erik found at the National Archives, not all the commissioners were collecting them, and most of the ones who did got not very much. However, one of the commissioners had himself paid an amount probably not that far south of US$ 100,000, which is not chump change, and it would be interesting to know exactly how much he got.

A list of successful FOIA requests can be found here and unsuccessful ones here.

March 19, 2010

The Secret Coded Indicator in 9/11 Hijackers’ Passports: ‘Holy Capital’?


The “secret coded indicator” of “terrorist affiliation” placed in some of the 9/11 hijackers’ passports by Saudi authorities appears to have been a special reference to the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca. Islam’s holiest city is sometimes known as “Holy Capital,” a term used to describe the passports of two of the hijackers containing the indicator in 9/11 Commission documents found at the National Archives by History Commons contributor Erik Larson.

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February 28, 2010

9/11 Commission Documents about the US Consulate in Jeddah (updated 13 April 2010)


This post lists all the documents we are finding in the 9/11 Commission’s archives about the US Consulate in Jeddah, at which numerous visas were issued to the 9/11 hijackers.The documents have been posted at the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd. I am reading through the commission’s documents gradually and highlighting interesting information. This post will be updated if I find any more information related to the consulate.

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February 13, 2010

July 2001 Communication between KSM and Bin al-Shibh Intercepted, Later Obtained by Moussaoui Prosecutors


A July 2001 telephone call between alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) and 9/11 coordinator Ramzi bin al-Shibh was intercepted, apparently by the NSA. Prosecutors and FBI agents working on the Zacarias Moussaoui case later obtained detailed information about the call, and shared it with the 9/11 Commission.

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February 2, 2010

Ziad Jarrah’s German Passport Revisited

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline,Document Collection — kevinfenton @ 10:27 am
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Many, many years ago I wrote a post arguing that Ziad Jarrah had a German alien’s passport, in addition to his two Lebanese ones. As I was looking through the 9/11 Commission’s files I found some support for this.

Here is 122-page FBI document which repeatedly states Jarrah had a German passport:

On page 33:

Admission number was 15081969007 as 01 visitor status and he returned to using his German passport number 1619505.

On page 57:

LISA had made copies of JARRAH’s Florida driver’s license and German passport #1619505 with US Visa.

On page 110:

5/25/00 JARRAH obtained a German Passport # 1619505 with US visa issued through Berlin.

Additionally, in a section giving basic information about Jarrah, this document (page 3) says:

Lebanon Passport # 1619505 (same # as German passport).

Naturally, this is pretty bizarre (he had a German passport with the same number as his Lebanese passport?!), but I suppose there must be some explanation.

Even more strangely, the longer document says he also used another passport number. On page 32 it is given as 0029337102, and on page 111 it is given as 0029537102 (presumably a small typo in one place). However, the country issuing this passport is not specified.

January 21, 2010

9/11 Commission Documents about KSM (updated 17 March 2010)


This post lists documents related to the 9/11 Commission’s investigation of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM). The documents have been posted at the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd. I am reading through them gradually and highlighting interesting information. This post will be updated continuously.

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