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October 22, 2015

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Pre-9/11 Warnings about Al-Qaeda, Cheney’s Military Aide on 9/11, and More

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — Matt @ 5:26 am
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New entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, which cover various events relating to the 9/11 attacks. Many of them describe warnings about the danger posed by al-Qaeda that were given in the 12 months leading up to 9/11 and some describe events from the day of September 11, 2001, itself.

Donald Rumsfeld Was Concerned about a Possible ‘Modern-Day Version’ of Pearl Harbor

A couple of new timeline entries deal with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s preoccupation, in the months before 9/11, with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941 that led America to enter World War II. In March 2001, Rumsfeld sent members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff a copy of the foreword to a book, which discussed the US government failures that led to the attack on Pearl Harbor. And in July that year, he wrote a note to himself in which he expressed his fear of the United States experiencing a “modern-day version” of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Other senior officials talked, in the months before 9/11, about the possibility of a Pearl Harbor-like event happening in the future. In June 2001, Army General Tommy Franks, commander in chief of the US Central Command, gave a speech in which he said the US needed to prepare for an “asymmetric” attack resembling the attack on Pearl Harbor. And on the day before 9/11, Charles Nemfakos, deputy under secretary of the Navy, said during a briefing that the US would have to suffer an attack comparable to the attack on Pearl Harbor before it would address the problems with its defense policy.

Officials Warned about the Danger Posed by Al-Qaeda

A number of new entries describe warnings that were made, in the 12 months before 9/11, about al-Qaeda and the possibility that it would carry out an attack in the United States.

In September 2000, CIA officer Ben Bonk warned Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush of the threat posed by Islamic extremist groups and said that, in the next four years, Americans would be sure to die in a terrorist attack. At the end of May 2001, terrorism experts Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal in which they stated that al-Qaeda was “planning new attacks on the US.”

In the summer of 2001, Tommy Franks raised concerns that al-Qaeda would attack Western facilities in the Middle East using planes loaded with explosives. Four days before 9/11, Franks actually told his intelligence officers his greatest fear was that terrorists would attack the World Trade Center.

One week before 9/11, White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke wrote a memo in which he warned that “hundreds of Americans” could die in an al-Qaeda attack. And on the day before 9/11, a report was issued to Congress, which stated that al-Qaeda “wants to strike within the United States.”

There were also concerns that the Pentagon could be the target of an attack. At some time in the year 2000, a software system commissioned by the Department of Defense determined that the building was vulnerable to a terrorist attack. And, prior to 9/11, some Pentagon Renovation Program workers were concerned about the possibility of a “crazy pilot” deliberately crashing a plane into the Pentagon. And yet, at some unspecified time before 9/11, senior FBI agent John O’Neill told Senate Intelligence Committee staffers there were no threats to aviation in the United States.

Air Defense Exercise Was Based on Bin Laden Attacking Washington

A couple of entries reveal how personnel at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector, who were responsible for protecting the airspace in which the hijackings occurred on September 11, were made aware of the al-Qaeda threat. They were briefed about the danger posed by Osama bin Laden in July 2001, and on August 4, 2001, they participated in a training exercise based around the scenario of bin Laden using a drone aircraft to attack a prominent target in the Washington, DC, area.

An entry describes three “economic security exercises” held between 1997 and 1999 by the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and Wall Street bond firm Cantor Fitzgerald, in which participants considered scenarios such as terrorists attacking the US financial community with bombings using aircraft. The Naval War College and Cantor Fitzgerald subsequently held three “war game workshops” at the World Trade Center, which apparently served as good preparation for the challenges of the post-9/11 world.

NORAD Didn’t Tell the Pentagon about the Hijackings on September 11

Other new timeline entries describe events from the day of September 11.

For more than 50 minutes after it learned a plane had been hijacked, NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) failed to inform the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon about the hijacking. And for at least 50 minutes after its fighter jets set up a combat air patrol (CAP) over Washington, NORAD failed to tell the Pentagon’s air threat conference call that the CAP had been established.

Several entries describe the actions of Douglas Cochrane, Vice President Dick Cheney’s military aide, in response to the terrorist attacks. After he learned a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, Cochrane went from his office to the White House Situation Room and then, briefly, to Cheney’s office. After he saw the second crash at the World Trade Center live on television, he returned to his office to fetch the “nuclear football”–a briefcase that holds the codes necessary for the vice president to initiate a nuclear attack. He subsequently joined Cheney in an underground tunnel that leads to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center below the White House, where he was told that an aircraft had hit the Pentagon.

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December 8, 2009

Response to Maher Osseiran’s Critique of David Ray Griffin’s Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 2:45 am
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Maher Osseiran, who has written about Osama bin Laden and his many videos, recently wrote a rather scathing critique of David Ray Griffin’s Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? I had planned to write about the book at more length, but, sparked by Osseiran’s article, I figure I’ll address one issue now.

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November 14, 2009

The Very Evident Guilt of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri


The US Justice Department yesterday announced that five Guantanamo detainees would finally be moved to New York to face a normal trial, while others, including alleged USS Cole bombing mastermind Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, would face not ordinary trials, but military commissions.

Reading between the lines of the officials statements and taking comment pieces into account, it seems that the reason for this is that prosecutors are confident of convicting the five to be sent to New York (who will very probably plead guilty, so there won’t be a trial), but not so sure they could convict al-Nashiri.

I was pretty surprised by this decision, and would simply like to highlight some evidence indicating al-Nashiri’s guilt that, in my opinion, is very strong and would very probably be admissible in a normal court. Primarily, this is the statement al-Nashiri made at his military commission hearing in spring 2007 (and presumably similar statements he would have made to FBI investigators in Guantanamo Bay).

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November 25, 2008

Almihdhar and Alhazmi Were Already Part of 9/11 Plot when They Obtained US Visas


There is a story put about by the 9/11 Commission that when 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar obtained US visas in April 1999 , they had not yet been selected for the 9/11 operation. Although this is a fourth-hand account of information allegedly tortured out of a detainee who was demonstrably lying some, if not most of the time, and is contradicted by other evidence, it has gained some currency. I was most displeased to see the claim repeated in James Bamford’s new book The Shadow Factory , which motivated me to write this up.

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July 23, 2008

Embassy Bombings Category Summary Part 2: Links to 9/11 Missed

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 1:24 am
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This is the second part of a summary of the 9/11 Timeline’s embassy bombings category, the first section of which can be found here. This part looks at the investigation of the bombings by the US, and the missed opportunities to focus on operatives who would later go on to be involved in the 2000 USS Cole bombing and 9/11.

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