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Summary of 9/11 Timeline

by Paul Thompson

1962: America’s top military leaders drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in US cities to trick the public into supporting a war against Cuba in the early 1960s. Approved in writing by the Pentagon Joint Chiefs, Operation Northwoods even proposed blowing up a US ship and hijacking planes as a false pretext for war. [ABC, 5/1/01]

1996-2001: Federal authorities were aware for years before 9/11 that suspected terrorists with ties to Osama bin Laden were receiving flight training at schools in the US and abroad. One convicted terrorist confessed that his planned role in a terror attack was to crash a plane into CIA headquarters. [Washington Post, 9/23/01]

Aug 1998: CIA intelligence reports that Arab terrorists are planning to fly a bomb-laden aircraft into the WTC (World Trade Center). [New York Times, 9/19/02, Senate Intelligence Committee (Witness Hill), 9/18/02]

1998-2000: On three occasions, spies in Afghanistan report bin Laden's location. Each time, the president approves an attack. Each time, the CIA Director says the attack can’t go forward. [New York Times, 12/30/01] CIA officer in charge of Al Qaeda: White House repeatedly refused to eliminate bin Laden [Los Angeles Times, 12/4/04]

2000–2001: The military conducts exercises simulating hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets causing mass casualties. One target is the WTC. Another is the Pentagon. Yet after 9/11, over and over the White House and security officials say they’re shocked that terrorists hijacked airliners and crashed them into landmark buildings. [USA Today, 4/19/04] [Military District of Washington, 11/3/00] [New York Times, 10/3/01]

2000-2001: 15 of the 19 hijackers fail to fill in visa documents properly in Saudi Arabia. Only six are interviewed. All 15 should have been denied entry to the US. [Washington Post, 10/22/02, ABC, 10/23/02] Two top senators say that if State Department personnel had merely followed the law, 9/11 would not have happened. [AP, 12/18/02]

Jan 2001: After the Nov 2000 elections, US intelligence agencies are told to “back off” investigating the bin Ladens and Saudi royals. There have always been constraints on investigating Saudi Arabians. [BBC, 11/6/01]

Spring 2001: US government documents legitimize military force in the pursuit of oil. One advocates presidential subterfuge and hiding the reasons for warfare “as a necessity for mobilizing public support.” [Sydney Morning Herald, 12/26/02] Another advocates war with Iraq to control its oil. [Sunday Herald, 10/5/02]

May 2001: For the third time, US security chiefs reject Sudan’s offer of thick files on bin Laden and al-Qaeda. A senior CIA source calls it “the worst single intelligence failure in the business.” [Guardian, 9/30/01]

June-Aug 2001:  German intelligence warns the CIA that Middle Eastern terrorists are training for hijackings and targeting American interests. Russian President Vladimir Putin alerts the US of suicide pilots training for attacks on US targets. In late July, a Taliban emissary warns the US that bin Laden is planning a huge attack on American soil. In August, Israel warns of an imminent Al Qaeda attack. [Fox News, 5/17/02] [Independent, 9/7/02]

July 4-14, 2001: Bin Laden may have received kidney treatment from Canadian-trained Dr. Callaway at the American Hospital in Dubai. Dr. Callaway is unavailable for comment. During his stay, bin Laden is alleged to have been visited by one or two CIA agents. [UPI, 11/1/01, London Times 11/1/01, Guardian, 11/1/01]

July 26, 2001: Attorney General Ashcroft stops flying commercial airlines due to a threat assessment. [CBS, 7/26/01] In May 2002, Ashcroft walks out of his office rather than answer questions about it. [AP, 5/16/02]

Aug 6, 2001: President Bush receives an intelligence briefing warning that bin Laden might be planning to hijack commercial airliners. Titled “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US,” the briefing specifically mentions the WTC. Yet Bush later claims it “said nothing about an attack on America.” [Washington Post, 4/11/04, Briefing, 8/6/01]

Aug 27, 2001: An FBI supervisor says he’s trying to keep a hijacker from “flying a plane into the WTC.” [Senate Report (Hill #2), 10/17/02] Headquarters chastises him for notifying the CIA. [Time, 5/21/02] The FBI Director later states, "There was nothing the agency could have done to prevent the attacks." [Senate (Breitweiser), 9/18/02]

Sept 10, 2001: Newsweek has learned a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns." [Newsweek, 9/24/01, fifth to the last paragraph]

Sept 11, 2001: Data recovery experts extract data from 32 damaged WTC computer drives. The data reveals a surge in financial transactions shortly before the attacks. Illegal transfers of over $100 million may have been made through some WTC computer systems immediately before and during the 9/11 disaster. [Reuters, 12/18/01]

Sept 11, 2001: Described as a bizarre coincidence, a US intelligence agency was all set for an exercise on Sept 11th at 9 AM in which an aircraft would crash into one of its buildings near Washington, DC. [AP, 8/22/02]

Sept 11, 2001: Warren Buffett, the second richest man on Earth [BBC, 6/22/01], schedules an event at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. A group of business leaders attend, including at least one who would otherwise have died in the WTC. [SF Business Times, 2/1/02] President Bush flies to this same base that day. [CNN, 9/12/01]

Sept 11, 2001: Hours after the attacks, a "shadow government" is formed. Key congressional leaders say they didn’t know this government-in-waiting had been established. [CBS, 3/2/02, Washington Post, 3/2/02]

Sept 13-19, 2001: Bin Laden's family is taken under FBI supervision to a secret assembly point. They leave the country by private plane when airports reopen days after the attacks. [NY Times, 9/30/01][Boston Globe, 9/20/01]

Sept 15-16, 2001: Several of the 9/11 hijackers, including lead hijacker Mohamed Atta, may have had training at secure US military installations. [Newsweek, 9/15/01, Washington Post, 9/16/01, New York Times, 9/15/01]

Dec 2001-Feb 2002: The US engineers the rise to power of two former Unocal Oil employees: Hamid Karzai, the interim president of Afghanistan, and Zalmay Khalizad, the US envoy. The big American bases created in the Afghan war are completely identical to the route of the projected oil pipeline. [Chicago Tribune, 3/18/02]

Mar 13, 2002: President Bush on bin Laden: “I truly am not that concerned about him.” [White House, 3/13/02] Pentagon Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Myers: "The goal has never been to get bin Laden." [DOD/CNN, 4/6/02]

May 17, 2002: Dan Rather says that he and other journalists haven't been properly investigating since 9/11. He graphically describes the pressures to conform that built up after the attacks. [Guardian, 5/17/02]

May 23, 2002: President Bush says he is opposed to establishing an independent commission to probe 9/11. [CBS, 5/23/02] Vice President Cheney earlier opposed any public hearings on 9/11. [Newsweek, 2/4/02]

May 30, 2002: FBI Agent Wright formally accuses the FBI of deliberately curtailing investigations that might have prevented 9/11. He is threatened with retribution if he talks to Congress about this. [Fox News, 5/30/02]

Oct 5, 2002: Congressional investigators say the FBI attempted to block their 9/11 inquiry. The Justice Department also fought congressional requests, while the CIA has been antagonistic. [New York Times, 10/5/02]

Oct 27, 2002: Defense chief Rumsfeld’s board recommends the creation of a super-intelligence body that would launch secret operations to “stimulate reactions” among terrorists and states owning weapons of mass destruction. It would prod terrorists into action to force “quick-response” attacks by the US. [LA Times 10/27/02]