Kevin Fenton's blog

7/7 and 21/7 London Bombings: Warnings Missed, Evidence Suppressed - Additions as of August 3, 2008

The vast majority of new entries in the 9/11 Timeline this week are related to the 7/7 and 21/7 London bombings. Lead bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan was already radicalized and linked to two future suicide bombers in 2001, when, four years before the attacks, a computer expert warned British police about two of the bombers. Hasib Hussain, another of the bombers, visited Pakistan in the years before the bombings, as did Shehzad Tanweer, who met militant leaders linked to Jaish-e-Mohammed there. Khan visited Israel, shortly before British Islamist bombers performed a bombing there.

Main Core Can Be A Key to 9/11

Salon recently published an article entitled Exposing Bush's historic abuse of power about a database known as Main Core. The article was focused on domestic surveillance in the US and connected up with a lot of other threads I have noticed swirling around 9/11. It strikes me that this could be the key to uncovering how the intelligence agencies, in particular the NSA, failed in the run up to 9/11 (and a lot more besides), and I will try and explain here how and why I think Main Core could be linked to the attacks.

Given that the article also said that lawmakers are considering the launch of an investigation modelled on the Church Committee into the programme, as well as other aspects of surveillance, this represents a very decent chance of getting to the bottom of what actually happened.

Continued at the History Commons Groups blog.

Flight 93, Rice on 9/11 - Additions to the 9/11 Timeline as of July 27, 2008

About half of the new entries in the History Commons' 9/11 Timeline this week deal with the actual day of 9/11. One set focus on Flight 93, on which passenger Todd Burnett reportedly said a hijacker had a gun, although the 9/11 Commission disagreed. Burnett's wife informed the FBI of her husband's calls before the plane crashed. United Airlines informed its staff of the crash at 10:17, American Airlines at 10:27, and the public at 11:17.

7/7 Mastermind Allegedly Worked for British Intelligence, Deena Burnett – Additions to the 9/11 Timeline as of July 20, 2008

(Edit: No matter what you think happened on 9/11, cooperative research is an outstanding resource for 9/11 researchers. Please send them a donation if you can. -rep. Donate here.)

Most of the new entries in the 9/11 Timeline this week are about the 7/7 London bombings, and in particular the alleged mastermind, Haroon Rashid Aswat. Aswat recruited militant fighters in London in the late 1990s, when his activities were known to British intelligence. He also attempted to set up terrorist training camps in the US, but the Justice Department blocked his indictment on these charges in 2002. He was falsely thought to have been killed in Afghanistan in 2003, monitored meeting the leaders of another British plot in 2004, and the British prevented the US from capturing him in South Africa in 2005.

9/11 Hijackers’ Visas, 7/7 London Bombings, Pakistan – 9/11 Timeline Additions as of July 13, 2008

There are numerous new entries about the 9/11 hijackers this week, in particular about their US visas, eleven of which were issued by the same consular official in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Ahmed Alghamdi was issued a visa in Jeddah, but not interviewed, despite general terrorism concerns at the consulate. Wail and Waleed Alshehri got new passports from a family member in the Saudi passport office in October 2000 and used them to get US visas despite errors on their applications.

Additions to the 9/11 Timeline as of July 6, 2008

The majority of new entries this week deal with Pakistan and its relations with al-Qaeda after 9/11. The Pakistani government allowed al-Qaeda and the Taliban to regroup in its tribal region, which was assisted by the US's failure to fund reform of Islamist education in Pakistan and to monitor Taliban strongholds. Suicide bombings dramatically increased in Afghanistan starting in 2004, partly because one top militant leader was allowed to operate openly in Pakistan, and a detainee released form Guantanamo became an important Taliban leader.

Pakistan, Day of 9/11, Londonistan – Additions to the 9/11 Timeline as of June 22, 2008

Many of the new entries this week deal with Pakistan. President Pervez Musharraf expressed his public support for the Taliban in May 2000, and the ISI then assisted an autumn offensive by the Taliban. After taking office, the Bush administration was slow to develop a new policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and only gave Pakistan vague warnings about its links with Osama bin Laden three months before 9/11. After the attacks, Richard Armitage made his disputed "stone age" comment, but the ISI secretly advised the Taliban to resist the US-led invasion.

CIA Inspector General's Report, Mole in Londonistan, Russia – 9/11 Timeline Additions as of August 15, 2008

One of the main additions to the 9/11 Timeline this week is a category dealing exclusively with the report drafted by the CIA's inspector general about some aspects of the agency's poor performance before 9/11. It deals with the report's origins, its redrafting at the insistence of the CIA's management, and the final release of a redacted executive summary. You can read a summary of the whole chapter here.

Wadih El-Hage: Embassy Bomber Was Under US Surveillance Before Attacks

It will soon be the 10th anniversary of the African embassy bombings. I am planning to write a series of short pieces about the attacks, and how they could easily have been prevented. The first one is a summary of the 9/11 Timeline's chapter on one of the bombers, Wadih El-Hage.

Wadih El-Hage was an al-Qaeda operative involved in the 1998 East African embassy bombings, as well as serving as Osama bin Laden’s personal secretary. He was under investigation and known to both the FBI and CIA for years before the attacks, and this surveillance represented a missed opportunity to save over 200 lives. He was arrested after the bombings and sentenced to life in prison.

Linked to Blind Sheikh

Abu Hamza, WTC Bombing, and More – 9/11 Timeline Additions as of June 8, 2008

One large group of new additions to the 9/11 Timeline this week concerns London-based imam Abu Hamza al-Masri, a key figure in the global militant network and an informer for the British security services.

Bali Bombings, CIA Search for 9/11 Hijackers in Thailand – 9/11 Timeline Additions as of June 1, 2008

The largest chunk of new entries this week deal with al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia in general and the 2002 Bali bombings in particular. A 1994 phone tap in the Philippines indicated that Hambali, a leader of the al-Qaeda affiliate Jemaah Islamiya (JI), was involved in the Bojinka plot, and after he was arrested in 2003 President Bush falsely promised he could be tried in Indonesia, where Jemaah Islamiya attacked the Philippine ambassador in 2000. Al-Qaeda-linked figures also helped militant Islamists fight Christians in the spice islands in 2000-2001, and the US unsuccessfully pressured Indonesia to allow the rendition of JI's spiritual leader in 2002.

Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia, the Bali Bombings, and the Indonesian Military – 9/11 Timeline Additions as of May 25, 2008

Most new entries in the 9/11 Timeline this week focus on al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Southeast Asia. One of the key moles, who penetrated radical Islamist organizations in Southeast Asia for the Indonesian government from the end of the 1970s, was Fauzi Hasbi, who was a founding member of the al-Qaeda affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), lived near JI leader Hambali for many years, and attended a top-level meeting of Southeast Asian militants.

Pentagon, WTC, Jerry Falwell – Additions to the 9/11 Timeline as of May 18, 2008

At the Pentagon, before 9/11 a clinic developed an emergency plan that helped the response to the attacks, and a fire five weeks before 9/11 further enhanced preparedness. The alert level was raised shortly before the Pentagon was hit, and people disguised as firefighters were arrested there the day after the attacks.

Regarding the World Trade Center, a structural engineer found evidence of extreme temperatures in the fires and criticized the decision to destroy the steel. In addition, an engineering journal recently published an article questioning whether the WTC was really destroyed by fire and impact damage.

2004 Madrid Bombings, Iran – Additions as of May 11, 2008

Again this week, most of the new entries in the 9/11 Timeline focus on the 2004 Madrid bombings. Shortly after 9/11, investigators linked together a cell in Madrid, London-based cleric Abu Qatada, and the "Hamburg Cell", and Spanish police monitored a house where the Madrid bombers would later build the bombs. They failed to arrest the bombers for common crimes they committed, but focused on one of the bombers' apartments, and increased surveillance of them in spring 2003.

Madrid Train Bombings, Al-Qaeda in Spain – Additions as of May 4, 2008

The vast majority of entries this week are about the 2004 Madrid train bombings and al-Qaeda in Spain. A suspect Spanish policeman sold a house to Moutaz Almallah, one of the bombers, in 1995, some of the bombers could have been arrested in a general sweep of al-Qaeda-linked militants in Spain after 9/11, but were not, although one of the masterminds was photographed with top al-Qaeda operative Barakat Yarkas. However, surveillance of the bombers continued and an informant spied on their secret meetings. The police learned one of the masterminds was preparing for "violent action", and another mastermind was surrounded by informants.

One informer monitored the bombers closely, and realized another of the alleged bombers also worked for the police. The wife of one of the bombers gave police stunning details about his activities in 2003 and they started monitoring a house used by he bombers based on a tip-off from her. She warned police the bombers were planning a suicide attack, and continued reporting on the group. Police received a big tip that could have prevented the bombings, monitored the apartment of one of the masterminds, and turned down the chance to videotape the bombers' meetings.