NSA intercepts of hijackers' calls – update

I noticed this passage in the One Percent Doctrine by Ron Suskind (pp. 93-94). It is further evidence that the NSA intercepted some of the hijackers' calls to/from the US before 9/11:

“FBI investigators had been interviewing [FBI agent] Coleman and others throughout the winter, seeking context on several key NSA dispatches that had been discovered in the days after 9/11. Most notable among them were calls NSA had collected in 2000 from San Diego to a number in Yemen. The Yemen number was for the daughter of a man who, Coleman told investigators, “was the uncle of half the violent jihadists we knew of in the country.” This was the number—so familiar to Coleman from his work prosecuting al Qaeda that he knew it by heart—the 9/11 hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar had called while he hid out in San Diego. In fact, Coleman and other FBI al Qaeda specialists had even placed an order with the NSA back in 1998—that any calls between the Yemen line and the US be passed to the bureau—that the NSA didn't fill. “For us,” Coleman said, “anyone who called the Yemen number is white-hot, a top suspect.”

Hattip: PT

I have some comments:
(1) If you hadn't already heard, the NSA intercepted some of the hijackers' calls.

(2) Al Mihdhar did not hide out in San Diego. Although he was a terrorist known to several intelligence agencies by this time he used a passport and visa in his own name, opened a bank account in his open name, rented an apartment in his own name, obtained a driving licence in his own name, etc.

(3) Dispatches! I would have thought that the NSA's first line of defence would be to claim the calls didn't meet its reporting threshold. If dispatches were drafted, then they can't use this argument.

(4) Dispatches! Would these dispatches not have been dispatched somewhere – for example to some Other Government Agency? Which one(s)? Would this Other Government Agency not then have a paper (electronic) trail related to them? I guess a paper trail like that would make it difficult for them to claim they didn't know Al Mihdhar was in the US.

(5) FBI agent Coleman indicates that in the calls Al Mihdhar talked to his wife (who was Ahmed Al Hada's daughter) as opposed, for example, to discussing operational information with her brother or father. The 9/11 Commission also made the same claim: “Mihdhar's mind seems to have been with his family back in Yemen, as evidenced by calls he made from the apartment telephone. When news of the birth of his first child arrived, he could stand life in California no longer.” (p. 222). Presumably, therefore, the Commission had some access to the NSA material. However, in the relevant endnote (No. 38 on p. 518) the Commission fails to reference the NSA dispatches (or transcripts of the calls). The relevant section only reads, “On Mihdhar's phone calls, see. e.g., FBI report, “Hijackers Timeline,” Nov. 14, 2003 (Mar. 20, 2000 entry, citing 265A-NY-280350-19426).” (Note: one of the calls was made on 20 March 2000, according to the FBI OIG report). Why would the Commission omit a story as important as the NSA intercepting the hijackers' calls? Surely it should have investigated this and found why they weren't disseminated (as Al Mihdhar was “white hot, a top suspect”) or, if they were disseminated, to whom?

(6) According to an edition of MSNBC Hardball broadcast on 21 July 2004, the calls did not end when Al Mihdhar returned to the Middle East in summer 2000 and “The final call from Yemen to the hijackers came only weeks before 9/11.”
Link: MSNBC Hardball