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. The US also found that the Indonesian military were behind a false-flag attack on US teachers in 2002, but did nothing, and military sales to Indonesia resumed three years later.

There were numerous warnings before the Bali bombings, including a "stunningly explicit and specific" warning received by the CIA, a plan by an al-Qaeda-linked group to attack in southeast Asia overheard by Australian intelligence, and a US intercept about a planned attack on Bali. However, Australian intelligence issued no public warning.

After the bombings, the US and UN declared Jemaah Islamiya a terrorist organization, although Indonesia did not do so until 2008, and the Indonesian press suspected high-ranking government figures of involvement in the attacks. All the debris was dumped in the sea about a month after the bombings, an Indonesian Vice President expressed support for Islamic militant leaders, and the US offered a reward for one of the bombers, but not some of the others.

After meeting top al-Qaeda leaders in Malaysia in January 2000, Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khallad bin Attash flew to Thailand, and the CIA's Bangkok station was informed of their flight's arrival. The CIA obtained additional information about the three men, and Alec Station, the CIA's bin Laden unit, asked for them to be identified in Thailand, where they associated with operatives who would later bomb the USS Cole. While they were in Thailand, Alec Station chief Rich B falsely claimed the surveillance of the al-Qaeda operatives was continuing in Malaysia, not once, but twice, and the CIA's Bangkok station may have been notified of their departure to the US on the day it happened.

Two of the attendants on flight 77 were assigned there some time shortly before 9/11, and a Washington hospital activated its disaster plan shortly before the plane hit the Pentagon, where some staff thought a bomb had gone off when the plane hit. Some witnesses were surprised by the apparently small quantity of debris outside the building, and first responders arrived within minutes of the attack.

Two of the alleged Iran-linked flights made by 9/11 hijackers were in October and November 2000. Material about these flights was uncovered by a 9/11 Commission staffer in the NSA archives, although she did not find material about the NSA's intercepts of the 9/11 hijackers' calls there.

In Londonistan, leading imam Abu Hamza al-Masri began working with the British security services in 1997, after which he associated with five terrorist groups and radicalized the 7/7 London bombers. He was finally arrested in 2004.

There are also a number miscellaneous entries. The mastermind of the USS Cole bombing was protected by the authorities after the attack, and all the bombing suspects in Yemen were free in 2008. In addition, the CIA was alleged to be counterfeiting dollars, Ali Mohamed trained bin Laden's bodyguards, and Macedonian police staged a murder of seven alleged Islamic militants in 2002.

Jeb Bush updated Florida emergency regulations four days before 9/11, Richard Clarke appeared to praise the Bush administration's terrorism record in 2002, and the current president said electing a democrat might lead to another 9/11. Finally, if you're wondering why the Rewards for Justice program for catching al-Qaeda leaders is not having any effect, it's because the advertising is focused on the US, where relatively few al-Qaeda leaders live, not on Pakistan.

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