Margaret Gillespie

Who Is Margaret Gillespie?

Jon Gold has been kind enough to let me write an introduction to one of his Who Is? series. It deals with Margaret Gillespie, the FBI agent who discovered that two of the 9/11 hijackers were in the US shortly before the attacks:

Margaret Gillespie was an FBI agent who, while detailed to Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, was involved in the search for Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi in the summer of 2001. She attended the stormy 11 June meeting between the CIA and FBI and, at the suggestion of CIA manager Tom Wilshire, performed a low-key review of al-Qaeda’s Malaysia summit, where the CIA let two of the 9/11 hijackers slip through their fingers in early 2000. Because Wilshire only told her to perform the review in her “free time,” she did not find and realise the significance of CIA cables indicating Almihdhar and Alhazmi had entered the US until 21 August 2001 – even though the review started in May. However, she immediately called the FBI, alerting them they should look for the two, and had Almihdhar, Alhazmi, an alias for their associate Khallad bin Attash, and an Iraqi named Ahmad Hikmat Shakir watchlisted on 23 August.