Terrorism Finance

BCCI and Terrorism Finance – Additions to 9/11 Timeline as of March 23, 2008

Most entries added to the 9/11 Timeline this week deal with terrorism finance in general and the criminal Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in particular. Between 1979 and 1991, the US government received over 700 tips about criminal activities by BCCI, which repeatedly saved Pakistan from financial ruin and funneled money to A. Q. Khan's nuclear program, but essentially ignored all 700 of them. BCCI dominated the supply chain of CIA supplies and weapons for the Afghan mujaheddin and was also used by the CIA to pay 500 British informants and for another slush fund, of which the CIA failed to notify US customs. The NSC gained a clear picture of BCCI's criminal activities from CIA reports, but a US senator was kept in the dark about them. The Pakistani government allowed drug traffickers to use BCCI, which was linked to Osama bin Laden, and a huge munitions explosion towards the end of the Soviet-Afghan war hid the fact that that money for the mujaheddin was being diverted to A. Q. Khan.

Elsewhere in terrorism finance, an address book recovered in a raid linked an al-Qaeda operative to a Saudi billionaire, the IIRO and the Muslim World League are part of the Saudi government according to testimony, and Persian Gulf sheikhs allegedly gave bin Laden US$ 50 million in a handy single transfer in 1999. The government of Saudi Arabia refused to help capture a key Hezboallah figure in 1996, made little effort to fight terrorism financing before 2002, and was still not properly overseeing charities in 2007. In addition, militant operatives were told to use a prominent Saudi bank and a known terrorism financier was removed from UN and US blacklists when he promised not to do it anymore.

Imam Anwar Al Aulaqi, an associate of Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, was inexplicably allowed to leave the US in 2002, and arrested and let go in Yemen in 2007. The US finally determined he was linked to al-Qaeda in 2008.

Miscellaneous new entries include the US monitoring a "very important source" in Sudan around the time of the 1998 embassy bombings, but letting two of the apparent bombers escape. A 1994 US intelligence report concluded Islamic militants would take power in Egypt, fighters were not ready to launch on 9/11 from Syracuse air base even after 10:00 a.m., the CIA tested an al-Qaeda training camp for chemical weapons in 2001, and an attack on oil facilities in Yemen was foiled in 2006. Finally, Presidents Reagan and Bush facilitated the Islamic bomb by repeatedly and falsely certifying Pakistan did not have a nuclear weapons program, despite knowing that it did.

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