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PSC 371: Seminar in 3rd World Politics & Terrorism

Summary | Outlines of the 9/11 Commission Report

Compiled by Prof. Jeremy Lewis, revised 6 Sep. '07.

  • Created by statute, November 2002.
  • Broad mandate to explore "facts and circumstances relating to" 9/11 attacks.
  • 19 days of hearings, 160 witnesses.
  • 2.5 M pages of documents, interviewed 1,200 individuals in 10 countries.

Ch. 1. We Have Some Planes
by Jeremy Lewis, 2005
  • Phrase was an ominous warning accidentally broadcast from first hijacked plane.
  • FAA had no experience with multiple hijackings.
  • FAA staff did not believe they had responsibility for warning aircraft of cockpit security: airlines' responsible. (p.11).
  • Attackers had knives but their warnings of bombs on board 3 aircraft were false.
  • Why did UA 93 crash in field, not in target building?
    • UA 93, delayed in takoff, with one hijacker having been refused immigration at Orlando, and with delayed hijacking -- actually received a text warning 5 minutes before the takeover, via a UA dispatcher.
    • UA 93 passengers (alerted by cell phone calls) maintained a protracted struggle (5 minutes) for cockpit door, despite the pilot's manoevers, and when they seemed likely to win, attackers rolled plane over and crashed it.
  • There was little coordination among airlines and FAA -- let alone with military -- on the immediate response.
    • Boston center did call NEADS about first hijacking, Cape Cod scrambled two fighters to Long Island area, but they had no actionable info and arrived on holding pattern after the first plane hit WTC.  Military had no practicable notice on other planes. (pp. 20-21).
  • Too little time too coordinate response:
    • FAA and ATC were kept busy searching for planes after transponders were altered by hijackers, making planes invisible on primary radar screens and requiring searching with limited information.
    • UA 175 pilots reported suspicious transmission for passangers to stay in seats minutes before they suddenly changed direction.
    • Same controller was controlling both Amer 11 and UA 175, too busy to notice 175 being hijacked.
    • FAA and ATC command centers were informed there were two hijackings only minutes before second impact at WTC (at 9:03).
  • After second impact, Boston Center notified NE of multiple hijackings, but ATC Command Center at Herndon did not act.
  • Amer 77 turned and disappeared from screens at Indianapolis center for 9 minutes (for technical reasons) before any notification arrived from Boston.  It was lost and flew 36 minutes towards Washington DC undetected till spotted by Dulles ATC.
  • First nationwide ground stop was ordered by Herndon ATC Command Center at 9:25 am.
  • National Guard C-130 followed Amer 77 until it crashed into Pentagon.
  • Notifications to military were too late and wrong.
    • FAA happened to mention Amer 77 also lost, after it had crashed.  FAA informed Air Defense wrongly that Amer 11 still in the air, after it had crashed into WTC.  Langley fighters were sent north (but actually flew east without orders) to protect DC from flight from NYC.
    • NEADS intercepted and escorted Delta 1989, which was not hijacked.
    • NG C-130 spotted crash of UA 93 in field in PA almost immediately.
    • No fighters were in position to intercept any hijacked planes, and lacked orders.
  • Command Center ordered all aircraft to land at 9:42 -- unprecedented, with 4,500 planes in air.
  • NORAD falsely testified to Commission in May 2003 that it had had a few minutes notification of each hijacking.  In fact, they did not, except for the first.  Jets were scrambled in response to phantom plane that had already crashed -- not in rational response to one approaching Washington DC. (p.334).
  • "Most federal agencies learned about the crash in New York from CNN." (p.35). (Includes FAA Administrator and her deputy, plus VP Cheney and WHS).
  • FAA, WHS and DOD all initiated teleconferences but without critical personnel.
    • WHS and NMCC were creating parallel decision processes.
    • No vital DOD officer was in FAA & WHS conference -- and vice versa, until after last flight crashed in PA.
  • National Command Authority (president, VP and SecDef).
    • President notified in Florida school at 9:05 of second impact at WTC.  He remained in classroom for over 5 minutes. (p.38).
    • Air Force One took off at 9:54 with no destination.
    • VP was propelled into WH bunker by 9:37 when plane circled DC on way into Pentagon crash.
    • VP seems to have informed President of CAPs and need for pilots' orders just before 10:00 but there is no documentation.
    • Twice between about 10:10-10:18 military aide requested VP provide shoot-down orders on projected path of UA 93 (which had in fact already crashed) and got them.
    • VP was prompted to call Pres. on AF One to confirm the orders, and did so 10:18-10:20.
    • UA 93 reported down in PA -- some wondered if shot down.
    • 10:30 VP ordered engagement of another close target that was later found to be a medevac helicopter.

Ch. 1: We Have Some Planes
Outline by: Liz Arnett '05, April 2005.
  • 1.1 Inside the Four Flights
    • "Several FAA air traffic control officials told us it was the air carriers’ responsibility to notify their planes of security problems."(11).
    • One of the senior FAA air traffic control manager expressed in this section that it is not the FAA’s position to demand the airlines what to tell their pilots.
  • 1.2 Improvising A Homeland Defense
    • Military Notification and Response: Boston Center did not follow the proper protocol regarding military assistance by not properly adhering to the prescribed chain of command.
    • FAA Awareness: In the last transmission from United Airlines Flight 175 the following was stated:
    • "UAL175: New York UAL 185 Heavy.
    • FAA: UAL 175 go ahead.
    • UAL175: Yeah. We figured we’d wait to go to your center. Ah, we heard a suspicious transmission on our departure out of Boston, ah, with, someone, ah, it sounded like someone keyed the mikes and said ah everyone stay in your seats.
    • FAA: Oh, okay. I’ll pass that along over here." (21).
    • Soon after this transmission the UAL 175 turned southwest without clearance and after American 11 crashed, UAL 175 changed its transpoder code twice without notice from FAA because they were too busy tracking American 11.
    • Shortly after these changes the air traffic controller noticed the changes, attempted to notify the regional managers; however these managers would not be disturbed because they were busy searching for American 11.
    • In response, this New York air controller informed another New York air controller about UAL 175 being another hijacked plane.
  • Clarifying the Record
    • "…the NEADS air defenders had nine minutes’ notice on the first hijacked plane, no advanced notice on the second, no advance notice on the third, and no advance notice on the fourth." (31).
    • Due to the lack of notice of these attacks, NEADS and the FAA did the best they could by actively searching for information and making the best decisions they could based upon that information.
    • FAA made a great decision in making a national alert and making all airplanes and executed this perfectly.
    • NORAD made a false testimony to the commission regarding the time that they received notification of United 93 being hijacked at 9:16, however this flight was proceeding normally then.
    • NORAD also made false testimony about the Langley Fighters being scrambled to respond to the notification about American 77, United 93 or both. This is false because the Langley Fighters were scrambled due to the report that American 11 was heading south which are taped conversations at NEADS and FAA.
    • NEADS never received notice of America 77 being hijacked

    • Teleconference at White House included: Richard Clarke (special assistant to the President for counterterrorism), CIA, FBI, department of State, Justice, and Defense, the FAA and the White House Shelter.

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    Ch. 2: The Foundation of the New Terrorism
    Tyler Fletcher, Fall 2005

    A Declaration of War

    - In 1998, when interviewed Bin Ladin claimed it was more important for Muslims to kill Americans than other infidels
    - “It is far better for anyone to kill a single American soldier than to squander his efforts on other activities”
    - Plans to attack the United States were developed throughout the 1990’s
    Bin Ladins Appeal in the Islamic World
    - Bin Ladin seized on symbols of Islam’s past greatness, he promised to restore pride to people who considered themselves the victims of successive foreign masters
    - Bin Ladin offers an extreme view of Islamic history designed to appeal
    - He repeatedly calls on his followers to embrace martyrdom since “the walls of oppression and humiliation cannot be demolished except in a rain of bullets”
    - Bin Ladin and Al Qaeda say America attacked Islam and America is responsible for all conflicts involving Muslims
    - In the 1990’s, the Iranian revolution lost momentum, prestige and public support, and Pakistan’s rulers found most of its population had little enthusiasm for fundamentalist Islam
    - Frustrated by a search for a decent living and unable to benefit from education, many young men were targets for radicalization
    - However, most Muslims, like mot other human beings, are repelled by mass murder and barbarism
    The Rise of Bin Ladin and Al Qaeda
    - A decade of conflict in Afghanistan, from 1979-1989, gave Islamist extremist a rallying point and training field
    - Bin Ladin had access to family fortune, which helped fund efforts
    - Bin Ladin moved to Sudan in 1991 and set up a large complex set of intertwined business and terrorist enterprises
    - A Muslim organization called Al Khifa had numerous branch offices, the largest of which was in Brooklyn
    Building an Organization, Declaring War on the United States
    - Bin Ladin began delivering threats against the U.S. before he left Saudi Arabia; they continued is Sudan
    - October 1993- Two U.S. black Hawk helicopters shot down
    - November 1995- Car bomb explodes outside a Saudi-U.S. joint facility killing Five Americans and two India officials
    - June 1996- Truck bomb in complex housing U.S. Air Force personnel killing 19 Americans and wounding 372
    - 1993 bombing of World Trade (cloudy)
    - May 19, 1996-Bin Ladin returned to Afghanistan
    Al Qaeda’s Renewal in Afghanistan
    - Bin Ladin returned to Afghanistan weakened, but soon found refuge in the Taliban
    - The alliance with the Taliban provided Al Qaeda a sanctuary to rain fighters and terrorists, import weapons, forge ties with other Jihad groups and leaders and plot terrorist schemes
    - Al Qaeda went from providing funds and training to planning and directly executing attacks under Bin Ladin
    - Attacked Two U.S. Embassy’s
    - Nairobi- Killed 12 Americans and 201 others, injuring 5,000
    Ch. 2: The Foundation of the New Terrorism
    Outline by: Liz Arnett '05, April 2005.
  • 2.1 Declaration of War
    • -1996 was one of the first times that Bin Ladin openly called for Muslims to push American soldiers out of Saudi Arabia
    • -Plans to attack the U.S. were being developed throughout the 1990’s by Bin Laden and his Jihad
  • 2.2 Bin Ladin’s Appeal in The Islamic World
    • -"Seizing on symbols of Islam’s past greatness, he promises to restore pride to people who consider themselves the victims of successive foreign masters." (48).
    • -Extreme Islamist like Bin Ladin blames the decline from Islam’s golden age on rulers and other people who have turned away from the true path of Islam.
    • -According to Bin Ladin, Americans have attacked Islam and that Americans are responsible for all Muslim conflicts.
  • 2.3 The Rise of Bin Ladin and Al Qaeda
    • -Bin Ladin understood that in order for his organization to survive it would need to be world wide and be funded world wide. He then created what is known as the "Golden Chain" which is Ladin’s financial support network, mainly put together by Saudi financiers.
    • Bin Ladin started his organization at a good time because it was when both Saudi Arabia and the U.S. where giving money to rebel groups in Afghanistan to fight against the Soviet Occupation.
    • -Bin Ladin networked his organization throughout the world, including the United States, largest of which was the Farouq mosque in Brooklyn.
  • 2.4 Building an Organization, Declaring War of the United States (1992-1996)
    • -Early 1992 is when Ladin issued a fatwa calling for jihad against the United States specifically because then they would be cutting off "the head of the snake".
    • Bin Ladin made attempts to buy weapons-grade uranium.
    • -Bin Ladin sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan in attempt to attract them to his Islamic army.
  • 2.5 Al Qaeda’s Renewal in Afghanistan
    • -Since the 1970’s, Pakistan used religion as a powerful political force.
    • Due to lack of funding, Pakistan allowed privately funded religious schools serve as a cost-free alternative, thus creating numbers of half educated young men with no marketable skills, but with deeply held Islamic views.
    • -Pakistan was a main reason that Bin Ladin was able to return to Afghanistan.
    • Bin Ladin soon took over the Taliban in 1996.
    • -March 1998 when Ladin made his public fatwa against the United States, Iraq sent and Iraqi delegation to meet with Bin Ladin and the Taliban.

    • -Bin Ladin was able to recruit men who were apart of the U.S. army, specifically Ali Mohamed, who was an instructor at Fort Bragg.

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    Ch. 3: Counterterrorism Evolves
    Tyler Fletcher, Fall 2005
  • From Old Terrorism to the New: 1st world trade center bombing
    • - Feb. 26, 1993 a truck bomb parked below the towers went off killing 6 people and injuring thousands
    • - The bombing signaled a new terrorist challenge, malice had no limit
    • - FBI and Justice department dad a good job investigating
    • - However, successful prosecutions and use of the legal system contributed to widespread underestimation of the threat
  • Adaptation and Non-adaptation in the Law Enforcement community
    • - Legal processes were the primary method of response to these early terrorsit acts
    • - FBI measures success by statistics such as arrests, prosecutions and convictions (Counterterrorism not career-enhancing)
    • - Most agents who reached management rank had little counterterrorism experience
    • - FBI designates a single office to be in charge of an entire investigation
    • - In 1991 Louis Freeh tried to implement a plan addressing terrorism systematically but it did not succeed
    • - Other law enforcement agencies include U.S. Marshals, Drug Enforcement Administration, The Immigrations and Naturalization Service
  • And in The federal Aviation Administration
    • - the FAA perceived sabotage as a greater threat to aviation than hijacking
    • - no domestic hijacking had occurred in a decade, the commercial aviation system was perceived as more vulnerable to explosives than weapons
    • - The FAA layers of security were seriously flawed prior to 9/11
  • Intelligence Community
    • - CIA, the National Security Agency
    • - With the use of technology both agencies intercept and communicate possible terrorist threats
    • - CIA viewed itself as serving on the nations front lines to engage America’s enemies
  • State Department and Defense Department
    • - By the late 1990’s, state has created a worldwide, real-time electronic database of visa, and law enforcement information. Yet the system had many holes
    • - The Department of Defense is the behemoth among federal agencies
  • The White House
    • - The presidents concern about terrorism had steadly risen
    • - In early 1999 he addressed the National Academy of Sciences about the somber affects if the U.S. were to be hit by terrorists
  • Congress
    • - Congress had a distinct tendency to push questions of emerging national security threats off its own plate, leaving them for others to consider
    • - Congress asked outside commissions to do the work that arguably was at the heart of its own oversight responsibilities
    • - Beginning in 1999, the reports of these commissions made scores of recommendations to address terrorism and homeland security but drew little attention from Congress
    • - Most of their impact came after 9/11
    Ch. 3: Counterterrorism Evolves
    Outline by: Liz Arnett '05, April 2005.
  • 3.1 From the Old Terrorism to the New: The First World Trade Center Bombing
    • "The law enforcement process is concerned with proving the guilt of persons apprehended and charged…The process was meant, by its nature, to mark for the public the events as finished-case solved, justice done. It was not designed to ask if the events might be harbingers of worse to come." (73).
  • 3.2 Adaptation- and Nonadaptation- In the Law Enforcement Community
    • In the Justice Department and FBI, counterterrorism and counterintelligence work was not a career-enhancing experience.
    • There was a time in the 1970’s and 1980’s where the FBI could investigate terrorist attacks against Americans outside the U.S. and then arrest them without the consent of the host country.
    • Vice President George H. Bush pushed for a Counter Terrorist Center where FBI and CIA could work together.
    • Louis Freeh in 1993 felt that FBI’s work should be done by the field offices and therefore he cut headquarters staff and decentralized operations.
    • Even after Freeh emphasized to shift resources to be shared among groups such as CIA and FBI by creating a Counterterrorist Division, however this did not help resource sharing much.
    • FBI did not spend adequate training time for counterintelligence and counterterrorism- only three days of a 16-week agent’s course was dedicated to the above.
    • 1978 Congress passed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which regulated intelligence collection.
    • 1995 Janet Reno issued formal procedures on sharing of intelligence between the intelligence side of the house to the criminal side.
    • A perception was soon created that the FBI could not share any intelligence information with criminal investigators, even if no FISA procedures had been used.
    • 1998, 1997 a "watchlist" was created and supposedly kept multiple terrorist from entering the country because of it.
  • 3.3 …And in the Federal Aviation Administration
    • FAA perceived sabotage as a greater threat than hijacking in earlier years.
    • Intelligence from both CIA and FBI failed to reach the FAA as it was suppose to do.
    • The CAPPS system was a system that was suppose to find passengers that pose more than a minimal risk, however the only passengers eligible were those checking bags
    • FAA did not prohibit knives with blades under 4 inches long
    • Cockpit doors being closed and locked at all times during flight was not always followed
  • 3.4 …And in the Intelligence Community
    • DCI provides intelligence to federal entities.
    • The director of the DCI has limited powers.
    • After Cold War, cuts were made in national security funding and in response cuts were made in intelligence agencies.
    • World Wide Web has given terrorist a much easier means of acquiring information and easier way to communicate internationally.
    • CIA lost power after Watergate era because oversight committees were created
  • 3.5 …And the State Department and the Defense Department
    • 1976 Congress created an assistant secretary of state in hopes to help combat terrorism by increasing the visibility of counterterrorism matters within the department and to help integrate U.S. policy implementation among government agencies.
    • The question that remained was how deterrence could be effective when the adversary was a loose transnational network.
  • 3.6 …And in the White House
    • Iran-Contra affair plays an important role in 9/11 in that it made parts of the bureaucracy reflexively skeptical about any operating directive from the White House.
  • 3.7… And in the Congress
    • Question of whether the President should need congressional authorization to wage war.
    • House and Senate select committees on intelligence, they do not have exclusive authority over intelligence agencies.
    • Growing threat of Bin Ladin was not understood in Congress like in the Presidency.
    • Congress tended to push questions regarding national security off their own agenda and left it for others to deal with.

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    Ch.4. Responses to Al Qaeda's Initial Assaults
    Outline by: Liz Arnett '05, April 2005.

  • 4.1 Before the Bombings in Kenya
    • "As we pointed out in chapter 3, the White House is not a natural locus for program management. Hence government efforts cope with terrorism were essentially the work of individual agencies." (108).
    • 1993 Bin Ladin was put on the TIPOFF watchlist which probably kept him from getting a visa and coming into the United States.
    • 1997 a diplomat said that the United States had no policy with regards to Afghanistan.
    • Due to the Pakistan/India civil war, the United States put Bin Ladin on the back burner.
    • 1998 the Counterterrorist Center came up with a plan to capture Bin Ladin using tribal groups in Afghanistan, however it was never followed through with.
  • 4.2 Crisis: August 1998
    • U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania were all almost simultaneously bombed.
    • This led to the firing of cruise missiles, none of which killed Bin Ladin.
    • Lewinsky scandal was occurring at this time and many felt that Clinton was sending missiles abroad to take pressure off of him in the United States.
    • This bombing was critical in shaping U.S.’s policy toward Bin Ladin.
  • 4.3 Diplomacy
    • Diplomacy options to press the Taliban in suspending Bin Ladin were not more promising than using military.
    • Other efforts were made in intelligence sharing with the Saudi Arabian government and also permitting U.S. agents interrogate prisoners in Saudi custody.
    • U.S. put pressure on Pakistan
    • U.S. pressure did not help in anything
  • 4.4 Covert Actions
    • Clinton signed a Memorandum of Notification authorizing the CIA to let its tribal assets to capture Bin Ladin by force.
    • President Clinton allowed the tribal assets to try and capture Bin Ladin and his associates alive, but if that was not possible, to go ahead and kill them.
    • Lack of confidence in tribal assets, yet they continued to provide intelligence, however never able to predict Bin Ladin’s would be at.
  • 4.5 Searching for Fresh Options
    • August 1998 when strikes were launched, the concern was preparing to redeploy Special Forces to Afghanistan even after these strikes occur.
    • Many were worried about failure due to lack of intelligence on where Bin Ladin was hiding.
    • U.S. missed opportunities due to not enough intelligence, and even in 1999 when we knew a general idea of where he was, we did not act because we were not sure and then he moved on to another place.
    • Kandahar in May 1999 was the last and most likely place to kill Bin Ladin with cruise missiles, but this was also a mission that never happened.
    • July 1999, President Clinton authorized CIA to work with other governments in attempt to find and capture Bin Ladin
    • The Northeast were Massoud’s Northern Alliance that seemed to be the U.S.’s best shot at getting Bin Ladin.

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    Ch. 5: Al Qaeda Aims at the American Homeland
    Outline by: Liz Arnett '05, April 2005.

  • 5.1 Terrorist Entrepreneurs
    • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the principal architect of 9/11 attacks.
    • KSM was involved in the first World Trade Center Bombing
    • KSM was captured in 2003 after 9/11 attacks.
    • Jemaah Islamiah (JI) was the creation of a key coordinator called Hambali in Southeast Asia.
    • JI assisted Al Qaeda passing through Kuala Lumpur.
    • JI worked closely with Al Qaeda, but was always kept separate; this caused future problems when Ladin would try and assign JI’s to terrorist projects.
  • 5.2 The "Planes Operation"
    • KSM claims credit for the 9/11 attacks.
    • KSM original plan was to have 10 aircraft that hit destinations all over the U.S. including FBI headquarters, CIA and nuclear power plants.
    • Travel issues and visas played a huge part in 9/11 attacks.
    • Fall 1999, Bin Ladin chose 4 operatives to go and attend elite training at al Qaeda’s Mes Aynak camp in Afghanistan.
    • The four volunteers knew that they were in a suicide operation that was going to be either in U.S. or in Asia- according to KSM
    • Bin Ladin canceled the East Asia part of the planes' operation in the Spring of 2000 due to difficulty.
  • 5.3 The Hamburg Contingent
    • Bin Ladin and KSM found new four aspiring jihadist from Germany, who would be ideal due to their fluency in English and familiarity with life in the West, and they all played a important role in the 9/11 attacks.
    • 2000 after all the conspirators were trained in Afghanistan by KSM, they all left being less radical in order to attract less attention to themselves.
    • However one member could not conceal his radicalization from his Lebanese family that lived in Germany, which could lead in his doubt on his mission due to his closeness to his family.
    • Al Qaeda would recycle passports by making their men leave them behind just in case they were killed in battle.
  • 5.4 A Money Trail?
    • 9/11 plotters spent between $400,000 and $500,000 to plan and conduct their attack.
    • Al Qaeda relied on a fund-raising network that has been developed over time.
    • Al Qaeda has a $30 million operating budget.
    • 9/11 attackers were funded by Al Qaeda through wire transfers or cash provided by KSM.
    • May 2000 two operatives in 9/11 were already in the U.S. and three of four Hamburg cell members were soon to come.

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    Ch. 6: From Threat to Threat
    Outline by: Liz Arnett '05, April 2005.
  • 6.1 The Millennium Crisis
    • November 30, 1999 Jordanian intelligence intercepted a phone call between Abu Zubaydah and Khadr Abu Hoshar in which Zubaydah said, "The time for training is over." Jordanian government arrested them and 15 others and reported it to Washington.
    • CIA worked hard on keeping an eye on Bin Ladin associates.
    • The FBI was more communicative than it has ever been during the millennium.
    • March 2000, Bangkok reported to the CIA that Nawaf al Hazmi had departed on January 15 and unknowingly Khalid al Mihdhar on a United Airlines to Los Angeles. No one outside of the Counterterrorist Center was told.
  • 6.2 Post-Crisis Reflection: Agenda for 2000
    • In the CTC and higher up, the CIA believed that they needed more funding because Bin Ladin and the millennium alert had spent up all of their funds for the fiscal year.
    • The need to crack down on terrorist organizations and disrupt their fund-raising.
    • The principals also agreed on paying attention to America’s porous borders.
    • In 2000 Clinton commented on U.S. needing to improve their covert action.
    • September 7, 2000, the "Predator"(an unmanned plan) flew over Afghnistan in search of Bin Ladin, and the footage was described by Berger as being astonishing
  • 6.3 The Attack on The USS Cole
    • The attack on the USS Cole greatly helped al Qaeda’s recruitment efforts.
    • Many people in Washington were worried about tying Bin Ladin to the USS Cole attack because if the U.S. responded militarily, it might create a uproar in Islamic world if U.S. was wrong in accusing Bin Ladin.
    • Counterterrorist Center put some of it’s best ideas called the "Blue Sky" which had the following: support the Northern Alliance by sharing intelligence and increased funding, increase support of the Uzbeks, and give assistance to anti-Taliban groups.
    • Condolezza Rice’s policy priorities were different from those during Clinton Administration.
    • Her priorities were China, missile defense, the collapse of the Middle East peace process and the Persian Gulf for the NSC.
    • The Bush administration decided on no retaliation for the USS Cole because it would be counterproductive
  • 6.5 The New Administration’s Approach
    • Bush Administration has a 3 phase strategy: an envoy would give Taliban a last chance, if this failed a diplomatic pressure would be combined with the planned covert action program encouraging anti-Taliban Afghans to attack Taliban bases, and while this occurs the U.S. will create a international coalition, and lastly if this failed, the U.S. would try covert action to topple the Taliban’s leadership.
    • September 2001 Clarke sent Rice a strong note criticizing U.S. counterterrorism efforts of past and present.
    • Since the Predator was now being criticized for being inefficient, people were waiting for what the Bush Administration was going to do next.

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    Ch. 7: The Attack Looms
    By Lauren Carruth, Fall 2005
    First Arrivals in California:
    • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) led Hazmi and Mihdhar to California for two reasons: it was convenient from Asia and was far way from intended target areas
    • KSM directed Hazmi and Mihdhar, who spoke little English, to pose as Saudi students and establish relationships at local mosques
    • Hazmi and Mihdhar were directed to enroll in English-language classes before they enrolled in pilot training school
    • When arriving in Los Angeles, Hazmi and Mihdhar made acquaintances at the King Fahd mosque, and stayed in Los Angeles for two weeks.
    • February 1, 2000: Hazmi and Mihdhar encounter Omar al Bayoumi and Caysan Bin Don in Culver City near the King Fahd mosque (Bayoumi and Bin Don have conflicting stories about that day and have since been investigated by the FBI).
    • By February 4, Hazmi and Mihdhar move to San Diego with the help of Mohdar Abdullah (Abdullah, sympathetic to extremist Islamic views, admitted to the FBI that he knew of Hazmi and Mihdhar’s extremist views and tie to Al Qaeda though not of the attacks. There are reports that he bragged to inmates that he knew of the attacks in advance, though the FBI cannot verify them)
    • On February 4, Hazmi and Mihdhar met up with Bayoumi who helped them locate an apartment, co-signed on the lease, and help them open a bank account. However, on May 10, 2000, Hazmi and Mihdhar moved into a room in the home of an individual they met at a San Diego mosque.
    • While in San Diego, Hazmi and Mihdhar used the Islamic community for help in buying a car, getting a driver’s license, and applying to English-language and flight schools.
    • Hazmi and Mihdhar had trouble learning English, which interfered in their flight school
    • A pilot at the Sorbi Flying Club in San Diego spoke Arabic. Hazmi and Mihdhar told that pilot they wished only to fly jets, especially Boeing jets, and with other pilots showed interest only in flying mid-flight, not taking off or landing.
    • By end of May 2000, Hazmi and Mihdhar gave up on learning to fly, and Mihdhar left for Yemen
    • KSM was aggravated with Mihdhar for leaving the operation but did not drop him from the planes operation due to Bin Ladin’s overrule to drop him
    • Hazmi continued his life in San Diego, making acquaintances and working at a gas station
    • On December 8, 2000, Hani Hanjour arrived in San Diego and a few days later Hanjour and Hazmi left for Arizona to take flight lessons there.
  • The 9/11 Pilots in the United States
  • In the summer of 2000, the Hamburg group, Marwin al Shehhi, Ziad Jarrah, and Mohamed Atta, arrived in the US
  • Jarrah settled in Venice, Florida and attended the Florida Flight Training Center (FFTC)
  • Atta and Shehhi enrolled in the Accelerated Pilot Program at Huffman Aviation in Venice, Florida.
  • Jarrah received a single-engine private pilot certificate in August then left to visit his girlfriend Aysel Senguen
  • Ramzi Binalshibh was scheduled to attend FFTC, but could not obtain a·US visa; instead he began coordinating between KSM and the operatives in America
  • Another operative, Moussaoui did not find a flight school he liked and moved to London, but still attempted to enroll in the Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma
  • Hani Hanjour obtained both a private pilot’s license and a commercial pilot certificate in April 1999 and then sent to KSM to be included on the plot
  • Hanjour then traveled to San Diego where he met up with Hazmi
  • Hazmi and Hanjour received training in Arizona at PanAm International Flight Academy in Mesa before continuing east to join with “muscle hijackers”
  • By the end of 2000, Atta, Shehhi and Jarrah were all simulating flights on large jets; in early 2001, the three men took time off of training and traveled for personal reasons both out of the country and around the country
  • On May 2, two muscle hijackers arrived, Ahmed at Ghamdi and Majed Moqed, and stayed with Hanjour and Hazmi.The four moved to Patterson, Connecticut with the help of Eyad al Rababah.  Later, Hazmi’s younger brother Salem, and Mihdhar joined them.
  • At the same time, Atta, Jarrah, and Shehhi were in Florida.
  • During summer and fall of 2000, Bin Ladin and senior Al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan selected 13 muscle hijakers; 12 were from Saudi Arabia.
  • Muscle hijackers were selected mostly on willingness to martyr oneself, and then received al Qaeda training and were sent to Saudi Arabia to obtain US visas.
  • After receiving visas, the muscle hijackers returned to Afghanistan for final training then began leaving for the United States in April 2001 and had all arrived by June.
  • Final Strategies and Tactics
    • The muscle hijackers settled in hotels then in apartments and stayed fit at local gyms.  They also opened bank accounts to hold the large sums of money that they brought with them.
    • Shehhi, Atta, and Jarrah took cross-country surveillance flights. Hanjour and Jarrah received more training in June.
    • In Spain, Atta met with Binalshibh who instructed Atta of Bin Ladin’s plans for the attacks.  Bin Ladin wanted to attacks to occur as soon as possible; Atta told of the plan for him and Shehhi to strike the World Trade Center, Jarrah the Capitol, and Hanjour the Pentagon. They also discussed the details of the hijacking, including the groupings of the muscle hijackers.
    • In the days leading up to 9/11, the hijackers returned leftover funds to Al Qaeda and traveled to their assigned cities. Atta was in charge of assembling the teams, and the night before the attack, the 19 hijackers assumed normal daily activities and stayed in hotels rooms.

    Ch. 7: The Attack Looms
    Outline by: Liz Arnett '05, April 2005.
  • 7.1 First Arrivals in California
    • Only one in the first group that came into the U.S. left do to homesickness: Mindhar.
    • KSM and Bin Ladin were able to communicate through e-mail the entire time KSM and the other 9/11 participants stayed in the U.S.
  • 7.2 The 9/11 Pilots in the United States
    • The 9/11 pilots changed their visas from tourists to students and started to apply to flight school.
    • Mid-December 2000 they passed their commercial pilot tests and received their licenses.
  • 7.3 Assembling the teams
    • Twelve of the thirteen muscle hijackers came from Saudi Arabia
    • KSM denies that any Saudis were chosen for the 9/11 plot to drive a wedge between U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
    • There is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and some of these were future 9/11 hijackers.
  • 7.4 Final Strategies and Tactics
    • Once all the hijackers arrived in the U.S., they were divided into teams by their fluency in English so that they would have someone to command passengers in English.
    • There was going to be a second wave of attacks, but KSM could not plan it because he was too busy with the plane operations and he had only recruited 3 pilots for the second wave.
    • Bin Ladin pressured KSM to advance the date especially after the controversy of Israeli leader Ariel Sharon’s visit to the TEMPLE Mount in Jerusalem.

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    Chapter 8: “The System was Blinking Red”
    by C. Lauren Carruth, Fall 2005
    The Summer of Threat
    • Generally, intelligence information is collected through signal intelligence and interviews of human sources, and then assembled into reports that are range in security classifications.
    • In 2001, the CIA met with President Bush daily regarding threats tied to Bin Ladin.
    • In the spring of 2001, terrorist threats reached its highest level since the millennium alert, and Bin Ladin threats grew higher in number in June and July, though they did not contain specific threats regarding time, method, or target.
    • On August 6, 2001, the CIA issued a report during the Presidential Daily Briefing entitled, “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in the US.”  It was the 36th PDB item relating to Bin Ladin, but the first to position him attacking the US.
    • Disparities existed between foreign threats and domestic threats. More was done to protect US interests in other countries than to protect the homeland. The 9/11 attacks fell in the void between foreign and domestic threats; foreign threats involve US interests in other countries, and domestic threats link to sleeper cells within the country. In addition, domestic agencies did not know how to handle threats unlike agencies operating overseas.
    • The al Qaeda operatives made mistakes. The first mistake was when Mihdhar, who had jihadist connections, left the US in June 2000; however, when he still received a US visa and was not tracked down.
    • The second mistake was when an FBI agent in Phoenix sent a memo to FBI headquarters that warned of a possible Bin Ladin effort to send students to flight school. The memo was not seen until after 9/11.
    • The third mistake involved an investigation on Moussaoui who was thought to be planning to hijack a plane. The FBI sought after ending his flight training and issuing a deportation order. The investigation failed to search his laptop computer and belongings, which would have tied Moussaoui to Binalshibh. Publicity about his arrest and possible hijacking threat might have derailed the plot altogether.
    • In conclusion, time ran out. The government simply ran out of time to continue investigations and explore threats. The government failed to see the connections between threats that would have developed into a national priority.
    Chapter 8: “The System was Blinking Red”
    Outline by Liz Arnet, spring '05
  • 8.1 The Summer of Threat
    • There were more than 40 intelligence articles in the President’s Daily Briefing from January 10 to September 10, 2001 that related to Bin Ladin.
    • Spring 2001 there was a large increase of reports on terrorist threats, and in response FBI searched all their resources and databases and found no suggestion of a domestic threat
    • "It was warned that there was an increased volume of threat reporting, indicating a potential for attacks against the U.S. targets abroad from a groups ‘aligned with or sympathetic to Usama Bin Ladin.’ Despite the general warnings, the message further stated, ‘The FBI has no information indicating a credible threat of terrorist attack in the United States." (258).
    • July 27 Clarke informed Rice and Hadley that the threat of the al Qaeda attack had stopped.
    • During the time of spring and summer of 2001, Bush requested information on al Qaeda, nothing came up and there has been no further discussion before September 11 among the President and his top advisors.
    • 9/11 attacks fell into void between the foreign and domestic threats and the domestic agencies did not know what to do and had no guidance.
    • In response to 9/11 attacks, Rice asked for increased surveillance for possible terrorist who participated in 9/11.
    Ch. 9: Heroism and Horror
    Outline by Liz Arnet, spring '05
  • 9.1 Preparedness as of September
    • The 1993 Terrorist Bombing of the World Trade Center showed a lot of inefficiency in the WTC like unlit stairwells and generators having to be turned off to safely remove people. $100 million was spent initially by the Port Authority to make physical, structural and technological improvements and enhanced fire safety.
    • Port Authority lacked any standard operating procedures to govern how officers from multiple commands would respond to and then be staged and then be staged and utilized at a major incident at the WTC.
    • NYPD was headed by a police commissioner whose duties was not primarily operational, but had operational authority.
    • Fire Department was headed by a fire commissioner who lacked operational authority.
    • Mayor Rudolph Giuliani created the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management with 3 basic functions: monitor the city’s key communications channels, improve New York City’s response to major incidents, including the terrorist attacks, and manages the city’s overall response an incident.
  • 9.2 September 11, 2001
    • The 911 system was not equipped to handle the enormous volume of calls and some callers were unable to get through.
    • "911 operators and FDNY dispatchers had no information about either the location or the magnitude of the impact zone and were therefore unable to provide information as fundamental as whether callers were above or below the fire." (286).
    • FDNY responded within five seconds of the crash
    • On the North Tower the sprinklers or standpipes were not working on the upper floors.
    • NYPD and PAPD coordinated the closing of bridges and tunnels into Manhattan.
    • PAPD did not know the severity initially, but they quickly reacted and demanded the evacuation of all civilians in WTC complex.
    • FDNY chief’s mobilized 2000 men after the second plane hit.
  • 9.4 Analysis
    • "…the emergency response to the attacks on 9/11 was necessarily improvised." (315).
    • There was a lack of protocol for rooftop rescues and a lack of comprehensive evacuation of south tower immediately after the north tower impact.
    • Civilians need to take responsibility for maximizing the probability that they will survive if disaster strike.
    • During 9/11 first responder agencies did not always have command of its own units and adequate internal communications.
    • There were also radio communication problems that led to the lack of effectiveness and urgency of evacuation instructions which would have been very beneficial to firefighters.

    Ch. 10. Wartime
    Outline by Liz Arnet, spring '05
  • 10.1 Immediate Responses At Home
    • First few days after 9/11, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten chaired a temporary "domestic consequences" group that created a checklist for future crisis planners. (326-327).
  • 10.2 Planning for War
    • U.S.’s first move was getting Pakistan to back them in a war on terrorism, and they did.
    • By September 18, Powell had contacted 58 of his foreign counterparts and received offers of general aid, search-and-rescue equipment and personnel and medical teams.
  • 10.3 "Phase Two" and the Question of Iraq
    • "Secretary Powell recalled that Wolfowitz-not Rumsfeld- argued that Iraq was ultimately the source of the terrorist problem and should therefore be attacked." (335).
    • Phase two- air strikes and Special Operations attacks on al Qaeda and Taliban targets. CIA and Special Forces would work together.
    • By early December all major cities had fallen to the coalition.
    • The combat operations in Afghanistan killed or captured about a quarter of the enemy’s known leaders.
    9/11 Commission Report's Principal Findings
    by Jeremy Lewis, 7 Nov. 2005

    Chapter 11: Foresight -- and Hindsight
    by Jeremy Lewis, Nov. 2005
    • Attacks revealed four kinds of failures: in imagination, policy, capabilities and management.
    • AQ more globally aware than was US.
    • 1995 and 1997 NIEs did appreciate growing threat of AQ, but there was little reaction.
    • There was little expectation of the scale of destruction in 2001.
    • CTC warned, and was ordered increased, but not ramped up before 9/11/01
    • CIA did most of any agency, but still not operating on basis of a large scale enemy.
    • Repeated failures to spot significant nuggets of info about AQ leaders, to warn FBI, or pass on info about Cole plotters or 1990s plotters from Far east.
    • Millennial plot exceptions: info flowed widely, government was mobilized. Returned to normal pattern quickly.

    Chapter 11: Foresight -- and Hindsight
    Outline by Liz Arnet, spring '05
  • 11.1 Imagination
    • It is obvious that the U.S. did not understand the threat of terrorism.
    • "…those government experts who say Bin Ladin as an unprecedented new danger needed a way to win broad support for their views, or at least spotlight the area of dispute, and perhaps prompt action across the government."(343).
  • 11.2 Policy
    • Before 9/11 the CIA had the most responsibility and did the most to attack al Qaeda by working day and night however they were limited.
  • 11.4 Management
    • There were no tracking efforts of the terrorist pilots after they had reached and disappeared into Bangkok.
    • No one specifically had the job to make sure that things were done and followed up on.
    • Between December 1999 and January 2000, information flowed from the FBI, which was unusual because they use to not share information. There intelligence even reached local airport managers and local police departments.
    • However after the millennium alert the government relaxed and Counterterrorism went back to being secretive.

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    Chapter 12: What to Do? A Global Strategy.
    by Jeremy Lewis, Nov. 2005
  • specific focus on Islamist terrorism -- not some generic evil.
  • Tripod:
  • attack terrorists and their organizations;
  • prevent growth of Islamist terrorism;
  • protect against terrorist attacks.
  • Detailed recommendations

  • Chapter 12: What to Do? A Global Strategy.
    Outline by Liz Arnet, spring '05
  • 12.1 Reflecting on a Generational Challenge
    • Threats are defined by the fault lines within societies than by the territorial boundaries between them.
    • Threats against American interests are no longer considered to be "over there" but instead "over here" and that is how the American people should view terrorism.
  • 12.2 Attack Terrorists and their Organizations
    • Do not allow terrorist to have sanctuaries
    • "The U.S. government must identify and prioritize actual or potential terrorist sanctuaries. For each, it should have a realistic strategy to keep possible terrorists insecure and on the run, using all elements of national power. We should reach out, listen to and work with other countries that can help." (367).
    • Having Pakistan as an ally is huge due to its 150 million Muslims, scores of al Qaeda terrorists, many Taliban fighters and maybe even Usama Bin Ladin.
    • U.S. also needs to commit to making Afghanistan a stable and secure country.
    • U.S. needs to confront Saudi Arabia about past and present problems with one another.
  • 12.3 Prevent the Continued Growth of Islamist Terrorism
    • We must encourage reform, freedom, democracy and opportunity to the Muslims who are not committed to the Islam created by Bin Ladin.
    • The U.S. should be more multilateral instead of being unilateral. U.S. be willing to accept help from others.
  • 12.4 Protect against and Prepare for Terrorist Attacks
    • "More than 500 million people annually cross U.S. borders at legal entry points, about 330 million of them noncitizens. Another 500,000 or more enter illegally without inspection… (383).
    • U.S. should target travel by using travel intelligence.
    • Check points to enter the country should be multiplied and include the transportation system and access to vital facilities.
    • U.S. Government should set standards for the issuance of birth certificates and sources of identification. U.S. Government needs to tighten up on identity fraud.
    • Improve screening checkpoints for explosives.

    • As the sharing intelligence increases, the Government should make special notice to protecting the rights of individuals.

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    Chapter 13: How to Do it?  A Different Way of Organizing the Government.
    by Jeremy Lewis, Nov. 2005
  • Five major recommendations:
  • National Counter terrorism Center against Islamist threat.
  • National Intelligence Director to unify intelligence on Islamist threat
  • Network-based information sharing system for CT agencies
  • unifying congressional oversight on this topic
  • strengthening FBI and Homeland Defenders
  • Details:

    Chapter 13: How to Do it?  A Different Way of Organizing the Government.
    Outline by Liz Arnet, spring '05
  • 13.1 Unity of Effort across the Foreign-Domestic Divide
    • Unify strategic intelligence and operational planning against Islamist terrorist with a National Counterterrorism Center.(399)
    • Unify intelligence with a new National Intelligence Director (399)
    • Unify many participants in counterterrorism efforts and their knowledge in a network-based information-sharing system that goes beyond traditional government. (400).
    • Unify and strengthen Congress oversight to improve quality and accountability. (400).
    • Strengthen FBI and other homeland defenders. (400).

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