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Lines of Inquiry

Four Major Themes:

1) Al Qaeda's ability to inflict significant harm to the U.S., with minimal

2) Domestic Support
3) Summer of 2001
4) The Saudi connection

Theme #1 (we recommend that this line of questioning be directed to the

morning's panel on al Qaeda)

Preface: The 9/11 attacks represented a new type of warfare, and brought
home the gravity of the threat the U.S. faced. The attacks cost al Qaeda 19
men and reportedly only cost a few hundred thousand dollars. By contrast,
the attacks inflicted upon us over 3000 casualties and, according to a variety
of public estimates, economic losses in excess of $100 billion. As we will
see this afternoon when we discuss the 9/11 plot, the planning and execution
of the attacks was not free from problems, but the plotters were adaptable
and able to make changes to carry out the attacks.

(For morning panel) As dangerous as al Qaeda was prior to the

attacks, are they arguably more dangerous today as a more decentralized
organization? Are they now an even more difficult foe for the U.S.
government than they were on 9/11, when we knew when their base of
operation and training camps were located?

Theme #2 Domestic Support Networks

(For FBI) [I would like to direct the following question to the agent who
had responsibility for the West Coast portion of the Penttbom examination
(which is SA Jacqueline Maguire).] The staff statement discussed the arrival
of two of the hijackers, Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar, who arrived
in Los Angeles in January of 2000. After spending a few weeks in L.A.
(which I would like to return to in a moment), they moved to San Diego.
They received assistance from a number of people in San Diego, and in
particular an individual named Mohdar Abdullah.


What has your investigation uncovered about his relationship with the
hijackers and the types of assistance he provided to them? [They should
include information about him translating for them, helping them find
schools, deal with airline tickets, etc.]

Our staff statement discusses some recent reporting from inmates

incarcerated with Mohdhar Abdullah. As I understand it, the significant
aspects of the reporting from the inmates includes the following: 1) that
Abdullah was alerted to the arrival of the hijackers in L.A. and was
instructed to drive them from L.A. to San Diego; 2) that he knew that the
hijackers' plan was an attack involving airplanes and was even invited to
join in the attacks; 3) that he received advance notification that the attacks
would occur. Our staff has interviewed the case agent who spoke to two of
the inmates who reported these statements by Abdullah. The case agent
found the inmates fairly credible on these issues. The FBI began
investigating these claims in early May, and Abdullah was deported to
Yemen on May 22, 2004.

These are obviously serious allegations and suggest the possibility

that Abdullah was a witting participant in the 9/11 conspiracy.

What is your assessment of these reports? [Likely response is the

general lack of credibility of inmate reporting, and perhaps discussion of
credibility problems of the individual inmates. But the case agent, while
acknowledging the credibility problems, stated that in essence he believed

Given that you only investigated the claims for a few weeks, do you
believe that you did an adequate investigation to rule out the possibility that
we have deported someone who participated in the attacks? [FBI will
answer that their investigation was adequate and probably that they do not
believe that Abdullah knew anything about the attacks.]

But even apart from the recent inmate reporting, isn't there other
evidence indicating that Abdullah and the hijackers' other close associates in
San Diego knew in advance about the attacks? [Likely answer is no, but
other evidence includes:

• A witness at the gas station where Hazmi worked reported that

on the day before the attacks, Abdullah and several of the other


associates held a secretive meeting after which the group

seemed to be in a celebratory mood and one person was heard
saying "it is finally going to happen."

• In August 2001, the manager of the gas station told some of the
employees that the FBI would be "looking at them" in the
future; another witness confirmed that gas station employees
had to complete paperwork during this period in preparation for
anticipated problems at the station.

• Abdullah and another hijacker associate were urgently looking

to get married shortly before the attacks, according to the
associate, "before it's too late." A few days after 9/11, the
associate said "I knew they were going to do something, that is
why I got married."

• During the summer of 2001, Abdullah made a statement that he

and "the guys" came here to make something of themselves and
that the whole world was going to know about their

• There are some indications that Hazmi called Abdullah in

August of 2001 and that Abdullah's behavior changed
noticeably during this time period.

(Los Angeles) Going back to the hijackers' arrival in Los Angeles, we know
that Hazmi and Mihdar did not speak English and did not have experience in
Western countries. According to KSM, he gave them permission to seek
help from local Muslim communities and mosques. In San Diego, they
received such help in every aspect of their daily lives such as enrolling in
schools, finding apartments and opening bank accounts.

(For FBI) In light of this, do you believe that Hazmi and Mihdhar
received assistance in Los Angeles? [Likely answer is that they have not
uncovered evidence that they were assisted in Los Angeles.}

Our staff statement reports that they likely spent time at the King Fahd
Mosque in Los Angeles and possibly had an apartment nearby. There has
been press reporting that an imam at the King Fahd Mosque, Fahad al


Thumairy, who was also an accredited diplomat at the Saudi Consulate in

L.A., was denied entry to the United States in 2003 due to his extremist ties.
In fact, State Department documents indicate that Thumairy's visa was
revoked as a prudential matter in March 2003 on security-related grounds.
Mohdar Abdullah, who, as we discussed previously, allegedly stated that he
was instructed by someone to pick up the hijackers from Los Angeles, has
admitted knowing Thumairy and having met him numerous times at the
King Fahd Mosque.

In view of Abdullah's statement that he was instructed to pick up the

hijackers from Los Angeles, do you think Thumairy may have been the
person to instruct Abdullah? [Likely answer is no firm evidence that
Abdullah was actually instructed or that Thumairy ever had contact with the

• There is witness reporting that Thumairy did assist certain

visiting Saudis in the Los Angeles area with transportation and

Theme #3 Summer of 2001

As we have heard in our prior hearings, the summer of 2001 was a

period of extraordinary high threat conditions, representing the biggest spike
since the Millennium. There were numerous reports warning that Bin Ladin
was about to launch an attack. As reported in our staff statement, word
spread throughout al Qaeda during the summer of 2001 that an attack was
imminent. According to KSM, it was widely known within al Qaeda that he
was planning an attack on the United States and many were aware that he
was sending operatives to the United States. In fact, as mentioned in our
staff statement, we had contemporaneous source reporting in June of 2001 to
this effect. The declassified Joint Inquiry report also addressed the source
reporting, which indicated that KSM "was recruiting persons to travel to the
United States and engage in planning terrorist-related activity here . . . there
persons would be 'expected to establish contact with colleagues already
living there.'"

(For all) Can you tell us who in the intelligence community received
the reporting in June of 2001 that KSM was sending operatives to the United
States? Did this report go to the FBI, which has responsibility for protecting
against attacks in the U.S.? What was done as a result of this reporting? In


light of this reporting, why was the attention of the U.S. intelligence
community on an attack outside the United States as opposed to within the

According to the staff statement, during the high threat period in the
summer of 2001, KSM and Binalshibh had a number of coded conversations
that appear to concern the 9/11 attacks. They had a particularly important
conversation on July 20, in which they discussed concerns that Jarrah might
drop out of the plot, and KSM also appeared to instruct Binalshibh to send
funds to Zacarias Moussaoui.

(For all) What more can you tell us about the communications
between the plotters during the summer of 2001 and the July 20
conversation? [Panelists are unlikely to elaborate on this question; it is
merely designed to highlight the existence of the conversations.}

(For all) If Moussaoui had not been detained on immigration charges,

do you think Moussaoui would have been part of the 9/11 attacks?

Theme #4 The Saudi Connection

As is well known, 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. As we revealed

in our staff statement, there were at least nine other potential hijackers for
the September 11 attacks, who were all Saudi nationals.

(For all) Can you explain why so many of the hijackers and the nine
other candidate hijackers were Saudis? Was it simply the ease of obtaining
U.S. visas, or were there other reasons that Saudis were selected for the

Our staff has interviewed one of the potential hijackers, Saud al

Rashid, who is living in Saudi Arabia.

(For all) Where are the other potential hijackers today? Have they
been detained by the U.S. or by another country? Or are they, like Rashid,
living freely in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere?