THE ROAD TO 9/11/01
1st WTC Attack 2/26/93
• Ramzi Yousef, a refugee
from Pakistan, rents a
Ryder van and fills it full
of 500 kg’s of high
grade liquid explosives.
• Drives it into the
garage under the WTC.
• Parks it, lights the fuse
1st WTC Attack
• 12 minutes later the
bomb explodes at 12:17
• First ever Muslim
attack on U.S. soil.
• 6 dead; 1,000 injured.
• WHY? Retaliation for
American support of
Israel and oppression of
the Palestinian people.
Yousef escapes to the Philippines
• Yousef developed a nitroglycerine explosive
that he could conceal in empty bottles of
contact lens fluid.
• Also designed a timing mechanism using Casio
watches and a detonator powered by 9 volt
batteries, which he hid in the heels of his
• Goal: Sneak explosives onto an airplane and
blow it up.
Yousef Tests the Bomb on an Airplane
• 12/11/94 Yousef boards a Philippine Airlines
flight in Manila with no trouble passing his bomb
• Hides the bomb under his seat and gets off on
the next stop.
• The planes continues on to Okinawa, Japan.
• Bomb explodes at 11:43.
• Pilot makes emergency landing.
• 1 Killed, 10 injured.
Yousef needs a bigger bomb
• Yousef and an
accomplice, Abdul Hakim
Murad, try building a
bigger chemical bomb in
their apartment in
• Fire starts. The two men
• Police find the evidence
with Priest garments, a
plan to assassinate the
Pope, and a terrorist code
• Yousef escapes, but Murad is captured.
• Murad, a trained pilot, reveals that Bojinka is a
plan to simultaneously hijack 12 United States
airline flights and fly the airplanes loaded with
explosives into U.S. landmarks. (The White
House, Capital Building, and Wall Street were
• They had estimated that about 4000 Americans
would die in 1 day.
• CIA headquarters was to be his target.
• In January 1995, the investigation
of the first World Trade Center
attack made a major
breakthrough. Philippine police
discovered a fingerprint in the
bombers' Manila apartment. It
was traced to Ramzi Yousef, who
had escaped back to Pakistan.
• On February 7, 1995, Ramzi
Yousef was arrested in Islamabad
after his friend turned him in for a
$2 million reward from the U.S.
Yousef brought back to America
• Yousef was taken by helicopter into downtown
• 'Look straight ahead, see that Ramzi, the Trade
Centers are still standing there, aren't they?'
And in his little accent he said --'They wouldn't
be if I had enough money and enough
• Yousef was sentenced to two hundred and
forty years in prison.
Yousef and Al-Qaeda
• Yousef told news reporter after his sentencing
that a new Islamic militant group would rise
up to challenge the United States.
• He was speaking about a network, an
international network, a network all over,
different countries, different nationalities.
• He was talking about al-Qaeda.
Yousef and Al-Qaeda
• While in prison, Yousef
made a key mistake and
placed a call to his uncle,
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
• American investigators
soon realized Mohammed
had provided financing for
the first World Trade Center
attack, and had played a
central role in the plot
against US commercial
• He would go on to become
the mastermind of the 9/11
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
• In 1995, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had taken refuge in
the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. Members of the royal
family there were known supporters of Islamic
militants. The U.S. government decided to try to kidnap
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and bring him back to face
• The CIA and the U.S. military didn’t present an easy
Special Forces raid plan so the U.S. decided to ask
Qatar to have him arrested.
• Several days later, Mohammed disappeared into
Mohammed and Bin Laden
• Osama bin Laden came to
the attention of U.S.
Intelligence agencies during
the investigation of the first
World Trade Center bombing.
• His name appeared on a list
of suspects who might have
financed the operation.
• By 1996, Osama bin Laden
had moved to Afghanistan
and called upon the Muslim
world to wage war against
• Osama bin Laden methodically built up al-Qaeda.
• In 1997, he opened his training camps near Khost,
• Muslims from all over the world arrived to receive
elaborate military instruction.
• In May 1998, Osama bin Laden announced he was
joining forces with the Egyptian group, Islamic Jihad.
• He announced the creation of the International Islamic
Front for Jihad against the U.S. and Israel. Al-Qaeda
was merging in this front.
• Khalid Mohammed and Bin Laden are officially now
12 Page Declaration of War
• In 1998, Bin Laden
published a 12-page
declaration of war against
the United States.
• Also by 1998, there was a
new power allied with bin
Laden. The Taliban had
seized control of
Afghanistan and were
imposing strict, religious
laws on the population.
• Mullah Omar, the reclusive
head of the Taliban,
protected bin Laden as a
guest in his country.
Tarnak Farm Operation
• The CIA developed a plan to arrest bin Laden and
bring him to the US to stand trial. A team of
Afghan commandoes was hired for the operation.
• The Tarnak Farm kidnap operation was scheduled
for the night of June 23, 1998. Then, just before it
was to go ahead, there was a debate at the White
House about how many people were likely to be
• The Kidnapping plan was cancelled to spare the
lives of innocent victims.
U.S. African Embassies Bombed
• On August 7th, 1998, the U.S. African
embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi were
almost destroyed by truck bombs.
• Two hundred and twenty-four people died,
including twelve Americans.
• Over five thousand were injured. The
investigation lead straight to Osama bin
Plans to “get” Bin Laden
• President Clinton's national security team
decided to hit back with cruise missiles.
• The CIA had received information that bin
Laden would be meeting other al-Qaeda
leaders at one of his Afghanistan training
camps on August 20th, 1998.
• The cruise missiles fired from the Arabian Sea
travelled over Pakistan and landed in the
Afghan training camps but narrowly missed
“Getting” Bin Laden
• After the failure of the cruise missile attack,
President Clinton reversed his position and
authorized the CIA to kidnap Osama bin Laden.
• In late December 1998, CIA field agents were
finally able to get ahead of Osama bin Laden.
They received a tip that he would be coming to
• American ships in the Arabian Sea prepared their
cruise missiles to strike the governor's mansion.
• The military doubted the intelligence and
estimated that a cruise missile strike would kill or
injure over 200 people.
• The attack was cancelled.
“Get” Bin Laden Falcon Hunting?
• The Clinton Administration's last good chance to kill Osama
bin Laden was at a falcon hunting camp in southern
Afghanistan in 1999.
• Falcon hunting is wildly popular with the ultra rich
throughout the Arab world.
• The CIA followed bin Laden to the camp and determined
that he was going to stay for a few days.
• But satellite photos also revealed the presence of a
military C-130 aircraft from the United Arab Emirates
indicating that senior officials from the UAE government
were hunting with bin Laden.
• Once again the White House decided to stand down.
• They did not want to take the chance of killing some of
America's closest allies in the Persian Gulf.
President’s Clinton and W. Bush
• In December 2000, when
George W. Bush was finally
declared the winner of the
U.S. presidential election,
he sat down for a private
meeting with Bill Clinton at
the White House.
• In that meeting, Clinton
says he told Bush that al-
Qaeda was the biggest
threat to the United States
and that not catching or
killing bin Laden was one of
the greatest regrets of his
• On January 20th, 2001 George W.
Bush was sworn in as President
of the United States.
• Five days later, Bush received a
memo from his White House
Richard Clarke, saying - "We
urgently need a Principals-level
review of the al-Qaeda network.“
• That urgently required meeting
would not take place for almost 9
• For the new Bush administration
al-Qaeda was a low priority.
The 9/11 Plan
• "After the 1993 attacks on the
World Trade Centre, I decided
that explosives and bombs could
be problematic, and so I focused
on using airplanes as weapons.
• The most attractive targets were
high buildings, both for their
relative ease of targeting, as well
as for the symbolic impact.
• Bin Laden expressed his desire to
simultaneously hit the Pentagon,
the White House, and the US
• He had Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid
al Mihdhar in mind for the
• Khalid al Mihdhar and
Nawaf al Hazmi were al-
Qaeda recruits from Saudi
• They had obtained visas to
the United States with the
hope that Osama bin
Laden would send them to
the U.S. on a suicide
• They were the first two
hijackers assigned to the
• Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
gave the two men a basic
training course for their
• He showed them
Hollywood movies to teach
them how hijackers could
seize control of airplanes.
• He used a flight simulator
program to show them the
basics of piloting.
• The program would allow
them to practice crashing
CIA Failure To Share Intelligence
• Khalid al Mihdhar and Nawaf al Hazmi became
the focus of the greatest intelligence failure in
U.S. history because American agents had been
following them almost two years before 9/11.
• The two men flew into the United States and
landed at Los Angeles International Airport.
• The CIA knew that Khalid al Mihdhar had a US
visa, and yet that information was not shared
with the FBI or U.S. Immigration.
• The two names did not appear on the list of
suspected terrorists kept at all U.S. entry points,
and so the men had no trouble slipping through
Flight School in San Diego
• The two al-Qaeda suspects made their way to
• Before long they both had driver's licenses,
and Nawaf al Hazmi was even listed in the San
Diego phone book.
• The two men signed up for lessons at a local
flight school, but they were completely lacking
in natural abilities.
• The two men reported back to Khalid Sheikh
Mohammed that learning to fly was a lot
more difficult than expected.
Mohamed Atta Ziad Jarrah
Marwan al Shehhi Hani Hanjour
Why Different Pilots?
• The al-Qaeda leadership decided that they
needed hijackers to pilot the planes who would
be much more proficient in English and
comfortable in the West.
• Hani Hanjour, was already trained as a pilot.
• Bin Laden wanted Hanjour to pilot the plane that
would strike the Pentagon because it would be a
tough target since it is not a tall building
• Hanjour would be the best qualified of the pilots.
Hijackers Arrive In The U.S.
• The hijackers began arriving in the United
States in the Spring and Summer of 2001.
• 16 of the 19 shouldn’t have been allowed
through immigration because there was
something wrong with their visas and
• They should simply have been stopped at the
• If those people had been stopped, there never
would have been a plot!
CIA Learns of the Terrorist Attack
• In the spring and summer of 2001, U.S.
Intelligence began hearing chatter about the 9/11
• A CIA informant reported that Osama bin Laden
was interested in using commercial pilots as
• On June 22, the Federal Aviation Administration
issued a bulletin to airlines warning of a “possible
hijacking plot by Islamic terrorists”.
• On June 25, there was a threat advisory to all
government agencies warning about the 'high
probability of imminent spectacular terrorist
attack by al-Qaeda.
President Bush Informed of a Possible
Attack on WTC
• On August 6th 2001, while on vacation in Crawford,
Texas, George Bush was given his Presidential Daily
• The headline read – “Bin Laden Determined To Strike in
• The document suggested al-Qaeda “would follow the
example of World Trade Centre bomber, Ramzi Yousef,
and bring the fighting to America”.
• The document highlighted “patterns of suspicious
activity in this country consistent with preparations for
hijackings or other types of attacks”
• No action was taken!
CIA Knows the Terrorists Are in the
• In August 2001, the CIA finally shared some key
intelligence that could have prevented the 9/11 attack.
• The CIA told the FBI that Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al
Mihdhar were al-Qaeda agents with U.S. visas and
should be tracked down.
• FBI headquarters finally took notice that the two al-
Qaeda suspects had flown into Los Angeles 18 months
• The cable was sent to the FBI office in LA asking for
their help in tracking al Mihdhar and al Hazmi.
• The cable is dated September 10, 2001.
9/11/01: American Flight 11
• American Airlines Flight 11
took off from Boston at 7:59
• The Plane was hijacked at
• At 8:19 am the hijacking
was called in.
• At 8:27 the plane turns
around and heads toward
• The military isn’t informed
about the hijacking until
• Flight 11 hits the North
Tower of the WTC.
9/11/01: United Flight 175
• United Flight 175 Departs
Boston at 8:14 am.
• The plane hits the South
Tower of the WTC at 9:03.
• The military was not
informed that a 2nd plane
had been hijacked until it
• Nearest F-16’s were still
70 miles away from NYC,
coming from Cape Cod.
9/11/01: American Flight 77
• American Flight 77 departs
Washington D.C. at 8:20
• Terrorist on board had
knives and box cutters.
• The plane is hijacked at
• The hijacking is reported at
• Plane crashes into the
Pentagon at 9:37.
• 189 people killed (64 on
board, 125 on the ground).
WTC Towers Pentagon
9/11/01: United Flight 93
• United Flight 93 departs
Newark, New Jersey at 8:52
• The hijacking took place at
• Passengers on board had
already heard of the other
hijackings and decided to
take actions into their own
• Hijacking was never
reported to the military
until the event was over.
• Todd Beamer was one of
several passengers who
decided to over power
the hijackers in the
• The plane was targeted to
hit the White House but
Todd and the passengers
forced the plane down
into a field in
• TRUE HEROES!
United Flight 93
• All 44 People on board
died 150 miles outside
of Washington D.C.
• The plane was traveling
at 563 mph.
What was President Bush Doing?
• The President was visiting an
elementary school in Florida
• After hearing about the first
crash into the World Trade
Centre, he insisted on carrying
on with his planned activities.
• At 9:05 am, his Chief of Staff
Andrew Card told him the
second plane had hit the
second tower and America
was under attack.
• He famously did nothing for
almost 7 minutes. He later said
he was trying to project an
image of calm.
• Inside the presidential limousine, there was
• The President was trying to speak to his staff
at the White House but all the secure
telephone lines were down.
• The communications system overloaded.
• Mr. Bush was reduced to trying to contact
Washington on a borrowed cell phone but
even that didn't work.
Aboard Air Force One
• Mr. Bush expected the communications problem
to be solved when he boarded Air Force One in
Florida at 9:45 am but the phones there worked
• In the case of any kind of attack in the United
States, what you're supposed to do is get the
President off the ground, and Air Force One then
becomes the command centre.
• And the President is then safe and is commanding
the forces of the United States from the air.
• The communications didn't work.
What Did the Vice President Do?
• After the Pentagon was hit,
the Vice President was taken
to a bunker deep in the
ground under the White
• He ordered emergency
measures designed to ensure
continuity of the U.S.
government in the event of
• Around Washington, senior
government officials were
rushed off to bomb shelters
and other secure locations in
case more planes hit more key
All Air Planes in U.S. Grounded
• At 9:42 am, the senior air traffic controller in
the U.S. ordered that all planes land
immediately at the nearest airport.
• This was a high-risk procedure that had never
• Four thousand-three hundred planes all
landed within two hours and twenty minutes.
Orders Given To Shoot Down
• The record shows that between 10:10 and
10:15 in the White House bunker, the Vice
President ordered military pilots to shoot
down any hijacked aircraft headed for
• However, the shoot-down order was never
relayed to the fighter pilots who might have
carried it out.
Evening of 9/11
• In the afternoon, the President landed at the
Offut Air Force Base in Nebraska.
• Because of the communications problem on Air
Force One, he was transported to an
underground bunker there.
• Just before 3 pm, Mr. Bush began a
teleconference with the White House and the
• Late in the day, the President finally returned to
Washington and addressed the nation at 9:30
Aftermath of 9/11
• When the President arrived back at the White
House on September 11th, he was told that
the FBI had identified the names of two
known al-Qaeda agents Khalid al Mihdhar and
Nawaf al Hazmi on the passenger list of the
plane that hit the Pentagon.
• The President became aware that night that
there had been a mistake involving CIA and
FBI and their sharing of information.
• In the twenty-four hours following 9/11, the Bush team was
ready to go to war.
• In meetings on September 11th and on September 12th,
the defense department officials, including Secretary
Rumsfeld, began talking about the need to attack Iraq
instead of Afghanistan.
• Secretary Colin Powell convinced the White House that the
world is not going to understand if the U.S. doesn't go after
• That's where the attack of September 11th was launched
• Reluctantly the defense department chose to attack
Afghanistan first…Iraq second.