TIMELINE ENTRIES ABOUT 9/11 PAYMASTER SAEED
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Part 1: 1979 - 2000
Part 2: Jan. 2001 - 9/11
Part 3: Day of 9/11
Part 4: 9/11 - Dec. 2001
Part 5: Jan. 2002 - present
|Day of 9/11
Bush on 9/11
June 1993-October 1994: Saeed Sheikh, a brilliant British student at the London School of Economics, drops out of school and moves to his homeland of Pakistan to become a terrorist. Two months later, he begins training in Afghanistan at camps run by al-Qaeda and the Pakistani army. By mid-1994, he has become a terrorist instructor. In June 1994, he begins kidnapping Western tourists in India. In October 1994, he is captured after kidnapping three Britons and an American, and is put in a maximum-security prison (see November 1994-December 1999). The ISI pays for a lawyer to defend him. [Los Angeles Times, 2/9/02, Daily Mail, 7/16/02, Vanity Fair, 8/02] His supervisor for his terror work is an ISI officer named Ijaz Shah (see February 5, 2002). [Times of India, 3/12/02, Guardian, 7/16/02] Al-Qaeda and the ISI later rescue him from prison (see December 24-31, 1999) and he becomes a central figure in the financing of the 9/11 plot (see Early August 2001 (D)).
November 1994-December 1999: Saeed Sheikh is imprisoned in India for kidnapping Westerners (see June 1993-October 1994). While there, he meets another prisoner named Aftab Ansari. Ansari, an Indian gangster, will be released on bail near the end of 1999. [India Today, 2/25/02] Saeed also meets another prisoner named Asif Raza Khan, who also is released in 1999. [Rediff, 11/17/01] After Saeed is rescued from prison (see December 24-31, 1999), he works with Ansari and Khan to kidnap Indians and then uses some of the profits to fund the 9/11 attacks (see Early August 2001 (D)). [Frontline, 2/2/02, India Today, 2/14/02] Saeed also becomes good friends with prisoner Maulana Masood Azhar, a terrorist with al-Qaeda connections (see October 3-4, 1993). [Sunday Times, 4/21/02] Saeed will later commit further terrorist acts together with Azhar's group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (see for instance October 1, 2001 (D) and December 13, 2001). [Independent, 2/26/02]
1999 (J): The London Times later claims that British intelligence secretly offers 9/11 paymaster Saeed Sheikh, imprisoned in India (see November 1994-December 1999) for kidnapping Britons and Americans (see June 1993-October 1994), an amnesty and the ability to "live in London a free man" if he will reveal his links to al-Qaeda. He apparently refuses. [Daily Mail, 7/16/02, London Times, 7/16/02] Yet after he is rescued in a hostage swap deal (see December 24-31, 1999), the press reports that he, in fact, is freely able to return to Britain. [Press Trust of India, 1/3/00] He visits his parents there in 2000 and again in early 2001. [Vanity Fair, 8/02, BBC, 7/16/02, Telegraph, 7/16/02] He is not charged with kidnapping until well after 9/11 (see November 2001-February 5, 2002). Those kidnapped by Saeed call the government's decision not to try him a "disgrace" and "scandalous." [Press Trust of India, 1/3/00] The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review later suggests that not only is Saeed closely tied to both the ISI and al-Qaeda, but may also have been working for the CIA: "There are many in Musharraf's government who believe that Saeed Sheikh's power comes not from the ISI, but from his connections with our own CIA. The theory is that ... Saeed Sheikh was bought and paid for." [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] Did or does Saeed have some kind of deal with British or US intelligence?
December 24-31, 1999: An Indian Airlines flight is hijacked and flown to Afghanistan where 155 passengers are held hostage for eight days. They are freed in return for the release of three militants held in Indian prisons. One of the hostages is killed. One of the men freed in the exchange is 9/11 paymaster Saeed Sheikh (see November 1994-December 1999). [BBC, 12/31/99] Another freed militant is terrorist leader Maulana Masood Azhar. Azhar emerges in Pakistan a few days later, and tells a crowd of 10,000, "I have come here because this is my duty to tell you that Muslims should not rest in peace until we have destroyed America and India." [AP, 1/5/00] He then tours Pakistan for weeks under the protection of the ISI. [Vanity Fair, 8/02] The ISI and Saeed helps Azhar form a new terrorist group called Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Azhar is soon plotting terrorist acts again (see October 1, 2001 (D) and December 13, 2001). [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02, Guardian, 7/16/02, Washington Post, 2/8/03]
January 1, 2000-September 11, 2001: After being released from prison (see December 24-31, 1999), Saeed Sheikh stays in Kandahar, Afghanistan, for several days and meets with Taliban leader Mullah Omar. He also meets with bin Laden, who is said to call Saeed "my special son." He then travels to Pakistan and is given a house by the ISI. [Vanity Fair, 8/02] He lives openly and opulently in Pakistan, even attending "swanky parties attended by senior Pakistani government officials." US authorities conclude he is an asset of the ISI. [Newsweek, 3/13/02] Amazingly, he is allowed to travel freely to Britain, and visits family there at least twice (see 1999 (J)). [Vanity Fair, 8/02] He works with Ijaz Shah, a former ISI official in charge of handling two terrorist groups (see February 5, 2002), Lieutenant-General Mohammad Aziz Khan, former deputy chief of the ISI in charge of relations with Jaish-e-Mohammad (see September 17-28, 2001 and October 7, 2001), and Brigadier Abdullah, a former ISI officer. He is well known to other senior ISI officers. He regularly travels to Afghanistan and helps train new terrorist recruits in training camps there. [New York Times, 2/25/02, National Post, 2/26/02, Guardian, 7/16/02, India Today, 2/25/02] Saeed helps train the 9/11 hijackers also, presumably in Afghanistan. [Telegraph, 9/30/01] He also helps al-Qaeda develop a secure web-based communications system, and there is even talk that he could one day succeed bin Laden. [Vanity Fair, 8/02, Telegraph, 7/16/02] He wires money to the 9/11 hijackers on at least one occasion (see Early August 2001 (D)) and possibly others (see June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000 and September 8-11, 2001). Presumably he sends the money from the United Arab Emirates during his many trips there. [Guardian, 2/9/02]
June 29, 2000-September 18, 2000: Someone using the aliases "Isam Mansour," "Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hisawi," "Mr. Ali" and "Hani (Fawaz Trdng)," sends a total of $109,910 to the 9/11 hijackers in a series of transfers between these dates. [MSNBC, 12/11/01, Newsweek, 12/2/01, New York Times, 12/10/01, Financial Times, 11/30/01, Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/26/02] The money is sent from Sharjah, a emirate in the United Arab Emirates that is a center for al-Qaeda's illegal financial dealings (see Mid-1996-October 2001). The identity of this money man "Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi" is in dispute (see September 24, 2001-December 26, 2002). It has been claimed that the name "Mustafa Ahmed" is an alias used by Saeed Sheikh, a known ISI and al-Qaeda agent who sends the hijackers money on other occasions (see Early August 2001 (D)). [CNN, 10/6/01] India claims ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed orders Saeed to send the hijackers the money at this time. [Frontline, 10/6/01, Daily Excelsior, 10/18/01] FBI Director Mueller's most recent theory is that this money is sent by the previously unheard of "Ali Abdul Aziz Ali." But of the four aliases used in the different transactions, Mueller connects this man only to three, and not to the alias "Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hisawi." [New York Times, 12/10/01, Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/26/02, AP, 9/26/02] It appears that most of the money is sent to an account shared by Marwan Alshehhi and Mohamed Atta, who would obtain money orders and distribute the money to the other hijackers. [CNN, 10/1/01, MSNBC, 12/11/01, Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/26/02] The New York Times later suggests that the amount passed from "Mustafa Ahmed" to the Florida bank accounts right until the day before the attack is around $325,000. The rest of the $500,000 - $600,000 they receive for US expenses comes from another, still unknown source. [New York Times, 7/10/02]
June 25, 2001: Hijacker Fayez Banihammad opens a bank account in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), with 9/11 paymaster "Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi." That name is a likely alias for Saeed Sheikh, who is known to frequently visit Dubai in this time period (see January 1, 2000-September 11, 2001 and September 24, 2001-December 26, 2002). [MSNBC, 12/11/01] Banihammad flies to the US the next day (see April 23-June 29, 2001). Banihammad gives power of attorney to "al-Hawsawi" on July 18, and then "al-Hawsawi" sends Banihammad Visa and ATM cards in Florida. Banihammad uses the Visa card to buy his airplane ticket for 9/11. [Washington Post, 12/13/01, MSNBC, 12/11/01] The same pattern of events occurs for some other hijackers, though the timing is not fully known. [Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/26/02] Visa cards are given to several other hijackers in Dubai. [London Times, 12/1/01] Other hijackers, including Hani Hanjour, Abdulaziz Alomari and Khalid Almihdhar, open foreign bank and credit card accounts in the UAE and in Saudi Arabia. Majed Moqed, Saeed Alghamdi, Hamza Alghamdi, Ahmed Alnami, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Wail Alshehri and possibly others purchase travelers checks in the UAE, presumably with funds given to them when they pass through Dubai. It is believed that "al-Hawsawi" is in Dubai every time the hijackers pass through. [Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/26/02]
August-October 2001: British intelligence asks India for legal assistance in catching Saeed Sheikh sometime during August 2001. Saeed has been openly living in Pakistan since 1999 and has even traveled to Britain at least twice during that time (see January 1, 2000-September 11, 2001), despite having kidnapped Britons and Americans (see June 1993-October 1994). [London Times, 4/21/02, Vanity Fair, 8/02] According to the Indian media, informants in Germany tell the internal security service there that Saeed helped fund hijacker Mohamed Atta (see Early August 2001 (D)). [Frontline, 10/6/01] On September 23, it is revealed that the British have asked India for help in finding Saeed, but it isn't explained why. [London Times, 9/23/01] His role in training the hijackers and financing the 9/11 attacks soon becomes public knowledge, though some elements are disputed (see September 24, 2001-December 26, 2002). [Telegraph, 9/30/01, CNN, 10/6/01, CNN, 10/8/01] The Gulf News claims that the US freezes the assets of Pakistani terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad on October 12, 2001 because it has established links between Saeed Sheikh and 9/11 (see October 12, 2001). [Gulf News, 10/11/01] However, in October, an Indian magazine notes, "Curiously, there seems to have been little international pressure on Pakistan to hand [Saeed] over" [Frontline, 10/6/01], and the US doesn't formally ask Pakistan for help to find Saeed until January 2002 (see November 2001-January 2002).
September 8-11, 2001 (C): The hijackers send money to and receive money from a man in the United Arab Emirates who uses the aliases "Mustafa Ahmed," "Mustafa Ahmad," and "Ahamad Mustafa." [MSNBC, 12/11/01] This "Mustafa" transfers money to Mohamed Atta in Florida on September 8 and 9. He sends the money from a branch of the Al Ansari Exchange in Sharjah, UAE, a center of al-Qaeda financial dealings (see Mid-1996-October 2001). [Financial Times, 11/30/01] On September 9, three hijackers, Atta, Waleed Alshehri and Marwan Alshehhi, transfer about $15,000 back to "Mustafa"'s account. [Time, 10/1/01, Los Angeles Times, 10/20/01] Apparently the hijackers are returning money meant for the 9/11 attacks that they didn't use. "Mustafa" then transfers $40,000 to his Visa card and then, using a Saudi passport, flies from the UAE to Karachi, Pakistan, on 9/11. He makes six ATM withdrawals there two days later, then disappears into Pakistan (see September 11, 2001-January 2002). [MSNBC, 12/11/01] In early October 2001 it is reported that the financier "Mustafa Ahmed" is an alias used by Saeed Sheikh. [CNN, 10/6/01] It will later be reported that Saeed wired money to Atta the month before (see Early August 2001 (D)). These last-minute transfers are touted as the "smoking gun" proving al-Qaeda involvement in the 9/11 attacks, since Saeed is a known financial manager for bin Laden. [Guardian, 10/1/01] But since Saeed also works for the ISI, aren't these transfers equally a smoking gun of ISI involvement in the 9/11 attacks? The US media frequently reports a series of alternatives to Saeed as the one who sends this money (see September 24, 2001-December 26, 2002).
September 11, 2001-January 2002: After probably completing last-minute financial transactions with some 9/11 hijackers, Saeed Sheikh flies to Pakistan (see September 8-11 (C)). [Knight Ridder, 10/7/01] He meets with bin Laden in Afghanistan a few days later. [Washington Post, 2/18/02, London Times, 2/25/02, Guardian, 7/16/02] The US government claims Saeed fights for the Taliban in Afghanistan in September and October 2001. [CNN, 3/14/02] Some believe that after the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Saeed acts as a go-between for the hiding bin Laden and the ISI. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] He also helps produce a video of a bin Laden interview. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] Sometime in October 2001 [Guardian, 7/16/02], he moves back to his home in Lahore, Pakistan, and lives there openly. He is frequently seen at local parties hosted by government leaders. In January 2002, he hosts a party to celebrate the birth of his newborn baby. [USA Today, 2/25/02, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] He stays in his well-known Lahore house with his new wife and baby until January 19, 2002 - four days before reporter Daniel Pearl is kidnapped (see January 23, 2002). [BBC, 7/16/02] He is also actively involved in numerous other terrorist acts (see October 1, 2001 (D), December 13, 2001 (C) and January 22, 2002).
September 24, 2001-December
26, 2002: In 2000, the 9/11 hijackers receive money from a man using "Mustafa
Ahmed Al-Hisawi" and other aliases (see June
29, 2000-September 18, 2000). On September 8-11, 2001, the hijackers
send money to a man in the United Arab Emirates who uses the aliases "Mustafa
Ahmed," "Mustafa Ahmad," and "Ahamad Mustafa" (see
September 8-11, 2001).
Soon the media begins reporting on who this 9/11 "paymaster" is, but
his reported names and identities will continually change.
The media has sometimes made the obvious connection that the paymaster is the
British man Saeed Sheikh, a financial expert who studied at the London School
of Economics (see June 1993-October
1994), who undisputedly sent hijacker Mohamed Atta money the month before
(see Early August 2001 (D)),
was making frequent trips at the time to Dubai, where the money is sent, and
is also known to have trained the hijackers (see January
1, 2000-September 11, 2001). But the FBI
consistently deflects attention onto other possible explanations, with a highly
confusing series of names vaguely similar to Mustafa Ahmed or Saeed Sheikh.
Could they be ignoring the real Saeed because of his
connections to the Pakistani ISI?
1) September 24, 2001: Newsweek reports that the paymaster for the 9/11 attacks is someone named "Mustafa Ahmed." [Newsweek, 9/24/01] This refers to Mustafa Mahmoud Said Ahmed, an Egyptian al-Qaeda banker who was captured in Tanzania in 1998 then later released. [Sydney Morning Herald, 9/28/01, Newsday, 10/3/01]
2) October 1, 2001: It is reported that the real name of "Mustafa Mohamed Ahmad" is "Sheikh Saeed." [Guardian, 10/1/01] A few days later, CNN confirms that this "Sheik Syed" is the British man Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh rescued in 1999 (see December 24-31, 1999). [CNN, 10/6/01, CNN, 10/8/01] But starting on October 8, the story that ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed ordered Saeed to give Mohamed Atta $100,000 begins to break (see October 7, 2001). References to the 9/11 paymaster being the British Saeed Sheikh (and the connections to Mahmood) suddenly disappear from the Western media (with one exception [CNN, 10/28/01]).
3) October, 2001: Other articles continue to use "Mustafa Mohammed Ahmad" or "Shaykh Saiid" with no details of his identity, except for suggestions that he is Egyptian. There are numerous spelling variations and conflicting accounts over which name is the alias. [Evening Standard, 10/1/01, BBC, 10/1/01, Newsday, 10/3/01, AP, 10/6/01, Washington Post, 10/7/01, Sunday Times, 10/7/01, Knight Ridder, 10/9/01, New York Times, 10/15/01, Los Angeles Times, 10/20/01]
4) October 16, 2001: CNN reports that the 9/11 paymaster "Sheik Sayid" is mentioned in a May 2001 trial of al-Qaeda members. But this turns out to be a Kenyan named Sheik Sayyid el Masry. [CNN, 10/16/01, Trial Transcript, 2/20/01, Trial Transcript, 2/21/01]
5) November 11, 2001: The identity of 9/11 paymaster "Mustafa Ahmed" is suddenly no longer Egyptian, but is now a Saudi named Sa'd Al-Sharif who is said to be bin Laden's brother-in-law. [Newsweek, 11/11/01, United Nations, 3/8/01, AP, 12/18/01]
6) December 11, 2001: The federal indictment of Zacarias Moussaoui calls the 9/11 paymaster "Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi a/k/a 'Mustafa Ahmed,'" and gives him Sa'd's nationality and birthdate. [MSNBC, 12/11/01] Many articles begin adding "al-Hawsawi" to the Mustafa Ahmed name. [Washington Post, 12/13/01, Washington Post, 1/7/02, Los Angeles Times, 1/20/02]
7) January 23, 2002: As new information is reported in India (see December 7, 2001), the media returns to the British Saeed Sheikh as the 9/11 paymaster. [Los Angeles Times, 1/23/02, Telegraph, 1/24/02, Independent, 1/24/02, Telegraph, 1/27/02] While his role in the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl is revealed on February 6, many articles connect him to 9/11, but many more do not (see February 6, 2002). Coverage of Saeed's 9/11 connections generally dies out by the time of his trial in July 2002 (see July 15, 2002).
8) June 4, 2002: Without explanation, the name "Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif" begins to be used for the 9/11 paymaster, presumably a combination of Saeed Sheikh and S'ad al-Sharif. [AP, 6/4/02, AP, 6/5/02, Independent, 9/15/02, AP, 9/26/02, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/15/02] Many of the old names continue to be used, however. [New York Times, 7/10/02, Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02, Washington Post, 9/11/02, Los Angeles Times, 12/24/02, Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02, Knight Ridder, 9/8/02, Knight Ridder, 9/9/02, Time, 8/4/02]
9) June 18, 2002: FBI Director Mueller testifies that the money sent in 2000 is sent by someone named "Ali Abdul Aziz Ali" but the money in 2001 is sent by "Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif." The "Aziz Ali" name has not been mentioned again by the press or FBI (outside of coverage of this testimony in September 2002). [Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/26/02]
10) September 4, 2002: Newsweek says "Mustafa Ahmad Adin Al-Husawi," presumably Saudi, is a deputy to the Egyptian "Sayyid Shaikh Al-Sharif." But it adds he "remains almost a total mystery," and they're unsure of his name. [Newsweek, 9/4/02]
11) December 26, 2002: US officials now say there is no such person as Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif. Instead, he is probably a composite of three different people: "[Mustafa Ahmed] Al-Hisawi; Shaikh Saiid al-Masri, al-Qaeda's finance chief, and Saad al-Sharif, bin Laden's brother-in-law and a midlevel al-Qaeda financier." [AP, 12/26/02] Shaikh Saiid al-Masri is likely a reference the Kenyan Sheik Sayyid el Masry. Note that now al-Hisawi is the assistant to Shaikh Saiid, a flip from a few months before.
Saiid and/or al-Hisawi still haven't been added to the FBI's official most wanted lists. [London Times, 12/1/01, Wall Street Journal, 6/17/02, FBI Most Wanted Terrorists] Despite the confusion, the FBI isn't even seeking information about them. [FBI Seeking Information] Over a year after 9/11, the FBI's understanding of 9/11's financing is in disarray. Perhaps this is because they have yet to interrogate the real paymaster, Saeed Sheikh, who is sitting in a Pakistani prison. [Indian Express, 7/19/02]
October 1, 2001 (D): A suicide truck-bomb attack on the provincial parliamentary assembly in Indian-controlled Kashmir leaves 36 dead. It appears that Saeed Sheikh and Aftab Ansari, working with the ISI, are behind the attacks (see also Early August 2001 (D)). [Vanity Fair, 8/02, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] Indian intelligence claims that Pakistani President Musharraf is later given a recording of a phone call between Jaish-e-Mohammad leader Maulana Masood Azhar and ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed in which Azhar allegedly reports the bombing is a "success." [UPI, 10/10/01]
November 2001-February 5, 2002: A US grand jury secretly indicts Saeed Sheikh for his role in the 1994 kidnapping of an American (see June 1993-October 1994). The indictment is revealed in late February 2002. The US later claims it begins asking Pakistan for help in finding Saeed in late November. [AP, 2/26/02, Newsweek, 3/13/02] However, it is not until January 9, 2002 that Wendy Chamberlin, the US ambassador to Pakistan, officially asks the Pakistani government for help in arresting and extraditing Saeed. [AP, 2/24/02, CNN, 2/24/02, Los Angeles Times, 2/25/02] Saeed is seen partying with Pakistani government officials well into January 2002 (see January 1, 2000-September 11, 2001 and September 11, 2001-January 2002). The Los Angeles Times later notes that Saeed "move[s] about Pakistan without apparent impediments from authorities" up until February 5, when he is identified as a suspect in the Daniel Pearl kidnapping" (see February 5, 2002). [Los Angeles Times, 2/13/02] The London Times says, "It is inconceivable that the Pakistani authorities did not know where he was" before then. [London Times, 4/21/02] Why did the British become interested in Saeed shortly before 9/11 (see August-October 2001), and why was so little done to catch him afterward?
December 7, 2001: Indian gangster Asif Raza Khan, terrorist associate of Saeed Sheikh and Aftab Ansari (see November 1994-December 1999), is shot dead by Indian police. Police claim he was trying to escape. [Los Angeles Times, 1/23/02] A month or two before he dies, Indian investigators record a confession of his involvement in a plot with Ansari and Saeed to send kidnapping profits to hijacker Mohamed Atta (Early August 2001 (D)). This information becomes public just before Saeed is suspected for kidnapping reporter Daniel Pearl (see January 23, 2002 and February 5, 2002). [Independent, 2/24/02, India Today, 2/25/02] Many in Ansari's Indian criminal network are arrested in October and November 2001, and confirm the money connection to Atta. [India Today, 2/14/02]
December 13, 2001 (C): The Indian Parliament building in New Delhi is attacked by terrorists. Fourteen people, including the five attackers, are killed. India blames the Pakistani terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad for the attacks. Twelve days later, Maulana Masood Azhar, head of Jaish-e-Mohammad, is arrested by Pakistan and his group is banned. He is freed one year later (see December 14, 2002). [AFP, 12/25/01, Christian Science Monitor, 12/16/02] The Parliament attack leads to talk of war, even nuclear war, between Pakistan and India, until President Musharraf cracks down on terrorist groups in early January (see January 12, 2002). [Telegraph, 12/28/01, Wall Street Journal, 1/3/02, Guardian, 5/25/02] It appears that Saeed Sheikh and Aftab Ansari, working with the ISI, are also behind the attacks. [Vanity Fair, 8/02, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02]
December 24, 2001-January 23, 2002: Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl writes stories about the ISI that will lead to his kidnapping (see January 23, 2002). On December 24, 2001, he reports about ties between the ISI and a Pakistani organization that was working on giving bin Laden nuclear secrets before 9/11. A few days later, he reports that the ISI supported terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad (see December 24-31, 1999) still has its office running and bank accounts working, even though President Musharraf claims to have banned the group. "If [Pearl] hadn't been on the ISI's radarscope before, he was now." [Vanity Fair, 8/02, Guardian, 7/16/02] He begins investigating links between shoe bomber Richard Reid and Pakistani militants (see December 22, 2001 (B)), and comes across connections to the ISI and a mysterious religious group called Al-Fuqra (see January 6, 2002). [Washington Post, 2/23/02] He also may be looking into the US training and backing of the ISI. [Gulf News, 3/25/02] He's writing another story on Dawood Ibrahim, a powerful terrorist and gangster protected by the ISI, and other Pakistani organized crime figures. [Newsweek, 2/4/02, Vanity Fair, 8/02] Former CIA agent Robert Baer (see December 1997 and August 2001 (G)) later claims to be working with Pearl on investigating 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (see December 1997). [UPI, 9/30/02] It is later suggested that Mohammed masterminds both Reid's shoe bomb attempt and the Pearl kidnapping (see January 22, 2003), and has connections to Pakistani gangsters and the ISI, so some of these explanations could fit together. [UPI, 9/30/02, Asia Times, 10/30/02, CNN, 1/30/03] Kidnapper Saeed will later say of Pearl, "because of his hyperactivity he caught our interest." [The News, 2/15/02]
January 5, 2002: It is reported that the FBI has asked Pakistan for permission to question Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad. Pakistan arrested him on December 25, 2001 after US pressure to do so (see December 13, 2001 (C)). One Pakistani official says, "The Americans are aware Azhar met bin Laden often, and are convinced he can give important information about bin Laden's present whereabouts and even the September 11 attacks." But the "primary reason" for US interest is the link between Azhar and Saeed Sheikh (see December 24-31, 1999). They hope to learn about Saeed's involvement in financing the 9/11 attacks. It is not certain that Pakistan gives permission to question Azhar. Four days later, the US officially asks Pakistan for help in finding and extraditing Saeed (see August-October 2001 ). [Gulf News, 1/5/02]
January 6, 2002: The Boston Globe reports that shoe bomber Richard Reid (see December 22, 2001 (B)) may have had ties with an obscure Pakistani group called Al-Fuqra. Reid apparently visited the Lahore, Pakistan home of Ali Gilani, the leader of Al-Fuqra. [Boston Globe, 1/6/02] Reporter Daniel Pearl reads the article, and decides to investigate (see also December 24, 2001-January 23, 2002). [Vanity Fair, 8/02] Pearl believes he is on his way to interview Gilani when he is kidnapped (see January 23, 2002). [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] A 1995 State Department report said Al-Fuqra's main goal is "purifying Islam through violence." [Vanity Fair, 8/02] Intelligence experts say it is a splinter group of Jaish-e-Mohammad, and has ties to al-Qaeda. [UPI, 1/29/02] Al-Fuqra claims close ties with the Muslims of the Americas, a US tax-exempt group claiming about 3,000 members living in rural compounds in 19 states, the Caribbean and Europe. Members of Al-Fuqra are suspected of at least 13 fire bombings and 17 murders, as well as theft and credit-card fraud. Gilani had links to people involved in the 1993 WTC bombing, and he fled the US after the bombing. Gilani admits he works with the ISI and lives freely in Pakistan. [Boston Globe, 1/6/02, The News, 2/15/02, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02, Vanity Fair, 8/02] Saeed Sheikh "has long had close contacts" with the group, and praises Gilani for his "unexplained services to Pakistan and Islam." [The News, 2/18/02, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] There has been surprisingly little media coverage of Al-Fuqra, given their US presence and al-Qaeda connection (see also [Knight Ridder, 12/25/01, New York Times, 1/3/02, New York Post, 2/10/02, Rocky Mountain News, 2/12/02]).
January 22, 2002: A crowd of mostly unarmed Indian police near the US Information Service building in Calcutta, India, is attacked by gunmen; four policemen are killed and 21 people injured. The gunmen escape. India claims that Aftab Ansari immediately calls to take credit, and India charges that the gunmen belong to Ansari's kidnapping ring also connected to funding the 9/11 attacks (see Early August 2001 (D)). [Telegraph, 1/24/02, AP, 2/10/02] Saeed Sheikh and the ISI assist Ansari in the attack. [Vanity Fair, 8/02, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02] This is the fourth terrorist attack they have cooperated on, including the 9/11 attacks (see Early August 2001 (D), October 1, 2001 (D), and December 13, 2001 (C)).
January 22-25, 2002: FBI Director Mueller visits India, and is told by Indian investigators that Saeed Sheikh sent ransom money to hijacker Mohamed Atta in the US (see Early August 2001 (D)). In the next few days, Saeed is publicly blamed for his role with gangster Aftab Ansari in financing Atta and organizing the Calcutta terrorist attack (see January 22, 2002). [Press Trust of India, 1/22/02, Los Angeles Times, 1/23/02, Independent, 2/24/02, AFP, 1/27/02, Telegraph, 1/27/02] Meanwhile, on January 23, Saeed helps kidnap reporter Daniel Pearl (see January 23, 2002) and is later arrested (see February 5, 2002). Also on January 23, Ansari is placed under surveillance after flying to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On January 24, Mueller and US Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin discuss Saeed at a previously scheduled meeting with Pakistani President Musharraf. Apparently Saeed's role in Pearl's kidnapping is not yet known. [AP, 2/24/02] Mueller then flies to Dubai on his way back to the US to pressure the government there to arrest Ansari and deport him to India. Ansari is arrested on February 5 and deported 4 days later (see February 9, 2002 (C)). [AP, 2/10/02, Frontline, 2/16/02, India Today, 2/25/02] Is the timing of Mueller's travels coincidental, or is he striking at Saeed and Ansari for their role in financing 9/11?
January 23, 2002: Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in Pakistan while researching stories threatening to the ISI (see December 24, 2001-January 23, 2002). [Guardian, 1/25/02, BBC, 7/5/02] He is later murdered (see January 31, 2002). FTW Saeed Sheikh is later convicted as the mastermind of the kidnap (see July 15, 2002), and though it appears he lured Pearl into being kidnapped beginning January 11, the actual kidnapping and murder of Pearl is done by others who remain at large. [Vanity Fair, 8/02, Wall Street Journal, 1/23/03] Both al-Qaeda and the ISI appear to be behind the kidnapping (see January 28, 2002 and February 5, 2002). The overall mastermind behind the kidnapping seems to be Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, also mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. [Time, 1/26/03, CNN, 1/30/03] If Saeed assisted Mohammed in the kidnapping, that would appear to repeat their cooperation in the 9/11 attacks, and strengthen the argument that Mohammed is connected to both al-Qaeda and the ISI (see June 4, 2002).
January 28, 2002: The kidnappers of reporter Daniel Pearl (see January 23, 2002) e-mail the media a picture of Pearl and a list of very strange demands. [BBC, 7/5/02] The kidnappers call themselves "The National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty," a previously unheard of name. [Vanity Fair, 8/02] Their demands include the return of US-held Pakistani prisoners and the departure of US journalists from Pakistan. [ABC News, 2/7/02] Most unusually, they demand that the US sell F-16 fighters to Pakistan. No terrorist group had ever shown interest in the F-16's, but this demand and the others reflect the desires of Pakistan's military and the ISI. [London Times, 4/21/02, Guardian, 7/16/02] On January 29, "a senior Pakistani official" presumably from the ISI leaks the fact that Pearl is Jewish to the Pakistani press. This may have been an attempt to ensure the kidnappers would want to murder him, which they do shortly thereafter (see January 31, 2002). [Vanity Fair, 8/02] On the same day, it is reported that US intelligence believes the kidnappers are connected to the ISI. [UPI, 1/29/02] Secretary of State Powell will later say there is no connection between the kidnappers and the ISI. [March 3, 2002]
January 31, 2002: Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is murdered by his kidnappers in Pakistan (see also January 23, 2002). Pearl is reported dead on February 21; his body is found months later. Police investigators say "there were at least eight to ten people present on the scene" and at least 15 who participated in his kidnapping and murder. "Despite issuing a series of political demands shortly after Pearl's abduction four weeks ago, it now seems clear that the kidnappers planned to kill Pearl all along." [Washington Post, 2/23/02] Some captured participants later claim 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is the one who cuts Pearl's throat (see January 22, 2003).
February 5, 2002: Pakistani police, with the help of the FBI, determine Saeed Sheikh is behind the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl (see January 23, 2002), but are unable to find him. They round up about ten of his relatives and threaten to harm them unless he turns himself in. Saeed Sheikh does turn himself in, but to Ijaz Shah, his former ISI boss (see June 1993-October 1994). [Boston Globe, 2/7/02, Vanity Fair, 8/02] The ISI holds Saeed for a week, but fails to tell Pakistani police or anyone else that they have him (see February 12, 2002). This "missing week" is the cause of much speculation. The ISI never tells Pakistani police any details about this week. [Newsweek, 3/11/02] Saeed also later refuses to discuss the week or his connection to the ISI, only saying, "I will not discuss this subject. I do not want my family to be killed." He adds, "I know people in the government and they know me and my work." [Newsweek, 3/13/02, Vanity Fair, 8/02] It is suggested Saeed is held for this week to make sure that Pearl was killed. Saeed later says that during this week he got a coded message from the kidnappers that Pearl had been murdered. Also, the time might have been spent working out a deal with the ISI over what Saeed would tell police and the public. [Newsweek, 3/11/02] Several others with both extensive ISI and al-Qaeda ties wanted for the kidnapping are arrested around this time. [Washington Post, 2/23/02, London Times, 2/25/02] One of these men, Khalid Khawaja, "has never hidden his links with Osama bin Laden. At one time he used to fly Osama's personal plane." [PakNews, 2/11/02]
February 6, 2002: Pakistani police publicly name Saeed Sheikh and a terrorist group he belongs to, Jaish-e-Mohammad, responsible for reporter Daniel Pearl's murder (see January 31, 2002 and February 5, 2002). [Observer, 2/24/02] In the next several months, at least 12 Western articles mention Saeed's links to al-Qaeda [ABC News, 2/7/02, Boston Globe, 2/7/02, AP, 2/24/02, Los Angeles Times, 3/15/02], including his financing of 9/11 [New York Daily News, 2/7/02, CNN, 2/8/02, AP, 2/9/02, Guardian, 2/9/02, Independent, 2/10/02, Time, 2/10/02, New York Post, 2/10/02, Evening Standard, 2/12/02, Los Angeles Times, 2/13/02, New York Post, 2/22/02, Sunday Herald, 2/24/02, USA Today, 3/8/02], and at least 16 articles mention his links to the ISI. [Cox News, 2/21/02, Observer, 2/24/02, Telegraph, 2/24/02, Newsweek, 2/25/02, New York Times, 2/25/02, USA Today, 2/25/02, National Post, 2/26/02, Boston Globe, 2/28/02, Newsweek, 3/11/02, Newsweek, 3/13/02, Guardian, 4/5/02, MSNBC, 4/5/02]. However, many other articles fail to mention either link. But only three articles consider that Saeed could have been connected to both groups at the same time. [London Times, 2/25/02, London Times, 4/21/02, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02], and only one of these mentions he could be involved in the ISI, al-Qaeda and financing 9/11. [London Times, 4/21/02] By the time Saeed is convicted of Pearl's murder in July 2002, not a single US newspaper is connecting Saeed to either al-Qaeda or the ISI, while many British newspapers are still making one or the other connection (see July 15, 2002). Is the media afraid of reporting any news that could imply a connection between the ISI and the 9/11 attacks?
February 9, 2002 (C): Gangster Aftab Ansari is deported to India. He was arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on February 5 (see January 22, 2002 and January 22-25, 2002). [Independent, 2/10/02] He admits funding terrorist attacks through kidnapping ransoms (see Early August 2001 (D)), and building a network of arms and drug smuggling. [Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 2/11/02] He later also admits to close ties with the ISI and Saeed Sheikh, whom he befriended in prison (see November 1994-December 1999). [Press Trust of India, 5/13/02]
February 12, 2002: Saeed Sheikh, already in ISI custody for a week (see February 5, 2002), is handed over to Pakistani police. Shortly afterwards, he publicly confesses to his involvement in reporter Daniel Pearl's murder (see January 31, 2002). Later he will recant this confession. It appears that initially he thought he would get a light sentence. Newsweek describes him initially "confident, even cocky," saying he would only serve three to four years if convicted, and would never be extradited. [Newsweek, 3/11/02] He is in fact sentenced to hang instead (see July 15, 2002). Did Saeed work out a secret deal during his "missing week" in ISI custody to get a light sentence, a deal that is later broken? Pakistani militants respond to his arrest with three suicide attacks that kill more than 30 people. [Guardian, 7/16/02]
February 18, 2002 (B): The Pakistani government unsuccessfully tries to stop the Pakistani newspaper The News from publishing a story revealing Saeed Sheikh's connections to the ISI, based on leaks from Pakistani police interrogations. [Washington Post, 3/10/02, London Times, 4/21/02, Guardian, 7/16/02] According to the article, Saeed admits his involvement in recent attacks on the Indian parliament in Delhi and in Kashmir (see October 1, 2001 (D) and December 13, 2001 (C)), and says the ISI helped him finance, plan and execute them. [The News, 2/18/02] On March 1, the ISI pressures The News to fire the four journalists who worked on the story. The ISI also demands an apology from the newspaper's editor, who flees the country instead. [Washington Post, 3/10/02, London Times, 4/21/02, Guardian, 7/16/02]
March 3, 2002: Secretary of State Powell rules out any links between "elements of the ISI" and the murderers of reporter Daniel Pearl. [Dawn, 3/3/02] The Guardian later calls Powell's comment "shocking," given the overwhelming evidence that the main suspect, Saeed Sheikh, worked for the ISI. [Guardian, 4/5/02] Defense Secretary Rumsfeld called him a possible "asset" for the ISI a week earlier. [London Times, 2/25/02] The Washington Post says, "The [ISI] is a house of horrors waiting to break open. Saeed has tales to tell." [Washington Post, 3/28/02] The Guardian says Saeed "is widely believed in Pakistan to be an experienced ISI 'asset.'" [Washington Post, 5/3/02] Does Powell's comment indicate that the US is helping to cover up Saeed's ISI connections?
March 7, 2002 (B): Pakistani President Musharraf says Saeed Sheikh, chief suspect in the killing of reporter Daniel Pearl (see February 5, 2002), will not be extradited to the US, at least not until after he is tried by Pakistan. [Guardian, 3/15/02] The US Ambassador later reports to Washington that Musharraf privately said, "I'd rather hang him myself" than extradite Saeed. [Washington Post, 3/28/02] Musharraf even brazenly states, "Perhaps Daniel Pearl was over-intrusive. A mediaperson should be aware of the dangers of getting into dangerous areas. Unfortunately, he got over-involved.'' [Hindu, 3/8/02] He also says Pearl was caught up in "intelligence games." [Washington Post, 5/3/02] In early April, Musharraf apparently says he wants to see Saeed sentenced to death. Defense lawyers are appalled, saying Musharraf is effectively telling the courts what to do. [BBC, 4/12/02] The Washington Post reports in early March that Pakistani "police alternately fabricate and destroy evidence, depending on pressure from above" [Washington Post, 3/10/02], and in fact Saeed's trial will be plagued with problems (see July 16-21, 2002).
March 14, 2002: Attorney General Ashcroft announces a second US criminal indictment of Saeed Sheikh (see August 2001-February 5, 2002), this time for his role in the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl (see January 31, 2002). The amount of background information given about Saeed is very brief, and of all his many terrorist acts since he was released from prison in 1999, the only one mentioned is that in September and October 2001 he fought in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda. The indictment and Ashcroft fail to mention Saeed's financing of the 9/11 attacks, and no reporters ask Ashcroft about this either (see Early August 2001 (D)). [CNN, 3/14/02, Los Angeles Times, 3/15/02]
April 5, 2002: The Pakistani trial of Saeed Sheikh and three others begins. [BBC, 7/5/02] NBC reports that death sentences are expected for the four accused killers of Daniel Pearl, despite a lack of evidence. The case will be decided in top secret by handpicked judges in Pakistan's anti-terrorism courts. "Some in Pakistan's government also are very concerned about what [the defendant] Saeed might say in court. His organization and other militant groups here have ties to Pakistan's secret intelligence agency [the ISI]. There are concerns he could try to implicate that government agency in the Pearl case, or other questionable dealings that could be at the very least embarrassing, or worse." [MSNBC, 4/5/02] Later in the month the London Times says that the real truth about Saeed won't come out in the trial because, "Sheikh is no ordinary terrorist but a man who has connections that reach high into Pakistan's military and intelligence elite and into the innermost circles of Osama Bin Laden and the al-Qaeda organization." [London Times, 4/21/02]
July 15, 2002: Saeed Sheikh and three codefendants are judged guilty for the murder of reporter Daniel Pearl (see January 31, 2002). Saeed, the supposed mastermind of the murder, is sentenced to death by hanging, and the others are given 25-year terms. Saeed threatens the judge with retribution. As if to confirm that his death covers up unpleasant truths, in the stories of his sentencing every major US media story fails to report Saeed's connections to 9/11 or even to the ISI. [AP, 7/15/02, AP, 7/15/02, CBS, 7/15/02, CNN, 7/15/02, Los Angeles Times, 7/15/02, MSNBC, 7/15/02, New York Times, 7/15/02, Reuters, 7/15/02, USA Today, 7/15/02, Wall Street Journal, 7/15/02, Washington Post, 7/15/02] In contrast, the British media connects Saeed to the ISI ([Guardian, 7/16/02, Guardian, 7/16/02, Daily Mail, 7/16/02]), al-Qaeda ([Independent, 7/16/02]), the 9/11 attacks ([Scotsman, 7/16/02]), or some combination of the three ([London Times, 7/16/02, Daily Mail, 7/16/02, Telegraph, 7/16/02]) (with one exception: [BBC, 7/16/02, BBC, 7/16/02]). The US and British governments both approve of the verdict. [Wall Street Journal, 7/15/02, BBC, 7/15/02] In the US, only the Washington Post questions the justice of the verdict. [Washington Post, 7/15/02, Washington Post, 7/16/02] By contrast, all British newspapers question the verdict, and subsequently raise additional questions about it (see July 16-21, 2002). Saeed has appealed the decision but a second trial has yet to begin. [AP, 8/18/02]
July 16-21, 2002: More questions emerge in British newspapers about the conviction of Saeed Sheikh for reporter Daniel Pearl's murder in the days immediately after the verdict (see July 15, 2002). Pakistani police have secretly arrested two men who many believe are the real masterminds of Pearl's murder, and official confirmation of these crucial arrests could have ended Saeed's trial. [Guardian, 7/18/02] On May 16, Pearl's body was found and identified, but the FBI doesn't officially release the DNA results because official confirmation of the body would also have meant a new trial. [Independent, 7/16/02] Pakistani officials admit they waited to release the results until after the verdict. [Guardian, 7/18/02] After the trial ends, Pakistani officials admit that the key testimony of a taxi driver is doubtful. The "taxi driver" turns out to be a head constable policeman. [Guardian, 7/18/02] One of the codefendants turns out to be working for the Special Branch. [Independent, 7/21/02] The law states the trial needs to finish in a week, but in fact it took three months. The trial judge and the venue were changed three times. [BBC, 7/16/02] The trial was held in a bunker underneath a prison, and no reporters were allowed to attend. When all the appeals are done, it is doubtful that Saeed will be extradited to the US, "because Mr. Sheikh might tell the Americans about the links between al-Qaeda and Pakistan's own intelligence organization." [Independent, 7/16/02] Meanwhile, at least seven more suspects remain at large. All have ties to the ISI, and as one investigator remarks, "It seems inconceivable that there isn't someone in the ISI who knows where they're hiding." [Time, 5/6/02] Why is the US complicit in such a sham trial?
July 19, 2002 (B): An editorial in an Indian newspaper wonders why the US is still not interrogating Saeed Sheikh, recently convicted of murdering Daniel Pearl (see January 31, 2002). Saeed was briefly interrogated by the FBI in February, but they were unable to ask about his links to al-Qaeda, and no known US contact has taken place since. [Independent, 7/16/02, Indian Express, 7/19/02] The editorial suggests that if the US pressures its close ally Pakistan to allow Saeed to be interrogated in his Pakistani prison, they could learn more about his financing of the 9/11 attacks and the criminal underworld that Saeed was connected to (see Early August 2001 (D)). Also, US attempts to find al-Qaeda cells in Pakistan could be strongly boosted with new information. [Indian Express, 7/19/02] No Western media seems to find it curious that Saeed hasn't been properly interrogated by US investigators.
December 14, 2002: A Pakistani court ruling frees Maulana Masood Azhar, leader of the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad, from prison. [Christian Science Monitor, 12/16/02] Two weeks later, he is freed from house arrest. He was held for exactly one year without charge, the maximum allowed in Pakistan. [AP, 12/29/02] He was arrested shortly after an attack on the Indian Parliament that was blamed on his terrorist group (see December 13, 2001). In 1999 he and Saeed Sheikh were rescued by al-Qaeda from an Indian prison (see December 24-31, 1999), and he has ties to al-Qaeda and possibly the 9/11 attacks (see January 5, 2002). Pakistan frees several other top terrorist leaders in the same month. It is believed they are doing this so these terrorists can fight in a secret proxy war with India over Kashmir. US officials have remained silent about the release of Azhar and others Pakistani terrorist leaders. [Christian Science Monitor, 12/16/02] The US froze the funds of Jaish-e-Mohammad in October 2001 (see October 12, 2001), but the group simply changed its name to al-Furqan, and the US has not frozen the funds of the "new" group. [Financial Times, 2/8/03, Washington Post, 2/8/03]
January 22, 2003: One year after reporter Daniel Pearl's kidnapping and murder (see January 23, 2002 and January 31, 2002), the investigation is mired in controversy. "Mysteries still abound. ... Suspects disappear or are found dead. Crucial dates are confused. Confessions are offered and then recanted. ... Nobody who physically carried out the killing has been convicted. None of the four men sentenced is even believed to have ever been at the shed where Pearl was held" and killed. The government arrested three suspects in May 2002 but hasn't charged them and still won't admit to holding them, because acknowledging their testimony would ruin the case against Saeed Sheikh. [AP, 8/18/02, AP, 1/22/03] Two of the three claim that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed cut Pearl's throat with a knife. [MSNBC, 9/17/02, Time, 1/26/03]