8/17/2005

Khalid al-Mihdhar: Bushies asleep at the wheel

On October 12, The USS Cole was bombed by al-Qaeda terrorists. The Prime Minister of Yemen stated "Khalid al-Mihdhar was one of the Cole perpetrators, involved in preparations. He was in Yemen at the time and stayed after the Cole bombing for a while, then he left." This has not been confirmed by U.S. authorities.

Al-Mihdhar returned to the U.S. on July 4, 2001. He used the Visa Express program to gain entry into the country. (This program, introduced in May of 2001 when terror alerts in the U.S. were very high, allowed Saudi Arabians to obtain visas without verifying their identity. Five hijackers used this method to get into the U.S. The program was finally cancelled in July of 2002.)

Al-Mihdhar, along with at least five other future hijackers, traveled to Las Vegas at least six times in the Summer of 2001. They reportedly drank alcohol, gambled, and paid strippers to perform lap dances for them.[15] (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/10/04/MN102970.DTL)

In August, al-Mihdhar moved to Laurel, Maryland, home of the NSA.

The INS finally put al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar on a watchlist to prevent entry into the U.S. in August of 2001, but they had been in the country for over a year. The FBI was subsequently contacted, and began to search for them on August 21, 2001, but did not determine their whereabouts in time. An internal review after 9/11 found that "everything was done [to find them] that could have been done." But the search does not appear to have been particularly aggressive. A national motor vehicle index was reportedly checked, but al-Hazmi's speeding ticket was not detected for some reason. California's drivers license records were not searched, although both were known to have entered the US through Los Angeles. The FBI did not search credit card databases, bank account databases, or car registration, all of which would had positive results. Al-Hazmi was even listed in the 2000-2001 San Diego phone book, but this too was not searched until after the attacks.[16] (http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline/2001/latimes102801.html)[17] (http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline/2002/dailyoklahoman012002.html)[18] (http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline/2003/congressreportparta072403.html)[19] (http://bulletin.ninemsn.com.au/bulletin/eddesk.nsf/All/710930A347F9C31DCA256BCD00142568?OpenDocument)[20] (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-worldtrade-suspectprofiles.story)[21]
Khalid al-Mihdhar: Information From Answers.com

The New York office of the FBI requested a criminal case be opened "to determine if al-Mihdhar is still in the United States." The request was refused. One FBI agent sent an e-mail saying, "Whatever has happened to this, someday someone will die, and. . . the public will not understand why we were not more effective and throwing every resource we had at certain 'problems.'"[22] (http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline/2002/senatecommittee092002.html)[23] (http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline/2002/senatecommittee092002b.html)[24]

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