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 In this section
Letters: Writers as social critics

FBI and CIA fight it out over who was to blame for September 11 blunders

Hijackers 'trailed by CIA before attacks'

New York remembers as last debris is removed from the World Trade Centre

Leader: Life after death at Ground Zero

Italian police tapes hint at September 11 attacks

FBI changes its mission to war on terror

Relatives attend emotional Ground Zero service

Agent accuses FBI of 'sabotage'

Matthew Engel: So bad that it's spooky

Final minutes of World Trade Centre revealed

Agent blasts FBI over 11 September 'cover-up'

US plan to strike enemy with Valium

Ashcroft drawn into row over September 11

Ground Zero operation winds down


Hijackers 'trailed by CIA before attacks'

Matthew Engel in Washington
Monday June 3, 2002
The Guardian


Two of the hijackers who crashed American Airlines flight 77 into the Pentagon were spotted as potential terrorists by the CIA more than 18 months before September 11, Newsweek reported yesterday. It called this "the most puzzling, and devastating,intelligence failure" in the period before attacks.

The magazine reports in its new issue, out yesterday, that US intelligence spotted both men at an al-Qaida summit in January 2000, tracked at least one of them as he flew to Los Angeles - and then did nothing with the information.

The agency did not tell either immigration officials or the FBI. The movements of the men, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, could have been monitored easily as they lived openly in the US, apparently under their real names.

The two reportedly took flying lessons in San Diego, where their instructor later said they were only interested in flying big jets.

Meanwhile, the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat yesterday published what it said was a warning by an al-Qaida spokesman, Sulaman bu Ghaith, that the US should prepare for another attack. "What is coming to the Americans will not, by the will of God, be less than what has come," he was quoted as saying. "So beware, America. Get ready. Get prepared. Put on the safety belt."

Mr bu Ghaith, a cleric who has been quoted as an al-Qaida spokesman before, said the attacks would continue to hit their targets, either "individuals or institutions."

Special reports
Attack on America
War in Afghanistan
Britain after September 11
Political response to September 11
Media response to September 11

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Click-through guides to the events of September 11

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America's day of terror

Comment and analysis
Writers' responses to September 11

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11.09.2001: Images of the September 11 attacks
13.09.2001: The victims

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11.09.2001: Terror and its aftermath

Useful links
List of the victims - New York Times




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