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July 23, 2001: CIA Officer Says Al-Qaeda Leader’s Associates like 9/11 Hijacker Almihdhar Are of ‘Very High Interest,’ Mentions Mysterious Almihdhar Connection

Due to a lack of response to a previous request that information about the Cole bombing and al-Qaeda’s Malaysia summit be passed to the FBI (see July 13, 2001), CIA officer Tom Wilshire e-mails Alfreda Frances Bikowsky, the targeting branch chief at Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, asking about the request’s status. Wilshire writes: “When the next big op is carried out by [Osama bin Laden’s] hardcore cadre, [Khallad bin Attash] will be at or near the top of the command food chain—and probably nowhere near either the attack site or Afghanistan. That makes people who are available and who have direct access to him of very high interest. Khalid [Almihdhar] should be very high interest anyway, given his connection to the [redacted].” The name of the redacted event or entity is unclear. [US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, 7/31/2006 pdf file] However, it could be a mention of Almihdhar’s role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa, since the CIA was aware of that since at least January 2000 (see 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 5, 2000). Or, more likely, it could be a mention of Almihdhar’s role in the 2000 USS Cole bombing (see October 12, 2000), since Wilshire mentioned earlier in the month that Almihdhar could be linked to the Cole bombers (see July 5, 2001). Wilshire’s previous request was also received by Richard Blee, a close associate of Wilshire’s who is chief of Alec Station (see June 1999 and Between Mid-January and July 2000). Bikowsky writes to Blee the following day to complain about Wilshire’s insistence on the importance of the Malaysia summit, so presumably Blee receives this inquiry on the status of the request as well. [CIA, 6/2005, pp. 67-68 pdf file]

Entity Tags: Tom Wilshire, Alfreda Frances Bikowsky, Khallad bin Attash, Khalid Almihdhar, Central Intelligence Agency, Richard Blee

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline


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