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E'v.~.~t:FBI-CIA Briefing on Financing of September II Plot

Type\,(Event: InfonnaI Briefing

Date: 7/i'6/03

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speCial Acc~s~.hsues: None

\. ~t~pared by: DougGreenburg

Team Number: 4 -.-.

Location: 9-11 Commission

.pahicl~ - Non-tmmissio;'l: Briefing was Conducted by Adam .Drucker, FBI SSA,

and) ~ _ _ lA; also 1l\..~ttendans;!rEf!Il!I1S1ms;n Pili Q'Brn, Mary Incontro,
and J. Me uire and CIA attorney~ , _.
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Participants-Commission: R. De, S. Dunne, D. Greenburg, J. Roth, S. Wille.

Thi\infonnal briefing addressed the financing of the September II plot. SSA

Drucker, who ....

headed the financial investigation for the Penttbom team, did almost.the

entire briefing.l !cIA added only a few remarks. The briefing lasted

approximately 1 Y2hours .. This memorandum provides a summary of what we consider

the most important points covered in the briefing, but is not a verbatim or comprehensive

account. The memorandum is organized by subject and does not necessari1y follow the

order of the briefing.

In addressing the total cost of the September 11 operation, Drucker said that

approximately $285-300,000 was deposited into the hijackers' domestic and foreign

accounts during what the FBI considers the operational period. This money funded the

plot, with about $30,000 of it being sent back to accounts in the UAE just prior to

• September II. In reaching this figure, the FBI began with the February 5,2000 deposit

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\~.. of $9,900 by Khalid Al-Mihdhar ~:omh:E;::~:ca account in San Diego. Thus,

any funding or expenses before this date, including the activities of the Hamburg cell in

, "q~nnany, are excluded from the total. For e~FPle, Drucker said that the FBI does not

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view.the funding the Hamburg cell recei ved i~\1999 from Al-Shehhi' s brother as

"'~perati<in,~lfunding and does not, therefore, cori\ider it part of the plot's funding (except

tothe extentit was later sent to the U.S. in which-case it is counted in the operational

total)\]nis figur~",also excludes any expenses for any other conspirators, such as R.'

Binalslii~h, M. Al-Hawasai, or Ali-Abdul Aziz AIL\Drucker stated that higher estimates

of the ploi"\cost may ha1(~"resulted from double counting of funds that were withdrawn

from one accQ,~nt and deposi~~d into another. \,

Drucke~"\d CIA offic~~ ~oted that KSMPI---------1 stated

\ the plot cost $400,'o.~O. They said they are unsure whether he just pulled this figure out of
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\hin air - picking a fi'g\"e in the range of U.S. media reports on the subject -- or whether

it\~epresents his view of'the total cost of the plot, including costs associated with

f~~mtators, financiers, etc'T~lOted that the cost of running the Afghan camps and

as~iated living expenses could be considered part of the plot as well, but would be hard

to qu~tifY.

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the CIA generally views the start of the plot as beginning during

Ramadan in December 1999, when it seemed to move from an inchoate form to a firm


When asked about the hijackers' international travel after the start of the plot,

Drucker said the FBI deemed it plot-related if it was funded from the hijackers' domestic

accounts, regardless of the purpose of the travel. To the extent that hijackers such as Ziad

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Jarrah or AI-Mihdhar traveled for other non-plot-related purposes and were funded in

other ways, e.g., by Jarrah's girlfriend or family in Lebanon, that funding was not

counted as part of the plot's funding.

Drucker said the FBI feels very confident it knows all the immediate sources of.

funding for the hijackers. He said the FBI also tried to reconstruct the hijackers'

expenditures to determine if the expenditures matched the known funding. He said this

analysis revealed no significant gaps. In other words, no hijackers appeared to be living

above their means or spending more than it is known they received. According to'

Drucker, this analysis was not necessarily known or exact, but it was sufficient to satisfy

him that there were no significant gaps. In other words, he sees no reason to believe the

hijackers received more funding than the FBI has identified.

When asked about any holes in the FBI's understanding of the hijackers funding

or expenses, Drucker cited withdrawals made by Atta and AI-Shehhi in January and April

2001. He said they cashed an $8,000 check in January, a $4,000 check in February 2001, .

and another $8,000 check in April 2001. During this time frame, it is known Atta and AI-'

Shehhi traveled to Atlanta and the Virginia Beach area, but FBI has not accounted for all

of the money they withdrew. Their exact activities during this timeframe are also

.unknown. Investigation has revealed they did not attend any of the flight schools or

simulators in the Atlanta area. Those activities the FBI is aware of do not account for the

$20,000 of withdrawals, so what exactly Atta and Al-Shehhi did with the money is

unknown. Drucker said this gap in knowledge is the only big hole in understanding the

hijackers' expenditures and activities.

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t\~to the $9,900 deposited in February 2000 by Al-Mihdhar, Drucker believes AtM
Mihdhar brought the funds into the U.S. and likely obtained them at his January meeting

in Malaysia/Bangkok with Khallad bin Attask [aka Tawfiq bin Attash]. He pointed out

that it is known that Khallad received $36,000 from another Al-Qaeda operative [Fahd

Al-Quoso] purportedly for a new prosthetic leg, and the FBI suspects some of this money

was given to AI-Mihdhar. In any event, the FBI believes Al-Mihdhar or Nawaf Al-

Hazmi carried the money into the US and did not receive it from any person in the U.S.

We asked Drucker about any persons other than the known financiers and

facilitators who may have financially supported the hijackers. He said the FBI's stance is

that there is currently no evidence that anyone provided witting support. He talked about.

a couple of examples. of potentially unwitting support. First, he said Omar AI-Bayoumi

• helped AI-Midhar and Al-Hazmi by fronting them the first month's rent and security

deposit for their apartment, which they promptly reimbursed. He said he does not believe

AI-Bayoumi ever paid their rent after the first month, despite some reports to the

contrary. When asked about 3025 to the contrary, he said he believes the reports of AI-

Bayoumi occasionally paying the rent were erroneous. To the contrary, he said AI-

Mihdhar's Bank of America records reveal he paid the rent himself. Further, he said Al-

Mihdhar and AI-Hazmi did not need help with the rent, as they had sufficient funds on

hand. He also said they had access to other funds from AI-Qaeda, as became clear in

April 2000, when they received a $5,000 wire transfer from Abdul Aziz Ali. In sum,

Drucker said AI-Mihdhar and AI-Hazmi did not need anyone else's money. That said, he

stated the FBI is hoping to speak to Al-Bayoumi in the near future in Saudi Arabia, and

may have that opportunity as relations with Saudi law enforcement have improved .

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The other person Drucker identified who may have aided the hijacker is Yazid Al-

Sami, who purchased traveler's checks in Saudi Arabia in July 2000, $1,900 of which

were later deposited in the account of Nawaf AI-Hazmi. The FBI does not know who AI-

Sami is or what his intent was. It is believed he was a student and currently is in Saudi


Drucker said that while the FBI knows how the hijackers were funded, it does not

know the actual source of the funding. I

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• detainee comments on financing to date have not necessarily been truthful.

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Drucker said one possibility for the financing of the plot is that Shayk Sa'id, the

known Al-Qaeda financier, may have provided the funding.

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\·.~rucker walked through a chart of·~iI·t~~ known wire transfers to the hijackers

fr~~ Ali A~ul Aziz. He also explained how the FBll.. .....
'I Iunraveled the aliases used by Abdul Aziz. He had the documents

with hi~.~ copies ...~fwhiCh were to be made available to us the following day.

He said 1M! Abdul\~~.~iz made the first transfer in April of2000 from the Wall Street

Exchange C~nter, Dub~,~,

UAE. The Wall Street Exchange Center required ID, and made

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which helped th~..~BI
identify him and his later aliases. Drucker said the FBI interviewed

personnel at all of'the places from which money was wired to the hijackers.

Drucker said··1~e first wire transfer was made to a person in the U.S., Adel Rafeea,

who was used as an unwitting dupe of Al-Mihdhar and Al-Hazmi, Rafeea came forward

shortly after 9-\\ to tell the FBI he had done a favor for people he met at his mosque, and

he realized only after 9-11 h,~may have unwittingly aided the hijackers.

There was nothing ne~ ..or notable in Drucker's discussion of the other wire

transfers by Abdul Aziz, other th\~ that they were all made from the U AE Exchange

Center, in Burr Dubai, UAE, which did not require 10, thereby facilitating Abdul Aziz's

use of aliases. Apparently, he aband9,~ed the Wall Street Exchange Centre because it

• required IDs. Drucker also pointed 0~11- ..


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.... ...the wire transfers from exchange centers in the UAE to

SunTrust in the U.S. went through a correspondent account at Citibank.

Drucker stated that Hani Hanjour was largely self-funded in that he deposited

$10,000 in his Saudi British Bank account in Saudi Arabia and $5,000 in his Citibank

Account in Dubai (into which Abdul Aziz also deposited $3,000). Drucker said

investigation has revealed this $18,000 was sufficient to fund Hanjour's activities, and to

also supplement the funding ofN. Al-Hazmi, with whom he traveled. Later, Hanjour

linked up with "muscle" hijackers , who brought additional funding.

Drucker discussed Binalshibh's role in withdrawing money and sending it to AI-

Shehhi in the U.S., as well as Binalshibh's opening his own Citibank account in New

Jersey in August 2000 in anticipation of his coming to the U.S. to attend flight school.

• He also discussed the funding role of Fayez Banihammad and his interaction with Al-

Hawsawi in the UAE. He said the power of attorney given to AI-Hawasi was likely

forged, since Banihammad had already left the UAE. He said Banihammad provided

additional funding for the plot, using his Visa card, which Al-Hawsawi apparently mailed

him, to access about $30,000, which was used to pay for some of the 9-11 flights, as well

as other expenses.l

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Drucker said that the "muscle" hijackers generally brought additional funding in

the form of traveler's checks, which they purchase abroad and carried into the U.S. Upon

arrival, these funds were deposited into U.S. bank accounts. He said that the FBI has

I [Drucker did not define the term "muscle" hijackers during this briefing, but it is universally used to refer
to the 13 non-pilots who first arrived in the U.S. in 2001, all of whom are believed to have brought
additional funding with them.]
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traced some of the deposits of specific hijackers to specific traveler's check purchases (as

reflected on his chart). In other cases, the FBI has assumed traveler's checks were

purchased by the other muscle hijackers, based on the same pattern of cash deposits by

them shortly after their U.S. arrival. Noting that the UAE Central Bank was only willing

to do so much, Drucker said the FBI has not been able to identify every traveler's check

purchase that it assumes took place. Drucker said AI-Mihdhar also brought in traveler's

checks when he returned to the U.S. in July 2001.

Drucker discussed generally the hijackers' opening of accounts at U.S. banks. He

said there is no evidence the hijackers' ever used false SSANs, either through false cards

or stating a false number. In some cases, a bank representative completed.the SSAN field

on an application with a hijacker's date of birth or visa control number. Interviews with

the bank personnel revealed that the banks did so on their own to complete the form .

Drucker said he did not know if doing so violated bank policy. 3025 of the bank

personnel at each bank exist.

All of the bank accounts were opened in the hijackers' own names, using

legitimate passports and other 10 documents. Drucker said no CTRs or eMIRs were

filed or required. Drucker said one hijacker, Waleel Al-Sherri, brought $14,000 in

traveler's checks into the U.S. and did not declare the funds to Customs. He said several

other hij ackers brought in exactly $ I 0,000; some of these hij ackers declared the funds

while others did not.

Drucker said that, contrary to many media reports, no SARs were filed before

9/11 with respect to any financial transaction of the hijackers. After 9/11, some SARs

were filed relating to pre 9/11 activity, however.


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Drucker said he had no knowledge of why the hijackers' chose the bank branches

they did, or why in a couple cases in the N.J. area, hijackers opened and closed accounts,

or opened two accounts at different banks. He also said he has no understanding of why

AI-Mihdhar and Hani Hanjour opened an account at First Union Bank in New Jersey,

shortly before they moved to Maryland.

Drucker discussed the return of funds to Al-Hawsawi, noting that Al-Hawsawi did

have to show ID to pick up the funds. AI-Hawsawi put the money into an account at

Standard Chartered. This account was only accessed by KSM, who used an A TM card in

.Karachi to make 6 withdrawals totaling about $900 in September 2001. Ultimately, SCB

froze the funds in the account.

Drucker said that other than Adel Rafeea, discussed above, the FBI is unaware of

• anyone used as an unwitting dupe by the hijackers to facilitate transactions, although he

acknowledged some might exist.

Drucker acknowledged that Nawaf AI-Hazmi worked part-time for a couple

weeks at a gas station in San Diego, earning a very small amount of money. He said that

the FBI is unaware of any other hijacker earning any money during the operational


When asked if there were any other financial question marks, Drucker said only

that Atta withdrew 1,700 Swiss francs at the Zurich airport while en route to Madrid in

July 2001. He said this is puzzling because Atta seemingly had no use for Swiss francs.

It is unknown whether Atta gave the money to someone, or did something else with the

money .

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Drucker said that there is no reason to believe AI-Shehhi brought any cash back

with him after meeting with Atta's father in April 2001 , purportedly for the purpose of

picking up Atta's international driver's licens~.:.I... ..

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[The documentl provided by the FBI in support of this briefin~.c{)~~istedof Req

5-1, 5-2, 5-3

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