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AMERICA AT WAR - 6.29.04
In Focus  :  This Moment in History  :  Post-9/11 Timeline
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Flashpoints USA with Bryant Gumbel and Gwen Ifill is an innovative public affairs series from PBS that brings together both compelling examinations of critical issues and a dynamic pairing of two of the most respected names in journalism.


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This Moment in History Today's Military Wartime Leaders

Post-9/11 Timeline




January 23, 2002
Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, in Karachi, Pakistan to investigate the case of alleged shoe bomber Richard Reid, is kidnapped while on his way to meet a source. A group calling itself the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty claims responsibility and demands the release of all Pakistani terror detainees and the release of a halted shipment of F-16 fighter jets to the Pakistani government. A videotape of Pearl's murder surfaces on February 23, and his body is discovered in a shallow grave on the outskirts of Karachi on May 16.

January 29, 2002
In his State of the Union address, President Bush describes an "axis of evil" between Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Osama bin Laden is not mentioned in the speech.

February 6, 2002
In a Senate hearing CIA Director George Tenet denies that there was any 9/11 intelligence failure, and states that the 9/11 plot was "in the heads of three or four people" and thus nearly impossible to prevent. He tells the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence "our major near-term concern is the possibility that Saddam might gain access to fissile material, . . . [and] with substantial foreign assistance, [Iraq] could flight-test a longer-range ballistic missile within the next five years."

February 12, 2002
Testifying before the Senate Budget Committee, Secretary of State Colin Powell states: "With respect to Iraq, it's long been, for several years now, a policy of the United States' government that regime change would be in the best interest of the region, the best interest of the Iraqi people. And we're looking at a variety of options that would bring that about."

March 19, 2002
Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, CIA Director George Tenet claims that there are links between Iraq and al Qaeda: "There is no doubt that there have been (Iraqi) contacts and linkages to the al Qaeda organization. As to where we are on September 11, the jury is still out. As I said carefully in my statement, it would be a mistake to dismiss the possibility of state sponsorship whether Iranian or Iraqi and we'll see where the evidence takes us."

May 5, 2002
Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Secretary of State Colin Powell says, "The United States reserves its option to do whatever it believes might be appropriate to see if there can be a regime change.... U.S. policy is that regardless of what the inspectors do, the people of Iraq and the people of the region would be better off with a different regime in Baghdad."

May 20-24, 2002
The Bush administration issues an unprecedented series of terror warnings. Vice President Cheney warns it is "not a matter of if, but when" al Qaeda will next attack the U.S., a warning repeated by Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says that terrorists will "inevitably" obtain weapons of mass destruction, and FBI Director Mueller says more suicide bombings are "inevitable." Authorities also issue separate warnings that al Qaeda terrorists might target apartment buildings nationwide, banks, rail and transit systems, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

June 1, 2002
In a speech to the graduating class at West Point, President Bush announces a new U.S. policy of preemptive military action: "If we wait for threats to fully materialize we will have waited too long. We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge." This preemptive strategy is included in a defensive strategic paper the next month, and formally announced in September 2002.

June 4, 2002
President says that there is no evidence that the 9/11 attacks could have been prevented, despite communication breakdowns between the FBI and CIA: "In terms of whether or not the FBI and the CIA were communicating properly, I think it is clear that they weren'tů. I have seen no evidence that would have led me to believe that we could have prevented the attacks. And, obviously, if we could have, we would have prevented the attacks."

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