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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


July 30, 2002
Richard Butler, a former U.N. weapons inspector from Australia, tells the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "I have seen no evidence of Iraq providing weapons of mass destruction to non-Iraqi terrorist groups."

Khidir Hamza, "who played a leading role in Iraq's nuclear weapon program before defecting in 1994," tells the Senate Judiciary Committee that according to German intelligence, Iraq has "more than 10 tons of uranium and one ton of slightly enriched uranium ... in its possession" which would be "enough to generate the needed bomb-grade uranium for three nuclear weapons by 2005."

August 1, 2002
A panel of experts on Iraq warns the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that there are no obvious successors to Saddam Hussein, and that the Bush administration should be prepared to help install and protect a pro-American government.

August 16, 2002
Speaking from his ranch in Mount Crawford, Texas, President George Bush addresses criticism of his Iraq policy: "I am aware that some very intelligent people are expressing their opinions about Saddam Hussein and Iraq. I listen very carefully to what they have to say. I'll continue to consult.... I will use all the latest intelligence to make informed decisions about how best to keep the world at peace, how best to defend freedom for the long run.... Listen, it's a healthy debate for people to express their opinion. People should be allowed to express their opinion. But America needs to know, I'll be making up my mind based upon the latest intelligence and how best to protect our own country plus our friends and allies." But he also adds, "There should be no doubt in anybody's mind that this man is thumbing his nose at the world, that he has gassed his own people, that he is trouble in his neighborhood, that he desires weapons of mass destruction."

August 20, 2002
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, citing various "intelligence reports," claims that the Iraqi government is "hosting, supporting or sponsoring" an al-Qaeda presence in Iraq. And in an interview with Fox News, he rejects calls for the administration to disclose its evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. "Think of the prelude to World War II. Think of all the countries that said, well, we don't have enough evidence," he says. "I mean, Mein Kampf had been written. Hitler had indicated what he intended to do. The people who argued for waiting for more evidence have to ask themselves how they are going to feel at that point where another event occurs."

August 26, 2002
In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Nashville, Vice President Richard Cheney charges that Saddam Hussein will "seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of a great portion of the world's energy supplies, directly threaten America's friends throughout the region and subject the United States or any other nation to nuclear blackmail."

September 7, 2002
In a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Bush asserts, "I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied — finally denied access [in 1998], a report came out of the Atomic — the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon.... I don't know what more evidence we need."

September 8, 2002
Appearing on CNN, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice charges that "There have been shipments of high-quality aluminum tubes that are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.... The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons, but we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

Vice President Dick Cheney says on NBC's "Meet the Press": "We do know, with absolute certainty, that he [Saddam Hussein] is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment [aluminum tubes] he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon."

In a front page story, The New York Times reports that Iraq has attempted to obtain aluminum tubes which, U.S. intelligence believes, are intended for use in a nuclear weapons program.

September 9, 2002
The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London issues a report concluding that "Iraq does not possess facilities to produce fissile material in sufficient amounts for nuclear weapons" and that "it would require several years and extensive foreign assistance to build such fissile material production facilities."

September 12, 2002
The White House publishes a 26-page government white paper titled "A Decade of Defiance and Deception," [PDF; requires free Adobe Reader] which seeks to demonstrate that Saddam Hussein represents a serious and imminent threat to the United States and its people.

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President Bush says: "Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons . . . Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon," and announces that the US "will work with the UN Security Council."

September 17, 2002
The U.S. military releases a new National Security Strategy, making the "Bush Doctrine" of preemptive military action official policy. It is very similar to a draft "Defense Planning Guidance" document written 10 years earlier by Paul Wolfowitz, now Deputy Secretary of Defense.

The White House releases a detailed timeline depicting past Iraqi attempts to obstruct United Nations efforts, including Saddam's repeated refusals to provide inspectors access to sites they wanted to visit.

September 18, 2002
The joint Congressional committee investigating 9/11 holds its first public hearing.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warns the House Armed Services Committee that "no terrorist state poses a greater and more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein."

September 19, 2002
Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri tells the U.N.: "I hereby declare before you that Iraq is totally clear of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons."

The White House delivers a draft of a strongly worded resolution to Congress authorizing the President to use "all appropriate means" against Iraq. The 20-paragraph draft includes provisions that would allow Bush to ignore the U.N. and "use all means that he determines to be appropriate, including force, in order to enforce" the U.N.'s Security Council resolutions, "defend the national security interests of the United States against the threat posed by Iraq, and restore international peace and security in the region."

U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix tells the Security Council that he intends to position an advance weapons inspection team in Iraq by October 15.

A group of nineteen House Democrats form a coalition against war in Iraq and draft a resolution advocating multilateral diplomacy.

September 21, 2002
Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri reads a statement by Saddam Hussein before the U.N. Secretary General, condemning the Bush administration's attempts to provoke a war with Iraq and accusing the administration of working hand-in-hand with the Israeli government.

September 23, 2002
Three retired four-star generals testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee, warning that a unilateral strike against Iraq without U.N. approval might limit aid from allies, create more recruits for al Qaeda and subvert long-term U.S. diplomatic and economic interests. A fourth general urges the committee to support the use of military force against Iraq.

September 24, 2002
The British government releases a dossier [PDF; requires free Adobe Reader] alleging that Iraq has and is developing weapons of mass destruction, including a claim that Iraq attempted to obtain uranium from Africa.

George Tenet briefs the Senate Intelligence Committee on the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq. In his summary of the document, he includes the allegation that Iraq attempted to obtain uranium from Niger.

Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had been sent to Niger by the CIA in February 2002 and who had determined that the allegations that Iraq had sought to obtain uranium from Niger were false, contacts the CIA and advises the agency to inform the British about the intelligence that had been acquired during his mission to Niger.

September 25, 2002
During a White House meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, George Bush claims that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden "work in concert. The danger is, is that al Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam's madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world."

US Congressmen David Bonior (D-MI) and Jim McDermott (D-WA) head for Baghdad with the intention of convincing Iraq to admit the weapons inspectors unfettered access.

In an interview with CBS, FBI Director Robert Mueller states, "I can tell you there are things I wish we had done differently. That there are things we should have followed up on. But the bottom line is I do not believe that we would have been able to prevent September 11th."

September 26, 2002
Secretary of State Colin Powell tells the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "The world had to recognize that the potential connection between terrorists and weapons of mass destruction moved terrorism to a new level of threat. In fact, that nexus became the overriding security concern of our nation. It still is and it will continue to be our overriding concern for some years to come."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claims that the U.S. government has "bulletproof" confirmation of ties between Baghdad and al Qaeda members, including "solid evidence" that al Qaeda maintains a presence in Iraq.

During the daily press "gaggle," White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer acknowledges there is no evidence that Iraq was involved in the September 11 attacks.

September 28, 2002
The U.S. and Britain present a jointly-drafted resolution to the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council that seeks to authorize the use of military action against Iraq in the event that Saddam's regime fails to comply with the new demands outlined in the draft resolution.

Hundreds of thousands of people gather in London to protest military action in Iraq.

October 11, 2002
Congress passes a joint resolution [PDF; requires free Adobe Reader] authorizing President Bush to use military force against Iraq.

November 15, 2002
Congress approves legislation creating an independent commission to "examine and report on the facts and causes relating to the September 11th terrorist attacks" and "make a full and complete accounting of the circumstances surrounding the attacks." President Bush signs it into law November 27, 2002.

November 18, 2002
A team of 26 U.N. weapons inspectors arrives in Baghdad.

November 20, 2002
On the eve of a 2-day NATO summit in Prague, President Bush says that "Saddam Hussein has been given a very short time to declare completely and truthfully his arsenal of terror."

November 25, 2002
President Bush signs legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge is promoted to Secretary of Homeland Security. The Department consolidates nearly 170,000 workers from 22 agencies, including the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, the federal security guards in airports, and the Customs Service, but not the FBI and CIA.

Eighteen international arms monitors, including 12 inspectors from the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and 8 from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, arrive in Baghdad.

December 2, 2002
In a speech to the Air National Guard Senior Leadership Conference in Denver, Vice President Dick Cheney accuses Saddam Hussein of "harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror," and that Iraq "has had high-level contacts with al Qaeda going back a decade and has provided training to al Qaeda terrorists."

December 3, 2002
Iraq reiterates its claim that it has no weapons of mass destruction in the country. President Bush counters, "He [Saddam Hussein] says he won't have weapons of mass destruction; he's got them."

December 4, 2002
A federal judge in New York rules that Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen who has been accused of being an al Qaeda "dirty bomber," can be held indefinitely as an "enemy combatant," but that he has the right to meet with a lawyer.

December 5, 2002
Demetrius Perricos, head of the team searching Iraq for chemical and biological weapons, criticizes Washington's efforts to influence the inspections, and questions why the Bush administration is refusing to share its intelligence with the inspectors. He explains: "What we're getting and what President Bush may be getting is very different, to put it mildly."

December 6, 2002
U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix calls on the U.S. to share its secret intelligence: "Of course we would like to have as much information from any member state as to evidence they may have on weapons of mass destruction, and, in particular, sites."

December 7, 2002
Iraq submits an 11,807-page declaration of military and civilian chemical, biological and nuclear capabilities to the U.N. General Hussam Amin, the officer in charge of Iraq's National Monitoring Directorate, tells reporters: "We declared that Iraq is empty of weapons of mass destruction."

December 20, 2002
U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix criticizes the U.S. and British governments for failing to provide inspectors with the intelligence they need to locate Iraq's alleged arsenal of banned weapons.

December 22, 2002
Iraq announces that it will permit U.N. inspectors to interview Iraqi scientists without government officials present.

December 31, 2002
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan says in an interview with Israel's Army Radio that Saddam's government is cooperating with U.N. weapons inspectors and that he sees no reason for the use of force against Iraq.

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