September 11, 2001
Hijackers crash two airliners into the World Trade Center in New York. A third strikes the Pentagon, and a fourth crashes in a field in rural Pennsylvania. More than 3,000 people are killed in the terror attacks.
September 13, 2001
The White House announces that there is "overwhelming evidence" that Osama bin Laden is behind the attacks.
September 14, 2001
Congress authorizes [PDF; requires free Adobe Reader] President George W. Bush to use "all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."
September 16, 2001
Osama bin Laden denies any involvement in the 9/11 attacks in a statement to Al Jazeera television, saying, "I would like to assure the world that I did not plan the recent attacks, which seems to have been planned by people for personal reasons."
September 18, 2001
The Justice Department publishes an interim regulation allowing non-citizens suspected of terrorism to be detained without charge for 48 hours or "an additional reasonable period of time" in the event of an "emergency or other extraordinary circumstance." The new rule is used to hold hundreds indefinitely until the USA Patriot Act passes in October.
September 20, 2001
President Bush announces the new cabinet-level Office of Homeland Security, to be led by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. Ridge later becomes secretary of a new Homeland Security Department.
In an address to a joint session of Congress, President Bush declares, "Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair meets with President George Bush at the White House. According to former British Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer, who also attended the dinner, Bush indicates that he is determined to remove Saddam Hussein from power: "We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq."
October 2, 2001
The USA Patriot Act [PDF; requires free Adobe Reader] is introduced in Congress.
October 4, 2001
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking before an emergency session of Parliament, says that three of the 19 9/11 hijackers have been positively identified as "known associates" of Osama bin Laden.
October 5, 2001
A photographer for the tabloid newspaper The Sun dies of inhalation anthrax in Boca Raton, Florida. Over the next several weeks, along with several false alarms, four other letters containing anthrax are received, by NBC News, the New York Post, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Eleven people are infected; five people die.
October 5, 2001
One thousand soldiers from the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division are sent to the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan, which borders Afghanistan.
October 7, 2001
The U.S. begins bombing Afghanistan. In a televised address, President Bush tells the nation: "On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. These carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations, and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime."
October 24, 2001
The House of Representatives passes the final version of the USA Patriot Act [PDF; requires free Adobe Reader].
October 26, 2001
President Bush signs the USA Patriot Act [PDF; requires free Adobe Reader] into law.
Learn more about the USA Patriot Act: Flashpoints USA - Sacrifices of Security
November 5, 2001
The Justice Department announces that it has put 1,182 people into secret custody since 9/11. Nearly all of them are from the Middle East or South Asia.
November 21, 2001
Speaking at a Thanksgiving dinner for troops and their families at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, President Bush states, "Afghanistan is just the beginning on the war against terror. There are other terrorists who threaten America and our friends, and there are other nations willing to sponsor them. We will not be secure as a nation until all of these threats are defeated. Across the world and across the years, we will fight these evil ones, and we will win."
December 11, 2001
In the first criminal indictments stemming from the 9/11 attacks, Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, is charged with conspiring with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to "murder thousands of people" in New York, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania.
The House International Relations Committee drafts House Joint Resolution 75, which states that if Iraq refuses to allow U.N. inspectors to investigate freely in Iraq, the refusal will constitute an "act of aggression against the United States." The bill is sponsored by Representatives Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Porter Goss (R-FL) and Henry Hyde (R-IL).
December 13, 2001
The U.S. Army responds to an investigation by the Baltimore Sun and confirms that it has been making weapons grade anthrax in recent years, in violation of an international treaty.
December 17, 2001
The Northern Alliance defeats Taliban forces in the battle of Tora Bora, eliminating the last major pocket of Taliban resistance and effectively ending the Afghan war.
December 22, 2001
British citizen Richard Reid is arrested for allegedly trying to blow up a Miami-bound jet using explosives hidden in his shoe. He later pleads guilty to all charges, and declares himself a follower of Osama bin Laden.
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