1,643. 1/15/2000

“The agency’s [CIA’s] ‘lapse’ in [future 9/11 hijacker Khalid] al-Mihdhar’s case, [CIA Director George] Tenet said later [in his testimony to the Joint Inquiry Committee on October 17, 2002], ‘was caused by a combination of inadequate training of some of our officers, their intense focus on achieving the objectives of the operation itself, determining whether the Kuala Lumpur [Malaysia] meeting was a prelude to a terrorist attack, and the extraordinary pace of operational activity at the time.’ The first error in January was compounded by another weeks later when the CIA discovered that the second Saudi identified in Malaysia, Nawaf al-Hazmi, had flown to Los Angeles on January 15, 2000, and entered the United States. A March 5 [2000] cable to [CIA headquarters in] Langley [Virginia] from a CIA station abroad reporting this fact did not trigger a review of either of the Saudis. Nor was either of them placed on the [official American terrorist] watch list at this second opportunity. As it happened, both men were al Qaeda veterans of wars in Afghanistan and Bosnia.”

 – Steve Coll, Ghost Wars, Page 488

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