9/11 and Its Aftermath: a Timeline

Sept. 11, 2001, 8:45 AM
A hijacked passenger jet, American Airlines Flight 11 from Logan International Airport in Boston, crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center.


9:03 AM
A second hijacked airliner, United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston, crashes into the south tower of the WTC and explodes.


9:40 AM
The FAA halts all flight operations at U.S. airports—the first time in U.S. history air traffic has been halted.


9:43 AM
American Airlines Flight 77, departing Washington Dulles International Airport and bound for Los Angeles, crashes into the Pentagon.


10:10 AM
In Somerset County, Pennsylvania, a hijacked jet, United Airlines Flight 93, crashes.


Sept. 12, 2001
NATO members invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, declaring an attack against one to be an attack against all.


Sept. 13, 2001
Secretary of State Colin Powell names Osama bin Laden a suspect in the 9/11 attacks. New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announces that 4,763 people are missing in New York. The Pentagon announces that 188 people are missing or dead in the Washington attack. The Federal Aviation Administration reopens U.S. airports except Logan International in Boston and Reagan National in Washington, D.C. Evangelical Christian leader Rev. Jerry Falwell says that “the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians” were to blame for the terrorist attacks. He also says that groups like the ACLU and People for the American Way “helped this happen” by angering God.


Sept. 14, 2001
The U.S. Treasury Department announces it is setting up a new agency to probe terrorist funds with the Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Center, which would include CIA and FBI investigators. Europe observes three minutes of silence in a day of mourning. Some 200,000 people gather at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. In England, newspapers print U.S. flags for people to display. Bush calls up 50,000 reservists for “homeland defense.” Congress approves $40 billion in emergency funding for increased public safety, anti- terrorism activities, disaster recovery efforts, and assistance for the victims of 9/11. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, votes to oppose military action against those responsible for the attacks. The Senate approves the resolution 98-0, while the House votes 420-1. A Bush spokesperson calls Falwell’s remarks from Sept. 13 “inappropriate.” Falwell issues a statement that his remarks were taken out of context and that he held only terrorists responsible for the attacks.


Sept. 15, 2001
Egyptian Adel Karas, 48, is shot to death in his import shop, the International Market, in San Gabriel, Calif. In Mesa, Ariz., Balbir Singh Sodhi, a 49-year-old Sikh, is shot to death outside his gas station. The man accused of killing him, Frank Roque, also shoots at a convenience store owned by a Lebanese man and at a house he had sold to a family from Afghanistan. He is quoted in police reports saying, “all Arabs had to be shot.” In Dallas, Tex., Waqar Hasan, 46, is shot to death in his store, Mom’s Grocery. The Council on American-Islamic Relations says it has collected reports of more than 700 possible hate crimes across the U.S. since Sept. 11. Bush names bin Laden the “prime suspect” and tells the military to ready themselves. Pentagon activates “Operation Noble Eagle.”


Sept. 16, 2001
Vice President Dick Cheney announces that as the terrorist attack unfolded on Sept. 11, Bush had ordered the military to shoot down any other passenger jets believed to have been hijacked for use in the attack.


Sept. 17, 2001
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cancel their annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Falwell apologizes for his remarks made Sept. 13.


Sept. 18, 2001
Anthrax-tainted letters dated Sept. 11 and postmarked Sept. 18 are sent to NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw and the New York Post. Attorney General John Ashcroft announces new rules allowing the INS to detain immigrants suspected of terrorism for a maximum of 48 hours before charging them. The Defense Department reveals that after the first plane crashed into the WTC, two Air Force F-15 fighters were dispatched to New York from Otis Air National Guard base in Falmouth, Mass. At the time of the second crash, they were 71 miles away, about eight minutes’ traveling time at the fighters’ maximum speed.


Sept. 19, 2001
U.S. Defense Department orders the deployment of dozens of combat aircraft to the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean and the former Soviet republics of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, which border Afghanistan. The Pentagon dubs the campaign “Operation Infinite Justice.”


Sept. 20, 2001
In a nationally televised joint session to Congress, Bush demands that the Taliban hand over Osama bin Laden and shut down every terrorist camp in Afghanistan or face military attack. Bush announces the creation of an Office of Homeland Security and names Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge to head it. Amtrak says it plans to request $3 billion in emergency funding from the federal government to help it cope with the spike in passenger traffic following Sept. 11.


Sept. 21, 2001
Congress approves a $15 billion package to bail out the airline industry and compensate it for losses incurred after the terrorist attacks. The Dow Jones industrial average is down 14.26 percent during the first week of trading after the U.S. stock markets reopen following the attacks. It’s the worst-ever weekly point loss and the second-largest weekly percentage decline ever, the biggest being a 15.55 percent drop in July 1933 during the Great Depression. The Taliban rejects Bush’s ultimatum that it hand over bin Laden until the United States can present evidence implicating him in the attacks. Bush administration officials say that is out of the question. Four television networks and dozens of cable channels broadcast the live two-hour program America: A Tribute to Heroes. The event raises $150 million in donations.


Sept. 22, 2001
Thousands flee Afghanistan in anticipation of U.S. military action.


Sept. 23, 2001
The member nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council—Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emigrates (UAE), Kuwait, Oman and Qatar—pledge to cooperate with the war against terrorism.


Sept. 23-24, 2001
The FAA for two days grounds all crop-dusting planes after authorities express concern that the planes could be used in an airborne chemical or biological attack.


Sept. 24, 2001
Bush issues an executive order instructing U.S. financial institutions to freeze the assets of 27 groups and individuals suspected of supporting terrorists. In a CNN/USA Today Gallup poll, Bush’s approval rating is 90 percent; the highest presidential rating ever measured by Gallup.


Sept. 25, 2001
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announces that the name “Operation Infinite Justice” is being replaced with “Operation Enduring Freedom” after Muslims complain that according to the Islamic faith, only God can dispense infinite justice.


Sept. 26, 2001
The abandoned U.S. embassy in Kabul is torched by pro-Taliban protesters.


Sept. 27, 2001
Bush announces plan to bolster airline security, including expanded use of federal marshals on planes.


Sept. 29, 2001
Abdo Ali Ahmed, a 51-year-old convenience store owner, is shot to death in Reedley, Calif. Police say he had received threats a week before he was shot.


Oct. 5, 2001
Robert Stevens, 63, a photo editor at American Media, Inc. in Florida, dies from inhalation anthrax.


Oct. 7, 2001
U.S. and Britain launch military strikes in Afghanistan.


Oct. 9, 2001
Letters postmarked in Trenton, N.J., are sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Sen. Patrick Leahy. The letters later test positive for anthrax.


Oct. 10, 2001
Bush unveils list of 22 most-wanted terrorists, including Osama bin Laden.


Oct. 13, 2001
In south Los Angeles, Abdullah Nimer, 53, a Palestinian-American, is murdered while selling clothing door to door.


Oct. 16, 2001
Twelve Senate offices are closed; hundreds of staffers are tested for anthrax exposure.


Oct. 20, 2001
Anthrax is discovered in House of Representatives office building. The letter to the New York Post tests positive for anthrax.


Oct. 21, 2001
A Washington, D.C., postal worker dies of inhalation anthrax. Officials begin testing thousands of postal workers.


Oct. 24, 2001
House passes $100 billion economic stimulus package. Bush authorizes $175 million to help the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service deal with the anthrax threat. House approves Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism, or the USA PATRIOT Act, in a 357-66 vote.


Oct. 25, 2001
The Senate approves 98-1 (Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., dissenting) the USA PATRIOT Act.


Oct. 26, 2001
Bush signs the USA PATRIOT Act into law. Members of Congress establish an expiration date—Dec. 31, 2005—for the new wiretapping and surveillance powers.


Oct. 31, 2001
New York hospital worker Kathy Nguyen, 61, dies from inhalation anthrax. In all, five people die from anthrax.


Nov. 3, 2001
Eleven firefighters are arrested and five police officers injured after a clash at Ground Zero. The groups had gathered to protest Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s action to limit the number of firefighters and police officers at Ground Zero.


Nov. 8, 2001
United Airlines announces a plan to put laser stun guns in the cockpits of each of its 500 planes.


Nov. 11, 2001
The American Red Cross, which received nearly $850 million in donations and thousands of extra units of blood after the attacks, announces it had to destroy blood because it did not have the resources to freeze it before its shelf life of 42 days had passed.


Nov. 16, 2001
Congress approves the Airport Security Federalization Act of 2001, a law intended to improve security at America’s airports. Under the law, all airport security screening personnel must be American citizens—a provision that immediately draws fire from current immigrant airport personnel. The law also requires that more air marshals be present on flights, cockpit doors be fortified and video monitors be used to alert pilots of suspicious activity in the cabin.


Nov. 25, 2001
A bloody Taliban prison uprising erupts at the Qala-i-Jangi prison in northern Afghanistan. CIA operative Johnny Micheal Spann interrogates John Walker Lindh, the “American Taliban.” Spann is later shot and killed in the uprising.


Dec. 1, 2001
John Walker Lindh is taken into U.S. custody in Afghanistan.


Dec. 3, 2001
Israel restricts Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s movements. He is grounded in the West Bank town of Ramallah when his helicopters are destroyed in air strikes.


Dec. 13, 2001
The Pentagon releases an amateur videotape of bin Laden meeting a Saudi radical in a house near Kandahar, in which bin Laden boasts about his role in planning the Sept. 11 attacks.


Dec. 17, 2001
After nearly a month of fighting, the Battle of Tora Bora ends. Bin Laden reportedly escapes the region with the help of local sympathizers.


Dec. 22, 2001
Richard Reid, 28, allegedly tries to ignite an explosive in his sneaker while on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami. Two flight attendants and a half-dozen passengers restrain him, while two doctors sedate him with drugs from a medical kit. The plane carrying 197 people is diverted to Boston and escorted by two fighter jets.


Dec. 25, 2001
Bush’s Arab-American Secret Service agent is removed from an American Airlines flight. Airline chief executive Don Carty says the agent was “not behaving appropriately.” Bush says of the incident, “If he was mistreated because of his ethnicity, I’m going to be plenty hot.”


Jan. 10, 2002
American troops are deployed to the Philippines in preparation for a counterterrorism training program for the country’s armed forces. The U.S.-led training program is part of a large package in which the U.S. provides warplanes, debt relief and trade assistance.


Jan. 11, 2002
The first 20 Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners of war in Afghanistan arrive at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. naval base in Cuba. The facility, named Camp X-Ray, holds more than 2,000 inmates.


Jan. 23, 2002
John Walker Lindh is returned to the United States. Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan, while researching links between militant groups in Pakistan and British citizen Richard Reid.


Feb. 17, 2002
Bin Laden’s second-in-command, Egyptian militant Ayman al-Zawahiri, is captured and jailed in Tehran, Iran.


Feb. 21, 2002
Daniel Pearl’s captors deliver a videotaped recording of the reporter’s decapitation to the U.S. consulate.


March 6, 2002
Attorney General John Ashcroft announces the new Justice Department program, Operation TIPS, or Terrorism Information and Prevention System, which asks Americans to report suspicious activity as part of homeland security.


March 12, 2002
Gov. Ridge unveils a new color-coded national threat-alert system to better prepare Americans for potential terrorist attacks. The Homeland Security Advisory System uses five colors to signify the level of threat: severe (red), high (orange), elevated (yellow), guarded (blue) and low (green).


March 29, 2002
Israeli military offensive begins in the West Bank.


March 31, 2002
About 100 European and American peace activists enter Palestinian President Yassir Arafat’s compound in Ramallah. Sixty of them visit Arafat, the other 40 say they will act as human shields.


April 1, 2002
U.S. officials announce the capture of Osama bin Laden’s top deputy, Abu Zubaydah, the highest-ranking al-Qaeda leader taken into custody since the Bush administration launched the war on terrorism.


April 8, 2002
Colin Powell begins his 10-day Middle East mission. He departs Jerusalem without the cease-fire he had sought and is unable to secure a withdrawal of Israeli occupation of West Bank cities and refugee camps. President Bush says Powell “made progress toward peace.”


May 1, 2002
After 34 days of confinement in his West Bank headquarters, Arafat is released in a U.S.-brokered deal that includes the transfer of six wanted men in his compound to a West Bank prison.


May 15, 2002
The New York Times reports that a memo by an FBI agent in Arizona last summer urged bureau headquarters to investigate Middle Eastern men enrolled in American flight schools. Bureau Chief Mueller acknowledges that the bureau gave the memo little attention. Senior Bush administration officials say that Bush’s daily intelligence briefings in the weeks leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks included a warning of the possibility that the Al Qaeda network would attempt to hijack a U.S.-based airliner. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer refuses to discuss the specifics of the briefings, saying only that in the summer of 2001 Bush had “a general awareness” that bin Laden’s network was considering attacks “around the world, including the United States.”


May 17, 2002
A dismembered head and torso is found in a shallow grave on the outskirts of Karachi. The remains are believed to be that of Daniel Pearl.


May 21, 2002
FBI lawyer Colleen Rowley writes a 13-page letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller and flies to Washington to hand-deliver copies of it to two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The letter accuses the bureau of deliberately standing in the way of thwarting the Sept. 11 attacks.


May 23, 2002
Mueller announces an investigation by the Justice Department inspector general into what went wrong in Minneapolis. From Berlin, Bush says he opposes establishing a special commission to probe how the government dealt with terror warnings before Sept. 11.


May 29, 2002
Mueller acknowledges that his agency missed warning signals on terrorism. He announces in the next week that his department will reorganize by hiring more analysts, officers and terrorism experts.


June 2, 2002
Mueller and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, confirm a report in Newsweek that the CIA waited a year and a half after two Al Qaeda terrorist suspects entered the United States before sharing their names with other agencies.


June 10, 2002
Abdulla al Mujahir, 31, born in Brooklyn as Jose Padilla, is arrested on suspicion of plotting to build and detonate a radiocative “dirty” bomb in a U.S. attack. Bush calls Mujahir an “enemy combatant.”


July 10, 2002
The House votes to allow airline pilots to carry guns in cockpits to prevent hijackings, ordering the Transportation Security Administration to train any pilot who volunteers to be armed. The White House opposes the idea.


July 15, 2002
In an Alexandria, Va., courtroom, John Walker Lindh, 21, pleads guilty to two criminal counts, admitting that he illegally provided services to the Taliban. In exchange for his 20-year term in federal prison, government prosecutors drop terrorism and conspiracy charges that could have brought him three life terms plus 90 years.


July 20, 2002
DNA tests confirm that the dismembered body dug up May 17 is that of Daniel Pearl.


July 25, 2002
Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker, changes his plea from guilty to four counts of conspiring to commit terror, mayhem and murder with hijacked airliners, to not guilty.


July 26, 2002
The House votes to create a $38 billion Department of Homeland Security. The new department would consolidate the work of existing federal agencies such as the Coast Guard and the Customs Service under one umbrella, led by a cabinet secretary.


July 31, 2002
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar- Kotelly rules that the 600 suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay have no right to bring their cases to U.S. courts. The decision allows the government to continue holding the detainees indefinitely. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say they will appeal the decision. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee begins hearings on the possibility of invading Iraq. Countless experts, such as former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter, are not invited to participate in the discussion.


Aug. 2, 2002
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler rules that the government must release the names of the nearly 1,200 people the U.S. government detained after the 9/11 attacks. Civil liberties groups hail it as a major victory. As of June 13, the most recent date for which information was provided, 74 people were still being held on immigration violations by the INS; 73 others were in federal custody on criminal charges.


Aug. 5, 2002
The White House rejects an Iraqi offer to let members of Congress tour suspected biological, chemical and nuclear weapons sites.


Aug. 11, 2002
U.S. Airways files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; it becomes the first airline to declare bankruptcy since Sept. 11. Daniel Pearl is buried in a private ceremony in Los Angeles.


Aug. 13, 2002
American Airlines announces it will cut 7,000 jobs.


Aug. 14, 2002
Dr. Steven Hatfill announces he has never been to Princeton, N.J., where many of last fall’s anthrax-tainted letters were believed to have originated from. The FBI calls Hatfill, 48, “a person of interest,” reportedly a milder version of “suspect.”


Aug. 19, 2002
Israeli troops begin withdrawing from Bethlehem under an agreement with Palestinian officials that they will be responsible for reducing tensions in Bethlehem and the Gaza Strip. The New York City medical examiner releases the first comprehensive account of 2,819 victims killed at the WTC on Sept. 11, a list to be read at the one-year observance.

Compiled by Genevieve Roja