They allegedly carried out surveillance at the World Trade Centre, the White House and in Virginia, the US state where the Pentagon and CIA headquarters are located.But why would AQ need an independent team doing surveillance after the targets were supposedly already picked? According to the 9/11 report:
On August 3  … Atta and Binalshibh discussed several matters, such as the best way for the operatives to purchase plane tickets and the assignment of muscle hijackers to individual teams. Atta and Binalshibh also revisited the question of whether to target the White House. They discussed targets in coded language, pretending to be students discussing various field of study” “architecture” referred to the World Trade Center, “arts” the Pentagon, “law” the Capitol, and “politics” the White House.The dispatch goes on to say the Qataris were scheduled on an LA-DC American flight on September 10--on the same 757 that became one of the hijacked planes the next day. This could suggest they didn't know the time and place of attack until the last moment and were warned off so as not to draw attention, but if so that's a pretty bizarre coincidence. Maybe they were decoys. That is presuming they were operating for al Qaeda. The dispatch doesn't say.
The memo was dated in February 2010--so what triggered it? Surely the FBI had known about these guys for awhile. The Telegraph article says it was being sent to Hillary along with some top level alphabet agencies, so it's not clear if she was being 'read in' on it or just kept in the loop. Oddly or not, this still unexplained aviation mystery had occurred less than a month earlier off the coast of Beirut. One of the wanted guys from UAE was thought to be a threat to international aviation.
Or perhaps they were getting some inklings about the cargo package bombs to come...
The cable states: “Hotel cleaning staff grew suspicious of the men because they noticed pilot type uniforms, several laptops and several cardboard boxes addressed to Syria, Jerusalem, Afghanistan and Jordan in the room on previous cleaning visits.The recent UPS/Fed Ex toner bombs were wired to cell phones (by the way, terrorists should never trust the maids). Meanwhile Homeland Security has known this much about possible plots since 2003:
“The men had a smashed cellular phone in the room and a cellular phone attached by wire to a computer. The room also contained pin feed computer paper print outs with headers listing pilot names, airlines, flight numbers, and flight times.”
In November 2003, the Department of Homeland Security advised law enforcement officials that al-Qaeda may be planning to fly cargo planes from another country into vital U.S. targets, including nuclear power plants.Maybe the biggest takeaway is why these guys weren't included in the 9/11 report or on "Rewards for Justice" site? Lots of possibilities; perhaps it had to do with the US not wanting to throw undue attention on Qatar while trying to expand military basing rights there, or perhaps the admission of knowing these guys were in-country before the fact would have been embarrassing, especially considering two 9/11 hijackers were in California at the same time.
Or maybe it had something to do with KSM's history in Qatar, including employment with their government. Whatever the case it will give a burst of like to the troofers and a further sense of bafflement to the rest of us.
Meanwhile leaks are coming fast and furious--just today the press reported that our State Department was aware--in 2008--that the Brits were counseling Libya on how to get Pan Am 103 bomber Megrahi out of a Scottish prison due to his cancer. This doesn't seem to comport with the administration's expression of shock over the matter a year later, but as with everything else, it's hard to say for sure.