An FBI informant who was called "The FBI's Best Chance to Uncover September 11th Before it Happened"
In 2000, two of the September 11 hijackers, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar moved in with Abdussattar in Lemon Grove, California. However, he did not provide his FBI contact Steven Butler with any information about the two.
Butler later asked Shaikh for their surnames, but was not given them. He was not told they were pursuing flight training, and that the students were non-political and have done nothing to arouse suspicion. The CIA had not provided names to the FBI which could have prevented 9-11.
The FBI has aroused suspicion of its own for claiming that he was a retired professor of English at San Diego State and Vice President for International Projects at American Commonwealth University. However it turned out that SDSU had no records of ever staffing him, and ACU was merely a scam-diploma mill similar to those seen in countless e-Mail forwards, though this one started by retired Air Force General William Lyon.
The FBI had repeatedly claimed Shaikh had been tested and passed and ahas honest.
On October 9 2002 Agent Steven Butler, the FBI Handler for Abdussattar Shaikh/Muppet, testified at a closed hearing.
Butler disclosed that he had been monitoring a flow of Saudi Arabian money that wound up in the hands of two of the 9/11 hijackers. The two men had rented a room from a man Butler had used as a confidential informant, the sources say. According to officials familiar with his account, Butler said that he had alerted his superiors about the money flows but the warning went nowhere.
October 8, 2009 (Lemon Grove) – Community leaders gathered at the Masjid Usman-Center for Religious Tolerance in Lemon Grove on Saturday to honor Dr. Abdussattar “Sattar” Shaikh, co-founder of the Islamic Center of San Diego. State and city leaders as well as representatives from the Sheriff’s Department and San Diego State University all praised Shaikh’s leadership in fostering multi-cultural understanding and religious tolerance.
“He has helped Muslims from all over the world form a thriving community, even in times of adversity,” said Lemon Grove Councilman George Gastil, who organized the event and issued a commendation on behalf of Lemon Grove. “We honor you, Dr. Shaikh, for the love and devotion you have shown to your adopted country. You have touched countless lives." Born in India in 1935, Shaikh left his war-torn homeland after India was divided into what is now three nations: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. He came to San Francisco and arrived in San Diego in 1970 during the month of Ramadan. “He did not know any Muslims that he could join with the break the fast,” Gastil noted, “so he began calling Muslim-sounding names in the phone book. Within a week, he had gathered fifty Muslims at a local warehouse.” Since then, Shaikh co-founded the Union of Pan Asian Communities and the Inter-Religious Council of San Diego. He served for eight years on the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices and also served as an Honorary Deputy Sheriff from 1971-1995. Active in the National Conference of Christians and Jews, which later became the National Conference on Community and Justice, he has also been trained as a chaplain in the Red Cross.
In Lemon Grove, however, he is best known as founder of the Masjid Usman Center for Religious Tolerance, which serves as a mosque and gathering place for many people including recent immigrants from Somalia, Kurdistan, and Afghanistan. Assemblyman Marty Block presented Dr. Shaikh with a commendation from the State Assembly recognizing his achievements. Khaleel Mohammed, faculty representative from San Diego State University’s Department of Religious Studies, was also on hand to honor Shaikh’s efforts. In addition, a Sgt. Dave Pocklington represented Sheriff Bill Gore, praising Shaikh for his actions to combat hate crimes, particularly in the post-911 era. In accepting his awards, Dr. Shaikh thanked those in attendance and urged all present to “Keep on doing good works, and don’t ever let it stop.”
Abdusattar Shaikh unwittingly rented rooms in his Lemon Grove home to the two hijackers. He described them 10 years ago as simple desert men or Bedouins. They ate and slept on the floor. They prayed regularly at the Islamic Center of San Diego and at a mosque in La Mesa.
“They were home most of the time, reading the Koran listening to the Arabic cassettes," Shaikh said back then.
But former Sen. Graham, who co-chaired the Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, said the hijackers led a less than pious lifestyle outside the mosque and home.
“Well, they drank," the Florida Democrat said. "They went to nightclubs, strip clubs and at one point, Al-Hazmi wanted to marry one of the strippers but that was finally quashed.”
Graham believed the funding source was Saudi government officials. He says his staff tried to interview Shaikh, who had rented rooms to Al-Hazmi and Al-Midhar.
“He was an informant for the FBI, as a paid asset," Graham said. "His principle responsibility was monitoring Saudi youth living in the San Diego community as to whether they were contemplating any actions that would be detrimental to the United States."
The former senator said his staffers were never able to to interview him.
“He was taken into protective custody immediately after 9/11 and held for the better part of four years, at the end of which he was given a $100,000 payment and discharged of his responsibilities," Graham said. "He was withheld from us and in my own opinion, it was purposeful so that we would not get access to whatever information he had.”
That information might link the Saudi government to the hijackers, according to Graham.
Sheriff William Gore, the FBI's lead agent here at the time, said he was not in a position to know if attempts to interview Shaikh were blocked by senior officials at the FBI or in the Bush administration. But he added it’s not as if Shaikh was never scrutinized.
“We thoroughly investigated, interviewed Dr. Shaikh on multiple occasions," Gore said. "And there was not one piece of information. The evidence wasn’t there. The decision of whether or not to talk to Sen. Graham was Dr. Shaikh’s decision and he had a lawyer and chose not to talk to them.”
Congress’s Joint Inquiry
An FBI written response to the Joint Inquiry acknowledges questions about the informant’s credibility, but the Administration and the FBI have objected to the Joint Inquiry’s request to interview the informant and have refused to serve a Committee subpoena and notice of deposition on the informant. As suggested by the FBI, the Joint Inquiry submitted written interrogatories for response by the informant. Through an attorney, the informant declined to respond and indicated that, if subpoenaed, the informant would require a grant of immunity prior to testifying.