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Senate Report on CIA Torture

"Second Wave" Plots

The “Second Wave" plots consisted of two separate plots, known as the “West Coast” plot and the “Tallest Building” Plot. Both were planned by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), “to strike the West Coast of the United States with airplanes using non-Arab passport holders.”

The CIA represented in a report that the “Guraba Cell … was tasked with executing KSM’s planned Second Wave attacks against Los Angeles.” The Guraba Cell, also called the “al-Ghuraba student group” in the report, was “established in late 1999 by [Indonesia-based terrorist group] Jemmah Islamiyah (JI) leaders primarily to educate the sons of jailed JI leaders and to groom the students for potential leadership and operational roles in JI.” The CIA represented that they “learned [of the “Second Wave” plots] during the initial interrogation of KSM” and through interrogation of Hambali (a high-ranking JI operative), and that information on the Second Wave plots was an example of “key intelligence collected from HVD (High Value Detainee) interrogations after applying interrogation techniques.”

Despite those claims, “[a] review of CIA operational cables and other documents found that the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques played no role in the ‘discovery’ or thwarting of either ‘Second Wave’ plot.” In fact, “intelligence and open source reporting indicate that the [al-Ghuraba student] group was not ‘tasked with,’ … or involved in any aspect of KSM’s Second Wave plotting.” The first plot, the “West Coast” plot, was disrupted on August 16, 2001, when one of the two al Qaeda operatives involved in the plot, Zacarias Moussaoui, who was “known to be engaged in terrorist activity,” was arrested. Hambali, who, when subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques, had said the group was tasked with the Second Wave attacks, later admitted that “he fabricated [his] claims ‘in an attempt to reduce the pressure on himself,’ and ‘to give an account that was consistent with what [Hambali] assessed the questioners wanted to hear.’” The CIA eventually deemed Hambali’s admission of fabrication to be credible.”

The other “Second Wave” plot, the “Tall Buildings” plot, “was disrupted with the arrest of Masran bin Arshad in January 2002.” Bin Arshad, a Malaysian whom KSM had tasked to lead a group of Malaysian nationals to carry out the plot, “provided detailed information on this ‘Second Wave’ plotting” while “in the custody of a foreign government, and after the extensive use of rapport-building interrogation techniques.” KSM did not acknowledge the plot until May 5, 2003. A CIA officer wrote in an email (names of the sender and receiver are redacted) that KSM “only admitted knowledge of this operation upon learning of Masran’s detention.”