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Wednesday
Feb022011

WikiLeaks Cable: FBI Investigated Suspected 9/11 Scout Team

Photo Courtesy - Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the FBI investigated three men suspected of scouting targets for the hijackers but determined there was no concrete evidence linking the group to the Sept. 11 conspirators, officials said.

A leaked diplomatic cable, posted on the WikiLeaks website Tuesday, shows that nearly a decade after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the U.S. Embassy in Doha, Qatar, in Feb. 2010 urged the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center to place a man named Mohamed Ali Mohamed Al Dahham Al Mansoori on a watch list for his alleged connection to the team of three men from Qatar. It notes Mansoori was, as of Feb, 2010, under investigation by the FBI and was considered "an individual who may pose a threat to civil aviation in the U.S. and abroad."

The trio from Qatar arrived in the U.S. on Aug. 15, 2001 and stopped in New York, New York to visit the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty, and then Washington, D.C., where they saw the White House and "various areas in Virginia," the cable says.

The cable says these visits were so the men could "conduct surveillance of possible targets."

U.S. officials declined to comment on the veracity of the cable, but two U.S. officials told ABC News the men from Qatar were under investigation by the FBI as one of "thousands" of leads chased down in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

"They were looked at hard," one of the officials said, but no evidence linked them directly to the Sept. 11 hijackers. For his part, Mansoori was under much more scrutiny by the FBI and other government offices, the official said.

Neither Mansoori, nor the names of the three Qatari men, appear in the 9/11 Commission Report.

"If the [9/11] Commission had information in 2004 that reliably linked these individuals to the 9/11 attack, it would have been in our report," former executive director of the 9/11 Commission Philip Zelikow told ABC News.

Additionally, U.S. officials said that if they believed the men were linked to the hijackers, a public alert would have been issued.

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