Abdussattar Shaikh

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Abdussattar Shaikh
OccupationSan Diego, California-based FBI informant from 1994 to 2003

Abdussattar Shaikh' (ar عبد الستار شيخ) was an asset of the FBI’s San Diego Field Office from May 14, 1994, to July 2003.[2] He was called "The FBI's Best Chance to Uncover September 11th Before it Happened" by the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.[3]

Role in 9 11[edit]

In 2000, two of the hijackers in the September 11 attacks, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, rented a room in Shaikh's home in Lemon Grove, California.[4] However, Shaikh did not provide his FBI contact Steven Butler with any information about the two; Butler claims that the names Nawaf and Khalid were only mentioned in casual conversation as two students who were boarders in his house. Butler later asked Shaikh for their surnames, but was not given them. He was not told they were pursuing flight training. He was told that the students were non-political and had done nothing to arouse suspicion. The CIA did not provide the terrorists' names to the FBI, which could have prevented 9-11.[2][5]

"They were nice, but not what you call extroverted people" Shaikh told The San Diego Union-Tribune after the attacks. Still, he told reporters he bonded with Alhazmi, helping him open a bank account and place a personal ad on the World Wide Web. "He told me that he wanted to marry a Mexican girl," Shaikh told the Los Angeles Times. "The problem was that he didn't know any Spanish. So I taught him a few Spanish phrases."[6]

Shaikh was described as an educator at academies for teaching English to foreigners before he retired,[6] and Vice President for International Projects at American Commonwealth University (ACU).[7]

Citizens Review Board on Police Practices[edit]

Shaikh sat on San Diego's Citizens Review Board on Police Practices (CRBPP) during the time frame of his cooperation with the FBI. Ethical questions arose about his qualifications, as active police informants are precluded from employment on police oversight committees. Shaikh was later removed from the board.[8]


  1. ^ Sterngold, James (October 24, 2001). "A NATION CHALLENGED: THE COMMON BOND; Sense of Trust Is Shaken in Man Who Took Suspects Into Home". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b A Review of the FBI's Handling of Intelligence Information Related to the September 11 Attacks, Chapter 5 (November 2004) (PDF). U.S Department of Justice - Office of the Inspector General. June 2005.
  3. ^ Reno, Jamie (September 10, 2011). "REGION: Terrorist cell was embedded deeply in San Diego". North County Times.
  4. ^ Brandon, Karen (September 30, 2001). "San Diego neighbors found nothing suspicious about pair". Chicago Tribune.
  5. ^ A Pretext for War by James Bamford, page 231
  6. ^ a b Hijackers Found Welcome Mat on West Coast, Washington Post
  7. ^ Hopsicker, Daniel (April 11, 2005). "Terrorists, Arms Dealers, & Ghosts in Malawi". Mad Cow Morning News. Archived from the original on 2015-05-08.