The cable, part of a trove of documents obtained and released by WikiLeaks, indicated three Qatari men flew to the United States a few weeks before the attacks and "visited the World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty, the White House and various areas in Virginia" before flying to Los Angeles, The Washington Post reported.
A U.S. official, speaking anonymously, said the three men were "looked at" within days of the attacks, but investigators determined they couldn't be charged.
"There is no manhunt," the official told the Post Tuesday, downplaying Britain's The Daily Telegraph article in which the cable was disclosed. "There is no active case. They were looked at, but it washed out."
The dispatch, sent on Feb. 11, 2010, from the U.S. Embassy in Doha, Qatar, to agencies in Washington, recommended Mohamed al-Mansoori be included on a government watch list, indicating he posed a threat to civil aviation in the United States and abroad. The cable indicated Mansoori helped three Qataris -- identified as Meshal Alhajri, Fahad Abdulla and Ali Alfehaid -- when they were in the United States.
The Daily Telegraph reported the disclosure raised concerns the three men could have been preparing to be a fifth suicide team, but aborted at the last minute. Instead of boarding a domestic flight to Washington, they returned to Doha, Qatar, with a stop in London, the Telegraph said.
The cable indicated hotel staff in Los Angeles told investigators they saw pilot uniforms in the men's room, as well as computer printouts with pilot names, flight numbers and times, and packages addressed to Syria, Afghanistan, Jerusalem and Jordan, the British newspaper said.
The existence of a surveillance team supporting the hijackers was not directly mentioned in the Sept. 11 commission report, the Post said.
The report noted evidence indicated another round of attacks was being prepared, the Post said.
"Not everything is in the report, and my memory of the details has dulled with time so I can't say if we had some trace of this group," commission member Philip Zelikow said. "They might have been seen by us as a group that was part of a second wave, and if that was the case, we wouldn't have named them for obvious reasons."
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