WRITTEN BY ZANAB J.S.
Last week 28 formerly classified pages from the 2002 congressional report regarding 9/11 were finally made public by congress for the first time. For the past 14 years, 9/11 analysts, journalists, lawmakers and families of 9/11 victims, have waited patiently for the redacted chapter to be released for public viewing.
Many theories that have circulated for the past decade and a half regarding Saudi Arabia's involvement in the September attacks were confirmed upon the release of the hidden chapter. For years Saudi Arabia, one of America's strongest allies, rallied against the release of the infamous pages, and denied all involvement in the attack. However, prior to its publication, Saudi officials promised to hand over anyone named as a prospective lead in the attack.
The following is a synopsis of the declassified pages. Please keep in mind these pages are from 14 years ago and no longer reflect the contemporary level of intelligence on Saudi Arabia's involvement.
PART 1: The Hijackers and Saudi Diplomats
- An undisclosed number of hijackers (there were 19 in total) received financial and non-financial assistance from individual(s) who are allegedly apart of the Saudi government.
- According to the FBI, 2 of those individuals were Saudi intelligence officers
- The congressional review confirms the presence of intelligence alleging the relationship of multiple Saudi Arabian officials in America with connections to Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations
- The FBI and the CIA were unable to confirm the extent of the support received by the hijackers
In accordance with the information provided by the FBI, and at least one CIA draft, a number of the hijackers may have had contact with Saudi Arabian officials while in the United States
DIPLOMATS AND SAUDI EMPLOYEES: OMAR AL-BAYOUMI, OSAMA BASSNAN, SHAYKH AL-THUMAIRY, SALEH AL-HUSSAYEN
- The report confirms that individuals from the muslim community reached out to the FBI as early as 1999 that al-Bayoumi was a Saudi intelligence officer
- Al-Bayoumi communicated with and substantially assisted hijackers Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi in San Diego upon their arrival in 2000. Following his meeting at the Saudi consulate, al-Bayoumi met with the future hijackers publicly.
- Within this time al-Bayoumi received financial assistance from a company in SA associated with the Saudi ministry of defence. He additionally received a salary from the company despite not having worked there. The financial support from the company increased upon the arrival of the hijackers in San Diego.
- Omar Bassnan was a long time employee of the Saudi government and an alleged Saudi intelligence officer by the muslim community
- Bassnan provided lodging for both al-Midhar and al-Hazmi until they were able to find an apartment, and possibly paid for their rent
- According to CIA reports, Bassnan's wife received direct financial support from Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the American ambassador to the U.S, through his wife, Princess Haifa.
- Shaykh Al-Thumairy was a Saudi diplomat and an imam at King Fahad mosque. Al-Midhar and al-Hazmi are reported to have met with him at this mosque, which was funded and built by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdulaziz.
- Saleh al-Hussayen, a Saudi ministry employee checked into the same hotel al-Hazmi was residing in September 2001 in Virginia prior to the attack.
- Senior Al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaida's phonebook contained the phone number of an employee at the Saudi consulate in Washington.
- Mohammad al-Qudhaeein, an employee of the Saudi government, allegedly was involved in a "dry run" to test airline security aboard a flight to the U.S along with an unnamed associate for the purposes of attending a party at the Saudi consulate. During this incident, the pair asked the airline staff several suspicious questions. Al-Qudhaeein tried to gain access to the cockpit two times.
- 2 Former naval officers and other military personnel met with the flight 77 hijackers.
- One of these individuals may have been the pilot for Osama Bin Laden during his trip from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan.
PART 2: Saudi Arabia's Corporate Connections to Terrorist Organizations
According to the testimony of an FBI representative, the U.S did not investigate allegations against Saudi Arabia due to its status as an American "ally".
The report alludes to another finding which suggests "incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists within the Saudi government".
Al-Bayoumi, the diplomat mentioned above, was in contact with several Saudi offices and departments both in Saudi Arabia and within the U.S, as well as at least one individual in a London based Saudi establishment.
An agent testified to al-Bayoumi's actions as an intelligence officer:
[Al-Bayoumi] acted like a Saudi intelligence officer, in my opinion. And if he was involved with the hijackers, which it looks like he was, if he signed leases, if he provided some sort of financing or payment of some sort, then I would say that there’s a clear possibility that there might be a connection between Saudi intelligence and OBL (Osama Bin Laden).
Al-Bayoumi was involved with a company "Dallah/Avco", a subsidiary of Al Barakaat Investment and Development Company which reportedly holds links to Osama Bin Ladin.
ASPCOL, an umbrella company in Colorado purporting to manage the affairs (including telephone services) of Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, was linked to a number found in the phone book of Abu Zubaida.
Sami el-Hussayen, nephew of Saleh el-Hussayen is associated with the Islamic Assembly of North America. Saleh el-Hussayen is a long time financial contributor to IANA, an organization which is in reality attempting to spread Islamic fundamentalism and Salafism. IANA receives funding from Saudi benefactors and extremist preachers.
Prince Bandar Bin Sultan has directly contributed to IANA's financial growth.
Hijackers Marwan al-Shehhi and Mohammad Atta were in contact with an associate of Abdullah Bin Laden, OBL's half brother, and an administrative officer for the SA embassy in DC. ABL is connected to terrorist organizations and is affiliated with false-front organizations laundering money to terrorist outfits internationally.
ABL is the president of World Arab Muslim Youth and the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences, both of which are listed as NGO's in Riyadh and classified as organizations which launder funds and provide logistical support to terrorists in Afghanistan according to the CIA.
Ibn Tamiyah Mosque in L.A. and the Islamic Centre of San Diego were involved in laundering millions of dollars from various non-profits to the Al-Barakaat trading company.
- Saudi funded charity: Umm al-Qura Islamic Charitable Foundation (UQ) is additionally involved in laundering money to terrorist organizations via Saudi embassies abroad.
- Couriers from UQ have transported $330 000 from several Saudi embassies including Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur.
- The al-Haramain Foundation (HIF) is another false-front organization providing funding to Al-Qaeda. Saudi Arabia has provided nearly $700 000 to HIF, and Bayoumi is also alleged to have ties to HIF.
- The Treasury General Counsel had this to say about HIF
MR. AUFHAUSER: Second, and this is important point, it also rises out of Rick’s testimony, on al-Haramain, the two branch offices that we took a public and joint action against, al-Haramain really does represent a significant issue for the PCC and for terrorist financing and for the United States policy. It is, of course, the largest, I think the largest Islamic charity in the world. Its name is synonymous with charity in the Islamic world. Its direct overseers are member of the Royal Family; significant contributors are members of the Royal Family. We don’t have a great dal of intelligence on the headquarters, about whether they are knowingly assisting people in al-Qa’ida and others; but in significant branch offices yet to be designated and under current investigation, we have ample evidence that large cash amounts are being couriered to those branch offices, that large wire transfers of money are being sent to those offices, that a great deal of the money is being dissipated through misspending, unaccounted for, and finally, that those offices have significant contacts with extremists, Islamic extremists.
Part 3: Financial Support Received From Saudi Arabia By Hijackers
- Al-Bayoumi's allowances from the Saudi government increased from $465 per month to over $3700 per month upon the arrival of al-Hazmi and al-Midhar and decreased upon their move from San Diego to $3200 per month until his departure from the U.S, one month before the attacks took place.
- Bassnan's wife received a monthly fee from Princess Haifa, wife of Prince Bandar Bin Sultan. Between 1999 to 2002, $74 000 in cheques were made payable to Bassnan's wife. An automated order was placed on Princess Haifa's account to deposit $2000 per month into Bassnan's wife's bank account.
Bassnan directly received one cheque from Prince Sultan in the amount of $15 000 prior to the attack, while his wife received another direct cheque from the prince in the amount of $10 000.
Part 4: Saudi Arabia's Reluctance to Cooperate in post-9/11 Investigations
- An FBI agent from New York said: the Saudis have been useless and obstructionist for years and would only act in their self-interest.
- In May of 2001, months before the 9/11 attacks, intelligence received by U.S agents indicated that Abu Zubaida was in contact with a Saudi Arabian official who most likely was involved with an upcoming Al-Qaeda operation. The Saudi government refused to cooperate in locating this individual, which, according to another FBI agent, is "typical of the Saudis".
- Upon learning that the hijackers were mostly from Saudi Arabia, the government continued to claim they had no records of their passports.
- Since 1996, the Saudi Arabian government was unwilling to cooperate in investigations regarding OBL.
- A memo from the DCI states: Saudis were uncooperative because OBL had "too much information about official Saudi dealings with Islamic extremists in the 1980's for Riyadh to deliver him into U.S Hands"
- Both the FBI and CIA referred to the lack of cooperation from SA in contacting al-Tayyib, a close employee of OBL who managed his expenses. Al-Tayyib was involved with another top Al-Qaeda operative in London who was later arrested. Al-Tayyib moved back to SA and has been living there 1996, but the Saudi government will not allow contact with him by U.S. authorities.
- The case is similar with regards to OBL's brother in law, Mohammad Jamal Khalifa. Khalifa was sentenced to death in Jordan for his role in the bombings there, but was returned to Saudi Arabia upon the request of the Saudi monarchy. Khalifa now works freely in Saudi Arabia.
- The following is a testimony from the General Counsel of the U.S. Treasury Department:
There is an almost intuitive sense, however, that things are not being volunteered. So I want to fully inform you about it, that we have to ask and we have to seek and we have to strive. I will give you one-and-a-half examples. The first is, after some period, the Saudis have agreed to the designation of a man named Julaydin, who is notoriously involved in all of this; and his designation will be public within the next 10 days. They came forward to us 2 weeks ago and said, okay, we think we should go forward with the designation and a freeze order against Mr. Julaydin. We asked, what do you have on him? Because they certainly know what we have on him, because we shared it as we tried to convince them that they ought to join us. The answer back was, nothing new.
MR. BEREUTER: Do you believe that?
MR. AUFHAUSER: No, I think that taxes credulity, or there is another motive we are not being told.
The final pages of the report indicated a deep lack of understanding of the ties of Saudi Arabia to Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations at the time. Several members of the intelligence community testified to OBL's direct link to Saudi Arabia and personnel in the military and departments of diplomacy, some of whom were in the U.S.
What is clear from the public report is the following:
1. Key and high ranking Saudi Arabian officials and Saudi royals directly and indirectly financed and communicated with several of the hijackers involved in the 9/11 attacks
2. Saudi Arabia continues to play a role in the large scale schemata of global terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism via funding and laundering money through various corporate and hidden NGO assets
14 years after the initial publication of this report, it is unintelligible and impossible to determine what has changed since 2002 and 2016. Certainly, we are unaware of the new intelligence that has been collected by the CIA and FBI and what has been learned of Saudi Arabia's ties to Al-Qaeda, and their further role in 9/11. Most importantly, we are still heavily unaware of Saudi Arabia's global role as a funder and propagator for international terrorism.
The FULL 28 pages can be found here.
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