The House Intelligence Committee publicized 28 previously classified pages attached to the Congressional Joint Inquiry report on the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on Friday. The document highlights alleged connections Saudi Arabia’s government had with the 9/11 hijackers and other Islamic radicals in the United States around the time of the incident.
Most significantly, the previously redacted section of the inquiry describes FBI findings that former Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar bin Sultan, indirectly gave money to two of the hijackers who lived in San Diego. Osama Basnan, a Saudi national, received at least one check for $15,000 from Prince Bander in May 1998, who subsequently “provided substantial assistance” to the California-based terrorists — Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.
In addition, the report cites a telephone number in captured al-Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah’s (also a Saudi citizen) phone book, for an Aspen, CO, company that managed “affairs of the Colorado residence of the Saudi Ambassador Bandar,” and another number for a Saudi embassy security guard in Washington, D.C.
Prince Bandar served as Saudi ambassador to the U.S. from 1983 to 2005.
Other noteworthy findings include FBI evidence that a Saudi intelligence official, one Omar al-Bayoumi, met with the San Diego hijackers after their arrival in the U.S., and received a raise from $465 to $3,700 per month approximately 60 days later; an FBI investigation into two of the eventual hijackers who flew from Washington to Phoenix to attend a gathering at the Saudi embassy in 1999, where on the plane the duo asked flight attendants technical questions about the aircraft and one tried to enter the cockpit twice; finally, the FBI accuses the Saudi government of refusing to help in the investigation of Osama bin Laden, it being surmised that bin Laden “had too much information about official Saudi dealings with Islamic extremists in the 1980s for Riyadh to deliver him into U.S. hands.”
Despite evidence purported in the “28 pages” regarding FBI investigations, House Intelligence chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), cautioned “this section does not put forward vetted conclusions, but rather unverified leads that were later fully investigated by the Intelligence Community.”
Two Republican members of the original 9/11 Congressional inquiry panel also released a statement Friday — Commission chair and former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean and vice-chair and former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton.
“A few other such people are mentioned in various leads but only one turned out to be of continuing interest — a man named Fahad al Thumairy,”the statement read. “He was employed by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs and was working as an imam at a mosque in Los Angeles. He became a controversial figure within the mosque and, in May 2003, after Thumairy went home to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. government refused to let him back in the United States. He is still a person of interest.”
Out of 19 total hijackers who participated in the 9/11 attack operation, 15 were citizens of Saudi Arabia and all were at least associates of al-Qaeda.
[USA Today] [Reuters] [Photo courtesy disclose.tv]