FBI begins declassifying documents into Saudi 9/11 links

FBI begins declassifying documents into Saudi 9/11 links

The FBI has released a newly declassified document that investigates links between Saudi citizens in the United States and two of the 9/11 hijackers.

Relatives of victims have long advocated for the release of the files, claiming that Saudi officials were aware of the attacks but did nothing to prevent them.

However, the document contains no evidence that the Saudi government was involved in the 9/11 plot.

Saudi nationals made up 15 of the 19 hijackers.

The Saudi embassy in Washington welcomed the declassification and denied any link between the kingdom and the hijackers, calling such claims “false and malicious”

The document, which was declassified on the 20th anniversary of the deadliest terror attacks on US soil (nearly 3,000 people were killed after four planes were hijacked), is the first of several that are expected to be released.

Some victims’ families had urged President Joe Biden to declassify the documents, saying he should not attend Saturday’s commemoration ceremonies in New York if he was unwilling to do so.

The majority of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals. Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda, was born into a powerful Saudi family, and his organization is said to have received funding from wealthy Saudis in the 1990s.

All of this has raised questions about whether there was any official involvement in the attacks, and whether subsequent US administrations covered it up to protect an ally.

This most recent document does not demonstrate this. However, it does not answer all of the questions, as the FBI was still investigating an apparently well-connected Saudi who was alleged to have provided logistical support to two of the hijackers in 2016.

This is only the first release, and even if, as the Saudi embassy claims, none of it demonstrates any complicity in the attacks, it may raise awkward questions for both Washington and Riyadh, such as why it has taken so long to be more open.

The FBI document, which is 16 pages long, is still heavily redacted. It is based on interviews with a source whose identity has been protected (listed as PII) and details contacts between a number of Saudi nationals and two of the hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar.

In the year 2000, the hijackers pretended to be students in order to enter the United States. According to the FBI memo, they then received significant logistical support from Omar al-Bayoumi, who, according to witnesses, was a frequent visitor to the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles despite his official status as a student at the time.

According to the FBI source, Mr Bayoumi had “very high status” at the consulate. The memo stated that “Bayoumi’s assistance to Hamzi and Midha included translation, travel, lodging and financing,”

According to the FBI document, the two hijackers had ties to Fahad al-Thumairy, a conservative imam at the King Fahad Mosque in Los Angeles. Sources described him as having “having extremist beliefs”

According to the Associated Press, both Mr Bayoumi and Mr Thumairy left the United States weeks before the 9/11 attacks.

According to the AP, Jim Kreindler, a lawyer for 9/11 victims’ families, the released document “validate the arguments we have made in the litigation regarding the Saudi government’s responsibility for the 9/11 attacks”

Several top former Saudi officials were questioned under oath in a lawsuit filed by relatives last month.

The documents were refused to be declassified by the administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, citing national security concerns.

Joe Biden, on the other hand, ordered a review of investigative documents last week, instructing officials to release what they could over the next six months.

Given the number of Saudi nationals involved and Osama Bin Laden’s Saudi background, there has long been speculation of official Saudi links to the plot.

The 9/11 commission report, on the other hand, found no evidence to implicate the Saudi government or senior officials.

Although their relationship has been strained at times, the United States and Saudi Arabia have long been allies.

Despite Trump’s efforts to strengthen ties, Joe Biden labeled Saudi Arabia a “a pariah” for its role in the gruesome murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

According to the BBC’s Frank Gardner, Mr. Biden has since softened his stance toward Saudi Arabia’s most powerful man, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reflecting the harsh reality of the alliance’s importance.

Source link

Subscribe to our NEWS Letter

FBI begins declassifying documents into Saudi 9/11 links