... Pour justifier le titre, après tout, l’on pourrait écrire “le roi [d’Arabie] est quasi-nu”. D’une façon assez subreptice, stealthy comme l’on dit, car il faut bien dire qu’on ne voit ni n’entend guère de nos chères consciences de nos précieux intellectuels vigilants particulièrement bouleversées, la vérité-de-situation sur l’attaque du 11 septembre 2001 pour ce qui est du rôle qu’y tint l’Arabie apparaît de plus en plus éclairée par une lumière encore tamisée mais déjà absolument suffisante pour distinguer l’auteur et l’objet du délit liés irrémédiablement. L’épisode actuel (28-page + chantage des USA par l’Arabie) est propice à de telles occurrences. On commence même à interroger les candidats à la présidence là-dessus, – dans tous les cas, les deux démocrates, Bernie Sanders et Hillary Clinton, dans l’émission d’ABC This Week With George Stephanopoulos, le 17 avril. Le site CommonDreams, le même jour, publie les réponses de l’un et de l’autre. On ne va tout de même pas les questionner sur 9/11 précisément, mais sur la loi JASTA que l’Arabie veut péremptoirement voir disparaître de l’agenda du Congrès, dans le mode chantage que le président Obama acceptera avec sa placidité coutumière... Les réponses aux questions de Stephanopoulos : celle de Sanders est assez nette, celle d’Hillary est aussi sinueuse que le Titanic surfant entre les icebergs.
• Sanders : « Sanders said, “I have said throughout this campaign we are not taking a hard enough look at Saudi Arabia and it's not only the people who came from Saudi Arabia and participated in 9/11. The evidence is pretty clear. Saudi Arabia is one of the most powerful and wealthiest families of the world. That's why they can threaten to withdraw hundreds of billions of dollars from our economy. The evidence is quite clear that sections of that very large royal family have funded a Wahhabism; this extremely right-wing fundamentalist ideology, which is what ISIS is about, which is what Al Qaeda's about. There are schools all over this world that are, ... where children are being educated in this anti-, ... this horrific fundamentalist ideology.”
» On the legislation, Sanders told ABC, “Well, let me look at it. Let me look at it. I mean, I am not all that familiar with it as well. But I do believe Saudi Arabia is playing a very dangerous role in fomenting fundamentalism all over the world.” »
• Clinton, dont la réponse est ici divisée en plusieurs questions-réponses avec Stephanopoulos (qui fut directeur de la communication et porte-parole de Bill durant sa présidence) montrant son art du tango et du détournement du propos par déflection...
Clinton : « I don't really know about that, George, I'd have to look into it. Obviously, we've got to make anyone who participates in or supports terrorism pay a price, and we also have to be aware of any consequences that might affect Americans, either military or civilian or our nation. So I'm not... »
Stephanopoulos : « You don't know about this issue? It's been around for several years. »
Clinton : « Well, I know there's been an issue about it for quite some time, I don't know about the specific legislation that you're referring to. But obviously, I'll look into it. »
Stephanopoulos : « OK. So... but you're not prepared to say now whether you support it or oppose it? »
Clinton : « I can't, I haven't studied it. Unlike some people... I do try to learn what's at the core of any question before I offer an opinion, because you know it's not enough to say what's wrong, I think you've got a responsibility to say how you're going to fix it. »
Hillary Clinton, croulant sous la masse de corruption qui marque sa carrière, introduit cette notion étonnante du “Il n’est pas suffisant de dire ce qui est mauvais, il faut également accepter la responsabilité de dire comment on va réparer le mal causé” (par ce qui est mauvais, suppose-t-on) ; ainsi ne dit-on rien des Saoudiens tant qu’on ignore par quoi et comment les remplacer. (De même, en 1938, les imbéciles qui nous disaient qu’Hitler était “mauvais” mais n’avaient rien ni pour le vaincre ni pour le remplacer, ceux-là auraient dû se taire.) En attendant, cette réponse peut être prise comme une sorte d’approbation tacite de l’ensemble dont il est traité, à savoir que les Saoudiens sont “mauvais”, qu’ils ont effectivement participé, sinon complètement organisé l’attaque 9/11 et ainsi de suite (mais bon, on ne fait rien avant de savoir ce qu’il faut faire, ça c’est sûr). Il y a de la gêne et de la confusion dans les bredouillements d’Hillary simplement parce que le monstre du Loch Ness commence à sortir de l’eau et à apparaître pour ce qu’il est : l’Arabie est dans 9/11 jusqu’au cou. Rappelez-vous qu’il y a dix ans, on envoyait à la potence toute personne qui osait avancer de telles hypothèses, c’est-à-dire quelque chose qui remît en cause la version officielle de 9/11. Aujourd’hui, les plumes du Système passerait rapidement là-dessus, sur la culpabilité des Saoudiens, comme sur un détail mineur, dépassé, une histoire d’un autre temps... Mais il s'avère que ce n'est pas simple.
On notera qu’à côté de cela (la Clinton), Sanders ne mâche pas ses mots pour mettre en accusation l’Arabie Saoudite, dans toute sa politique de soutien et de financement de terrorisme. C’est une bonne évolution pour le candidat démocrate qui n’a pas cessé de durcir sa position en politique extérieure, contre les principaux acteurs de la politique-Système et la façon dont ils interfèrent sur la politique US pour la renforcer toujours plus dans le sens de la déstructuration et de la dissolution. C’est-à-dire que la question 9/11-Arabie Saoudite et tout ce qui va avec, et plus largement la question de la corruption complète de la politique-Système des USA en général, sont de plus en plus présentes dans la campagne présidentielle, ce qui représente un caractère extraordinaire de plus dans cette campagne.
(Il faut ajouter à propos de Sanders une intervention plus récente encore, sur CBS, à propos des 28-pages. La question a été posée à Sanders de savoir s’il les avait lues, ce à quoi il a répondu par la négative : « “No, I have not,” he replied. An honest albeit disappointing answer—but not a surprising one given the extraordinarily low level of 28-pages readership on Capitol Hill. Then things turned south quickly. Admirably pressed by the hosts as to whether he should read them, Sanders said, “The difficulty is, you see then, if you read them, then you’re gonna ask me a question, you’re gonna say, ‘You read them, what’s in them?’ And now I can tell you honestly I have not.” » 28Pages.org, qui rapporte l’échange ce 18 avril, est très sévère vis-à-vis de Sanders sur cette absence de lecture des 28-pages, et le félicite par contre de sa prise de position au cours de cette émission, selon laquelle il faudrait déclassifier ce document : « Though he gets an F on the question of whether he’s read the 28 pages, Sanders earned an A on the question of whether they should be released: We are very grateful he said “yes” to that one. »)
L’effet général de cette situation est un événement qui se signale par sa discrétion, mais qui devrait peu à peu prendre sa dimension : la prise en compte générale, sur la défensive ou d’une façon offensive selon qu’on est proche du Système ou plutôt agacé par le Système (sinon antiSystème) dans cette occurrence, de la participation, voire de la responsabilité de l’Arabie Saoudite en tant que pays, que gouvernement, et en tant qu’“allié” des États-Unis dans l’attaque du 11 septembre. En un sens, la relative discrétion de l’évènement qu’on signale plus haut est une bonne mesure, – invertie, comme il se doit, – de l’importance de l’événement. Une autre situation qui témoigne de cette évolution, c’est, malgré cette discrétion, le fractionnement des positions parmi d’incontestables personnalités du Système. On remarque notamment les prises de position sans ambiguïté de John Lehman, ancien ministre de la Marine et qui fut président de la Commission spéciale sur 9/11 formée par le Congrès après le rapport du gouvernement, et qui ne put avoir accès aux 28-pages ; Lehman a pu y avoir accès après l’enquête de la Commission et son intervention durant l’émission 60 Minutes de CBS a été si remarquée qu’elle a été censurée sur certaines versions de l’émission. On rappelle ici un passage de notre texte du 18 avril, qui est une indication claire et nette selon laquelle John Lehman appuie complètement et sans réserve la version impliquant la responsabilité de l’Arabie dans l’attaque du 11 septembre :
« Une précision très-importante à ce propos est celle de l’ancien ministre de la Marine, John Lehman, qui fut président de la commission d’enquête spéciale sur l’attaque du 11 septembre, et qui a lu les 28-pages en raison de sa position officielle. Interrogé lors de l’émission 60 Minutes sur le fait de savoir si ces 28-pages permettaient d’identifier par leurs noms des responsables saoudiens, il répondit “Oui ! Un auditeur moyen de 60 Minutes les reconnaîtrait instantanément... ” (“[Former Senator] Graham’s reference to the “highest levels” of the Saudi government is reminiscent of a statement former Navy secretary and 9/11 Commission member John Lehman made to 60 Minutes on Sunday. Asked if the 28 classified pages names names, he replied, ‘Yes. The average intelligent watcher of 60 Minutes would recognize them instantly.’”) »
(Le même Lehman, qui est un personnage assez pétulant, qui s’est déjà signalé par son opposition résolue au développement de la technologie furtive alors qu’il était ministre de la Marine dans les années 1980, est déjà signalé dans le livre de Philip Shenon, The Commission, pour ses interventions à propos de l’implication de l’Arabie alors qu’il dirigeait la Commission d’enquête : « Lehman was struck by the determination of the Bush White House to try to hide any evidence of the relationship between the Saudis and al Qaeda. “They were refusing to declassify anything having to do with Saudi Arabia,” Lehman said. “Anything having to do with the Saudis, for some reason, it had this very special sensitivity.” He raised the Saudi issue repeatedly with Andy Card. “I used to go over to see Andy, and I met with Rumsfeld three or four times, mainly to say, ‘What are you guys doing? This stonewalling is so counterproductive.” »)
Il faut donc bien apprécier l’événement en cours aux USA, au sein du Système, par rapport à cet événement mythique qu’est l’attaque du 11 septembre 2001, en plus de suivre l’évolution des relations entre les USA et l’Arabie, et même avant de suivre l’évolution de ces relations car le deuxième cas dépend du premier. Il s’agit de la réalisation discrète mais désormais inéluctable de l’implication au moins majeure de l’Arabie, en tant que gouvernement et “allié” des USA, dans cette attaque. Il ne suffit pas de dire “tout le monde le savait”, soit entre “comploteurs”, soit entre commentateurs-Système qui ne veulent pas trop donner d’importance à la chose, parce qu’on en chuchote beaucoup à ce propos depuis des années ; non, il importe de comprendre qu’il s’agit de ce qui commence à être considéré comme un fait avéré, qui s’inscrit peu à peu, en tant que tel, dans la situation washingtonienne. Le deuxième point à noter absolument est qu’il s’ensuit à ce propos une fracture à l’intérieur des élites-Système, entre ceux qui contenir à soutenir le statuquo des relations avec l’Arabie, et ceux qui envisagent désormais une autre voie.
A défaut de savoir sur quoi tout cela débouche, y compris sur ce que nous saurons ou pas finalement à propos de l’attaque 9/11, il importe de constater qu’il ne s’agit de rien de moins que d’un effet fondamental de dissolution à l’intérieur du Système. C’est un cas sans précédent de constater qu’un événement aussi fondamental et aussi controversé de l’histoire de l’américanisme (par exemple, à l’égal de l’attitude de Roosevelt et de sa possible connaissance de l’attaque de Pearl Harbor, ou à l’égal de l’assassinat de Kennedy) provoque, 15 ans après sa réalisation et après un long temps d’immobilisme dans le Système, des remous aussi puissants à l’intérieur du Système, au point qu’on puisse parler d’une sorte de “réouverture de facto”, par divers biais, de l’enquête à son propos, avec des conséquences possibles, internes à Washington, d’une très grande importance. Cet ensemble de circonstances fait que nous sommes en présence d’un événement révolutionnaire en cours de réalisation, toujours de la même façon : d’abord discrètement et par des biais divers, ce qui effectivement opérationnalise une dissolution du Système. On notera que cet événement extraordinaire se place dans une année extraordinaire déjà à cause de l’élection présidentielle, et on observera encore que ce qui précède motre que les deux évènements ont d’ores et déjà fusionné et que “9/11, le retour” fait désormais partie de la panoplie de campagne électorale...
Nous complétons ces remarques par la prise en compte de deux articles qui documentent de différentes façons la situation que nous décrivons. On voit là aussi une extension réelle du champ de l’information à propos des évènements en cours, notamment avec des articles et des vidéos qui commencent à pénétrer la presse-Système elle-même.
• Il s’agit d’abord d’un article d’Infowars.com, de Mikael Thalen, du 18 avril 2016. Thalen cite abondamment un autre article, du 17 avril celui-là, qui a paru dans le New York Post, quotidien new-yorkais de grande diffusion, sous le titre « How US covered up Saudi role in 9/11 », de Paul Sperry. L’article de Thalen renvoie à diverses séquences vidéo intéressantes sur des interventions d’hommes politiques ou auprès d’hommes politiques.
• Le second article est de Brian McGlinchey, fondateuret directeur du site 28Pages.org, qui joue un rôle fondamental dans la campagne pour la déclassification des 28-pages restées secrètes du rapport du gouvernement US sutr 9/11. McGlinchey détaille le contenu d’un dpocument concernant la Commission 9/11, qui a été déclassifié en juillet 2015 et qui était jusqu’ici passé inaperçu. On a là un détail montrant le regain d’activité autour du travail d’élucidation de l’attaque 9/11, qui peut aussi bien conduire à des documents accessibles et non exploités jusqu’ici, dans le labyrinthe bureaucratique de la déclassification des documents secrets. (Le titre complet de cet article du 18 avril sur 28Pages.org, que nous avons réduit pour des raisons techniques, est : « EXCLUSIVE: Declassified Doc Shows 9/11 Commission Investigators Wanted to Examine Political, Economic Influence on Saudi-9/11 Inquiries ».)
Among the numerous views held by those espousing “9/11 truth,” one central idea remains the same: The United States government is complicit in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
An article in the New York Post this week, boldly titled “How US covered up Saudi role in 9/11,” details how the highest levels of the US government not only helped conceal Saudi involvement but assisted the perpetrators in escaping the country.
“The kingdom’s involvement was deliberately covered up at the highest levels of our government. And the coverup goes beyond locking up 28 pages of the Saudi report in a vault in the US Capitol basement,” Paul Sperry writes. “Investigations were throttled. Co-conspirators were let off the hook.”
Everyone from Join Terrorism Task Force members to FBI agents and Virginia law enforcement say that despite evidence leading to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, investigations were derailed repeatedly by higher ups.
“Those sources say the pages missing from the 9/11 congressional inquiry report — which comprise the entire final chapter dealing with ‘foreign support for the September 11 hijackers’ — details ‘incontrovertible evidence’ gathered from both CIA and FBI case files of official Saudi assistance for at least two of the Saudi hijackers who settled in San Diego.”
One name specifically, that of Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar, commonly known as “Bandar Bush” due to his longtime relationship with the president, came up frequently during investigations.
“Some information has leaked from the redacted section, including a flurry of pre-9/11 phone calls between one of the hijackers’ Saudi handlers in San Diego and the Saudi Embassy, and the transfer of some $130,000 from then-Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar’s family checking account to yet another of the hijackers’ Saudi handlers in San Diego,” Sperry continues.
Upon learning of the agent’s knowledge, State Department officials responded not by detaining Bandar, but by providing him with round-the-clock protection.
“An investigator who worked with the JTTF in Washington complained that instead of investigating Bandar, the US government protected him — literally,” the article says. “He said the State Department assigned a security detail to help guard Bandar not only at the embassy, but also at his McLean, Va., mansion.”
Former FBI agent John Guandolo, a Washington field agent who investigated Bandar following 9/11, says the Saudi should have undoubtedly been treated as a suspect.
“The Saudi ambassador funded two of the 9/11 hijackers through a third party,” Guandolo said. “He should be treated as a terrorist suspect, as should other members of the Saudi elite class who the US government knows are currently funding the global jihad.”
The article goes on to state that just two days after the attack, Bandar visited the White House to enjoy several cigars with President Bush before being granted safe passage out of the country with other Saudis.
“After he met on Sept. 13, 2001, with President Bush in the White House, where the two old family friends shared cigars on the Truman Balcony, the FBI evacuated dozens of Saudi officials from multiple cities, including at least one Osama bin Laden family member on the terror watch list,” Sperry says. “Instead of interrogating the Saudis, FBI agents acted as security escorts for them, even though it was known at the time that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens.”
Then-White House adviser Richard Clarke also stated in 2003 that he aided the Saudis escape after being assured by FBI agents that they had been cleared of wrongdoing.
“The adviser, Richard Clarke, who ran the White House crisis team after the attacks but has since left the Bush administration, said he agreed to the extraordinary plan because the Federal Bureau of Investigation assured him that the departing Saudis were not linked to terrorism,” Times writer Eric Lichtblau stated.
In response to growing knowledge of the Saudi’s role, the Islamic kingdom has threatened to “sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States” if legislation backing the release of the 28 pages is passed.
“Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts,” writes The New York Times.
Although such information is devastating to the US, Saudi Arabia and the “official story” of September 11, much of it has been public since the years following the attack.
Largely ignored by the press is the countless other government officials who also say they experienced similar treatment when trying to investigate America’s largest ever terror attack.
Former NSA senior executive Thomas Drake, who blew the whistle on domestic surveillance during the Bush presidency, has commented repeatedly on NSA intelligence that would have “undoubtedly” stopped 9/11.
“The NSA had critical intelligence about Al Qaeda and associated movements in particular that had never been properly shared outside of NSA,” Drake said in 2014. “They simply did not share critical intelligence although they had it.”
Former senior intelligence officer Lt. Col Anthony Shaffer was similarly sidelined by the Defense Intelligence Agency for blowing the whistle on covered up operations that identified two terrorist cells later charged for the 9/11 attacks.
“I had no intention of joining the ranks of ‘whistle blowers,’” Shaffer said in 2009. “When I made my disclosure to the 9/11 commission regarding the existence of a pre 9/11 offensive counter-terrorism operation that had discovered several of the 9/11 terrorists a full year before the 9/11 attacks my intention was to simply tell the truth, and fulfill my oath of office.”
Shaffer also joined the Alex Jones Show well over one year ago to discuss the Saudi’s role in 9/11 and the 28 pages. (Video : Secrets Of The 28 Page 9/11 Report Released.)
Former FBI wiretap translator Sibel Edmonds, who had access to top-secret communications, also stated in 2004 that the FBI had detailed 9/11 foreknowledge that specifically mentioned a terrorist attack involving airplanes.
“We should have had orange or red-type of alert in June or July of 2001. There was that much information available,” Edmonds said. “There was specific information about use of airplanes, that an attack was on the way two or three months beforehand and that several people were already in the country by May of 2001. They should’ve alerted the people to the threat we’re facing.”
The 28 pages are now so mainstream that presidential candidates are being forced to find a stance on the topic.
The first candidate to touch the subject was none other than Republican frontrunner Donald J. Trump, who earlier this year pointed the finger at Saudi Arabia. (Video : Donald Trump Reveals The Saudi Connection to 9/11.) “But it wasn’t the Iraqis, you will find out who really knocked down the World Trade Center,” Trump said at a campaign event in Bluffton, South Carolina. “Because they have papers in there that are very secret, you may find it’s the Saudis, okay? But you will find out.”
Other candidates have been less forward.
Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton refused to say Monday whether she had even seen the 28 pages at all. “I am not commenting,” she said.
Although Clinton has remained tight-lipped, her and fellow Democrat Bernie Sanders are backing legislation that would allow families of loved ones killed in the 9/11 attacks to sue the Saudi government.
“Obviously, we’ve got to make anyone who participates in or supports terrorism pay a price, and we also have to be aware of any consequences that might affect Americans, either military or civilian or our nation,” Clinton told ABC.
The Obama administration has threatened to veto the bill.
“It could put the United States and our taxpayers and our service members and our diplomats at significant risk if other countries were to adopt a similar law,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Monday.
“Given the long list of concerns I have expressed … it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which the president would sign the bill as it’s currently drafted,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
Before dropping out, Republican Jeb Bush was confronted twice by Infowars reporters on the Saudi link.
Exclusive: Jeb Bush Mocks 9/11 Victims' Families : “Ya, I’d like to see em,” Bush said. “You got ’em?”
Exclusive! Jeb Bush Dodges Another 9/11 Bullet : Jeb again quipped during the second encounter, asking if the reporter could supply him with a copy. “You haven’t sent ’em to me,” Jeb said. “I don’t know anything about ’em man.”
Regardless of one’s exact theory on the details of 9/11, it’s time for Americans and people around the world to admit they were lied to.
The “9/11 truthers” were right.
As President Obama prepares to visit Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, his administration is under increasing pressure to declassify 28 pages that, according to many who’ve read them, illustrate financial links between the Saudi government and the 9/11 hijackers.
Meanwhile, a far lesser-known document from the files of the 9/11 Commission—written by the same principal authors as the 28 pages and declassified last summer without publicity and without media analysis—indicates investigators proposed exploring to what extent “political, economic and other considerations” affected U.S. government investigations of links between Saudi Arabia and 9/11.
Drafted by Dana Lesemann and Michael Jacobson as a set of work plans for their specific parts of the 9/11 Commission investigation, the 47-page document also provides an overview of individuals of most interest to investigators pursuing a Saudi connection to the 2001 attack that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Included in that overview is a previously unpublicized declaration that, after the capture of alleged al-Qaeda operative Ghassan al-Sharbi in Pakistan, the FBI discovered a cache of documents he had buried nearby. Among them: al-Sharbi’s U.S. flight certificate inside an envelope of the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C.
Declassified in July 2015 under the authority of the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) pursuant to a Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) appeal, the document is the seventeenth of 29 released under ISCAP appeal 2012-48, which focuses on FBI files related to 9/11. One of two documents in the series identified as “Saudi Notes,” we’ll refer to it as “Document 17.”
Dated June 6, 2003, Document 17 was written by Lesemann and Jacobson in their capacity as staff investigators for the 9/11 Commission, and was addressed to 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow, Deputy Executive Director Chris Kojm and General Counsel Dan Marcus.
Lesemann and Jacobson had previously worked together on the 2002 joint congressional 9/11 intelligence inquiry and authored the classified, 28-page chapter on foreign government financing of the attacks. Document 17 outlines how the two investigators proposed to extend their earlier research. The plans include many questions Lesemann and Jacobson felt the investigation should answer.
Two of those questions seem strikingly relevant today, as a declassification review of just 28 pages said to implicate Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks has inexplicably taken three times as long as the entire joint inquiry that produced them, and while a growing number of current and former officials who are familiar with the pages emphatically assert there’s no national security risk in their release.
Lesemann and Jacobson, already veterans of investigating 9/11 with the congressional inquiry, asked:
1) How Agressively has the U.S. government investigated possible ties between the Saudi Government and/or Royal Family, and the September 11th attacks ?
2) To what extent have the U.S. Government’efforts to investigate podssible ties between the Saudi Government and/or Royal Family and the September 11th acctacks been affected by political, economic or other considerations ?
They are two questions Lesemann wouldn’t be permitted to answer: Zelikow fired her first. Her termination had an apparent Saudi aspect of its own: Impatient with Zelikow’s neglect of her repeated requests for access to the 28 pages, she circumvented him to gain access on her own. When Zelikow discovered it, he promptly dismissed her.
Organizationally set apart from dozens of other questions as among the more important, overarching lines of inquiry for their particular avenue of the commission’s work, the significance of the questions’ presence in Document 17 is amplified by the absence of corresponding answers in the commission’s final report.
At some point—perhaps after Lesemann’s determined interest in Saudi links to 9/11 led to her dismissal—someone apparently determined a public study of those questions was beyond the scope of work.
Zelikow’s appointment over the commission was controversial, given his previous friendship with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and the fact he’d served on the Bush administration’s transition team. That history and, once appointed, his ongoing contacts with Bush political advisor Karl Rove, led some to question whether he was willing or able to achieve the high level of impartiality so essential to his role.
The Bush administration’s lack of cooperation with Saudi-related 9/11 inquiries is well-documented. According to Philip Shenon’s book, The Commission:
(Commission member and former Secretary of the Navy John) Lehman was struck by the determination of the Bush White House to try to hide any evidence of the relationship between the Saudis and al Qaeda. “They were refusing to declassify anything having to do with Saudi Arabia,” Lehman said. “Anything having to do with the Saudis, for some reason, it had this very special sensitivity.” He raised the Saudi issue repeatedly with Andy Card. “I used to go over to see Andy, and I met with Rumsfeld three or four times, mainly to say, ‘What are you guys doing? This stonewalling is so counterproductive.”
The Bush family has a multi-generational relationship with the Saudi royal family, with ties that are both deeply personal and deeply financial. Prince Bandar bin Sultan was the Saudi ambassador to the United States on 9/11, and is considered a personal friend of George W. Bush.
With many investigatory leads pointing toward the Saudi embassy in Washington, some feel Bandar merits thorough investigation—or that he may even be directly implicated in the 28 pages that Bush controversially redacted.
Saturday, appearing on Michael Smerconish’s CNN program to discuss a Saudi threat to divest itself of some $750 billion in U.S. Treasury securities if Congress passes a law clearing a path for 9/11 victims’ lawsuit against the kingdom, former Senator Bob Graham said, “I believe that there is material in the 28 pages and the volume of other documents that would indicate that there was a connection at the highest levels between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the 19 hijackers.”
Asked by 60 Minutes if the 28 pages name names, commission member Lehman replied, “Yes. The average intelligent watcher of 60 Minutes would recognize them instantly.”
(If you watched the impactful prime time 60 Minutes segment on the 28 pages that aired last week and don’t remember Lehman’s intriguing statement, it’s because 60 Minutes oddly relegated perhaps their most newsworthy quote of all to this web extra.) There are many more examples of the U.S. government’s thwarting of Saudi-related inquiries, both outside and inside the work of the 9/11 Commission.
The FBI’s 2002 discovery of a U.S. flight certificate inside a Saudi embassy envelope was news to Graham, who co-chaired the joint congressional inquiry that produced the 28 pages.
“That’s very interesting. That’s a very intriguing and close connection to the Saudi embassy,” said Graham, who has been championing the declassification of the 28 pages and a perhaps hundreds of thousands of pages of other documents since 2003.
Since people often re-use envelopes and citizens of any country may have legitimate reasons for correspondence with the embassies of their government in foreign countries they live in, the Saudi embassy envelope isn’t by itself conclusive of anything. 28Pages.org couldn’t find any other history of the FBI’s find or of the government’s evaluation of its significance.
Al-Sharbi is one of 80 remaining detainees at Guantanamo Bay. His public record includes his graduation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, reported association with other al-Qaeda members and alleged attendance at training camps in Afghanistan.
He is also among the individuals identified in FBI agent Kenneth Williams’ July 2001 electronic communication, sometimes called the “Phoenix EC” or “Phoenix Memo.” With it, Williams attempted—unsuccessfully—to alert the rest of the bureau about suspicions that Middle Eastern extremists were attending flight schools with ill intent, and to recommend a nationwide investigation of the phenomenon.
While those aspects of al-Sharbi’s story have been widely discussed, the FBI’s reported discovery of his flight certificate inside a Saudi embassy envelope buried in Pakistan has not.
The al-Sharbi paragraph excerpted above is in a section titled, “A Brief Overview of Possible Saudi Government Connections to the September 11th Attacks.” Comprising a list of individuals of interest to the investigators, it begins with names central to the well-reported San Diego cell, including future hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar, purported Saudi government operative Omar al-Bayoumi, Saudi diplomat Fahad al-Thumairy and Osama Bassnan, a former employee at a Saudi mission in Washington, D.C. who received “considerable funding from Prince Bandar and Princess Haifa, supposedly for his wife’s medical treatments.”
Here, we directly excerpt many entries from the list, with an emphasis on those that are more suggestive of a link to the Saudi government. Much of the information is already well-known.
It’s important to note that any given association described in these documents may well be benign, that witness statements aren’t always accurate, and that a previous government assertion of a fact may have already proved or may yet be proved wrong.
Omar Al-Bayoumi: Al-Bayoumi, a Saudi national, provided September 11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar with considerable assistance after the hijackers arrived in San Diego in February 2000. He helped them locate an apartment, co-signed their lease, and ordered Mohdhar Abdullah (discussed below) to provide them with whatever assistance they needed in acclimating to the United States. The FBI now believes that in January 2000 al-Bayoumi met with Fahad al-Thumairy, a Saudi diplomat and cleric, at the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles before going to the restaurant where he met the hijackers and engaged them in conversation. Whether or not al-Bayoumi ‘s meeting with the hijackers was accidental or arranged is still the subject of debate. During his conversation with the hijackers, Al-Bayoumi invited them to move to San Diego, which they did shortly thereafter. Al-Bayoumi has extensive ties to the Saudi Government and many in the local Muslim community in San Diego believed that he was a Saudi intelligence officer. The FBI believes it is possible that he was an agent of the Saudi Government and that he may have been reporting on the local community to Saudi Government officials. In addition, during its investigation, the FBI discovered that al-Bayoumi has ties to terrorist elements as well.
Osama Bassnan: Bassnan was a very close associate of al-Bayoumi’s, and was in frequent contact with him while the hijackers were in San Diego. Bassnan, a vocal supporter of Usama Bin Ladin, admitted to an FBI asset that he met al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar while the hijackers were in San Diego, but denied this in a later conversation. There is some circumstantial evidence that he may have had closer ties to the hijackers, but the FBI has been unable to corroborate this additional reporting. Bassnan received considerable funding from Prince Bandar and Princess Haifa, supposedly for his wife’s medical treatments. According to FBI documents, Bassnan is a former employee of the Saudi Government’s Educational Mission in Washington, D.C.
Fahad Al-Thumairy: Until recently al-Thumairy was an accredited Saudi diplomat and imam at the King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, California. The news media reported that the U.S. Government revoked al-Thumairy’s visa in May 2003 ; the diplomat subsequently returned to Saudi Arabia. The FBI now believes that Omar al-Bayoumi met with al-Thumairy at the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles before al-Bayoumi went to the restaurant where he met the hijackers. According to witness reporting, al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar were also taken to the King Fahad Mosque while they were in the United States.
Mohdhar Abdullah: Abdullah was tasked by Omar al-Bayoumi to provide al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar with whatever assistance they needed while in San Diego. Abdullah, who became one of the hijackers’ closest associates in San Diego, translated for them, helped them open bank accounts, contacted flight schools for the hijackers, and helped them otherwise acclimate to life in the United States.
Osama Nooh and Lafi al-Harbi: Al-Harbi and Nooh are Saudi naval officers who were posted to San Diego while hijackers al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi were living there. After the September 11th attacks, the FBI determined that al-Hazmi had telephonic contact with both Nooh and al-Harbi while al-Hazmi was in the United States.
Mohammed Quadir-Harunani: Quadir-Harunani has been the subject of an FBI counterterrorism investigation since 1999 and the FBI is currently investigating whether he had contact with the September 11th hijackers. In June 2000 a call was placed from Transcom International, a company owned by Quadir-Harunani, to a number subscribed to by Said Bahaji, one of the key members of the Hamburg cell. Quadir-Harunani is also a close associate of Usama bin Ladin’s half-brother, Abdullah Bin Ladin (discussed below), who was assigned to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C.-E87 2.
Abdullah Bin Ladin: Abdullah bin Ladin (ABL) is reportedly Usama bin Ladin’s half-brother. He is the President and Director of the World Arab Muslim Youth Association (WAMY) and the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Studies in America. Both organizations are local branches of nongovernmental organizations based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. According to the FBI, there is reason to believe that WAMY is “closely associated with the funding and financing of international terrorist activities and in the past has provided logistical support to individuals wishing to fight in the Afghan War.” ABL has been assigned to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. as an administrative officer. He is a close associate of Mohammed Quadir Harunani’s and has provided funding for Transcom International.
Fahad Abdullah Saleh Bakala: According to an FBI document, Bakala was close friends with two of the September 11th hijackers. The document also notes that Bakala has worked as a pilot for the Saudi Royal Family, flying Usama Bin Ladin between Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia during UBL’s exile.
Hamad Alotaibi: Alotaibi was assigned to the Saudi Embassy Military Division in Washington, D.C. According to an eyewitness report, one of the September 11th hijackers may have visited Alotaibi at his residence; another FBI document notes that a second hijacker may have also visited this address.
Hamid Al-Rashid: Al-Rashid is an employee of the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority and was apparently responsible for approving the salary of Omar al-Bayoumi. Hamid al-Rashid is also the father of Saud al-Rashid, whose photo was found in a raid of an al-Qa’ida safehouse in Karachi and who has admitted to being in Afghanistan between May 2000 and May 2001.
Ghassan al-Sharbi: Al-Sharbi is a Saudi student who was taking flight lessons in the Phoenix area before the September 11 attacks and is mentioned in the “Phoenix EC.” The U.S. government captured al-Sharbi in the same location where Abu Zubaida was discovered in early 2002. After Al-Sharbi was captured, the FBI discovered that he had buried a cache of documents nearby, including an envelope from the Saudi embassy in Washington that contained al-Sharbi’s flight certificate.
Saleh Al-Hussayen: According to FBI documents, Saleh Al-Hussayen is a Saudi Interior Ministry employee/official and may also be a prominent Saudi cleric. According to one news article, Saleh Al-Hussayen is the Chief Administrator of the Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina. An FBI affidavit notes that Saleh Al-Hussayen stayed in the same hotel as three of the hijackers on September 10, 2001. He told the FBI that he did not know the hijackers . The FBI agents interviewing him, however, believed he was being deceptive. The interview was terminated when al-Hussayen either passed out or feigned a seizure and was taken to the hospital; he then departed the country before the FBI could reinterview him. Saleh Al-Hussayen is ‘also the uncle of Sami Al -Hussayen (discussed below).
Mohammed Fakihi: Fakihi is a Saudi diplomat. Until recently he was assigned to the Islamic Affairs Section of the Saudi Embassy in Berlin, Germany. Soon after the September 11th attacks, German authorities searched SECRET 3 SECRET 10 the apartment of Munir Motassadeq, an associate of the hijackers in Hamburg , and found Fakihi’s business card. According to press reports , the Saudis did not respond to German requests for information on Fakihi. More recently, German authorities discovered that Fakihi had contacts with other terrorists; Fakihi was subsequently recalled to Saudi Arabia.
Salah Bedaiwi: Bedaiwi is a Saudi Naval officer who was posted to a U .S. Navy base in Pensacola, Florida. He visited the Middle Eastern Market in Miami, a location frequented by several of the hijackers, and was in contact with at least one of the hijackers’ possible associates. The FBI has been investigating these connections, as well as his ties to other terrorist elements.
Mohammed Al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan Al-Shalawi: Al-Qudhaeein and Al-Shalawi were both Saudi students living in the Phoenix area. Qudhaeein was receiving funding from the Saudi Government during his time in Phoenix. Qudhaeein and Al-Shalawi were involved in a 1999 incident aboard an America West flight that the FBI’s Phoenix Office now believes may have been a “dry run” for the September 11th attacks. Al-Qudhaeein and Al-Shalawi were traveling to Washington, D.C. to attend a party at the Saudi Embassy; the Saudi Embassy paid for their airfare. According to FBI documents, during the flight they engaged in suspicious behavior, including several attempts to gain access to the cockpit. The plane made an emergency landing in Ohio, but no charges were filed against either individual. The FBI subsequently received information in November 2000 that Al-Shalawi had been trained at the terrorist camps in Afghanistan to conduct Khobar Towertype attacks and the FBI has also developed information tying Al-Qudhaeein to terrorist elements as well.
Ali Hafiz Al-Marri and Maha Al-Marri: Ali Al-Marri was indicted for lying to the FBI about his contact with Mustafa Al-Hasawi, one of the September 11th financiers. Ali Al-Marri, who arrived in the United States shortly before the September 11th attacks, attempted to call Al-Hasawi a number of times from the United States. The FBI has recently received reporting that he may also have been an al:.Qa’ida “sleeper agent.” According to FBI documents, Ali Al-Marri has connections to the Saudi Royal Family. The Saudi Government provided financial support to his wife, Maha Al-Marri, after Ali Al-Marri was detained and assisted her in departing the United States before the FBI could interview her.