“As more and more intelligence came in we realized that it looked like an inside job”
Alleged Saudi role in September 11 attacks
The alleged Saudi role in the September 11 attacks is the idea that the Saudi Arabian government was connected to the September 11 attacks in the United States. The final 28 pages of the December 2002 report of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, which were initially classified, were released on July 15, 2016 and provide details.
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The 28 pages state that some of the September 11 hijackers received financial support from individuals connected to the Saudi Government. FBI sources believed that at least two of those individuals were officers in the General Intelligence Presidency, the primary intelligence agency of Saudi Arabia. The U.S. Intelligence Community believed that individuals associated with the Saudi Government had ties to al-Qaeda.
Although 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens, the Saudi government had long had broad immunity from September 11 tragedy lawsuits in the United States, before a U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York judge allowed a suit against the government in March 2018.
Evidence submitted in a lawsuit against the Saudi Arabian government revealed that it had funded flights to research security weaknesses. Specifically, the suit alleges the Saudi Arabian government funded two individuals who asked flight attendants technical questions and tried to enter the cockpit of a domestic flight in the US, which caused the flight to make an emergency landing and the individuals to be interrogated by the FBI. They were later released.
In July 2016, the U.S. government released a document, compiled by Dana Lesemann and Michael Jacobson, known as “File 17”, which contains a list naming three dozen people, including Fahad al-Thumairy, Omar al-Bayoumi, Osama Bassnan, and Mohdhar Abdullah, which connects Saudi Arabia to the hijackers. According to the former Democratic US Senator Bob Graham, “Much of the information upon which File 17 was written was based on what’s in the 28 pages.”
The Saudi government has long denied any connection. Relatives of victims have tried to use the courts to hold Saudi royals, banks, or charities responsible, but these efforts have been thwarted partly by a 1976 law giving foreign governments immunity. According to Gawdat Bahgat, a professor of political science, following the 11 September attacks the so-called “Saudi policy of promoting terrorism and funding hatred” faced strong criticism by several “influential policy-makers and think-tanks in Washington“.
The US government has actively collaborated with the Saudis in suppressing the revelation of evidence of the Saudi government’s responsibility for the attacks, denying FOIA requests and supplying inside information to the lawyers representing the Saudis involved. Graham characterises the strategy as not a ‘cover up’ but “aggressive deception”.
According to the New York Post in 2017, the Saudi government was accused of performing a “dry run” by paying two Saudi nationals, al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi, “living undercover in the US as students, to fly from Phoenix to Washington,” two years before the attacks. Based on the FBI documents, Qudhaeein and Shalawi were in fact members of “the Kingdom’s network of agents” in the United States. The documents also claimed that they were “trained in Afghanistan with a number of other al-Qaeda operatives that participated in the attacks.” In November 1999, they boarded an America West flight to Washington, reportedly paid for by the Saudi Embassy. During the flights they tried to access the cockpit several times, in order to “test out flight deck security before 9/11.” The pilots made an emergency landing in Ohio since they were “so spooked by the Saudi passengers and their aggressive behavior.”
- Hijackers in the September 11 attacksWikimedia list article
- Omar al-Bayoumi
- The 28 pagesPortion of US Congressional report on 9/11 attacks
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“……0ur intelligence knew that Saddam did not have the capability to pull something like this off…. not without a whole lot of inside help “