The Two Individuals Connected to the Saudi Government

While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi Government. There is information, primarily from FBI sources, that at least two of those individuals were alleged by some to be Saudi intelligence officers.

Financing from the Saudi Royal Family and the Involvement of the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S.

Reports prior to the 28-page release have suggested suspicion that the Saudi royal family played a role in financing the hijackers. Now, the release mounts evidence to the claim:

The [REDACTED] memorandum dated July 2, 2002, incorrectly noted that al-Bayoumi’s wife, while living in San Diego, was receiving $1200 a month from Princess Haifa Bint Sultan, the wife of Prince Bandar, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States. The FBI has now confirmed that only Osama Bassnan’s wife received money directly from Prince Bandar’s wife, but that al-Bayoumi’s wife attemped to deposit three of the checks from Prince Bandar’s wife, which were payable to Bassnan’s wife, into her accounts.

The “Dry Run” in Phoenix

According to an FBI agent in Phoenix, the FBI suspects Mohammed al-Qudhaeein of being [REDACTED]. Al Qudhaeein was involved in a 1999 incident aboard an America West flight, which the FBI’s Phoenix office now suspects may have been a “dry run” to test airline security.

During the flight, al-Qudhaeein and his associate asked the flight attendants a variety of suspicious questions. Al-Qudhaeein then attempted to enter the cockpit on two occasions. Al-Qudhaeein and his associate were flying to Washington, D.C. to attend a party at the Saudi Embassy, and both claimed their tickets were paid for by the Saudi Embassy.

During the course of the investigations, the FBI has discovered that both al-Qudhaeein and the other individuals involved in this incident had connections to terrorism.

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At Least One Individual Who Was Questioned Fled the Country

Several individuals on the East Coast whom the hijackers may have met may also had connections to the Saudi Government. After the terrorist attacks, the FBI discovered that, during September 2001, an individual named Saleh al-Hussayen stayed at the same hotel in Herndon, Virginia where al-Hazmi was staying at the time. According to FBI documents al-Hussayen is apparently a ‘Saudi Interior Ministry employee/official.’

He claimed not to know the hijackers but agents in the FBI’s Washington Field Office believed he was being deceptive. The interview was terminated when al-Hussayen either passed out or feigned a seizure requiring medical treatment. He was released from the hospital several days later and managed to depart the United States despite law enforcement efforts to locate and re-interview him.

One Suspect’s Admiration of UBL

Osama Bassnan had been named earlier in reports regarding his involvement with the 9/11 attacks. According to the report, the United States had developed intelligence on Bassnan indicating he was an al-Qaeda supporter. The report adds:

According to an FBI asset, Bassnan spoke of Bin Ladin “as if he were a god.”

The US Allowed Watchlist Travel, with Saudi Arabian Royalty

Although his name was on the State Departments’ watchlist, [REDACTED] was apparently able to circumvent the Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service because he was traveling with the Saudi prince. The FBI only learned of the trip after the fact. Agents in the FBI’s Portland Field Office expressed their concern that [REDACTED] and others were using their status as Saudi Arabian Airlines employees as a cover to enable them to transport weapons in and out of the United States.

Bin Laden’s Money Laundering in the US

In approximately 1998, the FBI became aware of millions of dollars in wire transfers from the Somali community in San Diego to Al Barakaar Trading Company and other businesses affiliated with Usama Bin Laden. At the time, the funding appeared to be originating from the local Somali community in the form of donations to various Somali non-profits. However, the FBI now believes that the some of the funding actually originated from Saudi Arabia and that both the Ibn Tamiyah Mosque in Los Angeles and the Islamic Center of San Diego were involved in laundering the money.

The Strict Recommendations that Followed the Report

While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi Government. There is information, primarily from FBI sources, that at least two of those individuals were alleged by some to be Saudi intelligence officers.

The Joint Inquiry’s review confirmed that the Intelligence Community also has information, much of which has yet to be independently verified, indicating that individuals associated with the Saudi Government in the United States may have other ties to al-Qa’ida and other terrorist groups. The FBI and CIA have informed the joint inquiry that, since the September 11 attacks, they are treating the Saudi issue seriously, but both still have only a limited understanding of the Saudi Government’s ties to terrorist elements.

In their testimony, neither CIA nor FBI witnesses were able to identify definitively the extent of Saudi support for terrorist activity globally or within the United States and the extend to which such support, if it exists, is knowing or inadvertent in nature. The FBI’s Washington Field Office created a squad devoted to [REDACTED].

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Only recently, and at least in part due to the Joint Inquiry’s focus on this issue, did the FBI and CIA establish a working group to address the Saudi issue. In the view of the Joint Inquiry, this gap in U.S. intelligence coverage is unacceptable, given the magnitude and immediacy of the potential risk to the U.S. national security. The Intelligence Community needs to address this area of concern as aggressively and as quickly as possible.

Read More: IJR

Featured Image – 9-11 Statue of Liberty and WTC fire – National Park Service