What the families of those killed on September 11, 2001, after the al-Qaeda attack on America have been demanding for years, US authorities have finally released the first of several confidential documents about the attack.
The 16-page FBI report, released a day after the 20th anniversary of the attack, reveals hitherto unknown links between al-Qaeda terrorists and Saudi Arabia.
The report, which is the result of an FBI investigation called “Operation ENCOR”, was written in 2016, but has not been made available to the public. The investigation deals with the logistical and financial support provided by a Saudi consular officer and a likely Saudi intelligence officer in Los Angeles to at least two of the 19 terrorists who hijacked four US commercial planes on September 11, 2001 and headed them to the World Trade Center and the P .
A fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania after brave passengers attacked the hijackers and tried to take control of the hijacked plane, which is believed to have targeted either the Capitol or the White House. The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people.
As a reminder, as many as 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks were citizens of Saudi Arabia.
The two suspected accomplices of the terrorists are Fahad al-Tumairi, a former official at the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, and Omar al-Bayumi, then a student at the University of Los Angeles, whom the FBI suspects of being a spy. The FBI is investigating their alleged links to two kidnappers from the 9/11 attacks, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midar.
Bayumi told U.S. investigators after the attack that he had accidentally met the two compatriots, later assailants, at a restaurant in early 2000 and befriended them. He claimed to have helped them make ends meet in the United States, where they recently immigrated, but that he knew nothing about their al-Qaeda affiliation and terrorist plans.
However, some of the statements made at his 2003 interrogation “are in stark contrast to eyewitness accounts” which testified that Bayumi was waiting for terrorists at the restaurant, according to an FBI report which clearly showed investigators did not believe him.
The report also said that a witness told investigators that Bayumi had repeatedly said that the Islamic community “must take action” and that it was “in jihad”.
Another Saudi national suspect said he “accidentally met” the same two future assailants at a store in Virginia.
The U.S. government commission on September 11 concluded in a 2004 report that Saudi Arabia had long been considered a “primary source of funding for al-Qaeda,” but that independent research had found no evidence that the Saudi government, as an individual or senior Saudi, “funded this terrorist organization.
“This conclusion,” he added, “does not rule out the possibility of charities with significant sponsorship from the Saudi government diverting their funds to al-Qaeda.”
But the FBI report paints a drastically different picture. Not only did they record numerous contacts between suspected Saudi officials and terrorists, including physical meetings and telephone conversations, but “Hazmi and Midar’s logistical support included translation, travel assistance, accommodation and financing,” the report added.
In addition, Bayumi was in “almost daily contact” with a man linked to the organizer of the first attack on the WTC in 1993, when a truck loaded with explosives was placed in the underground garage below. Bayumi later spent the night in a hotel with another man linked to one of Osama bin Laden’s senior aides.
Diplomat Tumairi, on the other hand, was found to have a “task” of an accomplice to help future kidnappers when they arrived in Los Angeles and let them know that they were “two very important people” – more than a year before the attack.
Tumairi, meanwhile, has been linked to people who have themselves been linked to Ahmed Resam, a “millennium bomber” convicted of plotting to bomb Los Angeles airport on New Year’s Eve 2000.
And with so many allegedly security-sensitive parts of the report still covered in black, ties with Saudi officials could have been even deeper.
The report comes after President Joe Biden signed an executive order earlier this month ordering relevant government agencies to review, declassify and release any information about the investigation that may be publicly available.
This was asked of him by a number of family members of those killed, as well as some members of the emergency services who helped after the attack, to finally find out whether Saudi Arabia helped financially or otherwise the terrorists who committed or carried out the attack. organized the attack. The families also told Biden that he would not attend the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the attack if he did not intend to do so.
The families have also asked the administration of former President Donald Trump, which in 2019 promised to release some relevant information about them, but not all, citing the rarely used privilege of state secrets and claiming that some of these details would jeopardize it. national security, writes the Washington Post.
“Twenty years later, there is simply no reason, such as baseless allegations of national security, etc., to keep this information secret. But if President Biden refuses to take a stand against the Saudi government, we will have to publicly oppose any “Participation by members of his administration in every 9/11 memorial service,” reads the letter, signed by some 1,700 people directly affected by the attacks.
Some have already sued the Saudi government for aiding terrorists, which Riyadh has denied for 20 years. Family lawyers have been fighting in court for years for the FBI to publish its findings on these links.
Although the FBI report does not establish a direct link between al-Qaeda terrorists and the Saudi regime as a whole, Jim Kreindler, a lawyer for many families who have sued Saudi Arabia, told NPR that he confirms the arguments they made in the lawsuit.
“This document, together with the public evidence gathered so far, gives us an idea of how al-Qaeda operates in the United States with the active, conscious support of the Saudi government,” Kreindler said.
“Today marks a time when the Saudis can not rely on the US government to conceal the truth about 9/11,” said Brett Eagleson, whose father was killed in the attack, in a written statement following the release of the document. be fully responsible for the great pain and loss we have suffered. “
“Now the secrets of the Saudis have been revealed and it is high time the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) acknowledged the role of its officials in killing thousands of people on American soil,” said Terry Strada of the United Nations on 9/11.
The Saudi embassy in Washington last week said it “welcomes the release” of the FBI document and that “any allegation that Saudi Arabia was involved in the 9/11 attacks is false.”