The final 28 pages of the official US intelligence Joint Inquiry into the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were released on Friday.
The pages, which describe what the US intelligence services knew about Saudi government links to the 9/11 attacks, got fewer news headlines than expected because the world was transfixed that night by the attempted coup in Turkey.
What headlines the newly unredacted pages did get were surprising: While the pages allege numerous financial and political links between the Saudi government and the 9/11 terrorists, the headlines from Friday say the opposite: “New 9/11 Document Reveals No Smoking Gun of Saudi Complicity,” The New York Times said. The Washington Post went wth, “White House says 28 pages of 9/11 report show no evidence of Saudi role.” And the BBC said, “9/11 attacks: Newly released pages ‘show no top Saudi link.'”
However, as New York Sen. Charles Schumer said Friday, “Preliminary readings show that there may well have been Saudi involvement in the terror of 9/11 both in the Saudi government and within the Saudi country, within Saudi Arabia … if the Saudi government was complicit in 9/11 they should pay the price to the families who deserve justice,”
This is the first line of the report:
The report later goes on to qualify, “neither CIA nor FBI witnesses were able to identify the extent of Saudi support for terrorist activity globally or within the United States and to the extent to which such support, if it exists, is knowing or inadvertent in nature.”
The links were later debunked by further investigation, according to Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, and vice chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. In 2014, the commission’s director, Philip Zelikow, told Lawrence Wright of the New Yorker that the pages were “an agglomeration of preliminary, unvetted reports … They were wild accusations that needed to be checked out,” and ultimately the FBI did not find evidence that money from the Saudi government went to the hijackers.
Nonetheless, they make spectacular allegations regarding the Saudi suspects and their financial links to the Kingdom.
Here is a summary of the most serious allegations:
Omar al-Bayoumi was allegedly a Saudi spy who met two of the hijackers and supported them in the runup to September 11, the report claims.
Osama Bassnan lived across the street from the hijackers and allegedly received a fake passport and money from Saudi government officials.
An imam at a mosque that was known for its anti-Western views was an accredited Saudi diplomat, the report alleges.
A Saudi interior ministry official stayed at the same hotel, in September 2001, as one hijacker but claimed not to know him.
When the FBI interview him, '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,' the report says.
Two Saudis involved in an alleged 'dry run' before the 9/11 attack claimed they were on an expenses-paid trip to the Saudi Embassy in DC.
CIA and FBI suspicions were not passed on inside the FBI, and the FBI's national office thus remained unaware of the information its regional offices were developing on the Saudis.
The Joint Inquiry admits its information was unconfirmed, that the people named within it may have innocent explanations, and that further investigation was needed.
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