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Cover-up,lies
Incompetence
Advance info;kind
Advance info;time
Anthrax attacks
civil liberties
Pakistan,ISI,drugs
none
Israeli spies
Afghan war prep
Saudis, Bush
Oil,Enron,pipeline

Day of 911

Flight AA 77
Bush on 9/11
Flight AA 11
Flight UA 93
Flight UA 175
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Complete 911 Timeline: Bin Laden family, Saudi Arabia, Bush

 
  

Project: Complete 911 Timeline

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August 31, 2001

      
Prince Turki al-Faisal.
Turki al-Faisal, head of Saudi Arabia's intelligence service for 24 years, is replaced. No explanation is given. He is replaced by Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz, his nephew and the king's brother, who has “no background in intelligence whatsoever.” [AFP, 8/31/01, Seattle Times, 10/29/01, Wall Street Journal, 10/22/01] FTW The Wall Street Journal later reports, “The timing of Turki's removal—August 31—and his Taliban connection raise the question: Did the Saudi regime know that bin Laden was planning his attack against the US? The current view among Saudi-watchers is probably not, but that the House of Saud might have heard rumors that something was planned, although they did not know what or when. (An interesting and possibly significant detail: Prince Sultan, the defense minister, had been due to visit Japan in early September, but canceled his trip for no apparent reason less than two days before his planned departure.)”[Wall Street Journal, 10/22/01] Turki is later sued for his role in 9/11 (see August 15, 2002) and appointed ambassador to Britain (see October 18, 2002).
          

September 8-11, 2001

       In the days before the attacks, some of the hijackers (including Waleed Alshehri and/or Wail Alshehri) apparently sleep with prostitutes in Boston hotel rooms, or try to. A driver working at an “escort service”used by the hijackers claims he regularly drove prostitutes to a relative of bin Laden about once a week until 9/11, when the relative disappeared. Bin Laden has several relatives in the Boston area, most or all of whom returned to Saudi Arabia right after 9/11. [Boston Herald, 10/10/01] Did the bin Laden relative recommended the service to the hijackers? On September 10, four other hijackers in Boston (Marwan Alshehhi, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, Mohand Alshehri, and Satam Al Suqami) call around to find prostitutes to sleep with on their last night alive, but in the end decline. Says one official, “It was going to be really expensive and they couldn't come to a consensus on price, so that was the end of it… Either they thought it was too extravagant [over $400] or they didn't have enough money left.” [Boston Globe, 10/10/01] Does this behavior make any sense if they thought they would die the next day?
          

September 9, 2001 (C)

       It is later reported that on this day, bin Laden calls his stepmother and says, “In two days, you're going to hear big news and you're not going to hear from me for a while.” US officials later tell CNN that “in recent years they've been able to monitor some of bin Laden's telephone communications with his [step]mother. Bin Laden at the time was using a satellite telephone, and the signals were intercepted and sometimes recorded.” [New York Times 10/2/01] Stepmother Al-Khalifa bin Laden, who raised Osama bin Laden after his natural mother died, was apparently waiting in Damascus, Syria, to meet Osama there, so he called to cancel the meeting. [Sunday Herald, 10/7/01] They had met periodically in recent years (see Spring 1998, Spring 2000 (C) and February 26, 2001). Before 9/11, to impress important visitors, NSA analysts would occasionally play audio tapes of bin Laden talking to his stepmother. The next day government officials say about the call, “I would view those reports with skepticism.” [CNN 10/2/01]
          

September 10, 2001 (U)

      
Sami Omar Hussayen, nephew of Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen
Three hijackers, Hani Hanjour, Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawaf Alhazmi, check into the same hotel as a prominent Saudi government official. [Washington Post 10/2/03] Investigators have not found any evidence that the hijackers met with the official, and stress it could be a coincidence. [Telegraph, 3/10/03] But one prosecutor working on a related case asserts, “I continue to believe it can't be a coincidence.” [Wall Street Journal, 10/2/03] The official, Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, is interviewed by the FBI shortly after 9/11, but according to testimony from an FBI agent, the interview is cut short when Hussayen “feign[s] a seizure, prompting the agents to take him to a hospital, where the attending physicians [find] nothing wrong with him.” The agent recommends that Hussayen “should not be allowed to leave until a follow-up interview could occur.” But that “recommendation, for whatever reason, [is] not complied with.” Hussayen returns to Saudi Arabia a few days later, as soon as the US ban on international flights has ended (see September 14-19, 2001). [Washington Post 10/2/03] For most of the 1990s, Hussayen is director of the SAAR Foundation, a Saudi charity that is being investigated for terrorism ties. A few months after 9/11 he is named a minister of the Saudi government and put in charge of its two holy mosques. Hussayen had arrived in the US in late August 2001 planning to visit some Saudi-sponsored charities. Many of the charities on his itinerary, including the Global Relief Foundation, World Muslim League, IIRO, IANA, WAMY (see September 11, 1996), have since been shut down or investigated for alleged ties to terrorism. [Washington Post, 10/2/03] His nephew, Sami Omar Hussayen, is indicted in early 2004 for using his computer expertise to assist terrorist groups. He is charged with administering a website associated with IANA (the Islamic Assembly of North America) that expressly advocated suicide attacks and using airliners as weapons in the months before 9/11. Investigators also claim the nephew was in contact with important al-Qaeda figures. [Washington Post, 10/2/03, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/10/04] IANA is being investigated, including the flow of money from the uncle to nephew. [Telegraph 3/10/03] The uncle has not been charged with any crime. [Wall Street Journal 10/2/03]
          

September 11, 2001 (Z)

       The Carlyle Group is a company closely associated with officials of the Bush and Reagan administrations, and has considerable ties to Saudi oil money, including ties to the bin Laden family (see September 27, 2001). Those ties are well illustrated by the fact that on this day the Carlyle Group is hosting a conference at a Washington hotel. Among the guests of honor is investor Shafig bin Laden, brother to Osama. [Observer 6/16/02]
          

September 13, 2001 (F)

       After a complete airflight ban in the US begun during the 9/11 attacks, some commercial flights begin resuming this day. However, all private flights are still banned from flying. Nonetheless, some private flights do take place, carrying Saudi royalty and members of the bin Laden family to transit points so they can leave the country. These flights take place even as fighters escort down three other private planes attempting to fly. Most of the Saudi royals and bin Ladens in the US at the time are high school or college students and young professionals. New York Times, 9/30/01, Vanity Fair, 10/03] One of the flights is a Lear Jet that leaves from a private Raytheon hangar in Tampa, Florida (see also September 25, 2001) and takes three Saudis to Lexington, Kentucky. [Tampa Tribune, 10/5/01] Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the US who is so close to the Bush family that he is nicknamed “Bandar Bush,” pushes for and helps arrange the flights at the request of frightened Saudis. Vanity Fair, 10/03, CBC, 10/29/03 (D)] For two years, a violation of the air ban is denied by the FAA, FBI, and White House, and decried as an urban legend except for one article detailing them in a Tampa newspaper (Tampa Tribune, 10/5/01). Finally in 2003, Richard Clarke, National Security Council Chief of Counterterrorism confirms the existence of these flights, and Secretary of State Powell confirms them as well. [Vanity Fair, 10/03, ] But the White House is still silent on the matter. [New York Times 9/4/03] The Saudis are evacuated to Saudi Arabia over the next several days (see September 14-19, 2001).
          

September 14, 2001 (H)

       Mayo Shattuck III resigns, effective immediately, as head of the Alex Brown unit of Deutschebank. No reason is given. Some speculate later this could have to do with the role of Deutschebank in the pre-9/11 purchase of put options (see September 6-10, 2001). Deutschebank is also one of the four banks most used by the bin Laden family. [New York Times, 9/15/01, Wall Street Journal, 9/27/01] [FTW]
          

September 14-19, 2001

      
Yeslam bin Laden, Osama's half brother, and a Westernized leader of the Binladin Group.
Following secret flights inside the US that are in violation of a national private airplane flight ban (see September 13, 2001 (F)), members of the bin Laden family and Saudi royalty quietly depart the US. The flights are only publicly acknowledged after all the Saudis have left. [Boston Globe, 9/21/01, New York Times, 9/30/01] About 140 Saudis, including around 24 members of the bin Laden family, are passengers in these flights. Most of their identities aren't known. However, some of the passengers include:
  1. The son of the Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan. Sultan is being sued for alleged complicity in the 9/11 plot (see August 15, 2002). [Tampa Tribune, 10/5/01] He is alleged to have contributed at least $6 million since 1994 to four charities that finance al-Qaeda. [Vanity Fair, 10/03]
  2. Khalil bin Laden. He has been investigated by the Brazilian government for possible terrorist connections. [Vanity Fair, 10/03]
  3. Abdullah
    Abdullah bin Laden
    and
  4. Omar bin Laden, cousins of bin Laden. Abdullah was the US director of the Muslim charity World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). The governments of India, Pakistan, Philippines, and Bosnia have all accused WAMY of funding terrorism. These two relatives were investigated by the FBI in 1996 in a case involving espionage, murder, and national security (September 11, 1996). Their case is reopened on September 19 right after 9/11 they leave the country. [Vanity Fair, 10/03] Remarkably, four of the 9/11 hijackers briefly live in the town of Falls Church, Virginia, three blocks from the WAMY office headed by Abdullah bin Laden. [BBC Newsnight, 11/6/01]
  5. Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen. He is a prominent Saudi official who is in the same hotel as three of the hijackers the night before 9/11. He leaves on one of the first flights to Saudi Arabia before the FBI can properly interview him about this (see September 10, 2001 (U)).
There is a later dispute regarding how thoroughly the Saudis are interviewed before they leave and who approves the flights. Richard Clarke, National Security Council Chief of Counterterrorism, says he agrees to the flights after the FBI assures him none of those on board have connections to terrorism and that it is “a conscious decision with complete review at the highest levels of the State Department and the FBI and the White House.” [Congressional Testimony, 9/3/03] According to Vanity Fair, both the FBI and the State Department “deny playing any role whatsoever in the episode.” However, Dale Watson, the FBI's former head of counterterrorism, says the Saudis on the planes “[are] identified, but they [are] not subject to serious interviews or interrogations” before they leave. [Vanity Fair, 10/03] An FBI spokesman says the bin Laden relatives are only interviewed by the FBI “at the airport, as they [are] about to leave.” [National Review, 9/11/02] There are claims that some passengers aren't interviewed by the FBI at all. [Vanity Fair, 10/03] One bin Laden relative who stays in the US says that even a month after 9/11 his only contact with the FBI is a brief phone call. [Boston Globe, 9/21/01, New Yorker, 11/5/01] Numerous experts are surprised that the bin Ladens are not interviewed more extensively before leaving, pointing out that interviewing the relatives of suspects is standard investigative procedure. [National Review, 9/11/02, Vanity Fair, 10/03] MSNBC claims that “members of the Saudi royal family met frequently with bin Laden—both before and after 9/11” [MSNBC, 9/5/03], and many royals and bin Laden relatives are being sued for having a role in 9/11 (see August 15, 2002). The Boston Globe opines that the flights occur “too soon after 9/11 for the FBI even to know what questions to ask, much less to decide conclusively that each Saudi [royal] and bin Laden relative [deserve] an ‘all clear,’ never to be available for questions again.” [Boston Globe, 9/30/03] Senator Charles Schumer (D) says of the secret flights, “This is just another example of our country coddling the Saudis and giving them special privileges that others would never get. It's almost as if we didn't want to find out what links existed.” [New York Times 9/4/03]
          

September 14, 2001 (L)

       In interviews with the Boston Globe, flight instructors in Florida say that it was common for students with Saudi affiliations to enter the US with only cursory background checks and sometimes none. Some flight schools, including some of those attended by the hijackers, have exemptions that allow the schools to unilaterally issue paperwork that students can present at US embassies and consulates so they can obtain visas. Saudi Arabia is possibly the only Arab country with such an exemption. [Boston Globe 9/14/01]
          

September 19, 2001 (B)

       According to the private intelligence service Intelligence Online, a secret meeting between fundamentalist supporters in Saudi Arabia and the ISI takes place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on this day. Crown Prince Abdullah, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia (see Late 1995), and Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz, the new head of Saudi intelligence (see August 31, 2001), meet with Gen. Mohamed Youssef, head of the ISI's Afghanistan Section, and ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed (just returning from discussions in Afghanistan (see September 17-18 and 28, 2001)). They agree “to the principle of trying to neutralize Osama Bin Laden in order to spare the Taliban regime and allow it to keep its hold on Afghanistan.” There has been no confirmation that this meeting in fact took place, but if it did, its goals were unsuccessful. [Intelligence Online, 10/4/01] There may have been a similar meeting before 9/11 (see Summer 2001 (F)).
          

September 20, 2001 (B)

       President Bush states: “Either you are with us, or you are against us. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” [White House, 9/20/01] Shortly thereafter, Bush says: “As far as the Saudi Arabians go, they've been nothing but cooperative,” and “[Am] I pleased with the actions of Saudi Arabia? I am.” However, several experts continue to claim Saudi Arabia is being “completely unsupportive” and is giving “zero cooperation” to the 9/11 investigation. Saudi Arabia refuses to help the US trace the names and other background information on the 15 Saudi hijackers. One former US official says, “They knew that once we started asking for a few traces the list would grow…. It's better to shut it down right away.” [Los Angeles Times 10/13/01; New Yorker 10/16/01] The Saudi government continues to be uncooperative, and the US government continues to downplay this (see Early December 2001 (B), November 2002 and ).
          

September 21-28, 2001

       Omar al-Bayoumi, suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent (see August 1994 and Early February 2000), is arrested and held for one week in Britain. He moved from San Diego to Britain in July 2001 and is a studying at Aston University Business School in Birmingham when he is taken into custody by British authorities working with the FBI. [San Diego Union-Tribune 10/27/01; Washington Post 12/29/01; MSNBC 11/27/02] During a search of al-Bayoumi's Birmingham apartment (which includes ripping up the floorboards), the FBI finds the names and phone numbers of two employees of the Saudi embassy's Islamic Affairs Department. [Newsweek, 11/24/02] “There was a link there,” a Justice Department official says, adding that the FBI interviewed the employees and “that was the end of that, in October or November of 2001.” The official adds: “I don't know why he had those names.” Nail al-Jubeir, chief spokesman for the Saudi embassy in Washington, says al-Bayoumi “called [the numbers] constantly.” [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] They also discover jihadist literature, and conclude he “has connections to terrorist elements” including al-Qaeda. [Washington Post 7/25/03] However, he is released after a week. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02, Newsweek, 11/24/02] British intelligence officials are frustrated that the FBI failed to give them information that would have enabled them to keep al-Bayoumi in custody longer then the seven days allowed under British anti-terrorism laws. [London Times, 10/19/01, San Diego Channel 10, 10/25/01] Even FBI officials in San Diego appear to have not been told of al-Bayoumi's arrest by FBI officials in Britain until after he is released. [Sunday Mercury 10/21/01] Newsweek claims that still classified sections of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry (see July 24, 2003) indicate the Saudi Embassy pushed for al-Bayoumi's release— “another possible indicator of his high-level [Saudi] connections.” [Newsweek 7/28/03] A San Diego FBI agent later secretly testifies that supervisors fail to act on evidence connecting to a Saudi money trail (see October 9, 2002). The FBI is said to conduct a massive investigation of al-Bayoumi within days of 9/11 that shows he has connections to foreign terrorists [Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03, Sunday Mercury, 10/21/01, Newsweek, 7/28/03], but even two years later witnesses connecting him to Saudi money appear to be uninterviewed by the FBI (see August 2003). Al-Bayoumi continues with his studies in Britain and is still there into 2002, and yet is still not rearrested. [Washington Post, 12/29/01, Newsweek, 10/29/02] He disappears into Saudi Arabia by the time he reenters the news in late 2002 (see November 22, 2002). [San Diego Magazine 9/03]
          

September 27, 2001

       The Wall Street Journal notes that the bin Laden family could profit from the 9/11 attacks. They had invested in the Carlyle Group, a well-connected Washington merchant bank specializing in buyouts of defense and aerospace companies that had done very well since 9/11. The Carlyle Group is noted for its connections with George Bush Sr. and other members of his administration. The bin Ladens invested $2 million in Carlyle back in 1995, but the Wall Street Journal speculates that they have invested much more. [Wall Street Journal, 9/27/01] On October 27, 2001, the bin Laden family divests their known $2 million investment in light of bad publicity. However it isn't known what became of any additional investments they may have had in Carlyle. [Washington Post 10/27/01]
          

October 2001

       A 70-page French intelligence report claims: “The financial network of bin Laden, as well as his network of investments, is similar to the network put in place in the 1980s by BCCI for its fraudulent operations, often with the same people (former directors and cadres of the bank and its affiliates, arms merchants, oil merchants, Saudi investors). The dominant trait of bin Laden's operations is that of a terrorist network backed up by a vast financial structure”(see Mid-1996-October 2001). The BCCI was the largest Muslim bank in the world before it collapsed in 1991 (see July 5, 1991). A senior US investigator later says US agencies are looking into the ties outlined by the French because “they just make so much sense, and so few people from BCCI ever went to jail. BCCI was the mother and father of terrorist financing operations.” The report identifies dozens of companies and individuals who were involved with BCCI and were found to be dealing with bin Laden after the bank collapsed. Many went on to work in banks and charities identified by the US and others as supporting al-Qaeda. The role of Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz in supporting bin Laden is emphasized in the report. In 1995 bin Mahfouz paid a $225 million fine in a settlement with US prosecutors for his role in the BCCI scandal. [Washington Post, 2/17/02] (Representatives of Mahfouz later argue that this report was in fact prepared by Jean-Charles Brisard and not the French intelligence service. Mahfouz has begun libel proceedings against Mr. Brisard, claiming that he has made unfounded and defamatory allegations.[Kendall Freeman, 5/13/2004])
          

October 7, 2001 (D)

       It is reported that Mahrous bin Laden, brother to Osama, is currently manager of the Medina, Saudi Arabia branch of the bin Laden family company, the Binladin Group. In 1979, Binladin company trucks were used by 500 dissidents who seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest city. All the men who took part were later beheaded except Mahrous, who is eventually released from prison apparently because of the close ties between the bin Ladens and the Saudi royal family. The bin Laden family claims that no family members have any ties to terrorism except Osama. [Sunday Herald 10/7/01]
          

October 12, 2001

      
Yassin al-Qadi.
The US freezes the assets of 39 additional individuals and organizations connected to terrorism (see also September 24, 2001). Five of the names are al-Qaeda leaders on a list the United Nations published in March 8, 2001, with a recommendation that all nations freeze their assets (see March 8, 2001). Other countries froze assets of those on that list, but the US did not. “Members of Congress want to know why treasury officials charged with disrupting the finances of terrorists did not follow their lead.” [AP 10/12/01; Guardian 10/13/01 (B)] The most detailed case is laid out against Saudi multimillionaire businessman Yassin al-Qadi (see December 5, 2002 and ). [Chicago Tribune, 10/14/01, Chicago Tribune, 10/29/01] Al-Qadi is “horrified and shocked” and offers to open his financial books to US investigators. [Chicago Tribune, 10/16/01] There have been several accusations that al-Qadi laundered money to fund Hamas [Chicago Tribune, 10/16/01, Chicago Tribune, 10/29/01], and an investigation into his al-Qaeda connections was canceled by higher-ups in the FBI in 1998 (see October 1998). Saudi Arabia also later freezes al-Qadi's accounts, an action the Saudis have taken against only three people, but he has yet to be charged or arrested by the Saudis or the US. [Newsweek 12/6/02]
          

October 14, 2001

       The Boston Herald reports: “Three banks allegedly used by Osama bin Laden to distribute money to his global terrorism network have well-established ties to a prince in Saudi Arabia's royal family, several billionaire Saudi bankers, and the governments of Kuwait and Dubai. One of the banks, Al-Shamal Islamic Bank in the Sudan, was controlled directly by Osama bin Laden, according to a 1996 US State Department report.” A regional expert states, “I think we underestimate bin Laden. He comes from the highest levels of Saudi society and he has supporters at all levels of Saudi Arabia.” [Boston Herald 10/14/01]
          

November 5, 2001

       The New Yorker points to evidence that the bin Laden family has generally not ostracized itself from bin Laden as is popularly believed (for instance, see [Newsweek, 10/15/01]), but retains close ties in some cases. The large bin Laden family owns and runs a $5 billion a year global corporation that includes the largest construction firm in the Islamic world. One counter-terrorism expert says, “There's obviously a lot of spin by the Saudi Binladin Group [the family corporation] to distinguish itself from Osama. I've been following the bin Ladens for years, and it's easy to say, ‘We disown him.’ Many in the family have. But blood is usually thicker than water.” The article notes that neither the bin Laden family nor the Saudi royal family have publicly denounced bin Laden since 9/11. [New Yorker 11/5/01]
          

November 11, 2001

       Saeed Sheikh is connected to Saudi charities that investigators believe secretly funnel millions of dollars to bin Laden's operatives. At this time, he is only known as Mustafa Ahmed, and incorrectly thought by some to be a Saudi. His name appeared shortly after 9/11 when Irish police raided the Dublin offices of the Islamic Relief Agency, a Saudi-backed charity previously linked to bin Laden's 1998 bombings of two American embassies in Africa. [Newsweek 11/11/01]
          

November 14-November 25, 2001

      
An airlift of humanitarian supplies in Northern Afghanistan.
At the request of the Pakistani government, the US secretly allows rescue flights into the besieged Taliban stronghold of Kunduz, in Northern Afghanistan, to save Pakistanis fighting for the Taliban and bring them back to Pakistan. Pakistan's President “Musharraf won American support for the airlift by warning that the humiliation of losing hundreds—and perhaps thousands—of Pakistani Army men and intelligence operatives would jeopardize his political survival.” [New Yorker, 1/21/02] Dozens of senior Pakistani military officers, including two generals, are flown out. [Now with Bill Moyers, 2/21/03] In addition, it is reported that the Pakistani government assists 50 trucks of foreign fighters to escape the town. [New York Times 11/24/01] Many news articles at the time suggest an airlift is occurring (for instance, [Independent, 11/16/01, New York Times, 11/24/01, BBC, 11/26/01, Independent, 11/26/01, Guardian, 11/27/01, MSNBC, 11/29/01]), but a media controversy and wide coverage fails to develop. The US and Pakistani governments deny the existence of the airlift. [State Department, 11/16/01, New Yorker, 1/21/02] On December 2, when asked to assure that the US didn't allow such an airlift, Rumsfeld says, “Oh, you can be certain of that. We have not seen a single—to my knowledge, we have not seen a single airplane or helicopter go into Afghanistan in recent days or weeks and extract people and take them out of Afghanistan to any country, let alone Pakistan.” [MSNBC, 12/2/01] Reporter Seymour Hersh believes that Rumsfeld must have given approval for the airlift. [Now with Bill Moyers 2/21/03] But New Yorker magazine reports, “What was supposed to be a limited evacuation apparently slipped out of control and, as an unintended consequence, an unknown number of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters managed to join in the exodus.” A CIA analyst says, “Many of the people they spirited away were in the Taliban leadership” who Pakistan wanted for future political negotiations. US intelligence was “supposed to have access to them, but it didn't happen,” he says. According to Indian intelligence, airlifts grow particularly intense in the last three days before the city falls on November 25. Of the 8,000 remaining al-Qaeda, Pakistani, and Taliban, about 5,000 are airlifted out and 3,000 surrender. [New Yorker 1/21/02] Hersh later claims that “maybe even some of Bin Laden's immediate family were flown out on the those evacuations.” [Now with Bill Moyers 2/21/03] Was the escape of al-Qaeda deliberate so the war against terrorism wouldn't end too soon?
          

November 28, 2001

       The Financial Times estimates that the bin Laden family's business, the Saudi Binladin Group, is worth about $36 billion. Osama bin Laden inherited about $300 million at the age of 10 on the death of his father, but he may be worth much more today. While he spends large amounts each month supporting terror, he gets large amounts from rich Saudis every month to make up for the losses. [Financial Times 11/28/01]
          

Early December 2001 (B)

       Bush officials go to Saudi Arabia in a second attempt to get the Saudi government to cooperate with the 9/11 investigation. They have balked at freezing assets of organizations linked to bin Laden. Shortly thereafter, the Boston Herald runs a series of articles on the Saudis. Says an expert, “If there weren't all these other arrangements—arms deals and oil deals and consultancies—I don't think the US would stand for this lack of cooperation.” Another expert states, “It's good old fashioned ‘I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine.’ You have former US officials, former presidents, aides to the current president, a long line of people who are tight with the Saudis… We are willing to basically ignore inconvenient truths that might otherwise cause our blood to boil.” These deals are worth an incredible amount of money: one Washington Post reporter claims that US companies spent $200 billion on Saudi Arabia's defenses alone, and that was before 1993. [Boston Herald 12/10/01; Boston Herald 12/11/01 (B); Frontline 2/16/93]
          

March 2002 (C)

       Authorities in Bosnia, Sarajevo, raid the offices of the Benevolence International Foundation due to suspected funding of al-Qaeda The raid uncovers a handwritten list of twenty wealthy donors sympathetic to al-Qaeda. The list, referred to as “The Golden Chain,” reveals both the names of the donors, and the names of the recipients. Seven of the payments were made to Osama bin Laden, while at least one donation to him was made by the “bin Laden brothers.” UPI points out that “the discovery of this document in Sarajevo calls into question whether al-Qaeda has received support from one of Osama's scores of wealthy brothers.” Adel Batterjee, a wealth businessman from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, who is also the founder of both the charity BFI and its predecessor Lajnatt Al-Birr Al-Islamiah, appears to be mentioned as a recipient three times. Batterjee has been named as a defendant in a 9/11 lawsuit against wealthy Saudis, but he has been missing in Saudi Arabia for over a year. When the document was written is not mentioned, but it may date from the early 1990s. [UPI 2/11/03]
          

March 29, 2002

       Abdullah bin Laden, spokesman for the bin Laden family and one of Osama's many brothers, speaks directly to the press for the first time since 9/11. He says the family cut all personal and financial ties to Osama in 1993, and that no family member has contact with him or provides any kind of support for him. “We went through a tough time. It was difficult. We felt we are a victim as well.” [ABC News, 3/29/02] This appears to be the same Abdullah bin Laden that the FBI began investigating in 1996 only to have the investigation killed by higher-ups in government (see September 11, 1996).
          

April 23, 2002

      
Mohammed Zouaydi
Spanish authorities arrest Syrian-born Spaniard businessman Mohammed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi and allege he is a key al-Qaeda financier. [Chicago Tribune, 5/6/02] An accountant, he is considered to be the “big financier” behind terrorist a network al-Qaeda in Europe, according to investigator Jean-Charles Brisard. >From 1996 to 2001 he lived in Saudi Arabia, and funneled money into a series of companies he set up that accepted donations; the source of the money is unknown. Around $1 million of money was then forwarded to al-Qaeda agents throughout Europe, especially to Germany. One of Zouaydi's associates had the phone number of Atta's apartment in Hamburg, Germany in the memory of his cell phone (see November 1, 1998-February 2001). [AFP, 9/20/02] Zouaydi also allegedly sent money to Mamoun Darkazanli (see September 24, 2001), a Syrian-born businessman who has admitted knowing Atta and others in the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. [Chicago Tribune, 5/6/02] One of Zouaydi's employees in Spain visited the WTC in 1997 where he extensively videotaped the buildings (see 1998). Perhaps only coincidentally, while in Saudi Arabia, Zouaydi “was an accountant for the al-Faisal branch of the Saudi royal family, including Prince Mohammed al-Faisal al-Saud and Prince Turki al-Faisal”(see August 31, 2001). [AFP 9/20/02]
          

April 25, 2002

       Osama Basnan, an alleged associate of 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi (see April 1998, December 4, 1999, and November 22, 2002), reports his passport stolen to Houston, Texas police. [Newsweek, 11/24/02] This confirms that Basnan is in Houston on the same day that Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, and Saudi US Ambassador Prince Bandar meet with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, and National Security Advisor Rice at Bush's ranch in nearby Crawford, Texas. [US-Saudi Arabian Business Council, 4/25/02] Abdullah's entourage passes through Houston that week en route to Bush's ranch. While in Texas, it is believed that Basnan “met with a high Saudi prince who has responsibilities for intelligence matters and is known to bring suitcases full of cash into the United States.” [Newsweek 11/24/02; Guardian 11/25/02] The still-classified section of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry (see August 1-3, 2003) is said to discuss the possibility of Basnan meeting this figure at this time. [AP 8/2/03]
          

June 13, 2002 (B)

       Sudan arrests an al-Qaeda leader who has confessed to firing a missile at a US plane taking off from Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, in May. Saudi Arabia had failed to arrest him. This is just the latest in a series of events where “some countries long deemed key US allies—such as Saudi Arabia—are considered less than helpful in the war against terror, while other states remaining on the US State Department's blacklist of terrorist sponsors, such as Syria and Sudan, are apparently proving more cooperative than their pariah status would suggest.” The US hasn't been given access to al-Qaeda members arrested by Saudi Arabia, and “concerns over the Saudi authorities' ‘unhelpful’ stance are increasing.” [Jane's Intelligence Review 7/5/02]
          

July 10, 2002

       A briefing given to a top Pentagon advisory group states, “The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader … Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies.” They are called “the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent.”This position still runs counter to official US policy, but the Washington Post says it “represents a point of view that has growing currency within the Bush administration.” The briefing suggests that the Saudis be given an ultimatum to stop backing terrorism or face seizure of its oil fields and its financial assets invested in the United States . The group, the Defense Policy Board, is headed by Richard Perle. [Washington Post, 8/6/02] An international controversy follows the public reports of the briefing in August 2002 (for instance, [Scotsman, 8/12/02]). In an abrupt change, the media starts calling the Saudis enemies, not allies of the US. Slate reports details of the briefing the Post failed to mention. The briefing states, “There is an ‘Arabia,’ but it needs not be ‘Saudi’ ”. The conclusion of the briefing: “Grand strategy for the Middle East: Iraq is the tactical pivot. Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot. Egypt the prize.” [Slate, 8/7/02] Note that a similar meeting of the Defense Policy Board appears to have preceded and affected the US's decision to take a warlike stance against Iraq (see September 17, 2001 (B) and August 6, 2001).
          

August 11, 2002

       A shocking Newsweek article suggests that some of Bush's advisors advocate not only attacking Iraq, but also Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Egypt, and Burma! One senior British official says: “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.” [Newsweek, 8/11/02] Later in the year, Bush's influential advisor Richard Perle states, “No stages. This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq … this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war … our children will sing great songs about us years from now.” [New Statesman, 12/16/02] In February 2003, US Undersecretary of State John Bolton says in meetings with Israeli officials that he has no doubt America will attack Iraq, and that it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea afterward. This is not reported in the US media. [Ha'aretz 2/17/03]
          

August 15, 2002 (E)

      
Saud al-Rashid.
The picture of a young Saudi man named Saud al-Rashid is discovered on a CD-ROM with the pictures of four 9/11 hijackers in an al-Qaeda safe house in Pakistan. A senior US official says investigators “were able to take this piece of information and it showed clear signals or lines that he was connected to 9/11.” [AP, 8/21/02 (B)] Rashid was in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001. [New York Times 7/29/03 (B)] Six days later, the US issues a worldwide dragnet to find him. [AP 8/21/02] But they are unable to catch him because a few days later, he flees from Egypt to Saudi Arabia and turns himself in to the Saudi authorities. The Saudis apparently won't try him for any crime or allow the FBI to interview him. [CNN 8/26/02; CNN 8/31/02] Intriguingly, Al-Rashid's father is Hamid al-Rashid, a Saudi government official who paid a salary to Omar al-Bayoumi, an associate of two hijackers who is later suspected of being a Saudi agent (see August 1994). [New York Times 7/29/03 (B)]
          

August 15, 2002

      
Deena Burnett speaks on behalf of the relatives suing the Saudis.
More than 600 relatives (later rising to over 2,500 out of 10,000 eligible [Newsweek, 9/13/02]) of victims of the September 11 attacks file a 15-count, $1 trillion lawsuit against various parties they accuse of financing al-Qaeda and Afghanistan's former Taliban regime. The defendants include the Binladin Group (the company run by Osama bin Laden's family), seven international banks, eight Islamic foundations and charities, individual terrorist financiers, three Saudi princes, and the government of Sudan. [CNN, 8/15/02, Washington Post, 8/16/02] Individuals named include Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan (see June 1998 (D), August 2001 (G), and August 31, 2001), former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal (see July 1998, August 31, 2001, and October 18, 2002), Yassin al-Qadi (see October 12, 2001), and Khalid bin Mahfouz (see 1988, August 13, 1996, December 4, 2001 (B) and Early December 2001 (B)). [AP, 8/15/02, MSNBC, 8/25/02] “The attorneys and investigators were able to obtain, through French intelligence, the translation of a secretly recorded meeting between representatives of bin Laden and three Saudi princes in which they sought to pay him hush money to keep him from attacking their enterprises in Saudi Arabia.” [CNN 8/15/02] The plaintiffs also accused the US Government of failing to pursue such institutions thoroughly enough because of lucrative oil interests. [BBC 8/15/02] Ron Motley, the lead lawyer in the suit, says the case is being aided by intelligence services from France and four other foreign governments, but no help has come from the Justice Department. [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8/16/02] The plaintiffs acknowledge the chance of ever winning any money is slim, but hope the lawsuit will help bring to light the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks. [BBC, 8/15/02] A number of rich Saudis respond by threatening to withdraw hundreds of billions of dollars in US investments if the lawsuit goes forward. [Telegraph, 8/20/02] Saudi businesses withdraw more than $100 billion from the US in response to the suit (see August 20, 2002), and the US government later threatens to block or limit the suit (see November 1, 2002).
          

August 20, 2002

       The Financial Times reports that “disgruntled Saudis have pulled tens of billions of dollars out of the US, signaling a deep alienation from America.” Estimates range from $100 billion to over $200 billion. Part of the anger is in response to reports that the US might attack Saudi Arabia and freeze Saudi assets unless Saudi Arabia fights terrorism more effectively (see July 10, 2002 and August 11, 2002). It is also in response to a lawsuit against many Saudi Arabians that also may lead to a freeze of Saudi assets (see August 15, 2002). Estimates of total Saudi investments in the US range from $400 billion to $600 billion. [Financial Times 8/20/02]
          

August 22, 2002

       Osama Basnan, an alleged associate of 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi (see April 1998 and December 4, 1999), and his wife are arrested for visa fraud. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02, Newsweek, 11/22/02] One report says he is arrested for allegedly having links to Omar al-Bayoumi (see August 1994 and Early February 2000). [Arab News, 11/26/02] On October 22, Basnan and his wife, Majeda Dweikat, admit they used false immigration documents to stay in the US. [San Diego Channel 10 10/22/02] Possible financial connections between Basnan and al-Bayoumi, Almihdhar and Alhazmi, and the Saudi royal family are known to the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry (as well as the FBI and CIA) at this time (see October 9, 2002), but Basnan is deported to Saudi Arabia on November 17, 2002 anyways. His wife is deported to Jordan the same day. [Washington Post, 11/24/02] Less than a week after the deportations, new media reports make Basnan an internationally-known wanted man (see November 22, 2002). Why was Basnan let go, when authorities knew of these new revelations about him since at least early October (see October 9, 2002)?
          

August 25, 2002

       Former CIA agent Bob Baer says the US collects virtually no intelligence about Saudi Arabia nor are they given any intelligence collected by the Saudis. He says this is because there are implicit orders from the White House, “Do not collect information on Saudi Arabia because we're going to risk annoying the royal family.” In the same show, despite being on a US terrorist list since October 2001 (see October 12, 2001), Saudi millionaire Yassin al-Qadi says, “I'm living my life here in Saudi Arabia without any problem”because he is being protected by the Saudi government. Al-Qadi admits to giving bin Laden money for his “humanitarian” work, but says this is different from bin Laden's terrorist work. Presented with this information, the US Treasury Department only says that the US “is pleased with and appreciates the actions taken by the Saudis” in the war on terror. The Saudi government still has not given US intelligence permission to talk to any family members of the hijackers, even though some US journalists have had limited contact with a few. [MSNBC 8/25/02]
          

August 27, 2002

      
Prince Bandar and President Bush meet at Bush's ranch in August.
Prince Bandar, Saudi ambassador to the US, meets privately for more than an hour with Bush and National Security Advisor Rice in Crawford, Texas (see April 25, 2002). [Telegraph, 8/28/02] Press Secretary Ari Fleischer characterizes it as a warm meeting of old friends. Bandar, his wife (Princess Haifa) and seven of their eight children stay for lunch. [Fox News, 8/27/02] Prince Bandar, a longtime friend of the Bush family, donated $1 million to the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. [Boston Herald, 12/11/01 (B), Bush Library] This relationship later becomes news when it is learned that Princess Haifa gave between $51,000 and $73,000 to two Saudi families in California who may have financed two of the 9/11 hijackers (see December 4, 1999and November 22, 2002). [New York Times 11/23/02; MSNBC 11/25/02]
          

September 17, 2002

       CBS reports that in the days after the arrest of Ramzi bin al-Shibh and four other al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan (see September 11, 2002), “a search of the home of the five al-Qaeda suspects turned up passports belonging to members of the family of Osama bin Laden.” No more details, such as which family members, or why bin al-Shibh's group had these passports, is given. [CBS 9/17/02]
          

September 20, 2002 (C)

       A Bosnian government probe connects the Saudi charity Talibah International Aid Association to terrorist funding and an al-Qaeda front group. Talibah has been under investigation since shortly after 9/11 due to a foiled terror attack in Bosnia that has been connected to Talibah and al-Qaeda. Abdullah bin Laden, a relative of bin Laden (though his exact relationship can't be determined), is a Talibah officer in its Virginia office. An investigation into Abdullah bin Laden was canceled in 1996 (see September 11, 1996). The US has been criticized for failing to list Talibah as a sponsor of terrorism and for not freezing its assets. [Wall Street Journal 9/20/02]
          

October 18, 2002

       Saudi Arabia announces that Turki al-Faisal will be its next ambassador to Britain. Turki is a controversial figure because of his long-standing relationship to bin Laden. He has also been named in a lawsuit by 9/11 victims' relatives against Saudi Arabians for their support of al-Qaeda before 9/11 (see August 15, 2002). It is later noted that his ambassador position could give him diplomatic immunity from the lawsuit. [New York Times 12/30/02] Turki's predecessor as ambassador was recalled after it was revealed he had written poems praising suicide bombers. [Observer, 3/2/03 (C)] Reports on his new posting suggest that Turki last met bin Laden in the early 1990s before he became a wanted terrorist. [London Times 10/18/02; Guardian 10/19/02] However, these reports fail to mention other contacts with bin Laden (for instance, see July 1998), including a possible secret meeting in July 2001 (see July 4-14, 2001).
          

November 2002

       Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef blames Zionists and Jews for the 9/11 attacks. He tells journalists, “Who has benefited from Sept. 11 attacks? I think [the Jews] were the protagonists of such attacks.” Nayef is in charge of the Saudi investigation into the attacks, and some US congresspeople respond to the comments by questioning how strongly Saudi Arabia is investigating the involvement of the 15 Saudi 9/11 hijackers. [AP 12/5/02]
          

November 1, 2002

       Some of the 9/11 victims' relatives hold a rally at the US Capitol to protest what they fear are plans by the Bush administration to delay or block their lawsuit against prominent Saudi individuals for an alleged role in financing al-Qaeda (see August 15, 2002). [Washington Post 11/1/02] US officials say they have not decided whether to submit a motion seeking to block or restrict the lawsuit, but they are concerned about the “diplomatic sensitivities” of the suit. Saudis have withdrawn hundreds of billions of dollars from the US in response to the suit (see August 20, 2002). The Guardian previously reported that “some plaintiffs in the case say the Bush administration is pressuring them to pull out of the lawsuit in order to avoid damaging US-Saudi relations, threatening them with the prospect of being denied any money from the government's own compensation scheme if they continue to pursue it. Bereaved relatives who apply to the federal compensation scheme must, in any case, sign away their rights to sue the government, air carriers in the US, and other domestic bodies—a condition that has prompted some of them to call the government compensation ‘hush money.’ The fund is expected, in the end, to pay out $4 billion. They remain, however, free to sue those they accuse of being directly responsible for the attacks, such as Osama bin Laden, and—so they thought—the alleged financers of terrorism.” [Guardian 9/20/02]
          

November 6 and 22, 2002

       The US tightens immigration restrictions for 18 countries. All males over age 16 coming to the US from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates or Yemen must register with the US government and be photographed and fingerprinted at their local INS office. [Washington Post 11/7/02; AP 11/23/02] Two countries are not included: Pakistan (the home country of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and many other al-Qaeda terrorists) and Saudi Arabia (the home country of bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers). These two countries are added to the list on December 13, 2002, after criticism that they were not included. [New York Times 12/19/02]
          

November 22, 2002

       Newsweek reports that hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi may have received money from Saudi Arabia's royal family through two Saudis, Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan (see August 1994, April 1998, and December 4, 1999), based on information leaked from the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry the month before (see October 9, 2002). [Newsweek, 11/22/02, Newsweek, 11/22/02, Washington Post, 11/23/02, New York Times, 11/23/02] Al-Bayoumi is in Saudi Arabia by this time (see September 21-28, 2001); Basnan was deported to Saudi Arabia just five days earlier (see August 22, 2002). Saudi officials and Princess Haifa immediately deny any terrorist connections. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] Newsweek reports that while the money trail “could be perfectly innocent … it is nonetheless intriguing—and could ultimately expose the Saudi government to some of the blame for 9/11 … ” [Newsweek, 11/22/02] Some Saudi newspapers which usually reflect government thinking claim the leak is blackmail to pressure Saudi Arabia into supporting war with Iraq. [MSNBC 11/25/02] Senior government officials claim the FBI and CIA failed to aggressively pursue leads that might have linked the two hijackers to Saudi Arabia. This causes a bitter dispute between FBI and CIA officials and the intelligence panel investigating the 9/11 attacks (see December 11, 2002 (B)). [New York Times, 11/23/02] A number of senators, including Richard Shelby (R), John McCain (R), Mitch O'Connell (R), Joe Lieberman (D), Bob Graham (D), Joe Biden (D), and Charles Schumer (D), express concern about the Bush administration's action (or non-action) regarding the Saudi royal family and its possible role in funding terrorists. [New York Times, 11/25/02, Reuters, 11/24/02] Lieberman says, “I think it's time for the president to blow the whistle and remember what he said after September 11—you're either with us or you're with the terrorists.” [ABC News, 11/25/02] FBI officials strongly deny any deliberate connection between these two and the Saudi government or the hijackers [Time, 11/24/03], but later even more connections between them and both entities are revealed. [Congressional Inquiry 7/24/03]
          

December 5, 2002

      
FBI agents raid Ptech offices
Federal agents search the offices of Ptech, Inc., a computer software company in Quincy, Massachusetts, looking for evidence of links to bin Laden. A senior Ptech official confirms that Yassin al-Qadi, one of 12 Saudi businessmen on a secret CIA list suspected of funneling millions of dollars to al-Qaeda, was an investor in the company, beginning in 1994 (see October 1998 and ). [Newsweek 12/6/02; WBZ4 12/9/02] Some of Ptech's customers include the White House, Congress, Army, Navy, Air Force, NATO, FAA, FBI and the IRS. [Boston Globe, 12/7/02] A former FBI counter-terrorism official states, “For someone like [al-Qadi] to be involved in a capacity, in an organization, a company that has access to classified information, that has access to government open or classified computer systems, would be of grave concern.” Yacub Mirza— “a senior official of major radical Islamic organizations that have been linked by the US government to terrorism” —has recently been on Ptech's board of directors. Hussein Ibrahim, the Vice President and Chief Scientist of Ptech, was vice chairman of a now defunct investment group called BMI. An FBI affidavit names BMI as a conduit to launder money from al-Qadi to Hamas terrorists. [WBZ4, 12/9/02] The search into Ptech is part of Operation Green Quest, which has served 114 search warrants in the past 14 months involving suspected terrorist financing. Fifty arrests have been made and $27.4 million seized. [Forbes 12/6/02] Al-Qadi's assets were frozen by the FBI in October 2001 (see October 12, 2001). [Arab News 9/26/02] That same month, a number of Ptech employees told the Boston FBI that Ptech was financially backed by al-Qadi, but the FBI did little more than take their statements. A high level government source claims the FBI did not convey the information to a treasury department investigation of al-Qadi, and none of the government agencies using Ptech software were warned. Indira Singh, a second whistleblower, spoke with the FBI in June 2002 and was “shocked” and “frustrated” when she learned the agency had done nothing. [Boston Globe 12/7/02, WBZ4, 12/9/02] Beginning in mid-June 2002, WBZ-TV Boston had prepared an lengthy investigative report on Ptech, but withheld it for more than three months after receiving “calls from federal law enforcement agencies, some at the highest levels.” The station claims the government launched its Ptech probe in August 2002, after they “got wind of our investigation” and “asked us to hold the story so they could come out and do their raid and look like they're ahead of the game.” [Boston Globe 12/7/02 (B); WBZ4 12/9/02]
          

December 13, 2002

      
Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger resigns as head of the new 9/11 investigation (see November 27, 2002). [AP, 12/13/02, ABC, 12/13/02, Kissinger's resignation letter] Two days earlier, the Bush Administration argued that Kissinger was not required to disclose his private business clients. [New York Times, 12/12/02] However, the Congressional Research Service insists that he does, and Kissinger resigns rather than reveal his clients. [MSNBC 12/13/02; Seattle Times 12/14/02] It is reported that Kissinger is (or has been) a consultant for Unocal, the oil corporation, and was involved in plans to build pipelines through Afghanistan (see October 21, 1995, and August 9, 1998). [Washington Post 10/5/98; Salon 12/3/02] Kissinger claimed he did no current work for any oil companies or Mideast clients, but several corporations with heavy investments in Saudi Arabia, such as ABB Group, a Swiss-Swedish engineering firm, and Boeing Corp., pay him consulting fees of at least $250,000 a year. A Boeing spokesman said its “long-standing” relationship with Kissinger involved advice on deals in East Asia, not Saudi Arabia. Boeing sold $7.2 billion worth of aircraft to Saudi Arabia in 1995. [Newsweek 12/15/02] In a surprising break from usual procedures regarding high-profile presidential appointments, White House lawyers never vetted Kissinger for conflicts of interest. [Newsweek, 12/15/02] The Washington Post says that after the resignations of Kissinger and Mitchell, the commission “has lost time” and “is in disarray, which is no small trick given that it has yet to meet.” [Washington Post 12/14/02]
          

August 1-3, 2003

       In the wake of the release of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry's full report (see July 24, 2003), anonymous officials leak some details from a controversial, completely censored 28 page section that focuses on possible Saudi support for 9/11. According to leaks given to the New York Times, the section says that Omar al-Bayoumi and/or Osama Basnan “had at least indirect links with two hijackers were probably Saudi intelligence agents and may have reported to Saudi government officials.” It also says that Anwar Al Aulaqi “was a central figure in a support network that aided the same two hijackers.” Most connections drawn in the report between the men, Saudi intelligence, and 9/11 is said to be circumstantial. [New York Times 8/2/03] One key section is said to read, On the one hand, it is possible that these kinds of connections could suggest, as indicated in a CIA memorandum, ‘incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists’ … On the other hand, it is also possible that further investigation of these allegations could reveal legitimate, and innocent, explanations for these associations.” Some of the most sensitive information involves what US agencies are doing currently to investigate Saudi business figures and organizations. [AP 8/2/03] According to the New Republic, the section outlines “connections between the hijacking plot and the very top levels of the Saudi royal family.” An anonymous official is quoted as saying, “There's a lot more in the 28 pages than money. Everyone's chasing the charities. They should be chasing direct links to high levels of the Saudi government. We're not talking about rogue elements. We're talking about a coordinated network that reaches right from the hijackers to multiple places in the Saudi government. … If the people in the administration trying to link Iraq to al-Qaeda had one-one-thousandth of the stuff that the 28 pages has linking a foreign government to al-Qaeda, they would have been in good shape. … If the 28 pages were to be made public, I have no question that the entire relationship with Saudi Arabia would change overnight.” [New Republic 8/1/03] The section also is critical that the issue of foreign government support remains unresolved. One section reads, “In their testimony, neither CIA or FBI officials were able to address definitely the extent of such support for the hijackers, globally or within the United States, or the extent to which such support, if it exists, is knowing or inadvertent in nature. This gap in intelligence community coverage is unacceptable.” [Boston Globe 8/3/03]
          


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