Declassified 28-page chapter from 9/11 report released
Excerpt details possible connections between Saudi government and al-Qaeda terror plot
A 28-page excerpt from a 2002 congressional inquiry into the September 11th, 2001, attacks has been released by the Obama administration following calls to do so by victims’ families. Photograph: David Surowiecki/Getty Images
The US Congress has released a long-censored 28-page excerpt from a 2002 congressional inquiry into the September 11th, 2001, attacks that detail possible connections between the Saudi government and the al-Qaeda terrorist plot.
The chapter, classified by president George W Bush to protect US intelligence and, it is believed, relations with his Saudi allies, was released by the Obama administration to the House of Representatives intelligence committee, which made the pages public.
Although subsequent investigations ruled out any links between the Saudi government or top Saudi officials to the attacks, the families of the 9/11 victims believe that not all leads were fully investigated and have long pushed for the chapter’s release.
According to the 28 pages, the FBI believed that Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi intelligence officer, may have assisted Saudi nationals Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawf al-Hazmi, two of the five hijackers who flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon in Washington after they arrived in southern California in January 2000.
A Saudi government official Saleh al-Hussayen stayed at the same hotel in Virginia as three of the hijackers the night before the attacks, according to the pages.
Al-Hussayen claimed in an interview with FBI agents after September 11th that he did not know the hijackers, but they “believed he was being deceptive,” the excerpt says. He was allowed to leave the US and the FBI was unable to re-interview him.
FBI documents also show that a telephone number in the phone book of a senior al-Qaeda figure captured in Pakistan in 2002 belonged to a US company that managed the Colorado home of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then Saudi ambassador to Washington.