A Free Base on balls for the Saudis
On August 31, 2003, Time published the first reappraisal of my book Why America Slept, and focused on the concluding chapter about the gaining control and question of an al Qaeda terrorist, Abu Zubaydah. It revealed an American intelligence strategy to gull Zubaydah into unwraping whatever he knew about at hand terrorist onslaughts. Using a room in a CIA-linked Afghan installation that was hurriedly converted to resemble a Saudi Arabian prison, U.S. functionaries concocted an luxuriant artifice. Two Arab-American Particular Forces soldiers pretended to be Saudi inquisitors. The Saudis wanted Zubaydah Osama bin Laden ‘s figure three adult male for terrorist offenses, and they had a well-deserved repute for utilizing anguish in questions. The thought behind the Mission Impossible type misrepresentation was that Zubaydah would be so scared he would either unwrap critical information to avoid anguish or prefer to be handed over to, and cooperate with, American inquirers to avoid the tougher destiny with the Saudis.
It took about three old ages before intelligence leaked out corroborating that the authorities had approved alleged ‘false flag ‘ operations for terrorists. On January 29, 2005, The New York Times, in its coverage of Michael Chertoff ‘s nomination to be the following fatherland security head, reported that in his former occupation at the Justice Department, Chertoff had advised the CIA on the legality of coercive question methods for panic suspects under the federal antitorture legislative act. CIA functionaries obviously wanted legal protection so its officers minimized the hazard of prosecution. ‘Other patterns that would non present legal jobs were those that did non affect the imposition of hurting, like flim-flaming a topic into believing he was being questioned by a member of a security service from another state, ‘ reported the Times.1
The blind backfired. Zubaydah seemed relieved instead than frightened when confronted by the bogus Saudi inquisitors. From memory, he rattled off two telephone Numberss and told the startled U.S. Special Forces agents, ‘He will state you what to make. ‘ The Numberss were private place and cell phone lines of Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the nephew of Saudi king Fahd. The Western-educated Ahmed was one of the wealthiest members of the royal household and president of the Research and Marketing Group, the Kingdom ‘s largest publication company. Although his media house was responsible for deadly anti-American and anti-Israeli propaganda, he was considered by most perceivers merely a Westernized man of affairs with small evident political involvement. Ahmed was best known as a prime aggregator of Thoroughbred Equus caballuss, including the 2002 Kentucky Derby victor, War Emblem. Since 1996, he had spent $ 126 million purchasing racehorses.2
The CIA functionaries running Zubaydah ‘s question directed the two American Particular Forces agents to falsely state the terrorist that the telephone Numberss he had provided were incorrect. By that clip, Zubaydah had been deprived of slumber for yearss, maintained on minimal hurting medicine for gunshot lesions sustained in his gaining control, and had been in secret administered a ‘truth serum ‘ by endovenous trickle. Yet, when told his telephone Numberss had non panned out, he did non panic. Alternatively, he gave the ‘Saudi ‘ inquisitors several more Numberss, these belonging to two other Saudi princes every bit good as the head of Pakistan ‘s air force, the equivalent of being a member of America ‘s Joint Chiefs of Staff. These were his cardinal contacts inside Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, Zubaydah claimed. And in a rambling soliloquy that one research worker subsequently dubbed ‘the Rosetta rock ‘ of 9/11, Zubaydah told his American inquisitors that two of those named, the male monarch ‘s nephew and the head of Pakistan ‘s air force, knew before 9/11 there would be an al Qaeda onslaught in America around that day of the month. No 1 had warned the United States.
Zubaydah ‘s amazing information put American intelligence in a quandary. At the clip, April 2002, the U.S. was working hard to convert the Saudi and Pakistani authoritiess to collaborate with George Bush ‘s declared war on panic. Pakistan had already allowed the U.S. to utilize its military bases to carry on the war in Afghanistan, and the Kingdom was easy supplying some minor intelligence on Al Qaeda, every bit good as tacitly back uping the Americans in Afghanistan. There was no willingness in the Bush disposal to face either ally based merely on the unproved word of an professed terrorist, particularly since Zubaydah recanted his full confession one time he learned he had been duped by the Americans.
Intelligence analysts speculated that Zubaydah ‘s inclusion of Prince Ahmed raised the possibility that the purportedly unpolitical prince might simply be a conduit of information for person higher ranking. Ahmed ‘s male parent, Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, is the governor of Riyadh, the Saudi capital, a station he has held since 1962. One of seven boies of the state ‘s laminitis, he is one of the Kingdom ‘s most influential curates and a sure adviser to King Fahd. Since Fahd ‘s 1995 shot, Salman seldom leaves his brother ‘s side in Jeddah. Harmonizing to diplomatic studies, Salman, along with his older brother Sultan, the defence curate, and his half brother Abdullah, the crown prince, are the de facto swayers of Saudi Arabia.
Besides his official place, Salman, whose Riyadh office overlooks Sahat al-Adl “ Justice Square ” where public decapitations take topographic point on Fridays after midday supplications, is influential both with Saudi intelligence and in baning the media. But there were several other functions that interested American research workers more. One was Salman ‘s multiyear wooing of spiritual fundamentalists as his power base, particularly after his converted transition to strict Islam in the ninetiess. He has strong ties to the spiritual conservativists, peculiarly those in the regional fastnesss of Buraydah and Darriya, places Salman often visits. The CIA was besides intrigued that during the 1980s Afghan war against the Soviets, Salman was responsible for forming transit to Afghanistan for the hawkish ground forcess ( mujahidin ) from assorted Arab states. And eventually, he controlled the Kingdom ‘s charities that raised 10s of 1000000s for the mujahidin, and brought in one million millions for Muslim causes worldwide. And many of those chari-ties were on the U.S. authorities ‘s list of panic sponsors.3
But U.S. intelligence bureaus were shortly stymied in finding whether there was an al Qaeda nexus between the senior Salman and his boy. So the Bush disposal gambled. It authorized the CIA to go through along Zubaydah ‘s charges to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. By covertly supervising the reactions inside those two states, the disposal thought it might find the truth of Zubaydah ‘s singular disclosures. Both states rapidly answered, nevertheless, with unusually similar denials, shaming indignation at the really suggestion there could be any truth in the revelations.
If that had been the terminal of it, Zubaydah ‘s confession might merely be a footer to the 9/11 narrative. However, what happened following ensured that the inquiries raised by Zubaydah might everlastingly stay unreciprocated. Merely three months after the Saudis and Pakistanis learned of what he had told the Americans, the people he named started deceasing. Within a few yearss, all three Saudi princes were dead. Forty-three-year-old Prince Ahmed, the male monarch ‘s nephew, died after he voluntarily entered the best infirmary in Riyadh for non-life-threatening surgery for a digestive job, diverticulitis ( one familiarity says the prince really went for suction lipectomy, but that process is usually done on an outpatient footing ) . He was dead two yearss subsequently, with Saudi functionaries and physicians flip-flopping over the cause of decease from a bosom onslaught to a blood coagulum. One of the physicians suggested that the portly Ahmed was himself responsible for a deathly coagulum because he was non active plenty after his surgery. The physicians, he claimed, felt they could non rede Ahmed to travel approximately since he was a prince, and as such could non be given orders, even by medical professionals.
The twenty-four hours after Ahmed ‘s ill-timed decease, the 2nd prince named by Zubaydah Sultan bin Faisal bin Turki al-Saud’a forty-one-year-old former military officer, was killed in a auto accident. He was Ahmed ‘s cousin, and was on his manner to Ahmed ‘s funeral. No other auto was involved. He must hold been driving excessively fast, concluded the Saudi constabularies, when his auto spun out of control and off the route. A hebdomad subsequently, the 3rd prince named by Zubaydah Fahd bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabir’a twenty-five-year-old, was found dead near his auto, merely 55 stat mis outside Riyadh. Harmonizing to the Saudi Royal Court, which took the unusual measure of denoting the decease, this prince had ‘died of thirst, ‘ a victim of desiccation in the brutal Saudi summer.
Zubaydah ‘s Pakistani nexus, Air Marshal Mushaf Ali Mir, died on February 20, 2003, together with his married woman and 15 of his top Plutos, when his military aircraft crashed in Pakistan ‘s rugged Northwest Frontier state. That plane had late sailed through a thorough care review. The conditions was clear at the clip. There are studies which Pakistani governments refuse to admit that another military officer replaced the air marshal ‘s sure private pilot at the last minute. Besides, ear informants told research workers they had heard a loud detonation instantly before the clang.
If disgusting drama was involved in the bunch of deceases, what could the victims have known that was so important that person wanted them dead? It might non be possible to reply that. Saudi Arabia, for case, ne’er even made a pretence of look intoing the deceases of the princes. In Pakistan, a full probe was announced into whether sabotage brought down the plane and killed the air marshal. About two old ages subsequently, no Pakistani functionary even acknowledges whether such an probe took topographic point.
Some U.S. functionaries felt the Saudis and Pakistanis were concealing something. But the overruling consensus was non to face, at least publically, two critical Alliess over such a unusual meeting of deceases. There is no indicant that Bush disposal functionaries even in private raised either the deceases or Zubaydah ‘s disclosures.
When the intelligence of Zubaydah ‘s claims, and the unusual destiny of those he named, was made populace, nevertheless, the reactions of the Saudis and Pakistanis were stating. Alternatively of admiting the earnestness of the charges, and carry oning at least casual investigations to bolster their public announcements that they were solid Alliess in the war on panic, both relied on assorted functionaries and alternates to minimize Zubaydah ‘s information.
Pakistan ‘s air force issued an official statement that did non advert the probe into the likeliness of sabotage in the decease of its former air marshal. Alternatively, it said, in portion, ‘Pakistan Air Force is profoundly pained by these groundless allegations ‘ and that ‘while [ the ] PAF militias its remarks to place the establishments who must be behind the secret plan to discredit the professional combat force of Pakistan, we request the Pakistani state non to pay any attentiveness to these intelligence which are being circulated to keep the craze related to terrorists and terrorist act. Persons like Gerald Posner knit any figure of scenarios to sell books and magazines by frightening American and Western public. Any sane individual knows that non-state histrions carried out the onslaughts on 9/11 and provinces or authoritiess had nil to make with the planning or executing of these onslaughts. ‘ That statement obviously was the amount and public substance of any Pakistani probe into Zubaydah ‘s charges.
As for the House of Saud, they summoned an mixture of friendly Arab journalists, together with relations of Prince Ahmed, to assail Zubaydah ‘s charges and the inquiries raised by the twine of dead princes. Writing in the Saudi English-language day-to-day Arab News, editor in head Khaled al-Maeena dubbed the intelligence of Zubaydah ‘s accusals, and the ill-timed deceases, ‘Posner ‘s Fairy Tales. ‘ While non unwraping that the Arab News was portion of the late Prince Ahmed ‘s media imperium, al-Maeena charged that the intelligence was simply ‘cheap shootings used to progress callings, make a speedy vaulting horse and to acquire invitations to publicize themselves on early forenoon Television talk shows across the US. ‘
In supporting Prince Ahmed, al-Maeena said he had personally known him for 15 old ages, and that ‘to believe that he had any connexion with Al-Qaeda would be every bit absurd as believing that my female parent was the ‘planner ‘ of Sept. 11. ‘ Then he discussed the other princes. ‘Not merely is Posner outrageously calumniatory, but he goes off the deep terminal by calling two other persons who are besides dead. So none of these people are here to support themselves. And even if they were, it should barely be necessary to support oneself against such absurd allegations. ?
The statement set Forth in the Arab News was picked up widely in the Middle Eastern and Muslim imperativeness. Some went farther. Typical was Bangladesh ‘s The New Nation, in which Mamoun Fandy said the work had an radical Israeli nexus. And typical of the household ‘s response was that of Prince Ahmed ‘s married woman. In an official statement released by the Saudi authorities, she called the revelations ‘deplorable, ‘ ‘preposterous, ‘ and ‘outlandish prevarications. ‘ It was, she charged, a ‘fabricated and hideous confederacy theory ‘ that ‘shamelessly maligns the memory of a darling member of our household without any substance or ground. ‘
In June 2004, on the biennial day of remembrance of Prince Ahmed ‘s Kentucky Derby triumph, his younger brother, and manager of Saudi instruction, Prince Faisal bin Salman, did what is normally done by affluent Saudis when confronted with hard issues he hired a public dealingss house. * Keating Public Relations of New Jersey sent out 1000s of imperativeness releases for its new client, once more minimizing Zubaydah ‘s charges as ‘ludicrous. ‘ The Keating house offered Prince Faisal for media interviews, an unusual move for the usually private Saudi royal household. It besides recruited American friends and employees of Prince Ahmed, most from his multimillion-dollar Thoroughbred operation, to talk in his defence.
Ahmed ‘s older brother Prince Fahd bin Salman had died in July 2001, at the age of 46, from bosom failure. Although the Salman household claims that all the brothers were unpolitical, in July 2001, Fahd had met with the revisionist British historiographer David Irving. The prince discussed financing the controversial author after Irving had lost a libel action in a London tribunal against an American Jewish professor, Deborah Lipstadt, who had labeled him a ‘Holocaust denier. ‘ The justice finally branded Irving an racist, racialist, and a pro-Nazi rightist polemist. Fahd obviously had no job with the tribunal ‘s word pictures of Irving, and agreed to supply the money so Irving could go on his work. But Fahd died merely a few yearss after they reached an understanding and before any money passed to Irving.4
While the Keating house, and those supporting the prince, did their best to minimise the charges from Zubaydah, journalist Craig Unger published his ain probe, House of Bush, House of Saud, in which he showed that members of the bin Laden household, and other high-level Saudi functionaries including Prince Ahmed were allowed to go forth the United States in the hebdomad after the 9/11 onslaughts, most without even being interviewed by the FBI.5
The first flight, on September 13, was a private jet that ferried three immature Saudis from Tampa, Florida, to Lexington, Kentucky. In Lexington, they joined Saudi royals go toing the thrice-yearly Kneeland auction for race horses. That is where Prince Ahmed was remaining. He had been in Kentucky on September 11, and heard the intelligence of the panic onslaughts while at breakfast in his hotel, the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort. Two familiarities were with him. One, Richard Mulhall, the racing director for Ahmed ‘s Thoroughbred Corporation, told a friend that the prince was ‘terribly disquieted, more surprised than anyone. ‘ Ahmed seemed overwrought and instantly dialed out on his cell phone, but did non state whom he called. Harmonizing to Mulhall, Ahmed kept inquiring, ‘Who in the universe would be brainsick plenty to make something like this ‘ ? Breakfast was cut short and Ahmed hastily returned to his suite. The following twenty-four hours he attended the Kneeland auction and spent $ 1.2 million on two more Thoroughbreds.
Lexington, Ahmed ‘s base of operations on September 11, had now become the unofficial assemblage topographic point for other ranking Saudis like the three who flew in from Tampa. Harmonizing to some in Ahmed ‘s cortege, the FBI visited the prince on September 13. They interviewed him for about an hr in his hotel suite. The FBI refuses still to admit that interview. What is undeniable is that three yearss subsequently, Ahmed flew out of the U.S. on an sumptuously fitted 727, returning to Saudi Arabia. Most private planes in U.S. air space had been grounded, and his was the first personal jet to be allowed an international going.
The principle subsequently given by Bush disposal functionaries for leting
At the post-9/11 Kentucky Derby and Preakness ( which War Emblem besides won ) , newsmans asked Ahmed what he thought about the terrorist onslaughts on America. ‘I leave those inquiries to the politicians, ‘ he said. ‘I am a man of affairs, non a politician. ‘ John Jeremiah Sullivan, in his 2004 book, Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter ‘s Son, reported on those two races held after 9/11, observing that they ‘were patrolled by shady work forces in dark waistcoats and dark glassess, transporting sniper rifles. ‘ Ahmed refused to travel to New York for the Belmont in 2002, even though War Emblem was viing for rushing ‘s rare Triple Crown.
flights like Ahmed ‘s to go forth so rapidly after 9/11 was fright of reprisals against bin Laden household members and Saudi royals, since 15 of the 19 self-destruction highjackers had been Saudi. But that does non explicate why non-Arab British citizens Jack Rusbridge and Anthony John Stafford were besides allowed to board the Lexington-to-London flight. They were two of Ahmed ‘s employees, functioning as everything from chauffeurs to personal security. Rusbridge subsequently told an familiarity that in visible radiation of the panic attacks merely yearss before, he was surprised the FBI ‘s lone map prior to going was to guarantee that everyone who boarded the plane had a passport that matched a name on the rider manifest. The FBI did non, improbably, cross-check the manifests against all authorities panic ticker lists. In add-on, 142 Saudis left on six hired flights within a hebdomad of the onslaughts, and another 150 ranking functionaries or royal household members left on commercial jets.6
The most comprehensive official probe so far into what happened before 9/11 is the 1 by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, known popularly as the 9/11 Commission. Its concluding study received bipartizan political congratulations, became a national best seller with over a million transcripts in print, and was given the unusual ac- colade for a authorities study of being nominated for the esteemed National Book Award. And what did the 9/11 Commission conclude about Zubaydah ‘s charges against three Saudi royals and the Pakistani air marshal ‘ It failed to turn to much less resolve whether he was stating the truth. The concluding study, improbably, did non even advert the dead Saudis or the air marshal. It cites Zubaydah merely briefly, and so chiefly to bolster the questions of an even superior Al Qaeda captive, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. While the 9/11 Commission does cite some of Zubaydah ‘s questions, non one is from March, the month of his gaining control, when he made his accusals about high-level Saudis. Zubaydah, who was mentioned by name in the now ill-famed presidential day-to-day briefing that was presented to President Bush while he was on holiday at his Crawford, Texas, spread less than a month before the panic onslaughts, received small attending from the Commission.7 The 9/11 panel was given restricted personal entree to two of the highest-ranking Al Qaeda suspects, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh, but either ne’er asked, or was non allowed, to speak to Zubaydah.8
The 9/11 Commission acknowledged that the Kingdom was ‘a debatable ally in battling Islamic extremism, ‘ but concluded, ‘ [ W ] vitamin E have found no grounds that the Saudi authorities as an establishment or senior Saudi functionaries separately funded the organisation [ al Qaeda ] . ‘
While the Commission acknowledged that nameless affluent Saudi sympathisers and taking charities had for old ages funneled money to al Qaeda, it did non prosecute widely available research set uping the extent to which many suspect charities were controlled straight by the Kingdom or its ministers.9 The Commission ignored, for case, an October 2002 survey by the Council on Foreign Relations that drew straight opposite decisions about Saudi authorities complicity: ‘Saudi functionaries have turned a blind oculus to this job. ’10
The Commission besides missed an chance to analyze to the full an intelligence putsch in 2002 in which American agents retrieved computing machine files in Bosnia of a alleged ‘Golden Chain, ‘ 20 of Osama bin Laden ‘s early fiscal protagonists. On that list were a former Saudi authorities curate, three billionaire banking barons, and several taking industrialists. The 9/11 Commission did non corroborate or deny the list ‘s truth, nor did it turn to what the Saudis did with the information.
These are mistakes of skip. The same is true with the manner the Commission dealt with the affair of the early Saudi flights after 9/11. The concluding study concluded, ‘We found no grounds that any flights of Saudi subjects, domestic or international, took topographic point before the reopening of national air space on the forenoon of September 13, 2001. To the contrary, every flight we have identified occurred after national air space reopened. ’11
Such a decision is artful at best. For about three old ages, the White House, and air power and jurisprudence enforcement functionaries, had insisted that the private flight of three Saudis from Tampa to Lexington on September 13 ne’er took place.12 ‘It ‘s non in our logs, ‘ a spokesman for the FAA said when first asked about that flight. ‘It did n’t happen. ’13 Officials were inexorable that no private flights took topographic point until, at the really earliest, the undermentioned twenty-four hours, September 14. ‘General air power was still down, ‘ insisted a senior FAA representative, ‘and if it was a corporate jet, it would non hold been allowed to wing. ’14
Journalist John Jeremiah Sullivan was working on a related narrative when Craig Unger ‘s article about the flights was foremost published in Vanity Fair. ‘Every official I talked to was baffled and at strivings to deny that the flight on the 13th of all time took topographic point, ‘ he recounts. ‘For months they tried difficult to deny it happened at all. ’15 A Lexington, Kentucky, FBI spokesman, David Beyer, assured Sullivan that his ain notes confirmed the Tampa flight did non acquire to Lexington until the sixteenth, three yearss after it really happened. When Sullivan spoke to Ed Cogswell, an FBI spokesman at central office in Washington, he was told, ‘This material is either instance sensitive or the information is classified because I truly ca n’t supply it to you. Whatever the regulations were on those peculiar yearss, those regulations were followed. They ‘ve got the day of the month or manner of transit incorrect. We do n’t hold any indicant of a flight at that point. ? When Sullivan said he had gathered some grounds that the flight had happened, Cogswell promised to look into farther. A few yearss subsequently they once more spoke. ‘I can state you there was non a flight at that clip, the thirteenth. ’16
It was non until June 2004 33 months after the flight with the three Saudis happened that functionaries at Tampa International Airport eventually acknowledged it.17
The 9/11 Commission dismissed old ages of repeated denials by federal functionaries of an early flight as the consequence of simply a ‘misunderstanding ‘ between federal and local functionaries. And it concluded that the affair was undistinguished since, it said, national air space had been technically reopened on the thirteenth. However, it failed to advert that the reopening was for commercial non private planes, and there is ample grounds that air power functionaries really considered the flight on the 13th extraordinary.
Sullivan had located an airdrome functionary at Lexington who was at first unwavering in his contention that air space there was non unfastened until the fourteenth. That individual thought such a flight was impossible and dismissed it out of manus until he personally checked fuel records at Lexington and saw the plane had in fact landed and been refueled on the thirteenth.
A former FBI agent and a private research worker accompanied the three Saudis to Lexington on the thirteenth from Tampa. They had been asked by the Tampa constabularies, who had been prodded by the Saudi embassy, to guarantee that the three left safely. When the two work forces, Dan Grossi and Manuel Perez, were told about the pending flight, they did n’t believe it would go on. ‘Forget about it, ‘ Perez told Grossi. ‘No one is winging today. ’18
When they arrived at Tampa ‘s airdrome, an airdrome employee laughed at them for even believing they would be winging that twenty-four hours. At 10:57 a.m. on September 13, the FAA had issued another notice reminding the state ‘s airdromes that while commercial traffic was easy restarting that afternoon, private air power was still banned. Three private planes that violated the prohibition on the thirteenth in Texas, Maryland, and West Virginia were forced down in each case by jet fighters.19 Thousands of concern executives and affluent travellers had been grounded since 9/11, their private jets and smaller planes forced to set down at the nearest airdrome after the FAA had taken the extraordinary measure of closing down all the state ‘s air traffic. They were all dying to acquire to their concluding finishs, and many were pelting the FAA and local airdromes with petitions to acquire airborne. Not even private flights transporting variety meats for medical grafts were cleared for takeoff on the thirteenth. But the 9/11 Commission finessed the issue of the flight of the three Saudis from Tampa by reasoning that since the plane was chartered from defence contractor Raytheon and had a pilot with a CIA security clearance it truly was more kindred to a commercial flight and therefore was allowed in the air.
The Commission ‘s simple decision that the flight on the thirteenth was non out of the ordinary since some planes were back in the air raises inquiries as to whether they knew about the surprise that people in Lexington had when a private jet landed there that twenty-four hours. Sullivan interviewed a adult female who works at Lexington ‘s Bluegrass Airport. She had called her female parent to state her how eldritch it was that a plane landed since nil was winging in or out. Some people saw the plane arriving and called friends. ‘Can you believe there is a sleep togethering plane landing at the airdrome ‘ ? one said. A few came to look at it. Nearby on the tarmac was the 727, with Arabic lettering on the tail, that would transport Prince Ahmed out of the state in three days.20
On September 13, at New York ‘s three major country airdromes, Kennedy, La Guardia, and Newark, merely incoming flights were allowed, and merely after 11:00 ante meridiem Subsequently in the afternoon, those airdromes were closed wholly after a security panic at JFK when a adult male was detained with bogus pilot designation papers.21
Either the 9/11 Commission was cognizant that it fudged its decision that the private Saudi flight on September 13 was normal or it did non cognize how unusual that flight truly was, and either scenario is non reassuring sing the Commission ‘s probe into affairs Saudi.
The flight that departed Tampa did so merely hours after the Saudi embassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, had gone to the White House for a private meeting no Plutos permitted with President Bush. Neither Bandar nor Bush has disclosed the inside informations of what they discussed that forenoon. Bandar has, nevertheless, denied straight inquiring the president to authorise the rapid issue of his high-level co-workers, stating alternatively that he asked the FBI for permission. The Bureau, says spokesman John Iannarelli, had no ‘role in easing these flights one manner or another. ’22 The FBI really gave personal bodyguard to two outstanding Saudi households who fled the U.S. from Los Angeles and Orlando. Several other Saudis were allowed to go forth the state without even being interviewed by the FBI.
Did the 9/11 Commission ask the president about his meeting with Bandar ‘ Did it prosecute full revelation from Raytheon, which provided the plane and pilot, about how the flight was arranged? If so, there is once more no indicant in the concluding study.
The 9/11 Commission wrote, ‘Our ain independent reappraisal of the Saudi subjects involved confirms that no 1 with known links to terrorist act departed on these flights. ’23 Of class, Prince Ahmed is ne’er mentioned. From conversations with research workers familiar with the 9/11 panel ‘s investigation, the parts of Zubaydah ‘s question in which he named the Saudi princes and the Pakistani air marshal were non provided to the Commission. The CIA has even withheld the March questions from the FBI, which is supposed to hold entree to all panic suspects ‘ inquiring.
Shortly after the 9/11 Commission ‘s study was released, co-chairman Lee Hamilton, the former Democratic congresswoman from Indiana, testified before the House Committee on Financial Affairs. When Representative Maxine Waters ( D-Calif. ) expressed strong uncertainties about the truth of the Commission ‘s decisions sing the Saudis, Hamilton went further in supporting the Kingdom than the Commission ‘s ain study. He said that during the Commission ‘s twenty-month probe, it had non found any grounds that either the Saudi authorities or senior functionaries gave money to bin Laden or al Qaeda.24
‘We sent research workers to Saudi Arabia, ‘ he said, ‘we researched all sorts of information and paperss, we talked to many, many people, we followed every lead we could. ’25
Those in the Kingdom, who would prefer that no bright visible radiation of examination be shined on Saudi ties to terrorist act and Al Qaeda, heralded the 9/11 study as the unequivocal history. The hebdomad following the study ‘s release, Saudi foreign curate Prince Saud Al Faisal issued a statement from Jeddah. In portion, it said, ‘The 9-11 Commission has put to rest the false accusals that have cast fright and uncertainty over Saudi Arabia. For excessively long, Saudi Arabia stood morbidly accused of support and back uping terrorist act. . . . The 9-11 Commission has confirmed that there is no grounds that the authorities of Saudi Arabia supported or funded Al-Qaeda. . . . [ And ] the falsities that were disseminated about the flights that carried some Saudis after 9-11 when American airdromes and air space were closed were shown by the study for what they were: at best a figment of the imaginativeness, and at worst an purpose to imply. . . . We are pleased with the study and we feel vindicated. ?
In a New York Times sentiment piece on July 27, 2004, ‘Scrutinizing the Saudi Connection, ‘ I wrote that while the 9/11 panel had done first-class work in set uping how the authorities failed to forestall the panic onslaughts on New York and the Pentagon, it had done a less than reassuring occupation when it came to of import issues about Saudi Arabia. By non examining possible Saudi complicity in 9/11 and candidly turn toing disturbing inquiries about the September 13 flight, the panel risked damaging its otherwise all right work. The 9/11 Commission gave the Saudis a free base on balls. This book shows why.26