9/11: Classified information on the Saudis
Washington, Feb 6: Hijacker number 20 or Zacarias Moussaoui made a claim that it was the members of the Saudi Royal family that supported the al Qaeda. He says that in the 1990s he was directed by Osama Bin Laden to create a digital database of al Qaeda donors.
While the allegations regarding the Saudi Royal family have been doing the rounds the question now is whether the US will declassify 28 pages of the 800 page report investigated by the Congress following the 9/11 attack.
A CIA leak and the a reading of the 28 pages by two US senators had revealed that there was enough evidence to show the involvement of the Saudis in the attack. A CIA leaked memo had gone on to show that it was not the Al-Qaeda or the Taliban that carried out this attack, but it was Saudi Arabia.
Further the memo also went on to read that wealthy Saudis, diplomats and intelligence officials employed by the Saudi Royal family had helped the hijackers with both logistics and finances.
The pages which had been blacked out by the Bush administration suggest that the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles had facilitated the arrival of two hijakers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi in 2000.
A Saudi intelligence official named Osama Bassnan and a spy Omar Bayoumi established a base in San Diego which housed the hijackers. This was the same place where al Qaeda cleric Ankar Al-Awlaki met with the hijackers.
The financial trail
Some of the pages even indicate that a huge amount of money had been sent to the hijackers. Specific information suggests the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar had sent $130,000 to Saudi intelligence agent Osama Bassnan.
Although Prince Bandar had claimed that this money was a donation made to Bassnan who had an ailing wife, the US had managed to track that this money had infact reached the hijackers. There was also a trail that Prince Bandar had paid for the establishment of an Islamic Centre in Virgina which was incidentally close to the Pentagon.
It was found that Awlakki had played a vital role and was seen several times with Prince Bandar. After the 9/11 attack, Awlakki tried to slip out of the country, but was apprehended at the JFK airport. However he was handed over to a representative of the Saudi government stating that the US government had withdrawn a federal arrest warrant against him.
Awlakki who was handed over to the Saudi representative managed to get out of the US almost immediately after that. He spent a considerable amount of time in Yemen before he was killed.
The pages also speak about a meeting of Essam Ghazzawi and Mohammad Atta the ringleader of the attack while Ghazzawi was the personal advisor to King Fahad. A party hosted by Ghazzawi at his home for Atta and the other hijackers had come under the scrutiny of the FBI.
After the attacks this home was abandoned by Ghazzawi. They left behind all things including several luxury cars behind after the attack.
Will the files be de-classified?
The testimony by Moussaoui has raised a debate to declassify the 28 pages which was blacked out by the Bush administration. Two lawmakers from the US, Walter Jones and Stephen Lynch who have seen the 28 pages in an interview with Fox News said that they have tried for years to get the US government to release it.
They even say that the testimony and what they saw in the classified pages were the same. They also say that the people of America need to see these files and the recent testimony makes out a strong case for the government to declassify the information.