To read the declassified report, go here.
The Biden administration recently declassified a 2016 FBI report on follow-up investigations into the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The document sheds light on the connection between Saudi Arabian nationals residing in the U.S. at the time and certain Al-Qaeda hijackers.
The document stems from Operation Encore which aimed at investigating these connections, and whether the attacks on 9/11 could be attributed to the Saudi Arabian Government.
In the report, definitive links are made between two Saudi citizens living in the U.S. and Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar, two of the hijackers who helped facilitate the 2001 attacks. These connections include phone calls and even sustained financial assistance.
Connections in the report
The two Saudi nationals examined in the report are Omar al-Bayoumi and Fahad al-Thumairy. Bayoumi was employeed at Dallah AVCO, a Saudi aviation company that regularly operates alongside the country’s Ministry of Defense.
According to witnesses at AVCO, Bayoumi functioned as a “ghost employee.” He was one of around 50 other employees that were paid by the company, but did not show up at work.
During the investigation, a source characterized Bayoumi as, “a Saudi citizen treated with great respect inside the Saudi Consulate, well regarded by Consulate personnel who held a ‘very high status’ when he entered the building.” Taking this further, the same source claimed Bayoumi’s status was “higher than many of the Saudi persons in charge of the Consulate.”
Thumairy, on the other hand, was a Saudi consular official in Los Angeles and the Imam of the King Fahad Mosque (KFM). Despite his high status at KFM, one source said, Thumairy was removed from this position for “un-Islamic” activity.
Both of these men, whether directly or secondarily, helped to support Hazmi and Midhar when they first arrived in Los Angeles in January 2000.
Claims, Rumors, and Evidence
In January 1999, a Directorate of Intelligence / Office of Transnational Issues Intelligence Report on Osama bin Laden’s finances indicated that “limited reporting suggested that ‘a few Saudi Government officials’ may support bin Laden, with the condition that ‘reporting was too sparse to determine with any accuracy such support.'”
Despite the initial conclusion on the connection between Saudi Arabia and Al-Qaeda, the evidence in the newly-declassified report hints at something much more tangible: proven assistance in the form of education and financial support.
One individual was apparently tasked by Thumairy to bring Hazmi and Midhar to a Mediterranenan Gourmet Restaurant located on Venice Boulevard in LA. This restaurant is a quintessential meeting point that appears repeatedly in the report.
When asked about the assistance he offered the hijackers, the source that drove them to the restaurant said he did so, because “he is a good Muslim and helping two new students in town is the Muslim way.” When asked if he had ever helped anyone in a similar fashion before, he replied that he had not.
When Hazmi and Midhar arrived at the restaurant, Bayoumi stated that he met them as a “chance encounter,” and that he approached them due to overhearing them speaking in a “gulf accent.” Contrary to this claim, another man who was present, Caisin Bin Don, stated that Bayoumi wasn’t even close enough to the men to overhear them.
Connections for support
The report bluntly states that Bayoumi’s logistic support to Hazmi and Midhar included: translation, travel assistance, lodging and financing. “Anomalous money transfers within Bayoumi’s bank accounts coincide with transactions wherein Bayoumi provides assistance to Hazmi and Midhar.” the documents claim.
Besides financial transactions and incriminating call logs, many other connections further the premise that a Saudi Arabian terrorist network, which was possibly entrenched in the country’s government, carried out secretive planning on U.S. soil in the lead-up to the 9/11 attacks.
Some of these connections include the Islamic American Relief Agency, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, the foiled Millennium bomber and the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Tower bombing. Each of these connections are, in some way or another, linked to Al-Qaeda.
While all of these connections occur somewhat sporadically, each individual nexus is indicative of a broad web of Saudi Arabian terrorist activity that was operating in the U.S. before the twin towers fell. As more documents are released, it appears that these connections will only be further elucidated.