The American government declassified on Saturday an FBI note which reinforces the suspicions of Ryad’s involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks committed by Al-Qaeda, without, however, providing the evidence that the families of the victims who are suing Saudi Arabia hoped for. justice. Of the 19 hijackers who hijacked four airliners, two of which were thrown into the World Trade Center twin towers killing nearly 3,000, 15 were Saudi nationals.
The newly declassified note on the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, dated April 4, 2016, emphasizes links between Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi agent who was based in California, and two men who will be among the hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, to whom he has been suspected of providing logistical assistance.
No direct link between the Saudi government and the hijackers
The document, which is based on interviews conducted in 2009 and 2015 with a source whose identity is on file, details Omar al-Bayoumi’s contacts and meetings with Nawafal-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, both of whom arrived in California in 2000 before the attacks. It also shows even stronger ties than those already known between these two men and Fahad al-Thumairy, conservative imam of a Los Angeles mosque and diplomat accredited to the Saudi consulate in the late 1990s.
According to the document, phone numbers associated with the source show contact with a number of people who assisted Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, including Omar al-Bayoumi and Fahad al-Thumairy and including the source she -same.
The source told the FBI that al-Bayoumi, beyond his official student status, held “a very high rank” at the Saudi consulate. “Bayoumi’s assistance to Hamzi and Midha included translations, travel, accommodation and funding,” according to the note.
The source’s wife said al-Bayoumi often spoke of “jihad,” the document continued.
The note also establishes other links, via meetings, telephone conversations or other communications, between al-Bayoumi and Thumairy with the American-Yemeni Anouar al-Aulaqi, propagandist of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqpa) killed. by US drones in Yemen in September 2011. However, the published document was copiously redacted and does not offer a direct link between the Saudi government and the hijackers.
It was declassified after pressure exerted on US President Joe Biden by families of victims who are suing Saudi Arabia for complicity in the organization of the attacks. Three successive administrations refused to declassify and publish documents on the attacks and were accused of wanting to protect the historic alliance between Washington and Riyadh.
The Sunni oil monarchy has always denied any involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks and was cleared of suspicion by an American commission of inquiry in 2004. Jim Kreindler, one of the leading lawyers involved in the family lawsuits of victims against Saudi Arabia, said the declassified note validated the key argument relating to the Saudi government’s support for hijackers.
“With this first declassification of documents, twenty years that Saudi Arabia has relied on the US government to cover its role in 9/11 are drawing to a close,” Kreindler said in a statement. Families are awaiting stronger evidence with the release of further declassified documents expected in the next six months under the executive order made in early September by Joe Biden.