More Documents Surface Revealing Saudi 9/11 Role, U.S. Coverup

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Jun 25, 2016 No Comments ›› admin

By Ben Barrack

Fahad al-Thumairy

Fahad al-Thumairy

The 9/11 Commission downplayed Saudi Arabia’s role in the worst attacks on U.S. soil. However, newly released memos show interviewers indicated that high ranking Saudis did play a role. The final report – released in July of 2004 – offers up plausible deniability for the Saudis.

As such, it offers plausible deniability for a Bush administration unwilling to confront the source of the 9/11 attacks.

For example, in February of 2004, Senior Counsel & Team Leader for the 9/11 Commission Dietrich (Dieter) Snell traveled to Saudi Arabia to conduct interviews with persons of interest. One such person of interest – Fahad al-Thumairy – had reportedly already been named in a Joint Congressional Inquiry Report that preceded the 9/11 Commission. Unfortunately, the last 28 pages of the report were censored by George W. Bush as the U.S. was invading Iraq.

Dieter Snell

Dieter Snell

When it came to al-Thumairy, the Joint Inquiry found “a lot of smoke” according to Rep. Timothy Roemer (D-IN). Roemer would later serve on the 9/11 Commission and is on record as saying the 28 pages implicating the Saudis in the 9/11 attacks should be released.

In Snell’s memorandum to the 9/11 Commission’s Executive Director Philip Zelikow, he wrote the following about interviews he conducted with al-Thumairy on February 23rd and 24th of 2004:

“We initially interviewed Thumairy on February 23. The following night, we received word from Major Habib of the Mabahith that Thumairy wished to clarify some of the information he provided in his first interview concerning his rental property at the Avalon apartment complex in Culver City (translation: al-Thumairy wanted a do-over, which should have been a red flag).”

Here is the key excerpt from Snell’s memo to Zelikow:

“Our general impression of Thumairy is that he was deceptive during both interviews. His answers were either inconsistent or, at times, in direct conflict with information we have from other sources. During some of the more pointed exchanges, his body language suggested that he grew increasingly uncomfortable (for instance, he would cross his arms, sit back in his chair, etc.).”

Another bullet point in Snell’s report is potentially more damning of both al-Thumairy and the 9/11 Commission. It has to do with al-Thumairy’s knowledge of Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi agent who allegedly aided both two of the 9/11 hijackers – Nawar al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar.

First, according to a 2002 article in Newsweek by Michael Isikoff, al-Bayoumi met al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar at the airport upon their arrival from Kuala Lampur:

At the airport, they (al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar) were swept up by a gregarious fellow Saudi, Omar al-Bayoumi, who had been living in the United States for several years. Al-Bayoumi drove the two men to San Diego, threw a welcoming party and arranged for the visitors to get an apartment next to his. He guaranteed the lease, and plunked down $1,550 in cash to cover the first two months’ rent. His hospitality did not end there.

Now take a look at a portion of Snell’s account of his interview with al-Thumairy:

Thumairy denied knowing someone named Omar al-Bayoumi. When shown a photo of this individual, Thumairy first denied recognizing it. Major Khalid said something to Thumairy in Arabic (it appeared as if he was suggesting who the person was in the picture). Thumairy then said “Oh, Bayoumi,” and recalled that he had heard of him in the press. Thumairy, however, continued to deny ever having met him or spoken to him. When pressed during the second interview with the fact that there appear to be numerous telephone calls between both his cell phone and his home phone and the phones of Bayoumi on several occasions, Thumairy offered a few implausible explanations (such as maybe his phone numbers were assigned to somebody else who called Bayoumi) before reminding us that there are people who may say bad things about him out of jealousy…

Instead of pressing al-Thumairy or following where his “deceptive” answers led, the 9/11 Commission ultimately watered down his relevance. Here is an excerpt from page 217 of the report, that refers to al-Thumairy’s relationship with al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar:

When interviewed by both the FBI and the Commission staff, Thumairy has denied preaching anti-Western sermons, much less promoting violent jihad. More to the point, he claimed not to recognize either Hazmi or Mihdhar. Both denials are somewhat suspect… On the other hand, Thumairy undoubtedly met with and provided religious counseling to countless individuals during his tenure at the King Fahd mosque, so he might not remember two transients like Hazmi and Midhar several years later…

Really? So after finding al-Thumairy to be “deceptive” and someone who gave answers that were “inconsistent” or in “direct conflict” with other sources, the 9/11 Commission gave him an out. Page 217 in the Commission’s report continued:

The circumstantial evidence makes Thumairy a logical person to consider as a possible contact for Hazmi and Mihdhar. Yet, after exploring the available leads, we have not found evidence that Thumairy provided assistance to the two operatives.

If this does not represent a cover-up, what does? Al-Thumairy was refused entry into the U.S. in 2003 because of his suspected ties to terrorism. This was a year before the 9/11 Commission released its report. Instead of Snell’s findings leading to the truth, those findings were clearly minimized.

Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer

Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer

During the same timeframe – in October of 2003 – Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer had a chance encounter with Zelikow at Bagram Airbase. During that encounter, Shaffer told Zelikow about Able Danger, a program that had identified 9/11 hijackers a year before 9/11. Shaffer had worked on the program for several months and testified he had seen the name and photo of lead hijacker Mohamed Atta surface during his research.

Zelikow expressed interest and gave Shaffer his business card, telling Shaffer to contact him when he got back to the U.S. Upon Shaffer’s return, the tables had clearly turned; he had become persona non-grata.

“Shortly after returning home from Afghanistan in late 2003, Shaffer learned that the Inspector General’s office of the DIA was investigating him. The findings against him would ultimately be so petty that it as beyond obvious he had become the victim of a witch hunt. Shaffer was even told by a superior officer that the DIA was trying to find a way to rescind his Bronze Star.” – Unsung Davids, p. 271

In a 60 Minutes report that aired in 2016 and focused on the 28 pages from the 2002 Joint Inquiry report, al-Thumairy’s name came up quite often. He was an imam at a mosque attended by al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar. Roemer all but admits that al-Thumairy was a key figure. In conjunction with Snell’s findings in Saudi Arabia, al-Thumairy should have been more than a person of interest; he should have been a co-collaborator. As a Saudi diplomat, that would have should have meant serious repercussions for a nation state. Here is audio of that excerpt:

King Fahd Mosque Founder
Something VERY interesting reveals itself when the memos from Snell to Zelikow are juxtaposed with the 9/11 Commission’s final report. For example, consider Khalil al-Khalil. He is the founder of the King Fahd Mosque in San Diego. It was at al-Khalil’s mosque that al-Thumairy preached and where two of the 9/11 hijackers visited – al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar.

First, here are some excerpts from Snell’s notes:

…Khalil did not want to be interviewed…He is one of the original founders of the King Fahd Mosque and is still closely connected to the mosque… He said that he was one of only four people at a meeting with (Osama bin Laden) in 1990 in which UBL offered his services to the Kingdom to fight against Iraq after Iraq had invaded Kuwait… Khalil was asked by the Commission to name the “mosque leadership” and he responded that this would have been either Fahad al-Thumairy or Tajjudin Shuaib… the FBI asked Khalil to look at several photographs… He recognized the photograph of Omar al-Bayoumi, and said that he saw him frequently with Fahad al-Thumairy at the KFM.

It sounds like Khalil should have been a key figure for the 9/11 Commission, right? Two major players – al-Thumairy and al-Bayoumi – were seen by Khalil several times together, at a mosque he founded. On top of that, two 9/11 hijackers visited the mosque regularly.

Zelikow

Zelikow

Yet, in the 9/11 Commission’s final report, not only is Khalil only mentioned twice but in both instances, he is identified only in footnotes (Chapter 7, footnotes 9 and 13 on pages 514-515). In those pages, instead of being identified as “Khalil Al-Khalil” – as he was in Snell’s notes to Zelikow – the King Fahd Mosque founder is identified as “Khalil A. Khalil”, making searches a bit more difficult. This limited acknowledgment of Al-Khalil while slightly altering the spelling of his name is also in line with a very disturbing pattern in the 9/11 Commission’s findings. The omissions of high level players and groups from the report, that were responsible for 9/11 were abundant.

Another interesting aspect of Al-Khalil’s background comes through in the notes of Snell’s meeting with Saudi Mabahith (Secret Police) Officials. One of those officials was General Khalid, who confirmed that Al-Khalil was “a scholar and writer in Riyadh”. Khalid also referred to al-Khalil as “a well-known opponent of Islamic extremism.” This claim belies Saudi Arabia’s public face relative to terrorism. As a founder of the King Fahd Mosque (KFM), al-Khalil’s pro-terrorist bent is far more likely than not. In the very next sentence, General Khalid mentioned that Omar al-Bayoumi had called him earlier that day to “with him a happy new year”.

9/11 Commission Executive Director Deceived
Another document released shows that a meeting took place in Riyadh that included Snell and his boss, 9/11 Commission Executive Director Zelikow on October 14-15, 2003. This the same month that Zelikow had met with Shaffer at Bagram in Afghanistan (see above).  The document – largely redacted – provides some insight into the mindset of Bush administration officials who seemed intent on defending Saudi Arabia rather than confronting them.

Zelikow_Snell_Saudi_Arabia_1003

This convoluted logic may help to explain why the U.S. protects the Saudis:

[Redacted] felt that a principal target of the terrorists was Saudi friendship with the US. This always comes up. After all, it is hard to name any enemy of the US that is not also an enemy of Saudi Arabia. It was important to convey this point to average Americans. Of the 15 hijackers, none were recruited for this in Saudi Arabia. They would go to Chechnya, to Afghanistan. The US-Saudi relationship was clearly a reason for choosing the 15. Visas, yes, but this was also a factor.

After 9/11 many people were just in denial, including the parents and relatives of the hijackers – home they had interviewed… It was hard to explain to the families that their sons or relatives were murderers. This was damaging to Islam. No religion justifies killing the innocent.

This is an extremely telling excerpt because it reveals a flawed mindset. What U.S. officials like Zelikow and the Bush administration either didn’t understand or refused to acknowledge is that Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda / the Muslim Brotherhood are doing nothing more than playing good cop/bad cop.

Zelikow and Muslim Brotherhood leader share stage in 2007.

Zelikow and Muslim Brotherhood leader share stage in 2007.

The families of those hijackers were putting on a show. Their sons had become martyrs while committing jihad against infidels. In Saudi Arabia, such families are held up, given elevated status and seats of honor. The level of deceit is incredibly obvious but still effective.

There were two sentences in Zelikow’s write up of the meeting that were actually quite right:

Looking at different countries, the problem was not poverty, or lack of human rights, or lack of democracy. The problem was ideology and it was hard to arrest people just for spreading ideas.

Yet, just a few years later, Zelikow would rub elbows with the leader of that ideology.

Consider the Muslim World League (MWL). This is a decades-old entity founded by the Saudi Government to spread Islam all over the globe. The individuals the MWL uses are Muslim Brotherhood individuals. While the Saudis don’t like terrorists who attack them, they certainly don’t mind exporting treasure troves of dollars to western nations that are used to recruit Muslim Brotherhood operatives to teach and preach Muslim fundamentalism.

The nexus of Saudi / Muslim Brotherhood collaboration is a tangled web that deceives many in the west. Following the logic Zelikow uses, the Saudis are just as eager to defeat Muslim Brotherhood groups like al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia (group responsible for Benghazi attacks) as the U.S. is. This is absolutely untrue. The Saudis would like to keep those groups from doing harm to them while having no problem financing them to do harm to non-Muslims.

Unwittingly, Zelikow exposed the flaw in his own logic when, in 2007 – three years after the 9/11 Commission completed its work – Zelikow traveled to the Muslim Brotherhood-friendly nation of Qatar and shared a stage with that group’s global spiritual advisor, Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Osama Bassnan (Basnan)

Osama Bassnan (Basnan)

Snell interviewed another man in October of 2003 named Osama Basnan, a Saudi citizen who gave very questionable and conflicting answers to Snell and the 9/11 Commission staffers. Had the 9/11 Commission truly wanted to get to the truth, Basnan would have been given more attention. As it is, not only was this individual mentioned only twice in the final report – in footnotes only, #21 and #24 of Chapter 7 – but his name was spelled differently in the Commission’s final report than it was in the memo about his interview. The report spelled his last name as “Bassnan” and the memo spelled it as “Basnan”.

Instead of pursuing a very real lead in Basnan, the Commission appeared to dismiss him for lacking credibility. This was a clever trick but it still shouldn’t work. There is a difference between a witness lacking in credibility and a co-conspirator lacking it. The former is usually dismissed. The latter should be met with dealmaking and the equivalent of plea bargains. Check out this second paragraph from the Memorandum For Record (MFR):

Excerpt of MFR of Interview between Snell and Osama Basnan on 10/21/03.

Excerpt of MFR of Interview between Snell and Osama Basnan on 10/21/03.

Later in the MFR, Bassnan completely contradicts an earlier statement attributed to him. Two months prior, Bassnan (Basnan) told the FBI that he had seen 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar in the mosque. However, when talking with Snell, Bassnan (Basnan) denied ever seeing them or ever having said he had:

Bassnan Contradicts himself; let off the hook.

Bassnan Contradicts himself; let off the hook.

The very next paragraph reads:

At this point, DS told Basnan that he saw no point in continuing the interview and thanked him for his time.

What?! Here was a Saudi national with connections to – among other things – Omar al-Bayoumi, two of the 9/11 hijackers, and the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, VA that was run by Anwar al-Awlaki and also attended by 9/11 hijackers. Yet, instead of shining a light on this individual and applying more pressure to him, the 9/11 Commission barely references him in its final report and simply labeled him as not credible.

One of the heavily redacted MFR’s involved notes from a meeting between Zelikow and Snell with Shaikh Saleh bin Abdelaziz Al Ashaikh of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Islamic Affairs (MIA). This meeting took place before the other interviews and even with the redactions, it’s easy to see the ground rules. The premise of the entire exercise is that the Saudi Arabian government is not responsible for Islamic terrorism, despite funding it all around the globe. It’s clear that Zelikow and Snell understood this, which is perhaps the most revealing aspect to the release of these documents.

In short, it’s not so much that these documents reveal new connections or new names. What they reveal is that Saudi Arabia was an inseparable party to the 9/11 attacks. Additionally, they reveal collaboration between the 9/11 Commission and Saudi officials to shine as little light as possible onto that reality.

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