Published on :
According to an FBI document, declassified by Washington on Saturday, the majority of the hijackers in the 9/11 attacks were Saudis. This note, which refers to Riyadh’s involvement in these attacks, also uncovers a Saudi network around two men who were part of the hijackers.
The American government declassified, Saturday September 11, an FBI note which reinforces the suspicions of involvement of Riyadh in the attacks of September 11, 2001 committed by Al-Qaeda. However, it does not provide the evidence that the families of the victims who are suing Saudi Arabia were hoping for.
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 occasion of 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.
>> To read also: September 11: from Manhattan to Brooklyn, memories of a day in hell
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 Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, both arrived in California in 2000 before the attacks.
Suspicious links with two suicide bombers
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.
>> See also: Attacks in the fall of Kabul, 20 years of American presence in Afghanistan
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 has been 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.
Saudi Arabia says not involved
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 all suspicion by an American commission of inquiry in 2004.
Jim Kreindler, one of the main lawyers involved in the lawsuits of victims’ families against Saudi Arabia, said the declassified memo validated the key point about the Saudi government’s support for hijackers.
“With this first declassification of documents, the 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 within the next six months under the executive order issued in early September by Joe Biden.