Newly declassified FBI data from 2016 associated to the bureau’s investigation of doable hyperlinks between the 9/11 al Qaeda terrorist assaults and the Saudi authorities present that 2004’s 9/11 Fee Report fell quick in quite a few methods, lacking key particulars about how Saudis assisted two of the hijackers.
Though Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied any involvement within the assaults, the 9/11 victims’ households have pointed to hyperlinks corresponding to Omar al Bayoumi, mentioned to have been a former Saudi intelligence officer, and Fahad al Thumairy, a former Saudi Consulate official who helped lead the King Fahd Mosque, who had contacts with Khalid al Mihdhar and Nawaf al Hazmi, two of the 15 Saudis among the many 19 hijackers.
Mihdhar and Hazmi, “muscle” hijackers on the airplane that crashed into the Pentagon, had been the primary hijackers to enter the US, arriving in Los Angeles in January 2000. The 2 met Bayoumi at a Los Angeles restaurant on Feb. 1, 2000, and he reportedly helped the duo open financial institution accounts and hire residences in the identical complicated as him in San Diego.
The 17 pages of declassified however partially redacted data, dated April 2016, concern the FBI’s “digital communication” tied to Operation Encore. Many names are redacted, allegedly to guard “personally identifiable data” (PII).
Most of the newly declassified data centered on Bayoumi assembly the 2 future hijackers on the restaurant, casting severe doubt on his claims the assembly occurred by probability.
FBI RELEASES DECLASSIFIED DOCS ON 9/11
“PII said that he wanted to carry Hazmi and Midhar to the Mediterranean Connoisseur Restaurant positioned on Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles,” the FBI wrote.
The bureau mentioned that “after assembly PII on the Consulate in late January 2000, Bayoumi, accompanied by Bin Don, drove to the Mediterranean Connoisseur Restaurant the place they encountered Hazmi and Midhar” and that “this is identical restaurant” the redacted particular person mentioned “he wanted to ship Hazmi and Midhar to.”
“Bayoumi’s logistic assist to Hazmi and Midhar included transaction, journey help, lodging, and financing. Anomalous cash transfers inside Bayoumi’s financial institution accounts coincide with translations whereby Bayoumi supplied help to Hazmi and Midhar,” the bureau continued. “Bayoumi supplied statements in 2003 to federal investigators as to how he met Hazmi and Midhar on or about 2/1/2000 and the way he assisted them… Bayoumi’s statements are straight contradicted by eyewitness statements.”
In accordance with the 9/11 Fee Report, the hijackers “encountered Omar al Bayoumi and Cayman Bin Don at a halal meals restaurant on Venice Boulevard in Culver Metropolis, a number of blocks away from the King Fahd mosque.”
The report mentioned: “Bayoumi and Bin Don have each advised us that they’d pushed up from San Diego earlier that day in order that Bayoumi may tackle a visa subject and gather some papers from the Saudi Consulate. Bayoumi heard Hazmi and Mihdhar talking in what he acknowledged to be Gulf Arabic and struck up a dialog… Bayoumi advised them how nice San Diego was and supplied to assist them settle there.”
“Bayoumi has mentioned that he and Bin Don tried to go to King Fahd mosque after lunch however couldn’t discover it. Bin Don, however, recollects rising the mosque twice that day for prayers, each earlier than and after the meal. Bin Don’s recollection is spotty and inconsistent,” the fee mentioned in 2004. “Bayoumi’s model will be challenged as effectively, for the reason that mosque is near the restaurant and Bayoumi had visited it, and the encompassing space, on a number of events, together with twice inside six weeks of February 1. We have no idea whether or not the lunch encounter occurred by probability or design.”
The FBI wrote in 2016 that “roughly one hour previous to assembly Hazmi and Midhar, Bayoumi and Caisin Bin Don visited the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles and met with” a redacted title, and after the assembly, Bayoumi and bin Don drove to a “Mediterranean Connoisseur Restaurant.”
Bayoumi advised the FBI there was then a “probability” encounter with Hazmi and Midhar, however the bureau mentioned this was “contradicted in eye-witness descriptions supplied by Bin Don.” Bayoumi claimed he heard the 2 future hijackers speaking, acknowledged their Gulf Arabic accents, then went over to speak with them, however bin Don “contradicts Bayoumi’s statements, saying Bayoumi entered the restaurant and positioned himself to be looking the entrance window” and that “when Bayoumi noticed Hazmi and Midhar stroll into the restaurant, he approached them from a distance the place he couldn’t have heard them talking first.”
FBI Particular Agent Jacqueline Maguire testified throughout a public 9/11 Fee listening to in June 2004 that the bureau had “no direct proof of a connection between” Thumairy and the 2 hijackers. In relation to Bayoumi assembly the 2 hijackers at a restaurant, Maguire additionally claimed that “all indications is that that assembly was a random encounter.”
“Clearly we disagree fairly profoundly with the testimony and, candidly, I feel it’s a bit unlucky that somebody from the intelligence sector would categorical that form of a view at the moment,” a 9/11 household lawyer advised the Washington Examiner. “We now know the way a lot remained unexplored as of 2004, and it appears the prudent factor for somebody from an intelligence background at that time to say it’s unclear and there’s much more to be explored, and it actually doesn’t appear that there was adequate proof, actually not proof that’s clear sufficient, to make that form of an evaluation at the moment.”
The 9/11 Fee additionally mentioned that “after exploring the out there leads, we have now not discovered proof that Thumairy supplied help to the 2 operatives.”
But, the FBI’s newly declassified data said that “PII was tasked by Thumairy to help Hazmi and Midhar whereas they had been in Los Angeles” and that the redacted particular person described the hijackers as “two very vital folks.”
The 9/11 Fee additionally mentioned “Thumairy has denied preaching anti-Western sermons, a lot much less selling violent jihad” and that he “claimed to not acknowledge Hazmi or Mihdhar,” including that “each denials are considerably suspect.” The fee mentioned Thumairy “likewise denied understanding” Bayoumi, “although witnesses and phone data set up that the 2 males had contact with one another.”
The declassified FBI data mentioned that “Bayoumi said he by no means spoke to Hazmi or Midhar about Jihad,” however one month after 9/11, the ex-wife of a redacted particular person was interviewed, saying she met Bayoumi a number of instances, that “Bayoumi was all the time speaking concerning the Islamic neighborhood must take motion,” and that he advised her and her husband they had been “at Jihad.”
The 9/11 Fee Report concluded: “Now we have discovered no proof that the Saudi authorities as an establishment or senior Saudi officers individually funded the group.”
A 9/11 household lawyer mentioned Monday: “That language was all the time, in our estimation, very fastidiously crafted to permit for the chance that there have been officers within the Saudi authorities that the 9/11 Fee was not characterizing as ‘senior Saudi officers’ who had performed a task in all of this, and the report itself very clearly left open the chance that Thumairy and Bayoumi had performed some function in supporting the hijackers.”