File 17: Fresh documents hint at possible Saudi ties to 9/11 hijackers
The US government has declassified a report that lists more than three dozen people that investigators looking into the 9/11 terrorist attacks wanted to probe for possible links from Saudi Arabia to the hijackers.
The document, known as “File 17,” was compiled by Dana Lesemann and Michael Jacobson. It offers clues as to what may be hidden in the secret 28 pages of the congressional report on the 9/11 attacks, which is rumored to implicate the Saudis.
“Much of the information upon which File 17 was written was based on what’s in the 28 pages,” former Democratic Senator Bob Graham of Florida told the AP.
Graham, who was the co-chairman of the congressional inquiry, believes that the hijackers had access to an extensive Saudi support system while they were in the US prior to the attacks.
“File 17 said, ‘Here are some additional unanswered questions and here is how we think the 9/11 Commission, the FBI and the CIA should go about finding the answers,’” Graham added, according to the AP.
Among the three-dozen names listed in File 17 are Fahad Al-Thumairy and Omar Al-Bayoumi
Al-Thumairy, an imam at the King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, California accredited with the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, is suspected of helping two of the hijackers after they arrived in the city.
The commission also states that Al-Thumairy and Al-Bayoumi knew each other and had regular phone conversations.
Al-Bayoumi, a Saudi national, is also reported to have provided hijackers Nawaf Al-Hazmi and Khalid Al-Mihdhar with considerable assistance after they arrived in San Diego in February 2000.
“Al-Bayoumi has extensive ties to the Saudi government and many in the local Muslim community in San Diego believed that he was a Saudi intelligence officer,” the report stated. Al-Bayoumi left the US weeks before the 9/11 attacks.
In June, John Brennan, the head of the CIA, said that the missing 28 pages would be published, but that they contain no evidence implicating the Saudis in aiding the terrorists.
“I think the 28 pages will be published and I support their publication and everyone will see the evidence that the Saudi government had nothing to do with it,” Brennan said in an interview with Saudi-owned Arabiya TV last month.
President Barack Obama ordered the declassification of the 28 pages back in 2014. It had initially been blocked by former President George W. Bush, as he did not want America’s relations with Saudi Arabia to suffer.
In May, the US Senate passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which allows victims of terror attacks or surviving family members to bring lawsuits against nation-states for activities supporting terrorism.
However, President Obama has threatened to veto the bill, while Saudi Arabia has spoken out strongly against the legislation, threatening to sell $750 billion in US treasury securities and other assets if it is signed into law. Riyadh has also repeatedly denied supporting the 19 terrorists involved in the attack, 15 of whom were Saudi citizens.