A memo from the FBI declassified Saturday reinforces suspicions that Saudi Arabia would have been involved in the attacks on September 11, 2001 committed by A the Qaeda against the United States , but does not provide the evidence they hoped the families of the victims who sued Arabia Saudi.
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers of the four planes attacked that day, two of which crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, were Saudi nationals .
The memorandum , dated April 4, 2016, which had been classified as secret until now , shows links between Omar al Bayoumi , a former student and suspected of having collaborated with the Saudi intelligence services, and two of the Al Qaida members who they prepared the attacks in New York and Washington.
The document, based on interviews conducted in 2009 and 2015 with a source whose identity was not disclosed, details the contacts and meetings between Bayoumi and two hijackers , Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar, after they both arrived in Southern California. in 2000, before the attacks.
Saudi official in Los Angeles
It also confirms the relationship, already disclosed but which appears with more force than previously suspected, between them two and Fahad al Thumairy, a conservative imam of the King Faad mosque in Los Angeles accredited since the late 1990s as an official of the Saudi consulate. Saudi in that city.
The document states that the phone numbers associated with the source indicate that there was contact with several people who assisted Hazmi and Mihdhar while they were in California, including Bayoumi and Thumairy, as well as the source itself. According to the memo, the source told the FBI that Bayoumi was hiding, behind his official student identity, a “very high position” in the Saudi consulate .
“Bayoumi’s assistance to Hazmi and Mihdhar includes translation, travel, accommodation and financing,” the document said. In addition, the source’s wife told the FBI that Bayoumi often spoke of “jihad,” the memo notes.
In addition, through meetings, phone calls and other communications, he connects Bayoumi and Thumairy with Anwar al Alaki, the United States-born Yemeni- born cleric who became an important al-Qaida figure in the Arabian Peninsula before being assassinated. by a drone in Yemen in September 2001.
Still, the memo was harshly censored and does not present any clear direct link between the Saudi government and the hijackers. He was declassified due to pressure exerted on US President Joe Biden by relatives of the victims of the attacks, who accused Saudi Arabia of being an accessory to the attacks.
Three successive US administrations had refused to declassify and release documents related to the case and were accused of protecting the Washington-Riyadh alliance .
The Sunni oil monarchy has always denied any involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks and was cleared of suspicion by a US commission of inquiry in 2004.
Jim Kreindler, one of the top lawyers involved in the victims ‘families’ lawsuits against Saudi Arabia, said the declassified memorandum validates the key point about the Saudi government’s support for the kidnappers .
“With this first declassification of documents, twenty years in which Saudi Arabia has depended on the United States government to conceal its role in 9/11 is coming to an end,” Kreindler said in a statement. Families await stronger evidence with the release of more declassified documents expected in the next six months under the executive order issued in early September by Joe Biden .