2004 Press Release
07/22/2004 Facts about Saudi Arabia in 9-11 Commission report
Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan stated:
“The 9-11 Commission has confirmed what we have been saying all along. The clear statements by this independent, bipartisan commission have debunked the myths that have cast fear and doubt over Saudi Arabia.”
1. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF SAUDI GOVERNMENT FUNDING OF AL-QAEDA
The 9-11 Commission confirmed that it has found no evidence that the government of Saudi Arabia funded Al-Qaeda. The 9-11 Commission also confirmed that it has found no evidence that the 9-11 hijackers received funding from Saudi citizen Omar Al-Bayoumi, or from Princess Haifa Al-Faisal, wife of Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan.
According to the 9-11 Commission: “…we have found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization.”
According to the 9-11 Commission: “We have found no evidence that Saudi Princess Haifa al Faisal provided any funds to the conspiracy, either directly or indirectly.”
Although there was some initial suspicion of Saudi citizen Al-Bayoumi and his contact with two of the 9-11 hijackers, according to the 9-11 Commission: “…we have seen no credible evidence that he believed in violent extremism or knowingly aided extremist groups. Our investigators who have dealt directly with him and studied his background find him to be an unlikely candidate for clandestine involvement with Islamist extremists…Neither then nor later did Bayoumi give money to either Hazmi or Mihdhar,”
2. SAUDI FLIGHTS WERE INVESTIGATED AND HANDLED PROFESSIONALLY
Despite accusations by Craig Unger, Michael Moore and others, the post 9-11 flights that repatriated Saudi citizens, including members of the bin Laden family, were investigated by the FBI and “no one with known links to terrorism departed on these flights”.
According to the 9-11 Commission: “First, we found no evidence that any flights of Saudi nationals, domestic or international, took place before the reopening of national airspace on the morning of September 13, 2001. To the contrary, every flight we have identified occurred after national airspace reopened.”
“Second, we found no evidence of political intervention…None of the officials we interviewed recalled any intervention or direction on this matter from any political appointee.”
“Third, we believe that the FBI conducted a satisfactory screening of Saudi nationals who left the United States on charter flights. The Saudi government was advised of and agreed to the FBI’s requirements that passengers be identified and checked against various databases before the flights departed. The Federal Aviation Administration representative working in the FBI operations center made sure that the FBI was aware of the flights of Saudi nationals and was able to screen the passengers before they were allowed to depart.”
“The FBI interviewed all persons of interest on these flights prior to their departures. They concluded that none of the passengers was connected to the 9/11 attacks and have since found no evidence to change that conclusion. Our own independent review of the Saudi nationals involved confirms that no one with known links to terrorism departed on these flights.”
3. THE SAUDI GOVERNMENT WAS PURSUING BIN LADEN PRIOR TO THE ATTACKS ON THE U.S.
The 9-11 Commission confirmed accounts of Saudi Arabia’s attempts to capture Osama bin Laden prior to 9-11 and efforts to foil Al-Qaeda terror attacks inside the Kingdom as early as 1998. The Saudi Arabian government was pursuing bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network before the 9-11 attacks, and these terrorists, in turn, were pursuing targets inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia before those attacks on the United States. Osama bin Laden fled Saudi Arabia 10 years before the 9-11 attacks. The government of Saudi Arabia revoked his citizenship in 1994. In 1996, he publicly denounced the government of Saudi Arabia.
According to the 9-11 Commission: “The CIA learned in the spring of 1998 that the Saudi government had quietly disrupted Bin Ladin cells in its country that were planning to attack U.S. forces with shoulder-fired missiles. They had arrested scores of individuals, with no publicity.”
According to the 9-11 Commission: “Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, who had taken charge from the ailing King Fahd, promised Tenet an all-out secret effort to persuade the Taliban to expel Bin Ladin so that he could be sent to the United States or to another country for trial.”
The former head of Saudi intelligence Prince Turki Al-Faisal coordinated with CIA Director George Tenet to get Mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders to hand over bin Laden. According to the 9-11 Commission: “Yet in September 1998, when the Saudi emissary, Prince Turki, asked Mullah Omar whether he would keep his earlier promise to expel Bin Ladin, the Taliban leader said no. Both sides shouted at each other, with Mullah Omar denouncing the Saudi government. Riyadh then suspended its diplomatic relations with the Taliban regime.”