I have heard and seen Senator Bob Graham's false assertion that the Saudi government was involved in the 9-11 tragedy and this involvement was then covered up by the Bush Administration. It is irresponsible of the Senator to make statements that he says are based on intelligence when there are no bases for such allegations. His claims have been completely discredited by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the independent and bipartisan 9-11 Commission.
Senator Graham has repeatedly made unsubstantiated and reckless charges, including allegations that my own wife funded the 9-11 hijackers. And while this allegation has been proven false, Senator Graham has yet to retract his erroneous statements.
Saudi Arabia and the United States are the primary targets of Al-Qaeda and both have suffered terrorist attacks and loss of innocent life. But together, we are winning this war. We are killing and capturing the terrorists; we are choking off their sources of funding; and we are changing the mindset that foments extremism.
To continue in this fight, we need cooperation and support. Unfortunately, Senator Graham's unsubstantiated and reckless statements do not contribute to this.
Excerpts from the 9-11 Commission Report and the staff monograph on terror financing as related to Omar Al-Bayoumi:
No credible evidence exists that the hijackers received any substantial funding from any person in the United States. With one possible minor exception discussed below, the FBI's investigation has not revealed any evidence that any person in the United States knowingly provided any funding to the hijackers. Extensive investigation by Commission staff has revealed nothing to the contrary.
Despite persistent public speculation, there is no evidence that the hijackers who initially settled in San Diego, Mihdhar and Hazmi, received funding from Saudi citizens Omar al Bayoumi and Osama Bassnan, or that Saudi Princess Haifa al Faisal provided any funds to the hijackers either directly or indirectly.
(9-11 Commission Report, page 138)
Bayoumi, then 42 years old, was in the United States as a business student, supported by a private contractor for the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority, where Bayoumi had worked for over 20 years. The object of considerable media speculation following 9/11, he lives now in Saudi Arabia, well aware of his notoriety. Both we and the FBI have interviewed him and investigated evidence about him.
Bayoumi is a devout Muslim, obliging and gregarious. He spent much of his spare time involved in religious study and helping run a mosque in El Cajon, about 15 miles from San Diego. It is certainly possible that he has dissembled about some aspects of his story, perhaps to counter suspicion. On the other hand, 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.
(Staff Monograph On Terror Financing)