2004 Public Statement

A Coverup of Saudi lies? No
Op-ed by Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan, published September 12, 2004 in the New York Daily News

When the Joint Congressional Select Committee on Intelligence, of which Sen. Bob Graham was co-chairman, released its report last year on the terrorist attacks of 9/11, many observers commented that it raised more questions about Saudi Arabia than it answered. Now, the public record has made it abundantly clear that there is no basis to that report's malicious insinuation that the government of Saudi Arabia was in any way complicit with the 9/11 attacks.

Graham continues to presume that Saudi citizen Omar al-Bayoumi is a link between the Saudi government and two of the hijackers. However, extensive investigation has produced no evidence to substantiate this presumption.

For example, a year ago, an article in The Washington Post stated: "The FBI, which recently completed interviews with Bayoumi in Saudi Arabia in reaction to pressure from Congress, has concluded that those claims are without merit and has largely abandoned further investigation, sources said."

After more debate and investigation, the 9/11 commission stated in its final report: "Despite persistent public speculation, there is no evidence that the hijackers who initially settled in San Diego ... received funding from" al-Bayoumi.

The commission staff report goes into further detail on al-Bayoumi: "Both we and the FBI have interviewed him and investigated evidence about him ... 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."

It is interesting that the most recent issue of Newsweek takes note of Graham's theory about al-Bayoumi, stating that Philip Zelikow, staff director of the 9/11 commission, "noted that his panel had access to more material than Graham did and ultimately got the chance to question al-Bayoumi. They concluded that he had no connection to 9/11. 'We've spent hours and hours with Bob on this,' says Zelikow, who believes Graham doesn't seem open to new evidence."

It is irresponsible of Graham to make statements that he says are based on intelligence when there are no bases for such allegations. Both the FBI and the 9/11 commission have completely discredited his claims.