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FBI reveals name of Saudi official suspected of directing support for 9/11 jihadis

What is known about the Saudi involvement in 9/11 is detailed in The History of Jihad. But much more is not known, and the people who should be investigating, and should have investigated long ago, are clueless, compromised, or complicit.

“EXCLUSIVE: In court filing, FBI accidentally reveals name of Saudi official suspected of directing support for 9/11 hijackers,” by Michael Isikoff, Yahoo News, May 12, 2020

WASHINGTON — The FBI inadvertently revealed one of the U.S. government’s most sensitive secrets about the Sept. 11 terror attacks: the identity of a mysterious Saudi Embassy official in Washington who agents suspected had directed crucial support to two of the al-Qaida hijackers.

The disclosure came in a new declaration filed in federal court by a senior FBI official in response to a lawsuit brought by families of 9/11 victims that accuses the Saudi government of complicity in the terrorist attacks.

The declaration was filed last month but unsealed late last week. According to a spokesman for the 9/11 victims’ families, it represents a major breakthrough in the long-running case, providing for the first time an apparent confirmation that FBI agents investigating the attacks believed they had uncovered a link between the hijackers and the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

It’s unclear just how strong the evidence is against the former Saudi Embassy official — it’s been a subject of sharp dispute within the FBI for years. But the disclosure, which a senior U.S. government official confirmed was made in error, seems likely to revive questions about potential Saudi links to the 9/11 plot.

It also shines a light on the extraordinary efforts by top Trump administration officials in recent months to prevent internal documents about the issue from ever becoming public.

“This shows there is a complete government cover-up of the Saudi involvement,” said Brett Eagleson, a spokesman for the 9/11 families whose father was killed in the attacks. “It demonstrates there was a hierarchy of command that’s coming from the Saudi Embassy to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs [in Los Angeles] to the hijackers.”

Still, Eagleson acknowledged he was flabbergasted by the bureau’s slip-up in identifying the Saudi Embassy official in a public filing. Although Justice Department lawyers had last September notified lawyers for the 9/11 families of the official’s identity, they had done so under a protective order that forbade the family members from publicly disclosing it.

Now, the bureau itself has named the Saudi official. “This is a giant screwup,” Eagleson said….

In a portion describing the material sought by lawyers for the 9/11 families, Sanborn refers to a partially declassified 2012 FBI report about an investigation into possible links between the al-Qaida terrorists and Saudi government officials. That probe, the existence of which has only become public in the past few years, initially focused on two individuals: Fahad al-Thumairy, a Saudi Islamic Affairs official and radical cleric who served as the imam of the King Fahd Mosque in Los Angeles and Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi government agent who assisted two terrorists, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, who participated in the hijacking of the American Airlines plane that flew into the Pentagon, killing 125.

After the two hijackers flew to Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 2000, al-Bayoumi found them an apartment, lent them money and set them up with bank accounts.

A redacted copy of a three-and-a-half page October 2012 FBI “update” about the investigation stated that FBI agents had uncovered “evidence” that Thumairy and Bayoumi had been “tasked” to assist the hijackers by yet another individual whose name was blacked out, prompting lawyers for the families to refer to this person as “the third man” in what they argue is a Saudi-orchestrated conspiracy.

Describing the request by lawyers for the 9/11 families to depose that individual under oath, Sanborn’s declaration says in one instance that it involves “any and all records referring to or relating to Jarrah.”

The reference is to Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah, a mid-level Saudi Foreign Ministry official who was assigned to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., in 1999 and 2000. His duties apparently included overseeing the activities of Ministry of Islamic Affairs employees at Saudi-funded mosques and Islamic centers within the United States.

Relatively little is known about Jarrah, but according to former embassy employees, he reported to the Saudi ambassador in the United States (at the time Prince Bandar), and that he was later reassigned to the Saudi missions in Malaysia and Morocco, where he is believed to have served as recently as last year.

Jarrah has been on the radar screen of the lawyers for the 9/11 families for some time and is among nine current or former Saudi officials who they suspect have important information about the case and have sought to either question them or get access to FBI documents that mention them.

The families have also tapped former agents to help investigate the activities of the potential witnesses, including Jarrah.

Jarrah “was responsible for the placement of Ministry of Islamic Affairs employees known as guides and propagators posted to the United States, including Fahad Al Thumairy,” according to a separate declaration by Catherine Hunt, a former FBI agent based in Los Angeles who has been assisting the families in the case.

Hunt conducted her own investigation into the support provided to the hijackers in Southern California. “The FBI believed that al-Jarrah was ‘supporting’ and ‘maintaining’ al-Thumairy during the 9/11 investigation,” she said in her declaration….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.