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House investigation bush allowed 140 saudis leave after 911

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Posted on Thu, Sep. 18, 2003

National Briefs

Deutsch, Wexler seek probe into Saudi flights
From Herald staff and wire services

Two Democratic House members from South Florida, Peter Deutsch and Robert Wexler, are calling for an investigation into how Bush administration officials allowed about 140 Saudi nationals to leave the country in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

At a time when all private aviation was grounded, top officials allowed charter flights to pick up Saudis around the country and then leave for Saudi Arabia, according to reports in Vanity Fair and The Tampa Tribune.

The group included some members of the royal family and some relatives of Osama bin Laden. The departures occurred as investigators learned that 15 of the 19 hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks were from Saudi Arabia, and some Saudi officials said they feared a backlash against their citizens.

Deutsch and Wexler requested the General Accounting Office to launch a formal investigation of the incident.

''It is unconscionable that the Bush administration would bypass long-standing national security measures by urging the Saudis to repatriate 140 nationals the day after the largest attack in U.S. history,'' Wexler said.




President Bush said Wednesday there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks despite a new poll that found that nearly 70 percent of respondents believed the Iraqi leader probably was personally involved.

''There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al Qaeda ties,'' the president said. But he also said, ''We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the Sept. 11'' attacks.



Amtrak officials said they would seek a court injunction against a work stoppage that they said would be illegal.

Unions representing Amtrak workers said Wednesday they will shut down the railroad for a day on Oct. 3 to draw attention to chronic underfunding by the government.




BEDFORD -- Over bitter protests from law officers, 1960s radical Kathy Boudin was released from prison on parole Wednesday after serving 22 years for murder of two policemen and a security guard in an armored car holdup.

Boudin, 60, was recruited for the robbery by Black Liberation Army members and other radicals. Boudin was caught as she fled.

She had been a fugitive for the previous decade after she was seen running from an explosion at a New York City town house where a bomb had exploded.

Boudin has received several job offers, including one to develop programs for HIV-positive women.




LAS VEGAS -- A woman shot and killed a man who fell through her ceiling while she was getting dressed.

Police said the man was trying to evade arrest as a burglar, and that they believe the shooting Tuesday was justified.

''I think anyone would agree you'd feel your life was in danger when a burglar falls through your ceiling when you're just getting out of the shower,'' police Lt. Tom Monahan said.

The intruder had climbed into the crawl space to elude plainclothes police at his front door, police said.




FAIRFAX -- International laws and treaties do not prohibit Virginia from executing juveniles, a judge ruled Wednesday in the case against teenage sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo.

Defense lawyers had argued that an overwhelming consensus of foreign nations and certain international treaties combined to bar the execution of people under 18 at the time of their crime.

Prosecutor Robert F. Horan Jr. said the only treaty ratified by the United States that prohibits the execution of juveniles contains a specific exclusion from the U.S. Senate rejecting that part of the treaty.

Malvo, now 18 but 17 at the time of the sniper shootings, and John Allen Muhammad, 42, have been charged with 13 shootings, including 10 deaths, over a three-week span in October in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. They are also suspected or charged with shootings in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arizona and Washington state.

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