News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinecabal-elitew-administrationsaudis — Viewing Item

The great saudi escape { June 1 2004 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

June 1, 2004
The Great Escape

Americans who think the 9/11 commission is going to answer all the crucial questions about the terrorist attacks are likely to be sorely disappointed -- especially if they're interested in the secret evacuation of Saudis by plane that began just after Sept. 11.

We knew that 15 out of 19 hijackers were Saudis. We knew that Osama bin Laden, a Saudi, was behind 9/11. Yet we did not conduct a police-style investigation of the departing Saudis, of whom two dozen were members. of the bin Laden family. That is not to say that they were complicit in the attacks.

Unfortunately, though, we may never know the real story. The investigative panel has already concluded that there is "no credible evidence that any chartered flights of Saudi Arabian nationals departed the United States before the reopening of national airspace." But the real point is that there were still some restrictions on American airspace when the Saudi flights began.

In addition, new evidence shows that the evacuation involved more than the departure of 142 Saudis on six charter flights that the commission is investigating. According to newly released documents, 160 Saudis left the United States on 55 flights immediately after 9/11 -- making a total of about 300 people who left with the apparent approval of the Bush administration, far more than has been reported before. The records were released by the Department of Homeland Security in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative, nonpartisan watchdog group in Washington.

The vast majority of the newly disclosed flights were commercial airline flights, not charters, often carrying just two or three Saudi passengers. They originated from more than 20 cities, including Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit and Houston. One Saudi Arabian Airlines flight left Kennedy Airport on Sept. 13 with 46 Saudis. The next day, another Saudi Arabian Airlines flight left with 13 Saudis.

The panel has indicated that it has yet to find any evidence that the F.B.I. checked the manifests of departing flights against its terror watch list. The departures of additional Saudis raise more questions for the panel. Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar, told The Hill newspaper recently that he took full responsibility for approving some flights. But we don't know if other Bush administration officials participated in the decision.

The passengers should have been questioned about any links to Osama bin Laden, or his financing. We have long known that some faction of the Saudi elite has helped funnel money to Islamist terrorists --inadvertently at least. Prince Ahmed bin Salman, who has been accused of being an intermediary between Al Qaeda and the House of Saud, boarded one of the evacuation planes in Kentucky. Was he interrogated by the F.B.I. before he left?

If the commission dares to address these issues, it will undoubtedly be accused of politicizing one of the most important national security investigations in American history -- in an election year, no less.

But if it does not, it risks something far worse -- the betrayal of the thousands of people who lost their lives that day, not to mention millions of others who want the truth.

Craig Unger is the author of "House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Al waleed saudi prince disney netscape
Bechtel tied bin ladens { May 5 2003 }
Binladen bechtel { May 1 2003 }
Binladen carlyle { October 31 2001 }
Binladen family carlyle group { January 8 2002 }
Bush saudi holding hands may 08 [jpg]
House investigation bush allowed 140 saudis leave after 911
Saudi prince citibank
Saudi prince euro disney
Saudis buying gwbush { March 12 2004 }
Saudis citibank
Saudis lavish expensive gifts on white house { August 4 2004 }
Saudis secretly helped us in iraq war { April 25 2004 }
The great saudi escape { June 1 2004 }

Files Listed: 14


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple