JUNE 03, 2004
Judicial Watch Turns Over List of Saudis Flying From U.S. Immediately After Terrorist Attacks
(Washington, D.C.) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, yesterday submitted to the 9/11 Commission documents that show that Saudi Arabian nationals, including bin Laden family members, were allowed to fly out of the United States immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The documents represent the first admission by the government that the flights occurred at all. Judicial Watch is asking the 9/11 Commission to investigate and reconcile previous contradictory testimony about Saudis being allowed to leave the country.
The documents, obtained from the Office of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection through a Freedom of Information Act request, show that 160 Saudis were allowed to leave on 55 commercial flights from airports around the country between Sept. 11 and Sept. 15, 2001. Judicial Watch received no response from six other agencies about the Saudi flights. (For a copy of the documents, visit Judicial Watch’s Internet site at www.judicialwatch.org/archive/2004/homelandsecurity.pdf.)
Author Craig Unger, in a June 1, 2004, New York Times opinion piece, pointed out that the 9/11 Commission is investigating only the departure of 142 Saudis on six charter flights. The commission was never told about the additional 160 Saudis who left.
Although the FBI says that it checked the manifests of the flights taken by the Saudis against its terror watch list, the 9/11 panel has indicated that there is no evidence that happened.
“We believe the American people deserve to know why the bin Laden family and other Saudi nationals were allowed to flee the United States in the days following 9/11 without even being questioned,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We hope to get to the bottom of this disturbing event.”