FBI Documents Raise Questions about Saudi and al-Aulaqi Connections to 9/11 Attacks
Judicial Watch: FBI Documents Raise Additional Questions about Saudi and al-Aulaqi Connections to 9/11 Attacks
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained 79 pages of investigative reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) providing further evidence of ties between terrorist leaders Anwar al-Aulaqi and Omar al-Bayoumi, the government of Saudi Arabia, and FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) counter-terrorism investigations in the days leading up to the 9-11 terrorist attack.
Included in the new documents are dozens of pages of a case-establishing “Letterhead Memorandum” from the FBI’s Washington headquarters and San Diego field office. Limited portions of some of the memos had been previously released, but with many of the key elements heavily redacted. The documents came in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the U.S. Department of State and FBI on June 4, 2012.
Among the new revelations contained in the 79 pages of documents are the following:
- The FBI had early suspicions about closer ties between Aulaqi and 9-11 hijacker Nawaf al-Hazmi than Aulaqi admitted: “This data suggests a more pervasive connection between al-Hazmi and Aulaqi than he [Aulaqi] admitted to during his interview with the FBI.”
- The FBI had confirmed Aulaqi’s nexus with other FBI counter-terrorism investigations: “[Investigations] of Aulaqi reveal further links to other FBI International Terrorist investigations including … the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the United States.”
- The documents explicitly state that as far back as 2001, Omar al-Bayoumi was reportedly a Saudi intelligence agent: “An individual who has requested confidentiality has stated al-Bayoumi is believed to have worked for the Saudi Arabian Intelligence Service and reports on dissident Saudis in the U.S. Rental and other records indicate al-Bayoumi consistently indicated his occupation as a student.”
- Several pages of heavily redacted investigative reports contain analysis of pen registers of al-Aulaqi calls. These include a reference to an al-Aulaqi nexus with the DEA investigation, as well as contacts between al-Aulaqi and al-Bayoumi: “DEA Analysts are continuing analysis of telephone call activity …” and al-Aulaqi “… was also involved in call activity with … San Diego PENTTBOM subject OMAR AL-BAYOUMI. AL-BAYOUMI cosigned the lease of an apartment rented by [terrorist hijackers] NAWAF ALHAZMI and KHALID ALMIHDHAR.”
- Omar al-Bayoumi’s activities while in San Diego, California, were apparently on behalf of the government of Saudi Arabia according to an unidentified FBI source: al-Bayoumi disclosed “to others at the Islamic Center of San Diego (ICSD) he had friends or contacts at the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles, California … [redacted] advised AL-BAYOUMI was extremely close to other ICSD Saudis … believed AL-BAYOUMI was in the United States on scholarship from the Saudi Airport Authority of Saudi Airlines ….” Saudi Airlines is the flag-carrying airline of Saudi Arabia.
- Omar al-Bayoumi was one of dozens of other Saudis in the U.S. on similar arrangements: “[Redacted] identified AL-BAYOUMI as a ghost employee of AVCO Oversees … estimated that there were approximately fifty (50) individuals carried on the books and PCA or Dallah and being paid for doing nothing.” Dallah AVCO is headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
According to a New York Times article on a secret Congressional report in 2003, Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi national, was suspected of being a Saudi intelligence agent who may have reported to Saudi government officials. The article said that al-Bayoumi was employed by a contractor to the Saudi civil aviation authority, and received payments authorized by a Saudi official. According to the Times story, “The payments authorized by the Saudi official increased significantly after Mr. al-Bayoumi came in contact with the two hijackers in early 2000, the classified part of the report states.”
On September 11, 2013, Judicial Watch released surveillance reports and logs it had obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealing that FBI agents trailed al-Aulaqi to the front doors of the Pentagon on the day he spoke as an invited guest at a Department of Defense luncheon. The day before the surveillance and luncheon, al-Aulaqi had been identified as a “terrorist organization member,” and an FBI alert had been issued reading, “Warning – approach with caution . . . Do not alert the individual to the FBI’s interest and contact your local FBI field office at the earliest opportunity.” [Emphasis added] Judicial Watch had previously obtained documents from the U.S. State Department indicating that the (FBI) was aware on September 27, 2001, that al-Aulaqi had purchased airplane tickets for three of the 9/11 terrorist hijackers, including mastermind Mohammed Atta. Subsequent to the FBI’s discovery, al-Aulaqi was detained and released by authorities at least twice.
“These documents suggest that there remain serious questions about what is obviously Saudi intelligence asset was doing in assisting the 9/11 hijackers,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “As these newly released documents confirm, as far back as the 9-11 attacks, the FBI had substantial evidence that both al-Aulaqi and al-Bayoumi were involved in 9/11. Yet, neither was arrested, one was not punished for a dozen years, and the other still roams free. We intend to keep digging into this critical issue. It should cause concern that none of these questions were answered before Obama ordered al-Aulaqi’s controversial assassination.”