FBI accidentally reveals Saudi diplomat linked to 9/11
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has accidentally uncovered the name of a Saudi diplomat doubted of leading support to two al-Qaeda hijackers in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Yahoo News published.
The mistake about the identity of the Saudi embassy official was made in a declaration by an FBI official in response to a lawsuit by families of 9/11 victims who accuse Saudi Arabia’s government of involvement in the attacks, the report said on Tuesday.
The filing by Jill Sanborn, the assistant director of the FBI’s counterterrorism unit, was issued in April but opened late last week, according to Yahoo News.
Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah was falsely named in the declaration. Al-Jarrah was a mid-level Saudi Foreign Ministry official who was appointed to the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C. in 1999 and 2000.
He was in command of managing the ventures of Ministry of Islamic Affairs workers at Saudi-funded mosques and Islamic centers in the US, according to the report.
A redacted transcript of a three-and-a-half page October 2012 FBI “update” about the inquiry stated that FBI agents had exposed “evidence” that al-Thumairy and al-Bayoumi had been “tasked” to support two hijackers by another person whose name stood blacked out. This prompted the lawyers for the families of the 9/11 victims to refer to this individual as “the third man”.
Describing the request by the lawyers to depose that person under oath, Sanborn’s declaration said in one instance that it involved “any and all records referring to or relating to Jarrah”, according to Yahoo News.
This represented the first public confirmation that the so-called “third man” was an accredited Saudi diplomat. But all of the FBI evidence the agents had gathered about al-Jarrah and his communications about the two attackers remain under seal, the report said.
“This proves there is a total government cover-up of the Saudi association,” Brett Eagleson, a spokesperson for the families, reported Yahoo News. “This is a huge screwup.”
Yahoo News stated it contacted the Justice Department on Monday, but administrators informed the court and removed the FBI’s declaration from the civilian docket. “The document was inaccurately filed in this case,” the docket now states, said the report.
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers involved in the 9/11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people, were Saudi citizens.
The Saudi government has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attacks in which al-Qaeda-affiliated men hijacked and crashed planes into New York’s World Trade Center, destroying the towering buildings and sending plumes of debris shooting through the most populous US city.