In what is being described as a “giant screw up,” the FBI leaked the name of a Saudi Embassy official who was believed to have directed support for the 9-11 attackers. In a court filing, the name was redacted on all but one page, noticed by Yahoo reporter Michael Isikoff…which means an oversight that could have not just national security ramifications, but a potential boon for the families who are suing the Saudi government for helping the attacks. The FBI pulled the documents, but not before the news got hold of it. The US Government strongly believes Saudi Arabia is an ally.
The Saudi Embassy Official
Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff reported,
In a portion describing the material sought by lawyers for the 9/11 families, Sanborn refers to a partially declassified 2012 FBI report about an investigation into possible links between the al-Qaida terrorists and Saudi government officials. That probe, the existence of which has only become public in the past few years, initially focused on two individuals: Fahad al-Thumairy, a Saudi Islamic Affairs official and radical cleric who served as the imam of the King Fahd Mosque in Los Angeles and Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi government agent who assisted two terrorists, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, who participated in the hijacking of the American Airlines plane that flew into the Pentagon, killing 125.
After the two hijackers flew to Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 2000, al-Bayoumi found them an apartment, lent them money and set them up with bank accounts.
A redacted copy of a three-and-a-half page October 2012 FBI “update” about the investigation stated that FBI agents had uncovered “evidence” that Thumairy and Bayoumi had been “tasked” to assist the hijackers by yet another individual whose name was blacked out, prompting lawyers for the families to refer to this person as “the third man” in what they argue is a Saudi-orchestrated conspiracy.
Families who are suing the Saudi Government demanded a deposition from that “third man,” named as Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah, who was described as a “midlevel” Saudi Embassy official in 1999-2000.
“The FBI believed that al-Jarrah was ‘supporting’ and ‘maintaining’ al-Thumairy during the 9/11 investigation.” Catherine Hunt, former FBI Agent who has been asssiting the families of 9-11
The fact that the FBI inadvertantly leaked Jarrah’s name is simply typical of a government entity that didn’t properly review the documents. They stated that they found “no evidence” that the Saudi government itself or its “senior officials” had anything to do with the 9-11 attacks. Maybe, maybe not. The 9-11 Commission also had suspicions about Jarrah’s involvement. But the involvement of Jarrah does make an interesting twist in the lawsuit brought by the families.
It’s highly unlikely that Saudi Arabia will ever allow the victims’ families access to get a deposition from this man. Even in the interest of transparency and blaming the man for the entire thing, in light of the lawsuit, they’ll probably not acknowledge it. However…will Jarrah lose his head over the matter?
Featured photo via Saudi Embassy Washington DC