The Biden administration declassified an FBI memo Saturday that fortified suspicions of official Saudi involvement with the hijackers within the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, but it fell well in need of proof that victims’ families suing Saudi Arabia had hoped for.
The memo from April 4, 2016, which had been classified so far, showed links between Omar Bayoumi, at the time a student but suspected to possess been a Saudi intelligence operative, and two of the Al-Qaeda operatives who took part in the plot to hijack and crash four airliners into targets in NY and Washington.
Based on 2009 and 2015 interviews with a source whose identity is assessed, the document details contacts and meetings between Bayoumi and therefore the two hijackers, Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Midhar, after the 2 arrived in Southern California in 2000 before the attacks.
It also strengthens already-reported links between the 2 and Fahad al Thumairy, a conservative imam at the King Faad mosque in l. a. and a politician at the Saudi consulate there.
The document says that telephone numbers related to the source indicated contact with variety of individuals who assisted Hamzi and Midhar while they were in California, including Bayoumi and Thumairy, also because of the source himself.
It says the source told the FBI that Bayoumi, beyond his official identity as a student, had “very high status” within the Saudi consulate.
“Bayoumi’s assistance to Hamzi and Midha included translation, travel, lodging, and financing,” the memo said.
The memo also said that the FBI source’s wife told them Bayoumi often talked about “jihad”.
And it further connects by meetings, phone calls and other communications, Bayoumi and Thumairy with Anwar al Alaki, the US-born cleric who became a crucial Al-Qaeda figure before he was killed during a drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
The document released was still significantly redacted and didn’t offer a transparent direct link between the Saudi government and therefore the hijackers.
It was released after President Joe Biden was pressured by relations of these killed on 9/11 who have sued Saudi Arabia for complicity.
Three successive US administrations have refused to declassify and release documents associated with the case, apparently because they are doing not want to wreck the US-Saudi relationship.
Jim Kreindler, one among the leaders of the lawsuit, said the document validates the lawsuit’s key contention that the Saudi government helped the hijackers.
“With this first release of documents, 20 years of Saudi Arabia relying on the United States government to hide up its role in 9/11 involves an end,” Kreindler said during a statement.
The families are still hoping for stronger evidence when more classified material is released inside subsequent six months, supported a Biden order.