The FBI concluded this year it has not identified any Saudi officials responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks or who knowingly conspired to help the hijackers carry out their operation.
The FBI released hundreds of pages of declassified and largely unredacted documents on Tuesday night, including 725 pages of witness statements and the 11-page May 2021 electronic communication from the FBI’s New York office, which closed its investigation into the 9/11 attacks and possible criminal links with the Saudi government earlier this year.
“After nearly twenty years after the attack, the FBI has not identified additional groups or individuals responsible for the attack other than those currently charged, which is consistent with the final conclusion of the 9/11 Commission Report,” the FBI stated in the document. “The NYO completed all logical and reasonable investigative steps in accordance with established Counterterrorism Division guidance. No potential criminal violations or priority threats to national security warranting further investigation were identified. All leads have been completed.”
Although Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attacks, 9/11 victims' families have pointed to links such as Omar al Bayoumi, said to have been a former Saudi intelligence officer, and Fahad al Thumairy, a former Saudi Consulate official who helped lead the King Fahad Mosque, who had contacts with Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar, two of the 15 Saudis among the 19 hijackers.
Mihdhar and Hazmi, “muscle” hijackers on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, were the first hijackers to enter the United States, arriving in Los Angeles in January 2000. The two met Bayoumi at a Los Angeles restaurant on Feb. 1, 2000, and he reportedly helped them open bank accounts and rent apartments in the same complex as him in San Diego.
Musaed al Jarrah also worked at the Saudi Embassy and helped oversee employees at the Islamic affairs ministry at mosques across the U.S., but the FBI said it did not find information indicating he had personal contact with the hijackers.
The FBI said the Southern District of New York agreed with closing the inquiry but said it would consider reopening if new information came to light.
The FBI cited “consent statements” from various al Qaeda members, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, currently being held at Guantanamo Bay.
“They did not make the attack plans known in advance to others for fear the nature of the attack would be discovered, which is consistent with the FBI's assessment of the last two decades of large scale AQ-related attacks,” the bureau said. “Specifically, in relation to the 9/11 attacks, the hijackers knew there was a martyrdom operation, but did not know about the nature of the operation until shortly before the attack for operational security reasons.”
The FBI said this detainee information “corroborated that Thumairy, Bayoumi, and Al Jarrah did not knowingly conspire to assist the AQ hijackers in furtherance of the 9/11 attack.”
The FBI said that “insufficient evidence existed to prosecute Thumairy, Bayoumi, and Al-Jarrah for wittingly conspiring to assist the AQ hijackers in furtherance of the 9/11 attack.”
Many of the declassified records dated April 2016 centered on Bayoumi meeting the two future hijackers at the restaurant, casting serious doubt on his claims the meeting happened by chance.
But the FBI’s declassified records from September stated that a yet-unnamed Saudi “was tasked by Thumairy to assist Hazmi and Midhar while they were in Los Angeles,” with the hijackers described as “two very significant people.”
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