Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Did the FBI lie about homegrown 9/11 connections?

At least one man believes the 9/11 hijackers had help in the U.S., and he’s called for an investigation into two classified documents that link Saudis living in Sarasota, Florida to the 9/11 hijackers. For years, conspiracy theorists have claimed Saudis organized 9/11. With 15 of the 19 hijackers being Saudis, this seemed to further bolster the claim.

And why was the FBI instructed to not say anything to embarrass the Saudis directly after 9/11? There’s a lot of questions about what happened that terrible day. Here is the latest news on the subject:

“Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired Congress’ Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has seen two classified FBI documents that he says are at odds with the bureau’s public statements that there was no connection between the hijackers and Saudis then living in Sarasota, Fla.

“There are significant inconsistencies between the public statements of the FBI in September and what I read in the classified documents,” Graham said. “One document adds to the evidence that the investigation was not the robust inquiry claimed by the FBI,” Graham said. “An important investigative lead was not pursued and unsubstantiated statements were accepted as truth.”

Whether the 9/11 hijackers acted alone, or whether they had support within the U.S., remains an unanswered question -- one that began to be asked as soon as it became known that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens. It was underlined when Congress’s bipartisan inquiry released its public report in July 2003. The final 28 pages, regarding possible foreign support for the terrorists, were censored in their entirety -- on President George W. Bush’s instructions.

Analysis of Prestancia gatehouse visitor logs and photographs of license tags showed that vehicles driven by several of the future hijackers had visited the al-Hijji home at 4224 Escondito Circle, according to a counterterrorism officer and former Prestancia administrator Larry Berberich. If that did occur, it will feed into suspicions that the hijackers had Saudi support -- a suspicion held by some official investigators but played down by the 9/11 Commission.

Newly released Florida Department of Law Enforcement documents, however, state that an informant told the FBI in 2004 that al-Hijji had considered Osama bin Laden a “hero” and may have known some of the hijackers. The informant, Wissam Hammoud, also said al-Hijji once introduced him to Adnan El Shukrijumah, an ex-Broward County resident and suspected al-Qaida operative on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.

Last September, FBI spokesmen also disputed Graham’s assertion that Congress was never told about the Sarasota investigation. Graham sees what he believes to be the suppression of evidence pointing to Saudi support for the 9/11 hijackers as arising from the perceived advantages to the West, at the time and now, of keeping Saudi Arabia happy. In late December, the U.S. announced a new $30 billion defense deal with the Saudis.

“I think that in the period immediately after 9/11 the FBI was under instructions from the Bush White House not to discuss anything that could be embarrassing to the Saudis,” Graham said. It is inexplicable why the Obama administration has been reticent to pursue the question of Saudi involvement in the 9/11 attack.”

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