On Saturday, the Biden administration declassified an FBI study that bolstered suspicions of official Saudi collaboration with the 9/11 hijackers, but it fell far short of the proof sought by victims’ families in their lawsuit against Saudi Arabia.
Omar Bayoumi who was a student at the time but was suspected of being a Saudi intelligence asset. The paper indicated contacts between Bayoumi and two Al-Qaeda operatives involved in a plot to hijack and crash four planes into New York and Washington.
Discoveries from the FBI study
In 2009 and 2015, an unknown source interviewed Bayoumi and the two hijackers, Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Midhar, about their communications and interactions when they landed in Southern California in 2000, before the attacks.
It also verifies prior reports of the two’s friendship with Fahad al Thumairy, a hardline imam and Saudi consulate official at the King Faad mosque in Los Angeles.
According to the publication, the source’s phone numbers suggested involvement with a number of people who helped Hamzi and Midhar in California, including Bayoumi and Thumairy, as well as the source himself. Additionally, Bayoumi held “very high status” at the Saudi consulate, according to the FBI’s source.
Bayoumi’s support for Hamzi and Midha included translation, travel arrangements, lodging, and financial assistance according to the memo.
It was reported that Bayoumi and his wife discussed “jihad” a great deal. There is apparently a connection between Bayoumi and Thumairy and Anwar al Alaki, a prominent Al-Qaeda cleric who was assassinated by a drone strike in Yemen, a year previously.
Heavy redaction in the report
The material was severely redacted, and no clear link between the Saudi government and the hijackers could be found. It was released after 9/11 families pressured President Joe Biden, who is suing Saudi Arabia for its role in the attacks.
Three US administrations have refused to declassify and exchange key case documents, presumably to protect the US-Saudi partnership.
The document, according to Jim Kreindler, one of the lawsuit’s leaders, backs up the lawsuit’s key argument that the Saudi government supported the hijackers.
“Saudi Arabia’s 20-year reliance on the US government to conceal its role in 9/11 has come to an end with this initial release of papers,” Kreindler said in a statement.
According to a Biden directive, further secret material will be made public in the next six months, providing more evidence to the families.
India’s ambassador to the United States pays respect to the victims
India’s Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, said that September 11 is a “stark reminder” of the continued threat of terrorism and that the world must unite against it as he paid respect to the victims of the terror attacks at the 9/11 Memorial.
“I visited the 9/11 Memorial in #NewYork today to pay my respects. “In memory of all the victims of these horrible acts, “ Mr. Sandhu made the comment in a tweet on Saturday.
“The 20th anniversary of 9/11 serves as a stark reminder of #terrorism’s continuous menace. The entire world must unite to combat this threat!” Mr. Sandhu elaborated.
Mr Sandhu was accompanied by India’s Consul General in New York, Randhir Jaiswal, and officials from the Indian Embassy and Consulate to pay their tributes at the 9/11 Memorial. The memorial pools are built on the site of the North and South Towers, which were destroyed when planes hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists collided with them.
On the bronze parapets that surround the memorial pools, the names of the 2,983 victims killed in the terrorist attacks of 2001 and 1993 are inscribed.
Flowers and national flags were placed on the bronze rims of the memorial pools to honour the victims of the 9/11 attacks. The Indian tricolour was also flown near the names of Indians who died as a result of the terrorist attacks.