Executive Intelligence Review
Subscribe to EIW This article appears in the October 3, 2014 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
SAUDIS STONEWALL:

Explosive New Evidence
of Saudi Role in 9/11

by Edward Spannaus

[PDF version of this article]

Sept. 29—Despite their claims to want the release of the secret 28-page chapter from the 2002 Congressional Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks, the Saudis are actively resisting discovery of evidence relating to what is likely a central item in those 28 pages: the connection between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a southern California network that provided financial and logistical support to the 9/11 hijackers.

This could not be more urgent. At a time when the Obama Administration is plunging the nation into yet another war in the Middle East, ostensibly to destroy a terrorist group (Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL) created in large part by Saudi Arabia, public exposure of the Saudi role in sponsoring terrorism is of vital importance to our national security. Even worse, the Obama Administration claims to have recruited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as an ally in the anti-ISIS coalition. On the other side, in Washington, momentum is slowly building in Congress in support of HR 428, to force disclosure of the 28 pages.

Meanwhile, with little fanfare, lawyers for 9/11 victims and insurance companies have been aggressively pursuing discovery of evidence, as part of ongoing litigation in New York. The 9/11 plaintiffs received a big boost in late June, when the U.S. Supreme Court said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could be sued and potentially held liable for sponsoring the attacks. This was done over the objections of the Obama Administration, which, like the George W. Bush Administration before it, sided with the Saudis at every point in the protracted legal proceedings.

Just a few weeks ago, the 9/11 plaintiffs filed an updated statement of Facts and Evidence, which powerfully lays out the case for establishing the Kingdom's role in sponsorship of the 2001 terrorist attacks (see box). First, we review that filing, and then we will summarize recent Saudi attempts to obstruct the disclosure of evidence that would confirm its role, and provide the basis for establishing U.S. legal jurisdiction over the Kingdom and related entities.

'Lavish Sponsorship' of al-Qaeda

The Sept. 15 filing of the "Consolidated Amended Pleading of Facts and Evidence" has definitely raised the ante against Saudi Arabia and its protectors in the U.S. government.

Interestingly, the new pleading revives and updates the extremely detailed allegations against the Saudi Kingdom and its "charities" which were originally contained in the Lloyds suit against various Saudi banks and charities, which was filed and then mysteriously withdrawn in 2011.[1] The new, 157-page complaint contains all the essential material from the Lloyds suit—going back to the alliance between Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and the House of Saud in 1744, and the long history of Saudi-sponsored institutions financing the rise of jihadist movements, and particularly al-Qaeda, up through the 1990s—and updates it with a very detailed account of the San Diego/Saudi support operation, and a summary of the Sarasota/Saudi FOIA case, on which EIR has reported extensively.

New also, is the emphasis on the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, which, it says, "provided the Ulema [the Wahhabi religious leadership] with direct access to government resources and platforms to advance its Islamic and jihadist causes, including through the direct support of al Qaeda and the September 11th attacks," and which also provided critical support for the hijackers in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Berlin, Germany.

The new amended complaint states that the success of the 9/11 attacks "was made possible by the lavish sponsorship al Qaeda received from its material sponsors, including the Kingdom and SHC [Saudi High Commission], over more than a decade leading up to September 11, 2001." Without the critical financial and logistical support provided to Saudi government agents Omar al-Baymoumi, Fahad al-Thumairy, Osama Basnan, Anwar Aulaki, et al., "the hijackers would have been incapable of successfully carrying out the single worst enemy attack on United States soil this country had seen in 60 years."

Bayoumi, as the pleading explains, was a longtime employee of the Saudi government, and "served as a Saudi intelligence agent responsible for monitoring Saudi citizens' activities within the United States." Citing evidence from the Congressional Joint Inquiry and its co-chairman, former U.S. Senator Bob Graham, plus the 9/11 Commission and other investigations, the pleading details how Bayoumi, acting on instructions from Thumairy and other officials of the Saudi Consulate's Ministry of Islamic Affairs office in Los Angeles, welcomed future hijacker-pilots Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar to the U.S., and arranged for them to get settled and assimilated into the San Diego Muslim community. Bayoumi also hosted a third future hijacker-pilot, Hani Hanjour, in his apartment, and he put the hijackers in contact with al-Qaeda operative Aulaki, who was later killed by a targeted U.S. drone strike in Yemen.

Overall, the updated pleading presents an overwhelming case for establishing Saudi Arabia as not only the prime sponsor of 9/11, but the leading state sponsor of global terrorism today. The issue is whether the court will finally determine that it has the jurisdiction and enough specific evidence to hold the Saudi Kingdom and related entities liable for the 9/11 attacks.

Discovery of Evidence on Bayoumi

Last December, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York reversed its previous ruling, and ruled that Saudi Arabia and related entities could be sued for damages over the 9/11 attacks. In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of that ruling brought by the Kingdom, thus clearing the way for the lawsuit against the Saudis to proceed.

At the same time, the discovery of evidence concerning Bayoumi's employer, the Saudi aircraft firm Dallah Avco, was proceeding in Federal court in New York, as a result of a April 2013 ruling in which the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the earlier dismissal of Dallah Avco as a defendant, and sent the case back to the District Court for "jurisdictional discovery," i.e., to determine if sufficient evidence existed to give U.S. courts legal jurisdiction over the Saudi firm, which claimed that it did not conduct business in the United States.

The core of the 9/11 plaintiffs' argument, is the undisputed fact that Bayoumi, while in the U.S. assisting the future hijackers, was on the Dallah Avco payroll. The plaintiffs have faced intense obstruction from both Dallah Avco and the Saudi government itself, in their efforts to obtain the documentation which would prove this point, and which would confirm, as the plaintiffs have asserted, that Bayoumi was "a Saudi intelligence agent who provided direct assistance to several of the September 11th hijackers in support of the 9/11 attacks, while operating under the cover of a 'ghost job' provided by Dallah Avco."

Dallah Avco operates under contract with the Saudi Presidency of Civil Aviation (PCA), a government entity. Al-Bayoumi was on Dallah Avco's payroll from 1995 through 2001 in San Diego, allegedly working on a PCA project in Saudi Arabia, but he only showed up for work once in seven years! Meanwhile, he was, of course, providing direct assistance to three of the 9/11 hijackers, including assisting them in enrolling in flight training classes. The plaintiffs also cite evidence that al-Bayoumi (in addition to his salary of around $4,000 a month), "had access to seemingly unlimited funding from Saudi Arabia."

In an Aug. 25 court filing, lawyers for the plaintiffs charge that Dallah Avco has attempted a "wholesale" avoidance of discovery, and that its stonewalling amounts to "a total failure to comply with its discovery obligations." They show that, in Dallah Avco's efforts to avoid handing over evidence regarding al-Bayoumi, it has claimed that it cannot provide any more information, because the Saudi government and Saudi law will not permit any disclosure of this information, on the grounds that it would harm the Kingdom's "national security, interests, policies, or rights."

However, what little evidence has seeped out so far, is quite damning in terms of the overall case. In an index of documents which are claimed to be exempt from disclosure under Saudi law, are listed Dallah Avco documents showing that Bayoumi was "seconded" (posted) from the Saudi government's PCA annually from 1995 through 2001, and documents indicating that his salary was simply passed through Dallah Avco by the PCA, and that Bayoumi's higher education in the U.S. was under the sponsorship of the PCA, i.e., the Saudi government.

In fact, one document makes this case. In what appears to be a January 2014 letter to the PCA, Dallah Avco says that since Bayoumi was working on a PCA contract, "he was not an employee of Dallah Avco at any time," and that Dallah Avco was not familiar with Bayoumi's activities. This might help Dallah Avco evade the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts, but it confirms that Bayoumi was indeed a direct agent of the Saudi government in the period when he was aiding the 9/11 hijackers.


[1] Jeffrey Steinberg and Edward Spannaus, "Saudi Bankrolling of al-Qaeda Well Known to U.S. Government," EIR, Sept. 27, 2013.