Long-awaited 28 pages of 2002 congressional report released on Friday reads that “While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may have been connected to the Saudi Government”.
“There is information, primarily from FBI sources, that at least two of those individuals were alleged by some to be Saudi intelligence officers.” The report stressed.
The documents explain that the magnitude of Saudi involvement isn’t clear because the US government only began to “aggressively investigate” after the attack already occurred.
“In their testimony, neither CIA nor FBI witnesses were able to identify definitely the extent of Saudi support for terrorist activity globally or within the United States and the extent to which such support, if it exists, is knowing or inadvertent in nature," the report states.
However, it does list prominent Saudis suspected of being involved with terrorism by US intelligence agencies.
Omar al-Bayoumi, whom the FBI suspected to be a Saudi intelligence officer due to a "half dozen reports," is given a detailed summary in the newly released documents. The report starts that FBI files indicate that al-Bayoumi provided “substantial assistance” to 9/11 hijackers Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, two of the five terrorists who crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
Saudi Arabia, an ally to the US in west Asia, has firmly denied any involvement in the attacks and repudiated the accusations against it. The nation had previously fought against the declassification of the 28 pages.
Just in April, Riyadh threatened the US with economic fallout if Congress passed a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible based on findings from Friday’s report.
This tune changed with Friday’s release of the documents, with the Riyadh officially welcoming the report, in hopes that it would remove suspicions about the Saudi government’s actions.
"Since 2002, the 9/11 Commission and several government agencies, including the CIA and the FBI, have investigated the contents of the '28 Pages ' and have confirmed that neither the Saudi government, nor senior Saudi officials, nor any person acting on behalf of the Saudi government provided any support or encouragement for these attacks," Saudi’s ambassador to the US said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Saudi Arabia welcomes the release as it meaningfully had not cooperated with the agents in charge.
“In testimony and interviews, a number of FBI agents and CIA officers complained to the [inquiry] about a lack of Saudi cooperation in terrorism investigations both before and after the September 11th attacks,” the report reads.