In a court filing, the FBI mistakenly revealed the name of the Saudi official who was (allegedly) providing support to the 911 hijackers.
A sharp-eyed reporter at Yahoo News (of all outlets) noticed that the name was not redacted on a now withdrawn court document.
It turns out to be one Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah, who reported directly to the US Ambassador, Bandar, aka Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, aka “Bandar Bush” for his closeness to the Bush family.
Did I mention that he was also at one point head of Saudi intelligence?
The FBI inadvertently revealed one of the U.S. government’s most sensitive secrets about the Sept. 11 terror attacks: the identity of a mysterious Saudi Embassy official in Washington who agents suspected had directed crucial support to two of the al-Qaida hijackers.
The disclosure came in a new declaration filed in federal court by a senior FBI official in response to a lawsuit brought by families of 9/11 victims that accuses the Saudi government of complicity in the terrorist attacks.
The declaration was filed last month but unsealed late last week. According to a spokesman for the 9/11 victims’ families, it represents a major breakthrough in the long-running case, providing for the first time an apparent confirmation that FBI agents investigating the attacks believed they had uncovered a link between the hijackers and the Saudi Embassy in Washington.
“This shows there is a complete government cover-up of the Saudi involvement,” said Brett Eagleson, a spokesman for the 9/11 families whose father was killed in the attacks. “It demonstrates there was a hierarchy of command that’s coming from the Saudi Embassy to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs [in Los Angeles] to the hijackers.”
After being contacted by Yahoo News on Monday, Justice Department officials notified the court and withdrew the FBI’s declaration from the public docket. “The document was incorrectly filed in this case,” the docket now reads.
Ironically, the declaration identifying the Saudi official in question was intended to support recent filings by Attorney General William Barr and acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell barring the public release of the Saudi official’s name and all related documents, concluding they are “state secrets” that, if disclosed, could cause “significant harm to the national security.”
Who says irony is dead?
A few lines from the bottom of page 7 is the unredacted statement, “(i.e., any and all records referring or relating to Jarrah);”.
But while Sanborn’s 40-page declaration blacks out the Saudi official’s name in most instances, in one it failed to do so — a discrepancy first noted this week by a Yahoo News reporter.
A redacted copy of a three-and-a-half page October 2012 FBI “update” about the investigation stated that FBI agents had uncovered “evidence” that Thumairy and Bayoumi had been “tasked” to assist the hijackers by yet another individual whose name was blacked out, prompting lawyers for the families to refer to this person as “the third man” in what they argue is a Saudi-orchestrated conspiracy.
Describing the request by lawyers for the 9/11 families to depose that individual under oath, Sanborn’s declaration says in one instance that it involves “any and all records referring to or relating to Jarrah.”
The reference is to Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah, a mid-level Saudi Foreign Ministry official who was assigned to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., in 1999 and 2000. His duties apparently included overseeing the activities of Ministry of Islamic Affairs employees at Saudi-funded mosques and Islamic centers within the United States.
Relatively little is known about Jarrah, but according to former embassy employees, he reported to the Saudi ambassador in the United States (at the time Prince Bandar), and that he was later reassigned to the Saudi missions in Malaysia and Morocco, where he is believed to have served as recently as last year.
Also, as to is his current whereabouts?
Is that a bone saw I hear?
Jarrah “was responsible for the placement of Ministry of Islamic Affairs employees known as guides and propagators posted to the United States, including Fahad Al Thumairy,” according to a separate declaration by Catherine Hunt, a former FBI agent based in Los Angeles who has been assisting the families in the case.
Hunt conducted her own investigation into the support provided to the hijackers in Southern California. “The FBI believed that al-Jarrah was ‘supporting’ and ‘maintaining’ al-Thumairy during the 9/11 investigation,” she said in her declaration.