Declassified US report clears Saudi Arabia of 9/11 links

Declassified US report clears Saudi Arabia of 9/11 links
A much-anticipated report that was classified for 14 years has revealed no links between Saudi Arabia's government and the fifteen Saudi hijackers that rocked the world on 9/11.
2 min read
16 July, 2016
Suspicions have clouded Saudi Arabia since the 9/11 attacks 14 years ago [AFP]

No evidence was found to suggest Saudi Arabia's government or leaders were involved in the deadly 9/11 attacks, declassified US documents showed on Friday.

Multiple suspicions were found but no proven ties linked the Saudi government, the congressional report revealed after more than a decade.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens.

The findings however show no smoking gun for Saudi involvement, but rather an inability to "identify definitively" Saudi links to attacks on US soil and global terror.

"While in the United States, some of the 9/11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi government," the declassified document said.

Several suspicions have clouded the kingdom in the 14 years since the attacks on the World Trade Centre.

An official from the Saudi interior ministry raised suspicions when he faked a seizure during FBI questioning about his links to a hijacker.

He was later released from hospital and managed to flee the country before he could be questioned again.

Several suspicions have clouded the kingdom in the 14 years since the attacks on the World Trade Centre

Intelligence also showed Osama bin Laden's half-brother was employed by the Saudi embassy in Washington and had close relations with a friend to Egyptian hijacker Mohammed Atta.

In California, a suspected Saudi intelligence operative was believed to have provided "substantial assistance" to two other hijackers.

Also, a phone book belonging to an al-Qaeda operative captured in Pakistan consisted of US contacts, notable a company which managed a Colorado property of the then Saudi ambassador.

But Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said the mentioned suspicions had been debunked following years of investigation.

"None of it has proven to be substantiated in any way," Jubeir told reporters in Washington. "The matter is now finished."

"We hope that with the release of these pages, the aspersions that have been cast against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the past 14 years will come to an end."

White House press secretary Josh Earnest appeared to back up that claim.

"This material was investigative material that was reviewed and followed up on by the independent 9/11 Commission," Earnest said.

"They don't shed any new light or change any of the conclusions about responsibility for the 9/11 attacks."

President Barack Obama had decided to declassify the so-called "28 pages" after former president George W. Bush ordered that part of the report be classified citing the need to protect methods and identities of US intelligence sources.