FBI accidentally names Saudi diplomat suspected of 9/11 involvement on court document
This is the first time a Saudi embassy official has been explicitly linked to the attack, bringing fresh doubt to Riyadh’s continued denial of involvement in the attacks that killed close to 3,000 people and set the precedent for US foreign policy in the Middle East.
A “third man” involved in the support of terrorists has inadvertently been named as “Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah”, a mid-level Saudi Foreign Ministry official.
An FBI declaration filed last month had been unsealed last week, a spokesperson for the 9/11 victims’ families told Yahoo News.
The families launched a wide-reaching lawsuit accusing the Saudi government of involvement in the terrorist attacks in New York in 2001.
“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.”
Naming the Saudi official, which had been redacted all but once in the document, was a “giant screwup,” Eagleson said.
Justice Department officials withdrew the FBI’s declaration from the public docket after being contacted by the publication, and the docket reads: “The document was incorrectly filed in this case.”
The declaration was filed by Jill Sanborn, the assistant director of the FBI’s counterterrorism division.
The document read that two individuals, Fahad al-Thumairy, a Saudi Islamic Affairs official who had served as the imam of the King Fahd Mosque in Los Angeles and Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi government agent had assisted two 9/11 terrorists, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.
The pair had reportedly been set up with an apartment, money and bank accounts by al-Bayoumi, though a redacted copy of an FBI update from October 2012 identified “evidence” that Thumairy and Bayoumi had been “tasked” to help the hijackers by a third individual, whose name had been blacked out.
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However Sanborn’s declaration appears to name him once, in an instance that she says involves “any and all records referring to or relating to Jarrah,” when the families’ lawyer asked to depose the individual under oath.
The reference is to Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah, a mid-level Saudi Foreign Ministry official who had been assigned to the Saudi Embassy in Washington in 1999 and 2000.
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, an ex-FBI agent aiding the families in the case.