9/11 Cover Is Blown
by Jeffrey Steinberg
July 10—In the report that follows, you will discover that some of the most fundamental assumptions that you have been clinging to, since Sept. 11, 2001—assumptions that Lyndon LaRouche warned against—have been a total fraud. Much of what you have been told about the events of 9/11 have been a hoax. The truth, which is clearly revealed in newly declassified documents, available through the National Archives, is that two leading, presumed U.S. allies—Saudi Arabia and Great Britain—were up to their eyeballs in the attacks on New York City and Washington. The United States was betrayed by leading elements within the Saudi Arabian Royal Family and intelligence services, in league with the British Empire. And, top officials of the Bush-Cheney White House, the Justice Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were both aware of, and fully complicit in the coverup of the crime of the century.
The Anglo-Saudi alliance behind the 9/11 atrocity is represented, most graphically, by a 25-year-old secret intelligence arrangement, concealed beneath a lucrative arms-for-oil barter deal called "al-Yamamah." There is now sufficient, credible evidence that funds from the offshore al-Yamamah accounts were funneled to at least two of the 9/11 hijackers, to warrant a high-profile Justice Department probe, without delay.
The newly released documents, when cross-gridded with other evidence already in the public domain, confirm the Anglo-Saudi hand behind 9/11, and debunk nearly eight years of conspiracy rubbish, that have portrayed the attacks as a scheme by cave-dwellers and "under-the-floorboard" mysterious forces. The writings of a former LaRouche associate, Webster Tarpley, more or less typify the kind of off-course conspiracy mongering that is now thoroughly discredited by the new material and the larger picture assembled by EIR researchers. (See also this April 17, 2009 EIR article).
Elements of the story have already been reported in EIR, and LaRouche instinctively pointed to the true nature of the operation, in a now-famous radio interview that he gave to the Salt Lake City-based syndicated radio host Dr. Jack Stockwell, as the hijacked planes were crashing into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
If the full implications of the new, confirming evidence of the Anglo-Saudi hand in the 9/11 attack are comprehended and acted on, by the appropriate U.S. and other government services, one of the root sources of global asymmetric warfare can be wiped out—with many other side benefits as well.
The New Evidence
Early this year, the National Archives released documents from the files of the 9/11 Commission, which were previously classified. Three of those documents, recently obtained by EIR, provide the "smoking gun," proving the central role of Saudi intelligence, and the critical support role of British intelligence in the preparation, execution, and coverup of 9/11. The most significant of the documents, still partly classified, is a "Memorandum for the Record," summarizing an April 23, 2004 interview with a Southern California-based FBI informant, who rented out a room in his home to two of the 9/11 hijackers, during 2000. Although the memorandum redacted the informant's name, other public sources have identified the man as Abdussattar Shaikh. His FBI handler has also been publicly named as Steven Butler.
In the interview, Shaikh provided a detailed account of his first encounter with the two 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar. In April 2000, Shaikh posted an announcement on the bulletin board at the Islamic Center of San Diego (ICSD), offering to rent rooms in his home to "devout Muslims." At the time he posted the ad, Shaikh was already acting as a paid informant for the FBI. According to his account to 9/11 Commission investigators Quinn John Tamm, Jr. and Dietrich Snell, Shaikh was approached after Friday prayers by al-Hazmi, who said he and al-Mihdhar urgently needed housing. By Shaikh's account, the two men moved into his home on May 10, 2000. Al-Mihdhar left after six weeks, claiming that he was returning to Saudi Arabia to visit his wife and young child. Al-Hazmi lived in the room until Dec. 10, 2000, when he moved out to attend pilot school in Arizona.
At one point in the interview, the 9/11 investigators asked Shaikh about another Saudi, Omar al-Bayoumi. From the Commission document: "Dr. Xxxxxx [Shaikh] noted that Omar al-Bayoumi also visited al-Hazmi at his house. Dr. Xxxxxx knew al-Bayoumi as a Saudi national who Dr. Xxxxxx met at the ICSD. Al-Bayoumi stated to Dr. Xxxxxx when he visited, that 'I referred them (al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar) to you.' Dr. Xxxxxx restated that his was not the case and that he met the two in the hallway of the ICSD after the Friday prayer service."
The report continued: "Al-Hazmi did not like al-Bayoumi and told Dr. Xxxxxx that al-Bayoumi was 'an agent for the Saudis.' Al-Hazmi complained to Dr. Xxxxxx that al-Bayoumi videotaped people associated with the ICSD constantly. Dr. Xxxxxx noted that was his experience when he attended events at the ICSD. Dr. Xxxxxx said that al-Bayoumi always had his videotape recorder and sought comment to the open mike on the videotape recorder. Dr. Xxxxxx stated that, 'I have heard that al-Bayoumi is an agent (of the Saudis).' "
Shaikh's candid description of al-Bayoumi as a Saudi intelligence agent, in regular contact with one of the 9/11 hijackers, is stunning in its own right. The fact that Shaikh was an FBI informant, who, according to several U.S. intelligence sources, regularly received payments from the Bureau to keep tabs on the Muslim community in the San Diego area, and hosted two of the hijackers, is equally stunning. But the full extent of the al-Bayoumi dossier, as known to the FBI and other U.S. government agencies, goes well beyond the surface scandal.
Al-Bayoumi was far more than a "frequent visitor" to Shaikh's home, while al-Hazmi was living there. The essential facts are as follows.
On Jan. 15, 2000, al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on a flight from Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, where they had attended a meeting of number of al-Qaeda members and allies. The two men were met at the airport by al-Bayoumi, who brought them to San Diego, rented them an apartment, co-signed the lease, and even put down a $1,500 deposit and rent. Al-Bayoumi would later arrange for the two men to enroll in flight training school.
Al-Bayoumi's association with three of the 9/11 hijackers (he hosted a third hijacker, Hani Hanjour, at his apartment on a number of occasions, in the Spring of 2000, according to FBI and Congressional documents) prompted one Federal government source to tell reporters, "Some Federal investigators suspect that al-Bayoumi could have been an advance man for the 9/11 hijackers."
But, al-Bayoumi was also, undisputedly, an agent of Saudi intelligence! According to the FBI and CIA dossiers on him, and records from both the House-Senate joint intelligence probe and the 9/11 Commission, al-Bayoumi came to the United States in August 1994. He was previously employed by the Saudi Ministry of Defense, and continued to draw a salary of $3,000 a month from the Ministry after he moved to the United States, through 2002. In the U.S., he was formally listed as an employee of Dallah Avco, a Saudi defense company that held lucrative contracts with the Ministry of Defense and Aviation, and was owned by members of the Saudi Royal Family. According to U.S. Federal investigators, al-Bayoumi never actually did any work for Dallah Avco. However, his monthly salary from the firm increased to $3,500 right after al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar arrived in the U.S.A.
Further adding to al-Bayoumi's considerable personal finances, in June 1998, an anonymous contribution arrived from Saudi Arabia. The $500,000 was a down-payment on a new mosque, to be built in San Diego—with the proviso that Omar al-Bayoumi be appointed as director of maintenance, with an office and a guaranteed salary. Eyewitnesses told the FBI and the 9/11 Commission that al-Bayoumi was rarely seen at the mosque.
Al-Bayoumi was, however, in constant communication with top Saudi government officials in the United States and in Riyadh. According to the records of the joint Congressional investigation and the 9/11 Commission, between January 2000—when al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar arrived in California—and May 2000, al-Bayoumi made 32 calls to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., 37 calls to the Saudi Cultural Mission in Washington, and 24 calls to the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles. His contact at the Consulate was Fahad Thumairy, who held diplomatic credentials, but was one of the most virulently anti-American imams in the area. He would be deported from the United States after 9/11.
In late June or early July 2001, al-Bayoumi and his wife, Manal Ahmed Bagader, suddenly left San Diego, and moved to England, where al-Bayoumi ostensibly entered business school at Aston University. Within days after the 9/11 attacks, he was detained by Scotland Yard and held for one week. However, he was released for lack of evidence, and he immediately left England for Saudi Arabia.
Omar al-Bayoumi was not alone in his liaison work between Saudi intelligence and some of the 9/11 hijackers. He worked closely with another Saudi intelligence officer, Osama Basnan, who entered the United States in 1980 on a short-term tourist visa, but remained in the country until October 2002, when he and his wife were deported as illegal aliens.
An FBI report, written shortly after 9/11, warned that evidence gathered on Basnan "could indicate that he succeeded Omar al-Bayoumi and may be undertaking activities on behalf of the Government of Saudi Arabia." An FBI classified report, dated Oct. 3, 2001, noted that Basnan was in contact with members of the bin Laden family, who were living in the United States. In the days immediately following 9/11, members of the bin Laden family in the United States, along with other top Saudis, were quietly flown home—at a time when no other non-military flights were being allowed.
Basnan was a subject of FBI interest long before Sept. 11. In 1992, according to news accounts, Basnan was investigated by the Bureau for ties to Eritrean Islamic Jihad (EIJ), an organization that was closely linked to al-Qaeda by no later than 1996. On Oct. 17, 1992, Basnan, then living in Washington, D.C., hosted a party at his home for Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, the so-called "blind sheikh," now in jail for plotting terrorist attacks in New York City. At the time, according to U.S. intelligence sources, the FBI produced a still-classified report, detailing Basnan's work for the Saudi government, despite his ties to Islamic radicals.
Indeed, U.S. intelligence sources report that Basnan was arrested on drug charges in the Los Angeles area, but the charges were dropped, after intensive pressure from the Saudi Embassy.
The Ambassador and the Princess
If Omar al-Bayoumi's ties to the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation are firmly established, his personal ties to the former Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and his wife, Princess Haifa, are even less in dispute. In April 1998, Prince Bandar, who is also the son of the Saudi Defense Minister, Prince Sultan, sent a check to Basnan in the amount of $15,000. Bandar claims that the check was an "act of charity," in response to a written appeal by Basnan for help in paying medical bills for his wife. Beginning in November 1999, just weeks before the two 9/11 hijackers arrived at the Los Angeles Airport, Princess Haifa began sending monthly cashiers checks, from her account at Riggs National Bank in Washington, to Basnan's wife, Majida Ibrahim Ahmad Dweikat. The checks continued until May 2002. The royal couple sent a total of $53-72,000 to Basnan and his wife. According to the House-Senate joint investigation, many of the cashier checks from Princess Haifa to Basnan's wife were signed over to the wife of al-Bayoumi. Most of these transactions took place while Basnan and al-Bayoumi were "handling" the financial affairs of at least two of the 9/11 hijackers, al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar. And the pair of Saudi intelligence officers also had some, as yet not-fully-known ties to a third hijacker, Hani Hanjour.
Prince Bandar's BAE Bounty
At the time that Prince Bandar and Princess Haifa were making their "charitable" contributions to Basnan and al-Bayoumi, the then-Saudi Ambassador to the United States was on the receiving end of at least $2 billion in kickbacks from Great Britain's premier defense firm, BAE Systems. The BAE scandal exploded into the public view several years ago, when BBC, the London Guardian, and other publications revealed that BAE was making tens of billions of dollars in payouts to Saudi Defense Ministry officials, and other members of the Saudi Royal Family, in return for arms contracts worth a fortune.
The BAE-Saudi scandal dated all the way back to 1985, when Prince Bandar personally brokered a deal with then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, to sell an initial $40 billion in BAE military hardware and services to Saudi Arabia, in return for Saudi crude oil. The deal, cynically known as "al-Yamamah" ("the Dove") was far more than a barter arrangement. BAE padded the costs of the fighter jets, training planes, air defense systems and support services by an estimated one-third, to launder payoffs to top Saudis—including Prince Bandar. In return, Saudi Arabia delivered the equivalent of one super-tanker of oil per day (on average) to BAE, which had a contract with British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell, to immediately sell the oil on the spot market. For the Saudis, it was a lucrative deal. Even aside from the kickbacks that lined the pockets of many a Saudi prince and ministry official, the crude oil cost the Saudis under $5 a barrel. BP and Royal Dutch Shell sold the oil at fantastic markups.
As the result of this unique arrangement, an offshore Anglo-Saudi intelligence slush fund was amassed, amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars, starting in 1985. In a semi-official biography of Prince Bandar, published several years ago, author William Simpson candidly wrote that al-Yamamah was, first and foremost, a geo-strategic partnership between London and Riyadh, which funneled money covertly to the Afghan mujahideen who were battling the Soviet Army in the 1980s; funded Chad in its border war with Libya; and bypassed the U.S. Congress to deliver American military hardware to the Saudi Air Force.
Some senior U.S. intelligence officials insist that a full investigation of Prince Bandar's role in the al-Yamamah scheme would reveal that some of the BAE payoffs went from the Bank of England, to Bandar's account at Riggs National Bank—into the hands of Basnan, al-Bayoumi, and the California 9/11 hijackers cell. By Aug. 2, 2003, so many questions had been raised about the Bandar payoffs to Basnan, that the Ambassador was forced to issue a personal statement, through the Saudi Embassy, branding the allegations "baseless and not true," nothing more than "rumor, innuendo, and untruths." He cited President George W. Bush, who "praised the Saudi commitment to fighting terrorism."
Bandar's efforts to cover up the Saudi government hand in 9/11, by invoking the words of President Bush, only served to further infuriate those U.S. officials who were trying to get to the bottom of the Sept. 11 plot. House and Senate intelligence committee investigators knew, for example, that when their final "Report of the Joint Inquiry into the Terrorist Attacks of Sept. 11, 2001" was submitted to the White House for final review before publication, the entire text of a 28-page chapter, documenting evidence of Saudi government support for the hijackers—including the Bandar payments to Basnan—was blocked from publication and remains classified to this day. In a recent meeting with the families of the 9/11 victims, President Barack Obama was pressed to declassify the chapter.
Both Presidents Bush were so close to Prince Bandar that the longtime Saudi Ambassador was widely referred to as an "honorary member of the Bush family." The G.W. Bush White House commitment to brutally suppress the evidence of the Anglo-Saudi hand in 9/11 was so deep that Osama Basnan, the Saudi intelligence officer, felt confident enough to be in Houston, Texas, on April 24-25, 2002, when then-Saudi Crown Prince (now King) Abdullah, along with Prince Bandar, visited Bush 43 at his Crawford ranch. The Prince's entourage was massive—eight planeloads of aides and hangers-on. Among the crowd were three Saudi officials suspected of ties to al-Qaeda. The "embarrassing" incident was suppressed, along with Basnan's presence in nearby Houston, where he was reportedly meeting with a billionaire Saudi prince who was part of the Crawford entourage.
Four months later, Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which conducted the joint Congressional 9/11 probe along with the House Intelligence Committee, declared that, to his knowledge, the CIA had "incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists within the Saudi government." He would later emphasize the point in his book on the joint Congressional probe, Intelligence Matters.
Britain: State Sponsor of Terrorism
In December 2000, the editors of EIR submitted a lengthy memorandum to then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, seeking an investigation of British government sponsorship of international terrorism (see below). The memo, prepared with the assistance of State Department attorneys, who provided EIR with the official criteria for placing a nation on the list of "state sponsors of terrorism," relied exclusively on official government documents, from no fewer than nine nations, that had formally protested British government protection, and, in some cases, financing of active terrorist cells on British soil. The EIR memo was triggered by a rash of asymmetric warfare attacks, many by groups spawned out of the 1979-89 Afghanistan War against the Soviets, a war covertly bankrolled and logistically backed by British, French, American, Saudi, and Israeli intelligence services.
The British government's protection was extended to such terror groups as the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which had a radio transmitter in Britain that broadcast marching orders for terrorist attacks into eastern Turkey; the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which carried out a brutal 1997 attack on Japanese tourists at Luxor, Egypt, and had earlier assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat; the Indian terrorist group Lashkar e-Taibi, which carried out assassinations and hijackings in 1999; and Chechen terrorists, who were recruited out of mosques in England.
Among the charges against the British government: British intelligence had looked the other way, throughout the 1990s, as Osama bin Laden moved between Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, and England. The London Times admitted that, throughout the second half of 1996, bin Laden made frequent trips to London, "clearly under the protection of British authorities." The Times had spotted bin Laden, earlier in the 1990s, at the London estate of Khalid bin Mahfouz, a wealthy Saudi banker who was a leading Muslim Brotherhood funder of a wide array of Jihadi groups, and a major shareholder in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). In 1994, the French and Algerian governments filed diplomatic démarches with the British Foreign Office, charging that bin Laden had met with leaders of the Islamic Group of Algeria (GIA), which was then carrying out terror bombings in both countries. French intelligence tracked the bin Laden/GIA meetings to a bin Laden-owned estate in Wembley. For three months in 1994, according to other French sources, including investigator Roland Jacquard, Osama bin Laden lived on Harrow Road in London. Even after he left the country, bin Laden's leading propagandists operated out of London.
According to "conventional wisdom," the British protection of a worldwide nexus of terrorist organizations was based on an understanding that the groups would not operate on British soil, or target British interests abroad. But, anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the history of the British Empire, from the early days of the British East India Company, through Lord Palmerston's sponsorship of the Young Europe, Young America, and Young Turk operations of the 19th Century, realizes immediately that this is a fraud. Sponsorship of asymmetric warfare is at the very heart of the British/Venetian method. And the Anglo-Saudi al-Yamamah project is the 20th- and 21st-Century equivalent of the British East India Company's sponsorship of legions of ethnic and religious separatist groups, assuring a ready stable of political assassins and perpetrators of "chaos on demand" around the globe.
Will the Bush League Coverup End?
Even as investigators for the joint Congressional inquiry and the 9/11 Commission attempted to get at the role of Saudi intelligence in 9/11, a vicious coverup was being imposed directly from the White House, and with full complicity of elements within the FBI and Department of Justice. It became so blatant, that three 9/11 Commission investigators—Kevin Scheid, Col. Lorry Fenner, and Gordon Lederman—drafted a memo to their staff supervisors, Dan Marcus and Steve Dunne, proposing guidelines for FBI and other "minders." The memo bitterly complained that FBI and other "minders" sitting in on interviews with Commission witnesses, interfered in the questioning and intimidated the witnesses:
"Minders have positioned themselves physically and have conducted themselves in a manner that we believe intimidates witnesses from giving full and candid responses to our questions. Minders generally sat next to witnesses at the table and across from Commission staff, conveying to witnesses that minders are participants in interviews and are of equal status to witnesses. Moreover, minders take verbatim notes of witnesses' statements and may engage in retribution. We believe that the net effect of minders' conduct, whether intentionally or not, is to intimidate witnesses and to interfere with witnesses providing full and candid responses."
The memo concluded with a plea: "We request that you raise the subject of minders' conduct with the Executive Branch in order to prevent minders from comporting themselves in these ways in the future."
Attached to the memo were ten proposed rules of conduct, to block the intimidation. Apart from the fact that the memorandum was declassified and released at the National Archive earlier this year, no action was taken; and the Bush White House coverup—typified by the suppression of the Congressional report section dealing with Saudi government complicity in 9/11—continued to the end.
Condoleezza Rice Lied
The coverup, in at least one case, may have involved contempt of Congress. When a battle erupted between the 9/11 Commission and the White House, over the public disclosure of segments of a Presidential Daily Briefing from August 2001, in which President Bush was explicitly warned about a high-probability al-Qaeda attack against the continental United States, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified before Congress that there was no "actionable intelligence" provided by the intelligence community, and that no one could have anticipated the events of 9/11.
In stark contrast to Rice's sworn testimony, U.S. intelligence had strong indications that, not only was al-Qaeda planning to hijack planes, but was planning to use them as weapons. According to the third document released this year by the 9/11 Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) conducted a series of exercises, as early as October 1998—shortly after the attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa—involving hijackings. The last of the exercises, "Vigilant Guardian I," took place between Sept. 6-10, 2001. In one of the scenarios, described in a 9/11 Commission summary chronology, a London-to-New York flight is hijacked by "terrorists with explosives who plan to detonate them over NYC." Clearly, the idea that terrorists were planning to use aircraft as a weapon against New York City, was on the minds of some Federal counter-terror officials prior to 9/11.
Basnan's Free Ride Home
On Oct. 21, 2002, a Federal judge in California ordered Osama Yousef Basnan and his wife, Majida Ibrahim Ahmad Dweikat, to be deported from the United States—for immigration violations! The Saudi intelligence officer who had been in the country illegally since the early 1980s, who had bankrolled, along with Omar al-Bayoumi, at least two of the 9/11 hijackers, was so pleased with the judge's order to send him back to Saudi Arabia, that he walked up to the Federal prosecutor at the end of the hearing and shook his hand, thanking him profusely for the free ride home.
The message delivered that day in court could not have been clearer: The Anglo-Saudi terror nexus was off limits. The idea that two of America's most trusted so-called allies—Great Britain and Saudi Arabia—had betrayed the United States, and played an indispensible role in the worst terrorist atrocity in history on American soil, was to be buried.