Tue, Mar 28, 2017 | updated 11:21 PM IST

Declassified 9/11 report reveals indirect link to Saudi prince

Updated: Aug 06, 2016 18:47 IST

New York, Aug. 6 (ANI): An indirect link has been revealed between Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan and 9/11 attack in recently released declassified information from a 2002 US congressional report.

The report on the 9/11 attacks, dubbed the "28 pages" was previously hidden from the American public.

It now reveals a link between the alleged al-Qaeda operative and a company associated with a key member of the Saudi royal family, former Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan, reports the CNN.

During investigations into the attack it was found that 15 of the 19 men who hijacked the planes to carry out the attack were nationals but the possibility of official Saudi involvement has hung over the relationship between the two countries.

While the alleged association with Bandar revealed in the newly declassified pages does not provide direct evidence of hi scomplicity in the 9/11 attacks but it does raise new questions about Saudi Arabia's involvement.

The connection to Bandar was made through Abu Zubaydah's phone book retrieved during the Pakistani raid in which he was taken. He was an alleged recruiter for al-Qaeda and a member of Osama bin Laden's inner circle.

In the phonebook, the FBI found numbers linked to the United States, including an unlisted number for a company that managed Bandar's estate in Aspen, Colorado. An unlisted number was also found for a bodyguard who worked at the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

"Both of those numbers were unpublished, so they had to have gotten into Zubaydah's phone book through a personal contact who knew what those numbers were and what they represented," said former Senator Bob Graham, co-chair of the congressional commission that compiled the 28 pages.

The CIA and FBI concluded that there was no evidence anyone from the Saudi royal family knowingly provided support for the 9/11 attacks. But Graham said the indirect connection to the respected former Saudi ambassador was "one of the most stunning parts of the investigation" and worthy of pursuing further.

Bandar was the Saudi ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005, during the Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

He later served as secretary general of Saudi Arabia's National Security Council and head of Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Presidency, the equivalent of the CIA, until last year.

The 28 pages were the only part of the initial congressional investigation into the September 11 attacks.

Actually numbering 29 pages, they detail a web of Saudi nationals living in the United States who may have aided the 9/11 hijackers. The George W. Bush administration deemed their publication a threat to national security and kept them confidential.

But, after continuous pressure, the Obama administration agreed to make the pages public last month.

The FBI investigated the phone numbers indirectly linked to Bandar in 2002. A CIA-FBI investigation concluded in 2005 that there was "no evidence that either the Saudi government or a member of the Saudi royal family knowingly provided support" for the September 11 attacks or "had foreknowledge of terrorist operations in the kingdom or elsewhere."

However, the 9/11 Commission report and the joint agency memo only offer blanket absolution of official Saudi involvement and do not reference the questions detailed in the 28 pages surrounding the phone numbers that indirectly seem to link Bandar to al-Qaeda.

The 28 pages also raise questions about another possible link between Bandar and the attacks: the prince's relationship with a Saudi national named Osama Bassnan, who was living in the United States on 9/11 and was investigated to determine if he helped two of the 9/11 hijackers. The declassified pages reveal previously undisclosed amounts of money that Bandar and his wife sent to the man's family.

Bassnan, a former employee of the Saudi government's Educational Mission in Washington, according to a 9/11 Commission document, lived across the street from two of the 9/11 hijackers in San Diego: Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar.

Both of them were on the plane that crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

While the clues found in Zubaydah's notebook seemingly never led to concrete evidence linking the Saudi prince to al-Qaeda, Bandar's name was mentioned again in 2014 when Zacarias Moussaoui, thought to be the 20th hijacker, claimed that Bandar was in an al Qaeda donor database.

Graham, the former senator that pushed to have the 28 pages declassified, thinks there's enough to justify a closer look. Graham now wants the FBI and CIA documents pertaining to the questions raised in the 28 pages to be released as well. (ANI)

Dhaka [Bangladesh], Mar. 28 (ANI): Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson Khaleda Zia has been asked by a Dhaka Court to appear before it on April 10 in connection with 11 cases that include sedition and inciting violence.

Full Story >>

Kabul [Afghanistan], Mar. 28 (ANI): Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri urged Pakistan to stop supporting terrorists and asked Islamabad to prevent terrorists coming into their territory.

Full Story >>

Kathmandu [Nepal], Mar. 28 (ANI): Indian Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat, arrived on a four day visit to Kathmandu on Tuesday to receive the honorary General title of Nepal Army.

Full Story >>

Islamabad [Pakistan], Mar. 28 (ANI): Asserting that Islamabad needs to address its internal issues, former Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Ashraf Jehangir Qazi has said that China would never own Pakistan's problems as it has its own vision and given its issues with the United States and India.

Full Story >>

New York [United States], Mar. 28 (ANI): U.S. defense officials have claimed that recently North Korea conducted another ballistic missile engine test.

Full Story >>

Berlin [Germany], Mar. 28 (ANI): The German Government has lauded the Make in India Mittelstand (MIIM) programme of the Indian Embassy in Berlin as an extraordinary initiative towards the overall Indo-German Business relations.

Full Story >>

Johannesburg [South Africa], Mar. 28 (ANI): Legendary South African anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada, who spent 26 years in jail with Nelson Mandela, passed away at the age of 87 on Tuesday after a short period of illness.

Full Story >>

Sheikhupura [Pakistan], Mar. 28 (ANI): At least two people were killed and five others wounded after a Karachi-bound passenger train, Shalimar Express, collided with an oil tanker in Punjab's Sheikhupura district leading to a huge explosion in the wee hours of Tuesday.

Full Story >>

Hong Kong (China), Mar. 28 (ANI): China's One Belt, One Road is the brainchild of President Xi Jinping, a concept he floated in 2013.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], Mar. 28 (ANI): Asserting that his linkage with the Russia story is a 'hoax', U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday questions as to why the House Intelligence Committee is not investigating Bill and Hilary Clintons various ties with Moscow.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 28 (ANI): Russia's Head of the Department of Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Mikhail Ulyanov visited India for the annual round of bilateral consultations during which discussions were held on wide range of issues including nuclear, terrorism, and nuclear energy.

Full Story >>

Berlin / Kabul, Mar. 28 (ANI): The pro-freedom Baloch political party 'Free Balochistan Movement' held protests and awareness campaigns in Balochistan and abroad to mark the 'Balochistan Occupation Day' yesterday.

Full Story >>

Moscow [Russia], Mar. 28 (ANI): Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been fined and sentenced to 15 days in prison for disobeying police orders and organising anti-government protests.

Full Story >>

Beijing [China], Mar. 28 (ANI): China has expressed firm opposition and lodged representations over a Japanese official's visit to Taiwan saying the visit breaches the commitment made by Tokyo to interacting with Taiwan only at non-governmental level.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 28 (ANI): U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned of a pending crackdown against "sanctuary cities" on Monday, saying non-cooperation with immigration authorities is "dangerous" and will cost communities federal funding.

Full Story >>

New York [USA], Mar. 28 (ANI): The popular "Fearless Girl" statue of a brave young woman staring down the famous bronze "Charging Bull" sculpture will stay on Wall Street for another year.

Full Story >>

London [UK], Mar. 28 (ANI): British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson postponed his Russia visit following the rescheduling of the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting.

Full Story >>

United Nations, Mar. 28 (ANI): Dozens of members states including the United States on Monday boycotted United Nations talks for a treaty that would ban nuclear weapons saying the time was not right to outlaw nuclear arms.

Full Story >>

Beijing [China], Mar. 28 (ANI): Beijing and Kathmandu agreed to cooperate more in jointly building the Belt and Road initiative during Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting with Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday.

Full Story >>

Washington D. C. [USA], Mar. 28 (ANI): U. S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, has volunteered to speak to the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russian meddling in the US election.

Full Story >>