Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
On Friday July15th, as the national newsmedia were either on vacation or preparing for the opening of the Trump National Convention on Monday the 18th, the long-awaited release of the ‘missing 28 pages’ from the U.S. Senate’s 9/11 report (“DECEMBER 2002: JOINT INQUIRY INTO INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES BEFORE AND AFTER THE TERRORIST ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001”) occurred. The official title of this document is “PART FOUR — FINDING, DISCUSSION AND NARRATIVE REGARDING CERTAIN SENSITIVE NATIONAL SECURITY MATTERS”, and it constitutes pages 6-34 of a pdf. (Some writers mistakenly call it “29 pages.” [I correct that statement; Robert parry just now pointed out to me, it really is 29 pages: all of the previous references to it as “the missing 28 pages” had gotten the count wrong. Thanks, Robert!])
It “was kept secret from the public on the orders of former President George W. Bush”, and remained secret under Bush’s successor Barack Obama, until that Friday night late in Obama’s Second Administration, right before a week of Republican National Convention news would be dominating the news (along with any racial incidents, which would be sure to distract the public even more from any indication of Bush’s guilt). The pdf was of a picture-file so as to be non-searchable by journalists and thus slow to interpret, and thus would impede press-coverage of it. The file was also of a very degraded picture of the pages, so as to make the reading of it even more uninviting and difficult. Well, that was a skillful news-release-and-coverup operation! The Federal Government had plenty of time to do this right, but they evidently had plenty of incentive to do it wrong. They’re not incompetent; the reasonable explanation is something worse than that. (After all: this information has been hidden from the public for all of the 13+ years since that report was published without the 29 pages at the end of 2002.)
A typical ‘news’ report about the matter was NBC’s, which was headlined “Secret 28 Pages of 9/11 Report Released, Hold No Proof of Saudi Link” and which ended: “American officials repeatedly have stated their conclusion: There was none.” That’s stenographic ‘journalism’, like (in 2002 and 2003) about ‘Saddam’s WMD’: it’s ‘journalism’ in which, whatever your government says, is simply reported, as being (or as if it were) the truth.
What these 29 long-suppressed pages revealed was well summarized by one succinct reader who wrote: “The Inquiry discloses that there is a very direct chain of evidence about financing and logistics … [that] goes from the Saudi Royal family (Amb. Bandar’s wife and Bandar’s checking account) and Saudi consulate employees (al Thumiari) to the agent handlers (Basnan and al Bayoumi) to some of the 9/11 hijackers (Khalid al-Mihdhar, Nawaf al-Hazmi).” In other words: Prince Bandar bin-Sultan al-Saud, known in Washington as “Bandar Bush” (for his closeness to the Bush family), and who served at that time as Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States, paid tens of thousands of dollars to Saudi Arabia’s “handlers” who were directing two of the hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. Also, one of Bandar’s subordinates at the Embassy, named al-Thumiari, was likewise paying the person who was paying and managing those two jihadists.
The report said: “FBI files suggest that al-Bayoumi provided substantial assistance to hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi after they arrived in San Diego in February 2000. … According to an October 14, 2002 FBI document, al-Bayoumi has ‘extensive ties to the Saudi Government’. … According to the FBI, al-Bayoumi was in frequent contact with the Emir at the Ministry of Defense, responsible for air traffic control. … Al-Bayoumi was receiving money from the Saudi Ministry of Defense. … Al-Bayoumi was known to have access to large amounts of money from Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that he did not appear to hold a job. … Al-Bayoumi’s pay increased during the time that al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar were in the United States.”
Also, an FBI agent testified on 9 October 2002 regarding al-Bayoumi, and said Bayoumi: “acted like a Saudi intelligence officer, in my opinion. And if he was involved with the hijackers, which it looks like he was, if he signed leases, if he provided some sort of financing … then I would say that there’s a clear possibility that there might be a connection between Saudi intelligence and UBL [Usama bin Laden].”
Moreover: “The FBI has now confirmed that only Osama Bassnan’s wife received money directly from Prince Bandar’s wife, but that al-Bayoumi’s wife attempted to deposit three of the checks from Prince Bandar’s wife, which were payable to Bassnan’s wife, into her own accounts. … Bassnan was a very close associate of Omar al-Bayoumi’s and was in telephone contact with al-Bayoumi several times a day.”
Furthermore: “Bassnan’s wife received a monthly stipend from Princess Haifa.”
And: “On at least one occasion, Bassnan received a check directly from Prince Bandar’s account. According to the FBI, on May 14, 1998, Bassnan cashed a check from Bandar in the amount of $15,000. Bassnan’s wife also received at least one check directly from Bandar … for $10,000. … FBI Executive Assistant Director D’Amuro commented on this financing: ‘I believe that we do have money going from Bandar’s wife, $2,000 a month up to about $64,000.’”
Also: “On March 28, 2002, U.S. and coalition forces retrieved the telephone book of Abu Zubayda, whom the U.S. Government has identified as a senior al-Qa’ida operational coordinator. According to an FBI document, ‘a review of toll records has linked [to] ASPCOL Corporation in Aspen, Colorado. … ASPCOL is the umbrella corporation that manages the affairs of the Colorado residence of Prince Bandar, the Saudi Ambassador. … The U.S. Government also located another Virginia number at an Usama bin Laden safehouse in Pakistan … [where a person was] interviewed by the FBI in June 2002. He could not explain why his number ended up at a safehouse in Pakistan, but stated that he regularly provides services to a couple who are personal assistants to Prince Bandar.”
This has to be seen in the context of George W. Bush’s very close and longstanding personal friendship with Prince Bandar, and also in the context of Bandar’s career.
Bandar has long been involved, both officially and unofficially, in the intelligence operations of the Saud family (which own Saudi Arabia). During October 2005 through January 2015, he served as secretary general of Saudi Arabia’s National Security Council, and he also was director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014. Furthermore the just-released report asserts:
“The FBI also received reports from individuals in the Muslim community alleging that Bassnan might be a Saudi intelligence agent. According to a CIA memo, Basnan reportedly received funding and possibly a fake passport from Saudi Government officials. He and his wife have received financial support from the Saudi Ambassador to the United States and his wife. … A CIA report also indicates that Bassnan traveled to Houston in 2002 and … that during that trip a member of the Saudi royal family provided Bassnan with a significant amount of cash. … FBI information indicates that Bassnan is an extremist and a supporter of Usama bin Laden.”
Regarding Shaykh al-Thumairy, he was “an accredited diplomat at the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles and one of the ‘imams’ at the King Fahd Mosque … built in 1998 from funding provided by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdulaziz. The mosque … is widely recognized for its anti-Western views.”
The 29 pages also include lots more, but those facts give at least some solid indications of the links that Prince Bandar had to 9/11.
And other FBI offices than in San Diego were basically not even covered in the 29 pages; this was a rush-job by a Senate Committee, and with enormous resistance from the White House, which did everything they could to block the investigators.
Furthermore: none of this information is as solid as the sworn court-testimony of the captured former bagman for al-Qaeda, their bookkeeper who personally collected each one of the million-dollar cash donations to the organization and named many donors, including Prince Bandar, as having been among the people from whom he picked up those suitcases full of cash. He said of their donations: “It was crucial. I mean, without the money of the — of the Saudi you will have nothing.” The authors of the Senate investigation report, never got any wind of this, because that man was in a U.S. prison and held incommunicado until that court-case in October 2014. But it was virtually the entire Saud family — not merely Bandar — who funded 9/11.
So: we know that Bandar “Bush” was practically like a brother to George W. Bush, but what other indications do we have of GWB’s guilt in the planning of the 9/11 attacks?
First of all: if he wasn’t involved in the attack’s planning, then he was grossly incompetent and uncaring, to the point of criminal negilgence for the numerous attempts that the CIA had made to warn GWB that such at attack was being planned and would occur soon — that he simply ignored those warnings. Criminal negligence, however, isn’t the same as being a traitor. That’s far more serious, and it would entail Bush’s conscious desire for such an attack to occur. Such evidence does exist. Here it is:
Researcher Chris Whipple headlined at Politico, on 12 November 2015, “‘The Attacks Will Be Spectacular’”, and he reported:
“Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” The CIA’s famous Presidential Daily Brief, presented to George W. Bush on August 6, 2001, has always been Exhibit A in the case that his administration shrugged off warnings of an Al Qaeda attack. But months earlier, starting in the spring of 2001, the CIA repeatedly and urgently began to warn the White House that an attack was coming.
By May of 2001, says Cofer Black, then chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, “it was very evident that we were going to be struck, we were gonna be struck hard and lots of Americans were going to die.” “There were real plots being manifested,” Cofer’s former boss, George Tenet, told me in his first interview in eight years. …
The crisis came to a head on July 10. The critical meeting that took place that day was first reported by Bob Woodward in 2006. Tenet also wrote about it in general terms in his 2007 memoir At the Center of the Storm.
But neither he nor Black has spoken about it publicly in such detail until now—or been so emphatic about how specific and pressing their warnings really were. Over the past eight months, in more than a hundred hours of interviews, my partners Jules and Gedeon Naudet and I talked with Tenet and the 11 other living former CIA directors for The Spymasters, a documentary set to air this month on Showtime.
The drama of failed warnings began when Tenet and Black pitched a plan, in the spring of 2001, called “the Blue Sky paper” to Bush’s new national security team. It called for a covert CIA and military campaign to end the Al Qaeda threat—“getting into the Afghan sanctuary, launching a paramilitary operation, creating a bridge with Uzbekistan.” “And the word back,” says Tenet, “‘was ‘we’re not quite ready to consider this. We don’t want the clock to start ticking.’” (Translation: they did not want a paper trail to show that they’d been warned.)
Five days later, I wrote an article interpreting that, titled “Politico Reports Bush Knew 2001 Terror-Attack Was Imminent and Wanted It”. Readers here are referred to that, for the continuation of the case here.
For additional information on the bonding between the Saudi aristocracy and the U.S. aristocracy, see this and this. It’s important to understand in order to be able to understand why Obama helped to set up the 21 August 2013 Syrian sarin attack to be blamed on Bashar al-Assad, who is allied with Russia. The U.S. is allied with the Saud family, against Russia; and Syria is allied with Russia and refuses to allow pipelines for gas from Qatar and oil from Saudi Arabia through Syria to replace gas and oil that Russia has been selling to the EU. (Like RFK Jr. properly headlined on 25 February 2016, “Syria: Another Pipeline War”. That’s why the Sauds want Assad dead.)
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.