FBI Established Saudi Task Force Just before Joint Inquiry Release

The House Intelligence Committee just released the 28 pages detailing Saudi involvement in 9/11.

The pages are actually more damning than I expected. It lays out many damning details we already knew of: including that Bandar bin Sultan’s wife was providing money to one of the suspect Saudi intelligence people, several Saudi apparent agents provided support for the hijackers, and an apparent dry run for the attack was conducted by someone paid by the Saudis.

One really damning detail that I didn’t know, however (or had forgotten if covered in Bob Graham’s book), is that it wasn’t until the Joint Inquiry focused on the Saudis that FBI established task force to look into Saudi Arabia’s role in the attack.

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That means over a year elapsed before the FBI really started investigating this angle. It goes on to reveal FBI was not focusing any counterintelligence resources on Saudis before 9/11, because “FBI received ‘no reporting from any member of the Intelligence Community’ that there was a [redacted] presence in the United States.” A very heavily redacted passage implies that’s because they were an “ally” [scare quotes original].

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It goes on to note that CIA did have records of such ties (we knew that); it makes no mention of NSA, though they knew of Saudi ties as well.

The report even reveals that Robert Mueller learned about the Saudi role in the attack from the Joint Inquiry:

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This is fairly unbelievable, but all too believable.

The end of the report provides multiple reports of Saudi refusal to cooperate in the investigation.

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I’m particularly interested in the detail that they demanded information that would show sources and methods. I know that the Saudis had notice of Stellar Wind well before it got exposed in 2005. That means they were getting tips on what we knew even as refusing to tell what they knew.

Between that and the failure to investigate, it explains how the Saudis could get away with assisting an attack on the US.

Update: Kristin Breitweiser rightly rails on mainstream coverage of the report that dismiss the seriousness of the allegations in the report.

When CIA Director John Brennan states that he believes the 29 pages prove that the government of Saudi Arabia had no involvement in the 9/11 attacks, recognize that John Brennan is not a man living in reality — he is delusional by design, feeding and protecting his Saudi vice.

When Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Anne W. Patterson, testifies — under oath — that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an ally that does everything they can to help us fight against Islamic terrorism, recognize that her deep, steep Saudi pandering serves and protects only her Saudi vice.

Read the 29 pages and know the facts.

Do not let any person in our government deny the damning reality of the 29 pages.

And as you read the 29 pages remember that they were written during 2002 and 2003.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

20 replies
  1. x174 says:

    mt–
    thanks for jumping on the 28 pages. the msm will certainly be of no help in assessing their significance. great luck in your work and thanks for your hard earned insights into likely government malfeasance!

  2. scribe says:

    With friends like the Saudis, no one needs enemies.
    .
    In the course of various nuclear disarmament proceedings, one of the things done to inspire confidence and help the process along was the agreement of the sides to making their missiles need retargeting before launch. In other words, rather than have live missiles aimed at, say, Rostov on Don or Pittsburgh, they’d be aimed at some expanse of empty ocean far from land. Thus, if one got away by accident, it’d only make a hole in the ocean.
    .
    If I were President, I might consider a small modification to that: empty expanses of Saudi desert would be a good substitute for wide expanses of ocean. Because, frankly, the world has put up with enough of their shit for too long.

  3. Peterr says:

    Sounds to me like someone in the Saudi Government was fishing/demanding to know how (or how far) the US intelligence had penetrated their country. There can be a lot of reasons for that, including a basic sense of protecting national sovereignty, but it’s also the kind of thing someone does if they are worried about protecting something.
    .
    Also, this makes for a nice Take Out The Trash Friday news dump. Not only is it Friday, but you’ve got the Nice attack, the Trump VP rollout fiasco, the chatter about the pending RNC gathering in Cleveland, and now the coup in Turkey.
    .
    It doesn’t get much more distracting than that.

    • Synoia says:

      A ready mix cement truck, fully loaded would be harder to stop.

      We’ve know for years that vehicles are weapons of mass destruction.

  4. bloopie2 says:

    Does the US have any true friends in the world? That would sacrifice for them? (For that matter, does any country?) Or is each country, in the end, in it for itself, and we can’t really expect more.

    • Synoia says:

      Palmerston:

      Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.

  5. Pete says:

    Am I misremembering that during the FAA traffic halt that certain Saudis were allowed to leave the USA by air (during the halt) and, if that’s not a old LSD induced flashback, does anyone know who they were?

    Thanks,

    Pete

    • scribe says:

      Your government put a planeload of them on a plane back to Saudi and sent them home. While all other planes were grounded. Including a couple members of bin Laden’s extended family.

  6. rugger9 says:

    Did anyone see any connection to Shrub’s administration aside from Bandar’s clique? My initial scan of this didn’t show malfeasance by Shrub, just his buddies. I suspect some more whitewashing was done to protect Cheney and Shrub.

  7. martin says:

    Oh phulleeeeeeese… fucking spare me… anyone who has lived through the time from Vietnam to the Iraq war KNOWS that the Saudi’s were at the bottom of 9/11.

  8. blueba says:

    Several months ago there was an article in The Intercept about a spy program, the name of which was a common sounding word, in which it was reported – from my memory – that during the Watergate crisis of government the US spies were unable to operate properly and turned over the task of spying and sending out agents to the Saudis and/or a concoritum of The Saudis and a few other Arab potentates.

    I have searched but I am unable to find it again, I know it is there somewhere.

    I thought at the time it was an important story and reveling of the relationship between or rather among the various elements of the empire. I don’t view the Saud family as an ally of the US but as a full member of the global empire the US fronts.

    If anyone out there can find the article I would love to see it again, I searched and found it once but am now unable to find it.

    I also seem to remember articles saying that the raw NSA feeds of data are automatically diretcted to Saudi and Israel so they get everything anyway.

  9. Denis says:

    So-called “Document 17” was quietly declassified on Jul08|16 and provides
    a lot of the same information as the “28 pages” but in outline form.
    It’s helpful to have this at hand as you read the 28 pages b/c it provides
    a handy inventory of the Saudi players.
    .
    KSA and USG are saying, of course, nothing to see, move along, which
    is belied by the very fact that USG buried the information for 13 years.
    Most of it is, however, gross speculation. What FBI agents “believed,”
    “speculated,” “presumed” at the time, “the time” being 1998-2000.
    All of the threads were still dangling when these 28 pages were drafted.
    Congress needs to re-interview FBI and CIA and others and determine
    what has been learned in the intervening 13 years.

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