saudi role in 9/11

There are already leaks as to what the 28 pages that have been censored prior to the release of the 9/11 report by the Joint Congressional Committee on Intelligence last week might contain. The New York Times, for example, reports that “two Saudi citizens who had at least indirect links with two hijackers were probably Saudi intelligence agents and may have reported to Saudi government officials.” The two Saudi citizens are named Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Bassnan, and the two hijackers referred to here are Al-Midhar and Al-Hazmi. The NY Times article goes on: “According to the unclassified parts of the report, Mr. al-Bayoumi first befriended Mr. al-Mihdhar and Mr. al-Hazmi in January 2000 when they arrived in Los Angeles from Bangkok, after attending a meeting in Malaysia with other operatives of al Qaeda. The two men stayed in Mr. al-Bayoumi’s apartment for several days. He helped them find their own apartment, paid their first month’s rent and security deposit, and threw a party to help them get settled in the local Arabic community. Law enforcement officials have said, though, that Mr. Almidhar repaid Mr. al-Bayoumi and added that there was no evidence Mr. al-Bayoumi or Mr. Bassnan ever provided any other money to Mr. Almidhar or Mr. Hazmi. That point, the officials said, helps to explain why Mr. al-Bayoumi has not been accused of any crime, like providing material support to terrorists.”
Wait a minute. One of these guys had direct contact with one of the hijackers, paid his security deposit, and partied with him, and yet didn’t even get detained as a material witness? I know that the fact that he left the US prior to 9/11 and never returned makes this understandably hard. However, I can’t help but compare that with the case of Ansar Mahmood, a legal US resident who had the misfortune to pay the security deposit of a Pakistani couple who were here illegally. He’s been charged with “harbouring illegal immigrants” and is awaiting deportation. I bet he wishes he had a Saudi passport. All kidding aside, the discrepancy in the way these two cases were handled makes one wonder how we’re supposed to feel safer.

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