Classic WHO: FBI Knew About Saudi 9/11 hijacker Ties, But Lied to Protect “National Security” - WhoWhatWhy

Classic WHO: FBI Knew About Saudi 9/11 hijacker Ties, But Lied to Protect “National Security”

George W. Bush, 9/11
President Bush with Vice President Cheney and senior staff in the President's Emergency Operations Center, September 11, 2001. Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives / Flickr .
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Here’s one of our most popular—and explosive—pieces of original reporting, which we first ran in June 2013.

The FBI apparently has known for a decade about links between powerful Saudi interests and the alleged 9/11 hijackers, and has been forced to tacitly admit that it lied about it for all of these years.

In case the import is not clear, let us state emphatically: this is a huge development.


In court filings seeking to stave off a media Freedom of Information request, the FBI has stated that releasing documents relating to this issue will harm “national security.”  As proof of the sensitivity of the matter, the FBI gave the judge a document dated April 4, 2002, in which the FBI states that its own inquiries “revealed many connections” between a well-connected Saudi family with a house in South Florida and “individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.”

The Sarasota Affair

The Freedom of Information request that prompted these reluctant admissions was filed by the Broward Bulldog, a South Florida nonprofit investigative site which first covered the Saudi connection in 2011.

The Bulldog’s reporting explained how a family living in an exclusive gated community outside Sarasota, on Florida’s West Coast, had apparently vanished suddenly some 10 days before the 9/11 attacks. Investigators, including a swarm of FBI agents, found that the family’s departure was clearly so sudden that they left almost their entire household intact, down to cars, clothing, and food in the refrigerator. Most significant, though, investigators had established that several of the men publicly identified as among the 9/11 hijackers, including purported ringleader Mohammed Atta, had visited the house and/or been linked to it through a web of telephone communications.

The FBI told none of this to Congress, and it was not mentioned in the original 9/11 Commission report released in 2004.

WhoWhatWhy, in an original investigation, went deeper, and established that the owner of the house was  a prominent Saudi businessman who works directly for the Saudi prince most involved with aviation—including being the first Saudi who trained to fly planes in South Florida.  You can read our complete story here.

The significance of this cannot be stated strongly enough. Although many people think they “already know” about ties between the hijackers and Saudi royals, they confuse these important revelations with reports that prominent Saudis were permitted to leave the country shortly after 9/11, as popularized in Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11.

This new revelation is far more significant. The older story shows possible favoritism toward, or at least concern for, well-connected Saudis on the part of the US government in permitting them to leave. The Sarasota story, however, shows that the US government came upon what may have been a command or control center for the men we are told hijacked the planes.

And with the connections documented by WhoWhatWhy, it is almost impossible not to conclude some kind of awareness, either before or after the act, on the part of Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and the powerful clique he represents within the royal clan. Again, for more on this, please read the entire story, which continues over three pages on our site.

The FBI Reversal

Kudos to the Bulldog for filing the FOIA request, which unearthed that gem of an FBI submission. It was included in filings by Miami Assistant U.S. Attorney Carole M. Fernandez, and was part of a sworn 33-page declaration from FBI Records Section Chief David M. Hardy. He stated that producing classified information related to the matter “would reveal current specific targets of the FBI’s national security investigations.” The purpose of the filings was to convince U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch not to allow the FOIA suit to succeed.

The April 4 document is significant for three reasons: (1) it demonstrates that the authorities are aware of the Saudi link, (2) it demonstrates that the FBI previously lied when it declared that its inquiries in the matter found no links to the terrorists or the plot, (3) it has the FBI asserting that no more disclosures should be made in order to protect “national security.”

The FBI’s practice of finding evidence tied to Saudi Arabia, then denying it had such evidence, then reluctantly admitting that it did (but only as a way of blocking still more disclosure) is telling. The apparent willingness of the FBI to brazenly lie and then reverse itself—seemingly with no consequences—is now beginning to look like standard operating procedure.

As WhoWhatWhy has demonstrated in articles about the Boston Marathon bombing, the FBI has been guilty of an astonishing array of disinformation, story reversals, unaccountable violence, and general misbehavior just in that one affair alone. See this, this, this, and this.

In the Boston bombing case, the FBI claimed not to know anything about the alleged perpetrators, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, then was forced to admit it had had direct contact with them and their family. It also initially claimed via leaks to mainstream media reporters that one of its officers shot and killed Ibragim Todashev, a figure connected with the Tsarnaevs, because he attacked them with a knife, Since then, the story has changed repeatedly and is now obscured by a thick fog of misdirection. We’ve pointed out many other changing aspects of the FBI’s story.

Hence, when we look back at the granddaddy of all purported terrorist plots, 9/11, and see the FBI’s astonishing actions to block disclosure, we have to ask: Just what is going on in this country? What is the FBI, and does it actually serve democracy and the public interest? And where is the president, purportedly the most powerful person in the country, and the public’s representative? If the president is unable or unwilling to get to the bottom of these bizarre and deeply worrisome developments, what does that say about the health of the system itself?

The Biggest Revelations, Ignored

Fortunately for the FBI, almost the entirety of the media—from the corporate owned “mainstream” to purportedly outsider ”alternative” news outlets and websites—have steered clear of the entire subject.

The recent FBI court filings were revealed by a Bulldog article published in conjunction with one mainstream outlet—the Miami Herald. Previous revelations that appeared in The Herald were generally ignored by the rest of the press, and we may reasonably expect the same disturbing indifference to the latest bombshell.

This development leaves us with three significant conclusions:

-The US government knows about, and is concerned about, apparent ties between its allies in the Saudi royal family and the men accused of having hijacked the planes on 9/11 and orchestrated the greatest attack in history on the American mainland.

-The FBI continues to lie and suppress information in other matters of public concern, supposedly all in the interest of our shared “national security.”

-The media continues to demonstrate how weak, compromised and intimidated it is. With the majority of Americans still dependent for their understanding of current events and their world on these same media, the ramifications can be considered alarming.

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28 responses to “Classic WHO: FBI Knew About Saudi 9/11 hijacker Ties, But Lied to Protect “National Security””

  1. Avatar William Miller says:

    From Lawrence of Arabia and the House of Saud to today, the relationship between the Saudis and Anglo American interests remain the dominant force in the Middle East.

  2. Avatar edwardrynearson says:

    My opinion folks > Saudi Arabia is a proxy state for the empire which predates America > Israel is one of their pet projects

  3. Avatar Guest says:

    A great documentary I watched on youtube explores all possible angles about how 9/11/01 took place called the new pearl harbor. Comes highly recommended.

  4. Avatar Harry Skip Robinson says:

    Who set up the explosives in Building 7? The hijackers where obviously false flag actors. I happened to be at the gym in Boynton Beach, FL the day a group of the alleged hijackers were there. I remember saying to myself that the gym is really getting to be quit the international health club. LOL. I do remember that Atta looked as if he was really annoyed. My thought is why would they be working out if they we’re going to be kamikaze pilots in a few weeks? I’d be partying with real virgins. One never knows for sure if Allah is really going to come through.

    • Avatar jandeen says:

      The original text promises Virgin Demons so Allah is
      not to blame since he probably includes a free pizza..

  5. Avatar 1984 says:

    Russ, Thank you for printing my comment yesterday. To refine my point, I might suggest using the modifier “alleged” when referring to the supposed highjackers. The names may refer to real people (assets?) but it is becoming clear they did not highjack anything. Mostly, I would like to express my thanks to you for your book, Family of Secrets. What a profound contribution to understanding both history and present times! I re-read it recently and took in much more the second time. With grand deceptions so efficiently promulgated by the mass media, we see the ruling elites — represented by forces in banking, military, intelligence, and government — squashing grassroots organization by suppressing rational thought. In this vein, the Bush family are professional deceivers. Perhaps “Family of Deceivers” would have been even more fitting title.

  6. Avatar VoxFox says:

    The FBI appear to be the public contact for the Saudi side of the attack, who were being set up (as usual) as the ‘fall guys’ by the real masterminds in our Secret Government – the CIA/Pentagon who already got away with killing JFK, as Russ well knows & documents in “Family of Secrets”.

  7. Avatar 1984 says:

    Russ, the evidence there were highjackers aboard the planes is almost non-existent. Why strengthen the lie with this article? Please read the book Hijacking America’s Mind on 9/11, by Elias Davidsson.

  8. Avatar Orangutan. says:

    Here’s a great resource on who knew what before and during the attacks of September 11th, 2001 –

  9. Avatar Joe says:

    We need to stop blaming the FBI, the Saudis and the world and start talking peaches and forgiveness. Stop the fighting, the world is on fire already lets start giving peace a chance.

    • Avatar jeffy1951 says:

      Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows huh?

    • Avatar VoxFox says:

      And, Joe perfume the sand while your head is deep down in it.

    • Avatar jandeen says:

      Peace requires a population that is not being hypnotized by mindless activity and disinformation, massive waste and resource consumption in the name of profit for the few.
      I believe the notion was to multiply and prosper, not overpopulate and destroy. Nothing can be built on lies and last. Peace does not have a chance against War for Profit.

  10. Avatar Orangutan. says:

    Government agents ‘directly involved’ in most high-profile US terror plots

    This latest report by ‘Human Rights Watch’ reminds me of past operations like Operation Gladio and the Strategy of Tension implemented in foreign countries to control their populations toward a more corporate agenda.

  11. Avatar sgtdoom says:

    Great article!

    The FBI, never a reliable federal police/investigation agency, has only been much less than even that under Robert Mueller III, first appointed by the Bush administration to the post of chief of the DOJ’s criminal division to interdict the investigation of BCCI and its ties to the White House, and later appointed just four days prior to 9/11/01 — possibly because of that and Mueller’s background: grandnephew of Richard Bissell, one of the three top CIA guys who President Kennedy fired, while Mueller’s wife is the granddaughter of Gen. Cabell, the second of those three top CIA guys fired by President Kennedy (which makes her the grandniece of Earl Cabell, the mayor of Dallas who ordered a route alteration on that fateful day of President Kennedy’s murder).

    Today we have uber neocon, James Comey, as the director of the FBI. Among Comey’s neocon background is definitely one item which should have disqualified him from that position: having served on the board of directors of the National Chamber Litigation Center!

    • Avatar VoxFox says:

      All bow down to the Neo-Cons: our new ruling elite.

    • Avatar jandeen says:

      If there were any correlation between the one per cent of financial elite and intelligent management of a life principle, I would say let them run the show. Do you see any principle at all Colonel Kurtz?

    • Avatar VoxFox says:

      Oops, gotta be more careful of using irony in future.
      The original Kurtz worked for a numero Uno psychopath: King Albert of the Belgians, who was exploiting the Congo.

  12. Avatar jamescrackscorn says:

    The question I have is, has this family been assassinated or does it still live freely in Saudi Arabia? National Security requires that Americans know who was behind 9/11 even if it means knowing some of our own are guilty of war crimes.

  13. Avatar Bilbo says:

    Hi Mr. Baker,

    So far a friend of mine has found links to the FBI/Sarasota story in The Telegraph, The Daily Beast, and DemocracyNow! Would you call these exceptions to your claim that the media has ignored the story, or is there some aspect to the story that even these outlets failed to mention?

    • Avatar Bilbo says:

      You can add The Washington Post and Reuters to the list.

    • Avatar russbaker says:

      There are thousands of news outlets. What percentage covered this story–and had you heard about it through your usual sources? It is safe to say that 99 percent of Americans are utterly unaware of this.

    • Avatar Bilbo says:

      I heard about the FBI/Saudi-Sarasota case from you. But that’s because I have your site on my blog list. But DemocracyNow! is considered one of the best “alternative” news outlets, and Reuters and the Washington Post aren’t exactly hole-in-the-wall locations.

      I guess what you could argue is that this story deserves to be covered on national television or the front page of major newspapers, and that it doesn’t get that kind of coverage. It will be interesting to see how many outlets pick up on your story.

    • Avatar edwardrynearson says:

      DemocracyNow is not considered a reliable news source for this reader

    • Avatar Frances in California says:

      Well, Ed; the truth often hurts.

    • Avatar VoxFox says:

      Small, one-off (back-page) stories are a weak attempt to sneak in the truth.
      How about front-page headlines or multi-evening lead stories on national TV?

  14. Avatar firehammer says:

    What happened to the link to the Bulldog?