It has been one of the most sensitive secrets surrounding the Sept. 11 terror attacks – the identity of a Saudi Embassy official in Washington D.C. who officials believe directed support for the al-Qaida hijackers. The name was accidentally revealed in an FBI legal declaration in response to a lawsuit brought by families of 9/11 victims seeking to obtain the name of the Saudi government officials complicit in the terrorist attacks.
Family members say the revelation marks a major breakthrough and shows the FBI believed there was a link between the hijackers and the Saudi Embassy in Washington. Brett Eagleson, a spokesman for the 9/11 families, said,
This shows there is a complete government cover-up of the Saudi involvement. It demonstrates there was a hierarchy of command that’s coming from the Saudi Embassy to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs [in Los Angeles] to the hijackers.
Eagleson says he was flabbergasted by the slip-up.
This is a giant screwup.
The mistake was discovered by Yahoo News on May 11, 2020. The official’s name was blacked out in the 40-page declaration in most instances – except one. Yahoo News notified Justice Department officials who quickly withdrew the FBI’s declaration from the public docket.
The declaration identifying the Saudi Embassy official was supposed to support findings by Attorney General William Barr that any release of the Saudi official’s name could cause “significant harm to the national security of the United States”. According to Barr, the state official’s name should be considered a “state secret”.
The portion of the document that revealed the name referred to a 2012 FBI report regarding the investigation into links between the 9/11 terrorists and Saudi government officials, including Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi government agent who assisted two terrorists, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, who crashed their plane into the Pentagon building.
According to the FBI, after the terrorists arrived in Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 2000, al-Bayoumi helped secure an apartment for the men, lent them money, and set up bank accounts for each. Up until now. Omar al-Bayoumi had always been referenced by the government as “the third man”.
al-Bayoumi was moved from the United States embassy to Saudi missions in Malaysia and Morocco where it is believed he served until 2019. His current location is unknown.
The Saudi government has consistently denied any connection to the 9/11 hijackers.