Tour of Al Janadriyah Ranch
Clare Lopez posted this article on her facebook page with this comment:
Fascinating account of evidence, some known, some not-so-much, about Saudi involvement in 9/11 attacks (in addition to collaborating w/Iran to put a mark in hijackers’ ppts so Iranian border guards wouldn’t stamp them as they traveled in & out – see www.iran911case.com, Exhibit #4; in addition to Riyadh allowing Iran-directed Hizballah terror operative Imad Mughniyeh to recruit hijackers in Saudi Arabia in Oct 2000 – see 9/11 Commission Report, pg. 240; in addition to the ‘Golden Chain’ including wealthy Saudis who were allowed to funds AQ & UBL pre-9/11…etc.
9/11 Commission Work Plan Reveals FBI Found al Qaeda Member’s U.S. Pilot Certificate Inside Envelope of Saudi Embassy in D.C.
Investigators Sought to Examine Possible Political Influence on Examination of Saudi Government, Royal Family Links
28pages.org, By Brian P. McGlinchey, April 19, 2016:
As President Obama prepares to visit Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, his administration is under increasing pressure to declassify 28 pages that, according to many who’ve read them, illustrate financial links between the Saudi government and the 9/11 hijackers.
Meanwhile, a far lesser-known document from the files of the 9/11 Commission—written by the same principal authors as the 28 pages and declassified last summer without publicity and without media analysis—indicates investigators proposed exploring to what extent “political, economic and other considerations” affected U.S. government investigations of links between Saudi Arabia and 9/11.
Drafted by Dana Lesemann and Michael Jacobson as a set of work plans for their specific parts of the 9/11 Commission investigation, the 47-page document also provides an overview of individuals of most interest to investigators pursuing a Saudi connection to the 2001 attack that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Included in that overview is a previously unpublicized declaration that, after the capture of alleged al-Qaeda operative Ghassan al-Sharbi in Pakistan, the FBI discovered a cache of documents he had buried nearby. Among them: al-Sharbi’s U.S. pilot certificate inside an envelope of the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C.
Declassified in July 2015 under the authority of the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) pursuant to a Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) appeal, the document is the seventeenth of 29 released under ISCAP appeal 2012-48, which focuses on FBI files related to 9/11. One of two documents in the series identified as “Saudi Notes,” we’ll refer to it as “Document 17.”
Dated June 6, 2003, Document 17 was written by Lesemann and Jacobson in their capacity as staff investigators for the 9/11 Commission, and was addressed to 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow, Deputy Executive Director Chris Kojm and General Counsel Dan Marcus.
Commission Investigators Posed Two Questions That Linger Today
Lesemann and Jacobson had previously worked together on the 2002 joint congressional 9/11 intelligence inquiry and authored the classified, 28-page chapter on foreign government financing of the attacks. Document 17 outlines how the two investigators proposed to extend their earlier research. The plans include many questions Lesemann and Jacobson felt the investigation should answer.
Two of those questions seem strikingly relevant today, as a declassification review of just 28 pages said to implicate Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks has inexplicably taken three times as long as the entire joint inquiry that produced them, and while a growing number of current and former officials who are familiar with the pages emphatically assert there’s no national security risk in their release.
Lesemann and Jacobson, already veterans of investigating 9/11 with the congressional inquiry, asked:
They are two questions Lesemann wouldn’t be permitted to answer: Zelikow fired her first. Her termination had an apparent Saudi aspect of its own: Impatient with Zelikow’s neglect of her repeated requests for access to the 28 pages, she circumvented him to gain access on her own. When Zelikow discovered it, he promptly dismissed her.
Organizationally set apart from dozens of other questions as among the more important, overarching lines of inquiry for their particular avenue of the commission’s work, the significance of the questions’ presence in Document 17 is amplified by the absence of corresponding answers in the commission’s final report.
At some point—perhaps after Lesemann’s determined interest in Saudi links to 9/11 led to her dismissal—someone apparently determined a public study of those questions was beyond the scope of work.
Zelikow’s appointment over the commission was controversial, given his previous friendship with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and the fact he’d served on the Bush administration’s transition team. That history and, once appointed, his ongoing contacts with Bush political advisor Karl Rove, led some to question whether he was willing or able to achieve the high level of impartiality so essential to his role.
The Bush administration’s lack of cooperation with Saudi-related 9/11 inquiries is well-documented. According to Philip Shenon’s book, The Commission:
(Commission member and former Secretary of the Navy John) Lehman was struck by the determination of the Bush White House to try to hide any evidence of the relationship between the Saudis and al Qaeda. “They were refusing to declassify anything having to do with Saudi Arabia,” Lehman said. “Anything having to do with the Saudis, for some reason, it had this very special sensitivity.” He raised the Saudi issue repeatedly with Andy Card. “I used to go over to see Andy, and I met with Rumsfeld three or four times, mainly to say, ‘What are you guys doing? This stonewalling is so counterproductive.”
The Bush family has a multi-generational relationship with the Saudi royal family, with ties that are both deeply personal and deeply financial. Prince Bandar bin Sultan was the Saudi ambassador to the United States on 9/11, and is considered a personal friend of George W. Bush.
With many investigatory leads pointing toward the Saudi embassy in Washington, some feel Bandar merits thorough investigation—or that he may even be directly implicated in the 28 pages that Bush controversially redacted.
Saturday, appearing on Michael Smerconish’s CNN program to discuss a Saudi threat to divest itself of some $750 billion in U.S. Treasury securities if Congress passes a law clearing a path for 9/11 victims’ lawsuit against the kingdom, former Senator Bob Graham said, “I believe that there is material in the 28 pages and the volume of other documents that would indicate that there was a connection at the highest levels between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the 19 hijackers.”
Asked by 60 Minutes if the 28 pages name names, commission member Lehman replied, “Yes. The average intelligent watcher of 60 Minutes would recognize them instantly.”
(If you watched the impactful prime time 60 Minutes segment on the 28 pages that aired last week and don’t remember Lehman’s intriguing statement, it’s because 60 Minutes oddly relegated perhaps their most newsworthy quote of all to this web extra.) There are many more examples of the U.S. government’s thwarting of Saudi-related inquiries, both outside and inside the work of the 9/11 Commission.
A Buried Flight Certificate
The FBI’s 2002 discovery of a U.S. pilot certificate or “flight certificate” inside a Saudi embassy envelope was news to Graham, who co-chaired the joint congressional inquiry that produced the 28 pages.
“That’s very interesting. That’s a very intriguing and close connection to the Saudi embassy,” said Graham, who has been championing the declassification of the 28 pages and a perhaps hundreds of thousands of pages of other documents since 2003.
Since people often re-use envelopes and citizens of any country may have legitimatereasons for correspondence with the embassies of their government in foreign countries they live in, the Saudi embassy envelope isn’t by itself conclusive of anything. 28Pages.org couldn’t find any other history of the FBI’s find or of the government’s evaluation of its significance.
Al-Sharbi is one of 80 remaining detainees at Guantanamo Bay. His public record includes his graduation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, reported association with other al-Qaeda members and alleged attendance at training camps in Afghanistan.
He is also among the individuals identified in FBI agent Kenneth Williams’ July 2001 electronic communication, sometimes called the “Phoenix EC” or “Phoenix Memo.” With it, Williams attempted—unsuccessfully—to alert the rest of the bureau about suspicions that Middle Eastern extremists were attending flight schools with ill intent, and to recommend a nationwide investigation of the phenomenon.
While those aspects of al-Sharbi’s story have been widely discussed, the FBI’s reported discovery of his flight certificate inside a Saudi embassy envelope buried in Pakistan has not.
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