Soon after the 9/11 attacks two decades ago, the FBI quietly launched an investigation into a seemingly obscure Saudi Arabian government bureaucrat in Southern California.
The man claimed to be nothing more than a Saudi aviation official who innocently happened to befriend two Islamic jihadists in the months before they carried out the 9/11 attacks.
That story now appears to be false. The alleged aviation official was really a Saudi spy who reported directly to a Saudi prince who happened to be the kingdom’s influential ambassador in Washington and a close friend of President George W. Bush and other top U.S. government officials.
The FBI concluded five years ago that there was a “50/50 chance” that this Saudi spy knew ahead of time that the two Islamists he befriended were about to join the plot to hijack commercial jetliners and crash them into buildings in what turned out to be America’s deadliest terrorist attack. But the FBI refused to go public with its findings — until now.
“This is scary,” said Jerry S. Goldman, a New York-based attorney who represents 500 victims in the federal lawsuit against Saudi Arabia. “According to the allegation in the FBI report, the Saudi ambassador is dealing with a guy who dealt with terrorists?”
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