New declassified FBI records include evidence that an alleged Saudi operative hosted a ‘welcome party’ for two 9/11 hijackers in the US.
CBS aired a video showing Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, two 9/11 hijackers who arrived in the US in January 2000, at a San Diego apartment hosted by Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi citizen. participated in.
Both the kidnappers are seen evading the cameras, but Mihadhar is briefly seen in the kitchen during the party. These men were part of the team that hijacked Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon.
Danny Gonzalez, a retired FBI agent, told CBS that al-Bayoumi was an “assistant” who helped the hijackers establish themselves in San Diego.
“He helped them in the apartment; He helped them with bank accounts,” Gonzalez said.
Byumi was arrested in Britain ten days after the September 11 attacks, and the video was confiscated along with boxes of other evidence. After interrogation, he was released and after some time went back to Saudi Arabia. The government reportedly did not provide any assistance to CBS in locating Byumi in the country.
Video from February 2000 shows several men attending a housewarming party organized by Byoumi for the kidnappers. They can be seen taking part in a large feast and drinking soda on the floor of the less furnished house. An FBI report from October 2001 described the gathering as both a “religious” and a “welcoming party” for the two hijackers.
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A 510-page newly declassified and liberally revised FBI memo from 2017 states that al-Bayoumi, “in the late 1990s and as of September 11, 2001…-Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan.”
The report continues, “The allegations of al-Bayoumi being involved with Saudi intelligence at the time of the 9/11 Commission report were not confirmed. The above information corroborates these allegations.”
The report found that Byumi regularly shared his intelligence with then-ambassador Monkey, who fostered close ties with President George W. Bush and earned the nickname Monkey Bush.
As Harper reports, Byumi took a job at a Saudi Arabian airline in San Diego for which he was not appearing. He met extremist clerics and introduced himself shortly after and reportedly “accidentally” confronted Mihdar and Hajmi at a restaurant, the outlet reports.
It says Byumi’s salary increases by 700 percent upon meeting the kidnappers and is deducted when they leave the city.
The Saudi government has long denied allegations of providing aid to the kidnappers. Some families of 9/11 victims are suing Saudi Arabia, but the 9/11 Commission report found no link.
A recently declassified FBI memo said, “There is a 50/50 chance that Omar al-Bayoumi had advanced knowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”
The report, named Encore, cited a woman who told the FBI that Byumi often said the Islamic community was “in jihad” and “needs to take action.”
It also mentions a witness who said he saw Byumi sitting by the window as he waited for the kidnappers to arrive at the L.A. restaurant where they first met, rather than run into them.