A drawn-out fight between the families of Sept. 11 victims and the Saudi government has been shocked anew with claims from former top US intelligence officials that Riyadh provided aid to some of the terrorists responsible for killing 2,996 and injuring more than 6,000 in 2001.
Affidavits filed by three former FBI officials provided to Secrets charge that Saudi Arabia used intricate espionage "tradecraft" to help the attackers prepare and hide out in the US.
And another from knowledgeable former Florida Sen. Bob Graham charges that the hijackers could not have succeeded without a financial and logistical support network.
"Official Saudi entities provide financial and other support to individuals in the United States and around the world who are associated with terrorism," said former FBI spy catcher Mike Rochfort, the ex-chief of the espionage section of the FBI's counterintelligence division.
Stephen K. Moore, the retired FBI agent who led the Sept. 11 probe in Los Angeles, said in his affidavit that Saudi officials cared for the two terrorists that flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar.
"Upon their arrival in southern California, Hazmi and Mihdhar were promptly cocooned by a highly matrixed network of aiders and facilitators who cleared a path to their success - supplying every physical and spiritual need to advance their mission," he wrote.
David Mitchell, a former FBI terrorism investigator, added, "I concluded that diplomatic and intelligence personnel of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia knowingly provided material support to the two 9/11 hijackers and facilitated the 9/11 plot."
The families of 850 people who died and another 1,500 who were injured in attacks this year filed suit against Saudi Arabia, claiming the kingdom helped some of the attackers. Mastermind Osama bin Laden was a Saudi.
The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages.
The kingdom has denied the charges and filed three motions to dismiss the case.
The case is heating up at the same time Saudi officials are being purged and arrested, including members of the bin Laden family.
As a former senator and intelligence committee member who looked into the attacks, Graham's statement gives substantial weight to the claims from the families that the Saudi kingdom helped attackers assimilate into the US for the assault on New York's twin towers, the Pentagon, and the planned attack on the Capitol.
"This domestic support network was organized and coordinated by employees and agents of the Saudi government, acting within the hierarchy and scope of the roles assigned to them by the Saudi government," Graham said.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team