9/11 Plotter Says Saudi Royal Family Financed al-Qaeda

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

Published Thursday, February 5, 2015

The only al-Qaeda plotter convicted over the September 11, 2001 attacks has told American lawyers that members of the Saudi royal family donated millions of dollars to the terror group in the 1990s.

French citizen Zacarias Moussawi, dubbed the "20th hijacker," made the revelations in court papers filed in a New York federal court by lawyers for victims of the attacks who accuse Saudi Arabia of supporting al-Qaeda.

The Saudi embassy denied the allegations, branding Moussawi "a deranged criminal whose own lawyers presented evidence that he was mentally incompetent."

At trial in 2006, his lawyers argued that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and he exhibited stormy and unpredictable behavior in court.

In testimony Moussawi said he created a database of al-Qaeda donors, including members of the royal family such as former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who was Saudi ambassador to the United States for 22 years until 2005.

Moussawi said he met in Afghanistan an official from the Saudi embassy in Washington to discuss al-Qaeda's plots to attack the United States, and that he was supposed to meet the same man again in the US capital for help on a plot to shoot down Air Force One.

He also claimed there were direct dealings between senior Saudi officials and then-al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, saying he traveled to Saudi Arabia twice to deliver handwritten letters between the al-Qaeda mastermind and senior Saudis, including Prince Turki.

Denying the claims, the Saudi embassy said in a statement: "The September 11 attack has been the most intensely investigated crime in history and the findings show no involvement by the Saudi government or Saudi officials."

Moussawi, who was found criminally responsible at his trial in 2006, pled guilty to plotting the deadliest terror attacks in US history and is incarcerated at a supermax prison in Colorado.

Across 127 pages of transcript, Moussawi said the money from wealthy Saudi donors was "crucial" to al-Qaeda in the late 1990s.

He talked about donations of two to three million dollars and said top-ranking officials were close to bin Laden — a fellow Saudi — through social connections.

The release of a government 9/11 report in 2002 stirred outrage over the classified status of at least 28 pages related to the attack’s financing. According to The New York Times, former US senator Bill Graham said in January that the missing pages “point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,” urging for dis-classification.

Critics opposed to US involvement in the current conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have pointed out that Washington in partnership with its Gulf allies, including Saudi Arabia, played a role in the formation and expansion of extremist groups like ISIS by arming, financing and politically empowering armed opposition groups in Syria.

In late January, a Twitter account called “Monaseron” posted classified documents, reportedly from the Saudi interior and defense ministries, that revealed much about the Saudi government’s violations of its own citizen’s lives, privacy, and freedoms and meddling in international matters.

An article that was of particular concern to the Saudi Ministry of Defense mentioned that Saudi intelligence relied on Pakistani intelligence to train jihadists who go to fight in Syria.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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