Newspaper logo  
 
 
   Why Were Saudi Passengers Flown Out of the Country After 9-11?

POLITICAL ANALYSIS:

Why Were Saudi Passengers Flown Out of the Country After 9-11?

by Margie Burns

Is the White House really going to pretend that five skyjackers, including the fervently devout Atta, went to Vegas--separately and together at different times--only to fit in a little gambling? And what about those Saudi Royals who were in Las Vegas on 9/11--and allowed to leave the US?
APRIL 9, 2004--Days after September 11, 2001, with commercial flights grounded throughout the United States, the Bush administration allowed select commercial jets to fly out of the country. Four manifests from these flights have been released by Craig Unger, author of the nonfiction bestseller House of Bush, House of Saud. The passenger lists are posted online.

A September 13 flight from Lexington KY to London carried 15 passengers including eight Saudis; a Las Vegas-to-Switzerland flight the next day carried seven Saudis; a "VIP flight" from New York to Paris on September 22 carried 12 passengers including four Saudis; and another Las Vegas-to-Paris VIP flight on September 24 carried 24 passengers including 11 Saudis. Some individuals who jetted away would have been "persons of interest" in any traditional investigation, and others had round-the-clock knowledge of them.

Former Clinton and Bush counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke was asked about the flights at the April 8 hearing of the 9-11 Commission. Clarke responded that "someone" in the Saudi embassy had requested that some persons be allowed to fly out and that he refused, kicking the request over to the FBI, which permitted them.

Questions abound. If Saudi royals and other Muslims feared reprisals, and were allowed to leave for their personal safety, how could that rationale have applied to British citizens Jack Rusbridge and Anthony John Stafford, on the flight out of Lexington, or to US citizen Dean Earl Knect, on the Vegas-Paris flight? Assuming that diplomatic immunity covers the 20,000-member Saud family, does it also cover family employees of other nationalities, including British and American? Why was a CEO of a Middle East bank flown out, given the importance of the "money trail" in investigating terrorism? If allowing the Saudis' servants out of the country was a humanitarian gesture, why was a prize-winning Egyptian physicist also aboard? Some family members of September 11 victims, through the Family Steering Committee, have also asked why Saudi royals and others were permitted to fly in commercial air space, when victims’ relatives were not given that permission.

Two of the flights departed from Las Vegas, where at least five of the September 11 suspects visited several times between May 2001 and August 2001. At least one suspect from each of the four planes hijacked stayed in Las Vegas. Suspected ringleader Mohamed Atta checked in at a Vegas hotel on June 29, checked out on July 1, and returned on August 13. Marwan Al-Shehhi, Hani Hanjour, Nawaf Al-Hazmi and Ziad Jarrah all traveled there at least once. All together, the hijackers made at least six trips to Vegas. Yet, a few days after 9-11, 31 passengers were allowed to fly out of Vegas, including one passenger named Al-Hazmi. The Saudi royals aboard were mostly adults, with only a handful of young people born in the 1980s and 1990s. At least one of these passengers, Ahmed bin Salman, the notable horse race fan and owner of a Kentucky Derby winner, died in somewhat suspicious circumstances a few months after his return home. Another passenger, a British citizen, was his longtime chauffeur and major domo, to whom Ahmed Salman gave a prize horse race in return for his services.

What were the Saudi royals and the others doing in Las Vegas? When did these officials and those connected with them go to Las Vegas, and how long did they stay there? What reason could the hijackers have had for trips to Vegas in the first place, other than to rendezvous with authorities, given that any extra movement increased their chances of getting caught? Is the White House really going to pretend that five skyjackers including the fervently devout Atta went to Vegas, separately and together at different times, only to fit in a little gambling? Was Las Vegas really just a convenient hub for the travelers? What other passengers on several other flights out were connected to these?


Margie Burns writes freelance in the DC area. She can be reached at margie.burns@verizon.net.



Copyright © 2004 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on April 9, 2004.
  
Local Gov’t Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

05.05 Even Late in Her Career, Jane Jacobs Made Predictions That Are Coming True Today [20:04 video]

05.03 Edward Snowden: ‘Governments can reduce our dignity to that of tagged animals’

Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment
Nimble-Fingered Robot Outperforms the Best Human Surgeons [video]

05.05 When in drought: the California farmers who don’t water their crops

05.05 We've been mayors of New York, Paris and Rio. We know climate action starts with cities

05.04 Scientists are figuring out the keys to convincing people about global warming

05.04 Ocean's Oxygen Starts Running Low

05.04 Prominent Democratic Consultants Sign Up to Defeat Single Payer in Colorado [Clinton's greed for corporate donations trumps the public's interests]

05.04 This disease has killed a million trees in California, and scientists say it’s basically unstoppable [video]

05.04 Air pollution has been lost in the murk of the London mayoral campaign

05.04 Renewable energy: rapid acceleration needed to meet 2020 target

05.04 Global water shortages to deliver 'severe hit' to economies, World Bank warns

05.04 Medical error is third biggest cause of death in the US, experts say

05.03 After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight

05.03 Phasing out coal, oil and gas extraction in US would drastically cut emissions

05.03 Off the hook: can a new study in the Pacific reel in unsustainable fishing?

News Media Matters

05.02 Crackdown in Turkey's Kurdish south-east turns journalists into 'terrorists'

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

05.05 Donald Trump—and Bernie Sanders—is what happens when you screw the middle class

05.05 Obama in Flint: water crisis is a 'tragedy that never should have happened'

05.04 Just When Was America Great?

05.04 Fort McMurray: Canada wildfires force evacuation of oil sands city [video]

05.04 Bernie Sanders pulls off shock victory over Hillary Clinton in Indiana

05.03 REPUBLICANS DON’T WANT TO KNOW COSTS OF U.S. NUCLEAR ARSENAL

05.03 Raise the Minimum Wage, Reduce Crime?

Justice Matters

05.02 Solitary confinement is 'no touch' torture, and it must be abolished

05.02 The movement to end mass incarceration is still too weak to win big [private prisons must be kept at near-full occupancy by contract, so...]

High Crimes?

04.30 How the car industry trumped banking for sociopathic corporate behaviour

Economics, Crony Capitalism

05.04 After years of negotiations, is TTIP dying a slow death? [videos]

05.04 Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?

International

05.05 Quarter of child refugees arriving in EU travelled without parents

05.05 Vote for me: London’s mayoral candidates have their say

05.04 UK's claims over Saudi bombing in Yemen 'deeply disappointing', say MPs

05.03 Saudi Arabia: Foreign Workers Burn Buses After Massive Layoffs

05.03 DNA secrets of Ice Age Europe unlocked

05.03 Ethiopia's farmers fight devastating drought with land restoration

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web


Public Service Ads: