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28 newly-declassified pages of the 2002 Congressional Joint Inquiry into the Sept. 11 attacks reveals that much of the evidence tying the government of Saudi Arabia to Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups surfaced during the tenure of President Bill Clinton, and that FBI and CIA agents found themselves unable to act upon it. Their inaction, the report concludes, was “unacceptable.”
The highly-redacted pages of the report quote FBI and CIA agents expressing frustration that the government of Saudi Arabia had been “useless and obstructionist for years” in providing intelligence on jihadist activity, and notes that the Saudi government had ties to multiple “charities” and non-governmental organizations dating back to the 1990s that aroused suspicion of jihadist activity.
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In one example, the report cites “a veteran New York FBI agent” who told them that “from his point of view, the Saudis have been useless and obstructionist for years.” The report later quotes an unidentified official of either the CIA or FBI highlighting “the Saudi Government’s longstanding support for very fundamentalist Wahabi and Salafi charities and movements around the world, which in a sense you see the money is going to fundamentalists and you would be very surprised if some of it doesn’t bleed over into terrorist support.”
The December 2002 report condemns the fact that “only recently” had both agencies begun to investigate individuals who appeared to be receiving payment from the Saudi government and also had close ties to the 9/11 hijackers (emphasis added).
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The FBI and CIA have informed the Joint Inquiry that, since the September 11 attacks, they are treating the Saudi issue seriously, but both still have only a limited understanding of the Saudi Government’s ties to terrorist elements.
Only recently, and at least in part due to the Joint Inquiry’s focus on this issue, did the FBI and CIA establish...
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