WASHINGTON, D.C/RIYADH – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has “accidentally” disclosed the name of a Saudi diplomat suspected of allegedly aiding two Al-Qaeda hijackers in the controversial September 11, 2001, attacks in New York, Yahoo News reported on Tuesday.
The mistake was made in a declaration by an FBI official in response to a lawsuit by families of 9/11 victims who say the Saudi government was involved in the attacks. The filing by Jill Sanborn, the assistant director of the FBI’s counterterrorism division, was released in April but unsealed late last week, according to Yahoo News.
Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah was “mistakenly named” in the declaration. Al-Jarrah was a mid-level Saudi Foreign Ministry official who was assigned to the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C. in 1999 and 2000. He was in charge of supervising the activities of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs employees at Saudi-funded mosques and Islamic centers in the US, according to the report.
The authorities claim that Al-Jarrah instructed two people – Fahad al-Thumairy, a cleric, and Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi agent – to help two of the hijackers settle in the US in January 2000 ahead of the attacks. Al-Jarrah’s whereabouts remain unknown, but he is believed to be in Saudi Arabia.
“This shows there is a complete government cover-up of the Saudi involvement,” Brett Eagleson, a spokesman for the families, told Yahoo News, adding that “this is a giant screwup”.
Yahoo News reported it contacted the Justice Department on Monday, but officials notified the court and withdrew the FBI’s declaration from the public docket.
“The document was incorrectly filed in this case,” the docket now read, according to the report.
The 9/11 attacks, allegedly masterminded by slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, led to the deaths of 2,753 people when, according to the US government, members of the terrorist group hijacked two airliners and slammed them into New York’s World Trade Center, destroying the towering buildings and sending plumes of debris shooting through the US’s most populous city.
A third plane then struck the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C., and a fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The 7 World Trade Center, the last building to collapse, was destroyed after allegedly “being hit by debris from the Twin Towers and was damaged by fires which caused it to collapse”.