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Bombshell filing: 9/11 hijackers were CIA recruits

At least two 9/11 hijackers had been recruited into a joint CIA-Saudi intelligence operation that was covered up at the highest level, according to an explosive new court filing.

by Kit Klarenberg

Part 2 - ‘A 50/50 chance’ of Saudi involvement

In 1996, Alec Station was created under the watch of the CIA. The initiative was supposed to comprise a joint investigative effort with the FBI. However, FBI operatives assigned to the unit soon found they were prohibited from passing any information to the Bureau’s head office without the CIA’s authorization, and faced harsh penalties for doing so. Efforts to share information with the FBI’s equivalent unit – the I-49 squad based in New York – were repeatedly blocked.  

In late 1999, with “the system blinking red” about an imminent large-scale Al Qaeda terror attack inside the US, the CIA and NSA were closely monitoring an “operational cadre” within an Al Qaeda cell that included the Saudi nationals Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar. The pair would purportedly go on to hijack American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11.

Al-Hazmi and al-Midhar had attended an Al Qaeda summit that took place between January 5th and 8th 2000, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The meeting was secretly photographed and videotaped by local authorities at Alec Station’s request although, apparently, no audio was captured. En route, Mihdhar transited through Dubai, where CIA operatives broke into his hotel room and photocopied his passport. It showed that he possessed a multi-entry visa to the US.

A contemporaneous internal CIA cable stated this information was immediately passed to the FBI “for further investigation.” In reality, Alec Station not only failed to inform the Bureau of Mihdhar’s US visa, but also expressly forbade two FBI agents assigned to the unit from doing so.

[I said] ‘we’ve got to tell the Bureau about this. These guys clearly are bad…we’ve got to tell the FBI.’ And then [the CIA] said to me, ‘no, it’s not the FBI’s case, not the FBI’s jurisdiction’,” Mark Rossini, one of the FBI agents in question, has alleged. “If we had picked up the phone and called the Bureau, I would’ve been violating the law. I…would’ve been removed from the building that day. I would’ve had my clearances suspended, and I would be gone.”

On January 15th, Hazmi and Mihdhar entered the US through Los Angeles International Airport, just weeks after the foiled Millennium plot. Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi government “ghost employee” immediately met them at an airport restaurant. After a brief conversation, Bayoumi helped them find an apartment near his own in San Diego, co-signed their lease, set them up bank accounts, and gifted $1,500 towards their rent. The three would have multiple contacts moving forward.

In interviews with Operation Encore investigators years later, Bayoumi alleged his run-in with the two would-be hijackers was mere happenstance. His extraordinary practical and financial support was, he claimed, simply charitable, motivated by sympathy for the pair, who could barely speak English and were unfamiliar with Western culture.

The Bureau disagreed, concluding Bayoumi was a Saudi spy, who handled a number of Al Qaeda operatives in the US. They also considered there to be a “50/50 chance” he – and by extension Riyadh – had detailed advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

That remarkable finding wasn’t known publicly until two decades later, when a tranche of Operation Encore documents were declassified upon the Biden administration’s orders, and it was completely ignored by the mainstream media. Don Canestraro’s declaration now reveals FBI investigators went even further in their assessments.

A Bureau special agent, dubbed “CS-3” in the document, stated Bayoumi’s contact with the hijackers and support thereafter “was done at the behest of the CIA through the Saudi intelligence service.” Alec Station’s explicit purpose was to “recruit Al-Hazmi and Al-Mihdhar via a liaison relationship”, with the assistance of Riyadh’s General Intelligence Directorate.

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