Is the Saudi Royal Family Connected to 9/11 Hijackers?
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WhoWhatWhy has found evidence linking the Saudi royal family to Saudis in South Florida who reportedly had direct contact with the 9/11 hijackers before fleeing the United States just prior to the attacks. Our report connects some of the dots first laid out by investigative author Anthony Summers and Florida-based journalist Dan Christensen in articles jointly published in the Miami Herald and on the nonprofit news site BrowardBulldog.org.
In early September of this year, Summers and Christensen reported that a secret FBI probe, never shared with Congressional investigators or the presidential 9/11 commission, had uncovered information indicating the possibility of support for the hijackers from previously unknown confederates in the United States during 2001.
Now WhoWhatWhy reveals that those alleged confederates were closely tied to influential members of the Saudi ruling elite.
As reported in the Herald, phone records documented communication, dating back more than a year, that connected a Saudi family then living in a house near Sarasota, Florida, with the alleged plot leader, Mohammed Atta, and his hijack pilots—as well as to eleven of the other hijackers. In addition, records from the guard house at the gated community tied Atta’s vehicle and his accomplice Ziad Jarrah to actual visits to the house. Although requiring further investigation, this information suggests that the house may have functioned as an operational base for the hijackers.
According to interviews and records examined by The Herald, Anoud and Abdulazzi al-Hiijjii and their young twins abruptly departed their home in Sarasota only days before September 11, 2001 and traveled to Arlington, Virginia, where they stayed briefly at another house owned by Anoud’s father, Esam Ghazzawi.
Then, still well before 9/11, the entire group, now including the father, flew to London and on to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Sarasota house was sold in 2003, as was a penthouse apartment in another DC, suburb, Rosslyn, Virginia. The Ghazzawis do not seem to have set foot again in the United States.
Building on these revelations, WhoWhatWhy has found documents laying out the Ghazzawis’ royal connections through a nest of Saudi corporations that share the name EIRAD. Esam Ghazzawi is director of EIRAD Management Company, the UK division of EIRAD Trading and Contracting Co. Ltd., which among other things holds the Saudi franchise for many multinational brands, including UPS. Esam’s brother Mamdouh, whose name shows up on public records associated with family properties in the U.S., is the Executive Managing Director of the parent firm, EIRAD Holding Co. Ltd. EIRAD has connections to the US government via contracts. In 2008, records show, the State Department paid EIRAD $11,733 for rental of facilities, presumably in Saudi Arabia.
There is no indication that the company itself, or any of its officers or employees, have any connection to the 9/11 incident, or knowledge of anything regarding Mr. Ghazzawi’s activities in the United States. Calls for comment to the company’s main switchboard went unanswered during normal business hours; its website was not functioning properly and Saudi trade officials in the United States had not furnished alternative contact information at publication time.
But the now-revealed link between the Ghazzawis and the highest ranks of the Saudi establishment reopens questions about the White House’s controversial approval for multiple charter flights allowing Saudi nationals to depart the U.S., beginning about 48 hours after the attacks, without the passengers being interviewed by law enforcement—despite the identification of the majority of the hijackers as Saudis.
In addition, the new revelations draw further attention to a web of relationships that include the long and close business, personal and political ties between the Bush family and the Saudi royal family.