A new book connects Princess Haifa al-Faisal—the wife of former Saudi Arabia ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan—to money that aided and abetted two of the 9/11 hijackers.
The new information comes from “The Commission: The Uncensored History Of The 9/11 Investigation” by Philip Shenon, an investigative reporter for The New York Times. The revelation is contained in a portion of a House-Senate Joint Intelligence Committee report with 28 pages on Saudi links to the 9/11 attacks that destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center, struck the Pentagon, caused the crash of jet in a Pennsylvania field—and killed more than 3,000 people in the most deadly terrorist attack ever on United States soil.
The 28 pages on the Saudi connections never saw the light of day because the White House invoked executive privilege. President George W. Bush is so close to the Saudi royal family he is known by the nickname “Bandar Bush.”
The two hijackers implicated in the allegations are Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mindhar, who both investigated flight schools in the San Diego area. The money was funneled to them through Saudi expatriate Omar al-Bayoumi: on the payroll to a Saudi government airline contractor, though Bayoumi did no work for the firm, according to Shenon. While helping the hijackers, Bayoumi’s income from the “ghost” job jumped $40,000. Another Saudi spy, Osama Bassan, funneled thousands of dollars to Bassan, according to Michael Jacobson, an investigator for the joint House-Senate Committee.
“The source of Bassan’s money was at additional shock to the Senate investigators,” Shenon writes in his new book. “Much of it had come in the form of cashier’s checks directed to his family by Princess Haifa al-Faisal, wife of the Saudi ambassador to Washington. The Princess had a charity fund that assisted Saudis in distress in the United States, and she had supposedly sent the money to help Bayoumi’s wife pay for thyroid surgery; Bassan’s wife had signed a number of the checks over to Bayoumi’s wife.”
Shenon’s sources, among others, is Senator Bob Graham of Florida, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Graham says there was a “direct line between the terrorists and the government of Saudi Arabia.” Graham says Saudi “spies” based in Southern California helped at least two of the hijackers.
“And Graham and his investigators,” Shenon writes, “had become convinced that a number of sympathetic Saudi officials, possibly within the sprawling Islamic Affairs Ministry, had known that al-Qaeda terrorists were entering the United States beginning in 2000 in preparation for some sort of attack. Graham believed the Saudi officials had directed the spies operating in the United States to assist them.”
This is not the first time the charge against Princess Haifa has surfaced. In 2002, Adel Al-Jubeir, a foreign policy adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, told CNN that Princess Haifa Al-Faisal, is “a very generous woman” who generously supports charitable causes.
“The princess, however, never sent any money directly to the two hijackers, Al-Jubeir said,” according to CNN, “An investigation by her office has found the princess sent money to a woman on her charity recipient list and that woman then sent the money to the students.”