A lawsuit filed by the families and survivors of the 9/11 attacks claims that, while he was Director of the FBI in 2001, former special counsel Robert Mueller helped cover up the role of the Saudi Arabian government in the 9/11 attacks and allowed several suspects and witnesses to escape the country.
The explosive charges about a Bush administration cover-up of involvement by the royal family in murdering 3,000 Americans have been bandied about for years. But now, as we approach the 18th anniversary of the attacks, the families of victims want closure — and answers.
FBI agents from that time are bitter about Mueller’s role in the non-investigation. They point out that Mueller seemed a lot more zealous about going after Russians who may have interfered in the 2016 elections than Saudis who had a hand in murdering Americans.
As the head of the FBI at the time, they say Mueller was not nearly as interested in investigating that espionage conspiracy, which also involved foreign intelligence officers. Far from it, the record shows he covered up evidence pointing back to the Saudi Embassy and Riyadh — and may have even misled Congress about what he knew.
9/11 victims agree. “He was the master when it came to covering up the kingdom’s role in 9/11,” said survivor Sharon Premoli, who was pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center 18 years ago.
It’s not that there wasn’t any evidence that the Saudi government was involved. The hijackers left an obvious trail that led straight back to the government of Saudi Arabia.
- Time and again, agents were called off from pursuing leads back to the kingdom’s embassy in Washington, as well as its consulate in Los Angeles, where former FBI Agent Stephen Moore headed a 9/11 task force looking into local contacts made by two of the 15 Saudi hijackers, Moore testified in an affidavit for the 9/11 lawsuit. He concluded that “diplomatic and intelligence personnel of Saudi Arabia knowingly provided material support to the two hijackers and facilitated the 9/11 plot.” Yet he and his team were not allowed to interview them, according to the suit.
- In Washington, former FBI Agent John Guandolo, who worked terror cases out of the bureau’s DC office, said then-Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar “should have been treated as a terrorist suspect” for giving money to a woman who funded two of the 9/11 hijackers. But he was never questioned either, Guandolo said.
We’ve all heard the story about President Bush authorizing the escape of Saudi nationals in the days following 9/11 when the nation’s air traffic was shut down. Mueller played a major role in the escape.
Instead, Mueller obliged what Guandolo called an “outrageous request” from Bandar within days of the attacks to help evacuate from the country dozens of Saudi officials, including at least one Osama bin Laden relative on the terror watch list. Mueller assured their safe passage to planes, using agents as personal escorts, according to FBI documents obtained by Judicial Watch. Agents who should have been interrogating the Saudis instead acted as their bodyguards.
And Mueller may have even lied to Congress:
- He also gave testimony to Congress that was, at the very least, misleading. In an October 2002 closed-door hearing, Mueller claimed he found out about Saudi-9/11 connections only as a result of the joint inquiry’s investigative work: “[S]ome facts came to light here and to me, frankly, that had not come to light before.” Only, Moore said he gave Mueller “daily” briefings on such connections in 2001. Mueller also testified the hijackers “contacted no known terrorist sympathizers in the United States,” even though the FBI’s own case files showed they had contact with at least 14 terrorist suspects and sympathizers in the US prior to 9/11, including some working for the Saudi government. (In later testimony, he tried to walk this back, insisting he “had no intent to mislead.”)
Mr. “Straight Arrow,” by-the-book Mueller turns out to have played fast and loose with investigations before — including the most important FBI investigation in history. But why?
I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Bush administration wanted to sweep Saudi involvement under the rug. There were realpolitik reasons for that. The terrorist-Saudi nexus had already been well established by 2001. Fanatical Wahhabists were in bed with radical Sunnis, funded by Saudi oil money, with the goal of destroying the U.S.
But it was clear, even in 2001, that we would need the help of the Saudi government to take on these growing terror networks. While it’s true there were factions of the Saudi Royal family and government who were sympathetic to al-Qaeda and their goals, there were also warm relations with the Saudi military and intelligence services that have proven to be invaluable to our own counterterrorism efforts over the years.
This gives no comfort to the families of 9/11 victims. They want justice, not explanations. While they are very likely to win their suit, collecting damages is probably not in the cards. The litigation will go on and the Saudi government will likely escape the consequences of their monstrous acts.
And Mueller? He’ll go on being a leftist hero. His role in covering up the biggest crime in American history is not part of the “narrative” and will likely be forgotten.