New Docs Connect Robert Mueller to FBI Coverup Denying Saudi Family's Connections to 9/11
New FBI documents released in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) investigation suggest then-FBI Director Robert Mueller was involved in a potential coverup denying that the FBI found connections between a Saudi Arabian family living in Sarasota, Fla., and the September 11, 2001 attacks. Mueller's involvement in this case might cast a pall over his investigation into Donald Trump's alleged connections with Russia.
The case revolves around Abdulaziz al-Hijji, his wife Anoud, and her father Esam Ghazzawi, an advisor to a Saudi prince. The al-Hijjis abruptly left their home in Sarasota two weeks before the September 11 attacks, leaving behind jewelry, clothing, and cars.
An original FBI investigation reportedly uncovered links between the Hijjis and the 9/11 attacks, but subsequent FBI statements denied the connections. In 2012, the website Broward Bulldog (now Florida Bulldog) filed a FOIA request for FBI files regarding the case.
In 2014, the FBI released 11 pages, including statements reiterating that the al-Hijjis had left the U.S. shortly before the 9/11 attacks and that "further investigation" had revealed "many connections" between the family and 9/11 suspects, the Miami Herald reported.
The FBI later claimed there were no connections between the al-Hijjis and 9/11 — and that's where Mueller comes into the picture.
One FBI document, dated September 2012, was a copy of an April 16, 2002, report that agents found "many connections" between the family and "individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001." The couple's name was blanked out, but remained discernible. This flatly contradicted FBI statements that agents had found no connections.
FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jacqueline Maguire wrote in a 2014 memorandum that the 2002 report was "a bad statement. It was overly speculative and there was no basis for the statement."
The FBI had at least three reports detailing connections between the family and the 9/11 hijackers, however.
In response to Florida Bulldog's FOIA request, the FBI produced 80,000 classified pages for U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The FBI also gave Zloch the index organization to process the files. Mueller, now special counsel in the Trump-Russia investigation, was referenced in a document in this database.
The former FBI director was mentioned in a note about an FBI white paper dating back to September 15, 2010. The paper was written shortly after the Bulldog and the Miami Herald published a story about the departure of the al-Hijjis shortly before 9/11.
"It was created to brief the FBI Director concerning the FBI's investigation of 4224 Escondito Circle," the al-Hijjis' Sarasota address, according to the index.
The paper, "Alleged Sarasota Link to 9/11 Hijackers," reported that the "FBI found no evidence that connected the family members mentioned in the Miami Herald article to any of the 9/11 hijackers, nor was any connection found between the family and the 9/11 plot."