"They are a top source of funding for Al Qaida and associated terror
groups, such as the Taliban," GAO said on Sept. 29.
"It is vital that the U.S. demand more from the Saudi government in
cutting off the money flow to the Islamist extremist network," Rep. Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee,
GAO said Riyad has failed to stop the flow of funds from individuals and
charities to Al Qaida and Taliban. The report said the Saudi funding
continued amid the kingdom's crackdown on Al Qaida and counter-insurgency
support to neighboring Yemen.
The report also warned of Saudi Arabia's policy to rehabilitate Al Qaida
insurgents. GAO reported a 20 percent recidivism rate of the 4,300 Al Qaida
operatives who went through the re-education program.
"Saudi officials acknowledge such cases illustrate the difficulties
associated with assessing which participants should be released," GAO said.
The congressional watchdog recommended that the White House draft
performance targets for Saudi Arabia in the war against Al Qaida. Over the
last five years, several prominent of Congress have sought to link U.S. arms
sales to Riyad to its commitment to block funding to Al Qaida.