Saudi Arabia refused to cooperate with the United
States regarding Al Qaida in the years leading up to the suicide strikes by
the organization in New York and Washington in 2001.
An unclassified version of the congressional investigation into the
Sept. 11 attacks asserts that Saudi Arabia failed to provide information on
Al Qaida, including members believed to have been planning attacks on U.S.
facilities. The unclassified version said the United States arrived at that
conclusion as early as 1996, two years before the Al Qaida bombings of two
U.S. embassies in Africa and five years before the suicide hijackings.
"According to a U.S. government official, it was clear from about 1996
that the Saudi government would not cooperate with the United States on
matters related to Osama Bin Laden," the report said.
On Thursday, the Saudi embassy in Washington dismissed assertions that
Saudi Arabia had cooperated with Al Qaida, Middle East Newsline reported.
Congressional sources said the unclassified version of the report
eliminated most references to Saudi involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks,
including whether Riyad helped Al Qaida in its plot to attack the United
States. Fifteen of the 19 Al Qaida airplane hijackers in the September 2001
attacks were Saudi nationals.
The report cited "foreign support for some of the Sept. 11 hijackers
while they were in the United States." The unclassified version did not
Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar
Bin Sultan said counter-terrorism cooperation has been bolstered between
Riyad and Washington.
"Cooperation between our two countries in fighting terrorism is
excellent in all areas and has never been greater," Prince Bandar said in a
statement issued Thursday. "It is disappointing that despite everything we
are doing, outrageous charges continue. They are not based in fact and only
serve to denigrate Saudi Arabia, which is exactly what Bin Laden wanted to