Prince Bandar Says Saudi Intelligence Was “Actively Following” 9/11 Hijackers

by | Nov 2, 2007 | Stress Blog | 1 comment

(CNN) — Saudi Arabia could have helped the United States prevent al Qaeda’s 2001 attacks on New York and Washington if American officials had consulted Saudi authorities in a “credible” way, the kingdom’s former ambassador said in a documentary aired Thursday.

The comments by Prince Bandar bin Sultan are similar to the remarks this week by Saudi King Abdullah that suggested Britain could have prevented the July 2005 train bombings in London if it had heeded warnings from Riyadh.

Speaking to the Arabic satellite network Al-Arabiya on Thursday, Bandar — now Abdullah’s national security adviser — said Saudi intelligence was “actively following” most of the September 11, 2001, plotters “with precision.”

“If U.S. security authorities had engaged their Saudi counterparts in a serious and credible manner, in my opinion, we would have avoided what happened,” he said. …

The September 11 attacks killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. All but four of the suicide hijackers who carried out the plot were Saudi nationals, and after the attacks, the kingdom was widely criticized for having tolerated Islamic militancy.

The Saudis have called the criticism unfair, pointing out that al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden‘s original grievance was against the country’s ruling family, which invited U.S. troops into the kingdom after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

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