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In highly unusual testimony inside the federal supermax prison, a former operative for Al Qaeda has described prominent members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family as major donors to the terrorist network in the late 1990s and claimed that he discussed a plan to shoot down Air Force One with a Stinger missile with a staff member at the Saudi Embassy in Washington.
The Qaeda member, Zacarias Moussaoui, wrote last year to Judge George B. Daniels of United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, who is presiding over a lawsuit filed against Saudi Arabia by relatives of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He said he wanted to testify in the case, and after lengthy negotiations with Justice Department officials and the federal Bureau of Prisons, a team of lawyers was permitted to enter the prison and question him for two days last October.
He said in the prison deposition that he was directed in 1998 or 1999 by Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan to create a digital database of donors to the group. Among those he said he recalled listing in the database were Prince Turki al-Faisal, then the Saudi intelligence chief; Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, the longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States; Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent billionaire investor; and many of the country’s leading clerics.
“Sheikh Osama wanted to keep a record who give money,” he said in imperfect English — “who is to be listened to or who contributed to the jihad.”
Mr. Moussaoui said he acted as a courier for Bin Laden, carrying personal messages to prominent Saudi princes and clerics. And he described his training in Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.
He helped conduct a trial explosion of a 750-kilogram bomb as a trial run for a planned truck-bomb attack on the American Embassy in London, he said, using the same weapon used in the Qaeda attacks in 1998 on the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He also studied the possibility of staging attacks with crop-dusting aircraft.
In addition, Mr. Moussaoui said, “We talk about the feasibility of shooting Air Force One.”
Specifically, he said, he had met an official of the Islamic Affairs Department of the Saudi Embassy in Washington when the Saudi official visited Kandahar. “I was supposed to go to Washington and go with him” to “find a location where it may be suitable to launch a Stinger attack and then, after, be able to escape,” he said.
He said he was arrested before being able to carry out the reconnaissance mission.
New allegations have emerged from the man described as the 20th 9/11 hijacker, alleging members of the Saudi royal family supported al Qaeda.
Moussaoui goes on to say he met with members of the Saudi royal family in person more than once in Saudi Arabia, in order to hand-deliver letters to and from al Qaeda's notorious leader.
"I was introduced as the messenger for Shaykh Osama bin Laden," Moussaoui told attorneys on Oct. 21.
"Did they treat you well during the [first] visit?" the lawyer asked.
"Extremely well," Moussaoui said.
Moussaoui said he traveled on private jets and in limousines. His meetings took place in luxury hotels and even Saudi palaces.
He was also given money for travel expenses at the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad, which he considered a bribe, he said.
Furthermore, Moussaoui said his primary point of contact with the royal family was Prince Turki al-Faisal Al Saud, and that Turki introduced him to other prominent members of the family, including another former Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.
He also said at that time that he had met with a Saudi prince and princess in early 2001 when he was taking flying lessons in Norman, Oklahoma, and that she "gave me money."
"I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,"
originally posted by: desert
a reply to: OtherSideOfTheCoin
IMO the money that is being discussed was hush money and not money specifically donated to help OBL with his anti-US campaign. OBL was anti-Saudi royals also.
Moore then discusses the complex relationships between the U.S. government and the Bush family; and between the bin Laden family, the Saudi Arabian government, and the Taliban, which span over three decades. Moore alleges that the United States government evacuated 24 members of the bin Laden family on a secret flight shortly after the attacks, without subjecting them to any form of interrogation.