New allegations of Saudi involvement in 9/11

New allegations have emerged from the man described as the 20th 9/11 hijacker, alleging members of the Saudi royal family supported al Qaeda.

Zacarias Moussaoui, who pleaded guilty in 2005 to six terror-related charges, makes the allegations in a sworn statement contained in a brief submitted Tuesday as part of an ongoing civil case by the families of 9/11 victims.

In the late 1990s, Moussaoui says, he was tasked by Osama bin Laden to create a digital database cataloging al Qaeda’s donors. Every day for two or three months, he says, he entered names of the group’s donors into a Toshiba computer, along with how much they gave.

Moussaoui, who has been in U.S. custody for more than 13 years, said the list featured high-profile people, including several members of the Saudi Royal family, whom he named in his testimony.

They include Prince Turki al-Faisal Al Saud, former director-general of Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Intelligence Service and ambassador to the United States.

Moussaoui, a French national, said he was chosen for the database job because of his education and ability to speak English.

“Shaykh Osama wanted to keep a record who give money … who is to be listened to or who contribute to — to the jihad,” he said in sometimes stuttered answers.

TPD cannot independently confirm the claims Moussaoui makes in his new testimony, which was made under oath as part of a brief filed in opposition to a motion to dismiss a case against Saudi Arabia for its alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

Unlike a deposition, Moussaoui was not subjected to cross-examination by the defendants’ lawyers.

Questions about Moussaoui’s credibility, Saudi involvement
Moussaoui’s credibility has been called into question before. And though Saudi Arabia’s role in the attacks has long been a topic of suspicion, the 9/11 Commission’s report, released in 2004, concluded there was no evidence the Saudi government funded al Qaeda.

“It does not appear that any government other than the Taliban financially supported al Qaeda before 9/11, although some governments may have contained al Qaeda sympathizers who turned a blind eye to al Qaeda’s fund-raising activities,” the report said. “Saudi Arabia has long been considered the primary source of al Qaeda funding, but we have found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization.”

Still, the report noted in parentheses, “This conclusion does not exclude the likelihood that charities with significant Saudi government sponsorship diverted funds to al Qaeda.”

In a statement reacting to these latest allegations, the Saudi Embassy in Washington said, “There is no evidence to support Moussaoui’s claim. The Sept. 11 attack has been the most intensely investigated crime in history and the findings show no involvement by the Saudi government or Saudi officials.”

Claims about the Saudi royal family

Moussaoui’s new sworn statements were taken in October at a supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, where he has been held since his life sentence was handed down in 2006.

Related: Saudi dilemma: How to spot potential terrorists

In them, 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.

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Maddy Taylor

Journalist and fact checker at The Pluto Daily. University of Miami Ohio alumni class of '09!