U.S. Agents Told: Back Off bin Ladens
BBC2's Newsnight program said it had secret documents from the FBI investigation into the September 11 terror attacks showing that despite the myth that Osama is the black sheep of the family, at least two other U.S.-based members of it are suspected of links with a possible terrorist organisation.
FBI agents from the Washington field office were investigating Abdullah, a close relative of Osama, because of his relationship with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a suspected terrorist organisation.
Abdullah used to live with another close relative, Omar, also an FBI suspect, in a Washington suburb. The house was conveniently close to WAMY and the address listed by four of the alleged hijackers. The FBI looked into WAMY, but agents were pulled off the trail.
The program uncovered a long history of shadowy connections between the State Department, the CIA and the Saudis.
The former head of the U.S. visa bureau in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 1987 to 1989, Michael Springman, told the program: "In Saudi Arabia, I was repeatedly ordered by high-level State Department officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants. People who had no ties either to Saudi Arabia or to their own country. I complained there. I complained in Washington to Main State, to the inspector-general and to Diplomatic Security and I was ignored. I was giving visas to terrorists - recruited by the CIA and Osama bin Laden - to come back to the U.S. for training to be used in the war in Afghanistan against the then Soviets."
The U.S. wanted to keep the pro-American Saudi royal family in control of the world's biggest oil spigot, even at the price of turning a blind eye to any terrorist connection - so long as America was safe.
The program said the younger George Bush made his first million 20 years ago with an oil company partly funded by the chief U.S. representative of Salem bin Laden, Osama's brother, who took over as head of the family after his father Mohammed's death in a plane crash in 1968.
Young George also received fees as director of a subsidiary of Carlyle Corporation, a little-known company which in a few years of its founding became one biggest U.S. military contractors. His father, Bush Senior, is also a paid adviser. It became embarrassing when it was revealed that the bin Ladens held a stake in Carlyle, sold just after September 11.
A highly-placed source in a U.S. intelligence agency said there had always been "constraints" on investigating Saudis, but under President Bush it had become much worse.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald, November 7, 2001 <http://www.smh.com.au/news/0111/07/world/world100.html>