9/11 '20th Hijacker': Saudi Royals Funded al-Qaeda

Zacarias Moussaoui says Saudi official spoke of shooting Air Force One
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2015 7:04 AM CST
In this undated file photo provided by the Sherburne County Sheriff Office, Zacarias Moussaoui is shown.   (AP Photo/Sherburne County, Minn., Sheriff's Office, File)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – When the families of 9/11 victims decided to sue Saudi Arabia, Zacarias Moussaoui wanted to testify. In October, a team of lawyers interviewed the so-called "20th hijacker" from the Colorado supermax prison where he's serving a life sentence. What he had to say was shocking: He alleges that not only did Saudi Arabia's royal family fund al-Qaeda in the late 1990s, he says he discussed a plan to shoot down Air Force One with an official from the Saudi embassy in Washington, the New York Times reports. In some 100 pages of testimony, filed in federal court in New York on Monday, Moussaoui also describes meeting with Crown Prince Salman—now King Salman—and delivering letters from Osama bin Laden. CNN reports he was not cross-examined.

Moussaoui says he was to go to Washington with the official of the embassy's Islamic Affairs Department to scope out a spot "suitable to launch a Stinger attack and then, after, be able to escape." He was arrested before the scouting mission. The Saudi embassy says the Sept. 11 commission found no evidence that Saudi officials directly funded al-Qaeda, calling Moussaoui "a deranged criminal whose own lawyers presented evidence that he was mentally incompetent." However, the Times notes Moussaoui "comes across as calm and largely coherent" and was found competent to stand trial in 2005. Former Sen. Bob Graham, who has talked of a coverup, writes he is "convinced" of Saudi Arabia's ties to the 9/11 attacks in an affidavit filed Monday.

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |