Wednesday, June 20, 2007


September Never Ends

Here's a golden oldie. Let's go back to that interesting time -- just a few short days after the 9/11 attacks. Remember those flights that ushered out various Saudi nationals -- and several members of the extended bin Laden family?

Well, it appears that at least one of them may have been charterd by Osama bin Laden himself. This according to FBI documents obtained by the right-leaning public-interest legal group, Judicial Watch:
One FBI document referred to a Ryan Air 727 airplane that departed Los Angeles International Airport on September 19, 2001, and was said to have carried Saudi nationals out of the United States.

"The plane was chartered either by the Saudi Arabian royal family or Osama bin Laden," according to the document, which was among 224 pages posted online.

The flight made stops in Orlando, Florida; Washington, DC; and Boston, Massachusetts and eventually left its passengers in Paris the following day.

In all, the documents detail six flights between September 14 and September 24 that evacuated Saudi nationals and bin Laden family members, Judicial Watch said in a statement.

"Incredibly, not a single Saudi national nor any of the bin Laden family members possessed any information of investigative value," Judicial Watch said.

"These documents contain numerous errors and inconsistencies which call to
question the thoroughness of the FBI's investigation of the Saudi flights.

"For example, on one document, the FBI claims to have interviewed 20 of 23
passengers on the Ryan International Airlines flight ... on another document the
FBI claims to have interviewed 15 to 22 passengers on the same flight."

Now, let's underscore the "may" in the document. One FBI source tries to completely dismiss the notion of bin Laden chartering the plane -- or of the Saudi nationals that left being suspicious:
"There is no new information here. Osama bin Laden did not charter a flight out
of the US," FBI special agent Richard Kolko said.
"This is just an inflammatory headline by Judicial Watch to catch people's attention. This was thoroughly investigated by the FBI."
Kolko pointed to the 9-11 Commission Report, which was the book-length result of an official probe into the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people.
"No political intervention was found. And most important, the FBI conducted a satisfactory screening of Saudi nationals that left on chartered flights. This is all available in the report," Kolko said.

Consider that last paragraph for a moment: "the FBI conducted a satisfactory screening of Saudi nationals that left on chartered flights."

Yet, these flights began on September 14th.

So, we are supposed to believe that -- after the worst, most-widespread attack in the continental U.S. ever; launched by unknown foreign individuals; with the vast majority of its resources working to either confirm/deny whether a follow-up attack was underway or tracking down leads to other plotters -- the FBI was able to complete background checks on an unknown number of Saudi nationals and bin Laden family members within three days?

That, simply speaking, beggars belief.

"Thorougly investigated by the FBI." Yeah, just like those anthrax attacks.

Yes, the 9/11 Commission ostensibly gave a clean bill of health to the FBI's behavior doing these background checks. But, obviously, this otherwise-redacted line ("The plane was chartered either by the Saudi Arabian royal family or Osama bin Laden.") would likely have jumped out at investigators and warrented a bit more study, don't ya think?

You know, you don't really need A-plus examples of government incompetence to fuel conspiracy theories.

But they sure don't hurt.

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