‘FBI Helped Saudis Escape’ Not Such Tin Foil After All

Remember that tin-foil tale about the US helping high-ranking Saudis — including members of the bin Laden family — leave the US without interviewing them? It seems the conspiracy theory had one fact wrong — the flights in question didn't actually take off before the air travel ban was lifted, but only soon after, in a period when flights were still limited. Otherwise, the tin foil view is looking pretty good.

New Details on F.B.I. Aid for Saudis After 9/11: The F.B.I. gave personal airport escorts to two prominent Saudi families who fled the United States, and several other Saudis were allowed to leave the country without first being interviewed, the documents show.

The Saudi families, in Los Angeles and Orlando, requested the F.B.I. escorts because they said they were concerned for their safety in the wake of the attacks, and the F.B.I. – which was then beginning the biggest criminal investigation in its history – arranged to have agents escort them to their local airports, the documents show.

But F.B.I. officials reacted angrily, both internally and publicly, to the suggestion that any Saudis had received preferential treatment in leaving the country.

“I say baloney to any inference we red-carpeted any of this entourage,” an F.B.I. official said in a 2003 internal note. Another F.B.I. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said this week regarding the airport escorts that “we'd do that for anybody if they felt they were threatened – we wouldn't characterize that as special treatment.”

Yes, you see, we give Saudis special treatment like this all the time, so it's not really special, is it?

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6 Responses to ‘FBI Helped Saudis Escape’ Not Such Tin Foil After All

  1. Pingback: The Veiled Chameleon

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  3. You skipped the most important clause:

    “including relatives of Osama bin Laden”

    If they weren’t rich, they’d be in Guantanamo Bay now. Or maybe “extraordinary rendition”.

    Y’know, the current framing of issues isn’t working. Maybe a little argument-judo could be done?

    Let’s stop getting sucked into “The anonymous terrorist with the TICKING TIME BOMB!!!” story on torture. Let’s replace it with a … hypothetical.

    “A terrorist leader has just caused thousands of deaths and massive destruction. The country has several of his relatives within reach of law enforcement, and reason to believe that torturing them will reveal the location of the leader. Alan Dershowitz, do you issue the torture warrant?”

    I’d really be interested in what he’d say.

  4. Jon H says:

    “we’d do that for anybody if they felt they were threatened”

    Looks like something just asking to be tested.

  5. russ says:

    One problem with this story, it came from the always questionable and always less than ethical New York Times…

    Did you forget the Joe Wilson saga the New York Times ran with and has yet to apologize for?

  6. Brett Bellmore says:

    “”including relatives of Osama bin Laden”

    If they weren’t rich, they’d be in Guantanamo Bay now. Or maybe “extraordinary rendition”.”

    Well, that’s brilliant. And I suppose that if YOUR cousin commits murder, and he’s on the run, we should torture YOU? Even if you haven’t seen him in years?


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