The FBI has accidentally revealed the name of a Saudi diplomat who is suspected of directing support to two of the September 11, 2001, plane hijackers.
In a federal court filing by Jill Sanborn, the assistant director of the FBI’s counterterrorism division, the diplomat’s name was redacted in all instances except one. In that instance, Sanborn’s document refers to a diplomat formerly stationed at the Saudi embassy in the U.S. as “Jarrah,” Yahoo News reported on Tuesday.
The name refers to Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah, who served at the Saudi embassy from 1999 to 2000. Al-Jarrah “was responsible for the placement of Ministry of Islamic Affairs employees known as guides and propagators posted to the United States, including Fahad Al Thumairy,” according to a declaration by former FBI agent Catherine Hunt, who has assisted some of the families of 9/11 victims.
Al-Thumairy is a Saudi cleric who served as imam of a Los Angeles mosque. FBI reports released in 2012 revealed that Al-Thumairy and another individual were suspected of being “tasked” with aiding two 9/11 hijackers, although agents could not prove the suspicion conclusively.
Some families of 9/11 victims have seized on the disclosure as hard evidence that the Saudi government had some level of involvement in the attacks.
“This shows there is a complete government cover-up of the Saudi involvement,” Brett Eagleson, a spokesman for the families, told Yahoo. Eagleson noted that the Justice Department had informed families of al-Jarrah’s identity in September 2019, it had done so while forbidding the reporting of al-Jarrah’s name to the public.
The U.S. maintains an alliance with Saudi Arabia that has deepened in recent years as the two countries have placed pressure on Iranian forces throughout the Middle East. The Saudi government has repeatedly denied that any of its representatives were involved in the 9/11 hijackings.