The New Yorker revealed that the Saudi government is tracking Ali Soufan, a former F.B.I. agent of Lebanese origin, who played a key role in the 9/11 investigations.
The magazine reported that the C.I.A. had informed Soufan last May that al-Qaeda was tracking him.
“Two weeks later, Soufan, who lives in New York, became the target of a virulent campaign on social media. The campaign, amplified by trolls and bots, featured menacing statements.
“Soufan brought the material to F.B.I. officials, who opened an investigation. Cybersecurity experts hired by Soufan traced at least part of the campaign to an official in the Saudi government. The campaign appeared to have involved some of the same people who had targeted Jamal Khashoggi.
Soufan is not without enemies. He has been a longtime antagonist of Al Qaeda. As an F.B.I. agent, he pursued the militants who attacked the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the U.S.S. Cole, in Yemen.
“After leaving the Bureau, in 2005, he started the Soufan Group, a security-advisory firm in New York. His company runs a training academy for police and intelligence forces in Qatar, a neighbor and bitter rival of Saudi Arabia.”
Last May, the F.B.I. inadvertently revealed the identity of a former official at the Saudi embassy in Washington, who is suspected of providing strong support to two of the participants in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The Yahoo news site reported that the FBI had mistakenly revealed the identity of the mysterious official at the Saudi embassy in Washington.
“The disclosure came in a new declaration filed in federal court by a senior FBI official in response to a lawsuit brought by families of 9/11 victims that accuses the Saudi government of complicity in the terrorist attacks.
Although the document obscures the name of the Saudi official, his name was mentioned in one of the paragraphs by error.
“The reference is to Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah, a mid-level Saudi Foreign Ministry official who was assigned to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., in 1999 and 2000.
Al-Jarrah, whose place is unknown, ordered two people to help Nawaf Al-Hazmi and Khaled Al-Mihdhar to settle in the United States before the attacks.
Al-Hazmi and Al- Mihdhar participated in hijacking the American Airlines plane that attacked the Pentagon headquarters, killing 125 people.
“His [Al-Jarrah’s] duties apparently included overseeing the activities of Ministry of Islamic Affairs employees at Saudi-funded mosques and Islamic centers within the United States.
The American authorities had interrogated Fahd Al-Thamiri and Omar Al-Bayoumi for assisting the hijackers, while a third man’s name was not revealed, but he is believed to be a high-ranking government official in Riyadh.
The American authorities suspect that Al-Jarrah is the third man.
“This shows there is a complete government cover-up of the Saudi involvement,” said Brett Eagleson, a spokesman for the 9/11 families whose father was killed in the attacks. “It demonstrates there was a hierarchy of command that’s coming from the Saudi Embassy to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs [in Los Angeles] to the hijackers.”
The Ministry of Justice asked the court to withdraw the document from the public registry, indicating that it had been deposited incorrectly, according to Yahoo News.
According to observers, this disclosure actually revives many doubts about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s links to the 9 11 attacks, as part of a lawsuit filed by the families of the victims since 2003.
The lawsuit gained momentum in 2016 when the US Congress passed the JASTA Act, which allows Americans to sue foreign governments for terrorism charges.
The Saud House has consistently denied any connection to the 9/11 hijackers, and told the New York Times last January that “Saudi Arabia has been and remains a close and important ally of the United States in the war against terrorism.”
As a result of those attacks, 2976 people were killed, including 2,753 people targeting the World Trade Center and its vicinity in New York City in September 2001.