Florida Bulldog by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan
September 11, 2019
“In Saudi Arabia they chose not to see these radical fundamentalists….We allow them to flourish, and have no reason to believe that their way of life would do anyone harm.”
That is an astounding statement. It came from the lips of Saudi Ambassador to Washington Prince Bandar bin Sultan, in a long-hidden interview with the 9/11 Commission. Osama bin Laden was born in Saudi Arabia, and fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were Saudi citizens.
Commission staff, it appears, did not question Bandar further on his statement that radical fundamentalists would not do anyone any harm.
Restricted on national security grounds, the commission’s summary notes of the October 7, 2003 interview with Bandar were released to the authors by the National Archives only a month ago. We had been trying to obtain them for almost a decade. The interview was conducted at Bandar’s home in McLean, Virginia, by Commission Director Philip Zelikow and three members of his staff. The Commission did not routinely record its interviews, according to Zelikow. No transcript is available.
Bandar, who served as Saudi ambassador to the U.S. from 1983 to 2005, is a grandson of his country’s founder, King Ibn Saud. The interview took place as the Commission prepared for a trip to Saudi Arabia to interview witnesses and government officials.
Terry Strada, whose husband Tom died in the World Trade Center attacks, is today National Chair of 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism. She reacted angrily when we told her what Bandar had said. “Saying they “chose not to see” the extremists in their midst is an admission that they knew they were there and did nothing to stop them. But even that is too generous…Their government-built, government-funded, government-staffed mosques all over the world were filled with their government-approved extremists spewing hate, death and destruction to America.”