Confirmed: Saudis flown Out of US 9/13/01
truth coming out! The St. Petersburg Times article below reports
that authorities at Tampa International Airport confirmed that Saudis
were flown in the US during the three-day travel ban immediately after
9-11. This information was provided just last week to the 9/11
commission in response to an inquiry. For nearly three years,
White House, aviation and law enforcement officials have insisted this flight
never took place and have denied published reports and widespread Internet
speculation about its purpose. Now we have no doubt. Yet isn't it interesting
that no major paper picked up this important fact (try a Google news search).
Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 911, however, covers this topic very
well. The film will appear in theaters around the country starting June 25th.
Don't miss it! Please help to spread the news and have a great day!
very best wishes,
- Two days after the Sept. 11 attacks, with most of the nation's air traffic
still grounded, a small jet landed at Tampa International Airport, picked up
three young Saudi men and left.
men, one of them thought to be a member of the Saudi royal family, were
accompanied by a former FBI agent and a former Tampa police officer on the
flight to Lexington, Ky.
Saudis then took another flight out of the country. The two ex-officers
returned to TIA a few hours later on the same plane.
nearly three years, White House, aviation and law enforcement officials have
insisted the flight never took place and have denied published reports and
widespread Internet speculation about its purpose.
now, at the request of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, TIA
officials have confirmed that the flight did take place and have supplied
odyssey of the small LearJet 35 is part of a larger controversy over the
hasty exodus from the United States in the days immediately after 9/11 of
members of the Saudi royal family and relatives of Osama bin Laden.
terrorism panel, better known as the 9/11 Commission, said in April that it
knew of six chartered flights with 142 people aboard, mostly Saudis, that
left the United States between Sept. 14 and 24, 2001. But it has said nothing
about the Tampa flight.
commission's general counsel, Daniel Marcus, asked TIA in a letter dated May
25 for any information about "a chartered flight with six people,
including a Saudi prince, that flew from Tampa, Florida on or about Sept. 13,
2001." He asked for the information no later than June 8.
officials said they sent their reply on Monday.
airport used aircraft tracking equipment normally assigned to a noise
abatement program to determine the identity of all aircraft entering TIA
airspace on Sept. 13, and found four records for the LearJet 35.
plane first entered the airspace from the south, possibly from the Fort
Lauderdale area, sometime after 3 p.m. and landed for the first time at 3:34
p.m. It took off at 4:37 p.m., headed north. It returned to Tampa at 8:23
p.m. and took off again at 8:48 p.m., headed south.
Craig Unger, who first disclosed the possibility of a post-9/11 Saudi airlift
in his book House of Bush, House of Saud, said in an interview that he
believes the jet came to Tampa a second time to drop off two former law
enforcement agents from Tampa who accompanied three young Saudis to Lexington
for security purposes.
Saudis asked the Tampa Police Department to escort the flight, but the
department handed off the assignment to Dan Grossi, a former member of the
force, Unger said. Grossi recruited Manuel Perez, a retired FBI agent, to
accompany him. Both described the flight to Unger as somewhat surreal.
got the approval somewhere," Perez is quoted as telling Unger. "It
must have come from the highest levels of government."
there is no manifest for those aboard the Lear flight to Kentucky, Unger says
the foreign nationals left Lexington for London aboard a Boeing 727. That
manifest lists eight Saudis, two Sudan nationals, one Tunisian, one
Philippine citizen, one Egyptian and two British subjects.
those, three listed residences on Normandy Trace Drive in Tampa, and all of
them held Florida drivers' licenses. They are Ahmad Al Hazmi, then 19, Fahad
Al Zeid, then 20, and Talal M. Al Mejrad, then 18, all male Saudis.
is not known which, if any, is a Saudi prince.
the former FBI agent on the flight, could not be located this week, and
Grossi declined to talk about the experience.
over it," he said in a telephone interview. "The White House, the
FAA and the FBI all said the flight didn't happen. Those are three agencies
that are way over my head, and that's why I'm done talking about it."
did say that Unger's account of his participation in the flight is accurate.
FAA is still not talking about the flights, referring all questions to the
FBI, which isn't answering anything, either. Nor is the 9/11 Commission.
book criticizes the Bush administration for allowing so many Saudis,
including the relatives of bin Laden, to leave the country without being
questioned thoroughly about the terrorist attacks.
of the 19 men who hijacked four airlines on Sept. 11 were Saudi, as is bin
9/11 Commission, which has said the flights out of the United States were
handled appropriately by the FBI, appears concerned with the handling of the
information, if any, do you have about the screening by law enforcement
personnel - including law enforcement personnel affiliated with the airport
facility - of individuals on this flight?" the commission asked TIA.
TIA Police Department said a check of its records indicated no member of its
force screened the Lear's passengers.
evidence that the flight occurred, several new questions have arisen.
Aircraft is the only facility at TIA that services general aviation, which
includes charter flights. When appropriate, Raytheon collects landing fees
from those aircraft for TIA and reports to TIA on the flights.
to airport records, Raytheon collected landing fees from only two aircraft on
Sept. 13, one of them a Lear 35. But according to the record, the
registration on the Lear is 505RP, a tail number which, according to the
latest federal records, is assigned to a Cessna Citation based in Kalamazoo,
Mich., and Oskar Rene Poch.
confirmed Tuesday that he owns a Citation with that tail number and did
before the terrorist attacks.
must have gotten the registration number wrong in Tampa," he said.
spokeswoman Brenda Geoghagan said it is believed the Lear's Sept. 13 journey
began in Fort Lauderdale, possibly at a charter company called Hop-a-Jet Inc.
The fact that the four trips in and out of Tampa all carried the flight
designation "HPJ32" lends support to that idea.
an official of Hop-a-Jet who wouldn't identify himself said the company does
not own an aircraft with the registration number 505RP. Furthermore, he said,
if that tail number is assigned to a Cessna Citation, the company doesn't own
any Citations, either.
of the aircraft allowed to fly in U.S. airspace on Sept. 13 were empty
airliners being ferried from the airports where they made quick landings on
Sept. 11. The reopening of the airspace included paid charter flights, but
not private, nonrevenue flights.
such a (LearJet) flight would have been legal hinges on whether somebody paid
for it," said FAA spokesman William Shumann. "That's the key."
Times researcher Kitty Bennett contributed to this report.
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