The House Intelligence Committee on Friday released 28 previously classified pages from a 2002 congressional investigation into the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
The long-secret pages detail evidence linking Saudi Arabia to 9/11 uncovered in the immediate aftermath, though officials warn that it is merely preliminary and was later dismissed by subsequent investigations into the issue.
There is no single smoking gun within the pages to definitively implicate any senior Saudi leaders for supporting the al Qaeda terrorists.
Yet the evidence is nonetheless likely to inflame the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, which has been rocky for the last year. In the U.S. in particular, release of the pages will likely lead to new scrutiny of the complex relationship between the two nations, which has previously been used as a foil during the political season.
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens, and rumors have simmered for years about possible links between the kingdom and al Qaeda.
According to the formerly top-secret pages, investigators uncovered “numerous reports” from FBI sources that at least two people in contact with some of the 9/11 hijackers may have been Saudi intelligence officers. Those two men may have provided financial, legal and social help to two of the hijackers in San Diego.
Additionally, the FBI discovered that numbers in the phone book of al Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubaydah traced back to an umbrella company used to manage the Colorado residence of the then-Saudi ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and a bodyguard at the Saudi embassy in Washington.
Another phone number found in a safe house used by 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden traced back to someone in the U.S. who “regularly provides services” to personal assistants of Prince Bandar, the report claimed.
Other bits of evidence create additional potential links, such as a Saudi Interior Ministry official who stayed at the same hotel as one of the hijackers and appeared “deceptive” in a subsequent interview.