The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been accused of covering up alleged 'Saudi Arabian links' to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
US newspaper the New York Post reports that the crime agency investigated claims that a prominent Saudi Arabian family had abruptly left the country weeks before 9/11.
Details of the investigation were kept from the Congressional committee that looked at the attacks, the newspaper says.
The abandoned home is said to have belonged to Esam Ghazzawi, an adviser to the nephew of the then Saudi King Fahd.
It was occupied by his daughter and son-in-law but they left the property in August 2001.
The apparently sudden departure back to Saudi Arabia – which reportedly saw new cars, luxury furniture, and refrigerators full of food left unattended – aroused suspicion with neighbours and triggered the investigation.
Agents are said to have allegedly identified “persons of interest” in the case.
The FBI admits the investigation took place but dismissed its result.
“The FBI told the Review Commission that the communication was ‘poorly written’ and wholly unsubstantiated,” a 128 page Congressional report said.
“When questioned later by others in the FBI, the special agent who wrote [it] was unable to provide any basis for the contents of the document or explain why he wrote it as he did.”
The FBI stated: “At no time did the FBI develop evidence that connected the family members to any of the 9/11 hijackers … and there was no connection found to the 9/11 plot.’’
Mr Gazzawi’s son in law has previously responded to reports of the FBI investigation, saying: “I have neither relation nor association with any of those bad people/criminals and the awful crime they did. 9/11 is a crime against the USA and all humankind and I’m very saddened and oppressed by these false allegations.
“I love the USA. My kids were born there, I went to college and university there, I spent a good portion of my life there and I love it. He has also dismissed reports of the family having left the house with undue haste, saying they were “absolutely not true” and that his departure was because at the time he as trying to secure a position with the Saudi state oil company, Aramco. He said his wife and children followed him to Saudi Arabia a few weeks later.
Former Democratic Senator Bob Graham, who chaired the congressional inquiry into 9/11, told the newspaper that he believed the FBI was covering up Saudi links to the outrage.
The final 28 pages of his report are classified, and he wants the US president to make them public.
“The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,” he said.