- The Washington Times - Monday, November 25, 2002

Saudi government officials' aid to some September 11 hijackers demonstrates that terrorist networks likely still exist within the United States and could carry out further attacks, the head of the Senate intelligence committee said yesterday
"We don't have any reason to believe that there are not still infrastructures of support and cooperation here inside the United States facilitating the next wave of terror," Sen. Bob Graham, Florida Democrat, said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Sen. Richard Shelby, Alabama Republican and vice chairman of the intelligence panel, also saw the potential for Saudi-backed terrorism after a weekend report that the wife of the Saudi ambassador to the United States had indirectly sent money to two of the September 11 hijackers.
"We should think about future attacks, who is funding the terrorists. If it's the royal family the American people need to know," he said on NBC.
Several other lawmakers on yesterday's talk shows, including Sens. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat, said they doubted that Princess Haifa al-Faisal had intentionally assisted two al Qaeda suicide terrorists who helped hijack the plane that was crashed into the Pentagon, killing 189 persons, including the terrorists.
"But facts are facts. And that is that the Saudis have been engaged in a Faustian bargain with the radical Islamic fundamentalists for many, many years in order to stay on the throne," Mr. McCain said on ABC's "This Week."
"It is clear that huge amounts of money have gone to these organizations and you know, like any other Faustian bargain, it comes time to pay up," Mr. McCain said.
The Saudis "have got to stop this business of funding these radical Islamic organizations which are intent on destroying the West and the U.S.," said Mr. McCain, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Mr. Biden agreed, saying on CNN's "Late Edition," "I am doubtful that there was an intentional transfer of money." But he added that "there's a long pattern of the Saudis essentially buying off extremism in their country."
Weekend news reports, first published in Newsweek and the New York Times and confirmed by Saudi foreign policy adviser Adel al-Jubeir, told of how hijackers Khalif al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi indirectly received money from Princess Haifa's Washington checking account.
The news reports said leaders of the joint House and Senate intelligence probe into failures before September 11 said in a draft report they believed the FBI had not investigated the Saudi money trail thoroughly.
Mr. Shelby confirmed that yesterday on NBC.
"I believe that the FBI ought to relentlessly pursue these leads wherever they go. Sen. Graham and I have pushed them to do this, and I hope they will ultimately follow through, no matter who the target is," he said. "You have to follow the money."
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat and Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, also accused the White House of backing what he called a lack of FBI aggressiveness.
"The congressional committee says the FBI was not aggressive enough, and the White House says immediately: 'Yes they were.'" Mr. Lieberman said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "That's not enough.
"The president ought to be demanding a full public accounting from the FBI and the CIA about what they know about Saudi involvement," he said.


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