New evidence that the Saudi Arabian government had supported the 9/11 hijackings has been revealed in a lawsuit being brought against the Saudi government, including allegations that they financed a "dry run" rehearsal for a future hijacking that was carried out by two undercover operatives in November of 1999. The filing illustrates "a pattern of both financial and operational support" by Saudi sources, and if the allegations are true, would mean indicate a deeper conspiracy involving Saudi officials.
The two alleged agents in question, Mohammed al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi, were Saudi nationals that were studying at the University of Arizona when they took a plane trip from Phoenix to Washington, with their airfare paid for by the Saudi government, "in a dry run for the 9/11 attacks," according to court documents filed on behalf of the families of approximately 1,400 of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
While on board the Nov. 19, 1999 America West flight to Washington, al-Qudhaeein and al-Shalawi had reportedly asked technical questions about the aircraft that raised suspicions with the flight attendants, and tried to gain access to the plane’s cockpit, prompting the flight crew to report their suspicions to the authorities during their layover in Columbus, Ohio, where the two passengers were detained by the FBI.
"After they boarded the plane in Phoenix, they began asking the flight attendants technical questions about the flight that the flight attendants found suspicious," according to a FBI case file summary.
"When the plane was in flight, al-Qudhaeein asked where the bathroom was; one of the flight attendants pointed him to the back of the plane," the report continues. "Nevertheless, al-Qudhaeein went to the front of the plane and attempted on two occasions to enter the cockpit." Al-Qudhaeein and al-Shalawi would go on to file a civil rights complaint against American West, although the case ruled in favor of the airline, citing that it was within the captain’s authority to take such measures to safeguard the passengers and crew of the aircraft.
After questioning the pair, the FBI decided not to pursue the matter, but later found that a suspect in another counterterrorism investigation was driving al-Shalawi’s car, prompting the bureau to open a new case investigating al-Shalawi. The investigation found that al-Shalawi had previously received explosives training at al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. There was also the suspicion that al-Qudhaeein was a Saudi intelligence agent, due to his frequent contact with Saudi officials.
It was also revealed that their trip to Washington was to attend a symposium that was being hosted by the Saudi Embassy and the Institute for Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America (IIASA), an organization suspected to have extremist ties. Both al-Qudhaeein and al-Shalawi would later be given jobs in the Saudi government.
"The dry run reveals more of the fingerprints of the Saudi government," according to co-plaintiff Kristen Breitweiser, who lost her husband when the World Trade Center was destroyed. "These guys were Saudi government employees for years and were paid by the Saudi government. In fact, the Saudi Embassy paid for their plane tickets for the dry run."