Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bin Laden may have arranged family's US exit: FBI docs

Osama bin Laden may have chartered a plane that carried his family members and Saudi nationals out of the United States after the September 11, 2001 attacks, said FBI documents released Wednesday.

The papers, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, were made public by Judicial Watch, a Washington-based group that investigates government corruption.

One FBI document referred to a Ryan Air 727 airplane that departed Los Angeles International Airport on September 19, 2001, and was said to have carried Saudi nationals out of the United States.

"The plane was chartered either by the Saudi Arabian royal family or Osama bin Laden," according to the document, which was among 224 pages posted online.

Ah, I do remember that magical flight that whisked the Bin Laden family out of the country the day after the towers were attacked. And sure, I wondered mightily about it at the time. I wondered until I had smoke coming out of my ears.

Its not like we (the people) weren't already suspicious, you know. We were suspicious when we heard that this flight (while all other flights had been grounded) had actually been ordered from within the White House. And yes, we wondered why the hell no one was doing anything about it; like investigating.

And now we hear the flight was booked by either the Saudi Royal Family... or Bin Laden himself?

Excuse me for asking, but after a terrorist attack that has led to an almost complete rearrangement of our Constitution, do you mean to tell me that we let the Saudi government retrieve our best and most likely witnesses, and fly them out of the country? Who the hell is running this place?

As gnostic from Daily Kos noted, compare the FBI report with Senator Schumer's comments (about these flights) in 2004:

Senators seek clarification on bin Laden charter flight

A group of US senators has written to President George W Bush, asking for details of a charter flight out of the US two days after the September 11 attacks.

The flight was carrying 13 members of the bin Laden family out of the country.

Osama bin Laden is accused of masterminding the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, which killed almost 3,000 people.

Democrat Senator Charles Schumer from the Senate Armed Services Committee, says evidence suggests the flight was organised by the White House, and he is one of the signatories on the letter asking for more information.

"It's awfully strange that on September 13th, the only plane that was allowed to fly was a plane with many high-ranking Saudi nationals, who might have known something about terrorism," he said.

"No-one has figured out why. No-one has figured out who gave the authorisation."

Senator Schumer says evidence suggests the former White House anti-terrorism chief, Richard Clarke, cleared the bin Ladens to leave the country.

"Dick Clarke has said they went through the list of names and they weren't, you know, on a terrorist list, but it sure would have been better to interrogate them while they were here," he said.

Ah, but its so much more fun to have torture camps... right Dick?

Here is the rest of gnostic's posting to Daily Kos; it's just too amazing to leave out:

Update: Here's the Judicial Watch link:

Judicial Watch Releases New FBI Documents: Osama bin Laden May Have Chartered Saudi Flight Out of U.S. after 9/11

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released new documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") related to the "expeditious departure" of Saudi nationals, including members of the bin Laden family, from the United States following the 9/11 attacks. According to one of the formerly confidential documents, dated 9/21/2001, terrorist Osama bin Laden may have chartered one of the Saudi flights.

The document states: "ON 9/19/01, A 727 PLANE LEFT LAX, RYAN FLT #441 TO ORLANDO, FL W/ETA (estimated time of arrival) OF 4-5PM. THE PLANE WAS CHARTERED EITHER BY THE SAUDI ARABIAN ROYAL FAMILY OR OSAMA BIN LADEN...THE LA FBI SEARCHED THE PLANE [REDACTED] LUGGAGE, OF WHICH NOTHING UNUSUAL WAS FOUND." The plane was allowed to depart the United States after making four stops to pick up passengers, ultimately landing in Paris where all passengers disembarked on 9/20/01, according to the document.

Overall, the FBI’s most recent document production includes details of the six flights between 9/14 and 9/24 that evacuated Saudi royals and bin Laden family members. The documents also contain brief interview summaries and occasional notes from intelligence analysts concerning the cursory screening performed prior to the departures. According to the FBI documents, incredibly not a single Saudi national nor any of the bin Laden family members possessed any information of investigative value.

Another update: I thought this snippet appropriate to add to the narrative as well (HT to JeremyA):

September 13, 2001: Bush and Saudi Ambassador Hold Private Meeting

President Bush and Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the US, hold a private meeting in the White House. No aides or translators are present. Bandar is so close to the Bush family that he is nicknamed "Bandar Bush." Sen. Bob Graham (D) later will note that while neither Bush nor Bandar have disclosed what they discussed in the meeting, mere hours later, the first flights transporting Saudi royals and members of the bin Laden family are in the air. Over the next week, they will be taken to several gathering points, and then flown back to Saudi Arabia, apparently without first being properly interviewed by the FBI. Graham will say, "Richard Clarke, then the White House’s counterterrorism tsar, told me that he was approached by someone in the White House seeking approval for the departures. He did not remember who made the request... The remaining question is where in the White House the request originated, and how." Graham will imply that, ultimately, the request originated from this meeting between Bush and Bandar.

OK, my brain hurts. I don't want to think about 9/11 any more tonight. I can't keep all of these people straight, and can only hope that if there is a fire under all of this smoke, that Leahy and Waxman will sniff it out and go after it. Subpoenas please.

UPDATE: This from Larisa Alexandrovna, posted on Alternet blogs:

Furthermore, from the Judicial Watch Web site:

"According to the FBI documents, incredibly not a single Saudi national nor any of the bin Laden family members possessed any information of investigative value.
Moreover, the documents contain numerous errors and inconsistencies which call to question the thoroughness of the FBI's investigation of the Saudi flights. For example, on one document, the FBI claims to have interviewed 20 of 23 passengers on the Ryan International Airlines flight (commonly referred to as the "Bin Laden Family Flight"). On another document, the FBI claims to have interviewed 15 of 22 passengers on the same flight.
"Eight days after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, Osama bin Laden possibly charters a flight to whisk his family out of the country, and it's not worth more than a luggage search and a few brief interviews?" asked Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Clearly these documents prove the FBI conducted a slapdash investigation of these Saudi flights. We'll never know how many investigative leads were lost due to the FBI's lack of diligence."

But my favorite part of this whole FBI OBL farce is as follows:

"Incredibly, the FBI had previously redacted Osama bin Laden's name from the records in order "to protect privacy interests.""

At least this might finally explain a nagging problem I have had with the FBI's most wanted poster of OBL, which makes no mention of September 11, 2001 among the crimes OBL is wanted for:

"Usama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world."

Who has been fired for these oversights and likely criminal negligence, at best? Anyone? Apparently no one needs to be, seeing as how the US media is busy chasing Paris Hilton in and out of jail. Perhaps the Senate should ask Alberto Gonzales on his next visit to Congress if he may have asked the FBI to back off looking into who authorized these flights, the OBL redaction in the FOIA document, and why the FBI's OBL wanted poster does not appear to be up to date? Did I mention that Judicial Watch is a Conservative watchdog?

While you are holding your breath, you can see the full FOIA files HERE.


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