Zacarias Moussaoui, serving a life sentence in the United States for involvement in the 9/11, now claims that members of the Saudi royal family helped fund the aerial terrorism that killed nearly 3,000 Americans 14 years ago.
He made the spectacular claim against Saudi princes this week in a court that is considering a bid by Saudi Arabia to reject a lawsuit against it by 9/11 victims.
Moussaoui was branded as a “deranged criminal” by Saudi Arabia.
Moussaoui previously has testified in court that he was not involved in 9/11 but was planning other terrorist attacks, such as downing Air Force One.
The connection between Saudi Arabia and 9/11 never has died down since the day of the attacks. It
was reported at the time that a private Saudi plane was allowed to leave the United States at the time that federal officials grounded all flights before being able to ascertain that there were no more terrorists preparing to overtake airplanes and crash them into government and private buildings.
Moussaoui’s unstable behavior in court proceedings before his sentencing in 9/11 places serious questions around the validity of his claims against the Royal Family.
However, there is no question that Saudi Arabia officials, including newly-crowned King Salman Bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, pumped millions of dollars into the pockets of jihadists, some of whom established Al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda targeted the oil-rich kingdom in the years before 9/11, but Saudi Arabia did not understand the depth of the threat until 2003, when the terrorist organization launched attacks within the country.
Moussaoui claimed that Saudi princes who funded Al Qaeda in the 1990s, when the terrorist organization already was trying to destroy the kingdom, were the head of intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Riyadh’s ambassador to Washington.
Even more spectacular in Moussaoui’s claim is his fingering the gadfly Saudi prince and billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
“I doubt he would be a natural supporter of Al Qaeda,” F. Gregory Gause III, a professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A & M University, told The New York Times Thursday.
Moussaoui claimed in letters he wrote to the judge in the suit against Saudi Arabia that Prince Turki told Saudi officials to help the terrorists who eventually hijacked the planes in the 9/11 attacks.
He also charged that Prince Bandar’s wife sent money to the hijackers.
Moussaoui was charged in 2002 with conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism, aircraft piracy, destroy aircraft, use weapons of mass destruction, murder United States employees and destroy property.
He admitted his guilt to a certain extent but said he was not involved in the 9/11 attacks although he was a member of Al Qaeda.
In 2001, he said in court, “In the name of Allah, I do not have anything to plea, and I enter no plea.”
On July 18, 2002, he pleaded guilty to four of six counts of conspiracy and stated, “I have knowledge and I participated in Al-Qaeda. I am a member of Al-Qaeda.” He denied charges of conspiracy to murder United States employees and destroy property.
In his plea, Moussaoui stated, “I made it clear to the Court that I did not have knowledge of and was not a member of the plot to hijack and crash planes into buildings in September 11, 2001 but that I was part of another Al-Qaeda plot which was to occur after September 11, 2001…..
“Because I now see that it is possible that I can receive a fair trial even with Americans as jurors and that I can have the opportunity to prove that I did not have any knowledge of and was not a member of the plot to hijack planes and crash them into buildings on September 11, 2001, I wish to withdraw my guilty plea and ask the Court for a new trial to prove my innocence of the September 11 plot.”