Weird. From what I can tell the above headline comes from only this teeny bit of the whole 224 page tome of FBI erudition...
"The plane was chartered either by the Saudi Arabian royal family or Osama bin Laden."
Hard to tell if it means much, but what a strange thing for the Feds to be writing when the only way these secret flights happened under a total flight ban was through the highest channels of government. How the hell would Osama have arranged them? It's either dopey or sloppy. I hope it's dopey.
A fun aside to this is that the FBI themselves publicly denied the existence of these flights for about two years, along with the FAA and White House, until the troublesome Richard Clarke released the cat. Colin Powell then had this relevant exchange on Meet the Press...
MR. RUSSERT: The cover of Time magazine tomorrow, headlined, The Saudis: Whose Side Are They On in the War on Terror? — in this release from Vanity Fair magazine, “Former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke tells Vanity Fair that the Bush administration decided to allow a group of Saudis to fly out of the U.S. just after September 11 — at a time when access to U.S. airspace was still restricted and required special government approval. According to other sources at least four flights with about 140 Saudis, including roughly two dozen members of the bin Laden family, flew to Saudi Arabia that week — without even being interviewed or interrogated by the F.B.I.”
Why was that allowed?
SEC’Y POWELL: Well, I don’t know that that’s accurate. I don’t know the details of what happened. But my understanding is that there was no sneaking out of the country; that the flights were well-known, and it was coordinated within the government. But I don’t have the details about what the FBI’s role in it might or might not have been.
I don't think the FBI knows what their role was. It's a galling state of affairs when extreme incompetence and ignorance are the most comforting explanations.
*shakes puny little fist at gods*
:: Damian B. 6/20/2007 [+] ::