49 Mr. Bush, why are the Saudis given so preferential treatment, why is the red carpet being rolled out for them? Sure, we need your oil. And of course, all the presidents before you have always greeted the Saudis with the utmost respect. But why did you block all attempts to do a thorough investigation into your connections with the Saudis? Why do you refuse to say: “Saudi Arabia attacked the United States!” Mr. Bush, does that have anything to do with your family’s close personal relationship with the Saudi ruling family? I would like to say that it is impossible. But do you have another explanation? That it was some madman in a cave (who happens to be on dialysis)? And after you failed to track this madman, why were you trying to convince us that Saddam Hussein might have something to do with September 11th and al Qaeda, even though your secret service specifically told you there was no connection? Why are you so zealously protecting the Saudis when you should be protecting us? Question 4 Why did you allow a Saudis private jet to go to 49
Susan Schmidt and Bill Miller, “Homeland Security Department to oversee visa program,” in: The Washington Post, August 6, 2002. -42-
picked up bin Laden’s relatives on 9/11 and then flew them out of the country before the FBI could interrogate them? Mr. Bush, this is not meant personally, but I was stuck in Los Angeles on the morning of September 11th. I scrambled with others to get a rental car and then drove 4,800 kilometers home – only because all flights were canceled after the attack. But bin Laden’s relatives were allowed to cruise across America in a private jet and then leave the country. – Can you explain that to me? Private planes were allowed to fly through American airspace (under the supervision of the Saudi government and with your permission) and collect 24 members of the bin Laden family and take them to a “secret collection point in Texas.” From there they flew to Washington D.C. and then on to Boston. They were finally flown to Paris on September 18, out of reach of all US authorities. They were never interrogated, only the FBI asked them a few questions and checked their passports before leaving. 50 I spoke to an FBI officer who told me that the FBI had “rioted” because they weren’t allowed to detain the bin Laden in the country and properly investigate the way the police investigate when they are trying to track down a murderer.