Questions remain about those airplanes flying Saudis out of the U.S. in the days and hours after 9/11. GRAF
Anyone concerned about 9/11 owes a debt of gratitude to writer Craig Unger, who posted the manifests of those Saudi flights online:
These were the commercial aircraft leaving the country with Saudi nationals aboard, immediately after 9/11. GRAF
According to the 9/11 commission report, “A number of flights with Saudi nationals departed the United States after airspace was reopened. Our investigation revealed 11 such flights between September 13 and September 24, 2001.”
Well, that’s one way to put it. The manifests reveal 50 flights with Saudi nationals aboard, on domestic and foreign airlines, from airports around the country, between September 11 and September 15, 2001:
Well-connected South African Airways had the first such flight, #210, leaving Atlanta on September 11. Aboard was a Saudi national, born August 29, 1958. GRAF
At least 161 Saudi nationals boarded flights in the U.S. from September 11 through September 15. Most had left before Bush’s bullhorn speech at Ground Zero. At least 60 left via New York (JFK), presumably greenlighted by Giuliani and Pataki.
Did anyone search the baggage on those flights? Given the peculiar investigatory interest of aircraft coming out of Las Vegas in particular, was any of the Vegas baggage searched?* GRAF
Department of the Treasury figures show that August 2001 had the third highest currency spike since 1947. In fact, summer 2001 had the largest single increase of money in circulation, June to August, since figures started being kept in 1947. This looks like, in ordinary language, wartime hoarding – people taking currency out of banks and into their own hands.
Where did several of the hijackers sojourn, before 9/11? – Las Vegas. And what does Vegas have a lot of? – Money, or currency, in more neutral-sounding terminology. The crux here is that a currency spike might indicate foreknowledge. Only a few individuals, of course, would be in a position to haul U.S. currency out of the country. GRAF
There are alternative explanations for the currency spike. But there are no good explanations for the hijackers’ treks. We’re supposed to believe that the rigidly devout Mohamed Atta traveled to Vegas for the gambling? For the Elvis impersonators?
Let’s stick to reason and probability. Presumably the hijackers’ anomalous skipping around within the U.S., when common sense would have told them to lay low, came from their orders. The short hops seem to have provided plenty of markers against the hijackers (video shots, traffic stops, etc) for afterward. The cross-country trips seem to have tested the system and also to have incriminated the individual skyjackers further.
But none of that explains the Vegas destination. Presumably their orders had something to do with the people giving the orders. And maybe the people in a position to give orders had an interest in money. Why not? Most people like the stuff, although most people draw the line well short of mass crime. GRAF
Not to distress the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, it is scarcely a secret that the coruscating Sin City of America’s only metropolitan desert is one of the biggest potential money-laundering sites in the western hemisphere.
So maybe those longer runs through Las Vegas pertained to what Vegas is best at for non-fun lovers.
These thoughts must have occurred to individuals in law enforcement, or in Vegas. One good avenue for 9/11 investigation now would be to check out any abrupt firings or unsolicited transfers of dogged field personnel in late 2001 or early 2002.
Another question also arises. United Airlines lost two planes on 9/11 but then flew out seven of these Saudis, including some leaving Vegas on September 14. American Airlines, which also lost two jumbo jets, flew out 13. The two airlines had 33 crew members killed on 9/11, but within a day and a half, AA flights were leaving Dallas and Chicago airports with Saudis aboard, which still seems odd to me, and more were helped out on AA planes shortly. GRAF
On September 13, one Saudi national left via Dulles airport. On September 15, others left via Newark airport, and Saudi Arabian Airlines flight 127 left Boston’s Logan airport with two Saudis aboard. In short, following 9/11, all three stricken airports and both stricken airlines helped out the Saudis, without a word of internal protest reaching the public. GRAF
Who pulled the strings?
*The manifests misidentify Vegas airport as WAS (not an actual airport code) and as LOS (an airport in Nigeria). All other airports are listed correctly.