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For The Record  

FTR #679 Freeh at Last: Analysis of the Khobar Towers Bombing (Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Saudi, Part 2)

MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

Intro­duc­tion: Among the Al Qaeda attacks that pre­ceded the 9/11 oper­a­tion was the Kho­bar Tow­ers bomb­ing of June, 1996. That attack killed 19 U.S. air­men and wounded 372. Despite firm indi­ca­tions of Al Qaeda author­ship of the attacks, the Saudi author­i­ties began a delib­er­ate, years-long coverup of the bomb­ing, deflect­ing blame in the direc­tion of Iran. Cen­tral to the effec­tive coverup of the assault was the active col­lab­o­ra­tion of then FBI direc­tor Louis Freeh, whose com­plic­ity with Saudi ele­ments asso­ci­ated with both Al Qaeda and the Bush fam­ily milieu con­tin­ues up to the present. The title of the broad­cast refers to Freeh’s actions.

Access­ing the mag­nif­i­cent inves­tiga­tive work of Gareth Porter, the broad­cast sets forth his bril­liant five-part series on the Kho­bar bomb­ing and the Freeh/Saudi coverup.

The first part of the series describes Saudi obstruc­tion of the inves­ti­ga­tion, begin­ning with the imme­di­ate after­math of the event. Right after the blast, the Saudis began to bull­doze the site of the attack, obscur­ing key evi­dence needed for a proper inves­ti­ga­tion of the attack. Tellingly, U.S. intel­li­gence inter­cepted the Saudis instruct­ing their oper­a­tives to appear to go along with the U.S. inves­ti­ga­tion, while work­ing to coverup Al Qaeda/Saudi involve­ment in the attack. The Saudis refused a U.S. request to begin inter­view­ing key wit­nesses in the king­dom (Saudi Arabia).

Of para­mount impor­tance to the coverup of the Kho­bar Tow­ers bomb­ing is the pro­found col­lab­o­ra­tion between Freeh and Prince Ban­dar–the point man for the Saudi co-conspirators among the Saudi elite and national secu­rity estab­lish­ment. Ban­dar is so close to the Bush fam­ily, that he has earned the nick­name “Ban­dar Bush.”

Deter­mined to pro­tect mem­bers of their elite who sup­ported Al Qaeda, the Saudis delib­er­ately mis­lead U.S. inves­ti­ga­tors in the direc­tion of Iran­ian cul­pa­bil­ity. [ Part 2 of the series.] Pro­duc­ing “con­fes­sions” of Shi’a Saudis, allegedly mem­bers of a “Saudi Hezbol­lah,” directed by Iran. Almost cer­tainly pro­duced under tor­ture, the con­fes­sions were dis­counted by then Attor­ney Gen­eral Janet Reno. The con­fes­sions were replete with contradictions.

Pre­vi­ously link­ing a March 29th arrest to a Novem­ber (1995) attack on a Saudi National Guard facil­ity, the Saudi author­i­ties now claimed that the March explo­sives bust was con­nected to the Kho­bar attack. In fact, the Saudis had secretly detained and tor­tured a num­ber of Al Qaeda-related sus­pects after the April attack. One of those was the actual head of Al Qaeda in Saudi Ara­bia, Yusuf al-Uyari.

The Shi’a sus­pect pub­licly pro­duced by the Saudis as a “con­fessed” mem­ber of the alleged Kho­bar con­spir­acy was not con­vinc­ing. [Part 3 of the series.] Afflicted with asthma so severe that the Iran­ian Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard had rejected him as a recruit, Hani al-Sayegh denied any involve­ment with the Kho­bar attack after his trans­fer to Cana­dian custody.

Con­tin­u­ing to frus­trate the inves­ti­ga­tion, Freeh attrib­uted lack of progress on Bill Clin­ton. When Saudi author­i­ties began to drop their cur­tain of obfus­ca­tion over Kho­bar, it appears that they were fear­ful of U.S. hos­til­ity over the 1998 Al Qaeda attacks in Africa. Then Vice-President Gore met with the Saudis to pres­sure them to give the U.S. access to an impor­tant Al Qaeda financier.

Freeh attrib­uted belated Saudi coop­er­a­tion to the inter­ces­sion of for­mer Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush. Col­lab­o­ra­tion between Freeh, the Saudis and the Bush fam­ily is a pat­tern we will observe later in the series as well. Through­out the 1990’s, the Saudis actively dis­sem­bled with regard to com­plic­ity of ele­ments of their elite and Bin Laden’s forces.

Freeh’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Saudi coverup con­tin­ued despite the fact that Bin Laden took credit for the Kho­bar bomb­ing, as well as the Riyadh bomb­ing com­mit­ted the pre­vi­ous Novem­ber (1995). [Part 4 of the series.] Inves­ti­ga­tors noted that Bin Laden did not take credit for attacks that he had not planned. Despite the fact that U.S. inves­ti­ga­tors requested access to the per­pe­tra­tors of the Riyadh attack, access was not granted.

The fifth and final install­ment of the series chron­i­cles the coverup going on into the tenure of George W. Bush’s admin­is­tra­tion. Despite rejec­tion of the Saudi torture-induced con­fes­sions by the Shi’a sus­pects by the Clin­ton Jus­tice Depart­ment, Freeh con­tin­ued his con­spir­a­to­r­ial alliance with the Saudis and, when George W. Bush retained him as FBI direc­tor, Freeh con­tin­ued trum­pet­ing the suc­cess of the Saudi inves­ti­ga­tion, deter­min­ing Iran­ian respon­si­bil­ity for the bombing.

Cement­ing his rela­tion­ship with the Saudis, Freeh appeared as the defense lawyer for Prince Ban­dar (“Ban­dar Bush”) at an April 2009 hear­ing on the Al Yamamah slush fund investigation.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Saudi intelligence’s hid­ing of an Al Qaeda attempt at smug­gling anti-tank mis­siles into the king­dom just before a visit by Vice-President Al Gore; Gore’s unsuc­cess­ful attempts at pres­sur­ing the Saudis to give him access to a key Al Qaeda financier; Saudi intelligence’s dis­clo­sure of NSA cell phone inter­cepts of Al Qaeda con­ver­sa­tions to oper­a­tives of that orga­ni­za­tion, result­ing in dis­con­tin­ued use of the cell phones; the CIA’s list­ing of the Saudi intel­li­gence ser­vice as a “hos­tile” orga­ni­za­tion; review of the George W. Bush administration’s coverup of Al Qaeda and Hamas fund­ing appa­ra­tus in the United States–an appa­ra­tus to which key ele­ments of that admin­is­tra­tion and the GOP were con­nected.  (For more about this, see FTR #‘s 454, 462, 464, 513, 515, 538.)

1. The first part of the series describes Saudi obstruc­tion of the inves­ti­ga­tion, begin­ning with the imme­di­ate after­math of the event. Right after the blast, the Saudis began to bull­doze the site of the attack, obscur­ing key evi­dence needed for a proper inves­ti­ga­tion of the attack. Tellingly, U.S. intel­li­gence inter­cepted the Saudis instruct­ing their oper­a­tives to appear to go along with the U.S. inves­ti­ga­tion, while work­ing to coverup Al Qaeda/Saudi involve­ment in the attack. The Saudis refused a U.S. request to begin inter­view­ing key wit­nesses in the king­dom (Saudi Arabia).

In this first install­ment, author Gareth Porter intro­duces the fun­da­men­tal dynamic of the coverup–FBI Direc­tor Louis Freeh’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Saudis and Prince Ban­dar bin Sul­tan in par­tic­u­lar. The lat­ter was so close to the Bush fam­ily that he earned the nick­name “Ban­dar Bush.” Con­sumed with hatred for Bill Clin­ton, Freeh aligned him­self with the Saudis from the begin­ning, frus­trat­ing the administration’s attempts at pen­e­trat­ing the bomb­ing conspiracy.

In par­tic­u­lar, note that the CIA’s unit charged with fol­low­ing Bin Laden was excluded from the Kho­bar investigation.

On Jun. 25, 1996, a mas­sive truck bomb exploded at a build­ing in the Kho­bar Tow­ers com­plex in Kho­bar, Saudi Ara­bia, which housed U.S. Air Force per­son­nel, killing 19 U.S. air­men and wound­ing 372. Imme­di­ately after the blast, more than 125 agents from the U.S. Fed­eral Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion (FBI) were ordered to the site to sift for clues and begin the inves­ti­ga­tion of who was respon­si­ble. But when two U.S. embassy offi­cers arrived at the scene of the dev­as­ta­tion early the next morn­ing, they found a bull­dozer begin­ning to dig up the entire crime scene.

The Saudi bull­doz­ing stopped only after Scott Ersk­ine, the super­vi­sory FBI spe­cial agent for inter­na­tional ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tions, threat­ened that Sec­re­tary of State War­ren Christo­pher, who hap­pened to be in Saudi Ara­bia when the bomb exploded, would inter­vene per­son­ally on the matter.

U.S. intel­li­gence then inter­cepted com­mu­ni­ca­tions from the high­est lev­els of the Saudi gov­ern­ment, includ­ing inte­rior min­is­ter Prince Nayef, to the gov­er­nor and other offi­cials of East­ern Province instruct­ing them to go through the motions of coop­er­at­ing with U.S. offi­cials on their inves­ti­ga­tion but to obstruct it at every turn.

That was the begin­ning of what inter­views with more than a dozen sources famil­iar with the inves­ti­ga­tion and other infor­ma­tion now avail­able reveal was a sys­tem­atic effort by the Saudis to obstruct any U.S. inves­ti­ga­tion of the bomb­ing and to deceive the United States about who was respon­si­ble for the bombing.

The Saudi regime steered the FBI inves­ti­ga­tion toward Iran and its Saudi Shi’a allies with the appar­ent inten­tion of keep­ing U.S. offi­cials away from a trail of evi­dence that would have led to Osama bin Laden and a com­plex set of ties between the regime and the Saudi ter­ror­ist organiser.

The key to the suc­cess of the Saudi decep­tion was FBI direc­tor Louis Freeh, who took per­sonal charge of the FBI inves­ti­ga­tion, let­ting it be known within the Bureau that he was the “case offi­cer” for the probe, accord­ing to for­mer FBI officials.

Freeh allowed Saudi Ambas­sador Prince Ban­dar bin Sul­tan to con­vince him that Iran was involved in the bomb­ing, and that Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, for whom he had formed a vis­ceral dis­like, “had no inter­est in con­fronting the fact that Iran had blown up the tow­ers,” as Freeh wrote in his memoirs.

The Kho­bar Tow­ers inves­ti­ga­tion soon became Freeh’s vendetta against Clin­ton. “Freeh was pur­su­ing this for his own per­sonal agenda,” says for­mer FBI agent Jack Cloonan.

A for­mer high-ranking FBI offi­cial recalls that Freeh “was always meet­ing with Ban­dar”. And many of the meet­ings were not in Freeh’s office but at Bandar’s 38-room home in McLean, Virginia.

Mean­while, the Saudis were refus­ing the most basic FBI requests for coop­er­a­tion. When Ray Mis­lock, who headed the National Secu­rity Divi­sion of the FBI’s Wash­ing­ton Field Office, requested per­mis­sion to go door to door to inter­view wit­nesses in the neigh­bour­hood, the Saudis refused.

“It’s our respon­si­bil­ity,” Mis­lock recalls being told. “We’ll do the interviews.”

But the Saudis never con­ducted such inter­views. The same thing hap­pened when Mis­lock requested access to phone records for the imme­di­ate area sur­round­ing Kho­bar Towers.

Soon after the bomb­ing, offi­cials of the Saudi secret police, the Mabahith, began telling their FBI and CIA con­tacts that they had begun arrest­ing mem­bers of a lit­tle known Shi’a group called “Saudi Hezbol­lah”, which Saudi and U.S. intel­li­gence had long believed was close to Iran. They claimed that they had exten­sive intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion link­ing the group to the Kho­bar Tow­ers bombing.

But a now declas­si­fied July 1996 report by CIA ana­lysts on the bomb­ing reveals that the Mabahith claims were con­sid­ered sus­pect. The report said the Mabahith “have not shown U.S. offi­cials their evi­dence... nor pro­vided many details on their inves­ti­ga­tion.“
Nev­er­the­less, Freeh quickly made Iran­ian and Saudi Shi’a respon­si­bil­ity for the bomb­ing the offi­cial premise of the inves­ti­ga­tion, exclud­ing from the inquiry the hypoth­e­sis that Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda organ­i­sa­tion had car­ried out the Kho­bar Tow­ers bombing.

“There was never, ever a doubt in my mind about who did this,” says a for­mer FBI offi­cial involved in the inves­ti­ga­tion who refused to be identified.

FBI and CIA experts on Osama bin Laden tried unsuc­cess­fully to play a role in the Kho­bar Tow­ers inves­ti­ga­tion. Jack Cloo­nan, a mem­ber of the FBI’s I-49 unit, which was build­ing a legal case against bin Laden over pre­vi­ous ter­ror­ist actions, recalls ask­ing the Wash­ing­ton Field Office (WFO), which had direct respon­si­bil­ity for the inves­ti­ga­tion, to allow such I-49 par­tic­i­pa­tion, only to be rebuffed.

“The WFO was hyper­sen­si­tive and told us to f*ck off,” says Cloonan.

The CIA’s bin Laden unit, which had only been estab­lished in early 1996, was also excluded by CIA lead­er­ship from that Agency’s work on the bombing.

Two or three days after the Kho­bar bomb­ing, recalls Dan Cole­man, an FBI agent assigned to the unit, the agency “locked down” its own inves­ti­ga­tion, cre­at­ing an encrypted “passline” that lim­ited access to infor­ma­tion related to Kho­bar inves­ti­ga­tion to the hand­ful of peo­ple at the CIA who were given that code.

The head of the bin Laden unit at the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Cen­tre, Michael Scheuer, was not included among that small group.

Nev­er­the­less, Scheuer instructed his staff to put together all the infor­ma­tion the sta­tion had col­lected from all sources — human assets, elec­tronic inter­cepts and open sources – indi­cat­ing that there would be an al Qaeda oper­a­tion in Saudi Ara­bia after the bomb­ing in Riyadh the pre­vi­ous November.

The result was a four-page memo which ticked off the evi­dence that bin Laden’s al Qaeda organ­i­sa­tion had been plan­ning a mil­i­tary oper­a­tion involv­ing explo­sives in Saudi in 1996.

“One of the places men­tioned in the memo was Kho­bar,” says Scheuer. “They were mov­ing explo­sives from Port Said through Suez Canal to the Red Sea and to Yemen, then infil­trat­ing them across the bor­der with Saudi Arabia.”

A few days after receiv­ing the bin Laden unit’s four-page memo, the head of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Cen­tre, Win­ston Wiley, one of the few CIA offi­cials who was privy to infor­ma­tion on the inves­ti­ga­tion, came to Scheuer’s office and closed the door. Wiley opened up a folder which had only one doc­u­ment in it — a trans­lated inter­cept of an inter­nal Iran­ian com­mu­ni­ca­tion in which there was a ref­er­ence to Kho­bar Tow­ers. “Are you sat­is­fied?” Wiley asked.

Scheuer replied that it was only one piece of infor­ma­tion in a much big­ger uni­verse of infor­ma­tion that pointed in another direc­tion. “If that’s all there is,” he told Wiley, “I would say it was very inter­est­ing and ought to be fol­lowed up, but it isn’t definitive.”

But the sig­nal from the CIA lead­er­ship was clear: Iran had already been iden­ti­fied as respon­si­ble for the Kho­bar bomb­ing plot, and there was no inter­est in pur­su­ing the bin Laden angle.

In Sep­tem­ber 1996, bin Laden’s for­mer busi­ness agent Jamal Al-Fadl, who had left al Qaeda over per­sonal griev­ances, walked into the U.S. embassy in Eritrea and imme­di­ately began pro­vid­ing the best intel­li­gence the United States had ever got­ten on bin Laden and al Qaeda.

But the CIA and FBI made no effort take advan­tage of his knowl­edge to get infor­ma­tion on pos­si­ble al Qaeda involve­ment in the Kho­bar Tow­ers bomb­ing, accord­ing to Dan Cole­man, one of al-Fadl’s FBI handlers.

“We were never given any ques­tions to ask him about Kho­bar Tow­ers,” says Coleman.

“Al Qaeda Excluded from the Sus­pects List” By Gareth Porter; ipsnews.net; 6/22/2009.

2. Deter­mined to pro­tect mem­bers of their elite who sup­ported Al Qaeda, the Saudis delib­er­ately mis­lead U.S. inves­ti­ga­tors in the direc­tion of Iran­ian cul­pa­bil­ity. Pro­duc­ing “con­fes­sions” of Shi’a Saudis, allegedly mem­bers of a “Saudi Hezbol­lah,” directed by Iran. Almost cer­tainly pro­duced under tor­ture, the con­fes­sions were dis­counted by then Attor­ney Gen­eral Janet Reno. The con­fes­sions were replete with contradictions.

Pre­vi­ously link­ing a March 29th arrest to a Novem­ber (1995) attack on a Saudi National Guard facil­ity, the Saudi author­i­ties now claimed that the March explo­sives bust was con­nected to the Kho­bar attack. In fact, the Saudis had secretly detained and tor­tured a num­ber of Al Qaeda-related sus­pects after the April attack. One of those was the actual head of Al Qaeda in Saudi Ara­bia, Yusuf al-Uyari.

In the last week of Octo­ber 1996, the Saudi secret police, the Mabahith, gave David Williams, the FBI’s assis­tant spe­cial agent in charge of counter-terrorism issues, what they said were sum­maries of the con­fes­sions obtained from some 40 Shi’a detainees.

The alleged con­fes­sions por­trayed the bomb­ing as the work of a cell of Saudi Hezbol­lah that had had car­ried out sur­veil­lance of U.S. tar­gets under the direc­tion of an Iran­ian Islamic Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps offi­cer before hatch­ing a plot to blow up the Kho­bar Tow­ers facility.

But the doc­u­ments were curi­ously short of the kind of details that would have allowed U.S. inves­ti­ga­tors to ver­ify key ele­ments of the accounts. In fact, Saudi offi­cials refused even to reveal the names of the detainees who were alleged to have made the con­fes­sions, iden­ti­fy­ing the sus­pects only by num­bers one through six or seven, accord­ing to a for­mer FBI offi­cial involved in the investigation.

Jus­tice Depart­ment lawyers argued that the con­fes­sions were com­pletely unre­li­able, and unus­able in court, because they had prob­a­bly been extracted by tor­ture. At Attor­ney Gen­eral Janet Reno’s insis­tence, both Reno and FBI Direc­tor Louis Freeh said pub­licly in early 1997 that the Saudis had pro­vided lit­tle more than “hearsay” evi­dence on the bombing.

There were also major anom­alies in the alleged con­fes­sions of Shi’a plot­ters that should have aroused the sus­pi­cions of FBI investigators.

The Saudis claimed that on Mar. 28, 1996, Saudi guards at the Al-Haditha bor­der cross­ing with Jor­dan had dis­cov­ered 38 kilo­grammes of plas­tic explo­sives hid­den in a car dri­ven by a Saudi Hezbol­lah mem­ber. That mem­ber not only admit­ted to his Saudi Hezbol­lah mem­ber­ship, accord­ing to the Saudi account, but led the secret police to three more Saudi Hezbol­lah mem­bers, who were allegedly arrested on Apr. 6, 7 and 8. .

What was pecu­liar about that account is that on Apr. 17, 1996, Saudi offi­cials had announced that they had found explo­sives in a car at the bor­der with Jor­dan on Mar. 29, and said that “a num­ber of peo­ple” had been arrested. And four days later, Saudi Inte­rior Min­is­ter Prince Nayef had announced the arrest of four men in the bomb­ing of the Office of the Pro­gramme Man­ager of the Saudi National Guard in Riyadh on Nov. 13, 1995. Their con­fes­sions were broad­cast on Saudi tele­vi­sion that same day.

In the announce­ment of the arrests, reported by the New York Times, Nayef referred to the arms smug­gling attempt of Mar. 29, say­ing it was still not clear if the Novem­ber blast in Riyadh and the smug­gling attempt were related.

That state­ment had clearly implied that Saudi offi­cials had rea­son to believe that there was a link between the jihadist net­work believed to have car­ried out the Riyadh bomb­ing and those who had been caught after the Mar. 29 explo­sive smug­gling attempt.

After the Kho­bar bomb­ing, how­ever, the Saudis began to link the inter­cep­tion of explo­sives in late March to the Shi’a they were say­ing had car­ried out the Kho­bar Tow­ers bombing.

One day in July, accord­ing to a for­mer Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial, Freeh came into the White House sit­u­a­tion room livid with anger, telling offi­cials there he had just learned that the Saudis had arrested a Saudi Hezbol­lah activist in March with con­cealed explo­sives and had dis­cov­ered the Shi’a plot to bomb Kho­bar Towers.

Nayef’s state­ment sug­gest­ing a pos­si­ble tie to the Riyadh bomb­ing of the pre­vi­ous Novem­ber was a delib­er­ate decep­tion of the United States, which the Saudis never explained to U.S. offi­cials. “We asked why they didn’t tell us about this ear­lier and didn’t get an answer,” says Williams.

If the Saudis had actu­ally arrested the four Saudi Hezbol­lah mem­bers who had been ordered to carry out the bomb­ing, as they later claimed, it would have been known imme­di­ately to the rest of the Saudi Hezbol­lah organ­i­sa­tion, which would obvi­ously have called off the bomb plot and fled the country.

Fur­ther under­min­ing the Shi’a explo­sives smug­gling and bomb plot story is the fact that the Saudis had secretly detained and tor­tured a num­ber of vet­eran Sunni jihadists with ties to Osama bin Laden after the bombing.

The Sunni detainees over Kho­bar included Yusuf al-Uyayri, who was later revealed to have been the actual head of al Qaeda in Saudi Ara­bia. In 2003, al-Uyayri con­firmed in al Qaeda’s reg­u­lar pub­li­ca­tion that he had been arrested and tor­tured after the Kho­bar bombing.

A report pub­lished in mid-August 1996 by the London-based Pales­tin­ian news­pa­per Al Qods al-Arabi, based on sources with ties to the jihadi move­ment in Saudi Ara­bia, said that six Sunni vet­er­ans of the Afghan war had con­fessed to the Kho­bar bomb­ing under tor­ture. That was fol­lowed two days later by a report in the New York Times that the Saudi offi­cials now believed that Afghan war vet­er­ans had car­ried out the Kho­bar bombing.

A few weeks later, how­ever, the Saudi regime appar­ently made a firm deci­sion to blame the bomb­ing on the Saudi Shi’a.

Accord­ing to a Nor­we­gian spe­cial­ist on the Saudi jihadi move­ment, Thomas Heg­gham­mer, in 2003 — shortly before al-Uyayri was killed in a shoot-out in Riyadh in late May 2003 – an arti­cle by the al Qaeda leader in the al Qaeda peri­od­i­cal blamed Shi’a for the Kho­bar bombing.

In a paper for the Com­bat­ing Ter­ror­ism Cen­ter at West Point, Heg­gham­mer cites that state­ment as evi­dence that al Qaeda wasn’t involved in Kho­bar. But one of al-Uyayri’s main objec­tives at that point would have been to stay out of prison, so his endorse­ment of the Saudi regime’s posi­tion is hardly surprising.

Al-Uyayri had been released from prison in mid-1998, by his own account. But he was arrested again in late 2002 or early 2003, by which time the CIA had come to believe that he was a very impor­tant fig­ure in al Qaeda, even though it didn’t know he was the leader of al Qaeda in the penin­sula, accord­ing to Ron Suskind’s book “The One Per­cent Doctrine”.

In mid-March 2003, Suskind writes, U.S. offi­cials pressed the Saudis not to let him go. But the Saudis claimed they had noth­ing on al-Uyayri, and a few weeks later he was released again. The head of al Qaeda in Saudi Ara­bia and the Saudi secret police were play­ing a com­plex game.

The ques­tion of how the alleged plot­ters got their hands on roughly 5,000 pounds of explo­sives – the esti­mated amount in the truck bomb — was one of the cen­tral ques­tions in the inves­ti­ga­tion of the bomb­ing. But inter­views with six for­mer FBI offi­cials who worked on the Kho­bar Tow­ers inves­ti­ga­tion revealed that the inves­ti­ga­tion had not turned up any evi­dence of how well over two tonnes of explo­sives had entered the country.

Not one of the six could recall any spe­cific evi­dence about how the alleged plot­ters got their hands on that much explo­sives. And one for­mer FBI offi­cial who con­tin­ues to defend the con­clu­sions of the inves­ti­ga­tion flatly refused to tell this writer whether the inves­ti­ga­tion had turned up infor­ma­tion bear­ing on that question.

If the Saudi Hezbol­lah group had actu­ally been plot­ting to bring the explo­sives into the coun­try by hid­ing them in cars, they would have had to get more than 50 explosives-laden cars past Saudi bor­der guards who were already on alert. There is no indi­ca­tion, how­ever, that any addi­tional cars with explo­sives came across the bor­der in the weeks prior to the bombing.

“Saudi Account of Kho­bar Bore Tell­tale Signs of Fraud” by Gareth Porter; ipsnews.net; 6/23/2009.

3. The Shi’a sus­pect pub­licly pro­duced by the Saudis as a “con­fessed” mem­ber of the alleged Kho­bar con­spir­acy was not con­vinc­ing. Afflicted with asthma so severe that the Iran­ian Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard had rejected him as a recruit, Hani al-Sayegh denied any involve­ment with the Kho­bar attack after his trans­fer to Cana­dian cus­tody. Hayegh admit­ted that he had per­formed sur­veil­lance of U.S. facil­i­ties and per­son­nel in Saudi Ara­bia on behalf of the Ira­ni­ans, an act that Amer­i­can inves­ti­ga­tors attrib­uted to the fact that Iran was fear­ful of an attack by the U.S., and con­ducted sur­veil­lance of poten­tial tar­gets for retal­i­a­tion as a defen­sive tactic.

Freeh con­tin­ued to frus­trate the inves­ti­ga­tion, blam­ing lack of progress on Bill Clin­ton. When Saudi author­i­ties began to drop their cur­tain of obfus­ca­tion over Kho­bar, it appears that they were fear­ful of U.S. hos­til­ity over the 1998 Al Qaeda attacks in Africa. Then Vice-President Gore met with the Saudis to pres­sure them to give the U.S. access to an impor­tant Al Qaeda financier. Just before Gore’s visit, Saudi intel­li­gence broke up an Al Qaeda plot to use Sag­ger anti-tank mis­siles in an attack. U.S. intel­li­gence was not informed of the incident.

Later, under the younger George Bush, the FBI under Robert Mueller, the Jus­tice Depart­ment and the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity actively frus­trated inves­ti­ga­tion of the Al Qaeda/Muslim Broth­er­hood finan­cial appa­ra­tus in the U.S. Bush admin­is­tra­tion and GOP lumi­nar­ies were impli­cated in the investigation.

Freeh attrib­uted belated Saudi coop­er­a­tion to the inter­ces­sion of for­mer Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush. Col­lab­o­ra­tion between Freeh, the Saudis and the Bush fam­ily is a pat­tern we will observe later in the series as well. Through­out the 1990’s, the Saudis actively dis­sem­bled with regard to com­plic­ity of ele­ments of their elite and Bin Laden’s forces.

Note that after the NSA shared inter­cepts from Al Qaeda cell phones with the Saudis, Bin Laden’s per­son­nel stopped using their cell phones. Note, also that the CIA under George Tenet listed the Saudi intel­li­gence ser­vice as a “hos­tile” agency.

In March 1997, FBI Direc­tor Louis Freeh got what he calls in his mem­oirs “the first truly big break in the case”: the arrest in Canada of one of the Saudi Hezbol­lah mem­bers the Saudis accused of being the dri­ver of the get­away car at Kho­bar Towers.

Hani al-Sayegh, then 28 years old, had arrived in Canada in August 1996 after hav­ing left Saudi Ara­bia, by his own account, in August 1995, for Iran and Syria. The Cana­dian gov­ern­ment charged him with being a ter­ror­ist, based on claims by the Saudi regime.

In order to be trans­ferred to the United States with­out fac­ing depor­ta­tion to Saudi Ara­bia, where he was believed to face the death penalty, al-Sayegh had to agreed to a plea bar­gain under which he would admit to hav­ing pro­posed an attack on U.S. per­son­nel, for which he would have to serve up to 10 years in prison.

In fact, the only thing al-Sayegh had actu­ally admit­ted to, accord­ing to FBI sources, was hav­ing pro­posed an attack on one AWACS plane that had been turned over to the Saudi Air Force – a pro­posal he said had been rejected. Both before and after being brought to Wash­ing­ton, more­over, Al-Sayegh stead­fastly denied any knowl­edge of the Kho­bar Tow­ers bombing.

Despite that con­sis­tent denial by al-Sayegh, a Wash­ing­ton Post story on Apr. 14, 1997 quoted U.S. and Saudi offi­cials as say­ing that al-Sayegh had met two years ear­lier with senior Iran­ian intel­li­gence offi­cer Brig. Gen. Ahmad Sher­ifi and that Iran was the “organ­is­ing force” behind the Kho­bar bomb­ing. That story, leaked by offi­cials sup­port­ing the Saudi ver­sion of the Kho­bar story, cited Cana­dian inter­cepts of al-Sayegh’s phone con­ver­sa­tions in Ottawa before his arrest as allegedly incrim­i­nat­ing evidence.

The story leant fur­ther cre­dence to the gen­eral belief in Wash­ing­ton that Iran had mas­ter­minded the bomb­ing, mainly because U.S. intel­li­gence had observed the sur­veil­lance of U.S. mil­i­tary and civil­ian sites in Saudi Ara­bia by Ira­ni­ans and their Saudi allies in 1994 and 1995.

What al-Sayegh actu­ally told FBI agents in a series of inter­views in Ottawa and Wash­ing­ton, how­ever, con­tra­dicted the leaked story, accord­ing to sources famil­iar with those interviews.

Al-Sayegh admit­ted hav­ing car­ried out the sur­veil­lance of one mil­i­tary site other than Kho­bar for the Ira­ni­ans, but insisted that it was not to pre­pare for a pos­si­ble ter­ror­ist bomb­ing but to iden­tify poten­tial tar­gets for Iran­ian retal­i­a­tion in the event of a U.S. attack on Iran.

His tes­ti­mony was con­sis­tent with what Ambas­sador Ron Neu­mann, who was direc­tor of the Office for Iran and Iraq in the State Department’s Bureau of Near East Affairs from 1991 through 1994, had been say­ing about the Iran­ian recon­nais­sance of U.S. targets.

While most offi­cial ana­lysts were ready to believe that Iran was plot­ting a ter­ror­ist attack against the United States, Neu­mann recalls that he had dis­cerned a pat­tern in Iran­ian behav­iour: every time U.S.-Iran ten­sions rose, there was an increase in Iran­ian recon­nais­sance of U.S. diplo­matic and mil­i­tary faculties.

“The pat­tern could be taken as hos­tile but it could equally have been defen­sive,” says Neu­mann, mean­ing that the Ira­ni­ans viewed such recon­nais­sance of pos­si­ble U.S. tar­gets as part of their deter­rent to a U.S. attack.

Hani al-Sayegh would have been a strange choice for dri­ver of the get­away car at Kho­bar Tow­ers. A frail man whose fre­quent asthma attacks repeat­edly inter­rupted his inter­views with the FBI, al-Sayegh recounted to inves­ti­ga­tors he had entered mil­i­tary train­ing with the Iran­ian IRGC, but had been told by his IRGC han­dler after one par­tic­u­larly dis­as­trous exer­cise that his asthma made him unfit for mil­i­tary operations.

FBI vet­eran Jack Cloo­nan, who was talk­ing with the agents inter­view­ing al-Sayegh that spring and sum­mer, told al-Sayegh’s immi­gra­tion lawyer, Michael Wildes, that he was con­vinced al-Sayegh had not par­tic­i­pated in the oper­a­tion, accord­ing to notes in the diary Wildes kept on the case.

Hani al-Sayegh con­tin­ued to deny either that he was involved or the Ira­ni­ans had any­thing to do with Kho­bar, and as a result was deported to Saudi Ara­bia in 1999 – despite the wide­spread assump­tion within the FBI that he would be beheaded on his return.

Freeh had no case against the Ira­ni­ans and their Saudi allies unless he could get access to the Saudi Shi’a detainees. In the mem­oir “My FBI”, Freeh charged that Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton refused to press Saudi Crown Prince Abdul­lah for access to those pris­on­ers and then asked him for a con­tri­bu­tion to the future Clin­ton pres­i­den­tial library at a meet­ing at the Hay-Adams Hotel in Sep­tem­ber 1998.

That account is dis­puted, how­ever, by numer­ous Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials. Freeh, who was not present, cites only “my sources”, strongly sug­gest­ing that he got it from the self-interested Prince Bandar.

Freeh claimed that for­mer Pres­i­dent George Bush had then inter­ceded with Abdul­lah at Freeh’s request, result­ing in a meet­ing between Freeh and Abdul­lah at Bandar’s Vir­ginia estate Sep. 29, 1998. At that meet­ing, Abdul­lah offered to allow the FBI to sub­mit ques­tions to the detainees and observe the ques­tions and answers from behind one-way glass.

But what Freeh left out of the story is that Abdullah’s new offer came at a time when the Saudis felt a greater need to appease Wash­ing­ton on the Kho­bar Tow­ers inves­ti­ga­tion than they had previously.

In May 1998, the CIA had learned that Saudi intel­li­gence had bro­ken up an al Qaeda plot to smug­gle Sag­ger anti-tank mis­siles from Yemen into Saudi Ara­bia about a week before a sched­uled visit to Saudi by Vice-President Al Gore and had not informed U.S. intel­li­gence about the incident.

Then, on Aug. 7, 1998, the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar Es Salaam, Tan­za­nia had been bombed 10 min­utes apart. The CIA had quickly ascer­tained that al Qaeda was respon­si­ble for the bomb­ings, with the result that U.S. intel­li­gence began to focus more on bin Laden’s oper­a­tions in Saudi Arabia.

Gore had met with Abdul­lah on Sep. 24, and had pressed hard for access to an impor­tant al Qaeda finance offi­cial, Madani al Tayyib, who had been detained by the Saudi gov­ern­ment the pre­vi­ous year, but kept away from U.S. intelligence.

The Saudi regime had long acted to keep the United States away from the bin Laden trail in Saudi. Dur­ing the Afghan War, high-ranking Saudi offi­cials, includ­ing inte­rior min­is­ter Prince Nayef him­self, had worked closely with bin Laden. And those ties had appar­ently con­tin­ued even after the Saudi gov­ern­ment revoked bin Laden’s cit­i­zen­ship, froze his assets, and began crack­ing down on some anti-government Islamic extrem­ists in 1994.

Evi­dence soon appeared that the regime had allowed Saudi sup­port­ers of bin Laden to finance his oper­a­tions through Saudi char­i­ties, while encour­ag­ing bin Laden to focus on the U.S. mil­i­tary rather than the regime.

9/11 Com­mis­sion inves­ti­ga­tors later learned that, after bin Laden’s move from Sudan to Afghanistan in May 1996, a del­e­ga­tion of Saudi offi­cials had asked top Tal­iban lead­ers to tell bin Laden that if he didn’t attack the regime, “recog­ni­tion will follow”.

Mean­while, Nayef was resist­ing CIA requests for bin Laden’s birth cer­tifi­cate, pass­port and bank records.

The CIA had been shar­ing its own intel­li­gence on bin Laden with the Mabahith, the Saudi secret police, includ­ing copies of National Secu­rity Agency inter­cep­tions of the cell phone con­ver­sa­tions of sus­pected al Qaeda offi­cials. Then the mil­i­tants sud­denly stopped using their cell phones, indi­cat­ing they had been tipped off by the Mabahith.

In early 1997, the CIA’s bin Laden sta­tion even issued a mem­o­ran­dum for CIA Direc­tor George Tenet, who was about to travel to Saudi Ara­bia, iden­ti­fy­ing Saudi intel­li­gence as a “hos­tile service”.

By late Sep­tem­ber 1998, the Saudi regime was feel­ing the heat from the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion for its fail­ure to coop­er­ate on bin Laden’s oper­a­tions in Saudi Ara­bia. Abdullah’s pro­posal was a way to demon­strate coop­er­a­tion on ter­ror­ism while help­ing Freeh pro­mote the Saudi line on Kho­bar Towers.

” U.S. Offi­cials Leaked a False Story Blam­ing Iran” by Gareth Porter; ipsnews.net; 6/24/2009.

4. Part 4 of the series notes that the FBI fol­lowed direc­tor Freeh’s lead and directed their inves­ti­ga­tion in the direc­tion of Iran. This, despite the fact that Bin Laden took credit for the Kho­bar bomb­ing, as well as the Riyadh bomb­ing com­mit­ted the pre­vi­ous Novem­ber (1995). Inves­ti­ga­tors noted that Bin Laden did not take credit for attacks that he had not planned. Despite the fact that U.S. inves­ti­ga­tors requested access to the per­pe­tra­tors of the Riyadh attack, access was not granted.

Mean­while, the CIA had devel­oped infor­ma­tion link­ing Bin Laden to the Kho­bar Tow­ers bomb­ing. As we will see, this was to no avail.

Osama Bin Laden had made no secret of his inten­tion to attack the U.S. mil­i­tary pres­ence in Saudi Ara­bia. He had been call­ing for such attacks to drive it from the coun­try since his first fatwa call­ing for jihad against West­ern “occu­pa­tion” of Islamic lands in early 1992.
On Jul. 11, 1995, he had writ­ten an “Open Let­ter” to King Fahd advo­cat­ing a cam­paign of guerilla attacks to drive U.S. mil­i­tary forces out of the Kingdom.

Bin Laden’s al Qaeda organ­i­sa­tion began car­ry­ing out that cam­paign later that same year. On Nov. 13, 1995 a car bomb destroyed the Office of the Pro­gramme Man­ager of the Saudi National Guard (OPM SANG) in Riyadh, killing five U.S. air­men and wound­ing 34.

The con­fes­sions of the four jihadists from the Afghan War to the bomb­ing, which were broad­cast on Saudi tele­vi­sion, said they had been inspired by Osama bin Laden, and one of them referred to a camp in Afghanistan which was asso­ci­ated with bin Laden.

“It was a back­handed ref­er­ence to bin Laden,” says vet­eran FBI agent Dan Coleman.

The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh imme­di­ately requested that the FBI be allowed to inter­ro­gate the sus­pects as soon as their arrests were announced in April. But the Saudis never responded to the request, and on May 31, the embassy was informed only an hour and half before that the four sus­pects would be beheaded.

When the bomb exploded at Kho­bar Tow­ers on Jun. 25, 1996, Scott Ersk­ine, the agent in charge of the Riyadh bomb­ing inves­ti­ga­tion, was about to return to the United States after another frus­trat­ing meet­ing in which Saudi offi­cials were not forth­com­ing about whom they were going to pros­e­cute. When FBI Direc­tor Louis Freeh vis­ited Kho­bar a few days after the bomb­ing, he was told not to expect any more infor­ma­tion on the Riyadh bombing.

Instead of insist­ing that the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion put more pres­sure on the Saudis to coop­er­ate on the pos­si­bil­ity of links between the two bomb­ings, Freeh qui­etly decided to drop the inves­ti­ga­tion of the Riyadh bomb­ing entirely. The case was put on “inac­tive” sta­tus, accord­ing to two for­mer FBI offi­cials, mean­ing that no more actions were to be taken, even though it had not been for­mally closed.

Bin Laden made it more dif­fi­cult to ignore his role, how­ever, by pub­licly claim­ing respon­si­bil­ity for both the Riyadh and Kho­bar bomb­ings. In Octo­ber 1996, after hav­ing issued yet another fatwa call­ing on Mus­lims to drive U.S. sol­diers out of the King­dom, bin Laden was quoted in al Quds al Arabi, the Pales­tin­ian daily pub­lished in Lon­don, as say­ing, “The cru­sader army was shat­tered when we bombed Khobar.”

And in an inter­view pub­lished in the same news­pa­per Nov. 29, 1996, he was asked why there had been no fur­ther oper­a­tions along the lines of the Kho­bar oper­a­tion. “The mil­i­tary are aware that prepa­ra­tions for major oper­a­tions require time, in con­trast with small oper­a­tions,” said bin Laden.

He then linked the two bomb­ings in Saudi Ara­bia explic­itly as sig­nals to the United States from his organ­i­sa­tion: “We had thought that the Riyadh and Kho­bar blasts were a suf­fi­cient sig­nal to sen­si­ble U.S. decision-makers to avert a real bat­tle between the Islamic nation and U.S. forces,” said bin Laden, “but it seems that they did not under­stand the signal.”

Accord­ing to Cole­man, one of the FBI’s top inves­ti­ga­tors on al Qaeda, bin Laden always took credit for ter­ror­ist actions he had planned but not for those he had not planned. For exam­ple, bin Laden issued no claim about the World Trade Cen­tre bomb­ing and told his for­mer busi­ness agent turned FBI informer, Jamal al-Fadl, that he had noth­ing to do with it, Cole­man says.

The Riyadh and Kho­bar bomb­ings even had a com­mon oper­a­tional fea­ture. As noted by the head of the bin Laden unit at the CIA, Michael Scheuer, in both cases, the vehi­cle was not parked so as to bring the entire build­ing down. If the team exe­cut­ing the Kho­bar bomb­ing had parked par­al­lel to the secu­rity fence rather than back­ing up to it, says Scheuer, it would have destroyed the entire build­ing. The same thing had hap­pened in the OPM SANG bombing.

The bin Laden unit of the CIA had col­lected con­crete intel­li­gence on bin Laden’s role in plan­ning the Kho­bar Tow­ers bomb­ing. In mid-January, 1996, accord­ing to the intel­li­gence com­piled by the unit, bin Laden trav­eled to Doha, Qatar, where plans were dis­cussed for attacks in east­ern Saudi Ara­bia. Bin Laden arranged for 20 tonnes of high explo­sive C-4 to be shipped from Poland to Qatar, two tonnes of which were to be sent to Saudi Ara­bia, the report said.

Bin Laden specif­i­cally referred to oper­a­tions tar­get­ing U.S. inter­ests in the tri­an­gle of cities of Dammam, Dhahran and Kho­bar in East­ern Province, using clan­des­tine al Qaeda cells in Saudi Ara­bia, accord­ing to the intel­li­gence reporting.

FBI agents work­ing on the Kho­bar case sim­ply rejected any evi­dence of bin Laden’s involve­ment in Kho­bar, how­ever, because the deci­sion had already been made that the Shi’as were respon­si­ble.
David Williams, then the FBI agent in charge of counter-terrorism for the Bureau, recalls that he had read intel­li­gence reports sug­gest­ing bin Laden’s involve­ment in the bomb­ing, but says he had done so “with a sus­pi­cious eye”.

The FBI inves­ti­ga­tors dis­missed the rel­e­vance of the evi­dence link­ing bin Laden to the Riyadh bomb­ing. As one for­mer FBI offi­cial explained the logic of that posi­tion to IPS, the Kho­bar Tow­ers bomb­ing was com­pletely dif­fer­ent from the Riyadh bomb­ing seven months ear­lier: it was in an area of East­ern Province where Shi’a oppo­si­tion­ists were pre­dom­i­nant and where al Qaeda had no known cell.

The facts, how­ever, told a dif­fer­ent story. The city of Kho­bar itself was pre­dom­i­nantly Sunni, not Shi’a, and the tri­an­gu­lar area of the three cities had a large pop­u­la­tion of vet­er­ans of the Afghan War who were fol­low­ers of bin Laden. As the London-based Pales­tin­ian pub­li­ca­tion reported in August 1996, the six jihadis who con­fessed to the bomb­ing were all from an area called Al Tho­qba near Khobar.

One of the vet­eran jihadis detained after the bomb­ing, Yusuf al-Ayayri, who was then the actual head of al Qaeda in the Ara­bian penin­sula, was from Dammam and knew the jihadi com­mu­nity in that region very well, accord­ing to Nor­we­gian spe­cial­ist on al Qaeda Thomas Hegghammer.

The FBI and CIA knew noth­ing about bin Laden’s move­ment in that part of Saudi Ara­bia, how­ever, because they were com­pletely depen­dent on Saudi intel­li­gence for such infor­ma­tion. A CIA mem­o­ran­dum dated Jul. 1, 1996 said the Agency had “lit­tle infor­ma­tion” about the “loca­tion, size, com­po­si­tion or activ­i­ties” of oppo­si­tion cells in Saudi Arabia.

Inter­views with FBI offi­cials involved in the inves­ti­ga­tion make it clear that they were not inter­ested in evi­dence link­ing bin Laden to the bomb­ing, because they under­stood their task to be lim­ited to get­ting what­ever infor­ma­tion they could from Saudi officials.

Williams says he didn’t ques­tion the Saudi account of the Kho­bar plot, because, “You start to believe the peo­ple who are your interlocutors.”

Asked about the evi­dence that bin Laden was behind the plot, another FBI offi­cial with sub­stan­tive respon­si­bil­ity for the inves­ti­ga­tion told IPS, “I didn’t get involved in that aspect. That wasn’t my job.”

“FBI Ignored Com­pelling Evi­dence of bin Laden Role” by Gareth Porter; ipsnews.net; 6/25/2009.

5. Part 5 of the series chron­i­cles the coverup going on into the tenure of George W. Bush’s admin­is­tra­tion. Despite rejec­tion of the Saudi torture-induced con­fes­sions by the Shi’a sus­pects by the Clin­ton Jus­tice Depart­ment, Freeh con­tin­ued his con­spir­a­to­r­ial alliance with the Saudis and, when George W. Bush retained him as FBI direc­tor, Freeh con­tin­ued trum­pet­ing the suc­cess of the Saudi inves­ti­ga­tion, deter­min­ing Iran­ian respon­si­bil­ity for the bombing.

Freeh par­roted the Saudi line on Kho­bar in a 2002 hear­ing before a joint hear­ing of the Sen­ate and House Select Intel­li­gence com­mit­tees. He also con­tin­ued to white­wash Saudi com­plic­ity with Al Qaeda operations.

Cement­ing his rela­tion­ship with the Saudis, Freeh appeared as the defense lawyer for Prince Ban­dar (“Ban­dar Bush”) at an April 2009 hear­ing on the Al Yamamah slush fund inves­ti­ga­tion. The series closes with the obser­va­tion that, had Freeh not exe­cuted his years’ long coverup of Al Qaeda involve­ment in, and Saudi com­plic­ity with, the Kho­bar bomb­ing, it is at least the­o­ret­i­cally pos­si­ble that the dis­in­ter­est on the part of the Bush admin­is­tra­tion with regard to Al Qaeda might have been interdicted.

In early Novem­ber 1998, Louis Freeh sent an FBI team off to observe Saudi secret police offi­cials inter­view­ing eight Shi’a detainees from behind a one-way mir­ror at the Riyadh deten­tion cen­tre. He planned to use the Shi’a tes­ti­mony to show that Iran was behind the bomb­ing.
As expected, the sto­ries told by the detainees reca­pit­u­lated the out­lines of the Shi’a plot that had already been described by the Saudis two years ear­lier. Now there were even more tan­ta­lis­ing details of direct Iran­ian involvement.

One of the detainees said Iran­ian Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps Gen­eral Ahmad Sher­ifi had per­son­ally selected the Kho­bar bar­racks as a tar­get. Another said the Saudi Hezbol­lah mem­bers had been not only trained but paid by the Iranians.

“We came away with solid evi­dence that Iran was behind it,” says a for­mer FBI agent.

There was one prob­lem with the evi­dence the FBI team col­lected: the Saudi secret police had already had two and half years to coach the Saudi Hezbol­lah detainees on what to say about the case, with the ever-present threat of more tor­ture to pro­vide the incentive.

But Freeh was not about to let the tor­ture issue inter­fere with his mis­sion. “For Louis, if they would let us in the room, that was the impor­tant thing,” one for­mer high-ranking FBI offi­cial told IPS. “We would have gone over there and got­ten the answers even if they had been propped up.”

When Freeh took the accounts from the Shi’a detainees in inter­ro­ga­tions wit­nessed by the FBI team, how­ever, the Jus­tice Depart­ment didn’t buy them as valid tes­ti­mony. The depart­ment refused to go ahead with an indict­ment as Freeh had desired, evi­dently based on the same objec­tion that had been raised two years ear­lier: the Shi’a had been sub­ject to torture.

But in Jan­u­ary 2001, Pres­i­dent George W. Bush kept Freeh on as FBI direc­tor. Freeh told the new pres­i­dent that Iran had mas­ter­minded the Kho­bar bomb­ing, accord­ing to his tes­ti­mony before the 9/11 Com­mis­sion, and the Jus­tice Depart­ment then began col­lab­o­rat­ing with Freeh on an indict­ment of the Saudi Hezbol­lah which impli­cated Iran in the Kho­bar bombing.

The indict­ment was announced on Jun. 21, 2001 – Freeh’s last day as FBI director.

Highly cred­i­ble evi­dence soon showed, how­ever, that the Mabahith, the Saudi secret police, did indeed use tor­ture and coer­cion to get detainees to tell the sto­ries demanded by the Saudi regime — even in front of for­eign observers — and that they did so to pro­tect al Qaeda from inves­ti­ga­tion by the United States.

Three car bomb­ings in Riyadh in Novem­ber 2000 that had resulted in the death of a British cit­i­zen were gen­er­ally believed to have been the work of al Qaeda. But four British cit­i­zens, one Cana­dian and one Bel­gian had con­fessed to the bomb­ings, and their con­fes­sions had been broad­cast on Saudi television.

After being released in 2003, how­ever, the Cana­dian cit­i­zen, William Samp­son, made pub­lic his dra­matic account of beat­ings admin­is­tered by the Mabahith while being hung upside down, includ­ing blows which made his tes­ti­cles swell to the size of oranges. Samp­son said the Saudis told him from the begin­ning what they wanted him to con­fess to, repeat­ing it over and over while the beat­ings con­tin­ued, and refined the story over time, con­stantly adding new details.

Six weeks into the inter­ro­ga­tion, after Samp­son began to tell them what they wanted, they started video­tap­ing his con­fes­sion, using a wall chart to help him remem­ber in detail the move­ments he was sup­posed to have made.

The Saudis even coached Samp­son on what to say when he was vis­ited by Cana­dian embassy per­son­nel, threat­en­ing him with fur­ther tor­ture if he told the embassy offi­cials the truth. When the embassy per­son­nel came to talk with him, Sampson’s two tor­tur­ers were present for the entire inter­view, just as they were pre­sum­ably present at the ques­tion­ing of the Shi’a detainees observed by the FBI team.

The other for­eign­ers told sim­i­lar sto­ries of coerced con­fes­sions under tor­ture. Samp­son and the five for­eign­ers were released only after a May 2003 sui­cide bomb­ing by al Qaeda on a Riyadh com­pound hous­ing 900 expa­tri­ates forced Saudi Inte­rior Min­is­ter Prince Nayef to acknowl­edge al Qaeda as a ter­ror­ist threat in Saudi Arabia.

Mean­while, once out of office, Freeh became vir­tu­ally a defence lawyer for the Saudi regime on the Kho­bar Tow­ers bombing.

Tes­ti­fy­ing before a joint hear­ing of the House and Sen­ate Select Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tees on Oct. 9, 2002, he white­washed the Saudi pol­icy toward the FBI inves­ti­ga­tion. Omit­ting any men­tion of the Saudi decep­tion over the explo­sives smug­gling inci­dent and refusal to allow the FBI to pur­sue essen­tial inves­ti­ga­tory tasks, Freeh sug­gested that the Saudis had done every­thing that could be expected of them.

“For­tu­nately, the FBI was able to forge an effec­tive work­ing rela­tion­ship with the Saudi police and inte­rior min­istry,” he said. Any “road­block or legal obsta­cle” that “would occur”, Freeh asserted, was because of the “marked dif­fer­ence between our legal and pro­ce­dural systems”.

Freeh paid trib­ute to Prince Ban­dar bin Sul­tan, the Saudi ambas­sador, as “crit­i­cal in achiev­ing the FBI’s inves­tiga­tive objec­tives in the Kho­bar case” and sug­gested that any such tem­po­rary prob­lems “were always solved” by Bandar’s “per­sonal intervention”.

Freeh mis­rep­re­sented the arrange­ment under which the FBI team had observed the inter­ro­ga­tion as “mak­ing these wit­nesses directly available”.

In an inter­view for a fawn­ing biog­ra­phy of Prince Ban­dar, Freeh even went so far as to call the Saudi behead­ing of four jihadists who con­fessed to the OPM SANG bomb­ing after refus­ing to allow the FBI to ques­tion them as “swift jus­tice” on a “Saudi domes­tic matter”.

The final chap­ter of Freeh’s con­nec­tion with Ban­dar and the Saudis, how­ever, was still to come. In April 2009, Freeh appeared as Bandar’s defence lawyer in a British court case in which Ban­dar is accused of ille­gally tak­ing two bil­lion dol­lars in graft on a Saudi-British arms deal.

In the con­text of Freeh’s strait­ened finan­cial sit­u­a­tion and his very close rela­tion­ship with Prince Ban­dar, this sequence of devel­op­ments in Freeh’s rela­tion­ship with the Saudis, cul­mi­nat­ing in being put on Bandar’s pay­roll, should have raised eye­brows in Washington.

With a wife and six chil­dren to sup­port, Freeh had been far more vul­ner­a­ble to Saudi blan­d­ish­ments than most senior admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials. And Ban­dar had made no secret that he was will­ing to use the promise of finan­cial ben­e­fits to influ­ence U.S. offi­cials while they were still in office.

He once told an asso­ciate, accord­ing to a Feb­ru­ary 2002 arti­cle by Robert G. Kaiser and David Ott­away of the Wash­ing­ton Post, “If the reputation...builds that the Saudis take care of friends when they leave office, you’d be sur­prised how much bet­ter friends you have who are just com­ing into office.”

Freeh declined to be inter­view for this series.

In light of the his­tory of Freeh’s rela­tions with Ban­dar, his con­duct of the inves­ti­ga­tion of Kho­bar Tow­ers deserves new scrutiny. Freeh effec­tively shut down a probe of a ter­ror bomb­ing in which bin Laden was clearly impli­cated when the Saudis had refused to coop­er­ate; he refused to pur­sue any inves­ti­ga­tion of a bin Laden role in the bomb­ing; and he pushed a seri­ously flawed Saudi account of the bomb­ing despite the fact that it was tainted by the like­li­hood of torture.

The result of Freeh’s bla­tant pro-Saudi bias was that Osama bin Laden was allowed more years of unhin­dered free­dom in which to plan ter­ror­ist actins against the United States. Had Freeh not become an advo­cate of the inter­ests of the regime whose rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Wash­ing­ton even­tu­ally put him on his pay­roll, U.S. pol­icy would pre­sum­ably have been focused like a laser on Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda two years earlier.

And per­haps the dis­in­ter­est of the George W. Bush administration’s national secu­rity team toward al Qaeda before 9/11 would have been impossible.

“Freeh Became ‘Defence Lawyer’ for Saudis on Kho­bar”; by Gareth Porter; ipsnews.net; 6/26/2009.


15 comments for “FTR #679 Freeh at Last: Analysis of the Khobar Towers Bombing (Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Saudi, Part 2)”

  1. Freeh tapped to lead pedophile inves­ti­ga­tion of Penn State:

    The first thing I thought when I heard today’s news was:

    (1) Louis Freeh obstructed the pre-9/11 inves­ti­ga­tions of FBI agent Robert Wright and the Vul­gar Betrayal investigation.

    (2) Louis Freeh is very closely linked with G. H. W. Bush

    (3) Louis Freeh is very closely linked with Saudi Prince Ban­dar, a.k.a. “Ban­dar Bush” — includ­ing Freeh rep­re­sent­ing Ban­dar as his lawyer in a ter­ror­ism slush fund trial

    (4) Deep in the Franklin Scan­dal case, you will find many men­tions of Saudi princes and child sex traf­fick­ing, as well as the Bush milieu

    (5) Deep in the Penn State case, you will find men­tion of inves­ti­ga­tion into the pos­si­bil­ity that San­dusky was “farm­ing” young boys for anony­mous wealthy football-program “boost­ers” (donors):


    It all adds up to echoes of the Franklin Scan­dal, hints of a pedophile ring in the high­est places.

    With Louis Freeh as the gatekeeper.

    Reminds me of Kissinger as 9/11 Commissioner.

    Like that chap­ter, where Kissinger stepped aside due to dubi­ous busi­ness conflicts-of-interest, Freeh is vice-chairman for MBNA, a bank hold­ing com­pany and credit card issuer ... which, inci­den­tally, is tied to Penn State and Sandusky’s “Sec­ond Mile” charity.


    Note that Freeh’s “Penn State Scan­dal Inves­ti­ga­tion Team” will include for­mer FBI agents and for­mer fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors ... one can only imag­ine the roster:


    MBNA has a shady his­tory, as well as being the TOP con­trib­u­tor to George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign:


    All of this does not directly link Freeh to the Franklin Scan­dal domain, but it puts him squarely in the milieu.

    Posted by R. Wilson | November 22, 2011, 12:03 am
  2. More on the Penn State pedophile mystery:



    After the rev­e­la­tions about the Penn State sex abuse scan­dal in which it was revealed that Gricar had declined to pros­e­cute Jerry San­dusky, well-known foren­sic pathol­o­gist Cyril Wecht said that “I believe that Gricar’s dis­ap­pear­ance is almost cer­tainly related to this Penn State debacle.“[23] He con­tin­ued, “You’ve got his car being found, locked with cell­phones inside. The com­put­ers found and the hard drive is found there in the river. The body is never found. Looks to me like it was staged.“[23]

    Posted by R. Wilson | November 22, 2011, 12:09 am
  3. More weird back­ground facts about Louis Freeh:


    Freeh was 2010 Board of direc­tors mem­ber, National Cen­ter for Miss­ing and Exploited Children.

    “Freeh is an active mem­ber and Board mem­ber of the National Cen­ter for Miss­ing and Exploited Chil­dren, has been a mem­ber of the U.S. Naval Acad­emy Foun­da­tion and is respon­si­ble for launch­ing the Inno­cent Images National Ini­tia­tive to pro­tect young chil­dren. “
    . . . . .


    Ex-FBI direc­tor Freeh granted Ital­ian citizenship

    WASHINGTON — Louis Freeh, the for­mer head of the FBI, is now an Ital­ian citizen.

    Offi­cials at the Ital­ian Embassy in Wash­ing­ton say Freeh was made a cit­i­zen at a cer­e­mony Friday.

    An announce­ment on the embassy’s Web site says Freeh was granted cit­i­zen­ship based on his close work with Ital­ian author­i­ties in fight­ing orga­nized crime.

    . . . . .


    Freeh asso­ciates
    John D. Behnke
    Man­ag­ing Director

    “Addi­tion­ally, John was the lead agent (under Louis Freeh) in the inves­ti­ga­tion of the 1989 mur­der of Judge Robert Vance of the 11 th Cir­cuit Court of Appeals. After this case was suc­cess­fully pros­e­cuted, John was awarded the Depart­ment of Justice’s Ded­i­cated Ser­vice Award by Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush for his out­stand­ing lead­er­ship, ded­i­ca­tion and self-sacrifice.

    Prior to his assign­ment as Spe­cial Assis­tant to the Direc­tor, John was lead agent for the Olympic Park Bomb­ing Inves­ti­ga­tion. As a result of his suc­cess­ful efforts in this inves­ti­ga­tion, the U.S. Attor­ney Gen­eral hon­ored John with the Attor­ney General’s Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Award.”

    »Recall the Olympic Park Bomb­ing Inves­ti­ga­tion led to the misiden­ti­fi­ca­tion of secu­rity guard Richard Jew­ell, who later died of a heart attack at age 44.

    »There is com­pelling evi­dence that Freeh & Behnke misiden­ti­fied & con­victed the wrong per­pe­tra­tor in the mur­der of Judge Vance:


    . . . . .


    Penn State inves­ti­ga­tor has ties to Sec­ond Mile charity’s board
    — by MAUREEN MILFORD and CRIS BARRISH | Delaware­On­line, Nov. 21, 2011

    For­mer FBI direc­tor Louis J. Freeh of Greenville, selected Mon­day by Penn State Uni­ver­sity to lead an inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion into child sex­ual abuse alle­ga­tions, once worked with a major uni­ver­sity con­trib­u­tor who is a board mem­ber of the youth char­ity linked to the scandal.

    Freeh served as gen­eral coun­sel of the for­mer MBNA credit card com­pany in Wilm­ing­ton along with top bank exec­u­tive Ric Struthers. A Penn State grad­u­ate and major con­trib­u­tor still affil­i­ated with the uni­ver­sity, Struthers is on the board of direc­tors of The Sec­ond Mile charity.

    The Sec­ond Mile, which helps chil­dren from trou­bled homes, was founded in 1977 by Jerry San­dusky. A for­mer Penn State assis­tant foot­ball coach, San­dusky, 67, has been charged with mul­ti­ple counts of child sex­ual abuse, includ­ing one alleged rape on cam­pus. Accord­ing to a grand jury report, San­dusky “found his vic­tims” through Sec­ond Mile.

    Freeh, who served as MBNA’s gen­eral coun­sel from 2001-06, gave a speech in 2005 at a ded­i­ca­tion of a new Penn State busi­ness build­ing that Struthers and his wife sup­ported through a $2 mil­lion gift. Struthers attended the event.

    On Mon­day, Freeh promised a fair, thor­ough and inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion at a news con­fer­ence in Philadel­phia announc­ing that his law firm Freeh, Sporkin & Sul­li­van would lead the inves­ti­ga­tion. Freeh, a for­mer fed­eral judge, could not be reached later in the day to dis­cuss his rela­tion­ship with Struthers.

    But Omar McNeill, a part­ner in Freeh’s Wilm­ing­ton law firm, said Freeh’s rela­tion­ship with Struthers was strictly as a busi­ness col­league. Freeh did not report to Struthers but to bank founder Charles M. Caw­ley. After Caw­ley retired, Freeh reported to Cawley’s suc­ces­sor, Bruce Ham­monds, McNeill said. MBNA was sold to Bank of Amer­ica in 2006.

    “They were busi­ness asso­ciates,” McNeill said of Freeh and Struthers. “That was the extent of relationship.”

    Stephanie Good­sell, a spokes­woman for the Penn State trustees’ spe­cial com­mit­tee that hired Freeh, said in a state­ment that Freeh “reported at all times to MBNA’s chief exec­u­tive offi­cer, and not to Mr. Struthers.”

    . . . . .

    Inter­est­ingly, Freeh sent his son to a Potomac, Mary­land pri­vate school, The Heights School, which is described in “The Bureau and the Mole”, a book by David A. Vise about Robert Hanssen, as “an Opus Dei acad­emy” where mem­bers of Freeh’s church (which famed FBI espi­onage con­vict Hanssen also attended) “rel­ished” their close ties to Opus Dei.

    Freeh has denied sub­se­quent rumors of per­sonal mem­ber­ship in Opus Dei.


    Posted by R. Wilson | November 24, 2011, 10:33 pm
  4. Man, Freeh really is the it girl these days:

    Posted: Fri, Nov. 25, 2011, 8:08 PM
    Ex-FBI chief named trustee in MF Global bankruptcy

    The Asso­ci­ated Press

    NEW YORK — For­mer FBI Direc­tor Louis J. Freeh has been tapped to be the trustee for MF Global’s Chap­ter 11 bank­ruptcy case.

    The U.S. Trustee for the New York region requested court approval for the appoint­ment, accord­ing to doc­u­ments filed Friday.

    MF Global and a com­mit­tee of its cred­i­tors asked the court on Mon­day for per­mis­sion to name a trustee so that the com­pany can get a bind­ing com­mit­ment for financ­ing while it is in bank­ruptcy and help it recover any funds left over after its cus­tomers are paid back.

    U.S. Bank­ruptcy Court Judge Mar­tin Glenn in New York granted the motion the next day and ordered U.S. Trustee Tracy Hope Davis to appoint a trustee for the case.

    Davis selected Freeh, a for­mer fed­eral judge who served as direc­tor of the Fed­eral Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion from 1993 through 2001. Freeh is now chair­man of Freeh Group Inter­na­tional Solu­tions LLC, a global risk-management firm.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 26, 2011, 3:36 pm
  5. Refus­ing to turn over doc­u­ments can cer­tainly be a ‘com­pli­cat­ing” fac­tor in an inves­ti­ga­tion:

    MF Global trustee tus­sles with reg­u­la­tors — report

    Fri Jan 6, 2012 5:25am GMT

    (Reuters) — MF Global’s bank­ruptcy trustee, Louis Freeh, has refused to turn over some doc­u­ments to the Com­mod­ity Futures Trad­ing Com­mis­sion (CFTC), which is inves­ti­gat­ing what hap­pened to an esti­mated $1.2 bil­lion (774.6 mil­lion pounds) in miss­ing cus­tomer funds, the Wall Street Jour­nal said.

    Freeh, a for­mer direc­tor of the Fed­eral Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion and who rep­re­sents MF Global’s par­ent com­pany, has asserted attorney-client priv­i­lege in decid­ing not to release cer­tain doc­u­ments to the CFTC, accord­ing to his office and peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter, the Jour­nal said.

    The dis­pute is com­pli­cat­ing efforts to learn how the firm lost the cus­tomer funds and to return the money to its own­ers and could slow the inves­ti­ga­tion, the Jour­nal said, cit­ing peo­ple famil­iar with the investigation.

    A spokesman for Freeh’s office told Reuters that the trustee’s team was coop­er­at­ing with reg­u­la­tors, law enforce­ment and Con­gres­sional com­mit­tees and is not aware “that our ini­tial desire to pre­serve the attorney-client priv­i­lege has ham­pered their respec­tive investigations.

    “To the extent that the author­i­ties express con­cerns to us that the effort to pre­serve the attorney-client priv­i­lege is ham­per­ing their inves­ti­ga­tions, we of course would be will­ing to dis­cuss the issue with them and be inclined to waive priv­i­lege,” the spokesman said.

    A spokesman for the CFTC declined to com­ment the Jour­nal on the story.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 6, 2012, 8:55 am
  6. Some­thing tells me there are a big fans of Louis Freeh right now, and their its ini­tials are J.P.M.:

    MF Global sold assets to Gold­man before col­lapse: sources

    By Lau­ren Tara LaCapra and Matthew Goldstein

    Tue Jan 3, 2012 7:23pm EST

    (Reuters) — MF Global unloaded hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars’ worth of secu­ri­ties to Gold­man Sachs in the days lead­ing up to its col­lapse, accord­ing to two for­mer MF Global employ­ees with direct knowl­edge of the trans­ac­tions. But it did not imme­di­ately receive pay­ment from its clear­ing firm and lender, JPMor­gan Chase & Co (JPM.N), one of the sources said.

    The sale of secu­ri­ties to Gold­man occurred on Octo­ber 27, just days before MF Global Hold­ings Ltd (MFGLQ.PK) filed for bank­ruptcy on Octo­ber 31, the ex-employees said. One of the employ­ees said the trans­ac­tion was cleared with JPMor­gan Chase.

    At the same time MF Global, which was run by for­mer Gold­man Sachs head Jon Corzine, was sell­ing secu­ri­ties to Gold­man to raise badly needed cash, the futures firm was also draw­ing down a $1.2 bil­lion revolv­ing line of credit it had with JPMor­gan, accord­ing to one of the for­mer MF Global employees.

    JPMor­gan spokes­woman Mary Sedarat said the bank did not with­old money because of the line of credit. She declined fur­ther com­ment on details of the transactions.

    JPMor­gan has fought aggres­sively in bank­ruptcy court to pro­tect its inter­ests, and received a lien on some of MF Global’s assets in exchange for grant­ing the firm $8 mil­lion to fund its bank­ruptcy costs. The lien puts JPMorgan’s inter­ests ahead of MF Global cus­tomers who have not yet received an esti­mated $900 mil­lion worth of money from their accounts, which remain frozen as reg­u­la­tors search for miss­ing funds.

    The hastily crafted trans­ac­tions and the seem­ing inabil­ity of MF Global to recoup some of the money in the sale to Gold­man may start to explain why so much money remains unac­counted for at the futures firm.

    It is unclear what type of assets Gold­man bought from MF Global, but the secu­ri­ties were worth hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars, the for­mer employ­ees said. The sources spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

    The Wall Street Jour­nal pre­vi­ously reported that George Soros’ fund was a buyer of secu­ri­ties sold by MF Global, scooping-up some of its Euro­pean sov­er­eign debt at a deep dis­count. Panic among investors and clients about MF Global’s $6.3 bil­lion bet on Euro­pean sov­er­eign bonds led to its demise.


    So did JP Mor­gan just decide to keep all the pro­ceeds from the sale since they were MF Global’s pri­mary cred­i­tor? Or did Corzine’s old firm, Gold­man Sachs, have a lit­tle “oop­sie” that delayed them from hand­ing over the cash before the col­lapse? Hmmm...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 6, 2012, 1:19 pm
  7. “Oopsie”...forgot the above link (See mis­takes happen!)

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 6, 2012, 1:20 pm
  8. Yeah, Freeh is a damn crook. Always was.

    Posted by Steven L. | January 6, 2012, 11:55 pm
  9. Well, we can add “mis­state­ments of law” to the list of legal ser­vices you can appar­ently obtain from for­mer FBI direc­tors:

    MF Global Com­mod­ity Cus­tomers Must Be Paid First, CFTC Says

    By Linda San­dler — Jan 18, 2012 5:21 PM CT

    MF Global Inc. (MFGLQ) com­mod­ity cus­tomers must be paid before all other claimants, includ­ing the bank­rupt par­ent com­pany, accord­ing to the Com­mod­ity Futures Trad­ing Commission.

    Court papers by the trustee for MF Global Hold­ings Ltd., Louis Freeh, con­tain “errors and mis­state­ments of law” in argu­ing that com­mod­ity laws, which require that cus­tomers be “made whole” first, don’t apply to bro­ker­age liq­ui­da­tions, the reg­u­la­tor said in a court fil­ing today. Freeh, rep­re­sent­ing the par­ent com­pany cred­i­tors, has said money due to them shouldn’t be “diverted” to cus­tomers.

    If Freeh was right, “the sense­less result would be to ren­der inap­plic­a­ble the key reg­u­la­tions of the Com­mod­ity Futures Trad­ing Com­mis­sion in the largest com­mod­ity bro­ker bank­ruptcy in U.S. his­tory,” the CFTC said. The result would “strip” cus­tomers of a rem­edy, after they entrusted their assets to the bro­ker­age rely­ing on rules for seg­re­gat­ing cus­tomer money, it said.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 19, 2012, 12:08 pm
  10. I guess we can add “gam­bling empire dis­pute res­o­lu­tion” to the list of ser­vices offered by Freeh. It looks like Steve Wynn had a falling out with his main busi­ness part­ner Kazuo Okada, a Japan­ese pachinko mogul(surely there are no Yakuza ties here). The dis­pute is over Okada’s pay­ments to Philip­pine offi­cials to obtain a casino license, mak­ing Okada a com­peti­tor to Wynn’s highly prof­itable Macao oper­a­tion. It’s being described as a tit-for-tat move fol­low­ing Okada’s charges that Wynn isn’t turn­ing over doc­u­ments related to a $135 mil­lion dona­tion to Macao Uni­ver­sity. It’s good to see the for­mer FBI direc­tor ensur­ing that over­seas money-laundering havens are being run accord­ing to the high­est eth­i­cal stan­dards:

    Wynn Resorts says Okada improp­erly paid reg­u­la­tors, buys out his shares

    By Steve Green

    19 Feb­ru­ary 2012

    Wynn Resorts Ltd. of Las Vegas said Sun­day it moved to remove its largest share­holder from the com­pany, say­ing it bought out the shares of bil­lion­aire Kazuo Okada for $1.9 bil­lion after deter­min­ing he had made improper pay­ments to for­eign gam­ing regulators.

    The casino-resort oper­a­tor, in a rare Sun­day announce­ment, said its board on Sat­ur­day had received an inves­ti­ga­tory report on Okada. Based on that report it had “redeemed” the 24 mil­lion shares of Wynn stock held by Okada’s com­pany Aruze USA Inc.


    Sunday’s moves by Wynn rep­re­sent a dra­matic esca­la­tion in the legal bat­tle between Okada and Wynn, which erupted in Jan­u­ary when Okada filed suit demand­ing Wynn open its books and records to him con­cern­ing cer­tain trans­ac­tions, includ­ing a pledge by Wynn’s Macau sub­sidiary to donate $135 mil­lion to the Uni­ver­sity of Macau.

    That law­suit led to the U.S. Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion open­ing an “infor­mal inquiry” and ask­ing Wynn Resorts to pre­serve infor­ma­tion about the dona­tion and other mat­ters in Macau.

    A busi­ness­man well known in Japan, Hong Kong and else­where in Asia, Okada is a bil­lion­aire pachinko gam­bling machine maker who’s also devel­op­ing a casino resort in the Philip­pines — a project Wynn claims is a con­flict of inter­est as it would com­pete with Wynn’s busi­ness includ­ing its Macau casinos.

    Sunday’s state­ment by Wynn said its Com­pli­ance Com­mit­tee had con­cluded a year-long inves­ti­ga­tion after receiv­ing “an inde­pen­dent report detail­ing numer­ous appar­ent vio­la­tions of the U.S. For­eign Cor­rupt Prac­tices Act (FCPA) by Aruze USA Inc., its par­ent com­pany Uni­ver­sal Enter­tain­ment Corp. and its prin­ci­pal share­holder,” Okada.

    The For­eign Cor­rupt Prac­tices Act is a law aimed at deter­ring U.S. com­pa­nies from mak­ing bribes in for­eign lands in order to win busi­ness in those countries.

    Wynn said its Com­pli­ance Com­mit­tee, chaired by Wynn direc­tor and for­mer Nevada Gov. Robert Miller, hired sev­eral inves­ti­ga­tors, includ­ing Freeh, Sporkin and Sul­li­van LLP, led by for­mer FBI direc­tor Louis Freeh.

    “Freeh’s inves­ti­ga­tors uncov­ered and doc­u­mented more than three dozen instances over a three-year period in which Mr. Okada and his asso­ciates engaged in improper activ­i­ties for their own ben­e­fit in appar­ent vio­la­tion of U.S. anti-corruption laws and gross dis­re­gard for the company’s Code of Con­duct. These trou­bling dis­cov­er­ies include cash pay­ments and gifts total­ing approx­i­mately $110,000 to for­eign gam­ing reg­u­la­tors,” Wynn’s state­ment on Sun­day said.

    “Mr. Okada and his asso­ciates and com­pa­nies appear to have engaged in a long­stand­ing prac­tice of mak­ing pay­ments and gifts to his two chief gam­ing reg­u­la­tors at the Philip­pines Amuse­ment and Gam­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (PAGCOR), who directly over­see and reg­u­lated Mr. Okada’s Pro­vi­sional Licens­ing Agree­ment to oper­ate in that coun­try,” the com­pany said, cit­ing the Freeh Report.

    The report also alleged that Okada and his asso­ciates have “con­sciously taken active mea­sures to con­ceal both the nature and amount of these payments.”

    Based on the Freeh Report, the Wynn Board found that Aruze, its par­ent com­pany Uni­ver­sal Enter­tain­ment and Okada are “unsuit­able” under the pro­vi­sions of the company’s Arti­cles of Incorporation.

    If the alle­ga­tions are true, they would also appear to be vio­la­tions of gam­ing reg­u­la­tions where Wynn oper­ates in Nevada and Macau.


    Wynn’s move to buy Okada’s shares of the com­pany would appear to make CEO Steve Wynn and his ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, the largest com­pany shareholders.

    A March 2011 reg­u­la­tory fil­ing said each of the Wynns held about an 8 per­cent stake in the com­pany vs. Okada’s nearly 20 per­cent stake.

    On an inter­est­ing side-note, Steve Wynn isn’t the only US gam­bling mogul fac­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion over their Macao casino. The Sands, owned by Newt Gingrich’s sugar-daddy Shel­don Adel­son, is also under inves­ti­ga­tion for work­ing with a leader of the Tri­ads to run their ‘VIP room’ and spy­ing on Macao offi­cials for ‘lever­age’:

    The crim­i­nal probe of Shel­don Adelson’s casino empire

    By Peter Hen­der­son and James Pomfret

    SAN FRANCISCO/MACAU, China | Wed Feb 8, 2012 6:15pm EST

    (Reuters) — It’s never good for the can­di­date when a big donor runs afoul of the law — as Pres­i­dent Barack Obama learned this week: his cam­paign returned large dona­tions from Chicago’s Car­dona broth­ers after it was reported that a third brother is a fugi­tive from U.S. drug and fraud charges.

    Some Repub­li­can can­di­dates for pres­i­dent could find them­selves sim­i­larly embar­rassed if crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions against casino mogul Shel­don Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands for vio­lat­ing the For­eign Cor­rupt Prac­tices Act come to fruition before November.

    Probes by the Depart­ment of Jus­tice and the Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion focus on the casino company’s oper­a­tions in Macau, the world’s biggest gam­bling hub, court doc­u­ments show. A for­mer exec­u­tive in Adelson’s empire, whose alle­ga­tions are believed to be cen­tral to the probe, cites poten­tial ille­gal deal­ings with a pub­lic offi­cial, as well as a tie to an orga­nized crime fig­ure.(That link was first reported by Reuters in a 2010 spe­cial report: High-rollers, tri­ads and a Las Vegas giant — link.reuters.com/dyg56s)

    Adel­son and his wife single-handedly propped up Newt Gingrich’s cam­paign with $10 mil­lion Super PAC dona­tions in Jan­u­ary, and Adel­son recently sig­naled he would write big checks to Mitt Rom­ney, too, if he wins the nomination.


    The Sands com­pany last year acknowl­edged in the civil law­suit that it had done busi­ness with a man iden­ti­fied in Hong Kong court as a triad leader, Che­ung Chi-tai. Sands said it inves­ti­gated the alleged crime boss after the Reuters 2010 spe­cial report high­lighted the tie, and that it then sev­ered the rela­tion­ship. Jacobs in court papers says Adel­son him­self was aware of the rela­tion­ship before Sands’ investigation.

    Cheung’s cur­rent where­abouts are unknown.

    Jacobs has also claimed in that suit that Adel­son told him to hire a Macau pub­lic offi­cial, Leonel Alves, who was listed as Sands China’s coun­sel for more than a year. Pay­ing a pub­lic offi­cial in any capac­ity raises ques­tions of bribery under the For­eign Cor­rupt Prac­tices Act. Sands in court papers denied ille­gal activ­ity. Michael Leven, now Las Vegas Sands Pres­i­dent and Chief Oper­at­ing Offi­cer, acknowl­edged to the Macau Daily Times that Alves advised the gov­ern­ment. “When we deal with an indi­vid­ual that is a Gov­ern­ment offi­cial — Alves is also a mem­ber of the Exec­u­tive Coun­cil, an advis­ing body to the local gov­ern­ment — we have to fol­low the rules of the U.S.. So we are work­ing our way through that,” Leven said in 2010.

    Jacobs fur­ther alleged that Adel­son per­son­ally demanded secret inves­ti­ga­tions of Macau offi­cials, “so that any neg­a­tive infor­ma­tion obtained could be used to exert ‘lever­age’ in order to thwart gov­ern­ment regulations/initiatives viewed as adverse to LVSC’s (Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s) interests.”

    These inves­ti­ga­tions included cur­rent and past lead­ers of the Macau gov­ern­ment — Edmund Ho, his suc­ces­sor Fer­nando Chui Sai-on, who is still the chief, and oth­ers — accord­ing to an August 2010 let­ter from Jacobs’ lawyer demand­ing that Sands save infor­ma­tion on inves­ti­ga­tions into those peo­ple. The com­pany described the inves­ti­ga­tion as a rogue move by Steve Jacobs, and Adel­son has accused Jacobs of lying to extort pay­ment from his for­mer employer.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 19, 2012, 7:24 pm
  11. Yikes! Mr. Freeh is going to have to get pretty cre­ative to spin this one:

    MF’s Corzine Ordered Funds Moved to JP Mor­gan, Memo Says
    By Phil Mat­tingly and Silla Brush — Mar 23, 2012 6:07 PM

    Jon S. Corzine, MF Global Hold­ing Ltd.’s chief exec­u­tive offi­cer, gave “direct instruc­tions” to trans­fer $200 mil­lion from a cus­tomer fund account to meet an over­draft in a bro­ker­age account with JPMor­gan Chase & Co. (JPM), accord­ing to a memo writ­ten by con­gres­sional investigators.

    Edith O’Brien, a trea­surer for the firm, said in an e-mail quoted in the memo that the trans­fer was “Per JC’s direct instruc­tions,” accord­ing to a copy of the memo obtained by Bloomberg News. The e-mail, dated Oct. 28, was sent three days before the com­pany col­lapsed, the memo says. The memo does not indi­cate whether that phrase was the full text of the e-mail or an excerpt.

    O’Brien’s inter­nal e-mail was sent as the New York-based bro­ker found intra­day credit lines lim­ited by JPMor­gan, the firm’s clear­ing bank as well as one of its cus­to­dian banks for seg­re­gated cus­tomer funds, accord­ing to the memo, which was pre­pared for a March 28 House Finan­cial Ser­vices sub­com­mit­tee hear­ing on the firm’s col­lapse. O’Brien is sched­uled to tes­tify at the hear­ing after being sub­poe­naed this week.

    “Over the course of that week, MF Global’s finan­cial posi­tion dete­ri­o­rated, but the firm rep­re­sented to its reg­u­la­tors and self-regulatory orga­ni­za­tions that its cus­tomers’ seg­re­gated funds were safe,” said the memo, writ­ten by Finan­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee staff and sent to lawmakers.

    Steven Gold­berg, a spokesman for Corzine, said in a state­ment that Corzine “never gave any instruc­tion to mis­use cus­tomer funds and never intended any­one at MF Global to mis­use cus­tomer funds.”

    JPMor­gan Overdraft

    Vinay Maha­jan, global trea­surer of MF Global Hold­ings, wrote an e-mail on Oct. 28 that said JPMor­gan was “hold­ing up vital busi­ness in the U.S. as a result” of the over­drawn account, which had to be “fully funded ASAP,” accord­ing to the memo.

    Barry Zubrow, JPMorgan’s chief risk offi­cer, called Corzine to seek assur­ances that the funds belonged to MF Global and not cus­tomers. JPMor­gan drafted a let­ter to be signed by O’Brien to ensure that MF Global was com­ply­ing with rules requir­ing cus­tomers’ col­lat­eral to be seg­re­gated. The let­ter was not returned to JPMor­gan, the memo said.

    The money trans­ferred came from a seg­re­gated cus­tomer account, accord­ing to con­gres­sional inves­ti­ga­tors. Seg­re­gated accounts can include cus­tomer money and excess com­pany funds.
    Corzine Testimony

    Corzine, 65, in tes­ti­mony in front of the House panel in Decem­ber, said he did not order any improper trans­fer of cus­tomer funds. Corzine also tes­ti­fied that he never intended a mis­use of cus­tomer funds at MF Global, and that he doesn’t know where client funds went.

    “I never gave any instruc­tion to mis­use cus­tomer funds, I never intended any­one at MF Global to mis­use cus­tomer funds and I don’t believe that any­thing I said could rea­son­ably have been inter­preted as an instruc­tion to mis­use cus­tomer funds,” Corzine told law­mak­ers in December.


    I’m sure Freeh will come up with something...creative legal inter­pre­ta­tions appear to be his spe­cialty:

    MF Global Hold­ings Ltd. (MFGLQ)’s hir­ing of con­sul­tant Freeh Group Inter­na­tional Solu­tions LLC doesn’t com­ply with the bank­ruptcy code, said the U.S. Trustee, a Jus­tice Depart­ment arm that over­sees bank­rupt­cies.
    By Tiffany Kary — Mar 19, 2012 2:00 PM CT

    For­mer Fed­eral Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion direc­tor Louis Freeh, MF Global Hold­ings’ Chap­ter 11 trustee, sought per­mis­sion to hire the con­sult­ing firm along with his law firm, Freeh Sporkin & Sul­li­van LLP. The law only allows a trustee to hire a law firm or account­ing firm to pro­tect the trustee’s dis­in­ter­est­ed­ness, U.S. Trustee Tracy Hope Davis said in papers filed today in U.S. Bank­ruptcy Court in Manhattan.

    “Such incon­sis­tency may be cur­able should FGIS be able to demon­strate that it is an account­ing firm autho­rized under applic­a­ble law to prac­tice pub­lic account­ing,” Davis said.

    U.S. Bank­ruptcy Judge Mar­tin Glenn had approved six lawyers and con­sul­tants to work on the bank­ruptcy while ask­ing for more infor­ma­tion about whether Freeh Group could be hired.

    MF Global Hold­ings, once run by for­mer New Jer­sey Gov­er­nor Jon Corzine, filed the eighth-largest U.S. bank­ruptcy on Oct. 31 after get­ting mar­gin calls and bank demands for money at its oper­at­ing unit, MF Global Inc. The bro­ker­age and the par­ent are in dif­fer­ent bank­ruptcy pro­ceed­ings han­dled by two trustees.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 23, 2012, 6:32 pm
  12. To sum­ma­rize, the FBI found that it had some prob­lems with the foren­sic analy­sis of the biggest crim­i­nal cases of the 90’s (WTC bomb­ing, OKC, etc). There was a task force to inves­ti­gate the prob­lems. The task force has been reviewed. The task force had, um, some prob­lems:

    Wash­ing­ton Post
    DOJ review of flawed FBI foren­sics processes lacked trans­parency
    By Spencer S. Hsu, Jen­nifer Jenk­ins and Ted Mell­nik, Pub­lished: April 17

    The bomb­shell came at the most inop­por­tune time.

    An FBI spe­cial agent was tes­ti­fy­ing in the government’s high-profile ter­ror­ism trial against Omar Abdel Rah­man, the “blind sheik” sus­pected of plot­ting the first attack on the World Trade Center.

    Fred­eric White­hurst, a chemist and lawyer who worked in the FBI’s crime lab, tes­ti­fied that he was told by his supe­ri­ors to ignore find­ings that did not sup­port the prosecution’s the­ory of the bombing.

    “There was a great deal of pres­sure put upon me to bias my inter­pre­ta­tion,” White­hurst said in U.S. Dis­trict Court in New York in 1995.

    Even before the Inter­net, Whitehurst’s extra­or­di­nary claim went viral. It turned out he had writ­ten or passed along scores of memos over the years warn­ing of a lack of impar­tial­ity and sci­en­tific stan­dards at the famed lab that did the foren­sic work after the World Trade Cen­ter attack and in other cases.

    With the FBI under fire for its han­dling of the 1993 trade cen­ter attack, the Okla­homa City bomb­ing and the O.J. Simp­son mur­der case, offi­cials had to act.

    After the Jus­tice Department’s inspec­tor gen­eral began a review of Whitehurst’s claims, Attor­ney Gen­eral Janet Reno and FBI Direc­tor Louis J. Freeh decided to launch a task force to dig through thou­sands of cases involv­ing dis­cred­ited agents, to ensure that “no defendant’s right to a fair trial was jeop­ar­dized,” as one FBI offi­cial promised at a con­gres­sional hearing.

    The task force took nine years to com­plete its work and never pub­licly released its find­ings. Not the results of its case reviews of sus­pect lab work. Not the names of the defen­dants who were con­victed as a result. And not the nature or scope of the foren­sic prob­lems it found.

    Those deci­sions more than a decade ago remain rel­e­vant today for hun­dreds of peo­ple still in the U.S. court sys­tem, because offi­cials never noti­fied many defen­dants of the foren­sic flaws in their cases and never expanded their review to catch sim­i­lar mistakes.

    A review of more than 10,000 pages of task force doc­u­ments and dozens of inter­views demon­strate that the panel oper­ated in secret and with close over­sight by FBI and Jus­tice Depart­ment brass — includ­ing Reno and Freeh’s top deputy — who took steps to con­trol the infor­ma­tion uncov­ered by the group.

    “It was not open,” said a per­son who worked closely with the task force and who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity because the bureau and Jus­tice Depart­ment main­tain a strong influ­ence in foren­sic sci­ence. “Maybe [a coverup] wasn’t the intent, but it did seem to look that way. .?.?. It was too con­trolled by the FBI.”


    Scathing report

    If the Jus­tice Depart­ment was secre­tive, the agency’s inde­pen­dent inspec­tor gen­eral was not. Michael R. Bromwich’s probe cul­mi­nated in a dev­as­tat­ing 517-page report in April 1997on mis­con­duct at the FBI lab.

    His find­ings stopped short of accus­ing agents of per­jury or of fab­ri­cat­ing results, but he con­cluded that FBI man­agers failed — in some cases for years — to respond to warn­ings about the sci­en­tific integrity and com­pe­tence of agents.

    The chief of the lab’s explo­sives unit, for exam­ple, “repeat­edly reached con­clu­sions that incrim­i­nated the defen­dants with­out a sci­en­tific basis” in the 1995 Okla­homa City bomb­ing, Bromwich wrote. The head of tox­i­col­ogy lacked judg­ment and cred­i­bil­ity and over­stated results in the 1994 Simp­son inves­ti­ga­tion. After the 1993 World Trade Cen­ter attack, the key FBI wit­ness “worked back­ward,” tai­lor­ing his tes­ti­mony to reach the result he wanted. Other agents “spruced up” notes for trial, altered reports with­out the author’s per­mis­sion or failed to doc­u­ment or con­firm their findings.

    The inves­ti­ga­tion led to wide-ranging changes, includ­ing higher lab­o­ra­tory stan­dards and require­ments for examiners.

    Mean­while, the Jus­tice Depart­ment set out to eval­u­ate dis­cred­ited agents’ work in thou­sands of cases that had gone to trial.

    Jim Mad­dock, the FBI’s assis­tant gen­eral coun­sel, told reporters that the goal of the new task force was to iden­tify any poten­tially excul­pa­tory infor­ma­tion that had arisen in any crim­i­nal case involv­ing agents crit­i­cized in the report.

    “We are under­tak­ing that review,” Mad­dock said at an April 15, 1997, news con­fer­ence. “And when it is done, we will give a full account­ing of our findings.”


    The task force grad­u­ally wound down when Thom­son and DiGre­gory departed. A new admin­is­tra­tion arrived months before the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist attacks, which trans­formed pri­or­i­ties. In 2002, Michael Chertoff, then assis­tant attor­ney gen­eral for the crim­i­nal divi­sion, nar­rowed the review to speed its com­ple­tion, drop­ping unspec­i­fied “small cases.”

    Through a spokesman, Chertoff declined to comment.

    In addi­tion, the crim­i­nal divi­sion stopped ask­ing pros­e­cu­tors to notify it if they turned over review results to defense attorneys.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 18, 2012, 6:52 pm
  13. So it turns out the FBI’s team-leader on the US embassy bom­ing in Kenya, the bomb­ing of the USS Cole, the 1993 WTC bomb­ing and the 1995 OKC bomb­ings is also a pedophile. He was allegedly caught after log­ging into his “pedodat69@yahoo.com” email at home. So the guy that was lead­ing some of the biggest ter­ror inves­ti­ga­tion in the 90’s — the age of the internet’s infancy — was also an online kid­die porn trader. I can’t see any poten­tial for black­mail related to those inves­ti­ga­tions at all:

    FBI Agent Who Inves­ti­gated Unabomber Arrested On Child Pornog­ra­phy Charges

    Ryan J. Reilly May 14, 2012, 5:52 PM

    A for­mer FBI explo­sives expert who inves­ti­gated high-profile bomb­ings for the bureau over sev­eral decades has been arrested and charged with dis­trib­ut­ing child pornog­ra­phy over unse­cured wire­less net­works using the screen name “pedodave69.”

    Don­ald J. Sachtleben, 54, joined the FBI in 1983 and retired in 2008. Until the Indi­ana resident’s arrest he was work­ing as an FBI con­trac­tor and a vis­it­ing assis­tant pro­fes­sor of foren­sic sci­ences at Okla­homa State University.

    Dur­ing his FBI career, Sachtleben served as team leader at the bomb­ings of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya and the USS Cole in Yemen, and inves­ti­gated the 1993 World Trade Cen­ter bomb­ing and the 1995 Okla­homa City fed­eral build­ing bomb­ing. He also coor­di­nated the search of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s cabin in Lin­coln, Mont., even writ­ing Kaczynski’s arrest affi­davit, call­ing remov­ing a live bomb from Kaczynski’s shack “the tough­est expe­ri­ence I had.”


    FBI agents later arrested a man who had allegedly traded child pornog­ra­phy with Sachtleben via email. Sachtleben was caught because he allegedly accessed the email address pedodave69@yahoo.com from his home. Inves­ti­ga­tors found 30 child pornog­ra­phy pic­tures and movies on a Sony lap­top he kept in his red Chevy Sub­ur­ban, which also con­tained var­i­ous work files, accord­ing to the FBI.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 14, 2012, 2:47 pm
  14. Well, there’s always one last chance to soak the pro­les...and some­times five or six chances:

    MF Global cus­tomer deemed “friv­o­lous” in fee fight
    By Nick Brown

    NEW YORK | Fri May 18, 2012 2:23pm EDT

    (Reuters) — A for­mer MF Global Hold­ings Ltd cus­tomer was rebuked on Fri­day by a judge for fil­ing “friv­o­lous” court papers attack­ing the mount­ing fees of Louis Freeh, the trustee unwind­ing the company’s bank­rupt estate.

    U.S. Bank­ruptcy Court Judge Mar­tin Glenn rejected argu­ments from cus­tomer leader James Koutoulas that Freeh should not be allowed to extend a Fri­day dead­line to file finan­cial data about the com­pany. Koutoulas had argued the post­pone­ment would allow Freeh, a for­mer FBI direc­tor, to rack up unrea­son­able fees.

    Glenn stopped short of grant­ing a request by Freeh’s attor­ney, Brett Miller, to sanc­tion Koutoulas, but warned he may impose such pun­ish­ments for future friv­o­lous acts.

    “Be fair warned,” Glenn told Koutoulas, a fund man­ager and lawyer who has assumed the de facto role of rep­re­sent­ing MF Global’s for­mer customers.


    Koutoulas’ fight began when Freeh esti­mated this week that pro­fes­sion­als in MF Global’s bank­ruptcy have accrued nearly $25 mil­lion in fees. Freeh’s report did not say how much of that fig­ure was accrued by Freeh and his lawyers.

    Freeh, who has not yet sub­mit­ted for­mal com­pen­sa­tion requests, would be paid from money he ulti­mately recov­ers on behalf of the MF estate through lit­i­ga­tion and other means.

    Freeh sep­a­rately asked the court to extend by one month a Fri­day dead­line to file finan­cial data about the company’s debts, assets, trans­ac­tion his­tory and personnel.

    Koutoulas objected that Freeh, who has been granted five sim­i­lar exten­sions in the past, acted in bad faith by draw­ing out his work while con­tin­u­ing to rake in fees.

    In bank­ruptcy, legal fees are paid before other cred­i­tor claims, mean­ing each dol­lar Freeh accrues is a dol­lar taken away from cred­i­tors, Koutoulas said.

    Glenn, though, said Koutoulas did not back up his “bad faith” claims with evi­dence that Freeh actu­ally had an impure motive for seek­ing the extension.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 18, 2012, 11:10 am
  15. Louis Freeh has a new job:

    The Atlantic
    The Third Com­ing of Louis Freeh Will Take on the BP Oil Spill Shenani­gans
    Con­nor Simp­son Jul 2, 2013

    For­mer FBI direc­tor Louis Freeh has enjoyed a few months of low-key lawyer­ing away from the spot­light, and, prob­a­bly, some vaca­tion time, after he finally con­cluded his inves­ti­ga­tion at Penn State. But Freeh is ready for his close-up once again. The Asso­ci­ated Press reports he will head the inves­ti­ga­tion into whether or not one of the lawyers work­ing under the claims admin­is­tra­tor in charge of the BP oil spill set­tle­ment improp­erly received some of the set­tle­ment money. BP called for an inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion over alle­ga­tions a lawyer work­ing under admin­is­tra­tor Patrick Juneau was paid by the law firm he tipped off before join­ing the case. The lawyer, Lionel H. Sut­ton III, allegedly received a por­tion of the $7.8 bil­lion set­tle­ment money from a firm to which he referred claims before join­ing on behalf of the fam­i­lies and the busi­nesses and com­mu­ni­ties who suf­fered dam­ages. Sut­ton resigned in the mid­dle of June.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 19, 2013, 9:24 am

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