Yet Another Delay in Saudi-Related 9/11 Docs Case
Military prosecutors dodge Jan. 2 demand for FBI docs related to 9/11 helper Omar al-Bayoumi
It was the kind of thing that happens all the time in courtrooms across America. A judge ordered prosecutors to hand over documents to defense attorneys. But nothing is ever simple in the military commissions hearing the cases of the 9/11 defendants in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Days before a court-imposed deadline, military prosecutors asked for more time to comply with a demand from a 9/11 defendant’s lawyer for FBI files on a Saudi involved with the hijackers. It’s a reminder that more than 20 years after the attacks on New York and Washington there are still secrets that elude our understanding.
The 3,000 pages of FBI documents at issue—some of which are 20 years old or more—involve Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi intelligence asset who assisted the first two 9/11 hijackers to arrive in the United States and get settled in California. Several former FBI agents believe that Bayoumi is at the center of a botched intelligence operation, the details of which they say the CIA appears desperate to protect.
Air Force Col. Matthew McCall, the judge overseeing the prosecution of Khalid Shaikh Mohamad and others, had given prosecutors a deadline of January 2 to hand over the FBI documents referencing Bayoumi. Four days before the deadline, prosecutors requested additional time to comply. McCall set a new deadline of April 1 but allowed prosecutors to request additional delays.
The last-minute stalling adds to the mystery surrounding Bayoumi, who played a critical role in helping two newly arrived hijackers settle in the United States in 2000.