Willful blindness and our "Saudi friends"

That Virginia office of WAMY was founded by none other than Abdullah Awad bin Laden, the nephew of al-Qaeda’s late emir, Osama bin Laden. The office is just three blocks from where hijackers Hanjour and Hazmi were staying in the summer of 2001, while they were meeting frequently at Dar al-Hijra with Alwlaki.

On the night before the 9/11 attacks, those two hijackers, joined by a third, Midhar, checked into the Marriott Residence Inn near Dulles Airport. That same day, Saleh Hussayen, a Saudi government official then touring the U.S. offices of WAMY and other Saudi concerns, left a different hotel in which he was staying and, for reasons that have never been explained, checked into the very same Residence Inn.

Coincidence? Well, after the three hijackers attacked the Pentagon, the FBI tried to interview Hussayen. But, as an FBI agent later testified, Hussayen “feigned a seizure, prompting the agents to take him to a hospital, where the attending physicians found nothing wrong with him.” Though the agent wanted Hussayen to be barred from fleeing the U.S. until she could conduct the interview, higher-ups rebuffed her recommendation. Hussayen was allowed to return to Saudi Arabia.

He is not the only one. Abdullah Awad bin Laden and his brother Omar, who shared a Falls Church home, were among several prominent Saudis — including several other bin Laden family members — whom our government permitted to be whisked out of the United States in the hectic days immediately following 9/11. At the time they scurried out, before anything resembling a competent investigation of potential terror ties could have been carried out, the skies were still closed to American travelers.