From Radio Rote:
Folks, did you know that former counterterrorism official Richard Clarke, Bush-basher elite, approved the order for the bin Laden family and other Saudi nationals to flee U.S. jurisdiction in the days following Sept. 11, 2001?
In fact, a government document obtained by a Washington, D.C., watchdog group reveals that 160 people from Saudi Arabia were allowed to fly home immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The flights occurred between Sept. 11-15, 2001, when most other air travel remained grounded. They departed from airports all over the country, including New York, Washington, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Boston, Denver, Detroit, San Francisco, Newark and Cincinnati.
The information, obtained by the public interest organization Judicial Watch, is the most detailed yet on the White House-sanctioned evacuations. Judicial Watch obtained the document after filing a Freedom of Information request with the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.
The document did not contain the names of any evacuees, but Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-New York, previously has said the Saudi group included two relatives of Osama bin Laden. Though the mastermind of the terrorist attacks is estranged from his family, Schumer has suggested the family members may have been able to provide some information on bin Laden.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “We hope this list does not turn out to be a terrorist ‘most wanted’ list.”
The largest number of Saudis who left on a single flight was 46. The flight left New York’s JFK International Airport on Sept. 13, 2001.
Word of the flights first surfaced last year, when former counterterrorism official Richard Clarke confirmed he approved them. According to Clarke, advisers to President Bush were concerned the Saudis could face possible retribution for the attacks if they remained in the country.
Clarke said he signed off on the plan only after being assured by the FBI that the evacuees did not have links to terrorists.
Clarke has been at the center of controversy recently for alleging that Bush was more concerned with ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein than fully focusing on the war on terrorism.
The Bureau of Customs & Border Protection is the only federal agency to date that has responded substantively to Judicial Watch’s request for information regarding the flights. Also receiving the request were the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Justice and the Department of Transportation. (Pittsburgh Tribune Review — US/03-30-04)