A convicted terrorist serving life in prison made an astonishing claim by alleging that the Saudi Arabian royal family helped finance the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to court documents.
In documents filed to a federal court in Oklahoma, Zacarias Moussaoui, 46, claims that an unnamed Saudi Prince financed the flying lessons for him and the other 19 terrorists who reportedly hijacked planes on Sept. 11, 2001.
“(A prince) was assisting me in my Islamic terrorist activities … and was doing so knowingly for Osama bin Laden,” Moussaoui said.
Moussaoui also alleges that bin Laden provided the assistance of Saudi leaders in the planning of the attacks and that he was involved in a terrorist plot to target former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
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The nature of Moussaoui’s claims has many questioning his credibility. While lawyers for the Federal government have taken him seriously enough to conduct an interview, officials in Oklahoma express doubt.
“Even if he somehow got to the point where he could testify, there would be a credibility issue,” said University of Richmond School of Law professor Carl Tobias. “Would his testimony be valuable? That’s doubtful.”
Moussaoui, who calls himself “Slave of Allah” in writing, was originally arrested on immigration charges in August of 2001. Employees at a Minnesota flight school became suspicious when he told them he wanted to learn how to fly a Boeing 747 despite having no pilot’s license. He was brought into custody on Sept. 11, 2001, and pleaded guilty in April of 2005 to working with the 9-11 hijackers to kill Americans.
Moussaoui faced the death penalty during his trial, but the jury decided against it. During the hearing, he claimed that he was planning to crash a plane into the White House on Sept. 11.
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A psychologist testified in court that Moussaoui had paranoid schizophrenia. Moussaoui laughed at the testimony, shouting: “Crazy or not crazy? That is the question.”
That is, indeed, the question lawyers in a federal lawsuit against Saudi Arabia are trying to figure out. Moussaoui’s erratic behaviour in court has damaged his credibility and, according to a 2006 recording that surfaced online, Osama bin Laden said that Moussaoui had “no connection at all with September 11.”
The lawyers were allowed to interview Moussaoui last month in a maximum security Colorado prison. The details of the interview will not be made public until the U.S. government reviews the transcript to ensure it doesn’t reveal any information that could potentially endanger Americans.
The lawyers for Saudi Arabia stuck to their story. In court documents filed in September, they said, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had no role in the attacks of September 11, 2001.” They also mentioned that the United states “has said often and vigorously that Saudi Arabia is an important ally in the fight against terrorism.”