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Bush Had Links To Terror Suspect Osama Bin Laden

By Vision Reporter

Added 7th November 2001 03:00 AM

LONDON, Wednesday - Special agents in the US probing relatives of Saudi-born terror suspect Osama bin Laden before September 11 were told to back off soon after George W. Bush became president, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

LONDON, Wednesday - Special agents in the US probing relatives of Saudi-born terror suspect Osama bin Laden before September 11 were told to back off soon after George W. Bush became president, the BBC reported on Tuesday. The BBC’s Newsnight current affairs programme said Bush at one point had a number of connections with Saudi Arabia’s prominent bin Laden family. It said there was a suspicion that the US strategic interest in Saudi Arabia, which has the world’s biggest oil reserve, blunted its inquiries into individuals with suspected terrorist connections — so long as America was safe. Newsnight reported it had seen secret documents from an FBI probe into the September 11 terror attacks which showed that despite the reputation of bin Laden as the black sheep of the family, at least two other US-based relatives are suspected of links to a terrorist organisation. The programme said it had obtained evidence that the FBI was on the trail of bin Laden family members living in the US before, as well as after, the September 11 attacks. Newsnight said Bush made his first million 20 years ago with an oil company partly funded by the chief US representative of Salem bin Laden, Osama’s brother. Bush also received fees as director of a subsidiary of Carlyle Corporation, a little-known private company which in just a few years since its founding has become one of America’s biggest defence contractors, and his father, George Bush senior, is also a paid adviser, the programme said. The connection became embarrassing when it was revealed that the bin Ladens held a stake in Carlyle, sold just after September 11, it added. Newsnight said it had been told by a highly-placed source in a US intelligence agency that there had always been “constraints” on investigating Saudis, but under President George W. Bush it had become much worse. After the elections, the intelligence agencies were told to “back off” from investigating the bin Laden family, and that angered field agents, the programme added. The policy was reversed after September 11, it reported. The former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah from 1987 to 1989, Michael Springman, told Newsnight, “In Saudi Arabia I was repeatedly ordered by high-level State Department officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants. “People who had no ties either to Saudi Arabia or to their own country. I complained there. I complained here in Washington to the Inspector General and to Diplomatic Security, I was ignored.” He added: “What I was doing was giving visas to terrorists — recruited by the CIA and Osama bin Laden to come back to the United States for training to be used in the war in Afghanistan against the then-Soviets.” Ends

Bush Had Links To Terror Suspect Osama Bin Laden

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