While the intricacies surrounding the kidnapping, torture and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey Oct. 2 remain shrouded in a web of intrigue, one thing is remarkably clear. The manner in which the murder was carried out bears a striking resemblance to the 9/11 hijackings and bombings using several commercial airliners that brought down the World Trade Center towers, damaged the Pentagon and caused the deaths of more than 3,000 Americans.
For almost two decades now, there has been a controversy over how the 19 men, 15 of whom were Saudi nationals, and none of whom spoke English, could have flown under the radar for almost two years while plotting the most devastating terrorist attack on U.S. soil. To many investigators, it appears that the 9/11 attackers either were extremely lucky or had a lot of help, or both.
One of the striking similarities between the events that transpired Oct. 2 and on 9/11 is the structure of the hit teams involved. As in the 9/11 attacks, Khashoggi’s murderers arrived in separate teams to carry out the attack. From reports about the Khashoggi assassination operation, two separate teams of Saudi military personnel arrived in plain clothes on two separate flights, and after carrying out the attack also departed in two teams on two flights. The Saudi attackers of 9/11 also dressed in plain clothes and lived in separate teams (terrorist cells) for more than a year in the U.S. before carrying out the attacks.
But the most striking similarity between the two attacks is the relationship between the attackers and the Saudi ruling elite. Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11attacks, shared a close relationship with the Saudi monarch, mainly because of his father, Mohammed bin Laden, having built and restored mosques in Mecca and throughout Saudi Arabia. Until his death in 1967 in a plane crash, Mohammed Bin Laden enjoyed a close friendship with the Saudi king, Abdul Saud, who had commissioned most of the mosque-building projects. Mohammed Bin Laden’s sons, including Osama bin Laden, inherited that close relationship with the Saudi monarchy, as well as a significant fortune from their father’s construction businesses.
Based on many media accounts, the team of 15 Saudis arrived in Turkey aboard jets personally owned by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman. From what is known about them, several members of the team have provided personal security for bin Salman, and were in fact directed by bin Salman’s closest lieutenants, including adviser Saud al-Qahtani and Saudi deputy intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri.
Whereas the direct links between the Saudi military and government in the Khashoggi killing are clear, the links between Saudi government officials and the 9/11 attackers remain quite murky. But that doesn’t mean the links aren’t there. An extensive piece in Politico in 2017 documented one lawyer’s quest to prove Saudi Arabia bankrolled the 9/11 attacks, New York attorney Jim Kreindler, who represents the families of more than 800 victims of the 9/11 attacks, certainly believes the terrorists had official help from the Saudi government. And he is not alone in this opinion. Former Florida GOP Senator Bob Graham, the co-chair of Congress’ 9/11 Joint Inquiry, is on record stating, “I’ve stopped calling what our government has done a cover-up. Cover-up suggests a passive activity. What they’re doing now I call aggressive deception.”