Al Jazeera reports:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has accidentally disclosed the name of a Saudi diplomat suspected of directing support to two al-Qaeda hijackers in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Yahoo News reported.
The mistake about the identity of the Saudi embassy official was made in a declaration by an FBI official in response to a lawsuit by families of 9/11 victims who accuse Saudi Arabia’s government of involvement in the attacks, the report said on Tuesday.
Michael Isikoff, the chief investigative journalist at Yahoo News who was the first to notice the apparent mistake, told Al Jazeera he knew right away the disclosure was “a slip-up”.
“When I noticed that the declaration included this information, I contacted the FBI for comment. Because I knew that the justice department and the Trump administration had been going to extraordinary length to keep all of this under wraps,” he said.
“In fact, both Attorney General William Barr and the Acting Director of the National Intelligence Richard Grennell had filed motions with the court saying that any information relating to the Saudi embassy official and all internal FBI documents about this matter were so sensitive; they were state secrets, that means if revealed they could cause damage to the national security.”
The declaration by Jill Sanborn, the assistant director of the FBI’s counterterrorism division, was filed in April but unsealed late last week, according to Yahoo News.
Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah was mistakenly named in the declaration, an error that Yahoo News said was also confirmed by a senior US government official.
Al-Jarrah was a mid-level Saudi foreign ministry official who was assigned to the Saudi embassy in Washington, DC in 1999 and 2000.
He was in charge of supervising the activities of Ministry of Islamic Affairs employees at Saudi-funded mosques and Islamic centres in the US, according to the report.