On the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, an unsurprising but no less appalling report on how much the Saudis haven’t done to cut off funds to jihad groups.
“U.S.: Saudis Still Filling Al Qaeda’s Coffers,” by Brian Ross for ABC News’ The Blotter:
Despite six years of promises, U.S. officials say Saudi Arabia continues to look the other way at wealthy individuals identified as sending millions of dollars to al Qaeda.
“If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia,” Stuart Levey, the under secretary of the Treasury in charge of tracking terror financing, told ABC News.
Despite some efforts as a U.S. ally in the war on terror, Levey says Saudi Arabia has dropped the ball. Not one person identified by the United States and the United Nations as a terror financier has been prosecuted by the Saudis, Levey says.
“When the evidence is clear that these individuals have funded terrorist organizations, and knowingly done so, then that should be prosecuted and treated as real terrorism because it is,” Levey says.
Among those on the donor list, according to U.S. officials, is Yasin al Qadi, a wealthy businessman named on both the U.S. and U.N. lists of al Qaeda financiers one month after the 9/11 attacks.
Al Qadi, who has repeatedly denied the allegations, remains free, still a prominent figure in Saudi Arabia.
While the Saudi embassy had no comment regarding Levey’s specific allegations, a spokesman did note that after the Sept. 11 attacks, the country took prompt action and “required Saudi banks to identify and freeze all assets relating to terrorist suspects and entities per the list issued by the United States government.” The statement went on to say that “Saudi banks have complied with the freeze requirements and have initiated investigations of transactions that suspects linked to Al Qaeda may have undertaken in the past.”
Speaking of “allies”:
U.S. officials say they are equally frustrated with what they call the empty promises of Pakistan to go after al Qaeda’s sanctuaries in their country.
Pakistan says it is willing to take action if the U.S. provides details.
“If they had specific information, they should share it with us, and we would go after them,” Pakistani Ambassador to the U.N. Munir Akram told ABC News.
Or, the targeted camps might mysteriously disappear.
When asked whether the U.S. can trust his country, Ambassador Akram said, “Well, if the U.S. doesn’t trust Pakistan, how can Pakistan be an ally of the U.S.?”
A question echoed by many in the U.S.