Saleh al-Hussayen: the saudi official who stayed at the same hotel as three hijackers

by Leonardo Salvaggio. The original Italian text of the article is available here.

On the night between 10 and 11 September 2001, three of the hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77 that would crash into the Pentagon (pilot Hani Hanjour and muscle hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi) spent the last night of their lives at the Marriott Residence Inn in Herndon, Virginia. That night, Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, an official of the Interior Ministry of Saudi Arabia who had been in the United States since August 20, was also staying in the same hotel.

The man was in Washington DC for various meetings with different leaders of Islamic groups, such as alleged Saudi charities that had links to terrorist organizations and hosts of websites that spread ideas of Saudi religious leaders close to Osama bin Laden. Among the imams that Hussayen met were some exponents of Wahhabism (an extremist and literalist current of Sunni Islam) who investigators believe exhorted followers to violence against members of other religions or other Islamic currents.

Saleh al-Hussayen
Videos from the Marriott Residence Inn's security cameras and FBI interviews with hotel staff have revealed no evidence that Hussayen met with the terrorists, but his past is not entirely unrelated to terrorism. In the 90s, in fact, he was director of the SAAR Foundation, a Saudi holding company based in Virginia which, according to a joint investigation by various federal agencies known as Operation Green Quest, financed terrorist organizations by laundering money.

Saleh al-Hussayen was interrogated by the FBI but investigators believe he was lying to them. To avoid having to answer questions, he then faked a seizure for which he was taken to the hospital, where the doctors on shift found no health problems. The FBI recommended that he not be allowed to leave the country once he was released from the hospital, but despite their recommendations, Saleh al-Hussayen was able to leave for Saudi Arabia with his wife on September 19, 2001.

Unfortunately, Saleh al-Hussayen will never be able to explain why the three hijackers stayed in the same hotel where he also was staying while in the USA, because he died in 2013 of natural causes and is buried in Riyadh. It therefore remains only for investigators to shed light on yet another mystery regarding the links between the 9/11 hijackers and the Saudi regime.


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