According to the Washington Post, a figure identified as “Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi... played a central role in the financial mechanics of the Sept. 11 plot.” US officials believe that “he may be the same man as Mustafa Muhammed Ahmad, alias Shaykh Saiid, who is a top bin Laden financial lieutenant included on the list of alleged terrorists whose assets have been frozen by the United States”. The Post elsewhere notes that US investigators believe al-Hawsawi is “the central financial figure” of the 9/11 plot, as well as “al Qaeda’s finance chief.”
Page 140, Chapter 6
The War On Truth
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
This claim is intended to support the “ISI funded Atta” story, by pointing out that the man implicated in that, Saeed Sheikh, was named as a prime suspect by the FBI from early in the investigation. While this is true, Nafeez Ahmed’s version of the Washington Post story has carefully removed some qualifications that you might find interesting.
About a month later, Ahmed turned over control of the account to a man named Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, who played a central role in the financial mechanics of the Sept. 11 plot, including allegedly shipping credit and ATM cards to Ahmed in Florida.
Al-Hawsawi's precise identity is unclear in court papers and to investigators. Some U.S. officials believe he may be the same man as Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad, alias Shaykh Saiid, who is a top bin Laden financial lieutenant included on the list of alleged terrorists whose assets have been frozen by the United States.
But authorities say they cannot be sure, and the indictment identifies al-Hawsawi only as a key financial figure.
Note that Ahmed quotes “US officials believe” rather than the original “Some US officials believe”, for instance, and he omits lines like “Al-Hawsawi's precise identity is unclear” and “authorities say they cannot be sure” altogether.
Of course the Washington Post story was long ago, and the story has moved on since then. al Hawsawi is said to have been captured in the 2003 raid that also netted Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, for instance (see this CNN report): if true, and it’s the same al Hawsawi responsible for funding 9/11, then obviously that rules out Saeed Sheikh who remains in a Pakistan prison.
Subsequently.the Moussaoui trial saw a photograph of al-Hawsawi introduced into evidence, as well as an image of his passport, so we can now take a look at this mysterious figure for ourselves.
The passport copy appears to have been taken when al Hawsawi opened an account that would be used to transfer 9/11-related funds, suggesting this really is the person who financed the attacks. And he doesn’t look a lot like Saeed Sheikh.
Of course there’s no way we can confirm that the Moussaoui trial photos really are of the al-Hawsawi suspected of supporting the 9/11 plot. But the key point here is that there’s minimal evidence linking Saeed Sheikh to the al-Hawsawi name, and its use in this case. And if al-Hawsawi was someone else, and also “the central financial figure” in the 9/11 plot, then the alleged ISI-Sheikh-Atta link plainly doesn’t tell us as much about the financing of the attacks as some people want you to believe.