Bin Laden family flight

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The FAA ordered all planes to land shortly after Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, and US airspace remained closed until September 13, and wasn't fully reopen until the 14th. So it's hardly surprising that stories like the following grabbed people's attention:

However, it was later revealed that the "bin Laden flight" left the US more than a week after the attacks, on September 20th, and Richard Clarke (hardly someone you'd expect to be covering for the White House) said he took responsibility for the move:

The same article still questioned whether this could be true, however Clarke dismissed the issue as "a tempest in a teapot":

And ultimately the 9/11 Commission would offer the following commentary on the issue:

Judicial Watch then obtained FBI documents also talking of the bin Laden flight, showing them beginning their trip on the 19th, and leaving on the 20th, making it clear that they flew out only after US airspace was reopened. And it's difficult to see why Clarke, hardly a Bush loyalist, would claim responsibility if that wasn't the case.

The issue about whether those on the flight were questioned sufficiently is an open one, and difficult to judge without knowing who they were, and seeing the text of any interview. However, if these individuals wanted to leave, and there was no evidence whatsoever against them, then how much more could be done?

In a related claim, Craig Unger has said that internal flights within the US were used by Saudi VIPs on September 13th, when restrictions on air travel still applied, and in this case one of those on a later flight (Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz) may indeed have known about the attacks, at least according to a later account. Read more about that here.

The FBI documents obtained by Judicial Watch contained nothing of substance on the interrogation of passengers. However they did include material denying that any flights took place on September 13 that were contrary to FAA regulations, and in fact contained passages revealing the difficulties various Saudi groups, including that of Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, had in trying to leave the country:


One aspect of the documents that gained particular attention was a note that the bin Laden family flight may have been chartered by Osama bin Laden himself:

However, no evidence was provided to show why the author believed this, and FBI spokesman would later deny it:

Some will, of course, say the FBI are just covering up the truth. However, without more information it's difficult to see how these stories prove anything of real significance, and in time we suspect they'll be become just a footnote in the overall account of 9/11.