WASHINGTON (AP) – Lawmakers pressed for answers yesterday on a possible Saudi money trail in the Sept. 11 hijackings and said regardless of whether one exists, the kingdom must stop its “duplicitous” coddling of terrorists.
Saudi officials spent the weekend having bankers pore over the records of Princess Haifa al-Faisal, wife of their ambassador to the United States, to see how thousands of dollars from her account might have ended up in the wrong hands, said Saudi foreign policy adviser Adel al-Jubeir.
But he said it was “crazy” to suggest she had done anything intentionally to support terrorism.
Lawmakers said the FBI’s investigation should pull no punches, and the Bush administration should be open about the findings, despite the risk of offending an important ally with whom relations already have been strained.
In a harsh turn bound to be uncomfortable for administration officials as they seek Saudi assistance in a possible war with Iraq, senators upbraided the Saudi government for what they see as years of complicity in anti-American radicalism.
Saudis “have played a duplicitous game, and that is, they say to the terrorists, ‘We’ll do everything you want, just leave us alone,'” said Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York. “That game has got to stop.”
Sens. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), who together set up an independent commission that will investigate the terror attacks, offered piercing criticism.