Gerald Posner of the NYT asks the question, also posed by Unger and Moore.
The report makes no mention that one of the Saudis on the flight that left Kentucky for Saudi Arabia was Prince Ahmed bin Salman. The nephew to King Fahd, Prince Ahmed was later mentioned to American interrogators in March 2002 by none other than Abu Zubaydah, a top Qaeda official captured that same month. The connection, if any, between a top operative of Al Qaeda and a leading member of the royal family has remained unresolved despite Saudi denials. Prince Ahmed cannot be asked: He died in 2002, at the age of 43, from complications from stomach surgery in a Riyadh hospital.
Not only does the 9/11 report fail to resolve the matter of whether Zubaydah – who featured prominently in the now infamous Presidential Daily Briefing of Aug. 6, 2001 – was telling the truth when he named Prince Ahmed and several other princes as his contacts, but they do not even mention the prince in the entire report. The report does have seven references to Zubaydah’s interrogations, yet not a single one is from March, the month of his capture, and the time he made his startling and still unproven accusations about high-ranking Saudi royals.
Of course, none of these matters undermine the report’s central conclusions about what went wrong inside the United States leading up to 9/11. And satisfying answers to questions about the relationship between the Saudis and Al Qaeda might not be available yet. But the commission could have at least asked them. By failing to address adequately how Saudi leaders helped Al Qaeda flourish, the commission has risked damaging its otherwise good work.
Is it just me or is the September 11th Commission looking increasingly like the Warren Commission?