This is not a new story, but still intriguing -- and unsettling if true. It also harkens back to claims that there was a possible connection between the Bush family and the Saudis, and the Saudi government's possible knowledge of and sanction of the 9/11 attacks. And, as is always the case, the real story is the possible coverup of the information because of the damage it could do to the Bush family.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is facing accusations that it is 'whitewashing' possible Saudi Arabian involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
A commission designed to review evidence about the world-changing bombings has not delved into an FBI agent's claims that a Saudi Florida family had ties to the hijackers after the agency said that the report was 'unsubstantiated'.
Relatives of homeowner Esam Ghazzawi lived in the plush Sarasota dwelling until they fled and left cars, furniture and food in their refrigerator behind right before the 9/11, prompting some to say they knew about the attacks.
The daughter and son-in-law of Ghazzawi, who worked as an adviser to a member of the Saudi royal family, had stayed at the 3,300 square foot house for six years but left in late August 2001, not even leaving a forwarding address.
An FBI agent who investigated the disappearance after neighbors thought it was suspicious said that the family had 'many connections to individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001'.
At least one 'family member' had attended the same Venice, Florida, flight school as some of the hijackers, according to a piece in the New York Post.
Mohamed Atta, the leader of the hijackers, and two other terrorists on the flights, Marwan Al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah, were also reported to have visited the Sarasota house, according to Florida Bulldog.
Anoud Al-Hijji, Ghazzawi's daughter, later returned to America to sell the home.
The 9/11 Commission wrote that 'The FBI told the Review Commission that the [FBI report] on which the news article was based was "poorly written" and wholly unsubstantiated...'
'When questioned later by others in the FBI, the special agent who wrote [it] was unable to provide any basis for the contents of the document or explain why he wrote it as he did'.
The Review Commission said the FBI claimed it 'found no evidence that connected the family members in the Miami Herald article to any of the 9/11 hijackers, nor was there any connection found between the family and the 9/11 plot'.
The FBI's dismissal of the report has led some to question whether the agency is covering up evidence of possible Saudi backing for 9/11.
Former Florida Senator Bob Graham told the Miami Herald: 'The FBI has served America through most of its history. There were stumbles by the agency before 9/11 and since the tragedy there has been a consistent effort to cover up the extent of Saudi Arabia’s involvement.'
The Congressional Joint Inquiry into the attack, which Graham co-chaired, contained 28 pages that are said to have spoken about who financed 9/11 that were fully redacted by the Bush administration.
Senator Graham said the pages 'point a very strong finger' at the government of Saudi Arabia, rather than wealthy Saudi individuals, as the backers of the attack.
They also implicate officials at the Saudi Embassy in Washington for involvement with 9/11 hijackers in San Diego, sources told Hoover Institute fellow Paul Sperry.
The recent Review Commission, which was created by Congress last year to look into evidence not considered by the FBI, said there was 'no evidence' that Saudi officials were involved.
Information about the Sarasota family was not included in the original 2004 9/11 Commission report and the information was not shared with Congress.
The agent in question was not identified.
The Commission did not interview him or Senator Graham or his investigators.
The Review Commission officials' report said that the FBI needed to strengthen information sharing to combat further terrorist threats.
Abdulaziz al-Hijji, the son-in-law who lived in Sarasota, has recently lived in London and worked for Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil company, according to the Telegraph.
'I love the USA. My kids were born there, I went to college and university there, I spent a good portion of my life there and I love it,' he said in 2012.
Reports have claimed that al-Hijji and his father-in-law Ghazzawi were both on FBI watch lists before 9/11.
The new Saudi king Salman also directed government charities in the 1990s that are thought to have funneled funds to Al Qaeda.