Originally Posted by Descentia
In the movie, documents were shown that showed they left the country on September 13. A gentleman from either the FBI or CIA at the time of the attacks was interviewed along with a senator and stated that they were not questioned in regard to Bin Ladens whereabouts.
Saudi Departures from United States
Moore is guilty of a classic game of saying one thing and implying another when he describes how members of the Saudi elite were flown out of the United States shortly after 9/11.
If you listen only to what Moore says during this segment of the movieand take careful notes in the darkyoull find hes got his facts right. He and others in the film state that 142 Saudis, including 24 members of the bin Laden family, were allowed to leave the country after Sept. 13.
The dateSept. 13is crucial because that is when a national ban on air traffic, for security purposes, was eased
But nonetheless, many viewers will leave the movie theater with the impression that the Saudis, thanks to special treatment from the White House, were permitted to fly away when all other planes were still grounded. This false impression is created by Moores failure, when mentioning Sept. 13, to emphasize that the ban on flights had been eased by then. The false impression is further pushed when Moore shows the singer Ricky Martin walking around an airport and says, Not even Ricky Martin would fly. But really, who wanted to fly? No one. Except the bin Ladens.
But the movie fails to mention that the FBI interviewed about 30 of the Saudis before they left. And the independent 9/11 commission has reported that each of the flights we have studied was investigated by the FBI and dealt with in a professional manner prior to its departure.
McNamee, Chicago Sun-Times. (Note: The Sun-Times article was correct in its characterization of the Ricky Martin segment, but not precisely accurate in the exact words used in the film. I have substituted the exact quote. On September 13, U.S. airspace was re-opened for a small number of flights; charter flights were allowed, and the airlines were allowed to move their planes to new airports to start carrying passengers on September 14.)
Tapper: [Y]our film showcases former counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, using him as a critic of the Bush administration. Yet in another part of the film, one that appears in your previews, you criticize members of the Bush administration for permitting members of the bin Laden family to fly out of the country almost immediately after 9/11. What the film does not mention is that Richard Clarke says that he OKd those flights. Is it fair to not mention that?
Moore: Actually I do, I put up The New York Times article and its blown up 40 foot on the screen, you can see Richard Clarkes name right there saying that he approved the flights based on the information the FBI gave him. Its right there, right up on the screen. I dont agree with Clarke on this point. Just because I think hes good on a lot of things doesnt mean I agree with him on everything.
Jake Tapper interview with Michael Moore, ABC News, June 25, 2004. In an Associated Press interview, Clarke said that he agreed with much of what Moore had to say, but that the Saudi flight material was a mistake. (Clarke testified to the September 11 Commission, on September 3, 2003, that letting the Saudis go "was a conscious decision with complete review at the highest levels of the State Department and the FBI and the White House." It's possible to read Clarke's 2003 statement as consistent with his 2004 statements; if you believe that what Clarke is saying now contradicts what he said in 2003, then Clarke is a liar, and all other claims he makes in Fahrenheit are discredited.)
Again, Moore is misleading. His film includes a brief shot of a Sept. 4, 2003, New York Times article headlined White House Approved Departures of Saudis after Sept. 11, Ex-Aide Says. The camera pans over the article far too quickly for any ordinary viewer to spot and read the words in which Clarke states that he approved the flights.
Some Saudis left the U.S. by charter flight on September 14, a day when commercial flights had resumed, but when ordinary charter planes were still grounded. When did the bin Ladens actually leave? Not until the next week, as the the 9/11 Commission staff report explains:
Fearing reprisals against Saudi nationals, the Saudi government asked for help in getting some of its citizens out of the country.we have found that the request came to the attention of Richard Clarke and that each of the flights we have studied was investigated by the FBI and dealt with in a professional manner prior to its departure.No commercial planes, including chartered flights, were permitted to fly into, out of, or within the United States until September 13, 2001. After the airspace reopened, six chartered flights with 142 people, mostly Saudi Arabian nationals, departed from the United States between September 14 and 24. One flight, the so-called Bin Ladin flight, departed the United States on September 20 with 26 passengers, most of them relatives of Usama Bin Ladin. We have found no credible evidence that any chartered flights of Saudi Arabian nationals departed the United States before the reopening of national airspace.The Saudi flights were screened by law enforcement officials, primarily the FBI, to ensure that people on these flights did not pose a threat to national security, and that nobody of interest to the FBI with regard to the 9/11 investigation was allowed to leave the country. Thirty of the 142 people on these flights were interviewed by the FBI, including 22 of the 26 people (23 passengers and 3 private security guards) on the Bin Ladin flight. Many were asked detailed questions. None of the passengers stated that they had any recent contact with Usama Bin Ladin or knew anything about terrorist activity.The FBI checked a variety of databases for information on the Bin Ladin flight passengers and searched the aircraft. It is unclear whether the TIPOFF terrorist watchlist was checked. At our request, the Terrorist Screening Center has rechecked the names of individuals on the flight manifests of these six Saudi flights against the current TIPOFF watchlist. There are no matches.The FBI has concluded that nobody was allowed to depart on these six flights who the FBI wanted to interview in connection with the 9/11 attacks, or who the FBI later concluded had any involvement in those attacks. To date, we have uncovered no evidence to contradict this conclusion.
The final Commission Report confirms that Clarke was the highest-ranking official who made the decision to let the Saudis go, and that Clarke's decision had no adverse effect on September 11 investigations. See pages 328-29 of the Report.Linky.