Sept. 11: Why were Saudis allowed to leave the U.S.?: Craig Unger

Craig Unger, author of “House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World’s Two Most Powerful Dynasties.”, with a brief piece in the IHT today. He poses a question asked by Michael Moore in his latest film.

It has also emerged that:

In addition, new evidence shows that the evacuation involved more than the departure of 142 Saudis on six charter flights that the commission is investigating. According to newly released documents, 160 Saudis left the United States on 55 flights immediately after Sept. 11 – making a total of about 300 people who left with the apparent approval of the Bush administration, far more than has been reported before.

The records were released by the Department of Homeland Security in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative, nonpartisan watchdog group in Washington.

The vast majority of the newly disclosed flights were commercial airline flights, not charters, often carrying just two or three Saudi passengers. They originated from more than 20 cities, including Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit and Houston. One Saudi Arabian Airlines flight left Kennedy Airport on Sept. 13 with 46 Saudis. The next day, another Saudi Arabian Airlines flight left with 13 Saudis.

Why did this happen?