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Lawmakers: Report to show al Qaeda-Saudi ties

Levin: Administration stalling calls to declassify it

Shelby:
Shelby: "What we've got to do is find the truth."

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A congressional report will soon reveal close ties between residents of Saudi Arabia and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, two senior lawmakers said Sunday.

"It would be embarrassing, I think, to a lot of people there," Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the Republican former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."

The classified report is the result of an investigation into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The report, or portions of it, is expected to be declassified soon.

"There are a lot of high people in Saudi Arabia, over the years, that have aided and abetted Osama bin Laden and his group. And they've done it through charities, they've done it directly and everything else," Shelby said. "What we've got to do is find the truth."

The Bush administration has repeatedly praised Saudi Arabia for cracking down on terrorists and those who've supported terrorist groups financially.

Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said the Bush administration was stalling calls to declassify the report, which he said "should have happened, actually, months ago.

"There was clearly Saudi money supporting Osama bin Laden and the terrorist group that he led," said Levin, an Intelligence Committee member. "And I think we've got to face up to that fact, the Saudis should face up to that fact and end it."

Saudi Arabia has publicly taken a stance against attacks on civilians, and in recent months has stepped up efforts to crack down on al Qaeda cells within the country as well as support for terrorist groups -- particularly after a string of suicide bombings in Riyadh in May that U.S. and Saudi officials believe was the work of bin Laden's al Qaeda organization.

Some lawmakers believe the United States has not adequately taken the Saudi royal family to task for having allowed support for terrorist groups and for establishing a climate in which hatred was taught in schools and mosques.

Of the 19 hijackers who participated in the September 11 attacks, 15 were from Saudi Arabia.

Shelby said the United States should remain focused on undermining terrorist groups at their source.

"The mother milk -- what sustains terrorists -- is money," he said.

Bin Laden 'not within Afghanistan'

Meanwhile, Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah said on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" that bin Laden has left the rugged border region of Afghanistan and is likely in a Pakistani city.

"He is not within Afghanistan," said Abdullah, who uses only one name. "One cannot say categorically, but it's likely he's in Pakistan."

U.S. troops are hunting for bin Laden and fighting remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. In addition, the United States has offered a $25 million reward for information leading to bin Laden's arrest.

The Taliban -- the religious militia that had ruled much of Afghanistan since the mid-1990s -- had sheltered bin Laden and his al Qaeda network. A coalition of U.S. and allied forces drove the group from power in November 2001.

Bin Laden "has no basis of support in Afghanistan whatsoever," Abdullah said.

Abdullah said he believes the terrorist leaders have fled the largely lawless, tribal-controlled border region.

"Most of the al Qaeda members who have been arrested by the Pakistani security apparatus have been arrested from the big cities, not from the tribal areas," he said.


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