9/11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui claims Saudi involvement

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Story highlights

  • Saudis deny connection to 9/11 attacks, note 9/11 Commission said they weren't involved
  • Lawyers for 9/11 families say Moussaoui gave "relevant" and "critical" information
  • At Moussaoui's trial, a psychiatrist said he is schizophrenic
From his cell in a maximum security prison, terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui is reviving old allegations and making new ones against al Qaeda and a handful of Saudi royals.
The 46-year old French national is claiming that Saudi Embassy officials were involved in a plot to shoot down Air Force One to assassinate Bill Clinton and/or Hillary Clinton during a trip to the United Kingdom.
Moussaoui says he met with a Secret Service agent several months ago and told him what he knew. CNN has reached out to the Secret Service for comment.
In two handwritten letters filed this month in federal court in New York and Oklahoma, Moussaoui claimed that, during the time he was taking flying lessons in Norman, Oklahoma, he met with a Saudi prince and princess and that she "gave me money," and provided funding for 9/11 hijackers.
Lawyers for the Saudi government have repeatedly denied connections, maintaining Saudi Arabia was cleared by the 9/11 Commission.
Moussaoui, who suffers from mental illness, is in the supermax federal prison in Florence, Colorado, and is eight years into a life sentence, having pleaded guilty to terrorism and murder conspiracy in connection with the September 11, 2001, terror hijackings.
Moussaoui claims in both letters that he was attacked in prison on orders of terrorist Ramzi Yousef, who Moussaoui says tried to stop him from testifying against the Saudis.
Yousef, a convicted terrorist, is considered the mastermind in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and is in the same supermax prison as Moussaoui.
It is unclear at this time if prisoners in the Colorado federal prison are able to communicate.
Moussaoui claims he is being mistreated by prison officials in what he calls a "campaign of harassment and intimidation." Citing "venue" issues, Oklahoma Magistrate Judge Shon T Erwin ruled to dismiss the case of Zacarias Moussaoui v. Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The court also denied a request for appointment of counsel.
A ruling is not yet available with regard to the letter he sent to a New York judge.
In the letters, Moussaoui asks for new lawyers and says he wants to be moved out of the H-unit within the prison, which he calls a "Saudi stronghold." In exchange he says he would provide information against the Saudis. He also says he wants a warmer cell, not infested with rodents. He wants authorities to unblock his source to money so he can buy stamps to write to the inspector general.
Attorneys interview Moussaoui
Moussaoui reached out to a New York court, seeking lawyers for 9/11 victims, offering to provide what he believed to be important information pertaining to current 9/11 litigation, according to one of the four lead counsels, attorney Jerry Goldman.
Lawyers interviewed Moussaoui in late October.
The counsel believe the interview provided "relevant" and "critical" information pertinent to pending litigation, according to attorneys.
The transcripts of the interview are being reviewed by the Department. of Justice and limited information can be shared about their contents, Goldman said.
Lawyers for Saudi government deny involvement
In a court document filed in September in the Southern District of New York in connection to the 9/11 terror attacks, lawyers for Saudi Arabia deny involvement, financial or otherwise, saying:
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had no role in the attacks of September 11, 2001."
The Saudis' lawyers highlight that the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, in 2004 found "no evidence" ... "the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded" either al Qaeda or the 9/11 hijackers.
The original complaint, filed over 10 years ago on behalf of victims and insurance companies, targets various terrorist organizations, and alleges Saudi involvement.
Lawyers want the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be dropped from the suit, arguing they had no involvement in 9/11 attacks.
The lawyers for the 9/11 families have requested extended time to reply to the motion for dismissal.
"Plaintiffs believe that Moussaoui's sworn testimony is not only relevant, but critical to their (opposition)," according to a court document submitted by the 9/11 lawyers.
Moussaoui diagnosed with schizophrenia
The expert who literally helped write the book on diagnosing mental illness testified during Moussaoui's 2006 trial that Moussaoui is schizophrenic.
Michael First, a psychiatrist who edited the latest edition of the profession's standard diagnostic guidebook, told jurors that Moussaoui also suffers from paranoid and grandiose delusions and disorganized thinking.
Both Moussaoui's sisters, who lived in France at the time of the trial, were diagnosed with forms of schizophrenia and took drugs to control their symptoms.
Moussaoui's father at the time of the trial was hospitalized in France with bipolar disorder.
Bin Laden distanced himself from Moussaoui
9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden at the time denied Moussaoui was part of the hijacking plot.
In May 2006, bin Laden released an audiotape in which he refutes Moussaoui's confession by saying, "I am the one in charge of the 19 brothers and I never assigned brother Zacarias to be with them in that mission."
Blacked out 28 pages
The U.S. government commission report investigating the 9/11 attacks cleared the Saudi Arabian government of involvement in al Qaeda funding.
The commission found that Saudi Arabia was a rich fundraising ground for al Qaeda, but said it had found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior officials within the Saudi government funded al Qaeda.
The Saudi government defended its nation's record in fighting terrorism, and urged then-U.S. President George W. Bush to unseal 28 classified pages of an 800-plus-page report on intelligence surrounding the September 11 attacks to allow the Saudi government to defend itself.
Bush refused the request, saying declassifying the entire report, which runs more than 800 pages, would compromise intelligence sources.
Some of those still grieving the loss of family members from that horrific day are also on a mission to declassify the 28 pages from the congressional investigation into the attacks, pages specifically focused on the role of foreign governments in the al Qaeda plot.
These 9/11 family members say President Barack Obama promised he would declassify those 28 pages, but now they say the White House does not even acknowledge them, or their requests.