One of the memos from the 9-11 Commission was released by the National Archives yesterday, and the NY Times posted it. Forty-odd pages.
What the FBI says....hits a particular gut-point around page 7 when they note that such-and-such guy to be within the attack....meets with the Saudi diplomat in California.....but the FBI identifies this diplomat as both diplomat AND cleric.
It's like mixing the skills of librarian and professional bear hunter. They don't mix.
This cleric? Fahad al-Thumairy.
I went did some research. He was sent to California for the Saudi annex on the west coast in 1996. At the time, he was 24 years old and his chief field of studies was Islam.
What department did he serve in? Cultural studies.
It's a curious story over this guy. For 9-11, we basically did nothing except note his involvement. We didn't expel or detain him.
At some point in the spring of 2003 (April-time frame), it appears that the guy left California for some period elsewhere. In May, he tries to return to the US from Frankfurt, and the customs guys stop him with the diplomatic passport....refusing to let him enter the US. He's been put on a 'bad-boy' list and cannot enter the US for at least five years.
My guess is that the US watched the guy and noted that he'd left the country, and moved to change his status, and never allow the guy back in, but make this a small episode instead of presenting paperwork to anger the Saudis.
He leaves the US.
Nothing much out there exists on this guy, since May of 2003. He's now in his mid-40's.
The odds that he's in some other country....posted as a diplomat and cleric there? Better than fifty percent chance.