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Saudi Ambassador Responds to Moore Film

August 4, 2004

LONDON (AP) _ Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Britain on Wednesday responded to some of the claims made in Michael Moore’s film ``Fahrenheit 9/11″ and in a book about the Bush family’s relationship with Saudis going back to the 1970s.

The film and the book, ``House of Bush, House of Saud,″ by Craig Unger, say the U.S. government helped 140 Saudis leave the United States on Sept. 13, 2001 _ two dozen of whom were relatives of Osama bin Laden.

Prince Turki al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to London and a nephew of Crown Prince Abdullah, said there was nothing improper about the departures.

The Saudis ``were properly vetted by the FBI, nobody left without being questioned, nobody left without permission and nobody left without any protocol being involved,″ al-Faisal told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

In his film, Moore claims that the Bush administration helped a number of Saudi princes and members of the bin Laden family to flee the United States at a time when American airspace had been closed to all commercial traffic.

But America’s 9/11 commission has said it found no evidence that any flights of Saudi nationals took place before the reopening of national airspace on Sept. 13.

Unger, who was interviewed for Moore’s film, wrote in his book that he found some $1.4 billion in investments and contracts going from the House of Saud to companies in which the Bushes held prominent positions.

Al-Faisal said he didn’t believe there was any direct connection between the Saudi royal family and the Bush family.

``Saudi Arabia deals with the whole world community in business and otherwise,″ he said.

``We may have invested in the same companies ... It doesn’t mean we were in cahoots with the Bush family about that.″

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