On a bet with Saudi's King Fahd, Salem said he could persuade four young European and American girls to marry him simultaneously. When he invited the women to his English estate, he unveiled his offer: a four-house compound in Jeddah, with one flying an American flag, one a German flag, one a French tricolor and fourth a British Union Jack and each house would have a car from that home country and each wife could have a home in their native countries.
He almost succeeded, marrying the British woman and remaining friends with the others.
Doing Business With Bush's Pal
Salem employed his charisma in business deals with Americans, once claiming that he was talking to Brooke Shields about a movie deal.
One of his business partners was Jim Bath, an old friend of George W. Bush from their days as pilots in the Texas Air National Guard who also invested $50,000 into Bush's oil-drilling fund.
Bath's estranged business partner later claimed that Bath was a CIA operative and was asked to conduct "covert intelligence gathering on his Saudi Arabian business associates," and possibly shipped construction equipment and weapons to Osama. Bath later called those stories a "fantasy."
One of his business partners was Jim Bath, an old friend of George W. Bush from their days as pilots in the Texas Air National Guard when they went carousing together in the early 1970s.
Bath, who sunk $50,000 into Bush's oil-drilling fund, also created companies for Salem, including offshore firms.
Bath's estranged business partner later claimed that Bath was a CIA operative and was asked to conduct "covert intelligence gathering on his Saudi Arabian business associates." White believed that Bath used his charter aircraft business to ship construction equipment and possible weapons to Osama. Bath later called those stories a "fantasy."
Salem also talked to Donald Trump about opening a Trump Tower in Riyadh, according to Coll. Trump demanded $25,000 in cash and two first-class tickets to show that he was serious but Salem was insulted and refused. Trump's spokeswoman denied to Coll that the incident happened. When asked about the incident by ABCNews.com, the spokeswoman has not replied for comment.
Strange Twists of Fate
The Bin Laden family story is also full of strange twists of fate, especially involving plane crashes from the deaths of Mohamed and Salem to 9/11.
In September 1967, Mohamed Bin Laden died in a plane crash in the dusty desert region of Asir due to an error made by his American pilot, Jim Harrington, a former fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force.
Like the rest of the family, Osama Bin Laden was always told that his father died due to an apparent error by his American pilot. In an eerie symmetry, five of the 9/11 hijackers recruited by Bin Laden came from Asir.
Salem crashed his single-seater plane into the power lines outside of San Antonio in 1988. When he was rushed to Brooke Army Medical Center, American medical doctors could not save him and pronounced him dead.
Although Osama never discussed his brother's death on American soil, some of his brothers believed that Salem might have been murdered in a conspiracy. Ghabli Bin Laden, who was close to Osama, flew to the airfield in Texas, obtained the autopsy report and eventually concluded that it was truly an accident.
Since 9/11, the family is doing better than ever.