W A S H I N G T O N, Nov. 25, 2002 -- U.S. lawmakers are calling for the Bush administration to investigate whether Saudi money made it into the hands of two of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers.
At issue is whether money from an account in the name ofPrincess Haifa al-Faisal, wife of the Saudi ambassador toWashington, reached the hijackers. Newsweek published a story making such an allegation.
Besides a U.S. probe into the charge, members of Congress who spoke on the Sunday morning news programs also demanded that Bush officials press Saudi officials for answers.
"The greatest weakness in the president's foreign policy is that he refuses to tell the Saudis to fess up, which side of the fence are you on?," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said on ABCNEWS' This Week.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaking on the same program, said the U.S. government had been "lax in our efforts to make the Saudis cooperate in a broad variety of ways."
Saudi Officials Dispute Charge
Saudi officials spent the weekend studying account records for the princess to determine whether thousands of dollars were channeled to the hijackers. Of the 19 hijackers, 15 came from Saudi Arabia.
Officials said that the princess did give money to the wife of a Saudi man in San Diego. But the Saudis say there is no evidence that money made its way into the hands of two of the hijackers, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaq Alhamzi.
"To think that Princess Haifa, whose father was murdered by a terrorist in 1995, who's a mother, who is a grandmother, would write checks to people who give it to terrorists is crazy," Saudi foreign policy adviser Adel Al-Jubeir Saudi said on This Week.
ABCNEWS has learned that the FBI and CIA already have investigated the payments but found no evidence the money was redirected to the hijackers.
But one key senator said the two agencies have left too many questions unanswered and he said he feared a well-finance terrorist structure could still be in place.
"I think there's a lot of investigation yet to be done," Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla. and chairman of a congressional panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, said on NBC's Meet the Press.
The Bush Administration is also under fire from conservatives, who charge they are often too willing to look the other way when it comes to the Saudis.
"When the president says they're either with us or against us, I think by and large the Saudis are against us and they've been against us for the last 15 years," said Ken Adelman, a member of the Defense Policy Board, which provides the Defense Department guidance on major matters of defense policy.
Bush officials said they will wait until the ongoing FBI investigation is over before it responds to any of the criticism.
ABCNEWS' Tamala Edwards contributed to this report.