CNN BREAKING NEWS
FBI Team Headed for Saudi Arabia Still Waiting for Clearance
Aired May 14, 2003 - 10:22 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, we want to get to some breaking news, and that concerns the latest terrorist attack taking place in Saudi Arabia. What is the cooperation level of the Saudi government? With more on that, let's bring in our Mike Brooks. What have you learned?
MIKE BROOKS, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, so far, Daryn, we have heard that -- from U.S. sources, U.S. law enforcement sources, that the investigative team that was heading to Saudi Arabia, that we were talking about all day yesterday has yet to get there. They are still on the ground in Germany, awaiting country clearance by the Saudis. They have not gotten permission by the Saudis as of yet to come into Saudi Arabia. Now, this team is made up of FBI, U.S. intelligence, and State Department officials that are going there to assess the damage and also to work with the Saudis on finding out who is responsible for the bombing.
But as of right now, they have not gotten permission. They hope to get permission, maybe, by 8:00 tomorrow, hopefully take off. They sat on the ground all last night. They decided to go ahead and stay in Germany because they have not gotten permission.
KAGAN: Now, from your sources, how much of this is logistical, diplomatic, and how much is this the Saudis giving the Americans the runaround?
BROOKS: They could let the U.S. officials come right in, give them country clearance, come right in.
When I was over in Saudi in 1996 for Khobar Towers, and also other officials have been over there before, they will come in, stamp your passport with a visa, allow you right into the country, the officials will meet you there, and escort you when you get to the country. But from what I am hearing from my sources they are not being allowed in, and they have yet to get permission from the Saudi government.
KAGAN: What are they being told?
BROOKS: They are being told to just hold there in Germany until they get permission. They are working, apparently, on some diplomatic problems right now, trying to work that out, but the investigative team has yet to arrive there.
KAGAN: And one more question here. It's 36 hours from the bombing. The time, in terms of investigation, what do you lose? BROOKS: Well, you lose some of the investigative techniques that there, maybe finding out, No. 1, what kind of explosive was used, what kind of bomb was used so you can take a look at that, improvise an explosive device, and try to match that with other ones that are possibly used by al Qaeda, who they think may be responsible for this, and a lot of forensic evidence can be lost to weather and everything else. So the sooner you get there on the ground, get the investigators going, start interviews, the more -- the sooner you are going to find out who is responsible for this.
KAGAN: And then, just calling on your experience from our time, going back to '96, what was your personal and the people you were working with frustration level in trying to get cooperation with the Saudis?
BROOKS: Early on, it was very frustrating, then it kind of went along OK, and then, a little bit later on, about a week and a half, as I said, the one example, they brought out this large piece of evidence with a serial number on it that we had been looking for. Kind of like the "Oh, wow" piece, and just said, Hey, look what we found. No, you didn't just find this. They had gone and tried to do their own separate investigation on the side, not working as a team with the U.S.
KAGAN: All right. Mike Brooks, thanks so much.
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