Saudi Secret Service Chief To Share Bombing Information

SUNDAY, NOV. 24, 1996

FBI Director Louis J. Freeh will meet senior Saudi security officers investigating a June bombing that killed 19 U.S. airmen, Saudi officials said Saturday.

Freeh arrived Friday in the Saudi capital Riyadh amid indications the Saudis may be prepared to share more information.

The FBI director is due to meet Gen. Saleh al-Khisayfan, the head of the kingdom’s secret service, and Prince Nayef, the powerful Saudi interior minister, Saudi security officials said.

There was no word on new developments in the investigation.

U.S. officials have complained repeatedly that the Saudis were keeping details to themselves. Several FBI agents remain in Saudi Arabia to help with the case - but far fewer than the 70 FBI agents sent just after the blast.

In July, Freeh made two trips to Saudi Arabia to complain to King Fahd and top Saudi officials that their investigators were not sharing evidence or letting FBI agents participate in questioning suspects.

Like much in this closed kingdom, the probe into the June 25 blast at the Al-Khobar military housing complex near the eastern city of Dhahran has been shrouded in secrecy.

The U.S. Embassy refused to comment on Freeh’s visit.

U.S.-Saudi disputes over law enforcement cooperation began a year ago after a car bombing at a U.S. military facility in Riyadh killed five Americans and two Indians. The Saudis obtained confessions from four Saudis in that bombing and beheaded the men before FBI agents could question them.

Reports surfaced earlier this month that the Saudis had detained dozens of suspects, including some with ties to Iran and one man believed to have driven the explosives-laden truck that destroyed part of the complex.

But U.S. officials insisted they had reached no conclusions.

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