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25 July 2003

Saudi, U.S. Authorities Work Closely Against Al Qaeda

State's Boucher calls cooperation increasingly beneficial, effective

The United States and Saudi Arabia are working closely together against the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, reported State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher July 25.

Boucher, speaking in Washington at the daily State Department press briefing, said the cooperation extends to high levels of law enforcement and intelligence personnel from both countries.

"We've found this cooperation increasingly beneficial and increasingly effective," he said.

Boucher's comments came one day after the U.S. Congress released a report on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Following is an excerpt from the July 25 State Department briefing containing Boucher's comment's on Saudi Arabia:

(begin excerpt)

QUESTION: This isn't a Pentagon question. What is -- yesterday, the congressional report on 9/11 was released and it contained a heavily -- well, it had some harsh criticism of Saudi Arabia in it, although that was -- the section was --

MR. BOUCHER: Although it didn't contain --

QUESTION: -- heavily redacted. The Saudis are, not surprisingly, a little upset about this. I'm wondering what your view is of the congressional report and its findings about the Saudis and alleged financing of al-Qaida.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, first of all, the alleged findings about the Saudis were in the sections -- were alleged to be in sections that were not released, so I don't have anything to say on material that people presume is there but wasn't released. The declassification process was carefully gone through and we much of the report as possible was declassified, but there were sections that were not. So I can't start commenting on things that people think were there but they don't know were there because they weren't released.

QUESTION: I'm sorry, it was my understanding -- again, I wasn't here yesterday, but there was a -- the heading was there but there was nothing below it. Is that not the case?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I'm not going to fill in below it.

QUESTION: I'm not asking you to.

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not in a position to fill in below it.

QUESTION: I'm not asking you to. Have you --

MR. BOUCHER: So what am I supposed to comment on? The heading?



MR. BOUCHER: The heading?

QUESTION: Yes. And what the -- okay, fine. If you don't want to talk about it, that's fine.

MR. BOUCHER: The only point I can make is that -- and I think you know this -- we've worked very closely with the Saudi Government against al-Qaida. They recognize the threat that al-Qaida represents. They have -- since September 11th in particular, we have worked more and more closely with them against these potential threats.

As you know, since the bombings in Riyadh, we've worked jointly on -- with Saudi law enforcement, intelligence agencies. We've found this cooperation increasingly beneficial and increasingly effective. So we have a very high level of law enforcement and intelligence cooperation with the Saudi Government that helps to end terrorist financing, ends the operation of terrorist groups. You've seen them make further arrests now. And so that's the state of affairs at present.

QUESTION: That cooperation led into your decision yesterday to end the ordered departure?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes, and other things as well.

(end excerpt)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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