Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

June 12, 2001  
CBS News 
Iran Responsible for Khobar Towers Bombing

Nearly five years to the day after terrorists blew up an American military 
barracks in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 servicemen, the federal government is 
finally preparing to hold someone accountable. Meanwhile, accusations are 
already flying that the true culprits may be getting a free ride. Just before 
the five-year statue of limitations for attempted murder charges in the 
Khobar Towers bombing expires, a federal grand jury in the eastern district 
of Virginia next week is expected to charge 13 men, mostly Saudi citizens, 
with carrying out the attack. A Lebanese chemist who allegedly built the bomb 
will also be charged and sources say the indictment will be made public, 
reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart.  And although it will contain 
numerous references to Iran and its radical Revolutionary Guard, it will not 
name any Iranian official as either an indicted or unindicted co-conspirator 
to the attack. Such a finding appears to directly contradict previous 
conclusions reached by the FBI's own investigation of the attack and comes at 
a time when the U.S. is eager to improve relations with oil-rich Iran 
following the re-election there last week of President Muhammed Khatami, a 
political moderate. Despite statements by suspects in Saudi Arabia that they 
were recruited and trained by Iran, plus substantial physical evidence, 
sources say prosecutors have backed away from accusing anyone in Tehran for 
planning the attack and the reason is not clear. Law enforcement sources hint 
at State Department and White House second-guessing. Others suggest the FBI's 
case was never strong enough. Meanwhile, family members remain frustrated. 
"Every country here is dancing. No one wants to really find out who exactly 
was to blame for this bombing," said Catherine Adams, mother of a slain 
service member. This would appear to be a less-than-perfect ending for a case 
that has tormented the FBI. They got little help from Saudi Arabia in the 
case and distrusted the Clinton administration, which was also pursuing 
better relations with Iran at the time. Now it appears that under the Bush 
administration, too, Iran will escape the ultimate blame. The evidence Iran 
was behind the deaths of 19 American servicemen and the wounding of 500 
others is compelling enough to justify military retaliation — or at least 
some form of diplomatic or legal action against Iran. And that evidence has 
been in hand for two years, according to Pentagon officials. 

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