Country Linked To 9/11 Now Partially Owns Iconic Element Of NYC Skyline

Photo: REUTERS/Sean Adair

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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A country which housed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed for years just bought a 10% stake in the Empire State Building.

The Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund’s investment in the Empire State building is an effort to diversify Qatar’s investment portfolio, as it continues to take a hit from from low oil prices. Qatar’s investment fund is directly connected to the Qatari Royal Family, which maintains financial ties with terrorist groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State.

U.S. officials had a plane waiting to take off to Qatar’s capital city in 1996, but Mohammed escaped after Qatari government officials tipped him off. Mohammed then made his way back to Afghanistan to rejoin Usama Bin-Laden with a passport those officials supplied him. U.S. intelligence officials believe Bin-Laden himself was allowed to visit Qatari royal family members who sponsored al-Qaida prior to the 9/11 attacks.

“We had an opportunity to pick up a very, very bad man and a very dangerous man,” Jack Cloonan, a retired counter-terrorism officer for the FBI, told ABCNews in 2003.

In 2014, the U.S. Department of Treasury designated a Qatari government official, Salim Hasan Khalifa Rashid al-Kuwari, as a terrorist. The U.S. government believes “Based in Qatar, Kuwari has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support to al-Qaeda and has provided funding for al-Qaeda operations.”

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy noted in August 2014, “private individuals in Qatar are helping to finance” groups like ISIS and that the U.S. “thinks the Gulf state is not doing enough to stop this.” The D.C. based think tank continues Qatar’s security strategy entails  “generously supporting Islamist organizations, including militant ones like Hamas and the Taliban.” Hamas and the Taliban are designated terrorist organizations by the U.S. government.

The Empire State Building remains the number 1 tourist destination in New York City, and is an iconic part of the New York skyline.

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