US intelligence: Al-Qaeda infiltrated Saudi Arabia's elite National Guard
Al-Qaeda has infiltrated Saudi Arabia's military and security forces at the highest level, including those entrusted with the protection of western residential compounds, American intelligence officials are quoted as saying by the Monday edition of the Telegraph.
They are convinced that last week's suicide bombers depended on a significant level of "insider" knowledge of the compounds that were hit and that al-Qaeda even infiltrated the elite National Guard, which is involved in compound security.
Intelligence sources said several bombers were wearing National Guard uniforms to help them get into the three bombed complexes. "The only area where there is no evidence of a significant al-Qaeda presence is in the Saudi air force," one intelligence official said. "The police, army, navy and National Guard have all been infiltrated."
American military and intelligence officers claimed, according to the British newspaper, the attack on the residential quarters of the Vinnell corporation, whose ex-US army officers train the National Guard, must have had detailed insider knowledge.
"It took them 30 seconds to a minute to get from the gate to the housing block. They had to know where the switches were to operate the gates after attacking the guards," one military official was quoted as saying.
Another report said Saudi authorities are investigating suspected illegal arms sales by members of the country's national guard to al Qaeda operatives in the kingdom. The weapons were seized in a May 6 raid on an al Qaeda safe house and were traced to national guard stockpiles, US officials said, according to the Washington Post.
A small number of officers in the national guard have been involved in illicit gun sales for years, according to the officials, and have sold weapons, including automatic rifles, to anyone willing to pay prices well above their market value. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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