Special agents in the United States probing relatives of Saudi-born terror suspect Osama bin Laden before September 11 were told to back off soon after George W. Bush became President, according to Newsnight, the BBC's current affairs program. The US strategic interest in Saudi Arabia, which has the world's biggest oil reserves, may have blunted its inquiries into individuals with suspected terrorist connections. Newsnight reported it had seen secret documents from an FBI probe into the September 11 terror attacks, which showed that despite the reputation of Osama bin Laden as the black sheep of his family, at least two other US-based Bin Laden relatives are suspected of links with a possible terrorist organisation. Newsnight also noted that George W. Bush made his first million 20 years ago with an oil company partly funded by the chief US representative of Salem bin Baden, Osama's brother, and that Bush also received fees as director of a subsidiary of the Carlyle Corporation, which included members of the bin Laden family among its investors. (Their stake was sold just after September 11.) Reporter Greg Palast is continuing to investigate charges that Bush spiked probes of Bin Laden prior to September 11.
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