WASHINGTON, May 18 (UPI) -- The discovery of Saudi military weapons in an al Qaeda safe house earlier this month reportedly has led to an investigation into the possibility that members of the Saudi Arabian National Guard have been illicitly selling arms to the terrorist network.
The Washington Post said in Monday's edition that, according to officials in the United States and the Saudi government, there was no indication that the National Guard had been penetrated by al Qaeda or had sympathizers in high places.
The incident, however, comes at a time when the Saudi government has been under withering criticism in the United States for its perceived failure to get tough with Islamic militants who are seen as being sympathizers, if not outright supporters, of al Qaeda.
The Saudi guard has had problems in the past with weapons missing from its inventories and a small number of officers are known to be involved in the illegal arms trade.
The alleged arms dealers were apparently motivated by the prospect of making easy money rather than political ideology and were able to operate without much interference from the Saudi government.
The alleged traffickers luck may have run out with last week's terrorist attacks in Riyahd that left 34 people dead, including eight Americans and a Saudi National Guard officer who was killed trying to stop the attacks.
"People are furious," a Saudi official told the Post.
The suicide bombings came in the wake of a May 6 raid on a suspected al Qaeda hideout where weapons traced to the Saudi National Guard were discovered and three of the 19 individuals sought were later linked to the Riyadh attacks.
FBI agents were dispatched to Saudi Arabia to assist with the investigations. U.S. officials have said they were satisfied with the level of cooperation they had received from the Saudis, although Saudi officials were officially in charge of the investigation.