More Fallout from Saudi Bombing

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: Efforts to resolve the June 25 truck bombing of an American military installation in Saudi Arabia are increasingly dividing the two nations on issues of military security. Official sources told the Associated Press that just days after the bombing, Saudi officials recovered what they believe to be the bombers' getaway car, but American officials said they had not been told of the development. The report underscores recent complaints by FBI agents in Dhahran who say they have not been given equal access to evidence collected by the Saudis. The FBI also wants to transport forensic evidence to the U.S. for analysis and would like any suspects in the attack extradited for trial in the United States. "It is a continuing culture clash," says TIME's Dean Fischer. "The Saudis, like almost any other country would, insist on conducting the investigation themselves. They will be more forthcoming but in their own way and in their own time." While FBI Director Louis Freeh was in the kingdom last weekend attempting to sort out those issues, relations became more complicated at a higher level. Saudi Arabia1s defense minister, Prince Sultan, said Sunday that he opposed a U.S. proposal to relocate troops from the Dhahran complex where the bomb killed 19 American servicemen. U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary William Perry, have noted the difficulty of providing security for forces in an urban environment such as Dhahran, and would like to relocate many troops to a rural facility already being used by U.S. forces. Sultan said such a move would be unnecessary since 'security has been achieved." The American Embassy is not so certain, and is warning U.S. citizens of recent telephone threats against American individuals and companies. Fischer notes that the Saudi reluctance to comply with U.S. requests may actually stem from mundane issues. "If the Saudis feel that they have to pay," says Fischer, "it would explain their reluctance." -- Scot Woods