Fifteen years of bowing and scraping: Saudi Arabia and 9/11

Evidence increasingly shows that Saudi Arabia had some hand in the 9/11 attacks. Why, again, are they our friends?

Presidential genuflecting to Saudi royals since 9/11.

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2016 – On September 11, 2001, I was standing outside the American Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport waiting for a plane to crash.

I was in Southern California visiting family that day when an editor at a Bay Area newspaper I worked for called me. He said a source told him that hijackers were in control of an airliner bound for Los Angeles and intent on crashing it into the airport.

I was to get my hands on a camera, get to the airport and photograph the event.

It turned out to be one of many unsubstantiated rumors making the rounds that terrible day. But had I been at that same airport a year earlier, I might have passed Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, Saudi nationals, as they made their way through the LAX terminal with Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi agent sent to greet the new arrivals by Fahad al-Thumairy, an official with the Saudi Arabian consulate in Los Angeles.

Saudi 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi (left) and Khalid Almihdhar.
Saudi 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi (left) and Khalid Almihdhar.

Almihdar and Alhazmi would eventually make their way to a San Diego flight-training school and number among the 15 Saudi nationals that crashed their commandeered airliners into New York City’s Twin Towers and the Pentagon in Washington.

The aforementioned information, pieced together by various news organizations from footnotes and addendums in the 9/11 commission report, attempts to determine the extent of involvement by Saudi Arabia’s royal family, its government, and its US-based diplomatic personnel in the deadliest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor.

But the Obama White House is in lockstep with the previous administration in its insistence that 28 pages of the 9/11 report remain classified in an effort to preserve the delicate relationship between the U.S. government and the oil-rich House of Saud.

“I think it is implausible to believe that 19 people – many of whom didn’t speak English, most of whom had never been in the United States before, many of whom didn’t have a high school education – could have carried out such a complicated task without some support from within the United States,” former Democratic Senator Robert Graham told Steve Kroft of CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

When Kroft asked Graham if the content of those secret 28 pages concerned a network of Saudi Arabians in and out of government who aided Al Qaeda in its plot to perpetrate mass murder in the U.S., he answered, “Substantially.”

Saudi Prince Bandar.
Saudi Prince Bandar.

John Guandolo, a former FBI field agent, told the New York Post that Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar “funded two of the 9/11 hijackers” and should have been “treated as a terrorist suspect, as should other members of the Saudi elite class who the U.S. government knows are currently funding the global jihad.”

The New York Times reports the Saudi government is worried about a bill working its way through Congress, which would allow 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia for damages and the courts to freeze their U.S. assets.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, personally delivered a message to Washington lawmakers last month that their bill’s passage would force Saudi Arabia to withdraw $750 billion of assets from our country.

Back in 2002, nearly a year after 9/11, the Saudi’s withdrew $200 billion from the United States for fear our government would finger them and their terrorist network in the U.S. to the American people, triggering the seizure of their assets and a wave of lawsuits if not military strikes.

That never happened.

“President [George W.] Bush refused on Tuesday to declassify 28 pages of a congressional report on possible links between Saudi government officials and the Sept. 11 hijackers,” the Associated Press reported in July of 2003.

Bush claimed doing so ‘“would help the enemy’ by revealing intelligence sources and methods,” said the AP.

Last week, the New York Times said, “The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the [9/11] bill’s passage, according to administration officials and congressional aides from both parties, and the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon.”

This Wednesday, Air Force One will touch down in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, with President Obama holding high-level meetings with King Salman. “It’s unclear whether the dispute over the Sept. 11 legislation will be on the agenda for the talks,” said the Times.

The Sept. 11 legislation will surely be on the agenda, but it’s the Saudi position on the matter that will be discussed, with Obama following in his predecessor’s genuflecting footsteps.

An often heard charge made by the left about America’s military involvement in two Middle Eastern wars, triggered in whole or part by the events of 9/11, is that they were all about oil.

But where our government is concerned, the memory of 9/11’s 3,000 dead takes a back seat to Saudi Arabian oil and petro dollars. And that was the case before the subterranean fires under the World Trade Center died and its twisted surface debris hauled away.


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