U.S. shielding Saudi Arabia’s 9/11 accountability

Despite his promise to preside over the most "transparent" administration in American history, and has redacted 28 pages from the 2004 report by the 9/11 Commission.


WASHINGTON, April 18, 2016 – There is significant circumstantial evidence that Saudi Arabia was involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Fifteen of the nineteen terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks upon the United States were citizens of Saudi Arabia. There are also indications of funding for the terrorists.

Yet information on the exact role of Saudi Arabia in the attack has been kept secret from the American people.

Despite his promise to preside over the most “transparent” administration in American history, President Obama continues the policy of George W. Bush’s administration and has redacted 28 pages from the 2004 report by the 9/11 Commission.

These pages relate to Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

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Recently, in its report on the censored 28 pages, “60 Minutes” reported that the Saudi role in 9/11 has been “soft-pedaled” to protect our alliance with the oil-rich kingdom, which President Obama will visit this week. Former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), who chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and co-chaired the bipartisan joint congressional inquiry into 9/11 intelligence failures, says the pages suggest the existence of a network that supported the hijackers when they were in the U.S.

Former Rep. Tim Roemer (D-IN), who was a member of the joint inquiry and of the commission, and who has studied the 28 pages, says they contain “provocative evidence—some verified, some not”—of possible “official Saudi assistance for two of the hijackers who settled in Southern California.”

According to “60 Minutes,” the two Saudi nationals had “extremely limited language skills and no experience with Western culture.”

Yet, “they managed to get everything they needed, from housing to flight lessons,” after being seen in the company of a diplomat from the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles.

Paul Sperry, writing in The New York Post, expresses the view that, “The kingdom’s involvement was deliberately covered up at the highest levels of government. It goes beyond locking up 28 pages of the Saudi report in the U.S. Capitol basement.

Case agents I’ve interviewed at the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington and San Diego, the forward operating base for some of the Saudi hijackers, as well as detectives at the Fairfax County (Virginia) police department who also investigated several 9/11 leads, say virtually every road led back to the Saudi Embassy in Washington as well as the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles.

Yet time and time again, they were called off from pursuing leads. A common excuse was ‘diplomatic immunity.'”

These sources say that the pages missing from the 9/11 congressional inquiry report, which comprise the entire final chapter dealing with “foreign support for the September 11hijackers,” details “incontrovertible evidence” gathered from both CIA and FBI case files of official Saudi assistance for at least two of the Saudi hijackers who settled in San Diego.

Over time, some information has leaked from the redacted section, including a series of pre-9/11 phone calls between one of the hijackers’ Saudi handlers in San Diego and the Saudi Embassy and the transfer of some $130,000 from then-Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar’s family checking account to yet another of the hijackers’ Saudi handlers in San Diego.

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Former FBI agent John Guandolo, who worked on 9/11 and related Al Qaeda cases out of the Washington field office, says Bandar should have been a key suspect.

“The Saudi ambassador funded two of the 9/11 hijackers through a third party,” said Guandolo. “He should be 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.”

After Bandar met on Sept. 13, 2001 with President Bush at the White House, the FBI evacuated dozens of Saudi officials from a number of cities, including at least one Osama bin Laden family member on a terrorist watch list.

“The FBI was thwarted from interviewing the Saudis we wanted to interview by the White House,” said former FBI agent Mark Rossini, who was involved in the investigation. The White House “let them off the hook.”

John Lehman, a member of the 9/11 Commission, which unanimously supported release of its report uncensored, and Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration, says that he was interested in the hijackers’ connections to Bandar and the Saudi embassy. But every time he tried to get information, he was stonewalled by the White House.

“They were refusing to declassify anything having to do with Saudi Arabia,” he is quoted as saying in the book “The Commission.” Lehman says that the censored 28 pages contain “a smoking gun.”

Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) has introduced a bill demanding that President Obama release the censored 28 pages of the 9/11 report. He says that, “Things that should have been done at that time were not done.”

Also before Congress is legislation that would allow the Saudi government to be held accountable in U.S. courts for any role it may have played in the 9/11 attacks. In recent days, Saudi officials warned that if this legislation passes they might sell off hundreds of billions dollars worth of U.S. assets. This is a strange response from a so-called “ally.”

When it comes to government secrecy, declared the Moynihan Commission,

“Some secrecy is important to minimize inappropriate diffusion of details of weapons systems design and ongoing security operations,” but, “Excessive secrecy has significant consequences for the national interest when policy makers are not fully informed, the government is not held accountable for its actions and the public cannot engage in informed debate.”

The level of government secrecy we have at the present time, as the censored 28 pages dealing with Saudi involvement in 9/11 make clear, serves something other than the public interest. As the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in 1936, “An informed public is the most potent of all restraints upon misgovernment.”

The evidence about 9/11 which is available at the present time indicates that the Bush administration withheld important evidence of possible Saudi involvement. The Obama administration has continued to withhold this information, although it promised to release it. In fact, secrecy has grown under President Obama. In 2008, the last year of the Bush administration, 41% of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests were granted in full. Since Obama took office, we have reached a new low of just 23% in 2015.

If Saudi Arabia is innocent of any involvement in the 9/11 attacks, it should welcome the release of the 28 pages in question. And why should American families who lost loved ones in this terror attack be the last to know who was involved?

If Saudi Arabia wants to continue to be viewed as a friend and ally, it must acknowledge the truth of what happened on 9/11.  Whether it sees fit to do so or not, Americans have a right to know what really happened and why their own government continues to keep the truth from them.


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Allan C. Brownfeld
Received B.A. from the College of William and Mary, J.D. from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law of the College of William and Mary, and M.A. from the University of Maryland. Served as a member of the faculties of St. Stephen's Episcopal School, Alexandria, Virginia and the University College of the University of Maryland. The recipient of a Wall Street Journal Foundation Award, he has written for such newspapers as The Houston Press, The Washington Evening Star, The Richmond Times Dispatch, and The Cincinnati Enquirer. His column appeared for many years in Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill. His articles have appeared in The Yale Review, The Texas Quarterly, Orbis, Modern Age, The Michigan Quarterly, The Commonweal and The Christian Century. His essays have been reprinted in a number of text books for university courses in Government and Politics. For many years, his column appeared several times a week in papers such as The Washington Times, The Phoenix Gazette and the Orange County Register. He served as a member of the staff of the U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, as Assistant to the research director of the House Republican Conference and as a consultant to members of the U.S. Congress and to the Vice President. He is the author of five books and currently serves as Contributing Editor of The St. Croix Review, Associate Editor of The Lincoln Review and editor of Issues.