Knownledge about Saudi Arabia’s role in US 9/11

July 19, 2016 8:00 am

The “28 pages” on Saudi’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks have been released. Photo / AP

Sometimes, reality is so absurd that it outstrips anything
conspiracy theorists could come up with. More than 13 years after the
Congressional investigation published its report into the events
surrounding the 9/11 attacks, the much-discussed “28 pages” on Saudi
involvement in the terrorist assault, which had been held back as too
sensitive to publish, have been released. It turns out, there are 29
pages, not 28, numbered 415 through 443 in the congressional inquiry
into the 9/11 attacks. And deletions on the pages – sometimes words,
often whole lines – add up to the equivalent of a total of three pages.
So we still are not being given the full story.
It is instantly
apparent that the widely held belief for why the pages were not
initially released – to prevent embarrassing the Saudi royal family – is
true.
The pages are devastating:

Page 415: “While in , some of the
September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support and
assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi
government. . .at least two of those individuals were alleged by some to
be Saudi intelligence officers.”
Page 417: One of the
individuals identified in the pages as a financial supporter of two of
the 9/11 hijackers, Osama Bassnan, later received a “significant amount
of cash” from “a member of the Saudi Royal Family” during a 2002 trip to
Houston.
Page 418: “Another Saudi national with close ties to
the Saudi Royal Family, [deleted], is the subject of FBI
counterterrorism investigations.”
Pages 418 and 419: Detained al
Qaeda leader Abu Zaybaida, had in his phone book the unlisted number for
the security company that managed the Colorado residence of Saudi
ambassador to the Prince Bandar bin Sultan.
Page 421: “a [deleted], dated July 2, 2002
[indicates] ‘incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these
inside the Saudi Government.'”
Page 426: Bassnan’s
wife was receiving money “from Princess Haifa bint Sultan,” the wife of
the Saudi ambassador. (Her correct name is actually Princess Haifa bint
Faisal.)
Page 436: Treasury General Counsel David Aufhauser
testified that “offices of [the Saudi charity] al-Haramain have
significant contacts with extremists, Islamic extremists.” CIA officials
also testified “that they were making progress on their investigations
of al-Haramain. . .the head of the central office is complicit in
supporting , and it also raised questions about [Saudi interior
minister] Prince Nayef.”
On reading this, I let out a shout: “Yes!”
On
Jan. 9, 2002, U.S. & World Report quoted two unidentified
Clinton administration officials saying that two senior Saudi princes
had been paying off Osama bin Laden since a 1995 bombing in Riyadh,
which killed five American military advisers. I followed up in an August
2002 Wall Street Journal op-ed, reporting that U.S. and British
officials had told me the names of the two senior princes who were using
Saudi official money – not their own – to pay off bin Laden to cause
trouble elsewhere but not in the kingdom. I referred to the princes in a
later Wall Street Journal op-ed: They were Prince Nayef, the father of
the current Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, and his brother Prince
Sultan, then defense minister and father of then Saudi ambassador to
Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan. Both Nayef and Sultan are now
dead.
The U.S. News & World Report article quoted a Saudi
official saying: “Where’s the evidence? Nobody offers proof.” That
official was current Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who has no doubt
spent recent days lobbying members of Congress doing advance damage
control – my bet is he has probably been using the same lines.
But
with the release of the 29 pages, and their detailed description of the
financial connections between the 9/11 hijackers and Saudi officials,
Jubeir’s argument has become increasingly difficult to make. The
inquiry, after all, quotes a redacted source alleging “incontrovertible
evidence that there is support for these terrorists within the Saudi
Government.”
Upon the pages’ release, Washington-based PR firm
Qorvis, which has a lucrative contract with the kingdom, released its
own analysis that began with a quote from an interview that CIA Director
John Brennan gave to al-Arabiyya on June 11. It reads in part: “[T]here
was no evidence to indicate that the Saudi government as an institution
or senior Saudi officials individually had supported the 9/11 attacks.”
That
could very well be right. But it still allows for the possibility,
indeed the probability, that the actions of senior Saudis resulted in
those terrorist outrages. I have never suggested that the Saudi
government or members of the royal family directly supported or financed
the 9/11 attacks. But official Saudi money ended up in the pockets of
the attackers, without a doubt. I once asked a British official: “How do
we know?” He replied that we know what account the money came out of,
and where it ended up.
On Friday, Foreign Minister al-Jubeir held
a news conference at the Saudi embassy where he declared “The matter is
now finished.” Asked whether the report exonerated the kingdom, he
replied: “Absolutely.” I think not.

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