It has long been suspected that the Saudi Arabian government was involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States and that are supporting Sunni terrorism throughout the Middle East. Yet, the US government has continued to support them with billions of dollars in military aid. Now, on the heels of President Barack Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia, the White House and the intelligence community is contemplating releasing 28 pages of damning evidence that the Saudis supported and financed the 9/11 hijackers. On Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” Steve Kroft interviewed one of the few people to have read those 28 highly classified pages, former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL).
Bob Graham: I think it is implausible to believe that 19 people, most 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’ve carried out such a complicated task without some support from within the United States. [..]
Former U.S. Senator Bob Graham has been trying to get the 28 pages released since the day they were classified back in 2003, when he played a major role in the first government investigation into 9/11.
Bob Graham: I remain deeply disturbed by the amount of material that has been censored from this report.
At the time, Graham was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and co-chair of the bipartisan joint congressional inquiry into intelligence failures surrounding the attacks. The Joint Inquiry reviewed a half a million documents, interviewed hundreds of witnesses and produced an 838 page report — minus the final chapter which was blanked out — excised by the Bush administration for reasons of national security.
Bob Graham won’t discuss the classified information in the 28 pages, he will say only that they outline a network of people that he believes supported the hijackers while they were in the U.S.
Marcy Wheeler, aka emptywheel, writing at Salon, asks why the renewed attention on this report.
The “60 Minutes” introduction may provide an explanation. It contrasts an upcoming Obama trip to Saudi Arabia “at a time of deep mistrust between the two allies, and lingering doubts about the Saudi commitment to fighting violent Islamic extremism” with the fact that the “White House and intelligence officials are reviewing whether to declassify one of the country’s most sensitive documents.” That is, it seems the threat of declassification is meant to apply pressure on the Saudis.
In its final moments, the “60 Minutes” piece returned to that theme of pressuring the Saudis with Tim Roemer — a member of both 9/11 review committees — noting that “I think we need a relationship with the Saudis where both countries are working together to fight against terrorism. And that’s not always been the case.”
So it seems that, 15 years after 9/11, we‘re finally going to openly discuss Saudi support — perhaps even active involvement in — terrorism. Or maybe just threaten to do so to coerce some kind of changes in the Kingdom’s current behavior.
But there is no reason that discussion should remain with decades-old history. By all appearances the Saudis still seem to be fostering anti-American terrorism. That goes well beyond the export of extremist Wahabbism — the ideology underlying much Sunni terrorism — although that is a big problem. Even by exporting extremist culture, Saudi cultural networks may have a fairly direct tie with recent big terrorist attacks in Europe. [..]
We’re helping the terrorists who want to attack us grow stronger.
At some point, we need to take all the evidence of continued Saudi support for Sunni terrorism seriously. We need to admit we attacked the wrong country in invading Iraq, all the while claiming the double dealing Saudis are our closest allies in the War on Terror.
Sadly, this whole orchestrated move toward declassifying the 28 pages may well be a charade — a threat to the Saudis designed to make them change their ways. At this point, after tolerating Saudi double dealing for so long, those 28 pages indict Americans just as badly as they indict the Saudis.
The double dealing with the Saudis has cost not just thousands of American lives, civilian and military, but hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians throughout the Middle East, all in the name of oil. The “global war on terror” that the US has been waging for 15 years is a hoax.