This powerful piece, by Joe Gill writing for Middle East Eye, deserves the widest audience.


The declassified sections of the report paint a far more damning picture of Saudi links to the 9/11 attacks than media reports would suggest

It was a great day to bury bad news. Last Friday, the US government finally released the long awaited classified 28 pages from the Joint Congressional report on 9/11, pointing to Saudi Arabia’s role in the attacks. That same day, Congress broke up for the summer, the Nice atrocity dominated the headlines. Then came a coup in Turkey.

The story almost vanished. No smoking gun, said the news reports.

But this interpretation of the pages is a little misleading. Did these writers actually read the documents or just the statements from the FBI and CIA? Yes, the 28 pages do not show that senior Saudi ministers directly told the hijackers to fly planes into buildings or provide them the means to do it. Yet the claim of a lack of definitive links to the Saudis can only hold if they mean the smoking gun was not found still hot in the hands of the crown prince or king himself.

Only those who don’t want to see the links won’t find them here, although there are caveats.

First, there are still lots of blacked out names and lines in the report so we can’t see everything that the senators who have read the uncensored report have seen in full. If we could, the picture of Saudi involvement would almost certainly be even more damning.

Second, the document says the FBI and CIA both did not investigate the Saudis in the United States before 9/11 because the Saudis are allies of the US. This only changed after 9/11, and even then fears of upsetting the special relationship with the Saudis meant that several strong leads were not followed up. The higher ups clearly didn’t want to push the investigation. FBI director Robert Mueller, cautioning against “jumping to conclusions”, even admitted to the Joint Committee on 9 October 2002 that the probing of the joint inquiry staff had brought to light facts that he and the FBI had not been aware of.

Third, according to the 28 pages, the Saudis did not cooperate in the investigation. They were “useless and obstructionist,” said one New York FBI agent. Others agreed.

Fourth, the 28 pages only deal with one small part of the 9/11 plot – the San Diego cell, and touch on the Florida connection.

Yet even with these limitations, a close reading of the newly released pages, combined with what is known about the people mentioned in them, paints a damning picture. The links between Saudi intelligence operatives who assisted the Flight 77 hijackers Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi and senior members of the Saudi government are clear.


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