With the US renewing its controversial “alliance” with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with oil production in the Kingdom under siege, and talk of war against Iran ramping up, the thorny issue of the Saudi role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks remains uncomfortably in the background.
For 18 years now, investigative journalists have faced daunting obstacles in seeking answers about the 9/11 attacks. Of the 19 hijackers, 15 were Saudi citizens. Perhaps the greatest hurdle comes when asking about connections between the hijackers and high-ranking Saudi Arabian officials.
Redactions, delays, denials, misdirection, and conflicting statements show a pattern — all of it in one direction and, intentionally or not, to the benefit of the Kingdom.
One news outlet leading the charge for a full accounting of the facts, the Florida Bulldog, earned a bit of a victory last month when it obtained notes from a 2003 interview between officials of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission) and Prince Bandar bin Sultan. At the time, Bandar was Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States and a close friend of President George W. Bush.
After a Freedom of Information Act battle that stretched over 10 years, the Bulldog was able to pry loose two pages of notes about the interview from the National Archives. The Bulldog led its report with a searing quote, attributed to Bandar:
In Saudi Arabia they chose not to see these radical fundamentalists. … We allow them to flourish, and have no reason to believe that their way of life would do anyone harm.
Bandar apparently was never asked if he “chose not to see” the 31 checks totaling $70,000 that his wife sent to Osama Bassnan, a US-based Saudi national suspected of being part of the hijackers’ logistical and financial support system.
Originally published at WhoWhatWhy.org
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