The Obama administration is poised to release a portion of the so-called “Saudi papers” in June, which some believe could prove ties between Saudi officials and the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Former Democratic Florida Sen. Bob Graham is one of the few people who has had his eyes on the documents, and he believes they show questionable ties between Saudi Arabia and the terrorists who attacked the U.S. He has been a vocal proponent of declassifying the papers, and hopes the Obama administration will release them and many other documents redacted from public view.
“I hope that decision is to honor the American people and make it available,” said Graham Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The most important unanswered question of 9/11 is, did these 19 people conduct this very sophisticated plot alone, or were they supported?”
The question of Saudi involvement has been asked since it was discovered 15 of the 19 hijackers were of Saudi Arabian background. Additionally, it is well-known al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden hailed from a wealthy Saudi family that made its fortune through construction contracts awarded by the Saudi royal family. The 9/11 Commission Report found no evidence the Saudi government was inherently linked to the attacks, however, it did note “this conclusion does not exclude the likelihood that charities with significant Saudi government sponsorship diverted funds to al-Qaida.”
A bulletin report by the Foreign Policy Initiative published Feb. 25 explains that while Saudi Arabia shied from cracking down on terrorism for several years after the 9/11 attacks, the royal family has expanded efforts to tackle terrorism significantly. Despite the Saudi government’s efforts, the private funding of terrorist groups continues to be a problem.
Former congressman Tim Roemer, also a member of the congressional inquiry and the 9/11 Commission, expressed his own guarded concerns regarding the documents.
“There were clues. There were allegations. There were witness reports. There was evidence about the hijackers, about people they met with — all kinds of different things that the 9/11 Commission was then tasked with reviewing and investigating,” said Roemer.
For its part, the Saudi government has denied any allegations of involvement with the 9/11 hijackers, and supported declassification of the documents, as it would “allow us to respond to any allegations in a clear and credible manner.”
The push for the release of the papers comes just after President Barack Obama met with Saudi and other Persian Gulf leaders in Saudi Arabia last week. The U.S.-Saudi alliance has been especially precarious recently, particularly after the Obama administration signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Monday during a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor the papers could be released as early as June, 2016.
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