Last Friday July 15, the US Congress released for the first time in 13 years a formerly classified chapter of the main congressional report on the fateful terror attacks of September 11, 2001. These long hidden pages have once again sparked discussion and conjecture on whether or not the hijackers who doomed four passenger aircraft, damaged the Pentagon and destroyed the original World Trade Center twin towers, have had links to people in Saudi Arabia, including those in its royal government.
Fortune reports that the declassified and partially redacted documents were physically stored in a secure room in the Capitol basement ever since the conclusion of the congressional hearings on the attacks that resulted in almost 3,000 dead in New York City, Washington DC, and on a Pennsylvania field where a hijacked plane crashed after the passengers fought their captors in an attempt to regain control of the flight.
The pages were said to contain a multitude of names, those which the 9/11 hijackers have had contact with prior to carrying out the attacks. Also identified were people who had provided logistics support to the terrorists: rented apartments, local mosques, flying lessons and bank accounts. Such extensive assistance was necessary as of the 19 hijackers, 15 were Saudis who knew little English and have never lived in the West before.
A 2002 investigation concluded that no Saudi officials or the Saudi government as a whole could have aided or known about the attacks. While the inquiry chapter regarding the names was classified by then-President George W. Bush in order to safeguard American intelligence-gathering procedures and information sources, lawmakers and relatives of the numerous 9/11 victims clamored for over a decade to have the contents publicized, believing that high-ranking Saudi connections to the hijackers were not examined meticulously so as not to lose Saudi Arabia as a US ally.
For their part, Saudi Arabia has called for the declassification of the hidden document to both provide proper answers to any claims of terrorist support from their country’s government, and to determine and punish any Saudi citizen proven to have done so.
The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Abdullah Al-Saud, asserts in a statement Friday that the FBI and other American agencies have cleared their government of any complicity with the 9/11 terrorists, and hopes that the “28 pages” will finally clear any doubts or suspicions the general public may still have. Chief among the naysayers to this official stance is former Florida Senator Bob Graham, co-chairman of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, who firmly believes that parties from Saudi Arabia acted as the terror attack’s principal financier.
President Barack Obama ordered the declassification of the missing chapter as early as 2014, under pressure from the families of the 9/11 casualties.
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