|Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah |
[holding hands] with
George W. Bush
As you may vaguely remember, in the early days after 9/11, former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) chaired a Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry into the activites of certain intelligence agencies as they pertained to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Graham's inquiry resulted in an 800-page report, of which then-president George W. Bush held back 28 pages, claiming that the information they contained would be detrimental to national security. According to hints from sources who have read the report, the redacted pages concern a number of high-ranking Saudis who provided financial and other assistance to some of the "hijackers."
The Hill is slightly abuzz over this issue because earlier this year, representatives Walter B. Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) were allowed to read the 28 redacted pages, and earlier this month they introduced a resolution urging president Obama to release them to the public.
I have been reading about this sporadically from a very small variety of sources, beginning with Jamie Reno's December 9 article at International Business Times [or here], which says, among other things,
Most of the allegations of links between the Saudi government and the 9/11 hijackers revolve around two enigmatic Saudi men who lived in San Diego: Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan, both of whom have long since left the United States.
In early 2000, al-Bayoumi, who had previously worked for the Saudi government in civil aviation (a part of the Saudi defense department), invited two of the hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, to San Diego from Los Angeles. He told authorities he met the two men by chance when he sat next to them at a restaurant.
Newsweek reported in 2002 that al-Bayoumi’s invitation was extended on the same day that he visited the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles for a private meeting.
|Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan|
Jamie Reno continues:
Al-Bayoumi arranged for the two future hijackers to live in an apartment and paid $1,500 to cover their first two months of rent. Al-Bayoumi was briefly interviewed in Britain but was never brought back to the United States for questioning.Reno also says:
As for Basnan, Newsweek reported that he received monthly checks for several years totaling as much as $73,000 from the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar, and his wife, Princess Haifa Faisal. Although the checks were sent to pay for thyroid surgery for Basnan’s wife, Majeda Dweikat, Dweikat signed many of the checks over to al-Bayoumi’s wife, Manal Bajadr. This money allegedly made its way into the hands of hijackers, according to the 9/11 report.
Despite all this, Basnan was ultimately allowed to return to Saudi Arabia, and Dweikat was deported to Jordan.
Sources and numerous press reports also suggest that the 28 pages include more information about Abdussattar Shaikh, an FBI asset in San Diego who Newsweek reported was friends with al-Bayoumi and invited two of the San Diego-based hijackers to live in his house.
Shaikh was not allowed by the FBI or the Bush administration to testify before the 9/11 Commission or the JICI.
Jones insists that releasing the 28 secret pages would not violate national security.This tells me that Walter B. Jones does not understand what "national security" means. But that's probably not his fault. We've been hearing lies about "national security" ever since we were born.
We tend to think of "national security" as something involving the safety and security of the nation and its people -- ordinary people such as you and me and our families. And this is what our political system would like us to believe -- not because it's true, only because it makes us easier to manipulate. As it is actually used, "national security" refers to the survival and continuing tenure in office of those who use the term to justify their actions. More broadly, it also refers to the survival and continuing (or increasing!) wealth, status and privilege of those who currently enjoy such things.
As we have known for a long time, George W. Bush and his administration resisted every attempt to investigate 9/11, except for the belated whitewash which they felt they could control. And they used "national security" to prevent the release, not only of the infamous "28 pages" but of a wide variety of other information.
It doesn't take much guesswork to figure out why they did this. Clearly the information they censored must have threatened them, their position, and their supporters. They may no longer have their positions, but surely their supporters retain a stake in the matter. And unless I am badly misreading the situation, the Obama administration has far greater incentive to keep the 28 pages secret than to release them. But we shall see what happens. Unless we don't.
[Next: Part 2: No Vortex]
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