According to the Associated Press, the Obama administration may soon release at least part of a 28-page secret chapter from a congressional inquiry into 9/11 that would detail Saudi relations with and support for the Al Qaeda terrorist network before September 2001. (Los Angeles Times)

Andrew Bacevich
April 27, 2016
Los Angeles Times

Of the 19 hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks, 15 were citizens of Saudi Arabia. What does that fact signify?

According to senior U.S. officials, little or nothing. From the outset, they treated the national identity of the terrorists as incidental, connoting nothing of importance. It was as if the 15 murderers just happened to smoke the same brand of cigarettes or wear the same after-shave.

Had they come from somewhere other than Saudi Arabia, a different attitude would surely have prevailed. Imagine if 15 Iraqis had perpetrated the attacks. In Washington’s eyes, Saddam Hussein’s direct involvement would have been a given. Fifteen Iranians? U.S. officials would have unhesitatingly fingered authorities in Tehran as complicit.

In matters relating to war and peace, U.S. officials tell us what in their judgment we need to know… Why not allow Americans to judge for themselves?

Saudi Arabia, however, got a pass. In its final report, the 9/11 Commission said it “found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually” had funded Al Qaeda. This artfully crafted passage was an exercise in damage control, designed to preserve the existing U.S.-Saudi relationship from critical scrutiny.

The effort never fully succeeded, skeptics suspecting that there might be more to the story. Today those doubts find expression in demands to declassify 28 pages of a congressional investigation said to detail Saudi relations with and support for the Al Qaeda terrorist network before September 2001.

According to a Monday report by the Associated Press, the Obama administration may finally do just that. Whether the 28 pages sustain or refute suspicions of Saudi involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks will remain impossible to say absent such executive action.

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