The facts are in and you're an idiot. You continue to vote in these 'law and order' assholes and you've managed to turn the greatest country on the planet into a zoo. While the politicians, pharmaceutical CEOs, Big Oil and Wall Street bankers laugh all the way to their offshore bank accounts.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Saudi officials were 'supporting' 9/11 hijackers, commission member says

By TheGuardian


A former Republican member of the 9/11 commission, breaking dramatically with the commission’s leaders, said he believes there was clear evidence that Saudi government employees were part of a support network for the 9/11 hijackers.

The comments by John F Lehman, an investment banker in New York who was Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, signal the first serious public split among the 10 commissioners since they issued a 2004 final report that was largely read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.

“There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” Lehman said in an interview, suggesting that the commission may have made a mistake by not stating that explicitly in its final report. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.”

He was critical of a statement released by the former chairman and vice-chairman of the commission, who urged the Obama administration to be cautious about releasing the full congressional report on the Saudis and 9/11.

The 9/11 commission chairman, former Republican governor Tom Kean of New Jersey, and vice-chairman, former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton of Indiana, praised Saudi Arabia as, overall, “an ally of the United States in combatting terrorism” and said the commission’s investigation, which came after the congressional report was written, had identified only one Saudi government official – a former diplomat in the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles – as being “implicated in the 9/11 plot investigation”.

The diplomat, Fahad al-Thumairy, who was deported from the US but was never charged with a crime, was suspected of involvement in a support network for two Saudi hijackers who had lived in San Diego the year before the attacks.

In the interview, Lehman said Kean and Hamilton’s statement that only one Saudi government employee was “implicated” in supporting the hijackers in California and elsewhere was “a game of semantics” and that the commission had been aware of at least five Saudi government officials who were strongly suspected of involvement in the terrorists’ support network.

“They may not have been indicted, but they were certainly implicated,” he said. “There was an awful lot of circumstantial evidence.”

The Saudi royal family or the country’s senior civilian leadership had a role in supporting al-Qaida and the 9/11 plot, a focus of the criminal investigation after 9/11 was upon employees of the Saudi ministry of Islamic affairs, which had sponsored Thumairy for his job in Los Angeles and has long been suspected of ties to extremist groups.

Lehman has support among some of the other commissioners, although none have spoken out so bluntly in criticizing the Saudis. A Democratic commissioner, former congressman Tim Roemer of Indiana, said "When it comes to the Saudis", he said, “we still haven’t gotten to the bottom of what happened on 9/11”.

Another panel member, speaking on condition of anonymity said “I think we were tough on the Saudis, but obviously not tough enough,” the commissioner said. “I know some members of the staff felt we went much too easy on the Saudis. I didn’t really know the extent of it until after the report came out.”

The commissioner said the renewed public debate could force a spotlight on a mostly unknown chapter of the history of the 9/11 commission: behind closed doors, members of the panel’s staff fiercely protested the way the material about the Saudis was presented in the final report, saying it underplayed or ignored evidence that Saudi officials – especially at lower levels of the government – were part of an al-Qaida support network that had been tasked to assist the hijackers after they arrived in the US.

In fact, there were repeated showdowns, especially over the Saudis, between the staff and the commission’s hard-charging executive director, University of Virginia historian Philip Zelikow, who joined the Bush administration as a senior adviser to the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, after leaving the commission. The staff included experienced investigators from the FBI, the Department of Justice and the CIA.

Other staffers described an angry scene late one night, near the end of the investigation, when two investigators who focused on the Saudi allegations were forced to rush back to the commission’s offices after midnight after learning to their astonishment that some of the most compelling evidence about a Saudi tie to 9/11 was being edited out of the report or was being pushed to tiny, barely readable footnotes and endnotes. The staff protests were mostly overruled.

The 9/11 commission did criticize Saudi Arabia for its sponsorship of a fundamentalist branch of Islam embraced by terrorists and for the Saudi royal family’s relationship with charity groups that bankrolled al-Qaida before 9/11.

However, the commission’s final report was still widely read as an exoneration, with a central finding by the commission that there was “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually” provided financial assistance to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network. The statement was hailed by the Saudi government as effectively clearing Saudi officials of any tie to 9/11.

Lehman and another commissioner, former Democratic senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, filed affidavits last year in support of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government by the families of 9/11 victims. “Significant questions remain unanswered concerning possible involvement of Saudi government institutions and actors,” Kerrey said. Lehman agreed: “Contrary to the argument advocated by the Kingdom, the 9/11 commission did not exonerate Saudi Arabia of culpability for the events of 11 September 2001 or the financing of al-Qaida.” He said he was “deeply troubled” by the evidence gathered about a hijackers’ support network in California.

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