Last July, the White House declassified a 47-page memo from an FBI investigation in 2003 that proved top Saudi officials had financed and orchestrated the devastating 9/11 terror attacks.
The documents have received new attention after former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) pressured the Obama Administration on April 10 to declassify 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission report, detailing Saudi Arabia’s connection to the terror plot.
The report establishes that Ghassan al Sharbi, an al-Qaeda extremist captured in Pakistan and presently detained at Guantanamo Bay, received an envelope from the Saudi embassy in Washington DC containing his flight itinerary. Al Sharbi went to flight school with the 9/11 hijackers but ultimately did not take part in the attacks.
Abdullah bin Laden, the half-brother of the infamous al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, had been assigned to the Saudi embassy in Washington DC as an administrative officer prior to the office issuing the flight itinerary to al Sharbi. Another accomplice to the attack, Hamad Alotaibi, visited a 9/11 hijacker right before the attacks and had served in the military division of Saudi Arabia’s Washington DC embassy.
The Saudi embassy also paid for the airfare of Mohammed al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi, Saudi students who allegedly participated in a "dry run" preparation for the 9/11 attacks during a 1999 flight.
Following the revelations — and the renewed push to hold Saudi Arabia accountable, by allowing surviving family members of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government in a US court — Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir threatened to divest the kingdom’s $750 billion in US Treasury assets.
Top US lawmakers, including Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), denounced the Saudi threat, calling on the Obama administration to stand up to the regime’s "blackmail."
President Obama immediately vowed to veto any legislation that would provide 9/11 families the right to sue Saudi Arabia, and took a noncommittal stance on releasing the 28 redacted pages of the 9/11 report.
The White House has found unlikely support among top Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who, with many other high ranking Republican officials, have moved to block the legislation.
On Wednesday, President Obama had a one-on-one meeting with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, where he reportedly employed aggressive rhetoric regarding Saudi Arabia’s chief regional adversary Iran, stating that the US continues to have "serious concerns" regarding Tehran.
In a unique show of disrespect to a sitting US president, the Saudi Kingdom dispatched a modest, low-ranking delegation to meet President Obama when he landed in Riyadh, with the Saudi King refusing to greet the American at the airport.