Victims of 9/11 families accuse Obama of ‘siding with Saudi Arabia’ by refusing to declassify 28 pages of report that ‘shows Gulf nation backed atrocity’ as they threaten to pull $750 billion in US assets
- The administration has tried to stop Congress from passing the legislation
- Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Juberi told Washington lawmakers the country would be forced to sell $750 billion in Treasury securities
- The revelations come as President Obama decided whether to declassify 28 pages of sealed 9/11 documents
- White House will make a decision by June
- Bush and Obama administrations have refused to unseal the documents, arguing their release would jeopardize national security
- Suggestions the files could expose a Saudi connection to the attacks
- 15 of the 19 hijackers – and Osama bin Laden – were from Saudi Arabia
- President Obama will arrive in Riyadh on Wednesday for meetings with King Salman and other Saudi officials
By Dailymail.com Reporter|
The families of 9/11 victims in the US are reportedly infuriated at the administration of President Barack Obama for ‘siding with Saudi Arabia’ over a congressional bill that could incriminate Saudi officials for the deadly attacks on September 11, 2001 in America.
The families of victims are making a renewed push to declassify 28 pages of a 838-page congressional report on the worst terror attack on American soil, which points the blame towards Saudi Arabia.
Until now,the Obama administration has so far refused to reveal the contents of the missing pages and looks to be leaving the decision to a Congressional vote.
Speaking to the New York Times, Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on September 11 said: ‘It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens.’
Ms. Kleinberg is part of a group of victims’ family members pushing for the legislation against the Middle Eastern country, however so far all attempts to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have failed.
The group says the Obama administration has ‘consistently sided with the kingdom’ and thus thwarted their efforts to learn ‘the truth about the role some Saudi officials played in the terrorist plot.’
Outrage: Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband Alan was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center nearly 15 years ago, says she is ‘stunned that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens’
Officials in Saudi Arabia have told the Obama administration they will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars of American assets if Congress passes a bill that allows the Saudi government to be held responsible for 9/11.
Last September, the latest lawsuit brought by families of victims of the 9/11 attacks, was thrown out. A previous attempt in 2013 also failed to make any headway.
A US judge stated there was insufficient evidence linking the Gulf country to the 2001 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
Among the evidence dismissed were claims by one man in custody that a Saudi prince helped finance the plot.
Of the 19 men behind the attacks, 15 were citizens of Saudi Arabia.
Jim Kreindler and Sean Carter, lawyers representing the families are fighting to have 28 pages of a 838-page congressional report into the attacks, declassified as part of the lawsuit against the government of Saudi Arabia.
Kreindler said the White House could be doing a lot more to ensure transparency.
‘The administration views the 9/11 families suit as an impediment to the U.S.-Saudi relationship,’ he told NBC News.
Speaking of the the President’s forthcoming visit to the region this week and meeting with King Salman, Mr Carter believes the topic should be discussed.
‘I think that he should raise not only the 28 pages, but the unresolved disputes between 9/11 families and Saudis generally.’
Pictured in 2004, Thomas Kean of the 9/11 Commission, gives a signed copy of the Commission’s Report released today to Kristen Breitweiser, left, as Mindy Kleinberg looks on. But 28 pages are still top secret
President Obama will decide whether to declassify 28 pages of sealed documents that are rumored to show Saudi Arabia’s connection to the 9/11 attacks, a senator said.
Saudi officials have threatened to sell off hundreds of billions of dollars of American assets if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible for any role in the attacks.
The warning was delivered by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir last month during a visit to Washington.
The minister said his country would sell up to $750 billion in US treasury securities and other assets before the bill puts them in jeopardy.
The administration has tried to stop Congress from passing the legislation, a bipartisan Senate bill.
Al-Juberi purportedly informed the lawmakers during a trip to Washington that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell a huge chunk of American financial assets on the world market, fearing the legislation could become law and U.S. courts would then freeze the assets.
Veiled threat: Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister (pictured), told Washington that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750bn in treasury securities and other assets in the U.S. before they could frozen by American courts.
The Times said Riyadh’s resolve to actually deliver on the threat is dubious, since selling off those assets would be technically challenging and would damage the dollar, against which the Saudi national currency is pegged.
Under the current US law, foreign nations have a degree of immunity from being sued in American courts.
The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 is one of the reasons why families of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks largely failed to bring to court the Saudi royal family and charities over suspicion of financially supporting the attacks.
15 of the 19 men who hijacked four planes and flew them into targets in New York and Washington in 2001 were Saudi citizens, though Riyadh has always denied having any role in the attacks.
A US commission established in the aftermath of the attacks also concluded there was no evidence of official Saudi connivance. However, the White House has been under pressure to declassify a 28-page section of the report that was never published on the grounds of national security.
President Obama will decide whether to declassify the sealed documents by June.
The so-called pages are currently locked away in a secure basement room at the Capitol and although they can be read by members of Congress, the pages which are rumored to expose Saudi Arabia’s connection to the attacks, remain classified.
It’s believed the 28 pages could shed more light on the money and connections used to finance the attacks and are said to include information ‘suggesting specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers while they were in the United States,’ according to the chapter’s introduction in the report.
Former Florida senator Bob Graham said the White House made it clear to him that a decision on the secret files would be made in the next two months.
Graham told Fox News he was ‘pleased that after two years this matter is about to come to a decision by the president’.
Graham and other critics believe the files expose Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the attacks – something the U.S. government has allegedly sought to keep quiet.
The timing of the release could be highly significant, with the president heading to Saudi Arabia to meet leaders in the region next week.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called for the documents to be released ahead of that summit so Obama could discuss any consequences with the Saudi government.
‘If the president is going to meet with the Saudi Arabian leadership and the royal family, they think it would be appropriate that this document be released before the president makes that trip, so that they can talk about whatever issues are in that document,’ Gillibrand said.
She told CBS’ 60 Minutes that she was unsure how the Saudis would react to the release, but said the family members of 9/11 victims deserved to know what the documents said.
President Obama will arrive in Riyadh on Wednesday for meetings with King Salman and other Saudi officials.
Democrats Bob Graham and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand have both called for the 28 pages to be declassified.
There have long been questions over Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the attacks, which left 2,977 innocent people dead after four passenger airliners were hijacked and crashed into both of the World Trade Center towers in New York, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Apart from the hijackers, Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a U.S. raid on his lair in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011, was also of Saudi origin.
He was the son of a Saudi billionaire with close ties to the kingdom’s royal family.
‘The Saudis know what they did. We know what they did,’ Graham told 60 Minutes.
‘There are a lot of rocks out there that have been purposefully tamped down, that if were they turned over, would give us a more expansive view of the Saudi role.’
Graham added that he believes the terrorists were ‘substantially’ helped by the Saudi Arabian government, financiers and charities.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also called for the 28 pages to be declassified, saying that the refusal to do so was ‘a mistake’ as she added to the Democrats piling pressure on Obama.
‘I have always advocated for providing as much transparency as possible to the American people consistent with protecting our national security,’ she said.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said he did not know whether Obama had looked at the sealed documents himself.
He confirmed the files were being reviewed but mentioned that the 9/11 Commission’s report found no evidence of al-Qaeda being funded by Saudi officials.