Reprinted from www.huffingtonpost.com
Americans are not used to reading investigative pieces of journalism. We like to tweet and text in small bites. But here's the thing. Sometimes, the most important things can't be explained in 15 bites or less. Sometimes, it takes more space and time. And so I ask everyone who is reading this blog to please read it in its entirety -- especially the bold parts. And, if you care about our country, if you care about peace, and keeping American lives safe from terrorists, pay attention to what is being said here -- and never forget it.
The time has come to clarify some inaccuracies and misleading statements being made in the media regarding the 28 pages, the 9/11 attacks, the investigation of the 9/11 attacks, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). In doing so, perhaps the American public will come to understand the importance of passing JASTA(Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act) and releasing the 28 pages in their entirety.
The 9/11 Commission's mandate was to not replicate, but rather to expand upon the investigation of the JICI. The JICI was the Joint Intelligence Committee's Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks, headed by Senator Bob Graham and Congressman Porter Goss. The JICI is where the 28 pages originated. Furthermore, the JICI made a finding of fact and final recommendation that further investigation into the role of KSA and the 9/11 attacks needed to be done, immediately. Therefore, the 9/11 Commission should have carried out this further investigation of the KSA and 9/11. But, they did not. It is only the 9/11 families and intrepid journalists who have continued to investigate the Saudi role for the past twelve years.
So, when two JICI staffers were brought over to the 9/11 Commission to continue their work on the links between the KSA and the 9/11 attacks, they were blocked by Zelikow. Zelikow fired one investigator when she tried to access the 28 pages as part of her further investigation and work for the commission. And, the second staffer (who was the person responsible for writing the 28 pages in the first place when he worked on the JICI) was actively thwarted from his investigation by Zelikow, as well. In fact, once the 9/11 Commission report was in its final draft form, Zelikow "re-wrote" the entire section that dealt with the Saudis--leaving out vital, highly pertinent, and extremely damning information.
Thus, when a person says the 9/11 Commission, "found no evidence linking the Saudis," be wary of the cute context of the words. The 9/11 commission "found no evidence" because they were either never allowed to look for any evidence or whatever evidence they did find was conveniently written out of the final report, compliments of Phil Zelikow.
Why would Zelikow block his own investigation? No one knows for sure, but for starters, Zelikow was taking regular phone calls from Karl Rove whose job at the time was to ramp up the drumbeat for the war in Iraq--not a war with Saudi Arabia.
In addition, Zelikow was part of the Bush transition team and good friends with Condoleeza Rice. In fact, it was Zelikow's job to brief the incoming Bush Administration about national security issues. It's safe to say that the "sleeper cells" living inside the U.S., and the other facets of the Saudi nexus of help for the 9/11 hijackers was not something Zelikow was eager to delve into while on the Bush transition team or as Staff Director of the 9/11 Commission.
Had the information regarding the Saudis and 9/11 been properly and fully investigated by the 9/11 Commission, and had that investigation continued thereafter, the facts surrounding the FBI and CIA and their collective failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks, would have certainly come to further light. Let's not forget the Director of the FBI's unacceptable "handling" and "covering up" of several Saudi accomplices before and after the 9/11 attacks by permitting them to leave the country, evade arrest, and prosecution.
Suffice it to say, both the JICI and the 9/11 Commission clearly document that prior to the 9/11 attacks, the KSA was not as helpful as it could be with regard to providing access to al Qaeda prisoners, stopping the flow of money to UBL, and/or sharing information with regard to UBL.
But most importantly, both the JICI and the 9/11 Commission provide plenty of statements, facts, and findings that show KSA aided, abetted and had roots and connections to the 9/11 hijackers. In short, there's likely a very good reason that the name "Saudi Arabia" appears more often in both reports than names like Iran, Syria, and Iraq.
The JICI Finding #15 states, "Regarding Saudi Arabia, the Committee heard testimony from U.S. government personnel that Saudi officials had been uncooperative and often did not act on information implicating Saudi nationals. According to a U.S. government official, it was clear from about 1996 that the Saudi government would not cooperate with the United States on matters relating to Osama bin Laden...a number of U.S. government officials complained to the Joint Inquiry about a lack of Saudi cooperation in terrorism investigations both before and after the September 11th attacks."
The JICI Finding #20 states, "Through its investigation, the Joint Inquiry developed information suggesting specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers while they were in the U.S. The Joint Inquiry's review confirmed that the Intelligence Community also has information, much of which has yet to be independently verified, concerning these potential sources of support. In their testimony, neither CIA nor FBI officials were able to address definitively the extent of such support for the hijackers globally or within the U.S. or the extent to which such support, if it exists, is knowing or inadvertent in nature...This gap in U.S. intelligence coverage is unacceptable, given the magnitude and immediacy of the potential risk to U.S. national security. The Intelligence Community needs to address this area of concern as aggressively and quickly as possible.
The JICI's Final Recommendation # 19, "The Intelligence Community and particularly the FBI and the CIA should aggressively address the possibility thatforeign governments are providing support to or are involved in terrorist activity targeting the U.S. and U.S. interests. State sponsored terrorism substantially increases the likelihood of successful and more lethal attacks within the U.S. This issue must be addressed from a national standpoint and should not be limited in focus by the geographical and factual boundaries of individual cases. The FBI and CIA should aggressively and thoroughly pursue related matters developed through this Joint Inquiry that have been referred to them for further investigation by these Committees.