Speaking Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” talk show, Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan categorically denied the involvement of Saudi Arabia in the September 11 terror attacks, while demanding that documents pointing to its complicity remain hidden from the American people.
Brennan was referring to 28 pages of the joint congressional inquiry report on the attacks, completed in 2002. The section on Saudi involvement has been kept secret for 14 years, despite calls from some sections of the US political establishment for their release.
The statements of Brennan, who wields enormous power as the head of the Obama administration’s CIA and is personally implicated in countless crimes of the state, are intended to intimidate and threaten anyone who questions the official cover-up of the 9/11 attacks. The White House itself has also opposed legislation that would mandate the release of the documents.
Brennan sought to paint the section of the report on Saudi Arabia as “inaccurate,” declaring without substantiation that subsequent investigations found that there is “no evidence that indicated that the Saudi government as an institution, or Saudi officials individually, had provided financial support for the 9/11 attacks.”
While acknowledging that the documents “point to Saudi involvement,” he nevertheless claimed that the reports were “uncorroborated, un-vetted, and basically just a collation of this information that came out of FBI files.”
He added, “I think some people may seize upon” this information to conclude that Saudi Arabia was involved, “which I think would be very, very inaccurate.” At the same time, he argued that the documents were being kept hidden because of the “sensitive methods” and “investigative action” used in collecting them.
These self-contradictory statements reek of a cover-up, and are refuted by what is already publicly known about the extent of Saudi Arabia’s involvement.
The evidence of Saudi involvement includes the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals and several of them received financing from Saudi officials. Moreover, Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person convicted of participation in the plot to hijack airplanes and fly them into the World Trade Center and other US targets, has testified in court that he worked as a courier between Osama bin Laden and the Saudi royal family, including Prince Salman, who is today the King of Saudi Arabia.
Moussaoui also asserted that high-level Saudi officials and members of the Saudi royal family, including Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the long-time Saudi ambassador to Washington, directly financed Al Qaeda.
Former Democratic Senator Robert Graham, co-chair of the Joint Congressional inquiry into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, said earlier this year that there is “a pervasive pattern of covering up the role of Saudi Arabia in 9/11, by all of the agencies of the federal government, which have access to information that might illuminate Saudi Arabia’s role in 9/11.”
At issue is not only the role of Saudi Arabia, but of sections of the US state. Brennan’s statements are clearly dictated by fears that exposure of Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the hijackers would shed light on the involvement of US intelligence agencies themselves in the events of 9/11. After all, the CIA has had long-standing and close ties with its counterparts in Saudi Arabia. The 9/11 hijackers, despite being under surveillance, were able to freely travel in and out of the country and attend flight schools, despite repeated warnings from other countries and from individuals within US intelligence.
“We have a very strong relationship with Saudi Arabia,” including “intelligence,” Brennan said in his interview, adding, “I have very close relations with my Saudi counterparts.” In addition to being the largest customer of the US military-industrial complex, having purchased over $100 billion in weapons from the US, Saudi Arabia has been the nexus for every clandestine and criminal alliance between the United States and Islamist forces for nearly four decades.
Under the CIA’s Operation Cyclone, conducted between 1979 and 1989, the United States and Saudi Arabia provided $40 billion worth of financial aid and weapons to the mujahedeen “freedom fighters” waging war against Soviet forces in Afghanistan, an operation in which then-US ally Osama bin Laden played a key role. The proxy war in Afghanistan was pivotal in the later creation of Al Qaeda.
More recently, Saudi Arabia has been a key player, along with Turkey and Qatar, in funneling US money and weapons to Islamic fundamentalist groups in Syria beginning in 2011 as part of the civil war targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The entire narrative of the “war on terror,” rests on the claim that the September 11 attacks were masterminded by a single man, Osama bin Laden, and the policy of the state—under first Bush and then Obama—has been guided by the overriding aim of preventing another attack.
The truth about what happened on September 11 cannot be told because it would expose as a lie the official account of an event that has been used as the catch-all pretext by the American ruling class at home and abroad. On the basis of the events of that day—and subsequent attacks that have followed a similar pattern—the US and other imperialist countries have waged a series of wars that have killed millions, while erecting the framework of a police state.
Fifteen years after the beginning of the war on terror, the American people still do not know the truth about what actually happened on 9/11. The tragic event, which directly cost the lives of nearly 3,000 people, remains shrouded in secrets and lies.