Executive Intelligence Review
This article appears in the Sepetember 19, 2014 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Bush-Obama 9/11 Coverup
Paved Way for Rise of ISIS

by Edward Spannaus

[PDF version of this article]

Sept. 16—The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was materially aided by the failure of the Bush and Obama administrations to investigate and make public the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) has charged. Graham is in the best position to know: As a member of the U.S. Senate for 18 years, he headed both the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Congressional investigation of the 9/11 attacks, which first uncovered the Saudi role in financing and supporting the terrorist hijackers.

Graham, who has been increasingly outspoken about the Saudi role, and the need to made this information available to the American public, has escalated his demands over the past week, by linking the suppression of the information about the Saudis and 9/11, to the emergence of the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Graham’s intervention, which is now being picked up in the international press, could not be more timely. President Barack Obama is on the edge of committing the United States to a new war in Southwest Asia, in which the U.S., Britain, and a host of others, will ally with the Saudi creators of the terrorists who would allegedly be targeted—a war that would have uncontrollable consequences for world peace. This cannot be allowed to happen; thus the urgency that the truth of the Saudi role in 9/11 come out.

Congress has the tool in its hands to blow the lid off the coverup which has been in place since 2003. Reps. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Steven Lynch (D-Mass.), and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) have sponsored House Resolution 428, which demands that “the President should declassify the 28-page section of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 2001.” Twelve additional Congressmen have signed on, and pressure is mounting, as the families of 9/11 victims have taken the offensive to finally get action and justice (see press conference transcript below).

Should Congress force the release of the 28 pages, it would blow apart the British-Saudi war drive, and lay bare the venal criminality of corrupt officials in the U.S. government who have carried out the coverup—from George W. Bush to Barack Obama—providing new evidence for them receiving their just deserts, in a prison cell.

Saudis ‘Playing Both Sides’

In a two-part interview with the local Fox News station in Tampa, Fla., Sept. 11-12, Graham made his strongest statements to date about the Saudi role. Fox opened its report as follows: “While President Obama just called on Saudi Arabia to help us fight the ISIS terrorists, and while Secretary of State John Kerry is currently rallying support from Arab diplomats in Saudi Arabia, Graham claims the Saudi government is already sponsoring the terrorists.”

In the interview, Graham charged that the Saudis are “playing both sides,” pretending to help the U.S. to fight against ISIS, while secretly financing the terrorists. “They essentially are the creator of ISIS and the primary source of its financial support today,” Graham said. “Saudi Arabia feels they can do almost anything and nothing is going to happen [to them] because they’re being protected, covered up, by the U.S. government,” Graham said. “I think it has emboldened Saudi Arabia to give even more support to the most extremist elements in Islam, such as ISIS now in Iraq and Syria.” He pointed out that both Presidents Bush and Obama have refused to release the classified 28 pages of the 9/11 Joint Inquiry, the investigation he headed. “For 13 years, that information has been denied to the American people,” said Graham. “The pot is going to break soon.”

Graham was referring to the 28-page chapter of the final report of the Congressional Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks, which was a combined effort of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. The chapter began by referring to “specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers while they were in the United States.” After that tantalizing lead-in, everything else in the chapter was redacted, having been classified by President Bush in 2003. This was despite the fact that both Graham and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who was the Republican co-chair of the Intelligence Committee at the time, said that 95% of the information in those 28 pages could be released to the public with no harm done to national security.

Coverup of 9/11 Aided ISIS

On Sept. 14, the London Independent, dropped another bombshell, under the headline, “U.S. failure to look into Saudi role in 9/11 has helped ISIS.” The article, by investigative reporter Patrick Cockburn, was based on an interview with Graham, in which he said that the U.S. government’s failure to investigate the Saudis, and to tell the public what it already knows about the Saudi role in 9/11 and its continued support of terrorist jihadist movements, has aided the rise of ISIS. Pointing to “successive administrations in Washington” (i.e., George W. Bush, and now Barack Obama) turning a blind eye to Saudi support for Sunni extremists, Graham declared: “I believe that the failure to shine a full light on Saudi actions and particularly its involvement in 9/11 has contributed to the Saudi ability to continue to engage in actions that are damaging to the US—and in particular their support for ISIS.”

“The most striking example of Washington’s willingness to protect the Kingdom over complicity in 9/11,” Cockburn wrote, “is the 28 pages of the official inquiry that were censored and have yet to be published.”

The failure of U.S. intelligence to identify the rising threat from ISIS, Graham told the Independent, was because the U.S. government has been ignoring Saudi Arabia’s fostering of al-Qaeda-type jihadist movements, and treating the Saudis as a reliable ally. It was certainly no coincidence that Graham’s charges came as the Obama Administration was seeking to enlist the aid of the Saudi Kingdom and other Gulf monarchies in a military drive against ISIS—the very same ISIS which Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in particular, have been supporting and financing all along.

Bandar Is Smoked Out

Surrounding the Sept. 9 press conference on Capitol Hill, and the 13th anniversary of the attacks on Sept. 11, the story of the Saudis and the suppressed 28 pages began to break out in the “mainstream” U.S. media, including substantial stories on the CNN and MSNBC cable news networks, and the widely watched PBS “Newshour.”

Internationally, Al Jazeera ran its own story, while numerous other outlets in Southwest Asia and elsewhere reposted and reprinted stories from the U.S. media, as well as the Independent story cited above. The Al Jazeera article was entitled “9/11’s secret 28-page history,” and it gave prominent coverage to the calls of the 9/11 families for release of the 28 pages, and the drive in the U.S. Congress around HR 428.

Moreover, the Saudi figure in the middle of it all, the Kingdom’s former Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar bin Sultan, was drawn out to deny his role in the 9/11 attacks. The Prince, sometimes known as “Bandar Bush,” due to his extremely close relationship with the Bush family, has been publicly linked to funds channeled to two hijackers living in San Diego, Calif.; EIR has further shown that those funds likely derived from the British-Saudi Al Yamamah terrorist slush fund. On Al Jazeera, Bandar lied shamelessly, asserting: “The idea that the Saudi government funded, organized or even knew about September 11 is malicious and blatantly false.”

Al Jazeera also quoted Michael Kellogg, a Washington, D.C. lawyer who represents the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in various lawsuits growing out of the 9/11 attacks, as denying the allegations made about Saudi intelligence agent Omar al-Bayoumi, who has been identified as a key part of the Saudi support network in San Diego. On the other side, the article quoted Stephen Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, who “told Al Jazeera while the information might negatively affect U.S. foreign relations, the importance of shedding light on the September 11 attacks takes precedence.”

Don’t Just Say: ‘Never Forget’

In the Sept. 11 segment on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes,” Rep. Stephen Lynch was asked about the Saudi claims that they would like the 28 pages to be released. Lynch answered (as he had in the Sept. 9 press conference), that there may be “some duplicity” on the part of the Saudis in their calling for this, adding that he doesn’t think they really want it disclosed. In the Capitol Hill press conference, Lynch—who has read the classified 28 pages—was more direct, declaring that “if I was part of the Saudi Royal Family and government, I would not be calling for the disclosure of this information.”

Otherwise, in their MSNBC interviews, both Reps. Jones and Lynch stressed that the American people have the right to know the truth about what happened on 9/11. When asked if the pages are being withheld to protect the Saudis, Lynch, of course, could not answer directly, but he said that disclosure of the 28 pages “would inform our anti-terrorism policy going forward,” and that disclosure would allow the American people to understand “the complexity, the months of planning, and the individuals who were complicit” in the 9/11 attacks.” Hayes raised the question of Saudi and Qatari financing of ISIS, and Jones insisted that we should let the 9/11 families and the American people “know the truth and decide for themselves.” If the material in the 28 pages implicates some other countries, said Jones, “so be it; let the American people know the truth of 9/11.”

Lynch also had an op-ed published on WickedLocal.com, a Massachusetts-based website, in which he made the critical point that on 9/11, it’s not enough to say “never forget.” We also need “a full accounting of the events and circumstances surrounding the tragedy of 9/11.” Which, he said, we will not have as long as the 28 pages remain classified.

Zelikow’s—and Obama’s—Perfidy

The Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks was also highlighted in the PBS “Newshour” broadcast on Sept. 11. The program featured an interview with New Yorker investigative reporter Lawrence Wright, who had published an important article on the Saudis and the 28 pages on the morning of the Sept. 9 Capitol Hill press conference, which included an interview with one of the officials most responsible for the coverup of the Saudi-9/11 story, the 9/11 Commission’s staff director, Philip Zelikow.

In the PBS interview, Wright reported, “Congressmen that I have spoken to who have read those 28 pages say it has nothing at all to do with national security, that the Bush Administration and the relationship with the Saudis is implicated.” Wright added that “they also admit that it has something to do with the two Saudi hijackers who came to America in January of 2000.” Wright acknowledged that the events in San Diego center on the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, which has offices in Saudi embassies around the world.

Wright’s nailing of Zelikow as demanding that the 28 pages remain classified is most instructive. As the staff director of the 9/11 Commission, Zelikow ran it as a petty dictatorship on behalf of the Bush-Cheney White House, maintaining a secret back channel to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove. Even though the 9/11 Commission was supposed to build on the work of Graham’s Congressional Joint Inquiry, Zelikow would not allow anyone to see the 28 pages on the Saudi role—even the Justice Department and FBI investigators who had written it!—and he went to great lengths to attempt to exonerate the Saudis, while trying to pin the 9/11 attacks on Saddam Hussein and Iraq. Earlier, Zelikow had served both on the Bush-Cheney transition team, and then on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) under Bush.

Tellingly, Obama appointed traitor Zelikow to his own President’s Intelligence Advisory Board on Sept. 7, 2011—only days before the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Is it any wonder that Obama has continued to keep the truth about the Saudis and terrorism from the American people and the world?

According to family members, President Obama has twice told family members of 9/11 victims that he will release the suppressed 28 pages. That promise has been broken.

Senate Action?

Glaringly missing in the campaign for release of the 28 pages has been the U.S. Senate, where so far, no Senator has come forward to introduce a parallel resolution to HR 428. This inaction was partially broken on Sept. 11, when, by a unanimous vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a new version of the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” (JASTA), sending it to the Senate floor for a vote. This is a victory for the 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism, who have fought hard for the legislation for years, declaring that they want to hold Saudi Arabia and its ruling family legally responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The bill would expand provisions in the Foreign Sovereignties Immunities Act and the Anti-Terrorism Act, thus allowing lawsuits against foreign states financing terrorism, to go forward. Saudi Arabia still faces numerous lawsuits over its role in 9/11. The Obama Administration has intervened in the court cases to protect the Saudis from the families’ legal efforts; it has also protected Saudi Arabia by refusing to designate the Kingdom as a state sponsor of terrorism.

At a Sept. 1 press conference at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), accompanied by 9/11 families’ representatives, promised that the Judiciary Committee would take up JASTA on Sept. 11. Schumer said that it “doesn’t matter” that lawsuits would create tensions with Saudi Arabia, adding that their role in helping fund al-Qaeda was a “horrible thing.”

Subscribe to EIW