Fundamentally Freund: Hold the Saudis to account for 9/11

15 of 19 hijackers and Osama Bin Laden were Saudi Arabian; section of 9/11 report detailing Saudi financial support to Al-Qaida classified.

terrorist 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
terrorist 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
This Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks against New York and Washington, which were a defining moment in the modern era.
The world is still reeling from the effects of that dark day, when radical Muslim jihadists hijacked passenger jets and transformed them into homicidal projectiles, murdering 3,000 innocents and scarring a generation.
A decade later, many of those behind this horrifying act have, thankfully, been made to pay for their actions.
The Taliban regime which harbored al-Qaida was swept out of power by the might of the American military, while terrorist chieftain Osama bin-Laden was subsequently hunted down and eliminated.
But there is one key player that has escaped largely unscathed, and it is time for this to change.
Ten years after the deadliest attack on American soil, the Saudi sponsors of this atrocity have yet to pay for their actions.
Almost everyone knows that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, as was bin Laden himself. But what most people don’t realize is that the Saudi connection to the attacks may have been even deeper and more profound.
In the wake of the attacks, the US Congress established a bipartisan commission headed by Democratic Senator Bob Graham and Republican Senator Richard Shelby which eventually produced a comprehensive document that came to be known as “the 9/11 report.”
The report surveyed the origins of the attacks and offered a detailed account of what was known about the plot and its perpetrators. It was made available to the public and even became a national bestseller.
But the 28 pages which make up Part Four of the document, entitled “Findings, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters,” were almost entirely redacted. These pages are virtually blank, as if a hidden hand of some sort had blotted out all the material contained therein, which is in fact what happened.
For reasons that remain unclear, in 2003 the Bush administration refused to countenance the publication of this section, insisting that to do so would hurt US intelligence operations and compromise the national interest.
It remains classified to this day.
And just what, you might be wondering, was so incendiary that it had to be kept hidden from the public? By all accounts, the material in those pages relates to Saudi officials and their alleged links to the attacks.
As CBS news reported on July 30, 2003, “the redacted section lays out a money trail between Saudi Arabia and supporters of al-Qaida.”
Among others, it singles out Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi intelligence agent who provided financial assistance to two of the hijackers prior to the attacks. Al- Bayoumi is said to have received funds from a charitable trust run by the wife of the Saudi Ambassador to the US.
A recent book, The Eleventh Day: the Full Story of 9/11 and Osama Bin-Laden, by journalists Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, offers still more damning evidence.
Summers and Swan cite a US official who said there had been “very direct, very specific links” between Saudi officials and some of the al-Qaida hijackers.
Others have suggested that members of the Saudi royal family may have been involved.
Earlier this summer, Senator Graham, who is now retired, sought to redirect the spotlight in the direction of the Saudis. In an op-ed piece, he wrote that, “still unanswered after nearly 10 years are the questions of the full extent of the Saudi pre-9/11 involvement.”
Graham also blasted the US government for its ongoing and inexplicable cover-up of the Saudi role.
In the past, Graham sought to get the redacted material in the 9/11 report released, but he was repeatedly rebuffed. His co-chair, Senator Shelby, also supported its publication, as did top Democratic representative Nancy Pelosi and others.
In 2004, Graham went so far as to write a nonfiction book, Intelligence Matters, but US officials succeeded in censoring key portions on grounds of national security, though Graham says much of the material was about “the role of the Saudis in 9/11.”
Now, to circumvent the restrictions, he has written a novel called Keys to the Kingdom, which mixes fact and fiction, in an attempt to raise questions and provide answers.
It should not have to come to this. The American people and the entire Western world deserve to know the truth about the role played by the Saudi sheikhs in the most brazen assault on the United States in two centuries.
It is time to hold the Saudis to account for their actions and to stop covering up the extent of their involvement.
Shortly after his inauguration in 2009, Obama met with relatives of the victims of 9/11.
According to Summers and Swan, the president told Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband died at the World Trade Center, that he was willing to get the censored material released.
Two years have passed, but that has yet to happen.
President Obama: On this, the tenth anniversary of the attacks, it is time to keep that promise.
Lift the veil of secrecy behind which the Saudis are cowering. Release the redacted section of the 9/11 report and let the world finally know the truth about Riyadh’s treachery and duplicity.
The writer is chairman of Shavei Israel (, a Jerusalem-based organization that helps lost tribes and hidden Jewish communities return to the Jewish people.