Boston terrorism and the Saudi Arabian PR masters

How long before the Kingdom launches another Public Relations campaign to combat the latest on the Boston bombs?

Boston blast 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Dan Lampariello)
Boston blast 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Dan Lampariello)
The suspect in the Boston Marathon terror attack is a 20-year old Saudi national who is currently under police guard.  One wonders how long it will take for the Saudi Public Relations spin machine to begin churning. Indeed, in the years since 9/11, when 15 of the 19 9/11 bombers were from Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom has spent over $100 million on American PR companies.
Clearly, those funds have been well spent. From their current PR firm, Edelman to Hill & Knowlton (who has worked with them since 1982), to Washington D.C. powerhouse Qorvis Communications, the Saudis pay top dollar to ensure that the wool is pulled tight over the eyes of the West.
One wonders which spin-doctors and lobbyists were responsible less than a month ago for securing Saudi Arabian citizens the “trusted traveler” status from America’s Department of Homeland Security.  That means that Saudis, once they are in the program, would receive special clearance through customs.  Previously, Saudi Arabia was on a list with other countries deemed susceptible to terrorists – including Libya and Iraq.
This heralds quite a change of policy.
It’s not just PR firms that the Saudis are splurging on – they've also given $20 Million donations to Harvard and Georgetown universities, $200 million from Saudi King Abdullah University of Science and Technology went to  Stanford, Cornell, Texas A&M, CalTech, and much more.
And while the Boston investigation is just beginning, until today questions remain about the Saudi government’s connection to the September 11 attacks. 
Joseph Lieberman said then:  "Either [the Saudis] have to change or the relationship that we have with Saudi Arabia is going to change dramatically. For too many generations, certainly years, they have pacified and accommodated themselves to the most extreme fanatical elements of Islam." And Republican Mitch McConnell said "The Saudis are on all sides of every issue. We, in some ways, have had a good relationship with them over the years, and in other ways, it appears as if they're funding our enemies."
Democratic Senators Bob Graham and Bob Kerrey stated that they are “…convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia.” As Graham said “Someday, I do believe we will get to the bottom of 9/11 and the Saudi government connections.”
This is a bipartisan issue which hasn’t gotten enough attention – maybe now the sun will shine on the Saudis clearer.  One also wonders if public relations firms will help clean up the Saudi Arabian reputation before the public focuses on the truth about Saudi Arabia.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a New York PR firm and author of best-selling PR book “For Immediate Release.”