As Obama plans a visit to Saudi Arabia next month, he’s under enormous pressure to declassify a certain 28 pages of information everybody’s been talking about.
The 28 pages in question are part of a 2002 document on the September 11th attacks which has been withheld from the public since then. Many believe the pages reveal a link between Saudi officials and the 9/11 attacks — a charge the FBI denies, but many members in Congress advance. Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 attackers were Saudi citizens.
Obama stated on Wednesday that he’d make a decision within 60 days whether or not to declassify the documents. If a connection between the Saudi government and 9/11 is discovered, that discovery is only the tip of the iceberg. Who knew this information this entire time — and why was it hidden?
Saudi Arabia is not happy about the possible revelation and likely consequences. Currently, the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” which indicts nations like Qatar and Saudi Arabia as state sponsors of terrorism, is set to be voted on by Congress.
If that passes, Saudi Arabia plans to retaliate.
As the New York Times reports:
Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage, according to administration officials and congressional aides from both parties, and the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials have warned senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation.
Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.
If they’re guilty as charged, a diplomatic and economic fallout isn’t a consequence, it’s a necessity.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]