Former US senator and governor of Florida, Bob Graham, says Saudi Arabia’s threat to pull hundreds of billions of dollars from the US economy “says something about Saudi Arabia’s involvement in 9/11.”
In an interview with the Daily News on Sunday, Graham, who co-chaired a joint congressional investigation into the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, called Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir’s threat to the US Congress “reprehensible but also revealing.”
Saudi Arabia has threatened to sell off some $750 billion of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi ruling family to be held responsible in US courts for any role in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to The New York Times.
If the Republican-dominated Congress passed the legislation, it would take away immunity from foreign governments in cases “arising from a terrorist attack that kills an American on American soil.” American courts could also order freezing the assets held by Saudi Arabia in the United States.
Graham said Saudi Arabian officials are strongly opposing the legislation because they are worried the kingdom’s ties to al-Qaeda terrorists would be revealed during a trial.
“I think the action by Saudi Arabia is reprehensible and also very revealing,” Graham said. “They are so fearful of what would emerge if there were to be a full trial. That says something about Saudi Arabia’s involvement in 9/11.”
The administration of President Barack Obama has lobbied against the bill, warning lawmakers of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation. The administration said such legislation would put Americans at legal risk overseas.
Graham censured the Obama administration for its support for the Saudi ruling family.
“I think it’s even more objectionable that the US government has been supporting Saudi Arabia and erecting roadblocks to the passage of the legislation,” he said.
The September, 11, 2001 attacks, also known as the 9/11 attacks, were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage.
US officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists – 15 of them were Saudi citizens -- but many independent researchers have raised questions about the official account.
Several former and current US lawmakers have called on the White House to declassify documents that shed light on Saudi Arabia’s possible complicity in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Graham and former Senator Bob Kerrey, who was a member of the 9/11 Commission, say the 28-page classified document proves two Saudi nationals who were behind the 9/11 attacks received support and assistance from Riyadh while in the United States.
The 28-page report is part of a larger Congressional report on 9/11 released in 2002 and called the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities, which was conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Reports say the Obama administration and intelligence officials are now weighing whether to declassify the remaining 28 pages.