Along the Tracks

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Saudi sponsors of 9/11?

Yesterday, Sen. Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, made one of the most explicit accusations against Saudi Arabia I have heard from any official “in the know.” As chairman of the congressional 9/11 commission, Graham stated flatly that links to a “state sponsor” of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were strongly indicated by their research, and that the information was being classified to protect political ties with the kingdom, rather than for any legitimate security reasons. Republican vice-chair Richard Shelby agreed, arguing the secrecy could very well hinder efforts to defend the country.

Neither man directly named Saudi Arabia as the “state sponsor,” but both later referred to a lack of Saudi cooperation and the deep ties, perhaps including the royal family, with terrorist-front “charities” which directly aided the hijackers. The “state sponsor” accusation would seem to indicate knowledge of the plans and perhaps some organizational assistance beyond mere blind funding of these “charities.”

The Bush administration continues to walk a tightrope, believing the dangers posed by Iraq and its ties to al Qaeda (see today’s Washington Post story on al Qaeda’s apparent acquisition of Iraqi VX gas) are greater than the continued obstinance of Saudi Arabia. However, looking beyond Baghdad, I’d wager Bush has some stiff plans in the works for the kingdom - it’s just that Iraq is such a huge issue, nobody in the media is looking at what may come next.

The question is, can we hold out long enough without the Saudi sponsorship coming back to bite us - again?

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