‘Americans need to tell their government to declassify 28 pages of 9/11 report’
Obama is going to do his best to reassure the Saudis that if we release any information it won’t be anything that harms their government, Michael Springmann, former head of the US consulate's visa department in Saudi Arabia, told RT.
Despite some disagreements between the US and Saudi Arabia, American President Barack Obama came to Riyadh on Wednesday. His plan is to meet with Saudi King Salman, as well as with many other Gulf leaders.
RT: President Obama on two separate occasions over the last several years promised the 9/11 families that he would declassify the 28 pages report that documents Saudi support for the plane hijackers. But the president’s spokesman wouldn't say whether Mr. Obama believes they should be made public. Does it look a little bit hypocritical concealing information about one of the biggest tragedies in US history because it would cast a shadow on an ally?
Michael Springmann: I don’t think there is any complication involved. I think that the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia is stronger than it has ever been. The US is helping Saudi Arabia destroy Yemen, committing war crimes, murder and human rights violations there; giving them information, giving them weapons. Obama going to Saudi Arabia is designed to strengthen the relationship and erase any questions that may come up about American support for lifting the sanctions on Iran.
RT: What do you make of the meeting of Obama and Salman?
MS: I don’t think this is a real issue, I think it is more face time, it’s more polishing of the image. It’s more meeting of two heads of states. I don’t think that there are any real issues or any real wedge between the American government and the Saudi government.
RT: What is going to be the main topic for discussion here?
MS: I would imagine that one item that would be discussed would be the still-classified 28 pages out of the intelligence report on the failures of September 11, 2001. There are more and more cries in the US - from Nancy Pelosi on the House Intelligence committee and former Senator Bob Graham, as well as political commentators like Bruce Fein - saying that these things have to be declassified and that the whole point of hiding them from the American public and the rest of the world is that it shows the Saudis participated in the 9/11 attacks either financially, or with assistance to the perpetrators or perhaps both.
The Saudis don’t like this. They threaten to cash in hundreds of millions of dollars of American bonds they’re holding in the hope of scaring the Americans about their economy. But I really think that Obama is going to do his best to tamp this down and to reassure the Saudis that no, if we release any information it won’t be anything that harms your government or high officials in your government, such as Prince Turki bin Faisal or Prince Bandar, or the other high ranking princes in Saudi officialdom.
RT: There is a bill that might be passed by the US Senate that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia. Is that really going to happen though?
MS: I think first they will not pass the bill. The members of Congress – neither the House, nor the Senate can go out onto the floor of either house and tell in free speech, in free debate the content of these 28 pages – they are not forbidden from reading them, they are forbidden from speaking about them, or writing about them.
But the issue is on both Houses of Congress on the floor, according to Article one, Section six of the American Constitution: no congressmen can be held to account for what he says on the floor of either House unless it’s treason. So if Congress won’t do this – if the Senator Intelligence and the House Intelligence committees won’t report on the bill saying – declassify every word of these 28 pages – nothing is going to be done. The American people need to tell their congressmen to do that. But what the Saudis fear is that there is information in there that talks about how the Saudis helped recruit terrorists for Afghanistan and helped terrorists to destroy Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria and Libya. And this is what they fear – they don’t want the truth to come out.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.