Trump: “Secret Papers” May Link 9/11 to Saudi Arabia

911 WTC aerial2Defending his attention-grabbing assertions that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was an enormous mistake facilitated by the George W. Bush administration’s misleading of the American people, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump this week indirectly referred to 28 classified pages said to link the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 attacks.

“It wasn’t the Iraqis that knocked down the World Trade Center. We went after Iraq, we decimated the country, Iran’s taking over…but it wasn’t the Iraqis, you will find out who really knocked down the World Trade Center, because they have papers in there that are very secret, you may find it’s the Saudis, okay? But you will find out,” Trump said at a Wednesday campaign event in Bluffton, South Carolina.

Trump’s implied promise to declassify 28 pages from a 2002 joint congressional intelligence inquiry into 9/11 sets him apart from the remaining Republican and Democratic presidential aspirants, filling a gap created when Rand Paul suspended his campaign. Last summer, Paul introduced Senate Bill 1471, which, if passed, would direct the president to release the 28 pages, and he pledged to release them himself if elected to the White House. Green Party candidate Jill Stein has also called for their release. (Then-Senator Hillary Clinton co-signed a 2003 letter to President Bush demanding the release of the 28 pages, but has been silent on the topic since.)

Vague Reference Dampens Impact

Trump’s comments brought renewed attention to the 28 pages. However, the impact would have certainly been greater had he specifically referred to “28 pages” rather than cryptically referencing “secret papers”—which he did time and again on the campaign trail, in an interview with Fox News and during CNN’s Thursday night town hall.

Given the dearth of mainstream media coverage of Trump’s Saudi Arabia reference, it’s clear his vague allusion to “secret papers” left journalists baffled. For example, though Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher was among the first to report it, his brief piece struck a snarky tone, made no reference to the 28 pages, and concluded with a dismissive statement that “no evidence has ever been presented that the government of Saudi Arabia was behind the attacks of 9/11.” Following his lead, most of those sharing the Mediaite story on social media ridiculed the notion that there are “secret papers” implicating the Saudis.

However, Graham, who co-chaired the intelligence inquiry that produced the 28 pages, said “they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier of 9/11.” Two of the 9/11 hijackers received financial, lodging and other assistance from a Saudi citizen who lived in San Diego and who is widely thought to have been an operative for the kingdom. There are also serious questions—and a FOIA lawsuit—swirling around a wealthy Saudi family that had ties to Mohammed Atta and which fled Sarasota two weeks before 9/11.

Jeb on the 28 Pages: From Shrugs to Sarcasm

When asked about the 28 pages last summer, Jeb Bush said he’d never heard of them. This month, asked if he would like to see the 28 pages his brother classified, Bush sarcastically replied, “Yeah, I’d like to see ’em. You got ’em?”

Among the many who would like to “see ’em”: 9/11 family members and survivors whose lawsuit against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been imperiled by what former Senator Bob Graham calls a “pervasive pattern of covering up the role of Saudi Arabia in 9/11, by all of the agencies of the federal government, which have access to information that might illuminate Saudi Arabia’s role in 9/11.”

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Jeb Bush: “I Don’t Know What the 28 Pages Are”

By Brian McGlinchey

Jeb Bush
Jeb Bush

Activists affiliated with New Hampshire-based “Declassify the 28 Pages” are at it again.

Continuing to make the redacted 28 pages on foreign government support of the 9/11 hijackers a campaign issue, they recently asked Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush if he would declassify them.

Bush’s answer: “I don’t know what the 28 pages are, so please explain it.” (Video below.)

The exchange took place at an August 7 town hall in Barrington, New Hampshire. Bush added, “Look, I can’t commit to something until I see it. Since I don’t have classified information, I can’t tell you what it is or tell you whether it should be declassified.” When the woman offered to explain what the 28 pages are—as Bush himself had asked in his initial reply—he stopped her from doing so.

There are two potential explanations for Bush’s answer, and neither is flattering to the former Florida governor. Bush is either so poorly informed on national security matters that he is truly unaware of a well-documented and intriguing 13-year old controversy surrounding his brother’s decision to classify a full chapter in the report of a 2002 joint congressional inquiry into September 11, or he was feigning ignorance to dodge discussion of yet another sensitive Bush family topic.

Jeb’s Links to the 28 Pages: Family, Florida and Saudi Arabia

There are many reasons why Bush’s claim of ignorance on this topic invites skepticism. First, of course, is the fact that his brother sits at the center of the controversy.

Then there’s the fact that, for more than a dozen years, the most prominent voice calling for the declassification of the 28 pages has been Bush’s fellow Floridian Bob Graham. While Bush was governor, Graham represented Florida in the Senate and co-chaired the unprecedented joint inquiry that produced the 28 pages. When the 28 pages were released, Graham publicly decried the redaction and was among 46 senators who signed a letter to Jeb’s brother urging their release.

Also during their governor-senator overlap, Graham published “Intelligence Matters,” a book that was very critical of the Bush administration’s actions before and after the September 11 attacks, including the decision to redact the 28 pages.

Among the criticisms advanced by Graham were well-substantiated claims that the Bush White House went out of its way to shield the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from scrutiny of its ties to the 9/11 hijackers. Graham has since said the 28 pages “point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier” of the 9/11 attacks.

Screen shot 2015-08-19 at 1.59.12 PM
George W. Bush and King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud

If the family and Florida connections to the 28 pages aren’t enough to put the issue on Bush’s radar, Graham’s claim that the 28 pages implicate Saudi Arabia in the devastating terror attack should be an attention-getter, given the Saudi royal family and the Bush family are deeply connected in ways that are both personal and financial.

$1.4 billion has reportedly made its way from the Saudi royal family to entities tied to the Bush family, and lobbyists for Saudi Arabia are helping to fund Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign. On the same day in February, two different lobbyists for Saudi Arabia gave a combined $15,000 to Bush’s super PAC, and one of them has already raised another $32,400 in bundled contributions for the Bush campaign fund.

Congressman Walter Jones—who has introduced a House resolution urging the release of the 28-pages chapter—has said, “There’s nothing in it about national security. It’s about the Bush Administration and its relationship with the Saudis.”

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