Last Friday the U.S. government finally released 28 pages of a 2002 congressional report that detail possible ties between the Saudi Arabian government and the 9/11 hijackers.
The document lists various forms of assistance provided by Saudi agents to the hijackers, including help finding a flight school and various forms of financial support when the hijackers arrived in the United States. Many of the findings in the report have not been fully vetted as several of the Saudi agents named in the 28 pages have refused to cooperate.
But that has not stopped Saudi-funded lobbyists and media outlets from claiming that the disclosure of the 28 pages ends all speculation about the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 terror attacks. Several outlets controlled by Saudi Arabia’s vast public relations machine are trumpeting the document as a vindication that closes the door on any suggestion that the Saudi government had any ties to the 9/11 terrorists.
“The question of Saudi involvement in 9/11 should be entirely put to rest,” said Fran Townsend, a former Bush administration official, in a 28-pages-related video posted on social media this week. The video was produced by Focus Washington, an interview series managed by Qorvis MSL, a lobbying firm retained by the Saudi government to influence American policymakers. The Saudi Embassy Twitter account distributed the video.
Other media outlets with ties to the Saudi government have used the 28 pages to dismiss concerns about Saudi involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Andrew Bowen, writing for al Arabiya, declares that the document ends any “conspiracy” that the Saudi government provided support to the hijackers. Another al Arabiya columnist, Turki Aldakhil, goes a step further, and in a piece about the 28 pages (“The Sept. 11 road began from Tehran”), attempts to claim that the declassified document should raise questions about Iran. The 28 pages, notably, does not include any information about Iran, and in contrast to Aldakhil’s claims, Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah is at war with al Qaeda.
Al Arabiya is an English language news outlet controlled by members of the Saudi Royal family. As we’ve reported, the outlet has responded quickly to other Saudi-related controversies to push stories that reflect a narrative promoted by the Saudi government.
First came the Never Trumpers, and I did not speak out, because they stood against Donald Trump. Then came the Lincoln Project, and I did not speak out, because their videos went viral. Then came the Chamber of Commerce, and by then it was too late.