The United States of America has threatened to veto a bill that would allow the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks to sue the Saudis. The US said that it hoped that Saudi Arabia understands their shared interests in protecting the stability and security of the international financial system.
It would be a huge move on part of the US if this bill is vetoed. But the question is can it or will it be done by the US. The Saudis have already threatened to offload its 750 billion dollar investment if the Congress passes this legislation. The US has been back and forth on the 9/11 connection with the Saudis.
The US Congress report of 800 pages had 28 of them dedicated to the Saudis. However those 28 pages are yet to be declassified.
Can the US veto the bill?
In the existing scenario, it looks highly unlikely that the bill would be vetoed by the US. One may recall that the 28 classified pages of a Congress report on 9/11 which speaks about the alleged link between the hijackers and the Saudi Royal family.
There has been a push to declassify these pages which are currently lying in the basement room at Capitol. US president, Barack Obama is slated to visit Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and it is not clear if he would bring up issues relating to the 9/11 attacks.
The US has been back and forth where Saudi is concerned and hence it looks unlikely that this controversial issue would be taken up. The US had in fact said that since 9/11 they had seen a genuine focus on the part of the Saudis to counter those who seek to propagate extremist ideology.
We recognise and the Saudis now recognise just how dangerous that is, and the US and Saudi Arabia now work together to counter those who seek to advance these ideologies.
What do the classified files contain?
A CIA leak and the a reading of the 28 pages by two US senators had revealed that there was enough evidence to show the involvement of the Saudis in the attack. A CIA leaked memo had gone on to show that it was not the Al-Qaeda or the Taliban that carried out this attack, but it was Saudi Arabia.
Further the memo also went on to read that wealthy Saudis, diplomats and intelligence officials employed by the Saudi Royal family had helped the hijackers with both logistics and finances. The pages which had been blacked out by the Bush administration suggest that the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles had facilitated the arrival of two hijakers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi in 2000.
A Saudi intelligence official named Osama Bassnan and a spy Omar Bayoumi established a base in San Diego which housed the hijackers. This was the same place where al Qaeda cleric Ankar Al-Awlaki met with the hijackers.
The financial trail Some of the pages even indicate that a huge amount of money had been sent to the hijackers. Specific information suggests the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar had sent $130,000 to Saudi intelligence agent Osama Bassnan.
Although Prince Bandar had claimed that this money was a donation made to Bassnan who had an ailing wife, the US had managed to track that this money had infact reached the hijackers.
There was also a trail that Prince Bandar had paid for the establishment of an Islamic Centre in Virgina which was incidentally close to the Pentagon. It was found that Awlakki had played a vital role and was seen several times with Prince Bandar.
After the 9/11 attack, Awlakki tried to slip out of the country, but was apprehended at the JFK airport. However he was handed over to a representative of the Saudi government stating that the US government had withdrawn a federal arrest warrant against him.
Awlakki who was handed over to the Saudi representative managed to get out of the US almost immediately after that. He spent a considerable amount of time in Yemen before he was killed.
The pages also speak about a meeting of Essam Ghazzawi and Mohammad Atta the ringleader of the attack while Ghazzawi was the personal advisor to King Fahad. A party hosted by Ghazzawi at his home for Atta and the other hijackers had come under the scrutiny of the FBI.
After the attacks this home was abandoned by Ghazzawi. They left behind all things including several luxury cars behind after the attack.