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    Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill

    Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill

    By MARK MAZZETTIAPRIL 15, 2016
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    President Obama at a Sept. 11 ceremony in 2015. The Obama administration argues that the bill would put Americans at legal risk overseas. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
    The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage, according to administration officials and congressional aides from both parties, and the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials have warned senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation.
    Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.
    Several outside economists are skeptical that the Saudis will follow through, saying that such a sell-off would be difficult to execute and would end up crippling the kingdom’s economy. But the threat is another sign of the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States.
    The administration, which argues that the legislation would put Americans at legal risk overseas, has been lobbying so intently against the bill that some lawmakers and families of Sept. 11 victims are infuriated. In their view, the Obama administration has consistently sided with the kingdom and has thwarted their efforts to learn what they believe to be the truth about the role some Saudi officials played in the terrorist plot.
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    “It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens,” said Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and who is part of a group of victims’ family members pushing for the legislation.
    President Obama will arrive in Riyadh on Wednesday for meetings with King Salman and other Saudi officials. It is unclear whether the dispute over the Sept. 11 legislation will be on the agenda for the talks.
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    A spokesman for the Saudi Embassy did not respond to a message seeking comment.
    Saudi officials have long denied that the kingdom had any role in the Sept. 11 plot, and the 9/11 Commission found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization.” But critics have noted that the commission’s narrow wording left open the possibility that less senior officials or parts of the Saudi government could have played a role. Suspicions have lingered, partly because of the conclusions of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the attacks that cited some evidence that Saudi officials living in the United States at the time had a hand in the plot.
    Those conclusions, contained in 28 pages of the report, still have not been released publicly.
    The dispute comes as bipartisan criticism is growing in Congress about Washington’s alliance with Saudi Arabia, for decades a crucial American ally in the Middle East and half of a partnership that once received little scrutiny from lawmakers. Last week, two senators introduced a resolution that would put restrictions on American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which have expanded during the Obama administration.
    Families of the Sept. 11 victims have used the courts to try to hold members of the Saudi royal family, Saudi banks and charities liable because of what the plaintiffs charged was Saudi financial support for terrorism. These efforts have largely been stymied, in part because of a 1976 law that gives foreign nations some immunity from lawsuits in American courts.
    The Senate bill is intended to make clear that the immunity given to foreign nations under the law should not apply in cases where nations are found culpable for terrorist attacks that kill Americans on United States soil. If the bill were to pass both houses of Congress and be signed by the president, it could clear a path for the role of the Saudi government to be examined in the Sept. 11 lawsuits.
    The Big Four in Saudi Arabia’s Government

    Brief background information on the most powerful figures in the kingdom, and how they stand in the sometimes complicated order of succession.



    Obama administration officials counter that weakening the sovereign immunity provisions would put the American government, along with its citizens and corporations, in legal risk abroad because other nations might retaliate with their own legislation. Secretary of State John Kerry told a Senate panel in February that the bill, in its current form, would “expose the United States of America to lawsuits and take away our sovereign immunity and create a terrible precedent.”
    The bill’s sponsors have said that the legislation is purposely drawn very narrowly — involving only attacks on American soil — to reduce the prospect that other nations might try to fight back.
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    In a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill on March 4, Anne W. Patterson, an assistant secretary of state, and Andrew Exum, a top Pentagon official on Middle East policy, told staff members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that American troops and civilians could be in legal jeopardy if other nations decide to retaliate and strip Americans of immunity abroad. They also discussed the Saudi threats specifically, laying out the impacts if Saudi Arabia made good on its economic threats.
    John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, said in a statement that the administration stands by the victims of terrorism, “especially those who suffered and sacrificed so much on 9/11.”
    Edwin M. Truman, a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said he thought the Saudis were most likely making an “empty threat.” Selling hundreds of billions of dollars in American assets would not only be technically difficult to pull off, he said, but would also very likely cause global market turmoil for which the Saudis would be blamed.
    Moreover, he said, it could destabilize the American dollar — the currency to which the Saudi riyal is pegged.
    “The only way they could punish us is by punishing themselves,” Mr. Truman said.
    The bill is an anomaly in a Congress fractured by bitter partisanship, especially during an election year. It is sponsored by Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York. It has the support of an unlikely coalition of liberal and conservative senators, including Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, and Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas. It passed through the Judiciary Committee in January without dissent.
    “As our nation confronts new and expanding terror networks that are targeting our citizens, stopping the funding source for terrorists becomes even more important,” Mr. Cornyn said last month.
    The alliance with Saudi Arabia has frayed in recent years as the White House has tried to thaw ties with Iran — Saudi Arabia’s bitter enemy— in the midst of recriminations between American and Saudi officials about the role that both countries should play in the stability of the Middle East.
    But the administration has supported Saudi Arabia on other fronts, including providing the country with targeting intelligence and logistical support for its war in Yemen. The Saudi military is flying jets and dropping bombs it bought from the United States — part of the billions of dollars in arms deals that have been negotiated with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf nations during the Obama administration.
    The war has been a humanitarian disaster and fueled a resurgence of Al Qaeda in Yemen, leading to the resolution in Congress to put new restrictions on arms deals to the kingdom. Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, one of the resolution’s sponsors and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that Congress has been “feckless” in conducting oversight of arms sales, especially those destined for Saudi Arabia.
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    “My first desire is for our relationship with Saudi Arabia to come with a greater degree of conditionality than it currently does,” he said.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/16/wo...9-11-bill.html
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    It would be wonderful if Congress passed this bill, Saudi Arabia pulled their money out of the US, and they get their pants sued off!

    We also need to find a way to shut down their influence over our media like Fox News and shut down their massive expensive army of lobbyists in DC that have more sway over lawmakers that American citizens do!

    To hell with Saudi Arabia and their hijacking terrorists.

    W
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    Not sure the way to get to the bottom of who was responsible for and involved with 9/11 is legislation that creates tensions and economic risks over potential lawsuits. This should be about a criminal investigation. Lawsuits if applicable can come later, after the criminal investigation. I don't feel that we ever did a real criminal investigation of the 9/11 attacks.

    It's doubtful the Saudi Government was involved. There were probably people who work in the government who were involved. But I don't believe it was a Saudi Government agenda. They may have been involved in a cover-up to hide connections to government people who were involved. That I would believe.

    A lot of people were involved. When the truth all comes out, we're going to be shocked and stunned by who all was involved in the tragedy as well as those involved in a cover-up.
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    Much of the leaked info is in this International Business Times article.

    9/11 Link To Saudi Arabia Is Topic Of 28 Redacted Pages In Government Report; Congressmen Push For Release


    BY JAMIE RENO ON 12/09/13 AT 2:09 PM

    September 11 Memorial.PHOTO: REUTERS

    • The Tribute in Light is illuminated next to the Statue of Liberty (C) and One World Trade Center (L) during events marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Sept. 10, 2013.PHOTO: REUTERS

    • The Tribute in Light is illuminated over the skyline of New York during events marking the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.PHOTO: REUTERS

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    Since terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, victims’ loved ones, injured survivors, and members of the media have all tried without much success to discover the true nature of the relationship between the 19 hijackers – 15 of them Saudi nationals – and the Saudi Arabian government. Many news organizations reported that some of the terrorists were linked to the Saudi royals and that they even may have received financial support from them as well as from several mysterious, moneyed Saudi men living in San Diego.

    Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied any connection, and neither President George W. Bush nor President Obama has been forthcoming on this issue.


    But earlier this year, Reps. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., were given access to the 28 redacted pages of the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry (JICI) of 9/11 issued in late 2002, which have been thought to hold some answers about the Saudi connection to the attack.


    "I was absolutely shocked by what I read," Jones told International Business Times.

    "What was so surprising was that those whom we thought we could trust really disappointed me. I cannot go into it any more than that. I had to sign an oath that what I read had to remain confidential. But the information I read disappointed me greatly."


    The public may soon also get to see these secret documents. Last week, Jones and Lynch introduced a resolution that urges President Obama to declassify the 28 pages, which were originally classified by President George W. Bush. It has never been fully explained why the pages were blacked out, but President Bush stated in 2003 that releasing the pages would violate national security.


    While neither Jones nor Lynch would say just what is in the document, some of the information has leaked out over the years. A multitude of sources tell IBTimes, and numerous press reports over the years in Newsweek, the New York Times, CBS News and other media confirm, that the 28 pages in fact clearly portray that the Saudi government had at the very least an indirect role in supporting the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attack. In addition, these classified pages clarify somewhat the links between the hijackers and at least one Saudi government worker living in San Diego.


    Former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., who chaired the Joint Inquiry in 2002 and has been beating the drum for more disclosure about 9/11 since then, has never understood why the 28 pages were redacted. Graham told IBTimes that based on his involvement in the investigation and on the now-classified information in the document that his committee produced, he is convinced that “the Saudi government without question was supporting the hijackers who lived in San Diego…. You can't have 19 people living in the United States for, in some cases, almost two years, taking flight lessons and other preparations, without someone paying for it.

    But I think it goes much broader than that. The agencies from CIA and FBI have suppressed that information so American people don't have the facts."


    Jones insists that releasing the 28 secret pages would not violate national security.


    “It does not deal with national security per se; it is more about relationships,” he said. “The information is critical to our foreign policy moving forward and should thus be available to the American people. If the 9/11 hijackers had outside help – particularly from one or more foreign governments – the press and the public have a right to know what our government has or has not done to bring justice to the perpetrators."


    It took Jones six weeks and several letters to the House Intelligence Committee before the classified pages from the 9/11 report were made available to him. Jones was so stunned by what he saw that he approached Rep. Lynch, asking him to look at the 28 pages as well. He knew that Lynch would be astonished by the contents of the documents and perhaps would join in a bipartisan effort to declassify the papers.


    "He came back to me about a week ago and told me that he, too, was very shocked by what he read,” Jones said. “I told him we need to join together and put in a resolution and get more members on both sides of the aisle involved and demand that the White House release this information to the public. The American people have a right to know this information."


    A decade ago, 46 senators, led by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., demanded in a letter to President Bush that he declassify the 28 pages.


    The letter read, in part, "It has been widely reported in the press that the foreign sources referred to in this portion of the Joint Inquiry analysis reside primarily in Saudi Arabia. As a result, the decision to classify this information sends the wrong message to the American people about our nation's antiterror effort and makes it seem as if there will be no penalty for foreign abettors of the hijackers. Protecting the Saudi regime by eliminating any public penalty for the support given to terrorists from within its borders would be a mistake.... We respectfully urge you to declassify the 28-page section that deals with foreign sources of support for the 9/11 hijackers."


    All of the senators who signed that letter but one, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), were Democrats.


    Lynch, who won the Democratic primary for his congressional seat on that fateful day of Sept. 11, 2001, told IBTimes that he and Jones are in the process of writing a “Dear Colleague” letter calling on all House members to read the 28 pages and join their effort.


    "Once a member reads the 28 pages, I think whether they are Democrat or Republican they will reach the same conclusion that Walter and I reached, which is that Americans have the right to know this information," Lynch said.

    “These documents speak for themselves. We have a situation where an extensive investigation was conducted, but then the Bush [administration] decided for whatever purposes to excise 28 pages from the report.

    I'm not passing judgment. That was a different time. Maybe there were legitimate reasons to keep this classified. But that time has long passed.”


    Most of the allegations of links between the Saudi government and the 9/11 hijackers revolve around two enigmatic Saudi men who lived in San Diego: Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan, both of whom have long since left the United States.


    In early 2000, al-Bayoumi, who had previously worked for the Saudi government in civil aviation (a part of the Saudi defense department), invited two of the hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, to San Diego from Los Angeles. He told authorities he met the two men by chance when he sat next to them at a restaurant.


    Newsweek reported in 2002 that al-Bayoumi’s invitation was extended on the same day that he visited the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles for a private meeting.


    Al-Bayoumi arranged for the two future hijackers to live in an apartment and paid $1,500 to cover their first two months of rent.

    Al-Bayoumi was briefly interviewed in Britain but was never brought back to the United States for questioning.


    As for Basnan, Newsweek reported that he received monthly checks for several years totaling as much as $73,000 from the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar, and his wife,
    Princess Haifa Faisal.

    Although the checks were sent to pay for thyroid surgery for Basnan’s wife, Majeda Dweikat, Dweikat signed many of the checks over to al-Bayoumi’s wife, Manal Bajadr. This money allegedly made its way into the hands of hijackers, according to the 9/11 report.


    Despite all this, Basnan was ultimately allowed to return to Saudi Arabia, and Dweikat was deported to Jordan.


    Sources and numerous press reports also suggest that the 28 pages include more information about Abdussattar Shaikh, an FBI asset in San Diego who Newsweek reported was friends with al-Bayoumi and invited two of the San Diego-based hijackers to live in his house.


    Shaikh was not allowed by the FBI or the Bush administration to testify before the 9/11 Commission or the JICI.


    Graham notes that there was a significant 9/11 investigation in Sarasota, Fla., which also suggests a connection between the hijackers and the Saudi government that most Americans don’t know about.


    The investigation, which occurred in 2002, focused on Saudi millionaire Abdulaziz al-Hijji and his wife, Anoud, whose upscale home was owned by Anoud al-Hijji’s father, Esam Ghazzawi, an adviser to Prince Fahd bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the nephew of Saudi King Fahd.


    The al-Hijji family reportedly moved out of their Sarasota house and left the country abruptly in the weeks before 9/11, leaving behind three luxury cars and personal belongings including clothing, furniture and fresh food. They also left the swimming-pool water circulating.


    Numerous news reports in Florida have said that the gated community’s visitor logs and photos of license tags showed that vehicles driven by several of the future 9/11 hijackers had visited the al-Hijji home.


    Graham said that like the 28 pages in the 9/11 inquiry, the Sarasota case is being “covered up” by U.S. intelligence. Graham has been fighting to get the FBI to release the details of this investigation with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and litigation. But so far the bureau has stalled and stonewalled, he said.


    Lynch said he didn’t know how the Obama administration would respond to the congressional resolution urging declassification, if it passes the House and Senate.


    “But if we raise the issue, and get enough members to read it, we think we can get the current administration to revisit this issue. I am very optimistic,” he said. “I’ve talked to some of my Democratic members already, and there has been receptivity there. They have agreed to look at it.”


    Obama administration officials declined to comment on the congressional resolution or on the classification of these documents.


    The 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism (JASTA), an activist group comprised of the attack victims, has been calling for the declassification of the 28 pages for more than a decade. The group plans to contact Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, this week to urge her to introduce a similar resolution in the Senate.


    Sharon Premoli, a 9/11 survivor who was on the North Tower's 80th floor when the plane hit and is a JASTA member, says Jones and Lynch “share our objectives of seeking the truth behind 9/11 and bringing to justice those who bankrolled the attacks.”


    Premoli said it was a “miracle” that she survived 9/11. “I found myself buried under dust and on top of a dead body,” she said. “It makes me angry that I still don’t know what happened or who was supporting these hijackers. The veil of secrecy must be lifted for the families, the survivors and for the American people.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/911-link-saud...elease-1501202

    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 04-17-2016 at 11:23 AM.
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    Lynch said he didn’t know how the Obama administration would respond to the congressional resolution urging declassification, if it passes the House and Senate.

    DUH!

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    DEFYING A TABOO, TRUMP CONDEMNS GEORGE W. BUSH FOR 9/11 ATTACKS

    BY JACK MARTINEZ
    ON 10/20/15 AT 5:33 AM

    President George W. Bush talks to rescue workers at the ruins of the World Trade Center after the September 11 terrorist attacks.WIN MCNAMEE/REUTERS

    U.S.JEB BUSHDONALD TRUMP2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNGEORGE W. BUSH9/11

    Donald Trump is doing something that Democrats have never been inclined to do: go after George W. Bush on the subject of 9/11, accusing him of a lack of vigilance.


    A back-and-forth spat between the two archenemies in the Republican primary, Trump and Jeb Bush, lasted all of last weekend, after the Bush campaign published an ad attacking Trump for having poor judgment.

    Trump responded on Friday by telling Bloomberg, “When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time.”

    President Bush’s former White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, retaliated on CNN, saying that “when Donald Trump implies that since 9/11 took place on Bush’s watch he is partially responsible for it, he’s starting to sound like a truther,” referring to the conspiracy theorists who believe 9/11 was an inside job by the U.S. government. Trump, of course, wasn’t saying that Bush dynamited the Twin Towers, as some conspiracists have ranted. He is charging that because the towers were attacked while Bush was in office, America was “not safe” during his presidency.

    On Monday morning, Trump wasn’t ready to end the feud, unleashing a tirade in a string of tweets.



    Jeb Bush, who has opted to campaign as just “Jeb!” and doesn’t use his last name in advertising (the exclamation point “connotes excitement,” he told Stephen Colbert), clearly doesn’t want to answer questions about his brother. He has mostly failed to differentiate himself from George ideologically because there are very few discernible differences (just look at how he responded to Colbert’s question on the subject).

    Despite other criticisms of George, his response to 9/11 is supposed to be one area where the 43rd president shined. Forget the approval ratings spike he enjoyed after the attacks. Forget the first pitch at Yankee Stadium. Forget the speech at Ground Zero where he put his arm around a firefighter and told the assembled crowd that “the people who knocked down these buildings will hear from all of us.”


    Until now, no nationally known figure has pointed to why he was standing on the rubble in the first place.


    Nobody in politics wants to ask how much responsibility George Bush shoulders for the attacks, because the widely accepted narrative is that he couldn’t have done anything. Even former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told MSNBC on Monday morning that it would be ridiculous to blame the president, saying that anyone who takes such a position is wading into dangerous political territory. American politicians have tended to treat the 9/11 attack as immaculately conceived.


    That it took the brash Trump to plunge into this turf says a lot about how the country continues to wrestle with this tragedy. The truth is that the question of responsibility has already been addressed in a we’re-all-to-blame sense. The 9/11 Commission report, which the Bush administration initially opposed, tells a sobering story about American vigilance prior to the attacks.


    In the closing months of the Clinton administration, Richard Clarke, the head of the National Security Council’s counterterrorism efforts, prepared an Al-Qaeda policy analysis that he presented to the incoming Bush administration. According to the 9/11 Commission, Clarke found that Bush’s national security and foreign policy team “had a steep learning curve” to overcome when it came to transnational terrorism. The team had largely been carried over from eight years before, when many of them had served in the administration of George H.W. Bush.

    Partially as a result of this, they were more focused on the threats posed by aggressive states like North Korea. National security officials didn’t hold a Principals Committee meeting on Al-Qaeda until September 4, 2001.


    Clarke’s continual urging of administration officials to take a closer look at Al-Qaeda didn’t absolve the Clinton administration of blame. He criticized U.S. foreign policy “past and present” and told the new leaders to imagine a future in which hundreds of Americans were killed by terrorists at home and abroad. The bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 had raised awareness about potential attacks on military targets, but Bill Clinton’s efforts to capture bin Laden had failed, his rocket strikes against Al-Qaeda bases didn’t hit the terrorist leader, and he did not pursue a declaration of war from Congress. Military retaliation against Al-Qaeda bases, something that Clarke agitated for, hadn’t materialized. Perhaps the state of things should not come as a surprise: In the 2000 presidential campaign, George had run a campaign based on domestic issues and character. The neocon foreign policy advisers he inherited from his father were thinking about Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.


    There’s no indication from the 9/11 Commission that U.S. intelligence had a lack of information in the months leading up to the attacks, only that there was a failure to “connect the dots.” Terrorist threat advisories that summer warned of impending “spectacular” terrorist attacks. Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, suspected that a car bomb would be the weapon of choice. Clarke wrote desperately to Rice on several occasions, saying that the Al-Qaeda network was lighting up with communications anticipating an attack. On August 6, George was briefed on bin Laden’s determination to strike inside the U.S., as Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald reported for The New York Times in 2012. The government was monitoring sleeper cells in the U.S. and terrorist networks abroad, but it was not anticipating an attack from foreigners who had infiltrated the U.S.


    Meanwhile, domestic agencies like the FBI were in disarray. The 9/11 Commission report paints a picture of a counterterrorism bureaucracy hampered by a lack of leadership and unprepared to mount an effective response to the increasing threats. The report identifies “at least two mistakes” made by Al-Qaeda operatives that could have been tip-offs.


    Somewhere amid all the communications, information and actors, there was a fundamental disconnect between the story being told by the intelligence community and the prevalent mindset that the U.S., the world’s only remaining superpower, could not be hit at home.


    For the rest of the Bush presidency after 9/11, the average American walking through an airport would hear PSA announcements declaring that the national aviation “threat level” was at orange—a perpetual danger signal that defined a politics of fear. The color orange came to represent the conviction held by conservatives that preventing another 9/11 justified everything from the Patriot Act to enhanced interrogation to pre-emptive military action.


    But in the weeks before 9/11, the threat was there, and no announcements were made.


    Trump’s attacks on Jeb’s brother essentially postulate that the world was not safe during the first year of his presidency. The official record bears out that narrative, although whether the Bush administration could have identified the hijackers and broken up the plot is still a difficult question.


    The second part of Trump’s attack has to do with Bush himself—did the president fail to adequately respond to the security threats or was the chain of command as a whole to blame? Just because something happened “on your watch,” is it your fault? The answer to that is even more complicated.


    The war on terror would initially turn to Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, but the attacks also became a rationale for the war in Iraq, where failed intelligence about weapons of mass destruction made it look as if the administration was firing with a blindfold. That response, if not the events of 9/11, fell squarely onto Bush’s shoulders.


    That’s where politics come in. The Democrats of 2004, including eventual presidential nominee John Kerry, campaigned on criticizing Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. In the debates, Kerry pledged to wage a more effective war on terror, a promise that Barack Obama would later echo when he vowed to get out of Iraq and focus on Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. But no one went after Bush as Trump has now.


    Robert Shrum, a top consultant to the Kerry-Edwards campaign, says that no one in the camp went “within a thousand miles” of trying to blame Bush for 9/11.

    “You have to remember this was pre-Katrina,” Shrum tells Newsweek. Bush hadn’t yet been pilloried by critics to the degree that he would be after the hurricane. “One thing people gave Bush a lot of credit for was what he had done to keep the country safe,” Shrum says, adding that there was “no appetite” among any significant part of the electorate for trying to broach the subject, even though much had already been written about whether the president failed to pay attention to the intelligence briefings.

    Bush would frequently accuse Kerry of minimizing the threat of terrorism. In Shrum’s words, his strategy was to frame the entire election as a “9/11 referendum.” Blaming an incumbent whose popularity was based on his commitment to defending the homeland could have played into the narrative that the Democrats were unpatriotic, however unfair that charge might have been. In a debate in Florida, Bush was asked whether the risk of another terror attack would go up if Kerry was elected.


    “No, I don’t believe it’s going to happen,” he replied. “I believe I’m going to win.”


    Bush gets all the credit for uniting the nation after 9/11, but it’s possible that the nation united itself.

    Shrum said that it’s likely the public would have rallied around the president regardless of party politics. A Newsweek poll in the post-9/11 issue found that an overwhelming majority of Americans favored retaliatory bombings even at the cost of civilian lives, but before the Ground Zero rubble was even cleared there was confusion about where to strike. Polls showed that Americans simply wanted to act. In 2003, the removal of Saddam was supported by Congress, with almost no one questioning whether action against a totalitarian state was commensurate with the threats America faced at home from stateless actors. As late as 2008, the Republican nominee for vice president, Sarah Palin, believed that Saddam had been behind the 9/11 attacks. Bin Laden, the head of A-Qaeda, remained at large until 2012, long after Bush left office.


    In 2004, Shrum says, putting Bush’s vigilance up for debate seemed like a “fringe tactic,” and the mere suggestion never came up as a viable political strategy. But back then there was no candidate like Trump, whose tactics Shrum calls “ugly.”


    Even if the Bush’s administration wasn’t to blame for the attacks themselves, there’s little doubt that Bush’s national security priorities told a story of unpreparedness. According to the 9/11 Commission, the narrative arguably applied to Clinton as well.


    But how would an Al Gore administration have responded? Would Gore have taken the advice of a foreign policy wing headed by Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz by taking out Saddam?


    More important, would Gore have received the same widespread support as Bush? It’s hard to imagine the Limbaughs, O’Reillys and Hannitys of the post 9/11 world giving a Democratic president a free pass for attacks that happened on his watch. “The predictable response” from those figures, Shrum says, would be to blame the president. But he adds that this type of rhetoric would be bound to backfire in the aftermath of a national tragedy.


    In discussing 9/11, Jeb might have been posing the right question when he asked Trump if he remembered the rubble. Now that Ground Zero is further from the collective memory than it was in 2004 or even 2008, the number of people siding with Trump is much higher than it would have been if Kerry had made the same arguments.


    Another Back to the Future scenario: What would have happened to an incumbent Gore in 2004? Would he have gotten the same free pass from Republican challengers? Would the politics of fear have been the politics of blame instead? Would avoiding war in Iraq have led to an earlier killing of bin Laden?


    Whether or not he could have done more, there’s little doubt that George Bush has benefited from a certain taboo in American politics. Pearl Harbor was arguably much more foreseeable in December 1941, with all of Europe engulfed in war and the U.S. having taken strong economic action against Japan. The country rallied around FDR, but there was a commission, headed by Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts, that placed considerable blame on the Navy.


    Trump’s attacks on Jeb have everything to do with politics and nothing to do with foreign policy knowledge, but the second debate proved that the “on your watch” rule of modern politics is what people are paying attention to. As Shrum puts it, there’s a chasm of difference between saying “it happened while you were there, so it’s your fault” and the reality of foreign policy. It happens to be expedient for Trump to blame George because he is the brother of a rival candidate.

    For everything else that has gone wrong in the Middle East and at home, the Republicans will not hesitate to blame Obama.


    “I blame Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda,” Shrum says.

    http://www.newsweek.com/trump-bush-s...us-safe-384971

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  8. #8
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    A decade ago, 46 senators, led by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., demanded in a letter to President Bush that he declassify the 28 pages.

    All of the senators who signed that letter but one, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), were Democrats.
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Much of the leaked info is in this 2013 International Business Times article below.

    9/11 Link To Saudi Arabia Is Topic Of 28 Redacted Pages In Government Report; Congressmen Push For Release


    BY JAMIE RENO ON 12/09/13
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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