Lack of government transparency causes national strife

Tom Olsen

Throughout the week of April 18th 2016, president Obama visited Saudi Arabia with the intention to ease tension on an extremely strained relationship between the two historically allied nations.

The U.S. has expressed disapproval of Saudi involvement in the Yemen civil war. The Saudi government counter argues by claiming their frustration with the U.S for lifting non-proliferation sanctions on Iran, an enemy to Saudi Arabia. To many Americans, these are some of the explanations for tense relations between the two nations; but behind the scenes a far greater issue lies between the two nations and within the two nations.

Currently, many U.S officials and citizens are accusing Saudi-Arabians of being responsible for funding 9/11 attacks. The 9/11 commision report states “We have found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization.”

Despite this statement in the nearly twelve year old report, a bill that would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia has gained support by members of both parties in Congress, ranging from the far left-winged Bernie Sanders to the far right-winged Ted Cruz.

However, the Obama administration has opposed the bill as well as the declassification of 28 pages in the 9/11 commision that have never been seen by the public. The Saudi government has threatened that, upon the approval of the bill, they would withdraw U.S. investments that may be worth $750 billion. The U.S. and Saudi economy would be harmed by the bill, which may explain why president Obama is reluctant to approve it.

The suspicion of Saudi involvement grows as Obama keeps 28 pages of the 9/11 commission report classified. These 28 pages are believed to contain an explanation to the funding that allowed two of the terrorists to move from Los Angeles to San Diego and obtain housing, language-lessons, and identification.

Despite accusations against Saudi Arabia, their former foreign minister in 2003, Saud al-Faisal, called for the declassification of the 28 pages so that Saudi Arabia could defend itself. He stated to CNN “If there are accusations against Saudi Arabia, we want to respond to it, because we know we are clear of any accusations.”

Notably, members of the U.S. Congress do have access to the 28 pages; this may explain why so many are in favor of passing the bill, for they have an actual reason to pass that bill, not just a theory.

Ben Rhodes, an Obama adviser who has seen the 28 pages comments on them by stating, “It’s complicated in the sense that, it’s not that it was Saudi government policy to support Al Qaeda, but there were a number of very wealthy individuals in Saudi Arabia who would contribute, sometimes directly, to extremist groups… and you know Bin Laden himself was a wealthy Saudi- so a lot of the money, the seed money if you will, for what became Al Qaeda, came out of Saudi Arabia.”

This supports the conclusion that corrupt low level government officials in Saudi Arabia may have funded Al Qaeda without any policy put in place by the Saudi government.

While U.S. citizens have a strong sense that members in Saudi Arabia were responsible in funding the worst attack on America in history, Obama refuses to allow for the immunity bill to be passed, a bill that would bring satisfaction to the families of the victims. He is also restraining the declassification of the 28 pages that would provide a solid explanation to any possible Saudi involvement.

It’s a question of international relations, economics, and morals. If the Saudis did fund 9/11 attacks, it is the moral duty of the president of the United States to provide an explanation to the families of those killed in the attacks.

Regardless of whether or not the Saudi government gets sued, the people of the United States deserve to know key details on the most devastating attack this nation has ever seen. The U.S. people are growing tired of conspiracy and are hungry for the answers that lie within the classified 28 pages.