A long running campaign over redacted pages of a Senate report into 9/11 which allegedly reveal Riyadh as the principle financier is gathering new momentum
Rand Paul, the Libertarian Republican senator from Kentucky, is demanding that Mr Obama declassify 28 pages that were redacted from a 2002 US Senate report into the 9/11 attacks.
Mr Paul, who been vocal in attacking the bulk NSA spying programmes revealed by the rogue security contractor Edward Snowden and is running for president in 2016, has now promised to file an amendment to a Senate bill that would call on Mr Obama to declassify the pages.
The blacked-out pages, which have taken on an almost mythical quality for 9/11 conspiracy theorists, were classified on the orders of George W. Bush, leading to speculation they confirmed Saudi involvement.
Nawaf al-Hamzi and Khalid al-Mihdar (Getty Images)
According to Bob Graham, the former Florida senator who was chair of the Senate Intelligence committee at the time of the report, they show that Saudi Arabia was the “principle financier” of the attack.
The White House said in January that it was reviewing the file, said that it had set no timetable for the conclusions of its deliberations.
Some families of 9/11 victims have campaigned for several years for the declassification of the 28 pages, supported by Mr Graham who has now enlisted the high-profile Mr Paul to his cause.
“Information revealed over the years does raise questions about [Saudi Arabia’s] support, or whether their support might have been supportive to these Al Qaeda terrorists,” Mr Paul said at the press conference in Washington this week.
“We cannot let page after page of blanked-out documents be obscured behind a veil, leading these families to wonder if there is additional information surrounding these horrible acts.”
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, but previous investigations always failed to find a formal link between the country and the terrorist attack, which killed 2,996 people.
Many victims groups believe the full extent of Saudi involvement in 9/11 has long been covered up by both the Obama and Bush administrations to protect US-Saudi relations.
Terry Strada, who leads 9/11 Families and Survivors United For Justice Against Terrorism, said that the supposed Saudi funding link was not a surprise.
“Nearly every significant element that led to the attacks of Sept. 11 points to Saudi Arabia,” he said. “Money is the lifeblood of terrorism. Without money, 9/11 wouldn’t have happened.”
Earlier this year, the theory of Saudi involvement was given added impetus by fresh testimony from Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called “twentieth hijacker” who had taken flying lessons but was arrested weeks before the September 11 attacks – although was later disowned by Osama bin Laden.
In a plea to a New York court released last February, Moussaoui said that senior members of the Saudi royal family were major al-Qaeda donors and were intimately involved with Osama bin Laden’s terror network in the 1990s.
He named Prince Turki al-Faisal, then the Saudi intelligence chief; Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, the longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States and Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent billionaire investor.
However the Saudi Embassy dismissed Moussaoui – who was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic – as “a deranged criminal” trying to “get attention for himself and try to do what he could not do through acts of terrorism – to undermine Saudi-US relations”.