As President Obama returns from a foreign trip that included Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Saudi relations are at an all-time low. A bipartisan coalition within the U.S. Congress has pressed the government to release documents related to the Sept. 11 Commission report that have not been publicly shared. It is alleged that some of those documents, in a so-called “28-page report,” detail Saudi Arabia’s awareness, involvement and/or complicity in the attacks.
On Friday, the former chairmen of the commission released a statement saying the 28 pages are merely “comparable to preliminary law enforcement notes,” which form leads for investigations but are usually not released to the public. Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean and former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana said those leads and the subsequent investigations uncovered no evidence of direct Saudi government complicity.
Regardless, these documents should be immediately released to the public, and should for part of the basis for a determination of whether the Saudi regime’s U.S. assets can be used to satisfy civil judgments arising out of litigation.
Notably, the Saudi regime itself has pushed for the release of the document, claiming that its actions with regards to its relationship with the U.S. are beyond reproach and should be open to inspection. Furthermore, unlike other nations deemed state-sponsors of terrorism, such as Cuba and Iran, Saudi Arabia has vigorously defended itself in lawsuits alleging complicity in terrorism. Their lawyers have consistently argued that it is not in Saudi Arabia’s interests to attack America, citing a decades’ long relationship of mutual support between the two nations that contradicts the assertion. As further proof, they allege, the government of Saudi Arabia keeps close to a trillion dollars of its sovereign wealth in U.S. assets. Why would it want to harm those interests by attacking America?