CIA chief: US report absolves Riyadh of 9/11 role
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CIA chief: US report absolves Riyadh of 9/11 role

John Brennan backs release of classified pages, says 'everyone will see evidence that Saudi government had nothing to do with it'

CIA Director John Brennan. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
CIA Director John Brennan. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The anticipated release of classified sections of a US congressional report will show that Saudi Arabia had no part in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington, CIA chief John Brennan said early Sunday.

Relatives of the victims of the attacks that killed almost 3,000 people have urged the Obama administration to declassify and release US intelligence that allegedly discusses possible Saudi involvement in the attacks.

“I think the 28 pages will be published and I support their publication and everyone will see the evidence that the Saudi government had nothing to do with it,” Brennan told the Saudi-owned pan-Arab TV channel al-Arabiya, Reuters reported. His remarks were dubbed into Arabic, Reuters said.

Brennan’s claim comes less than a month after the US Senate passed legislation that would allow families of the September 11 victims to sue the Saudi government, rejecting the fierce objections of a US ally and setting Congress on a collision course with the Obama administration.

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama observe a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, September 11, 2015, to mark the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. (AFP/CHRIS KLEPONIS)
US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama observe a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, September 11, 2015, to mark the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. (AFP/CHRIS KLEPONIS)

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, approved by voice vote, had triggered a threat from Riyadh to pull billions of dollars from the US economy, if the bill is enacted.

The legislation, sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chuck Schumer, D-NY, gives victims’ families the right to sue in US court for any role that elements of the Saudi government may have played in the 2001 attacks that killed thousands in New York, the Washington, DC area and Pennsylvania.

The House still must act on the legislation.

Passage of the bill sends the message that the United States “will combat terrorism with every tool we have available, and that the victims of terrorist attacks in our country should have every means at their disposal to seek justice,” Cornyn said.

Schumer said that any foreign government that aids terrorists who strike the US “will pay a price if it is proven they have done so.”

The New York lawmaker was confident the Senate had the necessary two-thirds vote of the chamber to override a presidential veto.

“We don’t think their arguments stand up,” Schumer said at a news conference after the Senate action.

 

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