The Truth about the 28 Pages and its Enduring Cover-up


Written by Barry Kissin

Part 1: THE TRUTH

The lead sponsors of the legislation to uncover the 28 pages of the Congressional report (link is external) on the attacks of 9-11 were Representative Walter Jones and Senator Rand Paul, two Republicans in fact, both practically unique in their unabashed opposition to our constant wars of intervention. The release of the 28 pages is a victory for Americans who yearn for peace. It comes at a desperate moment in human history. It is imperative and urgent that peace activists take full advantage of the released 28 pages.

The essential truth about the 28 pages is that our own government, (Bush administrations followed by Obama administrations), ever since 9-11, has covered up Saudi Government complicity in 9-11. All the while, our government has continued to maintain very close relations, especially with the Saudi Intelligence Agency and the Saudi military.

The New York Times says the pages were “kept secret for nearly 14 years out of concern that it might fray diplomatic relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia.” We are supposed to accept as believable and legitimate that our government covered up Saudi complicity in 9-11 in order to maintain diplomatic relations and financial relations and everlasting Saudi cooperation in the never-ending Global War on Terror.

All of the top Bush administration officials, Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Powell, Tenet, during the run-up to our invasion of Iraq, lied over and over again about fabricated Iraqi links to al Qaeda and complicity in 9-11, while they all knew about, and it now must become recognized, coordinated with the Saudis in 9-11.

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From left to right: Dick Cheney, Prince Bandar, Condoleezza Rice, and George W. Bush, on the Truman Balcony of the White House on September 13, 2001. [Source: White House].

The name that arises 17 times in the 28 pages is that of Prince Bandar bin Sultan. He is no “low-level” Saudi government official. He has been central to the Saudi-American alliance since the early eighties. Ultimately, he served 22 years as the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. — through 9-11 and until 2005. This is the man known as “Bandar Bush,” a nickname given to him by George W., based on Bandar’s very longstanding and close affiliation with the Bush family.

 

In 2005, Ambassador Bandar was recalled by Riyadh. Why?

The New York Post published a piece by Hoover Institution media fellow Paul Sperry (link is external): “‘Our investigations contributed to the ambassador’s departure,’ an investigator who worked with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington told me.”

What were these investigations related to Bandar?

All of the page references below are to the 28 pages (link is external) where they appear as the concluding chapter of the report of the Joint House and Senate Intelligence Committees’ Inquiry into the attacks of 9-11.

One of several investigations implicating Bandar covered in the 28 pages produced documentary evidence that Bandar and his wife directly sent more than $100,000 to a man named Bassnan and his wife (Page 427) while Bassnan resided across the street in San Diego from two of the Saudi 9-11 hijackers (Page 417).

The 28 pages cite an FBI document that states that Bassnan and a man named Bayoumi “have been ‘close to each other for a long time.’” (Page 417). Bayoumi welcomed the same two hijackers to southern California when they arrived in Feb., 2000. (Page 416). Bayoumi also was being supported by monies traced to the Saudi government, namely from the Saudi Ministry of Defense. (Page 423). Before the two hijackers arrived, Bayoumi’s allowance was $465 per month. One month after, this jumped to more than $3700 per month, dropped to $3200 when one of the hijackers left San Diego in Dec. 2000, and stayed at that amount until Aug. 2001 when Bayoumi left the U.S. “approximately one month before the Sept. 11 attacks.” (Page 425).

Bayoumi arranged for a translator for the two hijackers (they did not speak English), co-signed their lease for the apartment they shared with a “long-time FBI informant” and helped them obtain drivers licenses and enter flight school. (Page 422).

Bandar’s direct beneficiary Bassnan told an FBI asset that he did more for the two hijackers than did Bayoumi (Page 417). Bassnan referred to Osama bin Laden as ruler of the Islamic world and “as if he were a god.”(Page 428). Bassnan knew bin Laden’s family in Saudi Arabia and was in cell phone contact with bin Ladins living in the U.S. (Page 428). The investigations referred to in the 28 pages cite “many ties [between Bassnan] and the Saudi government.”(Page 417). Various American Muslims reported to the FBI that Bassnan might be a Saudi intelligence agent. (Page 417).

Bayoumi is also said to have “extensive ties to the Saudi government.”(Page 423). “In a review of telephone toll records, the FBI learned that Bayourni called Saudi Government establishments in the United States almost 100 times”during the month before and the first four months of the two hijackers’ stay in San Diego (Jan.-May, 2000) including “contact with at least three individuals” at Bandar’s Saudi Embassy. (Page 423). He also “was in frequent contact with the Emir at the Saudi Ministry of Defense, responsible for air traffic control.”(Page 423). “The FBI received numerous reports from individuals in the Muslim community, dating back to 1999, alleging that Bayourni may be a Saudi intelligence officer.”(Page 416).

A 60 Minutes segment about the 28 page (link is external)s, first broadcast this past April and then rebroadcast in June, measurably increased the pressure on the Obama administration to release the pages. In this segment, former Senator Bob Graham, who chaired the Intelligence Committee that co-authored the 28 pages and spearheaded the movement for declassification, tells 60 Minutes’Steve Kroft that one reason he believes Bayoumi was a Saudi Intelligence agent is that “he’d been listed even before 9/11 in FBI files as being a Saudi agent.”

In 1999, an America West flight had to be emergency landed due to two attempts by a Saudi named Qudhadeein to enter the cockpit. This Saudi was on his way to a party at the Saudi Embassy. His airline ticket was paid for by the Saudi Embassy. This Saudi had “connections to terrorism.” The “FBI’s Phoenix office now suspects [this] may have been a ‘dry run’ to test airline security.” (Page 419).

More from the New York Post: “Case agents I’ve interviewed at the Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Washington and San Diego … as well as detectives at the Fairfax County (Va.) Police Department who also investigated several 9/11 leads, say virtually every road led back to [Bandar Bush’s] Saudi Embassy in Washington, as well as the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles.”

The New York Post details Bandar Bush’s itinerary two days after 9-11 (link is external): In order to urgently evacuate dozens of Saudi officials as well as Osama bin Laden family members from the U.S., “Bandar made the [successful] request for escorts directly to FBI headquarters on Sept. 13, 2001 — just hours after he met with [President George W. Bush when] the two old family friends shared cigars on the Truman Balcony while discussing the attacks.” A news photo taken on Sept. 13 shows Bush and Bandar as well as Cheney and Rice comfortably sitting in wicker chairs on the Truman Balcony of the White House. Literally in broad daylight, these four criminals are basking in the success of the 9-11 operation. Their Global War on Terror could now commence under the guise of self-defense.

The 28 pages identify Abdullah bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s half-brother, as working for Bandar’s Saudi Embassy (Page 418). Abdullah is said to be “the subject of several FBI investigations” and appears connected to two other hijackers during the run-up to 9-11. (Page 432). “[Abdullah] is the President and Director of the World Arab Muslim Youth Association (WAMY) … According to the FBI, there is reason to believe that WAMY is ‘closely associated with the funding and financing of international terrorist activities and in the past provided support to individuals wishing to fight in the Afghan War.’ WAMY “has possible connections to … Hamas, Algerian extremists, and Philippine militants.” (Page 433).

A former FBI agent in San Diego involved in the investigation of 9-11 told the Senate and House Intelligence Committees that “probably 70-80 percent of the population of Saudi Arabia support Osama Bin Ladin.” (Page 435). The former chief of the CIA’s unit “established in 1996 to focus specifically on Osama Bin Ladin” testified that “it was clear from about 1996 that the Saudi Government would not cooperate with the United States on matters relating to Osarna Bin Ladin.” (Page 438). He cited as an example Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law, who he identified as “an important figure in Al Qaeda.” The U.S. extradited him to Jordan “for his role in a bombing in Jordan.” But the Saudis “bought off” the Jordanians for his return to Saudi Arabia where he now “travels and operates freely.” (Page 439).

“When a high-level officer was asked how the September 11 attacks might have been prevented, he cited greater Saudi cooperation …” (Page 438).

After being stripped of his Ambassadorship in 2005 as a result of 9-11 investigations, what became of Prince Bandar Bush? Did the Saudi government hide him away? No. He was promptly made secretary general of the Saudi National Security Council, his position from 2005 until 2015, and was director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014.

According to the Wall Street Journal of Aug. 25, 2013, as director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency (2012-2014), Bandar was leading the effort to prop up the so-called Syrian rebels. “[I]ntelligence agents from Saudi Arabia, the United States, Jordan and other allied states were working at a secret joint operations center in Jordan to train and arm hand-picked Syrian rebels … Prince Bandar has been jetting from covert command centers near the Syrian front lines … seeking to undermine the Assad regime.”

The evidence is very clear that Bandar’s “hand picked Syrian rebels” include al Nusra (the name for al Qaeda in Syria) as well as ISIS. As 28 pages champion Senator Bob Graham puts it: “Al-Qaeda was a creature of Saudi Arabia; … and now, ISIS is the latest creature! … ISIS is a product of Saudi ideals, Saudi money, and Saudi organizational support.”

“Really what [Bandar’s] doing is he’s reprising a role that he played in the 1980s when he worked with the Reagan administration to arrange money and arms for mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan and also worked with the CIA in Nicaragua to [secretly and illegally] support the [terrorist] Contras,” says Wall Street Journal reporter Adam Entous. “So in many ways this is a very familiar position for Prince Bandar, and it’s amazing to see the extent to which veterans of the CIA were excited to see him come back …”

Bandar’s role in 9-11 is entirely in keeping with his long history of secretly supporting terrorists in coordination with parts of the U.S. Government.

The Wall Street Journal also reports that since being appointed Director of the CIA by Obama in Jan. 2013, “Mr. Brennan has been in periodic contact by phone with Prince Bandar.” It does well to recognize that from 1996 to 1999, Brennan was CIA Chief of Station in Saudi Arabia, just before he was promoted to Chief of Staff to CIA Director George Tenet.

Part 2: THE ENDURING COVER-UP

Brennan is in the thick of the enduring cover-up. Back on May 1, Brennan appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press to warn against release of the 28 pages. “I think some people may seize upon that uncorroborated, UNVETTED information that was in there that was basically just a collation of this information that came out of FBI files, and to point to Saudi involvement, which I think would be very, very inaccurate … I think the 9/11 commission took that joint inquiry and those 28 pages or so and followed through on the investigation. And they came out with a very clear judgment that there was no evidence that indicated that the Saudi government as an institution, or Saudi officials individually, had provided financial support to al Qaeda.” Note his use of the word UNVETTED. According to Collins English Dictionary, this is a word that is used very rarely.

By the month of June, Brennan realized the release of the 28 pages could not be prevented. So on June 12, he did an interview on Saudi-owned Arabiya TV (of all places) and stated: “So these 28 pages I believe are going to come out and I think it’s good that they come out. People shouldn’t take them as evidence of Saudi complicity in the attacks.” He added: “These so called 28 pages that were part of the joint inquiry that was published in 2002. Just a year after 9/11, was a very preliminary review trying to pull together bits and pieces of information reporting who was responsible for 9/11. Subsequently, the 9/11 commission looked very thoroughly at these allegations of Saudi involvement, Saudi government involvement and their finding, their conclusion was that there was no evidence to indicate that the Saudi government as an institution or Saudi, senior Saudi officials individually had supported the 9/11 attacks.”

Brennan’s statement that the 9/11 commission followed up on the 28 pages “and looked very thoroughly at these allegations of Saudi involvement” is a bold-faced, easily disproven lie.

The originator of this lie is none other than the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow. Zelikow was on the National Security Council during the administration of George H.W. Bush, co-authored a book with Condoleezza Rice during the Clinton years, was appointed to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board by George W. Bush, and served on that board until 2003 when he became Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission. Another element of Zelikow’s background is that he directed the Aspen Strategy Group (ASG), a group organized “to explore the preeminent foreign policy challenges the United States faces.” Members of ASG have included Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz Judith Miller and Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

In 2014, Zelikow told the New Yorker’s Lawrence Wright that the twenty-eight pages were “an agglomeration of preliminary, UNVETTED reports,” merely “wild accusations that needed to be checked out.” Zelikow went on to tell Wright that the 9-11 Commission checked out these accusations and “ultimately” were “unable to prove” any Saudi complicity.

Soon after CBS’s 60 Minutes segment on the 28 pages was broadcast on April 10 (2016), Zelikow appeared on NBC News to describe the 28 pages as “UNVETTED investigative material.” He added: “The pages provide no further answers about the 9/11 attacks that are not already included in the 9/11 Commission report.” Lost in the hubbub, according to Zelikow, is that there are some far more fundamental questions about the attacks that remain unanswered, such as why the Iranian government “facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members through Iran on their journey to the United States.”

Then on April 22, former governor Tom Kean and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, who served as chairman and vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission issued a statement that included: “The 28 pages were based almost entirely on raw, UNVETTED material that came to the FBI … We deemed vigorously pursuing the congressional panel’s leads so important that we hired the person who drafted the 28 pages to work on our staff, along with the person who had assisted him. They were part of a team … augmented by the Commission’s executive director [that] investigated over the course of 18 months all the leads contained in the 28 pages …” One must wonder how Kean and Hamilton were induced to repeat the lie that the leads in the 28 pages were “vigorously pursued” by the 9-11 Commission.

Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission by Kean and Hamilton was published in 2006. In this book, they state they were “set up to fail” and were starved of funds to do a proper investigation by the Bush administration. They also state they were misled by senior officials in the Pentagon and the FAA; and that this obstruction and deception led them to contemplate referring the matter to the Justice Department for perjury charges. In 2008, the NY Times published an op-ed by Kean and Hamilton titled “Stonewalled by the CIA,” in which they stated that the CIA “obstructed our investigation.”

As shown above, Brennan’s statement about the unvetted 28 pages being properly investigated by the 9-11 Commission was made about 10 days after Zelikow’s and eight days after Kean’s and Hamilton’s. Then one day after Brennan’s statement, Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary, at a Press Briefing, in response to questions about the 28 pages, stated: Kean and Hamilton “described those 28 pages as UNVETTED, law enforcement investigative materials. And they said they had an opportunity to review that material, to follow up on leads … [and] they found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution had supported al Qaeda … Director Brennan’s comments are entirely in line with those that were put forward by Governor Kean and Congressman Hamilton … [Y]ou can reliably assume that [the President views] what [Brennan, Kean and Hamilton] have described is an accurate understanding of the contents of those 28 pages.”

They are all reading off the same script — composed by Zelikow. Since the release of the 28 pages, this script has been repeated by mainstream report after report as factual. Take for example the concluding paragraph of the NY Times account published on July 15, the day the pages were released: “The most extensive investigation into the attacks was conducted by the September 11 Commission, which pursued many of the leads presented in the 28 pages. The commission’s final report, released in 2004, said that the panel had found no evidence that the ‘Saudi government as an institution, or senior Saudi officials individually funded’ Al Qaeda.” This is how cover-ups endure.

Kristen Breitweiser lost her husband to the 9/11 attacks. She is joined in the following rectification of the Zelikow scrip (link is external)t by four additional 9/11 widows:

“First and foremost, here is what you need to know when you listen to any member of our government state that the newly released 28 pages are no smoking gun — THEY ARE LYING … Do not let any person in our government deny the damning reality of the 28 pages. And as you read the 28 pages remember that they were written during 2002 and 2003. President Bush did not want the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia investigated. President Bush has deep ties to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its royal family and only wanted to protect the Kingdom. President Bush wanted to go to war in Iraq — not Saudi Arabia … It is well documented that the Joint Inquiry received enormous push-back against its investigation into the Saudis.

“Staff Director Philip Zelikow blocked any investigation into the Saudis. Zelikow even went so far as to fire an investigator who had been brought over from the Joint Inquiry to specifically follow-up on the Saudi leads and information uncovered in the Joint Inquiry. I will repeat — the investigator was fired. Look at three items. First, Zelikow blocked and then fired Dana Lesemann when she tried to investigate the uninvestigated leads in the 28 pages … Second, it was only Zelikow and Dieter Snell who were granted access and able to question Omar Bayoumi—a man who stands at the epicenter of the Saudi nexus to the 9/11 attacks … Finally, it was Zelikow and Snell who ‘re-wrote’ the entire Saudi section of the 9/11 Commission’s Final Report — leaving out all the damning, incriminating information.

“Former 9/11 Commissioners John Lehman, Bob Kerrey, and Tim Roemer have all acknowledged that the Saudis were not adequately investigated by the 9/11 Commission. Thus, for any government official to hang their hat on the 9/11 Commission’s Final Report — when Commissioners, themselves, have admitted that the Saudis were not fully investigated, is absurd and disgraceful.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provided operational and financial support to the 9/11 hijackers. That is a fact. And, the U.S. government has been covering up that fact for fifteen years — even to this very day. And that is a crime.”

More from the New York Post: “Two commission lawyers investigating the Saudi support network for the hijackers complained their boss, executive director Philip Zelikow, blocked them from issuing subpoenas and conducting interviews of Saudi suspects. 9/11 Commission member [and Secretary of the Navy under Reagan] John Lehman was interested in the hijackers’ connections to Bandar, his wife and the Islamic affairs office at the embassy. But every time he tried to get information on that front, he was stonewalled by the White House. ‘They were refusing to declassify anything having to do with Saudi Arabia,’ Lehman was quoted as saying in the book, The Commission.

And from the U.S. edition of The Guardian: “Lehman said in an interview …: ‘Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia’ … 9/11 Commissioner Tim Roemer of Indiana said … when it comes to the Saudis, ‘we still haven’t gotten to the bottom of what happened on 9/11’ … In fact, there were repeated showdowns, especially over the Saudis, between the staff and the commission’s hard-charging executive director, Philip Zelikow, who joined the Bush administration as a senior adviser to the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, after leaving the commission …

“Zelikow fired a staffer, who had repeatedly protested over limitations on the Saudi investigation, after she obtained a copy of the 28 pages outside of official channels. Other staffers described an angry scene late one night, near the end of the investigation, when two investigators who focused on the Saudi allegations were forced to rush back to the commission’s offices after midnight after learning to their astonishment that some of the most compelling evidence about a Saudi tie to 9/11 was being edited out of the report …

“Lehman and another commissioner, former Democratic senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, filed affidavits last year in support of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government by the families of 9/11 victims. ‘Significant questions remain unanswered concerning possible involvement of Saudi government institutions and actors,’ Kerrey said. Lehman agreed: ‘Contrary to the argument advocated by the Kingdom, the 9/11 commission did not exonerate Saudi Arabia of culpability for the events of 11 September 2001 or the financing of al-Qaida.’ He said he was ‘deeply troubled’ by the evidence gathered about a hijackers’ support network in California.”

Part 3 – THE LOWDOWN AND THE UPSHOT

As pictured above, in the  “photo of Sept 13, 2001 Truman Balcony”,  you will see the four of them – Bush, Bandar, Cheney and Rice – lounging in wicker chairs on the Truman balcony of the White House – two days after 9-11. Do they look worried to you? No they don’t. They look satisfied.

Watch Michael Moore’s Farenheit 911 (link is external) . This is a powerful documentary, the most popular of all time. It becomes all so obvious.

Farenheit 911 came out in 2004. Michael then had the prescience to include reference to the 28 pages and also to focus on the Sept. 13 visit on the Truman Balcony.

Michael gets very specific about the evacuation arranged by Bandar and Bush on Sept. 13. “The White House approved planes to pick up the bin Ladins and numerous other Saudis. At least six private jets and nearly two dozen commercial planes carried the Saudis and bin Ladins out of the U.S. after September 13th. In all, 142 Saudis, including 24 members of the bin Ladin family were allowed to leave the country.” No questioning of the departing Saudis. Nary a subpoena.

But Michael captures another searing tableau whose import is the same as that on the Truman Balcony. It is the morning of 9/11 in a room at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel (link is external) in Washington D.C. Taking place is the annual investor conference of the Carlyle Group, a company heavily invested in defense a/k/a military-industrial-intelligence complex. Prominent among those gathered are Carlyle principals George H.W. Bush and Shafiq bin Laden, who is Osama bin Laden’s half brother. Together they view the collapses of the towers.

Carlyle has made a lot of money as a result of 9-11, beginning almost immediately afterwards.

Americans do not, cannot fathom how ghastly our behavior in the world has been since 9/11. Our Global War on Terror is a holocaust. If Americans fathomed that, they would have no trouble grasping that 9-11 was an inside job, perpetrated by the same forces (domestic and foreign) as are benefiting from our Global War on Terror.

The lowdown is that the Bush crime family is only one illustrative part of a political/economic/cultural system increasingly dominated by our war machine, a corporate-driven monster that does whatever it can get away with to foment more war and more profits. Neither the suffering nor the nationality of the victims matters. Hillary Clinton is its chosen candidate, clearly more aggressive than Obama.

The upshot is that the leaders both in Congress and outside of Congress most behind the release of the 28 pages understand all this, understand what is at stake, understand the urgency.

The military-industrial-intelligence complex is firmly entrenched and has no scruples. Quibbling among ourselves must stop. No more drawn out inquiries and equivocal analyses. We truly are running out of time