John Lehman, a Republican member of the 9/11 Commission, says Saudi Arabia was deeply involved in providing support to the hijackers who carried out the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City.

“There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” Lehman said. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.”

After 9/11, the American public was told that the hijackers acted alone and had no state sponsors.

However, President Bush censored 28 full pages of the 800-page report that deal with “specific sources of foreign support” for the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi nationals.

Lehman identified at least five Saudi officials who were strongly suspected of involvement in the hijackers’ support network. One former Saudi diplomat named Fahad al-Thumairy was deported, but never charged with a crime.

Just after 9/11, Lehman said there was a criminal investigation into Saudi government officials with ties to extremist groups who gave Mr. Al-Thumairy the job.

Of course the Saudis deny any role in 9/11, but the CIA found “incontrovertible evidence” that government officials, including high-level diplomats and intelligence officers, helped the hijackers financially and logistically.

Saudi Arabia has threatened to sell off $750 billion in U.S. assets if Congress passes a law that allows victims of 9/11 to file lawsuits against the kingdom, in a scheme likened to “blackmail.”

Lehman served as the U.S. Navy secretary in the Reagan administration. He is the first person from the 10-member commission to publicly acknowledge that the report downplayed the involvement of Saudi Arabia.

Source: The Guardian

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