By Kristen Breitweiser, one of the four 9/11 widows – known as the “Jersey Girls” – instrumental in forcing the government to form the 9/11 Commission to investigate the 2001 attacks. Follow Kristen Breitweiser on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kdbreitweiser.
Back in ‘08, when people said Barack Obama was “the one,” I didn’t realize they meant that he would be “the one” and only person standing alone in blocking the path to justice for the 9/11 victims’ families.
Mr. Obama, please get out of our way and let us have some justice and peace 15 years after the brutal murder of our 3,000 loved ones.
JASTA (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, S.2040) is a well-thought out, powerful piece of anti-terrorism legislation. It does exactly what it says—it brings all those who fund terrorism to justice.
In a time where groups like ISIS are stomping around the globe decapitating people, ramming busses into crowds, and blowing up nightclubs, everyone (except Barack Obama) agrees that we need to stop terrorism in its tracks. One effective way to stop terrorists is to attack them at the root of their enterprise: their terrorist funding.
Without funds, terrorists can’t run and maintain websites or training camps. Without funding, terrorists can’t rent trucks, buy bomb-making materials, acquire assault rifles, or board airplanes to fly across borders. Without funding, terrorists can’t produce viral videos, create false documents, or recruit lone wolves. Without funding, terrorists are stopped dead in their tracks.
It goes without saying that the largest benefactor of terrorist groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the incubator for global jihad. Saudis build madrassahs where fiery Imams like Anwar Awlaki preach hate, print and distribute school books that teach violence against infidels, and pay large sums of protection money to terrorists like Osama Bin Laden.
Notably, the Saudi role in radical jihad does not stop at underwriting terrorism—it carries into logistical support of individual attacks, as well. This logistical role is how the Saudis are linked to the 9/11 attacks.
Contrary to what President Obama says about the 28 pages (28 pages that Obama admitted to never reading), there is plenty of “there” found in the 28 pages—and it’s called EVIDENCE of the Saudi financial and logistical support of the 9/11 hijackers who were embedded inside the United States. See end note below for this specific evidence.
Shockingly, the facts and evidence found in the 28 pages were not fully investigated because at the time (2002-2004), according to Vice President Cheney, we were a nation at war and we could not divert our vital resources into investigating the Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks.
As Vice President Dick Cheney said, “An investigation must not interfere with the ongoing efforts to prevent the next attack, because without a doubt a very real threat of another perhaps more devastating attack still exists. The people and agencies responsible for helping us learn about and defeat such an attack are the very ones most likely to be distracted from their critical duties.”
In addition to being a nation at war and and unable to spare vital investigatory resources, the 9/11 Commission was also hamstrung by its extremely limited initial budget of $3 million and its extremely short 18-month time frame. Moreover due to publishing restraints and page limits, the 9/11 Commission was unable to include all information and evidence in its Final Report. Needless to say, the 9/11 Commission’s investigation into the Saudis was neither robust, nor complete.
Several 9/11 Commissioners—Democrat and Republican—have confirmed this fact by going on the record stating that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not adequately investigated by the 9/11 Commission. Moreover, Commissioners Kerrey and Lehman said, “The 9/11 Commission did not exonerate Saudi Arabia of culpability for the events of 11th September 2001 or the financing of al Qaeda.
Even still, President Obama persists in protecting the Saudis and saying that the 9/11 Commission exonerated the Saudis. Yet, even given its drastic time, budget, and investigatory limits, the 9/11 Commission was able to conclude that, “Saudi Arabia has long been considered the primary source of al Qaeda funding…charities with significant Saudi government sponsorship diverted funds to al Qaeda. Al Qaeda found fertile fund-raising ground in Saudi Arabia, where extreme religious views are common and charitable giving was both essential to the culture and subject to very limited oversight.”
Perhaps, if President Obama took the time to read the 28 pages, he would understand the wisdom and need for JASTA. The President might also better comprehend why 100 percent of Congress has voted in support of JASTA.
JASTA has achieved what President Obama could not—a truly pure, bi-partisan work-product that serves the best interests of American citizens. JASTA shows that Americans can work together to keep us safer from terrorism. In an era, where all agree that you are either with us or you are with the terrorists, it is interesting to see where President Obama currently stands—alone, and against the will of the American people.
President Obama says that he is opposed to JASTA because it will open up the United States to lawsuits that would cost billions.
What President Obama doesn’t mention is that foreign nations and individuals can already sue the United States via statutes like ATA (Anti-Terrorism Act, 18 U.S.C. s. 2333) and ATS (Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. s. 1350). The ATS has been in existence since 1789 and ATA since the 90’s. Neither has cost us billions. Neither has opened the floodgates of litigation. Neither has endangered our soldiers nor impeded our ability to carry out drone strikes, troop movements, or torture.
The real reason President Obama opposes JASTA is because it will hold the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia accountable for their role in the 9/11 attacks. And for good reason (found in 80,000 documents in Florida and 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry of Congress), the Saudis are worried about being held accountable in a court of law for their misdeeds.
Saudi Royals aren’t exactly accustomed to having to answer questions, face evidence, or be held responsible for their acts—that’s why President Obama called them free-loaders last spring. President Obama certainly wasn’t worried about offending Saudi Royals then, nor when he paid $4 billion and cut his Iran deal last summer.
Of course, what’s most bothersome and depressing about President Obama’s bowing to this second terrorist regime, is that it runs so completely counter to what this man said he was all about back in 2008.
He promised to restore our faith in government. He promised transparency, rule of law, and accountability. He promised to limit the extent to which lobbyists could affect government. And to the 9/11 families specifically, he promised justice.
President Obama now chooses to protect a foreign regime that fuels hatred and terrorism rather than to protect the rights of American victims. Plain and simple, Obama’s choice is shameful.
Every member of Congress must recognize that President Obama’s two arguments against JASTA are specious. Congress must stand strong in its unanimous passage of JASTA and its protection of American victims of terrorist attacks by overriding President Obama’s veto because it is not just the right thing to do—it is the American thing to do.
Congress, the 9/11 families’ and JASTA’s message is clear: If you fund terrorists that kill Americans you will be held responsible. We, all of us who support JASTA, represent the UNITED States of America and we protect our own, Mr. President—not the Saudis and the terrorists who kill us.
ENDNOTE: directly from the 28 pages:
“Al Bayoumi provided substantial assistance to hijackers Khalid al Mihdhar and Nawaf al Hazmi after they arrived in San Diego in February 2000.”
“Al Bayoumi had extensive contact with SAUDI Government establishments in the United States and received financial support from a SAUDI company affiliated with the SAUDI Ministry of Defense.”
“The documentary evidence that al Bayoumi provided assistance to al Hazmi and al Mihdhar is solid.”
“The FBI discovered that al Bayoumi had far more extensive ties to the SAUDI Government than previously realized.”
“Bassnan has many ties to the SAUDI Government.”
“Bassnan reportedly received funding and possibly a fake passport from SAUDI Government officials.”
“Bassnan and his wife have received financial support from the SAUDI Ambassador to the United States and his wife.”
“Bassnan also has other ties to the SAUDI Government.”
“Bassnan’s wife received a monthly stipend from Princess Haifa.”
“These checks were payable to Bassnan’s wife and were drawn on the Riggs Bank account of Prince Bandar’s wife.”
“Bassnan cashed a check from Bandar in the amount of $15,000.”
“Bassnan’s wife also received at least one check directly from Bandar.”
“Bassnan is an extremist and supporter of Usama Bin Ladin.”
“Bassnan spoke of Bin Ladin as if he were a god.”
“Bassnan also knew Bin Ladin’s family in SAUDI Arabia and speaks on his mobile phone with members of the family who are living in the United States.”
“The Ibn Tamiyah Mosque in Culver City is a site of extremist-related activity.”
“An FBI agent said he believed that SAUDI Government money was being laundered through the Ibn Tamiyah Mosque.”
“There are also indications of SAUDI Government support for terrorist activity through charitable organizations.”
“CIA, Treasury, and FBI officials have all expressed their concern about the al-Haramain Foundation’s ties to both the SAUDI Government and terrorist activity.”
“The al Haramain Foundation has clear ties to the SAUDI Government and intelligence reporting suggests it is providing financial and logistical support to al Qaeda.”
“The FBI has located correspondence between al Bayoumi and the al Haramain Islamic Foundation.”
“The subject of Phoenix and Portland FBI counterterrorism investigations, also has close ties to a member of the SAUDI royal family.”
“Although his name was on the State Department watchlist, BLANK was apparently able to circumvent the Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service because he was traveling with the SAUDI prince.”
“The FBI expressed their concern that BLANK and others were using their status as SAUDI Arabian Airlines employees as a cover to enable them to transport weapons in and out of the United States.”
“In testimony and interviews, a number of FBI agents and CIA officers complained to the Joint Inquiry about a lack of SAUDI cooperation in terrorism investigations both before and after the September 11 attacks.”
“The SAUDIS have been useless and obstructionist for years.”
“The SAUDIS will only act when it is in their self-interest.”
“When a high level officer was asked how the September 11 attacks might have been prevented, he cited greater SAUDI cooperation, pointing to an example from the summer of 2001 when the U.S. government requested SAUDI assistance, with no success.”
“According to the former Chief of Alec Station, it was clear from about 1996 that the SAUDI Government would not cooperate with the United States on matters relating to Usama Bin Ladin.”
“The SAUDIS had stopped providing background information or other assistance on Bin Ladin because Bin Ladin had too much information about official SAUDI dealings with Islamic extremists in the 1980s for Riyadh to deliver him into U.S. hands.”
“The former Chief of Alec Station thought that the U.S. government’s hope of eventually obtaining SAUDI cooperation was unrealistic because SAUDI assistance to the U.S. government on this matter was contrary to SAUDI national interests.”