A day after the report was tabled, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States insisted his kingdom was falling prey to rumors, innuendos and untruths.
“In a 900-page report, 28 blanked-out pages are being used by some to malign our country and our people,” the Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan
“Rumors, innuendos and untruths have become, when it comes to the kingdom, the order of the day,” he alleged.
The White House has refused to declassify 28 pages of the report, a decision which drew sharp rebukes from numbers members of the Congress.
The blacked-out 28 pages reportedly detail Saudi failure to clamp down on the al-Qaeda, blamed for the attacks in New York and Washington, despite persistent US alerts to Riyadh since 1996.
But Prince Bander rejected the accusations.
“It is unfortunate that false accusations against Saudi Arabia continue to be made by some for political purposes despite the fact that the Kingdom has been one of the most active partners in the war on terrorism, as the president and other administrations officials have repeatedly and publicly attested,” he said.
“The idea that the Saudi government funded, organized or even knew about September 11 is malicious and blatantly false,” he added.
'In a 900-page report, 28 blanked-out pages are being used by some to malign our country and our people'
“It is my belief that the reason a classified section that allegedly deals with foreign governments is absent from the report is most likely because the information contained in it could not be substantiated,” the ambassador argued.
“Saudi Arabia has nothing to hide. We can deal with questions in public, but we cannot respond to blank pages,” he explained.
Another Saudi official accused Democrat congressmen of trying to defame Saudi Arabia.
“Most of the comments are from Democrats running for elections and we are an easy target for them,” he said.
The congressional report raises suspicions but reached no definite conclusion about whether Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi who knew two of the September 11 hijackers, was connected to the Saudi government.
Bayoumi is suspected to have liberally funded the hijackers, raising hackles in the US.