28 PAGES….Matt Yglesias draws our attention to a short article in The New Republic that says the censored 28 pages in the congressional 9/11 report are more explosive than even the most hawkish Saudi bashers think:
The section cites “specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers,” which most commentators have interpreted to mean Saudi contributions to Al Qaeda-linked charities. But an official who has read the report tells The New Republic that the support described in the report goes well beyond that: It involves connections between the hijacking plot and the very top levels of the Saudi royal family. “There’s a lot more in the 28 pages than money. Everyone’s chasing the charities,” says this official. “They should be chasing direct links to high levels of the Saudi government. We’re not talking about rogue elements. We’re talking about a coordinated network that reaches right from the hijackers to multiple places in the Saudi government.”
….The official who read the 28 pages tells The New Republic, “If the people in the administration trying to link Iraq to Al Qaeda had one-one-thousandth of the stuff that the 28 pages has linking a foreign government to Al Qaeda, they would have been in good shape.” He adds: “If the 28 pages were to be made public, I have no question that the entire relationship with Saudi Arabia would change overnight.”
A single source is only a single source, but even with the appropriate grains of salt this account sounds unfortunately plausible. After all, both Bush and the Saudis must know the first rule of PR, which is that if you say nothing then people will start making up stories even worse than the truth. The truth must be pretty bad if they’re willing to risk breaking that rule.
Besides, how long can this stay secret? There are an awful lot of people who have seen the censored section, and all it takes is one person to leak a couple of the most inflammatory pages. Something’s gotta give before long.