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Mitch Perry Report for 4.18.16 – Can bill to allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudis’ go forward?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Good Monday morning. I’ve a quick question for you.

Is Saudi Arabia really one of our allies in the Middle East?

Some conservatives, like MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, insist they are, and says that one of many reasons why we should be angry at Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran is because it upset the Saudis, allegedly one of our true friends in that region.

This issue is about to be revisited, after the NY Times reported on Friday that the Saudi Arabian government has threatened to sell of hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets should Congress pass a bi-partisan bill led by NY Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer that could hold the kingdom responsible for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Of the 22 co-sponsors of the measure, known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, 12 are Republicans and 10 are Democrats. The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage and the Saudi threats have reportedly been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon.

Although there’s been much attention paid to the classified 28 pages of the 9/11 report that Bob Graham has made such an issue out of, there may be even more information available that the Saudi’s involvement with 9/11 was deliberately covered up at the  highest levels of the U.S. government.

In Sunday’s New York Post, Paul Sperry writes, “…sources say the pages missing from the 9/11 congressional inquiry report — which comprise the entire final chapter dealing with “foreign support for the September 11 hijackers” — details “incontrovertible evidence” gathered from both CIA and FBI case files of official Saudi assistance for at least two of the Saudi hijackers who settled in San Diego….Some information has leaked from the redacted section, including a flurry of pre-9/11 phone calls between one of the hijackers’ Saudi handlers in San Diego and the Saudi Embassy, and the transfer of some $130,000 from then-Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar’s family checking account to yet another of the hijackers’ Saudi handlers in San Diego.

 On two Sunday morning shows, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders initially reacted with ignorance when asked about the Schumer bill. But later in the day, both Democratic presidential candidates said they backed the legislation. And Sanders went even further, saying he urged the Obama administration to “declassify the 28-page conclusion of the 9/11 Commission Report on the potential sources of foreign support received by the hijackers.”

In other news…

We can say with some certainty that unless something radical changes, our story published on Friday regarding what was actually said last year between Pat Frank and Kevin Beckner will be the last one we’ll write that details their he-said, she-said dispute.

For the first time since he entered the race last fall, Charlie Crist has now raised more money than Eric Lynn in their battle for the CD 13 seat.

Justin Grabelle announced a couple of endorsements on Friday, as he takes on Daniel Webster in CD 11.

Kathy Castor is a superdelegate – and wants to remain one, thanks for asking.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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