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You could be forgiven for missing it, but in the depths of the dog days of August, with most everyone’s attention on the long Labor Day weekend, New York City Mayor Eric Adams dropped what can be interpreted as tacit acknowledgement that the government of Saudi Arabia — or at least, agents of the government — may have participated in the planning and execution of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
On Thursday, August 30, Adams met at New York City Hall with members of three advocacy groups representing 9/11 survivors and victims’ families. Alarmed by an October stop of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour at the Trump Organization-owned Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx — and convinced by recently declassified information that Saudi Arabian intelligence officials assisted al-Qaeda — the groups asked Adams to block the tournament.
Adams, who was a NYPD lieutenant in 2001 and worked a security detail at the World Trade Center wreckage that night, said he legally could not do anything. The Trump golf course is Trump’s; Trump can welcome anyone there he likes.
But then, instead of dismissing the 9/11 families’ specific concerns, Adams platformed them.
From a statement issued by Adams’s office on Friday, September 1 (emphasis mine):
I appreciated the opportunity to hear firsthand from the 9/11 community about what they have learned about these attacks in just the last few months since the Biden administration declassified thousands of documents. They were clear that they believe the new documents link members of the Saudi government directly to the hijackers, and my administration will closely review this information. They also made clear that the fight isn’t over, and we must continue seeking accountability for those who participated in these attacks.
Finally, it is outrageous that the Trump Organization agreed to host a tournament with this organization while knowing how much pain it would cause New Yorkers.
Mayor Eric Adams quietly releases a statement online after meeting with the families of 9/11 victims about their opposition to a Saudi-backed golf tournament at the city-owned Trump Ferry Point course, h/t @maggieNYT: https://t.co/tOXL0OT1ep pic.twitter.com/ZghLXpd9Iv
— Emma G. Fitzsimmons (@emmagf) September 2, 2022
A major footnote to all this is Trump’s own strange, possibly corrupt relationship with Saudi Arabia, a story arc that veers from Trump also blaming the prized US strategic ally for 9/11 while on the campaign trail in 2016 before taking pains to do favors for the kingdom as president.
If there was a quid pro quo, that could explain the $2 billion the kingdom funneled into Jared Kushner’s investment fund as well as the LIV Tour’s visits to other Trump golf properties. (Whatever documents were seized at Mar-a-Lago may hold clues.) But let’s put that aside for now and focus on what Adams said.
The Friday before a long holiday weekend is always a black hole for news. Maybe that’s why Adams and his press team felt comfortable speaking out on a subject that’s still verboten for many Americans. Maybe it was a slip. But here’s the mayor of New York City, who reminds us constantly he was a former police officer, speaking about the 9/11 attacks like they’re still an open case, with suspects still at large and justice yet to come.
That seemed to encourage the 9/11 advocates, whose own declarations that Saudi Arabia had a role in the attacks were remarkably also platformed by the mayoral press team.
From a statement attributed to Terry Strada, the national chair of 9/11 Families United, included in Adams’s press release:
Details about recent U.S. intelligence reports confirming Saudi agents, Saudi state-run charities and banks, and wealthy individuals provided the financial and logistical support needed for the 19 hijackers to carry out the attacks was discussed, further illustrating Saudi complicity in the worst terrorist attack against our nation and need for the administration to prioritize 9/11 accountability.
While it is disappointing the contractual agreement for the Saudi Aramco golf tournament has legal standing, we understand the mayor’s obligation and greatly appreciate his public support for our quest for justice, accountability, and the truth.
Whether Adams, who’s carved out a reputation as an unpredictable and free-spirited mayor in a town with a long history of unusual executives, will follow through on his pledge to “closely review” what the 9/11 families brought to the meeting remains to be seen.
It’s also unclear what action, if any, a mere mayor — even the mayor of New York, with a global anti-terrorism force at his disposal — could take on such a loaded issue, one that could rewrite the last two decades of history as well as disrupt the global order.
Some context from me. I was at Ground Zero when the buildings collapsed, reporting for the Los Angeles Times. I later investigated the close relationship between the Saudi royals and the Bush family for my book Family of Secrets and went on to examine Saudi royal ties to the hijackers. I launched WhoWhatWhy because there weren’t enough places where anyone could fearlessly pursue credible, documented angles like this. So I consider Adams’ action a very positive, albeit isolated, development.
I can think of myriad avenues worth exploring regarding 9/11 — the government documents that are still under lock and key, the questions that arose early and remain around the background and identity of the hijackers, a mysterious van containing possible Israeli intelligence agents, and much more.
For now, though, this is a start.
While we all ponder the matter over this coming weekend — the 21st anniversary of the attacks is Sunday, and there is a generation of Americans now entering adulthood who have no memory of the day itself — here, for your convenience, is a sampling of no-holds-barred coverage WhoWhatWhy has published on the Saudi-9/11 connection in the past.
We will of course remain interested in any new information that surfaces, and will share it with you.