On April 18, the Obama administration made a stunning admission revealing on the record that the Saudis were the original source of funding for Al Qaeda. The event came after a dramatic deterioration of the relations between the countries. Last weekend, Saudi Arabia threatened the US with dumping billions in Treasuries if Congress passed a bill probing into its alleged support of 9/11 terrorists in the aftermath of last weekend’s 60 Minutes report on the classified “28 pages” from the Septemeber 11 commission.
President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, said that the Saudi government had paid “insufficient attention” to money that was being funneled into terror groups and fueled the rise of Al Qaeda.
He said this to David Axelrod in his podcast “The Axe Files” when he was asked about the validity of the accusation that the Saudi government was complicit in sponsoring terrorism.
“I think that it’s complicated in the sense that, it’s not that it was Saudi government policy to support Al Qaeda, but there were a number of very wealthy individuals in Saudi Arabia who would contribute, sometimes directly, to extremist groups. Sometimes to charities that were kind of, ended up being ways to launder money to these groups,” Rhodes said.
“So a lot of the money, the seed money if you will, for what became Al Qaeda, came out of Saudi Arabia,” he added.
Rhodes also noted that he doesn’t believe the government was “actively trying to prevent that from happening.” Indeed, the Saudi government knew that “a number of very wealthy Saudi individuals” were funding that what would become the organization blamed for the 9/11 attack.
The conversation turned even more awkward when Axelrod, who as Obama’s former senior advisor pushed Rhodes on at-times asked about the dynamic between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia: “How do you explain that to Americans, that, you know, on the one hand we call them an ally on the other hand they have these deep roots in these extremist elements?”
“I would stop short of saying that there was any willful government intention from Saudi Arabia to support Al Qaeda,” Rhodes answered. “I think the difficult thing that Americans need to understand is we forge these relationships with governments because we have some shared interest with them.”
Thus, the state which the US government officially admits is behind Al Qaeda gets a pass because the US authorities “have some shared interest with them”. Great idea!