Report: Saudi Arabia vows to sell assets before courts can freeze if US finds they were involved in 9/11

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has threatened the U.S. that it will sell its $750 billion in U.S. assets if the Congress passes a bill that would hold the Saudi government legally responsible for any role it might have had in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The report comes on the heels of another report that said President Obama would decide soon whether or not to release the redacted chapter of the 9/11 Commission report that could potentially show that members of the Saudi government financed the 9/11 terror attacks, according to the New York Times.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir purportedly informed Washington last month that his government would be forced to sell the assets before U.S. courts could freeze them if the possible links became public, the Times reported.

Several outside economists are skeptical that the Saudis will follow through, saying that such a sell-off would be difficult to execute and would end up crippling the kingdom’s economy. But the threat is another sign of the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The administration, which argues that the legislation would put Americans at legal risk overseas, has been lobbying so intently against the bill that some lawmakers and families of Sept. 11 victims are infuriated. In their view, the Obama administration has consistently sided with the kingdom and has thwarted their efforts to learn what they believe to be the truth about the role some Saudi officials played in the terrorist plot.

The pressure to release the report, classified by both the Bush and Obama administrations who cite national security, has increased as Obama is set to visit Saudi Arabia next week for a meeting with Gulf leaders.

It is the wording in the commission’s report that says it had “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization” that has some wondering if lower ranking Saudi officials were involved.

According to the Times, economists doubt the Saudi’s would have such a massive sell off. It would be tough to do and would have a crushing effect on the nation’s economy.

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Carmine Sabia

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