Bush Admits ‘Majority’ of 9/11 Hijackers Were Saudis

Six years too late, George W. Bush has finally acknowledged that 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were citizens of the U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia:

From 2003 to 2007, the number of people who believed Bush’s lie dropped from 70 percent to 33 percent. Bush will never recover from the anger felt by the 37 percent of Americans who came to the realization that they had been lied to by their president.

“There’s a lot of really good people here [in Saudi Arabia]. Look, you can’t deny the fact that some, a majority, of the terrorists came from Saudi, but you should not condemn an entire society based upon the actions of a handful of killers.”

It would have been nice if the interviewer, ABC’s Terry Moran, had gotten Bush on the record about the Middle Eastern nation whose citizens were not represented among these 19 mass murderers.

The breakdown was 15 Saudis, one Egyptian, one Lebanese and two from the Union of Arab Emirates (UAE).

None were from Iraq.

Despite this fact — and the fact that Saddam Hussein was a secular despot who was despised by Osama bin Laden, a right-wing religious fanatic — a poll two years after the attacks, and six months after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, 70 percent of Americans believed Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

The fact that a solid majority of the public was misinformed was not an accident. It was a result of a propaganda campaign deployed from the Bush White House:

  • “We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September 11, Saddam Hussein’s regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America. Some citizens wonder, after 11 years of living with this problem, why do we need to confront it now? And there’s a reason.”
    Bush in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002 (It was this speech in which the CIA forced Bush to remove a claim that Saddam had tried to purchase Nigerian uranium. The claim was reinserted as the famous “16 words” in Bush’s State of the Union speech the following January. When Amb. Joe Wilson called Bush on this lie, Cheney conspired to reveal the secret identity of Wilson’s wife and thus betrayed a clandestine U.S. government operation that tracked the WMD black market. Cheney’s man Scooter Libby took the fall for this treasonous act, apparently on the assurance that he would be pardoned for the crime before Bush leaves office.)
  • “But what I want to bring to your attention today is the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al Qaida terrorist network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and modern methods of murder. Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, an associated in collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaida lieutenants…” And… “We are not surprised that Iraq is harboring Zarqawi and his subordinates. This understanding builds on decades long experience with respect to ties between Iraq and Al Qaida…” And… “Some believe, some claim these contacts do not amount to much. They say Saddam Hussein’s secular tyranny and Al Qaida’s religious tyranny do not mix. I am not comforted by this thought. Ambition and hatred are enough to bring Iraq and Al Qaida together…”
    Former Sec. of State Colin Powell, in his presentation to the UN Feb. 5, 2003, the majority of which, including the connections between Iraq and al Qaeda, has been discredited
  • “Before September 11, 2001, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents and lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons, and other plans – this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.”
    Bush in his Jan. 28, 2003 State of the Union speech
  • “And for America, there will be no going back to the era before September the 11th, 2001 — to false comfort in a dangerous world. We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. And the surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans. We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities.”
    Bush in Sept. 7, 2003, address to the nation
  • “If we’re successful in Iraq … we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.”
    Cheney on Meet the Press, Sept. 14, 2003
  • “[Saddam Hussein posed a risk in] a region from which the 9/11 threat emerged.”
    – National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, Sept. 2003
  • “[Saddam Hussein] had long established ties with al Qaeda.”
    Cheney, campaigning for reelection on June 14, 2004
  • “The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September the 11th, if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi, and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like Bin Laden.”
    Bush, June 28, 2005
  • “That’s right.”
    Dick Cheney, on “Meet the Press,” Sept. 10, 2006, when asked by Tim Russert, “Well, I asked you. I said, is there a connection between Saddam and 9/11 on September ’03, and you said, we don’t know.”

But if you thought the case against Saddam’s masterminding of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, has been resolved, think again. Just four months ago, in September 2007, a staggering one-third of Americans still say they believe the Iraqi government was behind the attacks.

Over the four years between these two polls, the number of people who believed Bush’s lie about Iraq dropped from 70 percent to 33 percent. The anger, betrayal and embarrassment felt by the 37 percent of Americans — roughly 111 million people — who came to the realization that they had been lied to by their president is now and will forever be the defining element of George Bush’s legacy. In our country’s short history, no disinformation campaign by our government has been costlier in American blood and treasure.

They will never forgive him, and nor should they.

Interestingly, the number of Americans who still believe the lie that Saddam caused 9/11 coincides precisely with a poll released yesterday by ABC that found that about one-third of Americans (32 percent) still approve of George Bush’s performance on the job.

*

Update: As a commenter below correctly pointed out, there was a misattribution of a quote by Bush to Colin Powell in the source article from the BBC from which the quotes were taken. The phrase about the polling attributed Powell was inserted inadvertently. We apologize for the latter, and have vetted each of the quotes from the BBC article and sourced all of them to the White House, except for Rice’s statement, which she made in an ABC News interview and was widely reported, including the reference here in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. (We also added three more quotes, two sourced to the White House and one to a “Meet the Press” transcript.)

This does not change in even the slightest way the thrust of this article — that there was a concerted disinformation campaign by Bush officials to convince Americans that Iraq was behind 9/11. The proof of the theory was, and is, the result: In 2003, 70 percent of Americans believed this lie and, as recently as last fall, about one-third still do.

69 Comments

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  • January 16, 2008 - 5:16 pm | Permalink

    “There’s a lot of really good people here [in America]. Look, you can’t deny the fact that some, a majority, of the White House terrorists came from Texas, but you should not condemn an entire society based upon the actions of a handful of pathologically insane killers, like me and my trainer, Dick Cheney.

  • Anonymous
    January 16, 2008 - 6:21 pm | Permalink

    help

  • Gene
    January 16, 2008 - 6:46 pm | Permalink

    “You can fool some of the people [apparently around one third] all of the time. Those are the ones you want to concentrate on.” George W. Bush

  • FreedomOfInformationAct
    January 16, 2008 - 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Bush breaks all records in tanking approval ratings.

    Europe Rates Bush in the SINGLE DIGITS!!

    Issue: Ugly American?

    Europeans appear weary and wary of President Bush.
    More than 5,500 Europeans told this to Harris Interactive in a poll conducted for the International Herald Tribune and a French television station. The survey showed that Mr. Bush’s reputation is tanking.

    The approval rating of President George W. Bush on an approval scale of zero to 100 in each of the five European countries surveyed is a single digit. Italy, 8 percent approve of Bush; the UK, 7 percent; Spain, 7 percent; Germany, 5 percent; France, 3 percent.

    The same 5,500 respondents in the same five countries were also asked this question: “How much of a threat does the United States pose to peace among nations of the world?” In all five countries, majorities responded that the U.S. poses a, quote-unquote, “major threat to world peace.”

    http://www.mclaughlin.com/library/transcript.asp?id=635

  • Forgiveness Needed
    January 16, 2008 - 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Newton’s laws of physics apply to The Bush-whack Iraq attack, too. “For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.”

    Amazing hate is spreading across the two greatest religions–Christianity (3 billion) and Islam (1 billion).

  • The Conservative Deflator
    January 16, 2008 - 9:36 pm | Permalink

    “…you should not condemn an entire society based upon the actions of a handful of killers.”

    I hope Bush was referring to the fact that the rest of the world should not hate the U.S. because of the actions of bloodthirsty sociopaths like he and Cheney…

  • Jessica Tufts
    January 16, 2008 - 11:41 pm | Permalink

    The author of this article, Jon Ponder, would have us believe that in Feb. 2003, Colin Powell said “We’ve experienced the horror of 11 September. Eventually, one poll found that 70 percent of Americans had come to believe this lie.”

    This in itself is a blatant lie. Here’s what was actually said: “We’ve experienced the horror of September the 11th. We have seen that those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes into buildings full of innocent people.” And this is part of a speech given by George Bush in Cincinnati in Oct. 2002, not by Colin Powell in Feb. 2003. You can read the full text of the speech here as well as on many other web sites.

    Jon Ponder’s credibility should now be zero.

    A few days after the 9/11 attacks, the FBI announced the names and nationalities of the 19 hijackers. The majority of them were from Saudi Arabia, and none were from Iraq. No one in the Bush administration has ever made any claims to the contrary. I would know; I follow current events like a hawk, and if a member of the administration had made such a claim, I would have experienced a great deal of memorable cognitive dissonance.

    Almost every American knows that Osama bin Laden was the chief architect of the attacks. Regrettably, many Americans’ knowledge of geography is deficient, and some of them may have assumed that bin Laden operated out of Iraq. But to call this a product of a “White House disinformation campaign” is laughable.

  • January 17, 2008 - 1:05 am | Permalink

    I’ve never understood the reason for Iraq. If you wanted to set people free from murdering repressive dictators that harbour terrorism you should have really started with Saudi Arabia. The best I could ever come up with was there was so much cheap oil being sold out the back door to countries like China that the US and Saudis felt they had to get their hand back on the tap. This seems to be reflected by the fact that oil has more than doubled in price since the US set the Iraqi oil wells free.

  • David
    January 17, 2008 - 3:03 am | Permalink

    While I generally agree with what you said, I was stunned that I linked to it through REUTERS News Service. The first page was a Reuters page. Not a place for an opinion piece. What’s up with that?

  • Charley
    January 17, 2008 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    Now that the President has told you AGAIN that the attackers were mainly from Saudi, try to remember it. Next time you won’t have to go raving bonkers when you hear it. Of course, the information has been available and known by many others since about 9/15/2001. And, IIRC, that information was provided by the Bush administration. Glad that you are trying to catch up. Sorry that you have become so upset by the information that seem so new to you.

    Sorry, Charley. It’s our policy not to allow lies by rightwingers to stand in the comments on this site. Dear Leader may have whispered something to you about the nationalities of the hijackers when you prayed to him, we suppose, but otherwise you have no source for the assertion he said it publicly before now because he did not. To admit that all 19 of them came from countries allied with the US would have stepped on the meme that they were sent by Saddam, which was the fundamental false precept of the pretext for war. Really, if you need to post lies on the Intertubes, scoot on over to Free Republic. People lie to each other there 24/7.

    – Editors

  • January 17, 2008 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    David – Apparently Reuters thought it was “news” that Bush has finally admitted to one more piece of the truth about the lies he used to take the US to war.

  • brian
    January 17, 2008 - 9:17 pm | Permalink

    And Bush just brokered a $20b arms deal with the land of the terrorists? Something is really fishy here. Could it be that maybe, just maybe, there are more lies about the true nature of the terrorist threat and 9/11? Looks to me like the true Axis of Evil is the US, Britain, Isael, and Suadi Arabia.

  • Chris Horne
    January 17, 2008 - 10:48 pm | Permalink

    The real cost of the war out of your community and your wallet can be found here:
    Take action people. Don’t just read the headlines, make a comment and take that sip of wine or whatever floats your boat. We aare spending our way into oblivian IMHO.
    http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar_home

  • Chris Horne
    January 17, 2008 - 10:56 pm | Permalink

    On the other side, some good may actually come of the adventure but at a un calculable cost ot the world.
    Don’t rely on the mainstream medis people. Check out these intependant journalests. They are risking it all to bruing us the real story from the voices in Iraq american and Iraqi.
    http://michaeltotten.com/
    and this one will make you weep if you have any humanity inside you?
    It’s only 3000 words in total but the words of a brave man, some may say stupid but we are all stupid humand that may not make the Cosmic cut and survive to become a part of all that stuff between here and the edge of the known Universe.
    [link]
    Finally
    [link]

    Peace all

  • Court of Progressive Justice
    January 17, 2008 - 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm… I’ll bet the sward that bunny pants bush was playing with … is the same type of sward the saudis use for their WEEKLY BEHEADINGS …

  • Monroe Frey
    January 27, 2008 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    TO THE EDITORS: RE Charley’s “lies”
    When I hear of links between Saddam and 9/11, more often than not, it’s from the Left. I don’t recall Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice ever state that Saddam was behind 9/11. It is true that he was shooting daily at our pilots who were involved in a UN mission. It is true that a high level Al Qaeda operative was living in Baghdad. It is true that almost every intelligence agency in the world believed he had WMD. It is true he certainly had (past tense, possibly) WMD. It is true that the British Parliament stands behind their assertion that Saddam was trying to buy nuclear material from Niger. It is also true that the White House had nothing to do with the outing of the semi-secret status of the well known CIA operative, Valerie Plame, to Bob Novak. Anyone who believes that Saddam meant us no harm is an idiot. Thankfully, our President and the Congress took long overdue action to offer the chance for freedom to the Iraqi people. The Bush legacy is 37 million men, women, and children in Afghanistan and Iraq with a decent shot at self rule.

    Sorry Dax-Monroe but, as you know, it is our policy not to allow lies rightwingers post here to go unchallenged. Leaving aside the fact that we have listed several lies told by Bush, Cheney et al above — and the fact that the reason you only hear about the lies from the left is the fact that the right is complicit with Bush — here is an excerpt from a brand new study that shows that Bush officials lied almost 1,000 times, on the record:

    President George W. Bush and seven of his administration’s top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.

    – Editors

  • Monroe Frey
    January 27, 2008 - 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of lies being challenged by the Editors, are there really weekly beheadings in Saudi Arabia? Is it like every Sunday afternoon? Do they publish a schedule for left wing tourists?

    Policy only applies to rightwingers, and does not apply to exaggerations. And, yes, this policy is not “fair.” (We’ll start being fair one day after the rightwing does, and not a minute before.) However, please know you are more than welcome to post lies 24/7 over the Free Republic or on any rightwing website. Oh, wait, sorry. That’s wrong. Most rightwing sites don’t allow readers to comment.

    – Editors

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  • Thomas
    February 27, 2009 - 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Interesting [new] development…….

    Captured Israeli SPY’s [in Lebanon] cousin…

    Was alleged PILOT of Fl 93 when it was downed..

    See:just google, Lebanese SPY for Israel, Cousin 911 pilot Fl 93

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  • bill johnston
    October 6, 2009 - 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I recall seeing Fox News using the crawl and talking heads to associate 9/11 and Al Qaeda with Iraq and Saddam. Someone would talk about Iraq while the the crawl showed information about Al Qaeda or terrorists. It was not coincidence. Bush, Cheney, Rice, etc made constant same-sentence references to 911 and Saddam, 911 and Iraq, terrorists and Iraq. Even if they never said “Iraq attacked us on 911.”, they used simple association to link the two. It was blatant and pervasive in the media.

    Some of the facts have become clear. But our government does not have the will to prosecute a former President and his administration for crimes against humanity, lying to and deceiving the country and luring our allies into two unnecessary and intractable wars. Perhaps there was a deliberate, conscious conspiracy. We may never know.

  • November 14, 2009 - 10:19 pm | Permalink

    None were from Iraq.

    Despite this fact — and the fact that Saddam Hussein was a secular despot who was despised by Osama bin Laden, a rightwing religious fanatic — a poll two years after the attacks, and six months after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, 70 percent of Americans believed Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

    The fact that a solid majority of the public was misinformed was not an accident. It was a result of a propaganda campaign deployed from the Bush White House:

    The links between Iraq and al Qaeda were established by the media long before Bush ever came to office. Furthermore, you confuse the claims “links between al Qaeda and Iraq” with “Saddam had something to do with 9/11″ (a claim that Bush never made).

    Check into the postwar Harmony Database findings; the Pentagon-funded Iraqi Perspectives Project (misrepresented by media reporters who never read the 1600 page report).

    Saddam had a history of working with Islamic terrorists, including those involved with the al Qaeda NETWORK. 2/3rds of al Qaeda’s leadership came from Egyptian Islamic Jihad which had a clear footprint in Iraq.

    It is a CIA myth that a “secular” Saddam would never work toward common short-term goals with religious fanatics.

    Bill Johnston wrote:

    Even if they never said “Iraq attacked us on 911.”, they used simple association to link the two. It was blatant and pervasive in the media.

    Iraq was tied into the global war on terror because at the time, we feared a wmd-loving Saddam who could use Islamic terrorists as proxies to deliver wmd attacks against a common enemy. That’s how Iraq ties into 9/11, the events of which spurred the Administration not on retribution, but in how to prevent the next terror attack.

    Bush stated that this war was about more than going after one man, or one terror organization. al Qaeda is part of a global jihad movement, where there are cross-over ties, shared funding and training. The barriers between one terror group from another becomes blurred, and in some cases dissolves.

    • November 15, 2009 - 9:11 am | Permalink

      Wordsmith, I can’t believe you wasted your energy and our bandwidth to type up such obvious revisionism. Whatever he was, Saddam Hussein was not a threat to the United States, and taking him out was a tragic waste of American blood and treasure. He presented a problem to U.S. interests because he had control over a resource we and our allies needed. If Iraq’s number one export had been olive oil, not petroleum oil, there’s no way in hell we would have invaded.

      That said, everyone has known all along that as time moves forward neocon sympathizers will try to create worm holes in the true narrative, which is this: A great deception was foisted on the American people by Dick Cheney and the hapless figurehead president he manipulated.

      Revisionism won’t work here. We were all paying close attention to what went on, in real time.

      There are two narratives to choose from about what happened in the lead up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which was and will remain forever — let’s hope — the worst military blunder in U.S. history:

      1. Bush lied and hundreds of thousands of innocent people, including U.S. servicemembers, died for no valid reason.

      2. Or Bush was so incompetent that he really believed the false intel he was being fed and hundreds of thousands of innocent people died.

      Lying or incompetent. Take your pick.

  • January 29, 2010 - 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Jesse Ventura has interviewed workers on the 9-11 clean up who state that 3 of the 4 blackboxes were found. The Gov’t denies that any were found.
    Anderson Cooper reported that during the 9-ll attacks a military 747 was circling over washington, DC.??? Strange. I would not believe anything that comes out of the mouth of a globalist such as Bush, Cheney, Clinton, or Gore.
    Obama has already demonstrated what a liar he is also. GOD help us.

  • March 21, 2010 - 12:39 am | Permalink

    “…and two from the Union of Arab Emirates (UAE).”

    It’s United Arab Emirates…idiots.

  • April 27, 2010 - 4:55 pm | Permalink

    The reality of our world is that most people are stupid and ignorant. All of you people who are posting simplistic, narrow minded comments on this blog are among those moronic people that I speak of. You have the gaul, without any understanding of International Relations, Global Warfare or just plain old politics, to come on here and harshly critisize whoever and whatever you can. Get a fucking clue! We all knew that the attackers came from Saudi Arabia. And anyone with a brain understood and understands that attacking Iraq is a strategic move. Our aim is to gain control and assert influence is the heart of a dangerous anti-american region. Iraq is the best bet in terms of being successful in this way. Start reading and stop making comments that reveal the kind of ideological idiots that you all are. Wake up. YOU ARE THE TOOLS BEING CONTROLLED BY OUR MEDIA.

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