On the eve of President Obama’s April 2016 visit to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Congress began debating the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), that would, inter alia, allow the families of victims of the September 11 attacks to sue the Saudi government for damages. Also in April 2016, the New York Times published that a 2002 congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks had found that Saudi officials living in the United States at the time had a hand in the plot. The commission’s conclusions, said the paper, were specified in a report that has not been released publicly.
The JASTA bill, which was passed by the Senate on May 17, 2016, triggered fury in Saudi Arabia, expressed both in statements by the Saudi foreign minister and in scathing attacks on the U.S. in the Saudi press. On April 28, 2016, the London-based Saudi daily Al-Hayatpublished an exceptionally harsh article on this topic by Saudi legal expert Katib Al-Shammari, who argued that the U.S. itself had planned and carried out 9/11, while placing the blame on a shifting series of others – first Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, then Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, and now Saudi Arabia. He wrote that American threats to reveal documents that supposedly point to Saudi involvement in 9/11 are part of standard U.S. policy of exposing archival documents to use as leverage against various countries – which he calls “victory by means of archives.”
Following are excerpts from Al-Shammari’s article:
”Those who follow American policy see that it is built upon the principle of advance planning and future probabilities. This is because it occasionally presents a certain topic to a country that it does not wish [to bring up] at that time but [that it is] reserving in its archives as an ace to play [at a later date] in order to pressure that country. Anyone revisiting… [statements by] George H.W. Bush regarding Operation Desert Storm might find that he acknowledged that the U.S. Army could have invaded Iraq in the 1990s, but that [the Americans] had preferred to keep Saddam Hussein around as a bargaining chip for [use against] other Gulf states. However, once the Shi’ite wave began to advance, the Americans wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein, since they no longer saw him as an ace up their sleeve.
“September 11 is one of winning cards in the American archives, because all the wise people in the world who are experts on American policy and who analyze the images and the videos [of 9/11] agree unanimously that what happened in the [Twin] Towers was a purely American action, planned and carried out within the U.S. Proof of this is the sequence of continuous explosions that dramatically ripped through both buildings… Expert structural engineers demolished them with explosives, while the planes crashing [into them] only gave the green light for the detonation – they were not the reason for the collapse. But the U.S. still spreads blame in all directions. [This policy] can be dubbed ‘victory by means of archives.’
“On September 11, the U.S. attained several victories at the same time, that [even] the hawks [who were at that time] in the White House could not have imagined. Some of them can be enumerated as follows:
“1. The U.S. created, in public opinion, an obscure enemy – terrorism – which became what American presidents blamed for all their mistakes, and also became the sole motivation for any dirty operation that American politicians and military figures desire to carry out in any country. [The] terrorism [label] was applied to Muslims, and specifically to Saudi Arabia.
“2. Utilizing this incident [9/11], the U.S. launched a new age of global armament. Everyone wanted to acquire all kinds of weapons to defend themselves and at the same time battle the obscure enemy, terrorism – [even though] up to this very moment we do not know the essence of this terrorism of which the U.S. speaks, except [to say that] that it is Islamic…
“3. The U.S. made the American people choose from two bad options: either live peacefully [but] remain exposed to the danger of death [by terrorism] at any moment, or starve in safety, because [the country’s budget will be spent on sending] the Marines even as far as Mars to defend you.
“Lo and behold, today, we see these archives revealed before us: A New York court accuses the Iranian regime of responsibility for 9/11, and we [also] see a bill [in Congress] accusing Saudi Arabia of being behind it [sic]. This is after the previous Iraqi regime was accused of being behind it. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban were also blamed for it, and we do not know who [will be blamed] tomorrow! But [whoever it is], we will not be surprised at all, since this is the essence of how the American archives, that are civilized and respect freedoms and democracy, operate.
“The nature of the U.S. is that it cannot exist without an enemy… [For example,] after a period during which it did not fight anyone [i.e. following World War II], the U.S. created a new kind of war – the Cold War… Then, when the Soviet era ended, after we Muslims helped the religions and fought Communism on their [the Americans’] behalf, they began to see Muslims as their new enemy! The U.S. saw a need for creating a new enemy – and planned, organized, and carried this out [i.e. blamed Muslims for terrorism]. This will never end until it [the U.S.] accomplishes the goals it has set for itself.
“So why not let these achievements be credited to the American administration, while insurance companies pay for the damages, whether domestic or foreign? This, my dear Arab and Muslim, is the policy of the American archives.”
 Nytimes.com, April 15, 2016.
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6397, Against Backdrop Of Obama’s Visit To Riyadh: Saudi, Gulf Press Furious At Allegations Of Saudi Involvement In September 11 Attacks, April 21, 2016.
 Al-Hayat (London), April 28, 2016.