Saudi Treasury Holdings Are Also Kept Secret!

April 17, 2016

Even the Treasury securities holdings the Saudi monarchy is using to threaten the U.S. Congress to prevent exposure and responsibility for their role in the 9/11 attacks, are kept a secret by the United States.

The Treasury has kept Saudi holdings secret for 40 years, as a concession to the House of Saud, while publishing the holdings of every other country in detail. Bloomberg News reported this on Jan. 21, 2016 in an article focusing on whether and how much Saudi Arabia might have to sell off to raise cash for its financial crisis. Now, it means that members of the Senate don't really know what Saudi Arabia is threatening them with if they pass the JASTA [Justice Against State Sponsors of Terrorism Act] Bill of Senators Schumer and Corzyn. Only the Saudi monarchy and a small handful of Treasury officials know the holdings.

The New York Times, in its April 16 story breaking the news that Saudi Foreign Minister Jubeir had threatened Congress with selling off the kingdom's U.S. Treasuries, was only guestimating that the sell-off threat involves "up to $750 billion." As Bloomberg reported,

"How much of America's debt does Saudi Arabia own? ... Now that question — unanswered since the 1970s, under an unusual blackout by the U.S. Treasury Department — has come to the fore....

"As a matter of policy, the Treasury has never disclosed the holdings of Saudi Arabia, long a key ally in the volatile Middle East.... For more than a hundred other countries, from China to the Vatican, the Treasury provides a detailed breakdown of how much U.S. debt each holds.

"'It's mind-boggling they haven't undone it' [the special secrecy], said Edwin Truman, the former Treasury assistant secretary for international affairs during the late 1990s, and now a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington."

Senator Bob Graham, in a New York Daily News interview April 17, said "I think the action by Saudi Arabia is reprehensible and also very revealing. They are so fearful of what would emerge if there were to be a full trial [on the victims' families' lawsuit]. That says something about Saudi Arabia's involvement in 9/11."

Graham also strongly criticized Obama's backing the Saudis. "I think it's even more objectionable," he said, "that the U.S. government has been supporting Saudi Arabia and erecting roadblocks to the passage of the legislation."