Drew Mariani: Hey, when the planes slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon back on 9/11, remember that, Osama bin Laden was revealed as the mastermind behind it. We knew at the time that there was an obvious Middle Eastern terrorism link. What we didn't know was what countries were involved and to what extent. We went into Afghanistan, well, because you know that's where bin Laden was holed up and why we sent troops into Afghanistan, and you know we didn't know about the rest. The most disturbing was that we didn't know that Saudi Arabia, where bin Laden was born and raised, could have played a role in this. You know Congress investigated the events surrounding 9/11; they came up with a 400-page report, and that was released to the public. And I should say most of it was released to the public. I think they held back about 28 pages and they're still labeled as classified. But what's contained on those pages is really fodder for a lot of conversation right now. It's suspected to contain information on Saudi Arabia's role on that fateful day. Right now Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it's going to sell off hundreds-of-billions of dollars' worth of American assets, it will be a huge asset dump held by their kingdom, if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government basically to be held responsible in American courts for any role in September 11th in 2001, when those attacks took place. The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill, according to some officials. But the Saudi threats have been of course the subject now of intense discussion in recent weeks between both lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. And a number of officials have warned basically senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from you know any sort of legislation. So what's going to happen? And what is the truth behind all this? Joining me right now is Pete Hoekstra. He's the Shillman Senior Fellow with the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the former Chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, and former member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. And Peter, thank you for your time. It's good to have you back. I know you just came out with a book, I want to plug that for you too. It's called 'Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya. It came out about four months ago, folks, you may want to check that out. And you can learn more about him at investigativeproject.org. This is a big story. How do you know how do we know Saudi Arabia is involved and you know what do you think's going to happen ultimately with you know Congress and possible legislation?
Pete Hoekstra: Well a couple of things, number one – I've been advocating for the last period of time that these 28 pages be made public, that if there need to be some redactions to protect sources, those redactions be made, but overall that the public 13 years after this report was completed, now almost 15 years after 9/11, you know they, the public deserves to see all of this information. And so it should move forward. In regards to the legislation that Senator Cruz is pushing, I'm not quite sure about a couple of things. I'm you know I'm not sure why we need to just highlight Saudi Arabia. Any country –
Hoekstra: – that is identified with terrorism should be able to be held accountable; I'm thinking of Iran, should be able to be held accountable. So just singling out Saudi, I'm not sure that that is appropriate. There's a number of countries that may in one form or another be somewhat supporters of terrorism against U.S. property, U.S. goods or U.S. persons. So let's make sure that they can be held accountable. I think that the action that Saudi Arabia is talking about, and they're not talking about disinvesting in the United States to punish the United States, the explanation that they're giving is – we've got to disinvest in the United States because if we actually become liable and the courts find for some defendants that we are liable and you know hold us accountable or hold a judgment against us for X-hundreds-of-millions or a billion dollars, at that point in time the U.S. courts may come and seize U.S. assets that we own. And so what we want to do is to protect ourselves. We're going to disinvest in the United States so that a U.S. court can't freeze any of our assets. Oh, I think their economy and our economy and their, the assets they hold in the United States are so significant that they could never actually pull that off, pull it off successfully. If they did they've have to do it at a fire sale.
Hoekstra: And they wouldn't want to do that.
Mariani: Yeah, I read earlier today that they would be forced to sell about 750-billion dollars in Treasury securities and other assets. Again, I want to go back to you know what would happen if this did take place. Let's take a worst-case scenario, say this is pushed and it goes through, what happens if the information is exposed and we find out Saudi Arabia had a, had something to do with 9/11?
Hoekstra: Well you know I've had access to those 28 pages. I think that this will, it will raise more questions than what it will answer. OK? I don't think that someone will read through there and they will find, or again, who knows – some people may read it and they will see a smoking gun, others will read it and they will see something different, but I think what it, you know my belief is that what it will show is that you know this is not classified or a secret or whatever, you know. The Saudis have for years been funding radical jihadism in the form of funding radical mosques, believers in Wahhabism, where much of this hatred and doctrine of jihadism comes from, and they've been funding these mosques around the world. And so you know many of us have called for them to stop the funding of these kinds of mosques for an extended period of time.
Mariani: And let me just ask you, because you've had access to those 28 pages, are there other nations in addition to Saudi Arabia? It's kind of the sense that I'm getting from you, it's not just Saudi Arabia, there may be other nations involved?
Hoekstra: No, I don't think if you go through there that you would see a litany of a number of different countries; I'm just saying from my experience with terrorism –
Hoekstra: – is that you know there are a number of countries that are involved in terrorism and, or you know certain state governments, you know everything from the Palestinian Authority –
Hoekstra: – to Iran, and these types of things, that you know any type of legislation like what Senator Cruz is proposing –
Hoekstra: – shouldn't be limited to just Saudi. That's two very different issues.
Mariani: And your mindset right now is that they should be released, the American public has a right to know.
Hoekstra: Yeah. And we ought to just make sure that, you know it's been 13 years since I've seen them, that if there is any sensitive information in there regarding sources or individuals that may have been the source of some of these information, make sure you redact that information. But other than that, let the information become public. It's been a long time.
Mariani: Yeah, great. Before I let you go, because I only have a minute or two left –
Mariani: – you just came out with a book too, 'Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya.' I have not gotten the book or read it, but I would love to maybe have you back to talk about it. Fill me in, what was your book about?
Hoekstra: It's about what happened in Libya. We had a tremendous success story in Libya. [Muammar] Gaddafi after years of being on the outside, you know supporting terrorism against the United States and the West, culminating really with the take-down of Pan Am 103. In 2004, he gave up his nuclear weapons program, he gave, he paid reparations to the victims of his terrorist attacks, and he became a partner in fighting radical jihadism with the United States, a bipartisan success of a consistent policy for 20 years and finally Gaddafi changed sides.
Hoekstra: In 2011, Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama decided that Obama needed, or excuse me, that Gaddafi needed to go, they partnered with radical jihadists, and they were successful in getting rid of Gaddafi. And what we now have is you know for the last four years we've had a failed state. It's now part of the caliphate. It's exporting ideology, it's exporting fighters, and it's exporting weapons to Africa, to the Middle East and to Europe. It's been a disaster. It's, you know and for eight years there it was a rock of stability and certainty in northern Africa. And now it is the disaster of Libya, the destruction of Libya.
Mariani: Yeah, the book is called 'Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya.' It's available at all major bookstores. And Pete, I want to thank you for your time. Thank you for your service to the country and for the insight you're able to offer. I always enjoy your, our conversations.
Hoekstra: Hey, thanks for the invite.
Mariani: Thank you.
Hoekstra: I enjoyed being with you.
Mariani: Check him out too, the website is investigateproject.org [sic], investigativeproject.org, great site to check out.