According to reports the suspect in the Boston Marathon terror attack is a 20-year old Saudi national who is currently under police guard. One wonders how long it will take for the Saudi Public Relations spin machine to kick into action. Indeed in the years since the 9/11 attack, in which 15 of the 19 bombers were Saudi Arabian, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has spent over $100 million on American Public Relations companies.
Clearly, those funds have gone far and have been well spent. Including their current PR firm, Edelman, Hill & Knowlton (who has worked with them since 1982) and Washington D.C. powerhouse Qorvis Communications, undoubtedly there are many others. The Saudis spend a lot to pull the wool over the eyes of the West.
These well-paid companies are quite effective. One wonders which spin-doctors and lobbyists were responsible for securing “trusted traveler” status from America’s Department of Homeland Security for Saudis less than a month ago. This means that Saudis, once through the program will receive special clearance through customs. Previously, the Saudis were on a list of countries deemed susceptible to terrorists – including Libya and Iraq. Quite a change of policy.
It’s not only PR firms that they spend money on – the Saudis have given $20 million donations to Harvard and Georgetown universities, $200 million from Saudi King Abdullah went to Stanford, Cornell, Texas A&M, CalTech, and others. Money goes far.
And while the Boston investigation is just beginning, until this day questions remain about the Saudi government’s connection to the September 11 attacks.
Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) said then: ”Either [the Saudis] have to change or the relationship that we have with Saudi Arabia is going to change dramatically. For too many generations, certainly years, they have pacified and accommodated themselves to the most extreme fanatical elements of Islam.” And Republican Mitch McConnell said “The Saudis are on all sides of every issue. We, in some ways, have had a good relationship with them over the years, and in other ways, it appears as if they’re funding our enemies.”
Democratic Senators Bob Graham and Bob Kerrey stated that they are “…convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia.” As Graham said “Someday, I do believe we will get to the bottom of 9/11 and the Saudi government connections.”
This is a bi-partisan issue which hasn’t gotten enough attention – maybe now the sun will shine on Saudi activity. One also wonders how far public relations firms will go to help clean up the Saudi Arabian reputation before the public is able to focus on the truth about Saudi Arabia.
Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur and author of best-selling PR book “For Immediate Release.”