Rep. Zeldin Details Newly Released Obama Admin Withheld Key Docs (~470,000) Re: Iran and Al Qaeda From 2011 Bin Laden Raid
Watch Rep. Zeldin’s Floor speech here.
WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, detailed recently released Obama administration withheld key documents, regarding Iran and Al Qaeda, that would have eroded support for the Iran Nuclear Deal.
During the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, nearly 470,000 documents were recovered. These documents provide in-depth insight into Al Qaeda’s operational relationships in the region and detail how Iran offered training, money, and arms to Al Qaeda and others if they attacked U.S. interests.
On November 1, 2017, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in accordance with the 2014 Intelligence Authorization Act, released these documents to the public.
The following are Congressman Zeldin’s House Floor remarks as prepared for delivery this morning:
Mr. Speaker, the Trump Administration recently made the important decision to release hundreds of thousands of documents in the possession of the CIA, which were found in the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
These documents reveal a much more intimate relationship between Iran and Al Qaeda than previously suspected.
While it will take time to analyze the extent of the 470,000 documents, some important conclusions can already be made.
The Obama administration selectively released 571 of these documents during his term, none of which identified the significant relationship between Al Qaeda and Iran.
While President Obama claimed Al Qaeda was “on the path to defeat,” these documents showcase Al Qaeda strategically reorganizing its operational base.
One of these documents describes Iran as Al Qaeda’s “main artery for funds, personnel and communications,” and instructs members to “refrain from attacking Iran and devote your total resources … to the fight against the crusaders and the apostates.”
On the one hand, Al Qaeda would publicly declare all Shi’ites to be apostates, on the other hand, internal deliberations by the organization called for a transactional relationship with the Mullahs of Tehran.
Another finding in a 19 page document written by senior Al Qaeda operative Abu Hafs al-Mauritani outlines a detailed arrangement between Al Qaeda and Iran.
The relationship between Al Qaeda and Iran was based on their mutual hatred towards the United States.
Iran agreed to provide shelter, financial support and coordinate efforts with Al Qaeda across the region.
In this document, a senior Al Qaeda operative confirms that Iran and Al Qaeda’s “interests intersect.”
He goes so far as to describe the Iranian regime as, “the best example… of pragmatism in politics. Anyone who wants to strike America, Iran is ready to support them with money and arms and all that is required as long as they are not directly and clearly implicated.”
Iran offered Al Qaeda everything it needed, including “money, arms” and “training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, in exchange for attacking US interests in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.”
Al Qaeda operatives were safeguarded in Iran with the consent of the Iranian military.
In fact, the 911 commission report confirms that eight out of the 14 hijackers passed through Iran during the period from October 2000 to February 2001.
Iranian intelligence facilitated the travel of some operatives with visas, while sheltering others.
In these documents, there is even a wedding video of bin Laden’s son with Al Qaeda members in attendance in, you guessed it, Iran.
As Sun Tzu famously said in the Art of War, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
We are their shared enemy.
It is shameful that the Obama Administration deliberately withheld this information.
If these files, exposing Iran’s outreach and association with Al Qaeda had been released, support for the Iran nuclear deal would have even further eroded, rightfully so.
Since the JCPOA was entered into, Iranian aggression in the Middle East, including Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere, has only increased.
These bad activities have only gotten worse, and now it is even clearer why that is.
Any terrorist group that wants to attack U.S interests will have Iran’s financial and material support.
By providing Iran with $150 billion in sanctions relief, we are giving Iran the resources it needs to carry out its bad activities threatening the United States and our allies.
While we already know of Iran’s close ties with Hezbollah and political influence in Iraq, these documents exhibit the extensive reach Iran has in the region.
Keeping these documents hidden from the general public while the JCPOA was being debated and approved was blatant politicization of intelligence and totally reprehensible.
Thankfully the current Administration has released these documents to let the American public know the truth.
I commend the CIA director, our former colleague here in the House, Mike Pompeo, who has hit the ground running as the new CIA Director and made the bold decision to release these 470,000 documents for the American public and world to see.
Now we can know the truth of the relationship that absolutely existed between Iran and Al Qaeda.
I encourage my colleagues to view these documents. I encourage the media to view these documents for the American public and the international community, and I thank again the administration for their leadership in this very important decision.
I yield back.