Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Hotel and Motorcade Costs for Obama’s 
Two-Day Riyadh Visit Total $3.16 Million
Ritz-Carlton stay alone cost $2 million
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

President Barack Obama’s two-day trip to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, last month cost taxpayers over $3.1 million in hotel and motorcade costs alone, according to contracts released by the State Department.
In what some described as a “futile” trip, the president met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries on April 20 and 21.
The president required three hotels, including a $2 million stay at the Ritz-Carlton. Rooms for security and the “VIP delegation” were also booked at the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Tower totaling$200,000, and the Courtyard Marriott totaling $240,000.
Three limousine companies were also booked, including contracts worth $240,000 to Al Salem Transportation and Tourism Company and $240,000 to SMSA Express Transportation company.
A third contract to Dala International also totaled $240,000.
The State Department issued no-bid contracts for lodging and transportation, citing security needs. The government also said it is difficult to find a reliable car service in Riyadh because women cannot drive in the majority Muslim country.
“Transportation is a very difficult issue in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the State Department said. “There are restrictions that prevent women from driving here and that means that vehicle rental services with drivers are in high demand.
“Additionally, due to a program to reduce the expatriate workforce and create more jobs for Saudi citizens, the Saudi government deported many workers, the greatest number of which were drivers (however Saudis have not taken those jobs).”
“Since the driver pool is limited, we’ve had experience with other companies bringing in drivers from outside of Riyadh and they don’t actually know the city,” the agency continued. “Dala has been able to provide drivers from Riyadh and they know the city. This is very critical for our operations since we’re supporting victors who also don’t know Riyadh.”
Obama held a private two-hour meeting with King Salman during the trip, which did little to smooth over the “deep rifts” between the two leaders, the New York Times reported.

Pressure Builds On Obama Administration To Declassify 9/11 Report
Published on Apr 21, 2016
(Aired April 21, 2016) As President Barack Obama wraps up his trip to Saudi Arabia, there's new controversy surrounding a bill in Congress that's designed to force the Saudi government to answer for any role it might have played in the September 11th attacks. Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Geoff Bennett filed the following report. President Barack Obama huddled with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Wednesday, during a trip aimed at easing tensions between Washington and Riyadh. One reason for the tensions: a bill in Congress that would allow victims of the September 11th attacks to sue Saudi Arabia. The legislation is sponsored by Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn along with Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York. “It's very simple,” Schumer told reporters Tuesday. “If the Saudis were complicit, if the Saudi government was complicit in terrorism then they should pay the price for two reasons. One, to recompense the families. They'll never get their loved ones back, but at least some measure of justice. But second, it sends a warning to future governments: If you're complicit in terrorism, you're going to pay the price and the trial will determine that.” Saudi Arabia has long denied having any connection to the 9/11 attacks, although 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens. The legislation essentially would lead to the Saudis having to prove their denials in an American court. The Saudi government is warning it will sell nearly $1 trillion in U.S. assets if the measure becomes law. President Obama opposes the bill, too. "The concern is simply this: It could put the United States and our taxpayers, service members, diplomats at "significant risk" if other countries were to adopt a similar law,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. Meanwhile, a growing number of lawmakers are demanding that the government release 28 heavily redacted pages of a 14-year-old congressional investigation into the September 11th attacks. The 28 pages are locked away in a secure room in the basement of the U.S. Capitol. Since they remain classified, only members of Congress can read them. But families of 9/11 victims say they have a right to know what secrets those pages hold. "We can’t get a full understand of what’s going on in our country now with terrorism unless we know what happened prior to 9/11 and how it came about and how the network existed and how the money was being transferred," said Terry Strada in an interview with CNN. Strada is the national co-chair of the advocacy group 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terror.  Strada says she supports the Senate bill because if the declassified report details possible Saudi links to the September 11th plot, she wants the right to pursue Saudi Arabia in court.