October 30, 2007

Specter, Wyden Introduce Saudi Arabia Accountability Act of 2007

Calls on Saudi Arabia to Halt Support for Institutions that Aid Terrorism

Washington, D.C.— U.S. Senators Arlen Specter, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Ron Wyden, member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, introduced legislation that expresses the sense of Congress that the Government of Saudi Arabia must cooperate with the United States in the war against terrorism.

The legislation calls on Saudi Arabia to immediately and unconditionally:

  • permanently close all organizations in Saudi Arabia that fund, train, incite, encourage, or in any way aid and abet terrorism anywhere in the world;
  • end all funding for offshore terrorist organizations;
  • block all funding from private Saudi citizens and entities to Saudi-based or offshore terror organizations, and;
  • provide complete, unrestricted, and unobstructed cooperation to the United States in the investigation of terror groups and individuals.

The Saudi Arabia Accountability Act of 2007 also contains a reporting requirement that the President of the United States certify to Congress when Saudi Arabia is in compliance with the actions listed above. Absent this certification, the Secretary of State must report to Congress describing Saudi Arabia's progress towards achieving the four objectives.

"We cannot be successful in the Global War on Terrorism by ignoring the problem Saudi Arabia presents to our security," Specter said. "This legislation seeks to put the government of Saudi Arabia on notice that it can no longer remain idle while its citizenry continues to provide the financing and wherewithal for terrorist groups, nor can it continue to directly facilitate and support institutions that incite violence."

"If we want Saudi Arabia to be a real partner in counterterrorism, we must stop giving the Saudi government a free pass. Most countries that fail to take action against terrorist financiers are not given the chance to sign $20 billion arms deals with the United States," said Wyden. "Looking the other way does not make the Saudi government a better partner, and it certainly does not make the United States any safer."

Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support and is pending in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.