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The U.S. Congress on Friday released the previously classified 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report on potential Saudi government ties to the 2001 terrorist attack.
The pages were posted (pdf) on the House Intelligence Committee’s website.
The New York Times‘ Mark Mazzetti describes the document—secret for 13 years—as “a wide-ranging catalog of alleged links between Saudi officials and Qaeda operatives, from contacts that Saudi operatives in Southern California had with the hijackers to a telephone number found on the first Qaeda prisoner in C.I.A. custody that the F.B.I. traced to a corporation managing a Colorado home of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then the Saudi ambassador to Washington.”
Former Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired the congressional inquiry and had called for the release of the pages, told CNN, “I think of this almost as the 28 pages are sort of the cork in the wine bottle. And once it’s out, hopefully the rest of the wine itself will start to pour out.”
“Would the U.S. government have kept information that was just speculation away from American people for 14 years if somebody didn’t think it was going to make a difference?” he added.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, however, said, “This information does not change the assessment of the U.S. government that there’s no evidence that the Saudi government or senior Saudi individuals funded al-Qaeda.”
House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said, “it’s important to note that this section does not put forward vetted conclusions, but rather unverified leads that were later fully investigated by the intelligence community.”
Graham, however, has scoffed at that line of dismissal. In an op-ed published in May at the Washington Post, Graham wrote, referencing CIA director John Brennan’s use of that dismissal: “What is the investigatory basis for his conclusion?”
Another member of the panel, Republican John Lehman, had also urged the declassification of the pages, and, like Graham, had criticized the “unvetted” line of dismissal, saying that was “a game of semantics,” and telling the Guardian, “There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government.”
(Originally on CommonDreams.org)