Finally: Administration to release 28 missing pages from 9/11 report
After years of demands from lawmakers and the families of 9/11 victims for the release of 28 pages from the Joint Committee on the Terrorist Attacks of 9/11, the administration has finally agreed to make the committee's findings on Saudi involvement in 9/11 public.
The documents, long the subject of fierce speculation, are believed by some to contain details linking the government of Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 terror attacks.Congress is expected to get a redacted version of the pages as soon as Thursday, House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told The Hill, with a public release possible on Friday.
Support for the release has been nearly universal. Family members and survivors of the attack have pleaded with President Obama to release the pages — and Saudi leaders have said they should be released to quash speculation.
"While the 9/11 families and survivors welcome this first step, they wish to reiterate that true transparency requires the release of a far greater body of evidence of possible Saudi involvement in the 9/11 attacks and rise of al Qaeda, and prompt passage of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA)," lawyers for the families of 9/11 victims and survivors said in a Thursday statement.
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens, which some argue is an indication of the kingdom’s support of extremists. There has never been any conclusive proof tying senior levels of the Saudi government to al Qaeda ahead of 9/11, but scrutiny around a possible connection has lingered for years.
“I think the speculation about it is more damaging than the actual release and it’s obviously an issue of such seminal importance to the country — I think we can trust the public to assess it for what it’s worth,” Schiff said.
A decision has not yet been made as to who will make the formal release, Schiff said. He noted that the report was originally a joint effort by the Senate and House Intelligence committees and, as such, should be released by them.
“I think the administration probably concurs that it’s a congressional work product, it ought to be released by Congress,” he said, but, “ultimately the speaker/leader will make the decision on whether they release it or the committees do.”
The release of the documents will no doubt anger the Saudis as much of the information deals with Saudi nationals and their assistance to the terrorists. It is expected that some of those nationals have close ties to the government and the royal family.
But beyond that, the documents will expose the Saudis' dirty little secret: that there is a faction of extremists in the government and royal family who are anti-West and anti-U.S. and are a constant threat to the stability of the kingdom. Most of those who opposed release of the 28 pages feared that the information could destabilize the government, leading to gains for the extremists.
This may happen. But weighed against the right of the American people to get the entire story about how the 9/11 attacks came about, the people's right to know won out.