Nearly 13 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the extent of Saudi involvement in the deaths of almost 3,000 people remains unclear — but according to members of Congress and the families of victims, information about this has been suppressed ever since the publication of a 2002 congressional investigation into the plot.
Prior to the release of the final report of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration classified a 28-page section in the name of national security.
Though speculations, accusations, and denials have swirled around these pages over the past decade, the call for their declassification has steadily grown since December 2013, when House Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) introduced Resolution 428, a two-page document urging President Obama to release them to the public. Nine other representatives from both parties have co-sponsored the resolution.
Conspiracy theorists and fringe publications have seized on suspicion surrounding the redacted pages, but experts and sources close to the investigation have acknowledged that the material’s release would help address significant questions.
In April, Jones and Lynch sent a letter to Obama reiterating their request. They are planning a September 11 press conference with relatives of victims to highlight the issue. Adding fuel to the campaign, various family members have recounted to the media how President Obama had promised them that he would release the material.
The 28 pages make up part four of the report, a section titled “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters.” They are widely believed to implicate Saudi officials or describe support from Saudi intelligence for the hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi citizens.
“On the one hand, it is possible that these kinds of connections could suggest, as indicated in a CIA memorandum, ‘incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists [—————————],’ ” states an introductory note in the section. “On the other hand, it is also possible that further investigation of these allegations could reveal legitimate, and innocent, explanations for these associations.”
Former Senator Bob Graham of Florida, who co-chaired the joint Senate-House investigation, dispensed with the equivocation and told VICE News that the redactions are a “cover up.”