The connection between Saudi Arabia and the September 11 terror attack has been the subject of much debate, particularly the involvement between the hijackers (15 of whom were Saudi nationals) and the Saudi government and royals.
That connection has always been thought to be outlined in 28 pages of a report to the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry of the September 11 attack that were redacted when the report was issued (in 2002 under the Bush administration) and remain so today.
However, two members of Congress, who were recently given access to the backed-out section are now pushing President Barack Obama to declassify the pages. Reps. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass) have introduced a resolution in Congress urging President Obama to open up the report for public scrutiny.
"I was absolutely shocked by what I read," Jones told the International Business Times. "What was so surprising was that those whom we thought we could trust really disappointed me. I cannot go into it any more than that. I had to sign an oath that what I read had to remain confidential. But the information I read disappointed me greatly."
At the time the report was issues, then-President George W. Bush said the pages were censored for national security reasons. After reading the pages, Jones says he see no reason the pages should be kept from the public.
Although the exact content of the pages is not known, the IBTimes report that multiple sources – from the New York Times to Newsweek, CBS and other media sources – have reported that the redacted pages show that the Saudi government played “at the very least an indirect role in supporting the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attack. In addition, these classified pages clarify somewhat the links between the hijackers and at least one Saudi government worker living in San Diego. “
Former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla) was head of the Joint Inquiry at the time the report was issued read the redacted pages. Graham says, “The Saudi government without question was supporting the hijackers who lived in San Diego…. You can't have 19 people living in the United States for, in some cases, almost two years, taking flight lessons and other preparations, without someone paying for it. But I think it goes much broader than that. The agencies from CIA and FBI have suppressed that information so American people don't have the facts."
Graham also agrees that opening up the pages to public scrutiny would not violate national security.
“It does not deal with national security per se; it is more about relationships,” Jones said. “The information is critical to our foreign policy moving forward and should thus be available to the American people. If the 9/11 hijackers had outside help – particularly from one or more foreign governments – the press and the public have a right to know what our government has or has not done to bring justice to the perpetrators."
During the Bush administration, 46 senators sent a letter to the president demanding that the pages be declassified. That effort was led by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NYY). That letter read, in part, “The decision to classify this information sends the wrong message to the American people about our nation's anti-terror effort and makes it seem as if there will be no penalty for foreign abettors of the hijackers. Protecting the Saudi regime by eliminating any public penalty for the support given to terrorists from within its borders would be a mistake.”
Jones and Lynch are now urging all members of the House to read the redacted pages and join them in their effort to bring the information to the public sphere.