Time To Declassify 9/11 Probe's Secret Saudi Section
December 11, 2013
Foreign Affairs: Congress might soon vote on a proposed bipartisan resolution calling for release of a secret Saudi section of the congressional 9/11 Joint Inquiry report. It's about time.
In 2002, President Bush censored 28 pages of the report dealing with foreign sponsorship of the grisly attacks on our nation. Some of the information has leaked out over the years, and it points back to Riyadh.
Now a couple of lawmakers who recently read the redacted portion and walked away "absolutely shocked" are demanding the White House make it public. Reps. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., suggest the conspiracy was much wider than al-Qaida. They say every American deserves to know the truth.
Their resolution, H.R. 428, urges President Obama to declassify the 28-page section that deals with "foreign" sources of support for the 9/11 hijackers.
"The contents of the redacted pages are necessary for a full public understanding of the events and circumstances surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks upon the United States," it states.
"The executive branch's decision to maintain the classified status of these pages prevents the people of the United States from having access to information about the involvement of certain foreign governments in the terrorist attacks," the two-page resolution adds. It stresses that victims' families "deserve answers."
Indeed they do. Relatives have demanded the release of those redacted pages for years. We can't imagine the torture of living under that veil of secrecy. Or the anxiety of not knowing what really happened that day and who was really behind the murder of their loved ones.
The resolution sponsors insist that releasing the information won't violate national security, as the Bush administration claimed when it stepped in and erased it from a congressional report intended for public viewing.
Of course, that doesn't mean it won't hurt foreign relations. The fallout could be both diplomatically and economically damaging. There's also fear that openly punishing a Mideast ally could hurt efforts to box in a nuclear Iran. So the White House and State Department have to weigh these sensitive issues in making a decision.
But we believe it is worth the risks. The American public has a right to know if a foreign government aided the hijackers, whether that support was direct or indirect.
If a presumed ally knew of the plot to attack the very headquarters of the U.S. military, it certainly is no ally. And if there are no penalties for such a monumental betrayal, what message does that send to other nations that seek to do us harm?