Press: Release the 9/11 papers

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First they released the Pentagon Papers. Then they released the Panama Papers. And now they should release the Sept. 11 Papers, which may be the most explosive of all.

As first reported by “60 Minutes,” the Sept. 11 Papers consist of only 28 pages from the final report of the congressional “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001,” released on July 22, 2004. Twenty-eight pages were redacted from the official report, never released to the public, and they have remained top secret for the last 12 years.


{mosads}According to committee members of both parties, those pages document “incontrovertible evidence” that several of the 9/11 hijackers — 15 out of 19 of whom were citizens of Saudi Arabia — received assistance from Saudi business leaders and perhaps even from the Saudi government. Asked by “60 Minutes” host Steve Kroft whether support from “the Saudis” meant “the government … rich people in the country? Charities?,” former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who was co-chairman of the congressional inquiry, replied, “All of the above.”

Information in the report, according to the New York Post, includes evidence of several phone calls between a handler for one of the hijackers in San Diego and the Saudi Embassy in Washington, as well as the transfer of $130,000 from the family checking account of then-Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar to another San Diego handler. Strangely enough, as first reported by The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, in the days immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks, when all commercial flights were banned, 140 Saudi nationals were safely escorted out of the United States by the FBI. 

Even though on two different occasions, in 2009 and 2011, President Obama promised relatives of the 9/11 victims he would make public the missing 28 pages, he has yet to do so. Now, with time running out before the end of his term, he’s under increased pressure. 

In the House, Republican Walter Jones of North Carolina and Democrat Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts have introduced a resolution calling for release of the pages. In the Senate, New York Democrat Charles Schumer and Texas Republican John Cornyn are co-sponsoring legislation to permit families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia based on whatever information is contained in the secret pages. Saudi Arabia has responded to that bill by threatening to dump $750 billion in U.S. assets.

Threats or no threats, there is no excuse for any further delay in releasing the Sept. 11 Papers. And now is the perfect time. On Wednesday, Obama arrives in Saudi Arabia for an official state visit. He should personally deliver a copy of the newly released 28 pages to King Salman.

We don’t really know whether they will implicate the government of Saudi Arabia or exonerate it, but the American people deserve to know the truth. The wounds of 9/11 are still fresh. It’s important to know who our friends are and who our friends are not — even if it proves embarrassing to the Saudi royal family.


Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down.”

Tags Charles Schumer John Cornyn
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