9/11 families plead with White House to release secret 28 pages

9/11 families plead with White House to release secret 28 pages
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Twenty-one family members and survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks wrote to the White House on Monday, pleading with President Obama to release 28 classified pages from a congressional report into the al Qaeda strike.

The advocates implored Obama not to waste any time releasing the secret portion of a 2003 report that is believed to contain details linking the government of Saudi Arabia to 9/11. 

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“Not a single day of further delay can be justified,” the survivors and family members wrote.

The advocates urged the Obama administration to go above and beyond those 28 pages and offer more sweeping evidence connecting the Saudi kingdom with the 2001 terror attack.

The 28 pages should be “only a first step in responding to the public calls for transparency and accountability,” they wrote.

“As you know, this September will mark the 15th anniversary of the horrific attacks that claimed the lives of our innocent loved ones, and transformed our nation and world,” they told the White House in their letter. “We know from our efforts since that day to pursue justice on behalf of our loved ones that individuals and institutions that bear culpability for their murders — many of them Saudi — have never been held to account. 

“We are encouraged that you have initiated a process to address that injustice, and look forward to working with you and your administration in any way possible towards that goal.”

In addition to their letter, the 9/11 families gave the White House nine categories of records they believe should also be declassified, including records from the 9/11 Commission and documents connecting Saudi religious institutions to al Qaeda. 

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.

Saudi leaders have repeatedly rejected the allegations and have said that the pages should be released to quell any speculation.

CIA Director John Brennan and others have pushed back on the efforts to declassify the pages, saying they are filled with initial impressions that have been disproven. 

James Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, has said that a release of the 28 pages this month is “certainly a realistic goal.”

However, Clapper has also reportedly suggested that the report could first be sent to Congress, potentially delaying its release.

Any additional steps outside of the White House “would present further unnecessary and unwarranted delays,” the survivors and family members wrote.

The moves may also “improperly disadvantage the 9/11 families” in a long-running lawsuit against Saudi Arabia related to the attack, they warned.