Leaders of the House Intelligence Committee are refusing to let outspoken Rep. Alan GraysonAlan Mark GraysonDeSantis tops Crist, Fried in poll of Florida governor race Florida Rep. Val Demings officially enters Senate race against Rubio Demings raises Democrats' hopes in uphill fight to defeat Rubio MORE (D-Fla.) examine a classified document because of his criticism of the National Security Agency, he claims.
Grayson told the Broward Bulldog, an investigative news website, that he has been denied access to 28 classified pages from a 2002 congressional report about 9/11 that some lawmakers have demanded be released to the public.
“Why was I denied? I have been instrumental in publicizing the Snowden revelations regarding pervasive domestic spying by the government and this is a petty means for the spying industrial complex to lash back,” Grayson told the news organization.
The 28 pages redacted from the congressional report contain specific information about foreign backing of the terrorists ahead of their 2001 attacks. The pages are believed to point to the role of Saudi Arabia in funding the terrorists.
A bipartisan team of lawmakers led by Reps. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) has introduced a resolution calling on President Obama to declassify the pages. The lawmakers say the pages should be made public so that the country can know the full truth surrounding the terror attacks that occurred more than 13 years ago.
While deciding whether or not to co-sponsor the resolution, Grayson requested permission to review the pages.
In a Dec. 1 vote largely along party lines, the House Intelligence Committee denied that request. During the same meeting, 11 other lawmakers were granted access to classified committee documents without opposition. It is unclear whether the other legislators requested access to the same documents.
Grayson has been a strident critic of programs at the NSA and other arms of the intelligence community. Last summer, he gave a heated floor speech discussing NSA programs leaked just days earlier by former contractor Edward Snowden.
Seemingly at least partly because of that speech, the House Intelligence Committee has cut Grayson out on at least two occasions since then. Last June, the panel reportedly denied his request to learn more about NSA operations. That October, it thwarted his attempt to view classified information about the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Congressional rules prohibit people with security clearances from publicly discussing leaked information that has not been officially declassified, even if it has previously appeared in major news outlets.
In a conversation with the Bulldog, Grayson said that panel Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) — who is stepping down from Congress this year — was behind the latest denial.
“Chairman Rogers told the committee that I had discussed classified information on the floor,” Grayson said. “He left out the most important part that I was discussing what was reported in the newspaper.”
“He clearly misled the committee for an improper purpose: to deny a sitting member of Congress important classified information necessary for me to do my job.”