Former 9/11 Commissioner: '28 Pages' Clearly Expose Saudi Support
"Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia."
Former 9/11 Commissioner: '28 Pages' Clearly Expose Saudi Support
"Americans are fully capable of reviewing the 28 pages and making up their own minds about their significance," wrote former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham this week. (Photo: Matthew Roth/flickr/cc)
By Deirdre Fulton / commondreams.org

Revealing serious fractures within the 9/11 Commission, a former member of that panel has called for the immediate declassification of the so-called "28 pages" that detail Saudi ties to the 2001 terrorist attack, saying they expose evidence that Saudi government officials were involved in the hijackers' support network.

"There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government," Republican John Lehman said in an interview with the Guardian published Thursday. Referring to the commission's final report, issued in 2004, Lehman stated: "Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia."

He said recent claims made by the Commission's former chairman and vice-chair—that only one Saudi government employee was "implicated" in supporting the hijackers, and that the Obama administration should be cautious about releasing the 28 pages because they contain "raw, unvetted material" but no "smoking gun"—was "a game of semantics." 

In fact, Lehman said, at least five Saudi government officials were strongly suspected of supporting the terrorists. "They may not have been indicted, but they were certainly implicated," he told the Guardian. "There was an awful lot of circumstantial evidence."

In making these statements, Lehman, an investment banker in New York who was U.S. Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, becomes the first of the 10 former commissioners to speak so "bluntly" about the inquiry and the contents of 28 pages.

But he is not alone in his opinion, writes Guardian reporter Philip Shenon:

Another panel member, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of offending the other nine, said the 28 pages should be released even though they could damage the commission’s legacy – “fairly or unfairly” – by suggesting lines of investigation involving the Saudi government that were pursued by Congress but never adequately explored by the commission.

“I think we were tough on the Saudis, but obviously not tough enough,” the commissioner said. “I know some members of the staff felt we went much too easy on the Saudis. I didn’t really know the extent of it until after the report came out.”

The commissioner said the renewed public debate could force a spotlight on a mostly unknown chapter of the history of the 9/11 commission: behind closed doors, members of the panel’s staff fiercely protested the way the material about the Saudis was presented in the final report, saying it underplayed or ignored evidence that Saudi officials – especially at lower levels of the government – were part of an al-Qaida support network that had been tasked to assist the hijackers after they arrived in the United States.

A top aide to President Barack Obama who also worked on the 9/11 Commission report made similar statements on a CNN podcast in April, saying the Saudi government did not overtly support al Qaeda leading up to the 2001 attacks, but that individuals in the country did.

The White House is currently reviewing the 28 pages for possible release, and Obama is expected to announce a decision about declassification by June.

In an op-ed at the Washington Post on Wednesday, former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, a Democrat from Florida, reiterated the call for declassification.

He scoffed at comments made earlier this month by CIA Director John Brennan, who had echoed the argument that "people may seize upon that uncorroborated, unvetted information that was in there... and to point to Saudi involvement, which I think would be very, very inaccurate."

Graham wrote: "With all due respect, that argument is an affront not only to the American public in general but also to all those who lost family members, loved ones and friends on that fateful September day in 2001. Americans are fully capable of reviewing the 28 pages and making up their own minds about their significance."

The Hill reported earlier this week on allegations that the Obama administration tried to "strong-arm" Graham into reversing his stance on the 28 pages.

Meanwhile, Shane Harris reports Thursday for the Daily Beast that the 28 pages "are just a start."

"[I]n Florida, a federal judge is weighing whether to declassify portions of some 80,000 classified pages that could reveal far more about the hijackers' Saudi connections and their activities in the weeks preceding the worst attack on U.S. soil," Harris wrote. 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

0.0 ·
0
What's Next
Trending Today
93 Documentaries to Expand Your Consciousness
Films For Action · 11,181 views today · There are over 800 documentaries now cataloged in our library of social change films. That's probably way too many for any mortal to ever watch in a lifetime, let alone a few...
Why Are Media Outlets Still Citing Discredited 'Fake News' Blacklist?
Adam Johnson · 5,546 views today · The Washington Post (11/24/16) last week published a front-page blockbuster that quickly went viral: Russia-promoted “fake news” had infiltrated the newsfeeds of 213 million...
The Orwellian War on Skepticism
Robert Parry · 4,364 views today · Official Washington’s rush into an Orwellian future is well underway as political and media bigwigs move to silence Internet voices of independence and dissent, reports Robert...
Social Media Echo Chambers: Here's How Most of Us are Living in One
2 min · 3,617 views today · Americans are blocking out the friends and news sites that won't confirm their views.
Where Do You Draw the Line? (2016)
60 min · 3,456 views today · Why is the Ecuadorian government proposing to extract oil in an area frequently classified by ecologists as one of the most bio-diverse rainforest regions left intact on earth?...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 2,713 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Projext X: Using Leaked Documents to Reveal the NSA's New York Spy Hub, Hidden in Plain Sight
10 min · 2,537 views today · A top-secret handbook takes viewers on an undercover journey to Titanpointe, the site of a hidden partnership. Narrated by Rami Malek and Michelle Williams, and based on...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 2,320 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
90 Inspiring and Visionary Films That Will Change How You See the World in Profound Ways
Tim Hjersted · 2,043 views today · The world today is in crisis. Everybody knows that. But what is driving this crisis? It's a story, a story that is destroying the world. It's a story about our relationship to...
This Short Film Plays Out Like an Epic Movie That Will Shake Your Soul - But the Movie Is Real, and We are The Actors
6 min · 1,645 views today · For next year, we need a resolution capable of confronting the crisis we face, and making a future worth fighting for. This short film looks back on the crisis and confusion...
Law Professor's Epic Response to Black Lives Matter Shirt Complaint
Social Design Notes · 1,589 views today · A first year law school student wrote a complaint about her professor having worn a Black Lives Matter T-shirt during class. The professor’s response is priceless. Scans of...
Why We Need Big Picture Activism
Helena Norberg-Hodge · 1,355 views today · Despite the countless grassroots projects already under way, the global economic juggernaut can seem too powerful to stop. But because more and more of us are becoming aware of...
Twelve Things To Remember After The US Election, From Front Line Organizers
Bill Quigley · 1,105 views today · When you find yourself in a suddenly darkened room, what do you do?   Some rush blindly to where they think the door might be.  Others stand still, let their eyes get...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 1,059 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 921 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
The Daily Show's Trevor Noah Talks With Conservative Host Tomi Lahren
14 min · 859 views today · "Tomi" host Tomi Lahren gives her take on the Black Lives Matter movement and explains why she lashed out against Colin Kaepernick for his national anthem protest.
How a Land High in the Western Himalayas Can Help Us Understand The Crisis of The Modern World
9 min · 623 views today · This is a clip from The Economics of Happiness. Watch it here. It's a brilliant film that was easy to put at the top of our list of the top 100 documentaries we can use to...
Escape! From the Cult of Materialism (2016)
50 min · 587 views today · Does the philosophy of materialism work to destroy our identities, experience, and environment? Join narrator Daphne Ellis on a radical romp through the evidence and decide for...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 413 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
Who's Really to Blame for Fake News? Look in the Mirror, America.
Neal Gabler · 369 views today · Consider for a moment the oxymoronic concept of “fake news,” which we have been hearing so much about lately. This isn’t your typical disinformation or misinformation —...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Former 9/11 Commissioner: '28 Pages' Clearly Expose Saudi Support