Former Sen. Bob Graham has demanded that the Obama administration release the 28 redacted pages in a report on the 9/11 attacks he co-authored, saying they show how Saudi Arabia likely bankrolled the terrorists.
Graham, who held a press conference last week on Capitol Hill to press the issue, said the pages “point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as the principal financier” of the attacks, The Daily Beast reported.
“This may seem stale to some, but it’s as current as the headlines we see today,” said the former Democratic Florida governor and senator, while referring to the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris that left 12 dead.
Graham, chairman of the Senate Select Committee that issued the 800-page report in 2002, alleged that although the pages are classified over concerns for U.S. national security, the real “threat to national security is non-disclosure.”
Saying that the secret pages are part of “a general pattern of coverup” aimed at keeping Americans in the dark, Graham said that even though it’s “highly improbable” that the 19 hijackers acted alone, the U.S. government’s position is “to protect the government most responsible for that network of support.”
By its continuing refusal to release the information, the government is giving its silent approval to the Saudis and allowing them to foster an environment whereby they continue to quietly support terrorism, according to The Daily Beast.
“They have continued, maybe accelerated their support for the most extreme form of Islam,” Graham said, while pointing out that al-Qaida and ISIS are “a creation of Saudi Arabia.”
Republican Rep. Walter Jones and Democrat Rep. Stephen Lynch, who were standing next to Graham at the press conference, are co-sponsors of a House resolution calling for the declassification of the 28 pages so that the public can receive the full truth surrounding the 9/11 attacks.
The lawmakers backed Graham by saying the country’s national security would not be affected, while noting that President Barack Obama has twice told 9/11 families that he wants to see the pages declassified.
Jones and Lynch wrote a letter to Obama in April urging him to release the 28 pages, and were informed by the White House that they would receive a response, The Daily Beast reported.
Michael Rubin, an American Enterprise Institute Scholar, told Newsmax TV that he “absolutely” agreed with Graham’s demands that the redacted pages be released.
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“We have nothing to gain from sweeping the Saudi involvement under the rug,” he told “America’s Forum” host J.D. Hayworth. “And there can be no possible reason in sources and methods, the usual reasons for classifying intelligence, why those documents must remain secrets.
“It’s out of diplomatic consideration, so as not to embarrass the Saudis. The Saudis have had tremendous influence in a variety of White Houses, both Democrat and Republican, and they lobbied hard to keep those documents a secret, but I don’t think we should be listening to them.”
When the report was made public a dozen years ago, Graham and his then-Republican counterpart, Sen. Richard Shelby, were “shocked to see an important chapter¸ “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters,” in the report had been redacted.
Although then-CIA Director Porter Goss and the co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission called for the chapter to be declassified, it has remained secret for 12 years, fueling conspiracy theories that Graham says will finally terminate with its release, The Daily Beast noted.