Pressure builds on Obama administration to declassify 9/11 report
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pressure is building on the Obama administration to release information about the 9/11 attacks that has been kept from the public for well over a decade.
Steve Kroft broke the story on “60 Minutes” last night.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has read the 28 pages that have been locked in a vault under the Capitol for 13 years.
“I don’t know how the Saudi government will react to it, but I think it’s just information,” said Gillibrand.
She said the 9/11 families she represents deserve to read them too — before the president travels to the Middle East next week.
“If the president is going to meet with the Saudi Arabian leadership and the royal family they think it would be appropriate that this document be released before the president makes that trip, so that they can talk about whatever issues are in that document,” Gillibrand said.
Steve Kroft interviewed former Senator Bob Graham, who co-chaired the joint congressional inquiry. He said the classified pages lay out a network of people he believes helped some of the hijackers find housing and enroll in flight school.
“You believe that support came from Saudi Arabia?” Kroft asked Graham.
“Substantially,” Graham said.
“And when we say, “the Saudis,” you mean the government, the — rich people in the country? Charities?” Kroft asked.
“All of the above,” Graham answered.
Graham and the report’s other authors say the Bush administration insisted the 28 pages be classified for national security reasons that are still unclear.
A review by the Obama White House has dragged on for years.
“I can tell you that the president certainly does support being as transparent as possible,” said Press Secretary Josh Earnest. “But he also believes that these national security officials have an important job to do.”
Gillibrand, Rand Paul and other senators have introduced legislation that would “require declassification” within “60 days.”
Because those secret pages could serve as a key piece of evidence in a lawsuit 9/11 victims families have filed against Saudi Arabia.
Lawmakers assume the pages were suppressed to avoid antagonizing a key Middle East ally.
Not surprisingly, the Saudi embassy slammed the “60 Minutes” piece, calling it a “compilation of myths” that do not prove they ever helped al Qaeda attack America.