President Obama is coming under pressure from lawmakers to declassify 28 pages of the 9/11 report that were blacked out when the document was first released to the public.
Reps. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) are trying to whip up support for a resolution that would release those pages from the 2002 study, which have long been rumored to contain information about Saudi Arabia and its relationship to al Qaeda.
“You cannot have trust in your government when your government hides information from you, particularly on something horrific like 9/11,” Jones told The Hill on Friday.
Thus far, 11 House lawmakers — including eight Democrats — have co-sponsored Jones’s resolution, and he is talking to a handful of senators, including Rand Paul (R-Ky.), about getting a similar measure introduced in the other chamber.
The push has also gained momentum with the endorsement of former senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who, as the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, oversaw a congressional inquiry into the attack that was separate from the 9/11 Commission.
“If I thought this was going to do anything to jeopardize the national security of this country, I would not advocate for it,” said Jones, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.
The redacted pages are believed to suggest that high-level officials in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia — Osama bin Laden’s home country — were complicit in the 2001 attacks that killed thousands of Americans.
Opponents of releasing the documents contend that the pages do no support that argument and say the pages should remain classified.
“I have read the 28 pages and the issues raised in those pages were investigated by the 9/11 Commission and found to be unsubstantiated,” Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.
“I believe that at appropriate time in the near future they should be declassified — with any redactions necessary to protect intelligence sources and methods — as this would help demystify the issues raised,” he added.
Members of Congress can view the 28 pages by writing the House Intelligence Committee and asking for permission.
A spokesman for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the Intelligence panel’s chairman, said the committee granted more than 30 requests from lawmakers to view the pages in the 113th Congress. Eight more requests were granted on Thursday, he said.