White House poised to release secret pages from 9/11 inquiry
Washington, Apr 24: The Obama administration will likely soon release at least part of a 28-page secret chapter from a congressional inquiry into 9/11 that may shed light on possible Saudi connections to the attackers.
The documents, kept in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol, contain information from the joint congressional inquiry into "specific sources of foreign support for some of the Sept 11 hijackers while they were in the United States." Bob Graham, who was co-chairman of that bipartisan panel, and others say the documents point suspicion at the Saudis.
The former Democratic senator from Florida says an administration official told him that intelligence officials will decide in the next several weeks whether to release at least parts of the documents.
The disclosure would come at a time of strained US relations with Saudi Arabia, a long-time American ally. "I hope that decision is to honor the American people and make it available," Graham told NBCs' "Meet the Press" today.
"The most important unanswered question of 9/11 is, did these 19 people conduct this very sophisticated plot alone, or were they supported?" Tim Roemer, who was a member of both the joint congressional inquiry as well as the 9/11 Commission and has read the secret chapter three times, described the 28 pages as a "preliminary police report."
"There were clues. There were allegations. There were witness reports. There was evidence about the hijackers, about people they met with â€” all kinds of different things that the 9/11 Commission was then tasked with reviewing and investigating," the former Democratic congressman from Indiana said Friday.
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government says it has been "wrongfully and morbidly accused of complicity" in the attacks, is fighting extremists and working to clamp down on their funding channels.
Still, the Saudis have long said that they would welcome declassification of the 28 pages because it would "allow us to respond to any allegations in a clear and credible manner." The pages were withheld from the 838-page report on the orders of President George W. Bush, who said the release could divulge intelligence sources and methods. Still, protecting US-Saudi diplomatic relations also was believed to have been a factor.