The 28-Page 9/11 Report Should Be Released To Americans For This Reason
On Wednesday, former Florida senator Bob Graham made an urgent appeal to President Obama to release 28 classified pages about the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. These documents allegedly reveal the financial backing and foreign involvement of the attackers that may shine a light on their relationship with Saudi Arabia, according to Graham. However, Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement in the attacks. Regardless, Graham has said that there's one compelling reason these documents should absolutely be released to the American people.
In his essay for the Washington Post, Graham suggested that keeping Americans from what he terms the "uncensored truth" about 9/11 does a disservice to the public. Graham also argued that this acts as "an affront not only to the American public in general but also to all those who lost family members, loved ones and friends" in the attacks. He wrote that Americans have a right to the information contained in the missing pages, and that keeping the information from the public serves no expedient political purpose.
Graham further claimed that many unanswered questions would be satisfied by their release, including an important query about the long wait for the documents to be made public:
Has the 13-year delay in empowering the American people with the information in the 28 pages affected national security, delayed justice to the families of the nearly 3,000 Americans killed on 9/11 or undermined the confidence of the American people in their federal government?
To trust the American public with such sensitive information is no small feat, and Graham has been urging the government to declassify the 28 pages since they were first put under lock and key. Porter Goss, House of Representatives Co-Chair of the legislative committee tasked with initial inquiries into the Sept. 11 attacks, talked about these documents in a 60 Minutes special. In the April interview, Goss said that he and Graham appealed to the FBI to release the documents as soon as they were classified. He also said he cannot understand why the documents need to be secret and that the FBI's reasoning was tantamount to "because we said so."
Graham, the other co-chair of the 9/11 inquiry committee, didn't mince words in his allegations against Saudi Arabia: He alleged in his interview with 60 Minutes that the Saudis "substantially" supported the terrorists involved in the attacks, rhetorically asking how the American public is supposed to believe that the hijackers — many of whom were non-native English speakers and recent immigrants — could successfully plot the "sophisticated" attacks against the United States. Saudi Arabia has denied involvement in the 9/11 attacks.
Following the April 10 broadcast of the 60 Minutes interview, Graham received a long-awaited call from a White House representative who told him the president would make a decision by mid-June about whether or not he'd release the classified material.
Despite his impassioned on-air plea, Graham's hopes for the release of the information were dashed on May 1, when CIA Director John Brennan claimed the information within the 28 pages "inaccurate" on NBC's Meet the Press. Brennan went on to argue that the information contained within those pages was never vetted, and would unfairly paint Saudi Arabia in an accusatory light that could harm U.S.-Saudi relations.
Graham's editorial, the first time he's spoken publicly since Brennan's remarks on Meet the Press, responded directly to the CIA director, asking him for "the investigatory basis for his conclusion" on the inaccuracy of his allegations. He refuted Brennan's claim that Americans would not be able to properly evaluate the contents of the 28 pages. The American people, he argued, have "all the authority and capability needed to review the 28 pages and determine the truth."
If there's one reason to release the 28-page document to the public, it's so that they have access to this information and can make a decision for themselves. Only time will tell if they are given the opportunity to read through these pages, but until then, Graham has made clear that he thinks it would only be helpful.