The 28 still-classified pages from a congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are “very disturbing” to read, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., told the Duluth News Tribune editorial board recently during an exclusive interview.
But every American has a right to read them, Nolan said, calling for them to be declassified and released to the public.
Transparency-demanding, freedom-loving Americans interested in holding government accountable can enthusiastically join the congressman’s call. They can insist on being allowed access to documents that reportedly describe in detail who financed the hijackers and who ultimately was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in the fall of 2001. It’s crazy the American public still doesn’t know.
“I can’t tell you who it was without going to jail myself because it’s all classified. But why should I know and you don’t know, huh?” Nolan asked after being one of only a few lawmakers granted special security clearance to a locked and guarded room under the U.S. Capitol where he read the secret pages from the 9/ 11 Commission’s official report.
“They have the names of the people who sent the money. They have account numbers. They have who the money went to by name, by account numbers [and] by amounts. It’s not idle speculation — and it’s not who we were told it was,” Nolan said.
Meaning, it can be assumed, it was not Iraq or Afghanistan that was responsible, even though the U.S. went to war with both nations shortly after Sept. 11.
“Will reading those pages affect your understanding of all this? I would think so,” Nolan said. “How do the American people know who to support [going] to war against and what kind of foreign policy [they] want if they’re not being told the truth? People can come to erroneous conclusions if you don’t have all the facts and all the information.”
The possibility of spreading inaccurate information has been a reason given by top government officials for keeping the pages private.
They could reveal “sources and methods that would make it harder for us to win the war on terror,” former President George W. Bush has said, according to a Minnesota Public Radio report in April.
The page’s contents are “not corroborated, not vetted and not deemed to be accurate,” CIA Director John Brennan has insisted, according to numerous news reports.
Regardless of how that turns out, full disclosure of the classified pages remains the right move. If information on those pages isn’t accurate, the American people can be told that while being given access to the full report.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE