Nearly 15 years after terrorists attacked the Pentagon and brought down New York’s World Trade Center towers, 28 pages of the official congressional investigation into the attacks remain classified for national security reasons.
With a growing chorus from current and former congressional members who have read the pages, including Minnesota U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, saying the information can and should be made public, it’s time the Obama administration ends this censorship. Americans, particularly the families of those who died on Sept. 11, 2001, deserve to know the full truth about the events that led up to that terrible day.
Conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks abound to this day. Those on the fringe — including former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura — aren’t likely to find anything in the 28 pages to back up their reckless and feckless ideas, such as the claim that the U.S. government allowed the attacks to happen. Instead, the 28 pages apparently detail who may have provided financial support to some of the Saudi Arabian terrorists who carried out the Al-Qaida attacks.
Fifteen of the 19 terrorists were from the oil-rich Middle Eastern kingdom. There have long been serious questions about whether these uneducated terrorists, many of whom didn’t speak English and had never been to the U.S. before, got outside help while they were living here before the attacks. The 9/11 Commission report fueled speculation by ruling out senior Saudi government officials but not lower-ranking ones.
The 28 pages were the focus of a recent “60 Minutes” broadcast. In it, former CIA director Porter Goss and former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee, pushed to make the information public.
Like Goss and Graham, Nolan has seen the redacted information. He received special security clearance to enter a guarded room where the information is kept. “The information presents a clear and startling picture of who financed the attacks,” Nolan said in a recent statement.
A Democrat, Nolan represents northeastern Minnesota. He has teamed up with North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones to offer a resolution urging President Obama to release the information.
Nolan’s office has said the Saudis also agree that the 28 pages should be made public, a reality that undermines arguments against the information’s release because it could upset relations between the two countries.
Obama has previously vowed to make his administration the “most transparent” in history. Declassifying the 28 pages is an excellent opportunity to make good on that promise.