Yesterday, 28Pages.org alerted the nation to indications of a looming scandal on Capitol Hill: At a time when Congress is being consulted on life-and-death decisions in the Middle East, there’s reason to believe only a slim minority of lawmakers have bothered to read a classified, 28-page finding on foreign government support of the 9/11 hijackers.
Reading those pages is no exercise in idle curiosity: According to former Senator Bob Graham, who co-chaired the intelligence inquiry that wrote the 28 pages, they’re highly relevant to the current crisis in the Middle East. Representative Walter Jones said he was “shocked” by what he read and said “what was so surprising was that those whom we thought we could really trust disappointed me.” Congressman Thomas Massie said the 28 pages prompted him to “stop every two or three pages and rearrange my perception of history.”
Clearly, at a time when the Middle East is more difficult to sort out than ever, the 28 pages should be required reading on Capitol Hill. And if there is indeed an ongoing mass dereliction of duty by representatives and senators in regard to reading the 28 pages, it is a willful one, since it’s happening in the face of repeated appeals by Congressmen Jones, Massie and Stephen Lynch to do so.
The American people deserve to know which lawmakers have read the 28 pages and which have not. We urge constituents and journalists to contact legislators and ask two simple questions:
- Have you read the 28 pages?
- If not, have you requested permission from your intelligence committee to do so?
28Pages.org is chipping in, too: We’ve begun distributing a questionnaire that asks those same questions of every representative who hasn’t cosponsored House Resolution 428 and every senator (Rep. Jones is still working to find a Senate ally to introduce a comparable resolution in that body). Since legislators generally feel a higher sense of accountability to constituents and media than to organizations like ours, however, it’s absolutely critical that citizens and journalists join us in asking those two questions.
Because it’s election season—and the answer to whether incumbents have read the 28 pages is indicative of how seriously they take national security—we’re front-loading our survey process with those incumbents who are in the most competitive election contests. We expect to begin reporting preliminary results in early October—including identifying those officials who don’t think the public deserves to know whether they’ve fully informed themselves about foreign government support of the 9/11 terrorists.
In the meantime, if you want to know which Capitol Hill legislators join former Senator Graham, both the chairman and vice-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, and Representatives Jones, Lynch and Massie in believing you should see what’s in those 28 pages, the list is right here.
28Pages.org makes it easy to ask your representative and senators if they’ve read the 28 pages—with helpful guidance, phone scripts and ready-to-print letters.