According to a Dan Christensen story published today at Broward Bulldog, the House Intelligence Committee has refused Florida Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson’s request to read the classified 28-page finding on foreign government support of the 9/11 hijackers.
This is the first refusal of a request to read the 28 pages that 28Pages.org is aware of and—given Congress’ role in overseeing national defense and counter-terror policy—it’s a troubling development. According to the Broward Bulldog report, Grayson’s request was denied on Dec. 1 in an 8-4 vote that fell directly down party lines, with the GOP prevailing.
Grayson told the Bulldog the refusal was orchestrated by outgoing committee chair Mike Rogers, who is leaving the House and launching a career in radio. He said the action was retribution for his criticism of the federal government’s mass surveillance programs:
“Why was I denied? I have been instrumental in publicizing the Snowden revelations regarding pervasive domestic spying by the government and this is a petty means for the spying industrial complex to lash back,” Grayson said last week, referring to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
Though the House Intelligence Committee is charged with overseeing the country’s spy agencies, Rogers has been frequently accused of instead serving as their unconditional—and, at times, dishonest—public defender. It’s also worth noting that Rogers is a former FBI agent, and the contents of the 28 pages may be every bit as embarrassing to the FBI, CIA and NSA as they are to Bush administration officials, Saudi Arabia and other countries with ties to the 9/11 hijackers.
Echoing charges of deception leveled against Rogers in other places, Grayson accused Rogers of misleading committee members ahead of the vote:
“Congressman Rogers made serious misrepresentations to other committee members when he brought this up,” Grayson said in a telephone interview. “When the Guardian reported on the fact that there was universal domestic surveillance regarding every single phone call, including this one, I went to the floor of the House and gave a lengthy speech decrying it.”
“Chairman Rogers told the committee that I had discussed classified information on the floor. He left out the most important part that I was discussing what was reported in the newspaper,” said Grayson. “He clearly misled the committee for an improper purpose: to deny a sitting member of Congress important classified information necessary for me to do my job.”
Hopefully, the committee’s refusal of permission will—by drawing attention to the redacted 28-page passage found in the report of a joint Congressional inquiry into 9/11—prompt other House members to seek permission themselves.