The movement to declassify the 28-page finding on foreign government support of the 9/11 hijackers depends on individual actions by concerned citizens. While we emphasize calls and letters to Congress and the White House, another powerful tool is a letter to the editor of a newspaper or magazine.
Today’s Austin American-Statesman features a letter that focuses on Congressman Lamar Smith:
Release Classified 9/11 Finding
If you were elected to Congress and your peers urged you to read a classified 28-page finding on foreign government support of the 9/11 hijackers because it was critical to understanding sources of terrorism, would you do it? Not if you’re Rep. Lamar Smith.
After months of sidestepping my questions posed via letters, emails and phone calls, the congressman’s staff finally acknowledged that Smith hasn’t done the homework that peers in both parties have urged him to do. Bottom line: Lamar Smith—a member of the House Homeland Security Committee—votes with an incomplete understanding of the terror threat.
After reading this material, Rep. Thomas Massie said: “I had to stop every two or three pages and rearrange my perception of history.” Every American should be able to read those 28 pages. Every member of Congress should support House Resolution 14, which urges our president to release them.
Public Political Pressure…and Praise
It’s been more than a year since Congressmen Walter Jones, Stephen Lynch and Thomas Massie began urging members to read the 28 pages. Letters like these provide a means of public accountability, alert other legislators to a potential vulnerability of their own and enlighten both readers and the newspaper’s staff about the issue.
Your letter doesn’t have to focus on your representative’s failure to read the 28 pages—something that staffs will take a long time to admit. Instead, you could simply express concern that they haven’t joined the list of cosponsors of House Resolution 14, which urges the president to declassify the 28 pages and give Americans information they need and deserve.
If your legislator is already on board, use a letter to the editor to praise them publicly while encouraging others to follow their leadership on the issue—the way districts are drawn, a given newspaper’s reach often spans multiple districts.
A More General Approach
As another alternative, you can take a broader approach to the issue. Here’s an example of a letter—published in the Northwest Herald in Woodstock, Illinois—that pressures Congress in general and the president specifically:
The day terrorists attacked the Charlie Hebdo office in France, Congressmen Walter Jones and Stephen Lynch – with former Senate Intelligence Chairman Bob Graham and Terry Strada, co-chair of the 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism – held a news conference to announce the introduction of House Resolution 14, which calls on the president to declassify 28 pages of the joint congressional inquiry into 9/11.
This news conference is the latest attempt to bring the truth to the public about who is financing terrorism.
Follow the money is a common phrase used when trying to disclose how things happen.
On two occasions, in the presence of 9/11 victims’ families, President Barack Obama has said he would declassify the 28 pages, but has so far refused.
There should be massive pressure placed upon the House to sign the resolution and pressure on the Senate to sponsor a corresponding resolution. These actions might give Obama a backbone to do the right thing.
As long as this cover-up continues, all counterterrorism plans are for naught.
NICHOLAS C. KOCKLER, WOODSTOCK
Tips for Your Letter to the Editor
- Keep it focused on just this topic
- Keep it brief—no more than 150 words
- Have a pal proofread it
- Check the paper’s guidance for length and how to submit it; most have online forms
- Increase your odds of success: Try more than one newspaper or magazine
- If your letter is published, share it in a comment on our Facebook page, and spread it around using Facebook, Twitter and other social media
- For inspiration on key points to hit, use the letters above and skim through this page and this one