With the 14th anniversary of the September 11 attacks approaching, three national security whistleblowers are adding their voices to the growing movement to declassify 28 pages from a 2002 congressional inquiry that document indications of foreign government support of the 9/11 hijackers.
Former senior NSA executive Thomas Drake and FBI veterans Mark Rossini and Coleen Rowley are all urging the release of the material that was classified by President George W. Bush amid controversy and criticism.
Meanwhile, an ongoing intelligence community review of the 28 pages for potential declassification, initiated by the White House last year under pressure from Congress, has already taken more than twice as long as the entire, far-reaching inquiry that produced them.
“After all these years, what is so secret about the 28 pages that so compels the government to still keep hidden from the public, and the families of those murdered on 9/11, the fuller truth of what happened?,” Drake asked in a message to 28Pages.org.
Drake alerted Congress to NSA failures in the months leading up to 9/11, and blew the whistle on mass surveillance programs that he, among many others, considers a sweeping violation of the United States Constitution.
Former Senate intelligence committee chairman Bob Graham—who presided over the congressional inquiry that wrote the 28 pages as part of an report—has said the 28 pages implicate Saudi Arabia, and that, by shielding the kingdom from scrutiny of its funding of extremists, the classification of the pages paved the way for the rise of ISIS.
“It is way past time to reveal the missing 28 pages and provide a fuller accounting of entangling foreign alliances, active involvement, material support and funding behind the perpetrators of that fateful day in history,” said Drake.
In a recent interview on The Real News Network, Drake told host Paul Jay that, regarding the 28 pages and the connections to Saudi Arabia they are said to reveal, “This is really serious stuff. You’re talking, kind of, the heart of dark government, what I call the double government. This is the other government in action. You’ve set it up in a way that obviously you’re going to protect the Saudis. And yes, clearly the Saudis had a huge—most of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia.”
Rossini: “It’s a disgrace that they haven’t been released”
For Mark Rossini, who was an FBI agent assigned to the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit, the battle for the release of the 28 pages goes to the very nature of the American system of government.
“It’s a disgrace that they haven’t been released. We’re a government of the people for the people and by the people. The constitution starts with the word ‘we.’ It’s not ‘we the government’ and ‘you the people,’ its ‘we’ and in a sense that document is ours. And we have every right as American citizens to see that document,” Rossini tells 28Pages.org. (See our full stories here and here.)
While at the CIA unit, Rossini was witness to a pivotal incident that has yet to be fully and publicly examined.
Rossini’s fellow agent, Doug Miller, attempted to alert the FBI that known al Qaeda terrorist and future Flight 77 hijacker Khalid al-Midhar had obtained a multi-entry visa for travel to the United States. To the astonishment of Rossini and Miller, a CIA supervisor stopped the message from proceeding to FBI headquarters. When Rossini questioned the decision, the supervisor ordered him to stay quiet, saying, according to Rossini, “You are not to tell the FBI about it. When and if we want the FBI to know about it, we will.”
Reflecting on the fact that the ongoing declassification review of the 28 pages has already taken a year or more—the National Security Council refused to say on which day or even in which month the review began—an animated Rossini said, “There’s nothing to review…come on. Everybody knows what’s in there. To review it again for what? It’s only frickin’ 28 pages, I could read it in a half hour. No, it’s all bull****, it’s just another excuse to push it down the street and make it someone else’s problem, and not release it and not embarrass King Salman and guarantee the continuation of the black ooze coming out of the ground.”
Rowley Publicizes White House Petition
Coleen Rowley, one of three whistleblowers named “Persons of the Year” by Time magazine in 2002, recently helped promote awareness of the White House petition urging the president to release the 28 pages by sharing a link to the petition on Twitter.
Rowley, who was assigned to the FBI’s Minnesota office in 2001, wrote a memo documenting FBI failures in the weeks leading up to 9/11. In a letter to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller, Rowley wrote, “I feel that certain facts…have, up to now, been omitted, downplayed, glossed over and/or mischaracterized in an effort to avoid or minimize personal and/or institutional embarrassment on the part of the FBI and/or perhaps even for improper political reasons.”