Since our launch in 2014, 28Pages.org has encouraged citizens and journalists alike to ask members of Congress a simple question about the secret 28 pages on foreign government financing of the 9/11 attacks: “Have you read the 28 pages?”
Today, Senator Bernie Sanders managed to give the worst answer we’ve encountered to date.
On CBS This Morning, amid a discussion of tensions with Saudi Arabia over a bill that would clear a path for 9/11 victims to sue the kingdom and the president’s upcoming decision on whether to declassify the 28 pages, host Norah O’Donnell asked our favorite question: “Have you read them?”
“No, I have not,” he replied. An honest albeit disappointing answer—but not a surprising one given the extraordinarily low level of 28-pages readership on Capitol Hill. Then things turned south quickly.
Admirably pressed by the hosts as to whether he should read them, Sanders said, “The difficulty is, you see then, if you read them, then you’re gonna ask me a question, you’re gonna say, ‘You read them, what’s in them?’ And now I can tell you honestly I have not.”
Put another way, Sanders essentially declared he’d rather avoid the minor inconvenience of deflecting questions than be fully informed about who enabled 9/11—which might also provide critical insights into the rise of ISIS and other offshoots of extremism while informing the life and death votes he casts as a United States senator.
Sanders was clearly trying to muddle his way through any kind of rationalization as to why he hadn’t read 28 pages that millions of people around the world would read if they had the opportunity Sanders has to do so.
In other words, what we witnessed on CBS This Morning was a man who is duty-bound to be a scholar of terrorism being caught without doing his homework.
Turning a Blind Eye
Along with fellow Congressmen Walter Jones and Stephen Lynch, Thomas Massie has been urging colleagues to read the 28 pages for two years now. At a June 2015 press conference introducing Senate Bill 1471, which would direct the president to declassify the redacted chapter of a 2002 joint congressional intelligence inquiry, Massie decried the failure of the great majority to read them.
“Some of the best intelligence we have in the war on terror is in these 28 pages, and most of our colleagues in the House have not read them, yet they’re pretending to be informed on these issues and having a discussion on how to prevent the next 9/11, yet turning a blind eye to the 28 pages,” said Massie.
Though he gets an F on the question of whether he’s read the 28 pages, Sanders earned an A on the question of whether they should be released: We are very grateful he said “yes” to that one.