Update: The Senate resolution has passed. Now, call your House representative and urge them to cosponsor H.Res.663.
By Brian P. McGlinchey
As the world marks the seventeenth anniversary of 9/11, legislators have introduced resolutions in both the House and Senate urging the broad declassification of U.S. government documents relating to the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
As with the successful drive to declassify 28 pages on Saudi government links to the 9/11 attacks, this latest effort has support on both sides of the aisle.
At a press conference announcing the Senate effort, Senator Richard Blumenthal, flanked by 9/11 families, said, “This is a nonpartisan issue. Forget about if you’re a Republican, if you’re a Democrat, if you’re independent—this is a humanity issue. These are human beings that got savagely murdered on September 11 and there should be no partisan politics involved in this at all.”
Among 10 others joining the Connecticut Democrat in sponsoring the Senate resolution were two senior Republicans: majority whip John Cornyn of Texas and Chuck Grassley of Iowa. On Sept 26th, the Senate passed the resolution by unanimous consent.
The House measure has yet to advance from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. It was introduced by Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), along with Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA). The same trio led the House effort to declassify the 28 pages.
Secrecy is an Impediment to Justice
The continued classification 9/11 documents is a headwind for a civil suit by victims of the attacks seeking to prove that Saudi government officials provided financial and other assistance to hijackers and others closely associated with them.
Brett Eagleson, whose father was killed at the World Trade Center, has been actively involved in building congressional support for additional declassification. “It seems to us that the rights of enemies and terrorists are coming before the rights of U.S. citizens,” he said at the Blumenthal press conference. “There are literally thousands and thousands of documents that are still redacted for no reason whatsoever.”
Many former members of the U.S. intelligence community agree that there’s no national security justification for the continued secrecy.
In August, former FBI counterintelligence agent Kenneth Williams told 28Pages.org that “seventeen years (since 9/11) is a lifetime in the intelligence business. There can’t be anything in those documents that’s going to hurt us. The only thing I think it would hurt is maybe past administrations’—maybe even the current administration’s—reputation, with respect to giving Saudi Arabia a pass.”
A switchboard in Washington connects you to any U.S. legislator. Not sure who your representative is? Find your representative.
When you call, keep it courteous and brief, and avoid diluting your impact by bringing up unrelated issues—save those for another call on another day. All you need to do is ask the representative to cosponsor the resolution.
Call Your Representative at 202-225-3121
“Hi, my name is [ ] and I’m a constituent. I’m calling to urge the representative to cosponsor House Resolution 663, which calls for the declassification of documents relating to the 9/11 attacks.”
Note, this particular kind of resolution—which expresses the opinion of the House or Senate—isn’t abbreviated as “H.R.” or “S.R.” On Capitol Hill, one says “H.Res.” or “S.Res.”; when spoken, “res” rhymes with “fez.”
If asked, don’t hesitate to provide your address. Verifying that you’re a constituent means your opinion is taken much more seriously.
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