Bush Administration Official: Saudi Ties to 9/11 Hidden to Protect Iraq War Narrative

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, Says Saudi Leads Never Thoroughly Investigated

By Brian P. McGlinchey

George Bush Sep 20 2001In his September 20, 2001 address to a joint session of Congress, President George W. Bush laid out a defining principle of his nascent war on terror: “We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

Even as he spoke those words, however, his administration had already embarked on a course that would mark them as a towering example of U.S. foreign policy hypocrisy. The Bush White House would soon present false claims linking 9/11 to Iraq, while simultaneously hiding credible evidence implicating Saudi Arabia—evidence summarized in the final, 28-page chapter of a 2002 joint congressional intelligence inquiry into 9/11.

Bush demanded the 28 pages be kept from the American public, and it’s increasingly clear why: As former State Department official Lawrence Wilkerson tells 28Pages.org, to a White House bent on selling an invasion of Iraq, compelling evidence of Saudi complicity in the attacks was an unwelcome distraction.

“You Talked About It At Your Peril”

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson

“They wanted to go to war with Iraq. Anything that supported al Qaeda connections with Baghdad, therefore, was good. Saudi Arabia just confused things so keep that out of it,” says Wilkerson, who served in the Bush administration as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell. “That wasn’t so much an effort to protect the Saudis, I don’t think, as it was an effort to justify the war with Iraq.”

The chilling effect on discussion of Saudi government links to 9/11 wasn’t confined to public statements—Wilkerson says the topic was taboo even within the Bush administration.

“It was verboten. It really was. You talked about it at your peril. You understood that the White House was going to close down anything associated with that sort of talk, so to what avail were you going to do it. I think one of the byproducts of (Vice President Dick) Cheney’s unprecedented eleven visits to CIA was to impress upon the most prominent of the intelligence agencies—and of course the Director of Central Intelligence himself—that you don’t want to go there,” says Wilkerson.

Cheney with King Abdullah in 2005
Cheney with King Abdullah in 2005

In other words, Saudi Arabia’s absence from the official 9/11 narrative was deliberate: “It wasn’t just passivity, it was action to prevent that from becoming a message,” he says.

To Wilkerson, the 28 pages—which detail direct and indirect links from the hijackers and other al Qaeda members to various Saudi government employees and even the Saudi ambassador to the United States—point to at least some degree of Saudi government attachment to the 9/11 attack.

All of these people probably were agents of Saudi intelligence in addition to being the sort of suspicious characters, or more than just suspicious characters, associated with al Qaeda. If they were working for Saudi intelligence, don’t tell me the government or some institutional aspect of the government didn’t know about it,” says Wilkerson, who retired from the Army as a colonel before serving in the State Department.

Real Intelligence Suppressed, Phony Intelligence Elevated

Regardless of how strong the evidence pointing toward Saudi Arabia, Wilkerson says Cheney effectively dampened discussion of it—even within the intelligence community that was charged with rooting out those who enabled 9/11.

“My first meeting with (CIA director) George Tenet out at Langley when we were getting ready to get going on Powell’s presentation to the United Nations reinforced that in spades, by simply having John Hannah from the vice president’s office start everything off with his clipboard that was jam-packed with ‘Scooter Libby’s smorgasbord,’ as John called it, from which we could pick and choose as we wanted—except his saying there’s nothing in here about Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia will not be discussed,” says Wilkerson. (Libby was Cheney’s chief of staff.)

As they prepared that pivotal address, Wilkerson says he and Powell were under constant pressure to include claims that al Qaeda was linked to the Iraqi government.

Tenet Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom
Tenet Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

“You couldn’t kill it. We tried. We put a stake in that ten times, and it kept raising its head. The vice president would not turn it loose,” says Wilkerson. “That’s part of why they tortured people to try to and get more information on the connections between al Qaeda and Baghdad. It’s part of why they shifted their interrogation focus away from another attack on the United States to connections between al Qaeda and Baghdad—and anything that reinforced that, anything that made their case for war more ‘legitimate’ and more acceptable to the American people, they wanted.”

Days before the UN speech, Powell’s agitation over being pressured to include dubious information in the speech boiled over, said Wilkerson, and the two agreed to remove any content linking al Qaeda to Iraq.

The decision would be reversed in short order. As Wilkerson related to former CIA analyst Ray McGovern for a piece at Consortium News, “Within an hour, [CIA Director George] Tenet and [CIA Deputy Director John] McLaughlin dropped a bombshell on the table in the [CIA] director’s conference room: a high-level al Qaeda detainee had just revealed under interrogation substantive contacts between al Qaeda and Baghdad, including Iraqis training al Qaeda operatives in the use of chemical and biological weapons.”

The DIA Disbelieved al-Libi's Claim About Iraq---A Year Before the Tenet Urged its Inclusion in UN Brief
DIA Memo Disputes al-Libi Claim About Iraq—A Year Before Tenet Urged Its Inclusion in UN Brief

Powell ordered it to be added to the presentation. Later, well after Powell had presented it to the United Nations assembly and the world, the two would learn the claim was extracted a year earlier from detainee Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi via torture at the hands of the Egyptians, and that the Defense Intelligence Agency gave it little credibility.

Al-Libi recanted the statement and died in a Libyan prison in 2009 of a reported suicide, but the tortured “evidence” had already served its terrible purpose: A September 2003 poll found that 69% of Americans felt it was likely Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attack.

Wilkerson has been an outspoken critic of U.S. torture of detainees; reflecting on the idea of torture to extract false intelligence, he described it as “even more heinous. It was not the lesser evil to prevent the greater evil, it was the lesser evil to enable the greater evil, because Iraq was the most catastrophic strategic decision in the post-World War II era, and that is a real powerful statement, because Vietnam was that before Iraq.”

“Vietnam in some sense is understandable as a theater in the Cold War that was badly misinterpreted,” he continues. “Iraq simply has no way of being understood. You have to lie, cheat and steal, as the neoconservatives are constantly doing, to explain Iraq. Iraq unleashed al Qaeda in Iraq. It unleashed ISIS. It unleashed everything that is happening that is destabilizing right now in western Asia.”

Hawijah Iraq After U.S. Coalition Airstrike in 2015
Hawijah, Iraq After U.S. Coalition Airstrike in 2015

Wilkerson relates a recent encounter that drives home the impact of the 2003 Iraq invasion: “A Jordanian prince said to me recently, ‘Go back to your country and tell your old boss—I know him well—that there is an Iraqi or Syrian family in every single Jordanian household, including the royal household. Go back and tell him that that is massively destabilizing and you are responsible.'”

Saudi Leads Never Pursued

There are, of course, two sides to the coin of post-9/11 Bush-Cheney duplicity: At the same time the administration falsely implied an Iraqi link to the attacks, it suppressed the broad evidence of Saudi connections detailed in the 28 pages.

Seeking to discredit those pages, the U.S. and Saudi governments and 9/11 Commission chairs Lee Hamilton and Tom Keane have claimed the commission thoroughly investigated the various circumstances in the 28 pages before concluding that—in the words of the its final report—it “found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” al Qaeda.

Wilkerson isn’t buying it.

“It’s utter hogwash with regard to the entire set of circumstances surrounding 9/11 in my view,” says Wilkerson. “As far as I know, there never was an official investigation of so many of the things that are intimated in there, not least of which is a really hard look by the intelligence community at the ultimate question of (Saudi) government knowledge, government direction, even government strategy associated with the Salafist movement in general but, more specifically, organizations like al Qaeda.”

Philip Zelikow
Philip Zelikow

Wilkerson says the 9/11 Commission’s avoidance of troubling conclusions about Saudi Arabia was pre-ordained with the selection of Philip Zelikow as its executive director. Zelikow had previously co-authored a book with Bush National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, served on the Bush transition team and had even written an articulation of Bush’s preemptive war doctrine that was issued in 2002 under the president’s signature.

“It was clear to me from the very beginning that he was there as a control agent. I didn’t know how definitively he would control the process until later,” says Wilkerson.

“He was tuned into the administration. He was tuned into what the administration wanted and he made sure that people who would pontificate later that they were totally independent, like Lee Hamilton and others, were in fact following the script. That’s understandable from a political point of view, but from an accountability point of view and even more so from a national security point of view, it’s damnable,” he says.

“You watch these things happen, and you understand why they’re happening from the perspective of the institutions with which you’re involved, the government with which you’re involved, but you never dream the extent to which these things will go in the long run and how much history, such as it is, depends upon their efforts and often times is distorted by their efforts.”

Brian McGlinchey is the founder and director of 28Pages.org

Brian McGlinchey’s journalism has moved to a Substack newsletter—Stark Realities with Brian McGlinchey: https://starkrealities.substack.com/

7 Unanswered Questions About the 28 Pages Declassification

Two weeks ago, after a declassification review led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the congressional intelligence committees finally released 28 pages from a joint congressional inquiry that outline a wide variety of connections between Saudi government officials, members of the Saudi royal family, suspected Saudi intelligence operatives and the 9/11 hijackers.

While the pages invite many questions about Saudi ties to the 9/11 attacks and just how thoroughly they were investigated by the 9/11 Commission, there are also many unanswered questions about the declassification itself.

Did President Obama ever read the 28 pages himself?

In 2009, Obama reportedly gave the first of two assurances to 9/11 family members that he would declassify the 28 pages. Seven years later—in April of this year—9/11 families were disappointed when he admitted he still hadn’t bothered to read the pages that were said to link a supposed ally to the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.

Obama Charlie Rose“I have a sense of what’s in there. But this has been a process which we generally deal with through the intelligence community and Jim Clapper, our director of national intelligence, has been going through to make sure that whatever it is that is released is not gonna compromise some major national security interest of the United States,” the president told Charlie Rose.

The average adult can read 28 pages in about a half hour. One would hope Obama ultimately insisted on reading the pages for himself and didn’t rely on an ODNI recommendation that may have hidden important information not only from the American people but from Obama himself. The importance of his personally reading the pages is underscored by the possibility that, as discussed below, some of the still-redacted information may shed unflattering light on the very intelligence community that was performing the declassification review.

What’s still hidden from view?

Rep. Justin Amash
Rep. Justin Amash

In the last hours before the release, Rep. Walter Jones—Capitol Hill’s foremost advocate for the release of the pages—was assured by an ODNI representative that the remaining redactions would be minimal. However, the public version of the 28 pages has 97 separate redactions, some of a single word or name and many representing multiple paragraphs in sequence.

In a Wednesday Q&A session following remarks at a convention of Young Americans for Liberty, Rep. Justin Amash—who had co-sponsored the House resolution that called for the release of the 28 pages—said he and fellow co-sponsor Thomas Massie intend to read both the public and the unredacted 28 pages side-by-side to see what’s still being kept under wraps.

What are the specific rationales for each redaction?

When declassifications occur under the Freedom of Information Act or the Mandatory Declassification Review process, each redaction is labelled to give the reader an understanding of the reason the information must remain secret. These labels usually don’t offer a lot of specificity, but instead simply refer to a provision of Executive Order 13526, which governs the classification system. For example, a label that says “E.O. 13526, section 1.4(c)” tells us the redaction is related to “intelligence activities (including covert action), intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology.”

Bassnan RedactionIn the declassified 28 pages, however, there are no such labels, leaving us to question if there’s truly a bona fide national security reason behind every redaction. We confess that even a label wouldn’t necessarily remove that doubt, but it would at least represent an attempt by the government to justify each individual decision.

It’s important to note that E.O. 13526 explicitly prohibits classification meant to “conceal violations of law, inefficiency or administrative error,” “prevent embarrassment to a person, organization or agency” or “prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of the national security.” Looking at what we can read in the 28 pages, it’s hard not to conclude that President George W. Bush’s original classification of essentially every word of the 28-page chapter from the congressional inquiry was a violation of these rules.

Do some redactions provide lingering cover for Saudi Arabia?

Bandar McLean VA RedactionOn the day before the 28 pages were released, White House press secretary Josh Earnest seemed to indicate that the U.S.-Saudi relationship would be factored into just how much of the 28 pages the American people would finally be granted permission to read.

“We want to make sure that we factor in the diplomatic equities into a decision like that. So when that process is completed, we will obviously coordinate not just with the (Director of National Intelligence) but also with the Congress to make sure those diplomatic equities are properly factored in,” said Earnest.

Did the intelligence committees make adjustments to the redactions recommended by ODNI?

The release of the 28 pages was preceded by a intelligence community declassification review that President Obama requested in the summer of 2014. The White House portrayed the conclusion of that review as a recommendation from the intelligence community, with the ultimate decision on the release of the 28 pages left in the hands of Congress.

Considering the intelligence committees reportedly released the 28 pages on the same day they received the ODNI recommendation, it seems likely they chose to give full deference to the executive branch and made no adjustments. We’ll have to rely on the judgments of declassification advocates like Jones, Amash and Massie to see if that deference was actually warranted.

Were some of ODNI’s recommendations self-serving?

At a June press conference calling for the release of the 28 pages, Rep. Stephen Lynch seemed to imply that information in the 28 pages would be embarrassing to the intelligence community.

FBI Saudi Threat Redaction“There may be some very embarrassing facts, some very embarrassing moments, and some criticisms on our own intelligence service because of what happened, if all the facts come out,” said Lynch. “I think that those individuals (in the intelligence community) don’t want this to come out. They don’t want the facts to come out because it may reveal terrible, terrible errors on their part and they may bear part of the blame” for failing to prevent the 9/11 attacks.

The released 28 pages do contain some passages that don’t reflect well on the intelligence community, including an admission that, before 9/11, the FBI didn’t focus resources on Saudis in the United States “due to Saudi Arabia’s status as an American ‘ally.'” However, given nearly 100 redactions, we’re left to wonder if some of them are intended to safeguard individual and departmental reputations rather than national security.

What will become of the still-pending Mandatory Declassification Review of the 28 pages?

Separate from the intelligence community’s declassification review, the 28 pages were in a queue for a similar but not identical assessment by the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel, or ISCAP. That assessment—called a Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR)—was requested by attorney Tom Julin on behalf of investigative reporters Dan Christensen, Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan.

ISCAP is dominated by representatives of the intelligence community, so it’s safe to assume it wouldn’t deviate much if at all from the recommendation produced by the ODNI review, and, in any event, the ultimate outcome of a Mandatory Declassification Review is a non-binding recommendation to the president.

While that could be a different president by the time the process is complete, we may find that the MDR, if seen through, would only give us the benefit of some token rationales for each of the remaining redactions.

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Those Secret 28 Pages on 9/11: Read This Before You Read Them

28 Pages Declassified—See What Was Hidden

By Brian P. McGlinchey

911 wtc aerialThirteen years after they were classified by the George W. Bush administration, 28 pages that are said to detail specific financial links between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the 9/11 hijackers are set to be released as early as Friday, according to CNN and many other outlets. Here’s what to look for both in the 28 pages and in the ensuing debate about their significance.

Less Than Full Declassification

The 28 pages are part of the report of a 2002 congressional intelligence inquiry that spans more than 800 pages. There are periodic, specific redactions throughout the rest of the report, so it would not be surprising if the 28 pages had a few surviving redactions of their own. The more numerous, however, the greater the chance that important information is still being concealed from the American people—and perhaps the greater the chance that concerned members of Congress will take matters into their own hands and release that information on their own.

Residual Cover for Saudi Arabia 

Saudi FlagWhite House press secretary Josh Earnest today seemed to hint that, in addition to protecting intelligence sources and methods, concern for U.S.-Saudi relations will also shape decisions on how much the public is allowed to see.

“We want to make sure that we factor in the diplomatic equities into a decision like that. So when that process is completed, we will obviously coordinate not just with the (Director of National Intelligence) but also with the Congress to make sure those diplomatic equities are properly factored in,” said Earnest at the White House press briefing.

False Narratives About 9/11 Investigations

In the months leading up to the release of the pages, U.S. government officials and the chairs of the 9/11 Commission have been waging a public relations campaign aimed at creating doubt about the reliability of what’s in the 28 pages. Expect that effort to resume with renewed intensity as the pages are released.

Bob Graham
Bob Graham

Detractors have described the 28 pages as unvetted investigatory leads. However, former Senator Bob Graham, who chaired the inquiry that produced the 28 pages, noted that “there’s been no questions raised about the professionalism and quality of the other 820 pages of that report and this chapter followed the same standards that they did.”

Those questioning the value of the 28 pages also point to the fact that they were written before the 9/11 Commission, and declare that the commission thoroughly investigated all the leads in the 28 pages and, quoting the commission report, “found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” the hijackers.

In fact, the idea that the 9/11 Commission thoroughly investigated Saudi links to the hijackers has been thoroughly discredited—though that discrediting has so far failed to permeate major media reporting.

9/11 Commission member John Lehman, in a statement offered in support of 9/11 families suing the kingdom, wrote, “Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued.”

That statement from someone who should know is only the beginning. Indeed, the case against the commission’s work regarding the Saudi line of inquiry is so broad and multifaceted that, rather than repeating it here, we urge you to review our April piece, “9/11 Commission Leaders Circle Wagons Around Their Legacy.”

Ulterior Motives

Tom Kean
Tom Kean

What’s driving the campaign to denigrate the 28 pages? Where 9/11 Commission chairs Tom Keane and Lee Hamilton are concerned, it’s surely about safeguarding their reputations: To the extent the 28 pages cast doubts on the conclusions of the 9/11 Commission—and raise questions about their personal leadership of that effort—the most salient chapter of their professional careers stand to be tarnished.

For the U.S. government and its intelligence agencies, reputations again hang in the balance. At a press conference last week, Rep. Stephen Lynch said, “I think that those individuals (in the intelligence community) don’t want this to come out. They don’t want the facts to come out because it may reveal terrible, terrible errors on their part and they may bear part of the blame” for failing to foil the attacks.

In addition, the very foundation of the U.S. government’s war on terror may be called into question. Saudi Arabia is routinely praised by government officials and Saudi-funded think tanks as an important partner in fighting extremism; revelations that the kingdom may have aided the 9/11 attacks could in turn expose U.S. hypocrisy—particularly when juxtaposing the invasion of Iraq alongside continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Seeming to make that very point, Rep. Rick Nolan, who has read the 28 pages, said, “They confirm that much of the rhetoric preceding the U.S. attack on Iraq was terribly wrong.”

Bogus Reasons for Redactions

If officials announce that some remaining redactions were made to protect individuals who were initially under suspicion but later exonerated, journalists and citizens should push back, because that is not a valid justification for secrecy.

Steven Aftergood
Steven Aftergood

Classification expert Steven Aftergood, who directs the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, told 28Pages.org earlier this year, “If you examine the executive order governing the classification system, it does not say that information that is inaccurate or unvetted may be classified. Those words aren’t in there,” said Aftergood.

Driving the point home, Aftergood said, “The 28 pages could be entirely false, malicious and nonsensical. That is not a basis for classification and that should not be an impediment to their declassification.” If persons of interest were subsequently ruled out from aiding the hijackers, the government should release the corresponding documents that led to that conclusion.

Household Names

9/11 Commission member John Lehman was asked by 60 Minutes if the 28 pages name names. He replied, “Yes. The average intelligent watcher of 60 Minutes would recognize them instantly.”

Given very few Saudi officials are household names even among educated viewers, you’d expect Lehman to be referring to someone on the level of, say, former Saudi ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan al Saud.

Outside the 28 pages, it’s already been revealed that cashiers checks found their way from Bandar’s wife to two Saudi citizens in San Diego who furnished heavy financial and other assistance to future 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar.

Echoes of Document 17

Last summer, the government silently declassified a 9/11 Commission document that listed dozens of people of interest to investigators who were exploring Saudi links to the hijackers. Written by the same authors as the 28 pages and first revealed by 28Pages.org, “Document 17” had many interesting revelations—most notably, the fact that the FBI found the U.S. pilot license of an al Qaeda associate buried in Pakistan, inside an envelope from the Saudi embassy in Washington.

Brian McGlinchey’s journalism has moved to a Substack newsletter—Stark Realities with Brian McGlinchey: https://starkrealities.substack.com/

Cheney Advisor Led Effort to Kill GOP Platform Plank on 28 Pages

Steve Yates
Steve Yates

A former advisor to vice president Dick Cheney spearheaded the successful drive to kill a Republican Party platform plank that urged the release of 28 pages said to link Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 hijackers.

Steve Yates, who was a deputy national security advisor to Cheney for five years and is now chair of the Idaho Republican Party, offered the amendment that struck the plank. Yates is chair of the platform committee’s national security subcommittee, which narrowly approved the plank on Monday.

The Bush-Cheney administration insisted on classifying the 28 pages, which comprise the final chapter of the report of a 2002 joint congressional intelligence inquiry into 9/11.

In speaking in opposition to the plank, Yates said the idea of releasing the 28 pages “raises the specter that our intelligence gathering may be compromised…and pose a danger to our own national security.”

Yates’ national security claim is strikingly inconsistent with the opinions of other Republicans who have actually read the 28 pages:

  • John Lehman, 9/11 Commission member and former Secretary of the Navy under President Reagan: “We all have dealt for our careers in highly classified and compartmentalized in every aspect of security. We know when something shouldn’t be declassified….those 28 pages in no way fall into that category.
  • Rep. Walter Jones: “There’s nothing in it about national security. It’s about the Bush administration and its relationship with the Saudis.”
  • Sen. Richard Shelby, former chair of the Senate intelligence committee: “I went back and read those pages thoroughly. My judgment is that 95 percent of that information could be declassified.”
John Brennan
John Brennan

Parroting speaking points from CIA Director John Brennan, Yates also claimed that the 28 pages “mainly consists of rumors from third parties that is totally uncorroborated. It is unfair to the individuals involved to allow the speculation to be treated as fact simply because it’s in a secret government report.”

The notion that the 28 pages contain unreliable information has been countered by former senator Bob Graham, who chaired the Senate intelligence committee and co-chaired the inquiry that produced the 28 pages. “There’s been no questions raised about the professionalism and quality of the other 820 pages of that report and this chapter followed the same standards that they did,” said Graham on Meet The Press.

As for the idea that it would be “unfair to the individuals involved” to release the report, classification expert Steven Aftergood, who directs the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, told 28Pages.org earlier this year that “the 28 pages could be entirely false, malicious and nonsensical. That is not a basis for classification and that should not be an impediment to their declassification.”

Should 9/11 Justice Should Be a Private Matter?

Yates concluded with a suggestion that seemed to imply that accountability for an alleged Saudi role should be handled behind closed doors, president to king: “If Saudi officials were complicit in 9/11, that is a matter for both governments to resolve at the highest levels.”

Two other delegates spoke out against the plank in Tuesday’s debate: New York’s Thomas Dadey, who chairs the Onandaga County (Syracuse) GOP and Vermont’s Darcie Johnston.

Given New York’s position in the attacks, Dadey’s opposition no doubt stings for the many 9/11 family members who also call the Empire State home.

Likewise, Johnston’s opposition will strike many supporters of Donald Trump as something of a betrayal: Johnston is a Trump organizer, and her opposition to the plank was contrary to her candidate’s stance on the issue. Trump has indicated he would declassify the 28 pages and has said the classified material implicates Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks.  

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GOP Platform Subcommittee Approves 28 Pages Plank

UPDATE: The 28 pages plank was voted down on Tuesday morning by the full platform committee. 

Maine State Senator Eric Brakey
Maine State Senator Eric Brakey

The national security subcommittee of the GOP platform committee today approved a plank that calls for the declassification of 28 pages that are said to link the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 hijackers.

The plank was introduced by Maine state senator Eric Brakey, who contacted 28Pages.org director Brian McGlinchey last week after hearing his interview on The Tom Woods Show. McGlinchey helped Brakey draft the plank’s language.

“The public has a right to know,” said Brakey this evening after the platform committee adjourned. “It saddens me that, here we are, 15 years later and it sounds like there’s key pieces of information to our understanding of what happened on that day, and the government has been keeping that information from us.”

Planks are official expressions of the party’s opinions on various issues. To be incorporated in the final platform, the 28 pages plank must first be approved on Tuesday by a majority of the full, 112-member platform committee. Then, along with all the other proposed planks, it must be approved by the full body of next week’s GOP convention in Cleveland.

If adopted, the plank would represent an important new endorsement of the release of the 28 pages. Supporters of declassification already include more than 70 Democratic and Republican members of Congress, former members of the 9/11 Commission and the editorial boards of many of the nation’s most prominent newspapers, including The New York Times and USA Today.

The proposed platform of the Democratic Party, which has already been approved for consideration at the national convention, is silent on this issue, but could theoretically be amended to address it. The Republican platform committee proceedings can be viewed live at CSPAN.

Brakey’s 28 pages plank reads:

Delivering Transparency on Foreign Government Ties to 9/11

As the nation continues to confront terrorism at home and abroad, the American people are being denied access to information that can provide vital insight into the funding of Islamic extremism: 28 classified pages from a 2002 joint congressional intelligence inquiry into the September 11 attacks. A former senator who co-chaired the inquiry says the pages “point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier” of the 9/11 attacks and that, by shielding the kingdom from consequences for its actions, the redaction has encouraged its continued sponsorship of extremism and paved the way for the rise of ISIS.

President Obama twice promised 9/11 family members he would release the pages, which could be invaluable in their pursuit of justice in the courtroom. However, his administration has refused to declassify them, even in the face of bipartisan support for their release that includes former 9/11 Commission members and 73 current representatives and senators. These pages must be released. As Thomas Jefferson said, “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight.”

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