60 Minutes to Report on 28 Pages Said to Link 9/11, Saudi Arabia

60-minutesThe drive to declassify 28 pages from a congressional intelligence inquiry that detail specific indications of foreign government support of the 9/11 hijackers is about to be put under a powerful spotlight, as 60 Minutes will air a segment on the topic this Sunday, April 10 at 7 pm ET/PT.

According to the CBS News preview of the story, Steve Kroft interviewed former senator Bob Graham, former congressman and CIA director Porter Goss, former 9/11 Commission members Bob Kerrey and John Lehman, lawyers representing 9/11 family members suing Saudi Arabia and former congressman Tim Roemer, who served on both the inquiry that produced the 28 pages and the 9/11 Commission that followed that inquiry.

Report to Air on Eve of Obama Visit to Saudi Arabia

The high-profile 60 Minutes segment—which is positioned for high viewership as it follows coverage of the Masters Tournament—comes at a particularly sensitive time for the White House, as the president will visit Saudi Arabia on April 21. 9/11 family members say that, in 2009 and 2011, Obama assured them he would declassify the 28 pages, yet that promise has gone unfulfilled.

Former Senator Bob Graham
Former Senator Bob Graham

Graham, who co-chaired the inquiry that wrote the 28 pages, has said, “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11 and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier.” He has also said that, by shielding Saudi Arabia from scrutiny of its sponsorship of Sunni extremism, the continued classification has encouraged their continued sponsorship and paved the way for the rise of ISIS.

Congressman Thomas Massie described the experience of reading the pages as “shocking” and said, “I had to stop every couple pages and…try to rearrange my understanding of history. It challenges you to rethink everything.”

Congressmen Walter Jones, Stephen Lynch and Massie are leading an effort in the U.S. House of Representatives to declassify the 28 pages: Their House Resolution 14, which urges the president to declassify the material, has 41 cosponsors. A similar measure, Senate Bill 1471, was introduced by Senators Rand Paul and Ron Wyden and cosponsored by Kirsten Gillibrand.

Review of 28 Pages Nears Its Third Year

In response to heightened media attention to the 28 pages in September 2014, the White House said the president, earlier that summer, tasked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper with conducting an intelligence community review of the 28 pages for potential declassification.

Inexplicably, and with essentially no follow-up by national media to date, that review of just 28 pages has already taken far longer than the entire, unprecedented congressional inquiry that produced them. As we reported here last summer, in just six months the 2002 inquiry:

  • Reviewed nearly a half million pages of documents from intelligence agencies and other sources
  • Conducted roughly 300 interviews
  • Participated in briefings and panel discussions involving about 600 people from the intelligence community, other government departments, state and local entities, foreign government representatives and other individuals
  • Held 13 closed-door sessions and nine public hearings
  • Dueled with intelligence agencies and the White House over many aspects of the inquiry’s undertaking, including requests for information and the format of the final report
  • Wrote, edited and revised an 838-page report on the inquiry’s findings

A separate evaluation, under a process called Mandatory Declassification Review, was initiated in 2014 by an attorney representing investigative journalists Dan Christensen, Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan. Like the review requested by the president, it is still pending as the Obama administration nears its final months.

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CNN’s Smerconish: “Mr President, please release the 28 pages”

Smerconish CNN

Yesterday, CNN’s Michael Smerconish concluded his weekly show with a segment on those still-classified 28 pages that document indications of foreign government financial support of the 9/11 terrorists. He ended with a direct plea: “Mr. President, please release the 28 pages before we mark yet another 9/11 anniversary.”

On Friday, Obama hosted Saudi Arabia’s King Salman at the White House. Smerconish highlighted the fact that the president’s hospitality came one week before the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks—attacks that, according to former Senator Bob Graham, were enabled at least in part by financial and other assistance furnished to the hijackers by the kingdom.

Smerconish also noted that the nation is marking another anniversary: It’s been a year or more since the U.S. intelligence community was tasked with reviewing the 28 pages for declassification. “In other words, the review has now taken more than 10 days for every single page with no resolution—and that’s inexcusable,” said Smerconish.

As 28Pages.org recently observed, this milestone also means the review has already taken twice as long as the entire joint congressional inquiry that produced the 28 pages as part of a report spanning more than 800 pages.

On his SiriusXM radio show on Friday, Smerconish talked to Senator Rand Paul, former senator Graham and 28Pages.org director Brian McGlinchey about the campaign to declassify the pages.

Graham said, “I think the evidence that at least some of the hijackers received financial and other support from the agents of Saudi Arabia is incontrovertible. My own suspicion is that when those materials are released, it’s going to be found that there was a network of support of the 19 hijackers, which allowed this group of men, most of whom didn’t speak English, most of whom had never been in the United States, and most of whom had very limited education, to carry out the complicated plot that they did on 9/11.”

Senator Rand Paul
Senator Rand Paul

Paul, who in June introduced Senate Bill 1471, which presses the president to declassify the material, said, “There are things in the 28 pages that everybody should be allowed to read and make their own decision on.” Speaking more broadly about the ongoing scourge of Middle East terrorism, Paul said, “Frankly, I think Saudi Arabia has been part of the problem with regard to ISIS, with indiscriminately putting arms into the Syrian civil war…so have the Qataris.”

Paul’s sentiments echo Graham’s previous assertion that the continued secrecy of the 28 pages—by shielding scrutiny of Saudi funding of Islamic extremism—enabled the rise of ISIS.

McGlinchey said, “One of the things that’s least known about this issue is how few of our elected representatives on Capitol Hill have themselves bothered to read the 28 pages. We estimate that it’s probably in the low dozens of the 535 or so senators and representatives who have actually bothered to take 30 minutes to read them.”

Asked by Smerconish where presidential candidates other than Paul stand on the issue, McGlinchey pointed out that presidential candidates Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz* have both admitted they haven’t read the 28 pages and that Jeb Bush—whose brother famously classified them—said he’s never heard of them.

McGlinchey also noted that Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and John Kerry were among 46 senators who signed a 2003 letter to George W. Bush urging him to declassify the 28 pages, and wondered what actions they took on the issue upon ascending to positions in the Obama White House. Smerconish resolved to ask them if presented with the opportunity.

*Update: On April 15, 2016, Ted Cruz said, “I have reviewed these pages and believe that they should be released.”

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Video: Press Conference Introducing Senate 28 Pages Resolution on June 2, 2015

Senator Rand Paul
Senator Rand Paul

As 28Pages.org was first to report last week, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has introduced a Senate bill urging the president to declassify 28 pages on foreign government ties to the 9/11 hijackers. He will be joined in leading this effort by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.

Senate Bill 1471 was introduced at a Capitol Hill press conference where Senator Paul was joined by Congressmen Walter Jones, Stephen Lynch and Thomas Massie as well as former Senator Bob Graham and several 9/11 family members, including Terry Strada, national chair of 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism.

Press conference video courtesy of LaRouchePAC. 28Pages.org is not affiliated with LaRouchePAC but is grateful to that organization for its ongoing, professional video coverage of many events relating to this issue. 


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MAJOR DEVELOPMENT: Rand Paul, Ron Wyden to Introduce 28 Pages Bill in Senate

Senator Rand Paul
Senator Rand Paul

By Brian McGlinchey

The growing, nonpartisan drive to declassify a 28-page finding on foreign government support of the 9/11 hijackers is about to take an enormous step forward with the introduction of a Senate bill urging the president to release the material to the public.

Dramatically compounding the issue’s visibility, the bill is being introduced by high-profile Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul of Kentucky.

A spokesperson for Senator Paul told 28Pages.org that Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden will cosponsor the bill, which will serve as the upper chamber’s counterpart to House Resolution 14. Wyden is a member of the Senate intelligence committee.

Paul will unveil the Transparency for the Families of 9/11 Victims Act at a Capitol Hill press conference on Tuesday, June 2 at 10:00 am, joined by Representatives Walter Jones (R, NC), Stephen Lynch (D, MA), Thomas Massie (R, KY) and former Democratic Senator Bob Graham.

Senator Ron Wyden
Senator Ron Wyden

Jones, Lynch and Massie introduced H.Res.14 and have been championing the issue—and seeking like-minded senators to lead the cause in the upper chamber—since December 2013.

Aided by Graham, who co-chaired the joint congressional 9/11 inquiry that wrote the 28 pages as one chapter in a far larger report, their success in securing the leadership of Paul and Wyden represents a critical milestone for the 28 pages movement.

As Paul and Wyden seek cosponsors for the bill, there are 11 senators whose support should—on principle, if not politics—be automatic:  Patrick Leahy (VT), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Harry Reid (NV), Barbara Boxer (CA), Patty Murray (WA), Dick Durbin (IL), Jack Reed (RI), Chuck Schumer (NY), Bill Nelson (FL), Tom Carper (DE) and Maria Cantwell (WA).  What do these 11 Democrats have in common? Months after the December 2002 release of the congressional intelligence report that holds the 28 pages, each of them signed a 2003 letter to President George W. Bush protesting his decision to redact the 28 pages and urging him to release them. In part, that letter read:

Unfortunately, because all but two pages of the entire section have been deemed too secret for public disclosure, the American people remain in the dark about other countries that may have facilitated the terrorist attacks. It has been widely reported in the press that the foreign sources referred to in this portion of the Joint Inquiry analysis reside primarily in Saudi Arabia. The decision to classify this information sends the wrong message to the American people about our nation’s anti-terror effort and makes it seem as if there will be no penalty for foreign abettors of the hijackers…Protecting the Saudi regime by eliminating any public penalty for the support given to terrorists from within its borders would be a mistake.

Among those 11 natural candidates to join the Paul-Wyden bill, one stands out: Schumer led the 2003 letter-writing effort. At the time, he said, “The bottom line is that keeping this material classified only strengthens the theory that some in the U.S. government are hellbent on covering up for the Saudis. If we’re going to take terrorism down, that kind of behavior has got to be nipped in the bud and shedding some light on these 28 pages would start that process.”

The 28 Pages and the Ongoing Scourge of  Terrorism

Calling the bill the “Transparency for the Families of 9/11 Victims Act” is an important acknowledgement that 9/11 family members deserve to know the full circumstances of their loved ones’ murders—and to access information that could be useful in lawsuits they’ve filed against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Then again—given the broad impact of 9/11 and the ensuing “War on Terror,” 9/11 transparency is truly owed to every American citizen and to people all around the world. Former Senator Graham and House leaders of the 28 pages movement who’ve read the 28 pages argue that their release is vital to the ongoing struggle with terrorism.

According to Graham, “the 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11 and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier.” He has also said the U.S. government’s shielding of Saudi Arabia’s role in funding extremism helped pave the way for the rise of ISIS. The House’s Lynch made a similar point in a 2014 story written by the Boston Globe’s Bryan Bender:

(Lynch) believes the information has direct bearing on the new war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and other militant Sunni Muslim groups that are believed to be drawing some of their funding from the same Arab states that America considers key allies. The revelations are central to understanding “the web of intrigue here and the treacherous nature of the parties we are dealing with — the terrorists and their supporters,” Lynch said in an interview.

Kentucky Republican congressman Thomas Massie, in a memorable 2014 press conference, described the experience of reading the 28 pages as “shocking” and said “I had to stop every couple of pages and…try to rearrange my understanding of history…It challenges you to rethink everything.” (Watch it here.)

9/11 family members say President Obama, on two different occasions, gave assurances that he would release the 28 pages. Last September, responding to a report on the 28 pages by CNN’s Jake Tapper, the White House’s National Security spokesperson said, “Earlier this summer the White House requested that (the Office of the Director of National Intelligence) review the 28 pages from the joint inquiry for declassification. ODNI is currently coordinating the required interagency review and it is ongoing.”

It takes the average adult about 28 minutes to read 28 pages, but more than 8 months after the White House statement—and almost 14 years since the September 11 attacks—the pages remain under close guard in the basement of the United States Capitol. Brian McGlinchey is the founder and director of 28Pages.org

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Jon Gold Interviews Senator Bob Graham on the 28 Pages and More

Former Senator Bob Graham
Former Senator Bob Graham

The latest edition of Jon Gold’s “We Were Lied to About 9/11” podcast (embedded below) is an in-depth interview with former Senator Bob Graham, who co-chaired the joint congressional inquiry into intelligence community activities before and after 9/11. The 28-page finding on foreign government support of the 9/11 hijackers is found in report of that inquiry.

If you’re generally frustrated by interviewers who know little about the dense web of foreign and domestic intrigue that is 9/11, you’ll find Gold a welcome departure from the norm.

Among many other things, Gold and Graham discussed the 28 pages, allegations that the Pakistani intelligence agency transferred money to lead 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta, the FBI’s concealment of what it knows about the Sarasota terror cell and Vice President Dick Cheney’s adversarial approach to the 9/11 investigations.

Regarding the 28 pages, Graham said “That chapter refers primarily to the issue of who financed 9/11 and it points a very strong finger of suspicion at Saudi Arabia.” He also noted that the classified chapter “goes to one of the remaining areas of lack of consensus and that is, did the 19 hijackers operate alone or did they have support from some external source? The official position of the United States executive—including the intelligence community, the FBI , the White House—is that they acted alone. It is the position of the leadership of both the congressional inquiry and the 9/11 citizens commission that it was highly implausible that the 19 hijackers, given their lack of linguistic familiarity and the the fact that most of them had never been to the United States before they came for the purpose of 9/11, that they could have carried out such a complex plot over a long period of time, maintaining their anonymity, being able to practice to the point that they carried out the plot with such devastating effect.”

Graham also said that Bush and Obama administrations’ concealment of Saudi ties to the 9/11 hijackers has “adversely affected our national security by giving Saudi Arabia the not unreasonable conclusion that Saudi Arabia is immune to any sanction for its actions and can…continue to support al Qaeda” and provide resources to ISIS, whose formation it helped facilitate. “American national security has been weakened by the failure to let the American people and the world know what Saudi Arabia did around 9/11 and subsequent to 9/11,” Graham added.

Jon Gold
Jon Gold

Gold asked Graham a question of particularly high interest to us at 28Pages.org: Could he confirm the 28 pages document support of the 9/11 hijackers from more than one country? Unfortunately, Graham replied with a flat “no,” which we interpreted—without complete confidence—as a refusal to comment rather than a dismissal of the notion that Saudi Arabia isn’t the only foreign country implicated in the 28 pages.

Though the 28 pages have received significant publicity, Graham said “the 28 pages are by no means the totality of instances in which Saudi Arabia’s actions have been covered up by U.S. officials.” In addition to the FBI’s remarkable lack of transparency regarding its investigation of the Sarasota cell, Graham also highlighted the FBI’s blocking of the congressional inquiry’s request to interview an FBI informant who actually housed two of the hijackers.

“You had the anomalous situation of a paid FBI agent being the landlord of two of the future hijackers. We very much wanted to talk to that man,” said Graham. “We thought he had a peculiar access to the hijackers and to information about the actions of the FBI, but the FBI went to great lengths, including refusing to serve a subpoena, which it alone could serve because at that point the man was in protective custody and they were the only entity who knew of where he was and could provide access to him.”

Appealing directly to Gold’s audience for support for the declassification effort, Graham suggested they participate by writing a lettersending an email or placing a call to their representatives and senators.

Those are just some highlights—we recommend listening to all of it, and exploring the many other interesting discussions Gold has hosted.  “We Were Lied to About 9/11” is accessible via iTunes and YouTube.

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