CIA chief John Brennan said on Sunday he expects 28 classified pages of a U.S. congressional report into the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States to be published, absolving Saudi Arabia of any responsibility.
In an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya, Brennan said “there was no evidence” of a Saudi involvement in Sept. 11 after a 28-page congressional investigatory report claimed that there were proofs Saudi officials had supported Al-Qaeda in the run-up to the attacks.
“I think the 28 pages will be published and I support their publication and everyone will see the evidence that the Saudi government had nothing to do with it,” he added.
In May, John Lehman, a member of the Sept. 11 commission, told CNN that the classified contained evidence that as many as six Saudi officials supported Al-Qaeda.
But Brennan in his first interview with an Arab media outlet dismissed the claim.
“Subsequently the Sep. 11 commission looked very thoroughly at these allegations of Saudi involvement, Saudi government involvement and their finding, their conclusion was that there was no evidence to indicate that the Saudi government as an institution or Saudi senior officials individually had supported Sep. 11 attacks,” he said.
The U.S. Senate passed a bill on May 17 allowing the families of Sept. 11 victims to do so, setting up a potential showdown with the White House, which has threatened a veto.
Brennan called the 28-page section merely a “preliminary review.”
“It was found later, according to the results of the report, that there was no link between the Saudi government as a state or as an institution or even senior Saudi officials to the Sept. 11 attacks,” he added.
The Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence is reviewing the material to see whether it can be declassified.
He also said “over the last 15 years, the Saudis have become among our best counterterrorism partners.”
Brennan described both Saudi King Salman and his deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as “strong partners in this fight against terrorism.”
Brennan also voiced his concern regarding Iran’s support for terrorist activities and terrorist groups, especially the Quds force and their activities inside Iraq, Syria, and other countries throughout the region.
“Iran still has a long way to go before I’m going to be convinced that they are interested in countering and destroying terrorism,” he said.