Washington – Washington is preparing to soon release at least part of a 28-page secret chapter from a congressional inquiry into 9/11 that may shed light on possible Saudi connections to the attackers, AFP reported.
The documents, kept in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol, contain information from the joint congressional inquiry into “specific sources of foreign support for some of the Sept. 11 hijackers while they were in the United States.”
For its part, Saudi Arabia is confident that nothing in the secret 28-page section of U.S. congressional report on the September 11 attacks implicates its leaders.
In December 2002, one year after the attacks claimed by al-Qaeda, the House and Senate committees on intelligence published a report into the U.S. investigation into them.
However, the president at that period, George W. Bush, ordered that 28 pages of the report be classified to protect the methods and identities of U.S. intelligence sources; since then the report has been put in the Capitol.
In April, former Senator from Florida Bob Graham said the pages should be made public and alleged Saudi officials, who could have provided assistance to the 9/11 hijackers.
Graham, who was the Senate intelligence committee chairman, said the White House had told him they will decide by June whether to declassify the pages.
Nevertheless, Riyadh insists it has nothing to fear from the mysterious 28 pages and that U.S. investigators have thoroughly exposed all the allegations they contain.
“Our position, since 2002 when the report first came out, was ‘release the pages’,” Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in Geneva last week.
“We know from other senior U.S. officials that charges made in the 28 pages do not stand up to inquiry. Therefore, yes, release the 28 pages.”
For most U.S. and Saudi diplomats in Washington, the congressional report was superseded in July 2004 by the final report of the separate 9/11 Commission set up by Bush.
This found no evidence of official Saudi complicity, but the ongoing secrecy surrounding Congress’ earlier 28 pages has continued to stir suspicion.
“We can’t rebut charges if we’re being charged by ghosts in the form of 28 pages,” Jubeir said.
“Yet, every four or five years this issue comes up and it is like a sword over our head. Release it.”
With the campaign to declassify 28 pages from a congressional inquiry moving ever closer to its goal, the 9/11 commission chairman, former Republican governor Tom Kean of New Jersey, and vice-chairman, former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton of Indiana, did their best to discount the significance of the pages, which are said to illustrate damning ties between Saudi Arabia and 9/11.
In interviews, they have cast doubt on the contents of the final, 28-page chapter of a 2002 congressional report.
“Compared to preliminary police notes, the 28 pages are a collection of “raw, material,” and were rendered obsolete after the 9/11 Commission fully investigated those and other leads and issued its own final conclusions,” they said.
Releasing the 28 pages in full could cast a shadow of guilt on individuals who, via the 9/11 Commission’s investigation, were later deemed innocent.