CIA chief: Missing report pages exonerate Saudi Arabia in 9/11 attacks

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CIA chief John Brennan says that he believes 28 redacted pages of a congressional inquiry into 9/11 will soon be made public, and that they will prove that the government of Saudi Arabia had no involvement in the September 11 attacks.

The families of those killed in the attacks have long wanted the pages from the 2002 report — officially titled the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 — made public.

There had been widespread speculation that these pages concern Saudi Arabia, its wealthy citizens and the financing of terrorist operations.

But whatever was actually contained in those 28 pages was ultimately redacted from the report, and the families have been waiting 14 years to read the government’s conclusions.

Brennan, in an interview with the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV network, said that the pages were part of a “preliminary” joint inquiry that was published in 2002 — just a year after 9/11. The inquiry at the time had tried to “pull together bits and pieces of information reporting about who was responsible for 9/11.”

Following this initial report, he said, the 9/11 commission “looked very thoroughly at these allegations of Saudi involvement, Saudi government involvement and… their conclusion was that there was no evidence to indicate that the Saudi government as an institution — or as senior Saudi officials individually — had supported the 9/11 attacks.”

“I think it’s good that (the pages) come out.”

He said subsequent reviews and assessments “really have shown that it was very, very unfortunate that these attacks took place. But this was the work of al Qaeda, of Bin Laden, (current al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri), and others of that ilk.”

Calls for declassification

In May, Tim Roemer, a former member of the 9/11 Commission, called for the public release of the classified pages.

“I am strongly in favor of declassifying this information as quickly as possible,” Roemer told a House committee. “The 9/11 families deserve it, the American people deserve it, and justice deserves it. We have the right to transparency and sunlight — not the darkness.”

Texas Rep. Ted Poe, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on terrorism echoed Roemer’s call, noting that some analysts say that followers of Wahhabi Islam might be more disposed to feel sympathetic to terrorist groups.

The Saudi government long wanted to clear the air of rumors and false allegations and has been calling for the declassification and release of those pages since 2003.

The House Foreign Affairs committee held a hearing in May on a controversial bill passed by the Senate that would create rights for victims of the 9/11 terror attacks to sue the country of Saudi Arabia.

At the time, White House press secretary Josh Earnest renewed the threat that President Barack Obama will veto the bill, saying it “would change long standing international law regarding sovereign immunity.”

The Saudi government had warned of economic reprisals if Congress passed the 9/11 bill.