Sources told CNN that the famed “28 pages” from the congressional 9/11 report, detailing Saudi involvement in the terrorist attack, may be released to the public as early as Friday, ending 14 years of secrecy.
“The House Intelligence Committee will get the redacted report today or tomorrow,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a member of that committee. “The Senate and House intel committees should then give the formal go ahead to release the report since they originally produced it.”
Such a release would be about a month behind the timetable envisioned in April, when President Obama said the pages would be released. It seemed for a while as if the Administration might change its mind, as former Senate committee chair Bob Graham (D-FL) said the White House stopped returning his phone calls in June, after the original deadline for a decision on releasing the pages had passed.
By June 30, Graham had grown pessimistic that the documents would be released by the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attack this September, but he told the Daily Beast he was gearing up for public-relations war against Saudi Arabia, in the event the pages were released and the Saudis attempted to discredit them.
But now CNN’s sources said all of the relevant agencies have agreed to release the 28 pages with “minimal redactions.” The Administration’s hand might have been forced by bipartisan congressional pressure to pass a bill compelling the release of the documents.
“My concern is the Saudis have big multiple guns to disparage the 28 pages when they come out and we need to be in a position to respond,” said Graham. He also said he was thinking about initiating a legal process, as a private citizen, that could force declassification.
The Saudis’ attitude appears to have shifted over time, as they now say they would welcome the release of the 28 pages, so it can respond to any “unfounded” allegations contained within.
One consequence of releasing the pages would be making it possible for the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for its involvement in the attack.
“All of this could be settled, if we would just release the 28 pages and let everyone see what’s in there. If it was just this low-level… government officials in the Saudi Arabian government, then they have nothing to worry about. The American people deserve this just as much as the 9/11 families deserve it, but we’re the ones that are suffering by not having them released,” once such family member, Terry Strada, told CNN.