We previously discussed our rapidly fracturing relationship with Saudi Arabia and the difficult time the White House seems to be having in dealing with it. Part of the trust issues which are arising here have to do with those mysterious 28 pages from the 9/11 report which allegedly deal with the Saudis and contacts which the hijackers may have had in this country. The administration seems to have been loathe to release the documents to the public for fear of endangering our special relationship with them, but after mounting pressure in the media, at least one report suggests that Barack Obama may be coming around and considering letting us all in on the big secret… sort of. (ABC News)
The Obama administration will likely 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.
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.”
Bob Graham, who was co-chairman of that bipartisan panel, and others say the documents point suspicion at the Saudis. The former Democratic senator from Florida says an administration official told him that intelligence officials will decide in the next several weeks whether to release at least parts of the documents. The disclosure would come at a time of strained U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia, a long-time American ally.
I’m not here to shoot down Bob Graham’s sources or completely belittle the idea, but this scoop seems to have a few weak spots to say the least. First of all, it’s from an unnamed source who is allegedly an “administration official.” That could mean anything from the Director of National Security to the guy who picks up Josh Earnest’s dry cleaning. And even if it’s actually somebody in the know, it’s equally possible (if not probable considering how much scrutiny the subject is receiving) that this was an intentional leak put out there by the White House as a test balloon to see how it was going to be received.
But let’s say for a moment that the story is legit. They’re only willing to say that the White House is willing to go as far as “considering” whether or not to open the barn door some time in the next several weeks. Considering is not the same thing as deciding and several weeks in the political world could just as easily mean after the election.
But once again making the bold assumption that it’s actually going to happen, the source is careful to say that the proposed release, if it happens, might include “parts of the documents.” As far as what that means, your guess is as good as anyone else’s I suppose. Will we get three or four pages with tantalizing clues about the hijackers having gotten financing or other material support from XXXXX XXXXX with the names redacted? The only value I can see to that scenario is for the conservative punditry. Failing to release something if the information is truly sensitive and could endanger allied operations or personnel if it gets out of the bag is completely understandable, but we’re talking about events which took place fifteen years ago. If there are Saudis still alive somewhere (even in our country) who were directly involved in the attacks and we haven’t already locked them up or unleashed a few wet boys on them I’d certainly like to know what our excuse is.
So in the end, I’m willing to give Graham the benefit of the doubt here. If the administration is going to release something shortly I’ll be more than happy to read it, but rest assured that I’m not getting my hopes up. This administration – much like Hillary Clinton – treats anything which is merely politically embarrassing as if it were classified at the highest level. Well… in the case of Clinton I don’t mean she puts it on a private bathroom server, but you get the point.