The 28 missing pages of the original 9/11 Commission Report may be released as soon as July 15. For years, there has been speculation that the confidential pages indicate a connection between the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers and the Saudi Arabian government.
Insider sources told CNN that the “missing 28” pages of the original 9/11 report that ran more than 850 pages will be released by Congress for public view as early as July 15. The declassification is the result of years of pressure from 9/11 victims’ families and sympathetic members of Congress.
In April, President Barack Obama had promised that his administration would declassify the pages.
The original report, released in 2002, officially concluded that there was no evidence that the Saudi Arabian royal family or top government officials had collaborated or funded the members of Al Qaeda who carried out the most devastating terrorist attack in U.S. history.
Former President George W. Bush had ordered that 28 pages from the report be kept from the public record, leading to speculation that the excised portion of the report contained information that implicated lower-level Saudi officials in aiding or abetting the Al Qaeda militants, according to NPR.
Former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, who had chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee when it conducted the investigation, has candidly suggested that the missing pages could impact the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia if released.
“While I can’t discuss the details of that chapter, they point a strong finger at Saudi Arabia,” Graham said in April.
Upon hearing that the missing pages may be on the cusp of being released for the public record, the former Florida senator asserted that they would incite a national dialog.
“It is going to increase the questioning of the Saudis’ role supporting the hijackers,” Graham said. “I think ... the 28 pages are sort of the cork in the wine bottle. And once it’s out, hopefully the rest of the wine will spill out.”
Saudi Arabian officials have called for the pages to be released for the past 13 years, voicing distress that they would not defend their government if there was no public record and they were instead “indicted by insinuation.”
“We’ve been saying since 2003 that the pages should be released,” said director of communications Nail Al-Jubeir of the Saudi Arabian embassy. “They will show everyone that there is no there there.”
Terry Strada, who has been lobbying for the ability to sue the Saudi government for the death of her husband, Tom Strada, during the 9/11 attack, believes that it is past due for the documents to be released.
“The American people deserve this just as much as the 9/11 families deserve it, but we’re the ones who are suffering by not having them released,” Strada said.