http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/obama-said-ready-to-release-suppressed-pages-of-9-11-report/article/463694

Obama said ready to release suppressed pages of 9/11 report

Posted Apr 25, 2016 by Nathan Salant
The Obama administration could be ready to release details about Saudi Arabia's involvement with the 9/11 hijackers that were suppressed after Congress formally investigated the tragedy in 2002.
TERRORIST ATTACK: Emergency personnel respond to the Sept. 11  2001  terrorist attack on the Pentago...
TERRORIST ATTACK: Emergency personnel respond to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon that killed nearly 200 workers and passengers on a hijacked jet that was crashed into the building.
Lisa Borges/Wikimedia Commons
A 28-page chapter detailing what investigators learned about Saudi connections to the hijackers was removed from the report at the request of then Pres. George H. Bush even though investigators found no evidence that the Saudi government had been involved, according to the Associated Press.
"We'd expect that there will be some degree of declassification that provides more information," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters in Riyadh last week, where Obama met with King Salman and other Saudi leaders.
Saudi Arabia is a longtime ally of the United States.
On Friday, a top Democratic senator back in 2001 said the White House had completed its review of the 28-page chapter and concluded the pages could be declassified.
Former Sen. Bob Graham of Florida said the pages, which he read in his role as co-chairman of Congress' investigation, said the pages show that Saudi nationals in the United States -- some with government affiliations -- appeared to have provided some support for the hijackers in this country and should be further investigated.
"There were clues, there were allegations, there were witness reports," said former Rep. Tim Roemer, a Democrat from Indiana who was a member of both the congressional inquiry and the 9/11 Commission.
"There was evidence about the hijackers, about people they met with -- all kinds of different things that the 9/11 Commission was then tasked with reviewing and investigating," he said.
The hijackers seized passenger jets in flight on Sept. 11, 2001, and crashed them them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Arlington, Vir., killing more than 3,000 Americans.
Passengers aboard a fourth hijacked jet, believed to be aimed at the U.S. Capitol or the White House, managed to wrest control of the plane from the hijackers long enough to divert it off course and crash it into a field in Pennsylvania.
Roemer, who said he read the secret pages three times, said the suppressed 28 pages read like a "preliminary police report," the AP said.
The suppressed documents are being kept in a locked room in the basement of the Capitol.
Fifteen of the 19 hostages were from Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi government strenuously denies any connection to the hijacking and says it is fighting terrorism.
But the Saudis also say they would welcome declassification of the pages so they can respond to any allegations, the AP said.
President Bush said at the time that the documents could compromise U.S. intelligence sources and methods, but protection of U.S.-Saudi diplomatic relations was also a likely factor.
The White House said last week that the withheld pages did not come up in last week's meetings between President Obama and Saudi leaders.
But Roemer said questions still remain about a Saudi consulate official who reportedly helped two of the hijackers get housing and transportation in the United States and about a suspected Saudi spy who also aided the hijackers.
"We did not discover ... Saudi government involvement at the highest level of the 9/11 attacks," Roemer said.
But "we certainly did not exonerate the Saudis," he said, adding "that's why we need to continue to get to the bottom of this."
A June 2015 CIA report in June 2015 said there had been no reliable confirmation that the Saudi government had aided the hijackers but said dissidents in the government could have aided terrorists.
But the rest of the chapter entitled "Issues related to Saudi Arabia," was blacked out, the AP said.