President Obama has refused to fulfill a twice made promise to declassify findings related to September 11, 2001. The findings, known as “the missing 28 pages,” contain possible explosive allegations that could pinpoint foreign association with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The refusal to follow through with his promise is leading to increasing calls for Mr. Obama to fulfill his word to the families of the September 11 victims.
In 2002, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees released their Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001. The Joint Inquiry was held before, and was separate from, the more famous 9/11 Commission that was held in 2003-2004. The Joint Inquiry released an 838 page volume of findings, with normal redactions and blackouts such as those that pinpoint sensitive intelligence collection methods. Troubling for many 9/11 families and government officials are not these standardized classifications but rather the 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry which are almost completely redacted.
The 28 pages are located beginning on page 395, near the end of the main portion of the report, and are prefaced by the statement:
“The Joint Inquiry reviewed information in FBI and CIA documents suggesting specific potential sources of foreign support for the September 11 hijackers. While the Joint Inquiry uncovered this material during the course of its review of FBI and CIA documents, it did not attempt to investigate and assess the accuracy and significance of this information independently, recognizing that such a task would be beyond the scope of the Joint Inquiry. Instead, the Joint Inquiry referred a detailed compilation of information it had uncovered in documents and interviews to the FBI and CIA for further investigation by the Intelligence Community and, if appropriate, law enforcement agencies. A detailed summary of the available information pertaining to this issue is included in the classified version of the Joint Inquiry final report]…it is possible that these kinds of connections could suggest, as indicated in a CIA memorandum, “incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists [---------------]”
Republican Congressman Walter Jones read the 28 pages in 2013 and in December of that year told The International Business Times:
"I was absolutely shocked by what I read. What was so surprising was that those whom we thought we could trust really disappointed me. I cannot go into it any more than that. I had to sign an oath that what I read had to remain confidential. But the information I read disappointed me greatly."
The 28 pages are alleged have reported on possible Saudi involvement in financing the September 11 attacks. Former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fl, also was quoted by The International Business Times as saying, after having co-chaired the Joint Inquiry:
“The Saudi government without question was supporting the (September 11) hijackers who lived in San Diego…. You can't have 19 people living in the United States for, in some cases, almost two years, taking flight lessons and other preparations, without someone paying for it.”
The 28 pages, classified during the administration of President George W. Bush, are still classified by President Obama. Mr. Obama has stated that he would declassify the 28 pages, in a promise made to 9/11 family members, on at least two separate occasions.
Bill Doyle, who lost his son Joseph on September 11, 2001, met President Obama in 2011 in a private meeting held in New York City shortly after the death of Osama Bin Laden. In a phone interview with Townhall.com Mr. Doyle recalled his words to Mr. Obama:
“I want to congratulate you on getting Bin Laden. You made a promise to (9/11 family member) Kristin Breitweiser that you were going to release those 28 pages.’ At that point his (the President’s) demeanor changed and his eyes got very big. I told him ‘I am going to hold you to your word. I am not going away.’ Obama replied, ‘Bill, I will get them (the 28 pages) released.”
The previous promise Mr. Doyle referred to was President Obama’s pledge was made over two years earlier to 9/11 widow Kristin Breitweiser during a meeting of 9/11 families held next to the White House at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Ms. Breitweiser’s version of the meeting:
"We had opportunities to raise our hands and ask questions, and I asked him whether he would be interested in releasing the 28 pages…Obama "said absolutely, I don't see why not. The bottom line is he agreed to do it, and he gave me and the rest of the world his promise.”
Ms. Breitweiser might be termed an unlikely critic of President Obama. Known as one of the “Jersey Girls” who helped lead efforts to create the 9/11 Commission in 2003, Ms. Breitweiser was not a supporter of President George W. Bush. She endorsed John Kerry in 2004 during Kerry’s bid for the Presidency against Mr. Bush. Conservative figures from Rush Limbaugh to Ann Coulter attacked her political positions and motivations. In light of her previous associations, the word of Ms. Breitweiser against a democratic President is particularly incriminating.
During the George W. Bush administration, Republican Senator Richard Shelby was reported by the Associated Press as saying that the 28 pages should be released and that "90, 95 percent (the 28 pages) of it would not compromise, in my judgment, anything in national security."
The former chair and vice chair of the 9/11 Commission, Republican Thomas Kean and Democrat Lee Hamilton, have also voiced their support for the release of the 28 pages.
Thus far, efforts to release the 28 pages have been unsuccessful. In an email to Townhall.com, Tom Fitton, President of the watchdog group Judicial Watch, said his group previously pursued release of the 28 pages through Freedom of Information Act requests as well as through the Mandatory Declassification Review procedure. Judicial Watch’s requests were denied. Despite previous denials, efforts demanding the release of the pages continue to increase.
A website titled www.28pages.org has been set up to educate and report on efforts to release the pages. Former Representative Ron Paul recently endorsed the efforts of the 9/11 families on the same website. Amid increasing pressure on the administration Rep. Walter Jones has scheduled a bipartisan September 8 press conference in Washington, D.C. to demand release of the 28 pages.
Mr. Doyle told Townhall.com, “I know almost 30 elected officials who have read those pages. All of them tell me that it is a travesty those pages and information are being sequestered.”
As another September 11 approaches, it remains to be seen if the self-styled “most transparent administration in history” will follow through with the twice made promise that was made to the loved ones of those who were murdered on September 11, 2001.
*Views reflected in this article do not represent those of any government agency.