'Reality' of 9/11 report less damaging than rumors: U.S. Democrat

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 20, 2016 1:33 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee called on Wednesday for the release of part of a government report on the Sept. 11 attacks, saying this would diminish speculation that the 28 pages contained proof of Saudi involvement.

"The release of these pages will not end debate over the issue, but it will quiet rumors over their contents," Representative Adam Schiff, the intelligence panel's ranking Democrat, said in a statement. "As is often the case, the reality is less damaging than the uncertainty."

The still-classified section of the official report on the 2001 attacks is central to a dispute over whether Americans should be able to sue the Saudi Arabian government for damages. The Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence is reviewing the material to see whether it can be declassified.

Congressional aides said members of the House intelligence committee had seen the report.

President Barack Obama, who was visiting Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, said he would not sign legislation making its way through Congress that would allow such lawsuits, if the Saudis were found to have any responsibility.

Schiff has repeatedly called for the declassification of the 28-page report section. In his statement on Wednesday, he suggested the release of a redacted version to help address speculation that they contained proof of official Saudi government or senior Saudi officials' involvement in the attacks.

The 9/11 commission investigated those claims and never found sufficient evidence to support them, Schiff said.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)