Perhaps lost amidst the ongoing Supreme Court controversy has been the latest Beltway push to fully declassify 9/11-related federal documents.
That exhausting process finally took a step forward Wednesday with the passing — via unanimous consent — of US Senate Res. 610, “a resolution urging the release of information regarding the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks upon the United States.”
#Senate floor: @SenBlumenthal just achieved passage by unanimous consent of S Res 610, urging the release of information regarding the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
— Senate Press Gallery (@SenatePress) September 26, 2018
Much of the infamous “28 pages” from a 2002 Congressional Joint Inquiry report on the attacks was declassified on July 15, 2016, but significant parts of the release remained redacted. This push aims to remove those redactions, and those on other documents related to 9/11, once and for all.
The documents appear to point a finger at the highest levels of the government of Saudi Arabia as being responsible for logistical and financial aid to the attackers. Of the 19 hijackers, 15 were Saudi nationals.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the new measure on Aug. 21. Shortly before the non-binding, bipartisan resolution’s passing Wednesday, he spoke to the chamber.
“At a time of very deep divide in our country, and in this body, all of us are still able to come together to help the survivors and families of the horrific September 11th terrorist attacks, as they seek justice, and fairness to deter additional and ongoing state sponsorship of terrorism,” he said.
The similar House Res. 663 vote is still pending.
Loyalists to the official story in Washington have, for years, insisted that declassification of these documents pose a risk to US national security. Blumenthal added his name to the growing list of lawmakers and former intelligence officials insisting that excuse was always nonsense.
“The appropriate declassification and release of these documents poses no threat to our national security and there is no reason for the federal government resisting their request,” Blumenthal said. “These files have been kept secret for too long. That secrecy contradicts the national interests. … Denying them access to this important evidence is unjust, unfair, and unwise.”
In an August interview with journalist Brian McGlinchey at 28pages.org, former FBI counterintelligence agent Kenneth Williams had the same sentiment, going on to suggest the only thing “at risk” is the reputation of administrations who continue to maintain business as usual with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, despite all we now know about the attacks.
“Seventeen years (since 9/11) is a lifetime in the intelligence business. There can’t be anything in those documents that’s going to hurt us,” Williams told the site. “The only thing I think it would hurt is maybe past administrations’ — maybe even the current administration’s — reputation, with respect to giving Saudi Arabia a pass.”
Blumenthal was even more direct Wednesday.
“The United States government should make public any evidence of links between Saudi Arabian government officials and the support networks inside the United States used to aid and abet the 9/11 hijackers,” he said.
“The legal and moral responsibility of our government is, in fact, to provide its citizens with all available information regarding this horrific tragedy on 9-11-2001, particularly where there may be evidence that foreign nationals conspired within our borders to support terror with the assistance of foreign governments.”