WHITE HOUSE —
Congress has released the so-called '28-pages' from a 9/11 commission report that had been classified for more than a decade, although some information still remained secret.
Read the '28-pages' here.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Friday the declassified pages “confirm what we have been saying for quite some time” – that the information was investigative and did not change the outcome of the report.
The congressional report concluded there was no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or that senior Saudi officials funded the September 11, 2001 al-Qaida attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
But some critics are calling for the full release of the 28 pages, which included a finding that “some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with and received support or assistance from individuals who may be connected to the Saudi government.”
The de-classified pages said, according to mostly FBI sources, at least two of those individuals, were alleged to be Saudi intelligence officers.
The pages make up a chapter called “Part Four – Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters."
Some lawmakers and critics believe the Saudi government played a role in the 9/11 attacks and had pressed for 13 years for the contents of the 28-censored pages.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said Friday the censored information had previously been withheld in full because it contained “still-sensitive national security and law enforcement information.”
However, the apparent identities of some individuals and other information remained redacted in the 28-pages released on Friday.
The intelligence agency said “after careful consideration” by relevant departments, agencies and the White House, officials decided to keep some information secret because “the harm to national security by releasing portions of Part Four of the report at this time is outweighed by the public interest in additional transparency concerning the Committee’s findings.”
The White House said the release follows through on a commitment by the Obama administration to be more transparent.
The ODNI added the redacted information includes “discussion of properly classified matters the disclosure of which would still cause significant harm to national security.”
However, critics are pressing for the U.S. to release the full contents of the 28 pages.
In a statement released on Friday, 9/11 commission member and former Ambassador Tim Roemer said “The 9/11 families, the American people and justice can greatly benefit from the full declassification of this critical information today.”
Roemer added the U.S. can move “beyond speculation, embrace the facts and begin to reset our partnership and the strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia.”
Earnest noted the bi-partisan commission followed up on all the information in the Part Four and concluded there was no evidence connecting the Saudi government or top officials to the September 11 attacks.