- - Friday, November 13, 2015

Former President George W. Bush, incumbent President Barack Obama and Congress are collectively guilty of a morally repellant cover-up of the Saudi royal family’s complicity in the 9/11 abominations.

Once the American people are informed, they will be thundering to the President and Congress for an end to this monstrous injustice to the 9/11 victims’ families and survivors.

In December 2002, the Joint Congressional Inquiry into Intelligence Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, chaired by then- Rep. Porter Goss (Florida Republican) and then-Sen. Bob Graham (Florida Republican) issued a final report. A 28-page chapter was excised and classified allegedly to protect intelligence sources and methods. According to the Joint Congressional Inquiry, the redacted pages detail “specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11th hijackers while they were in the United States.”

A wealth of informed speculation suggests that the 28 pages establish a nexus between the Saudi royal family and the 9/11 perpetrators. If true, that fact could expose Saudi Arabia or family members to liability permitted under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, the Flatow Amendment, or otherwise to the 9/11 victims’ families and survivors, and impact our bilateral relations.

On August 1, 2003, 46 Senators sent a letter to then-President Bush urging declassification. The signatories included former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, incumbent Secretary of State John Kerry and incumbent Vice President Joe Biden, all of whom enjoy Mr. Obama’s confidence and highest respect.

Among other things, the letter elaborated: “Saudi Arabia’s banks and charities have been used to funnel money to Al-Qaeda; its madrassah schools spew hateful anti-American rhetoric to would-be suicide bombers across the Middle East; and fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Saudis. Given these facts, protecting the Saudi regime by eliminating any public penalty for the support given to terrorists from within its borders would be a mistake.”

Mr. Obama pledged to declassify the 28 pages in a face-to-face meeting with the 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism group in 2009. His pledge remains unfulfilled.

In contrast, on April 16, 2009, Mr. Obama declassified four top secret Department of Justice memoranda addressing CIA enhanced interrogation techniques and torture to promote transparency and the rule of law.

Congress is equally at fault with Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama. Under Rules of the House and of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Congress may vote to declassify documents. In July 2003, then-Sen. Bob Graham requested declassification of the 28 pages in a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate committee, Pat Roberts (Kansas Republican) and Jay Rockefeller (West Virginia Democrat), respectively. The two nixed the request on the ground of potential interference with an ongoing investigation.

Twelve years later, neither the Senate nor the House has acted to publish the 28 pages.

What compounds the congressional dereliction is the constitutional protection members would enjoy under the Speech or Debate Clause from investigation or prosecution from the Executive or Judicial Branches if the classified pages were released. The U.S. Supreme Court held in Gravel v. United States (1972) that then-Sen. Mike Gravel was shielded from investigation under the Espionage Act for disclosing 47 classified volumes of the Pentagon Papers during a committee hearing.

Even if disclosure of the 28 pages would occasion some foreign policy or intelligence detriment, justice for the 9/11 victims’ families and survivors is vastly more compelling. The question is not even close. Saudi Arabia’s religious bigotry, subjugation of women and monarchical form of government conflict with our foreign policy goals, and the world is brimming with oil.

The president and Congress are saddled with a constitutional obligation to prefer United States citizens over foreigners with no allegiance to the United States implicated in murdering them. Citizens pay taxes. They obey our laws. They elect the president and Congress. Their allegiance is to the United States.

By keeping the 28 pages classified, the president and Congress are subordinating justice for the 9/11 victims’ families and survivors to the interests of the Saudi royal family — a morally repellant inversion of constitutional duty.

Citizens should not tarry in demanding declassification from the president and Congress to prevent justice for the bereaved from crucifixion on an imagined national security cross.

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