A former 9/11 Commission member said Wednesday that he believes Saudi government employees supported the hijackers, and that he and his peers may have made a mistake when they issued their 2004 report, The Guardian
The comments by John F. Lehman are in stark contrast to the commission leadership, which last month praised Saudi Arabia as "an ally of the United States in combating terrorism," according to the Guardian.
"There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government," Lehman told the Guardian. "Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia."
Further, Lehman, is calling on the Obama administration to declassify the 28 pages that he says shines light on Saudi involvement.
However, the 9/11 Commission executive director Philip Zelikow, chairman and former Republican Gov. Tom Kean of New Jersey, and vice-chairman, former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton of Indiana, joined CIA Director John Brennan in voicing their opposition to releasing the 28 pages.
They believe releasing the pages' "raw and unvetted material" could smear innocent people already cleared of wrongdoing. But Lehman says the commission was aware of at least five Saudi government officials involved in supporting the 9/11 hijackers.
Lehman's stance is bolstered by a second, anonymous commission member, who told The Guardian of arguments between members and Zelikow. Members protested the report underplayed or ignored evidence that lower level Saudi government officials were part of a support network that helped the hijackers after they arrived in the U.S.
Zelikow eventually joined the Bush administration as a senior adviser to then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
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