The American people and families of victims of the 9/11 attacks deserve to know what is contained in the 28 pages that have been held back from the Congressional report about the terror attacks, and they should be declassified and released, former Ambassador Tim Roemer, who was a member of both the Joint Intelligence Committee that created the report and the 9/11 Commission, said Thursday.
"What we found on the 9/11 Commission was certainly that we did not discover a senior high-level Saudi government connection to the 9/11 attacks," Roemer, who served as a Democratic representative from Indiana from 1991 to 2003, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
"However, there was Saudi fundraising, Saudi support...no way the two terrorists that helped pull off the attacks could have gone into southern California and San Diego and Los Angeles without help ahead of time," said Roemer, and there was "somebody from the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles that we saw doing a lot of things allegedly helping terrorists."
Roemer said the 28 pages came from the report of the Joint Intelligence Committees of the House and Senate in 2002, and with the report written in a 12-month time period, "not a lot of time to look at the possibility of foreign nation involvement in the attacks of 9-11 that killed almost 3,000 people. Then after those were written, some people have described them as a preliminary police report."
The report contained "investigative clues about what might have happened, and also some concrete conclusions about what took place," said Roemer. "Many of us knew from serving on the Joint Intelligence Committee that we had a lot more work to do, so we fought with the 9/11 families for the creation of the 9/11 commission."
That commission he said, had 16 months to follow through on the report, including the 28 pages, "and the possibility of Saudi Arabia's participation in those attacks on the United States, but on all the other questions we were tasked to pursue."
Richard Haass, also a former diplomat who is now president of the Council on Foreign Relations, however, disagreed on the program about releasing the 28 pages, pointing out that Philip Zelikow, the director of the commission, does not want them released.
"This is raw material that hasn't been followed up with interviews, hasn't been vetted, the kind of stuff never make a grand jury for the same reason," Haass said. "The real question is what good will come of this. Seems to me it could be potentially misleading. Given this legislation, it could set a terrible precedent. "
Further, said Haass, releasing the documents and passing a current bipartisan bill that allows lawsuits to be filed against countries involved in terror activities on U.S. soil could backfire.
Roemer strongly disagreed, however.
"Out of the 10 commissioners that sat on the 9/11 Commission, I would guess eight out of the ten, Democrats and Republicans, support releasing these 28 pages, so we respectfully disagree with the executive director," he said. "Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. We know it was a fertile fundraising ground for terrorism and terrorists and al-Qaida."
In addition, he said he thinks the bipartisan legislation "needs to be narrowed so that it only affects Saudi and doesn't doesn't affect us and foreign policy and diplomats overseas. I think we could make sure the 9/11 families can be reimbursed, Saudis involved."
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