A former member of al-Qaida claimed that the Saudi Arabian government was complicit in the Sept. 11 attacks, potentially explaining the contents and rationale for keeping classified 28 pages of the investigations into the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Prison depositions of former al-Qaida operative, Zacarias Moussaoui, were disclosed last week in which he said he had high-level contact with officials of the Saudi Arabian government.
He specifically claimed that more than a dozen prominent Saudi figures were donors to the terror group, and that a Saudi diplomat in Washington discussed with him a plot to shoot down Air Force One, The New York Times
Saudi officials have vociferously denied those claims, but the disclosures are triggering renewed calls for the declassification of the report as lawmakers and relatives seek to get a fuller picture into who was behind the World Trade Center plot
, The Times reported.
"I think it is the right thing to do," Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch, an author of a bipartisan resolution encouraging President Barack Obama to declassify the section, told the Times. "Let's put it out there."
Disclosure of the report is also supported by former Florida GOP Sen. Bob Graham, who was leading the inquiry as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee when former President George W. Bush ordered it to be classified upon the release of the report in December 2002.
Graham has repeatedly claimed that the evidence indicates Saudi Arabia was complicit in the attacks.
"The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier," Graham said last month as he made the case to release the documents, the Times reported.
Relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11 attack have also been vocal in calling for the report to be released, saying it would have the added benefit of revealing the source of current funding for terrorist activities.
"If we stop funding of terrorism and hold those people accountable, wouldn't it make a dent in the financing of terrorism today?" William Doyle, whose son, Joseph, was killed in the World Trade Center, told the Times.
It is thought that both the Bush and the Obama administrations have refused to release the document for fear of alienating the Saudis, as opposed to withholding it as a matter of national security, the Times reported.
And some Republican lawmakers are against releasing the document, saying the fight against terrorism has shifted substantially since 2002. Specifically, the Saudi Arabian government has since been a close partner in the fight against terrorism, battling al-Qaida in its own country after an attack in 2003, and joining the American-led coalition against the Islamic State.
"There may have been a level of participation by some Muslim country that is not commensurate with today," North Carolina GOP Sen. Richard Burr, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told the Times.
Furthermore, the wider conclusions of the parts of the report that were released stated that it had found "no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization." It acknowledged, however, that the country has long been considered the primary source of al-Qaida funding, with the "likelihood that charities with significant Saudi government sponsorship diverted funds to al-Qaida."
The White House has said that the administration is reviewing whether to release the pages, but has not yet set a timetable for when they might be made public, the Times reported.
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