About the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001
The investigation began in February 2002, and in December 2002, the official report
, The Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001,
The inquiry was conducted by the House and Senate Intelligence Committee in the aftermath of 9/11, led by Senator Bob Graham, (D- FL) and Representative Porter Goss, (R-FL) and their respective committee ranking minority members, Republican Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) and Former Speaker of the House Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). L. Britt Snider, the former inspector general of the CIA, was staff director, and he worked with a 30-person investigative staff to gather evidence and interview Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies. The final report includes the joint inquiry’s findings and conclusions detailing failings of the FBI and CIA to use available information, an accompanying narrative, and a series of recommendations.
About the “28 Redacted Pages”
The 838-page final report included a 28-page section that was entirely redacted, entitled “Part 4: Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters,” (pages 395-422). According to the unclassified introduction to the chapter, the 28 classified pages describe details about the joint congressional inquiry’s investigation into “suggesting specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11th hijackers while they were in the United States.” It is widely believed that the 28 pages contains evidence of Saudi financing of Al Qaeda operatives in carrying out the 9/11 attacks.
Legislative History and Looking Ahead
On December 2, 2013, Representatives Walter B. Jones, Jr. (R-N.C.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) proposed that Congress pass a simple resolution, H. Res. 428
, urging United States President Barack Obama to declassify all of the 2002 report (which President George W. Bush had previously kept classified.) H. Res. 428 was referred to the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee. On March 12, 2014, Representatives Jones, Lynch, and Thomas Massie (R-KY) at a joint press conference in support of H. Res. 428. Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) also voiced strong support at the time. However, the simple resolution died by the end of the 113th Congress in December 2014. At the time, H. Res. 428 had 21 cosponsors, 11 Democrats and 10 Republicans.
H. Res. 428 was reintroduced in the 114th Congress on January 6, 2015 as H. Res. 14
. The resolution was referred to the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee and as of June 2016, no further action has been taken. H. Res. 14 pushes the same agenda as H. Res. 428, titled Urging President Obama to Release Information Regarding the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks on the United States. The bill had 70 co-sponsors.
A similar piece of legislation, H. Res 779
was introduced on June 13, 2016 of the 114th Congress, saying “The Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine prohibits the President from classifying congressional documents or seeking to prevent Congress from disclosing congressional materials to the American people;” (H.Res 779). In other words, H. Res. 779 would give Congress the right to declassify documents previously classified by the President. The resolution was also introduced by Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.). As of June 2016, H. Res. 779 was referred to the House Committee on Rules.
Alternatively, the Senate has introduced separate legislation such as S. 1471
to advocate for the declassification of the 28 pages.
9/11 family members have said that President Obama told them that he would release the documents so they could know the truth. The declassified documents also could be used to support lawsuits against Saudi Arabia for complicity in the attacks and deaths. Families have worked closely with Representatives Jones and Lynch on declassifying the documents.
In April 2016, it was reported that the Obama administration was "likely" to release "at least part" of the 28-page section and that a final decision on whether or not to release the documents would be made by June.
The declassification of these pages would support the recent JASTA (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act) bill, which was passed by the Senate in May 2016 and is now under consideration in the House of Representatives.
28pages.org is advocating for the declassification of the redacted 28 pages through congressional means and grass roots activism.
Recent press from the National Interest May 2016 regarding the lack of Congressional action taken to declassify the 28 pages.
Recent press from the New York Times June 2016 discussing potential problems that would arise if the 28 pages are declassified in the coming months.