Inquiring minds want to know: What, precisely, do 28 pages of the US Senate’s report on the 9/11 attacks say? Those particular 28 pages have remained classified since the report was issued in 2002.
Former US Senator Bob Graham (D-FL), lead author of the report, wants those pages released. He’s been somewhat forthcoming as to their content: “They point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as the [9/11 attackers’] principle financier.”
If you’re surprised that such information remains under wraps after nearly a decade and a half, you shouldn’t be. More than 50 years after the assassination of president John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, our masters in Washington still deem us unworthy to see certain documents relating to his murder.
The excuse for keeping such secrets, of course, is “national security.” It’s formally illegal for information to be classified and kept from the public for any other reason (including but not limited to concealing the crimes of, or avoiding embarrassing, politicians).
But “national security” is a malleable concept in the hands of the political class, easily shaped to serve those other ends.
If you’re Scooter Libby, you can blow the cover of a working CIA agent, be tried for lesser offenses and, when convicted, have your sentence presidentially commuted.
If you’re David Petraeus, you can hand over military secrets to your lover/biographer and avail yourself of a sweet plea bargain requiring not so much as a single inconvenient day in jail.
But if you’re Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden and you dare expose actual government crimes to legitimate public scrutiny, just go ahead and pencil in a 35-year prison sentence, or indefinite exile in Russia, on your social calendar.
In what profession, other than politics, may the putative employee (the “public servant”) simply refuse to show his work product to the putative employer (the “public”)? None that I’m aware of.
What really happened on, and leading up to, 9/11?
What do those 28 pages have to say about it?
I don’t know. Unless you’re one of a handful of special, privileged people, you don’t either.
But we should. Even, nay, especially, if those pages establish that for nearly 14 years now, US foreign policy — both in its general outlines and more specifically the “war on terror” — has been based on falsehood.
That we don’t know makes it clear who’s really in charge: Not us.
Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.