Capitol Hill Press Conference on 28 Pages with Sen. Bob Graham
The full transcript appears below of the January 7, 2015 press conference on Capitol Hill featuring former Senator Bob Graham, Representative Walter Jones, Representative Stephen Lynch, and members of the 9/11 families including Terry Strada, national co-chair of the 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism.
The press conference, which was live streamed on the LaRouchePAC website, was convened to announce the filing of H. Res. 14 to declassify the excised 28 page chapter of the 9/11 Joint Inquiry Report which details foreign state sponsorship and financial support of the 9/11 hijackers, and was very well attended by leading national press services, including CNN, Fox News, US News and World Report, Newsweek, Daily Beast, the New York Times, ABC, NBC, Huffington Post, National Review, and numerous others, in addition to numerous independent websites and blogs related to citizen activism on declassification such as www.28pages.org.
Press Conference to Declassify the 28 Pages of 9/11 Joint Inquiry Report
Former Sen. Bob Graham, Rep. Walter Jones, Rep. Stephen Lynch, 9/11 Families representatives Terry Strada, Sylvia Carver, and Abraham Scott
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
REP. WALTER JONES: If I could get your attention, I would like to tell you that we are very grateful that you would attend this press conference today. We've got the gentleman that has been leading this battle for twelve years, Senator Bob Graham, will be speaking as well.
Let me tell you the order of the talk today: I'll make brief comments after I welcome you, which I'm doing now. Then I will introduce Stephen Lynch from Massachusetts, who joined me last year in a House Resolution that we put in, to call on the White House to declassify these 28 pages. He and I dropped the same resolution yesterday, but we don't have a bill number yet, because so many bills were introduced. [The number of the resolution is H. Res. 14 — ed.]
Then we have from the families, who have suffered so much pain, Terry Strada, Sylvia Carver, and Abraham Scott. And then after they speak, we will then take questions from the press. At that time, please identify who you are and who you are with.
First, my brief comments will be that just like the tragedy in France today, no nation can defend itself unless the nation knows the truth, and especially when there's been an attack like 9/11. [The satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo was attacked by three gunmen who killed 12 people and wounded 5 in Paris—ed.] The families and their pain is something none of us can experience, unless we're one of the 9/11 families. So with that, I want to introduce Stephen Lynch, and then will come back and introduce Sen. Bob Graham, and then the family members will speak, and then you'll have your chance to ask questions.
Stephen Lynch and I bonded as friends long before this issue of the 28 pages. I am a conservative Republican from North Carolina; he is more —
REP. STEPHEN LYNCH: Moderate.
JONES: Moderate, from Massachusetts, and a Democrat. And we became friends just because I think God intended that we would be friends, quite frankly. So with that, again, Stephen and Thomas Massie, who cannot be with us today, is also on this House Resolution calling on the Administration to declassify the 28 pages. So I will let Stephen speak now, and then I will come back and introduce Sen. Bob Graham.
Stephen, come ahead and tell the people why we need to declassify the 28 pages.
REP. LYNCH: Thank you very much, Walter, for that very generous and kind introduction. First of all, I want to thank the 9/11 families for being with us this morning. They are really the reason we are here. And we're introducing our measure, resolution, from last year, to require the declassification of the 28-page section of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into intelligence activities before and after the terrorist attacks of September of 2001. Congressman Jones and I jointly introduced this resolution back in December of 2013, and we are pleased to do so again.
I'd like to begin by thanking my colleague Walter Jones for his leadership on this issue. He has been relentless, which I think is what it's going to take to get these pages declassified. And he's really provided, I think, a dignified and well-thought-out approach for the reasons behind our request. I'd also like to acknowledge Sen. Bob Graham, again, who was a catalyst for this effort, and really, I think, before anyone, recognized the rightness of disclosing these 28 pages when the Joint Report first came out, and making these public.
There are three basic reasons for our request here: First is that transparency is a good aspect of democracy and that, as Walter indicated, having an informed public, from the beginning of our government has always been a major priority and an asset of democracy; and we believe that transparency in this case will not only be the right thing to do, but secondly, it will provide justice for a lot of the families—for all of the families who are affected directly. We all suffered a deep and personal, profound loss, but these families, who will speak later on at this conference, will speak to the true pain that they feel each and every day. And they are deserving of the truth, just as the American people are. And thirdly, I think, after reading the 28 pages — and the pages speak for themselves — I think that members of the Congress and American citizens everywhere, will be better informed, in terms of our national security posture and the threats that are out there, I think they will be better informed, more thoughtful, more comprehensive, and we will understand more fully, the nature of the threat that's out there. And I think that, again, is one more reason to make sure that these reports are made public.
So, with that, I just want to say, again, we are deeply grateful that Senator Graham was able to join us today. He has provided much impetus for this investigation here, it's kept us going. As I said before, he was the first one to recognize the wrongfulness in terms of concealing this from the American public.
And, it's one important point I want to emphasize, is that we frequently see reports—I'm in the process of reading a 6,700-page report on the CIA enhanced interrogation process—and it is typical to see a redaction where a couple lines or a name, name of a country, name of a CIA agent might be deleted for the purpose of protecting that individual. But in this case, this report, this Joint Report, 28 pages were excised, a whole section of it! That's extraordinary. And it points to the need for disclosing that information, in order to make sure that that report is fully understood. I think Walter and I, and the Senator, agree that this is very important information to have out there, and that we jointly feel, as well as Representative Massie, that this presents no risks to sources, or individuals in terms of disclosing this, for our intelligence apparatus; we feel, on the other hand, this will make us stronger, make our country stronger, and better prepared and better informed, if we disclose this information, as we rightly should.
So with that, I'm going to turn this back over to Walter Jones, so that he can introduce the esteemed Senator. Thank you.
REP. JONES: I want to, after I make my comments about Senator Graham, I'd like for Terry Strada to come first, Sylvia Carver to come second, and then Abraham Scott, third. And then if you would stand here, or if you need to sit, sit, so that when we get to the questions—.
I want to remind you, that after this report came out it was the Bush Administration that determined that these 28 pages should be classified; and as Stephen said, we've read the report, and there's nothing about national security. I'm going to let Senator Graham speak in detail about his concern about why this has not been released, then remind you that Sen. Bob Graham spent 18 years in the Senate: He's a man that has the nation's respect, for the type of person that he is. He and Senator [richard] Shelby released the Joint Inquiry Report into 9/11 in December of 2002. Again, the report goes to the White House for final review, the White House, at that time under George Bush, decided that the 28 pages should be classified.
The families have suffered long enough. The American people have been denied the truth long enough. It is time for the truth to come out. As Stephen said, I want to thank Sen. Bob Graham. He has a daughter who was sworn in to the United States House of Representatives yesterday, and congratulations on that Senator. With that, a man who has driven this issue, since 2002, I'm not even going to begin to tell you what he has done! From court action, to other types of action, because he knows that the truth will set America free!
So with that, I introduce the esteemed, Senator from Florida, Bob Graham. Thank you. [applause]
SEN. BOB GRAHAM: Walter, thank you very much.
Thank you, very much. And I, too, want to thank Walter and Steve—Congressmen Jones and Lynch—for their leadership in bringing this matter to the attention of the Congress. I want to thank the family members, who have been without question the most influential force in all of the changes that have occurred as a result of 9/11, and will be the most significant force in terms of convincing the President that it is time to give the American people the truth.
Needless to say, my remarks that I will espouse this morning, are considerably different than they would have been, but for events in Paris this morning, which in my judgment bring this matter into its proper focus.
But first a little background: After 9/11, it was clear that the Congress was going to be called upon to conduct some form of an inquiry as to what happened. The decision by the leadership, was to combine the Intelligence Committees of the House and the Senate into a single body; for the first time in the history of the Congress that that had occurred, for purposes of carrying out this Inquiry. The Inquiry took the year of 2002. It included hundreds of witnesses, tens of thousands of pages of documentation, leading up to an over-800-page report which was submitted in December of 2002. Some six months later, the declassified version emerged, and we were shocked to see that an important chapter in the report had not been redacted, that is, as Congressman Lynch and Congressman Jones said, a word or a phrase here or there, but an entire chapter.
Since that chapter continues to be classified, none of us can talk about it in public, but I think it's fair to say that it is a central chapter, in terms of understanding, who was the support network that allowed 9/11 to occur. When we saw that this chapter had been eliminated, there was an immediate outcry. Sen. Dick Shelby, Republican from Alabama, who had been the chair and was at that time was the vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and I, issued a statement to the effect that we were intimately familiar with that chapter, we considered it to have no adverse effect on national security, that it was important to the overall understanding of 9/11 and it should be released.
We have subsequently been joined in that by others who were involved, including the chairman of the House Committee, Porter Goss, who wishes that he could have been here today to participate, as well, and subsequently, the citizen 9/11 Commission's two co-chairs, Lee Hamilton and Tom Kean, have also advocated that these 28 pages be released.
Shortly after the declassification process ended, a letter was prepared, signed by almost half of the membership of the United States Senate, bipartisan, including, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, and Senator [hillary] Clinton of New York, all calling upon President Bush to release the 28 pages.
What have been the consequences of this refusal to release the pages? And let me say, while the 28 pages are maybe the most important and the most prominent, they are by no means the only example of where information that is important to understanding the full extent of 9/11 have also been withheld from the American people. So the comments I'm going to make are specifically about the 28 pages, but more generally about a pattern of cover-up, that for 12 years, has kept the American people from a full understanding, of the most horrific attack against the United States in its history.
The consequences, in my judgment are three:
One, is a denial of the truth. A core question in 9/11 is, did these 19 people act alone, or did they have a network of support which facilitated their ability to carry out a very complex plot. No one who has looked closely at the facts, including the individuals that I just named, has come to a conclusion other than that it is highly improbable that the 19 people could have acted alone. Yet, the official position of the United States government has been that they did act alone, and that there is no necessity for further inquiry into the question of whether there was a support network.
We're now in the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, and we've had a national history classroom over the past few years, as incidents that were consistent with a date in the current era coincided with a date during that war. One of the pieces of information that we have learned, at least I have learned, is that President Lincoln had a policy throughout the war, that every message that came into the government, specifically into the State Department, was a matter of public record, on a daily basis. His feeling was that if the support of the American people was going to be maintained, in a war which was increasingly bloody, many loss of lives and loss of treasure, that it took the confidence of the American people, that their government was conducting itself in an appropriate manner, and that the key to that confidence was disclosure.
I wish we applied the Lincolnesque standard to what happened in 9/11.
The second issue, is the issue of justice. Some 3,000 members of the families who were lost on 9/11 have been trying for years to get justice through our system for the losses that they have suffered. The position of the United States government has been to protect Saudi Arabia, at virtually every step of the judicial process. When the United States government was called upon to take a position, it has been a position adverse to the interests of the United States citizens seeking justice, and protective of the government which, in my judgment, was the most responsible for that network of support.
Again, an example from the Civil War: The British had signed a neutrality agreement with the United States that they would not be involved in the Civil War. It was found out, subsequently, that in fact, their shipyards had been building military vessels for the Confederacy. After the war ended, the United States didn't forget; it did not walk away from the negative effects of Britain's perfidy. Rather, it pursued it, and finally, secured a recognition of what the British had done, and some compensation for the consequences of their actions. What a difference between the way this country saw itself as a prideful defender of justice for its citizens, and what we are experiencing today.
The third consequence is the issue of national security, and frequently those who have defended nondisclosure, have said, this cannot be made available to the American people, because it would be adverse to our national security. It will affect methods and sources of information, or other information that is inappropriate to be made publicly known. As the two Congressmen have just said, they both read the report — not 12 years ago, as I participated in writing the report — but they have read it recently, and have both come to the same conclusion that we did, a dozen years ago, that there is no threat to national security in disclosure.
I'm going to make the case today, that there's a threat to national security by non-disclosure, and we saw another chapter of that, today, in Paris.
Here are some facts:
The Saudis know what they did. They are not persons who are unaware of the consequences of their government's actions. Second, the Saudis know that we know what they did! Somebody in the Federal government has read these 28 pages, someone in the Federal government has read all the other documents that have been covered up so far. And the Saudis know that.
What would you think the Saudis' position would be, if they knew what they had done, they knew that the United States knew what they had done, and they also observed that the United States had taken a position of either passivity, or actual hostility to letting those facts be known? What would the Saudi government do in that circumstance, which is precisely where they have been, for more than a decade?
Well, one, they have continued, maybe accelerated their support for one of the most extreme forms of Islam, Wahhabism, throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East. And second, they have supported their religious fervor, with financial and other forms of support, of the institutions which were going to carry out those extreme forms of Islam. Those institutions have included mosques, madrassas, and military. Al-Qaeda was a creature of Saudi Arabia; the regional groups such as al-Shabaab have been largely creatures of Saudi Arabia; and now, ISIS is the latest creature!
Yes, I hope and I trust that the United States will crush ISIS, but if we think that is the definition of victory, we are being very naive! ISIS is a consequence, not a cause—it is a consequence of the spread of extremism, largely by Saudi Arabia, and if it is crushed, there will be another institution established, financed, supported, to carry on the cause.
So the consequences of our passivity to Saudi Arabia, have been that we have tolerated this succession of institutions, violent, extreme, extremely hurtful to the region of the Middle East, and a threat to the world, as we saw this morning in Paris.
So I conclude by saying, this is a very important issue. It may seem stale to some, but it is as current as the headlines that we will read today. It is an issue that goes to the core of the United States' contract with its people, that the people would give the government the credibility and support to govern; the government would give the people the information upon which they can make good judgments, as to the appropriateness of governmental action. It's as fundamental as justice to our people, who have suffered so, by this evil union of extremism and a very powerful nation-state. And it is the security of the people of the United States of America.
So, I again thank the Congressmen for their leadership. I hope that they will soon be joined by a rising tide of other members of Congress who recognize the importance of this issue. And then, finally, that the President of the United States will declare that he is going to adopt the Lincolnesque standard of full disclosure, and rely on the intelligence and judgment and patriotism of the American people to decide what the appropriate course of action should be.
Thank you. [applause]
TERRY STRADA: Hello, everyone. My name is Terry Strada. I am the national co-chair of the 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism. I stand here today, united with members of the U.S. Congress and my fellow 9/11 family members and survivors, seeking truth, accountability, and justice for all those that we lost and loved.
We all know al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden attacked us on 9/11, but that is only half the truth. We believe the other half lies in the 28 redacted pages of the Joint Inquiry.
9/11 was an attack of unquantifiable loss, death, and destruction. Over 13 years ago, I never could have imagined my life, the lives of my three children, and the lives of my late husband Tom's family, could be destroyed and torn apart by terrorists. I could not fathom that our country could be attacked by radical Islamists who have pledged, repeatedly, and remorselessly, to perpetuate heinous war crimes against innocent men, women, and children on American soil.
Incredibly, this is the world we live in. And private citizens, and Congress, must take action against those who are responsible for aiding and abetting the 19 hijackers that murdered nearly 3,000 innocent people on American soil, no matter who they may be, no matter what government they are, or no matter what country they come from.
Terrorism is pure evil, and so are its planners, ideologies, and their bankrollers. Money is the lifeblood of terrorism, and we must implore our government officials, the State Department, the Department of Justice, and our President, to get tough on terrorism financing. To hold accountable those who funded 9/11 and continue to fund al-Qaeda, ISIS, and countless other terrorist organizations, that remain dedicated to plotting future terrorist attacks against our nation.
When former President George W. Bush classified the 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry, he effectively protected the people who gave financial and logistical aid to at least some of the 19 hijackers, while they were here in this country. He effectively denied the 9/11 victims and survivors, and the American people, the truth about who was behind the worst attack on American soil. By hiding the truth about who financed 9/11, the guilty parties have gone unpunished, free to continue financing terrorist organizations, and, as a consequence, we have witnessed the creation of branches of al-Qaeda, like ISIS, grow at an alarming rate.
It has long been reported the subjects of the redacted 28 pages point the finger at Saudi Arabia, who have given billions of dollars to promote Wahhabi Islam, the very ideology that spawned those terrorist organizations and define the jihadists' agendas. Tragically, when those countries have become imperilled by the very monsters they help to create, they have turned to the United States to protect them, as is the case now with ISIS. We are once again engaged in conflicts against an amoral enemy, because we did nothing to prevent the funding of these organizations 13 years ago.
This cycle must stop. We must recognize and expose that our true enemy includes the backroom bankrollers, who repeatedly enable the frontline terrorists, who kill themselves, and never act again. We must declassify the 28 pages, expose the bankrolling enablers, and take action against them, or we will continue to face future waves of willing, frontline terrorists.
Since my husband was murdered, all I have ever wanted is justice. The thousands of victims' families and survivors I represent, also want justice for the murder of their loved ones, and the pain and suffering inflicted on us. When the Twin Towers imploded, our loved ones were literally torn to pieces, and flung from river to river, on the streets and on the rooftops of Lower Manhattan. Just as was done at the Pentagon and in the tragic, yet heroic crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. They were returned to us in pieces spanning years, or, for families like mine, they never came home to a final resting place at all.
We want the truth, and to hold accountable those who supported the 19 hijackers and enabled al-Qaeda.
I'm going to repeat myself here. We want justice. We want accountability. We want the truth.
To achieve the truth, we must declassify the redacted 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry Report.
As you've heard here today, there is no threat to national security to release these 28 pages. So, therefore, there is no reason to keep them classified.
To achieve justice and accountability, we must pass the Justice Against the Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). This is a bill that passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee without objection on Sept. 11, 2014, and voted out of the Senate in December with unanimous consent. This legislation will clarify existing law, and enable the victims of terrorism to exercise their right to hold accountable those guilty of giving financial aid and logistical support to terrorists who carry out heinous acts of murder, death, and destruction here on American soil, and help us achieve the justice we deserve.
Where is the outrage? I want to know; that Saudi Arabia, a country, our supposed ally, not only bankrolled al-Qaeda, and the worst terrorist attack on American soil, but was also instrumental in implementing an intricate web of operatives in numerous places around the world, including right here in our own country, to carry out a complex plan of bringing the 19 hijackers here to America. To name a few places: Sarasota, Florida; San Diego, California; Herndon, Virginia; Paterson, New Jersey.
Where is the outrage, that they continue to fund terrorist organizations like ISIS, which is killing, raping, and beheading innocent people at a rapacious rate, while at the same time recruiting from here in the West for more new members? And where is the indignation, that 9/11 victims' families and survivors have been denied the right to hold accountable in a United States court room, the people responsible for the incineration of nearly 3,000 people?
We need the 114th Congress to direct President Obama to release, declassify, the redacted 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry, and we also need the 114th Congress to act swiftly, and pass JASTA into law. Our national security depends on this.
Thank you. [applause]
SYLVIA CARVER: Good morning. My name is Sylvia Carver. I'm here to speak on behalf of my sister Sharon Ann Carver, who was murdered at the Pentagon on 9/ll, as well as the other family members. My statement will be brief.
I want to make a personal request to the President of the United States to please, please, declassify the 28 pages. The families have the right to know the full story. They have a right to seek justice for their loved ones. They have a right to closure, and we cannot have that closure without the full answer, the full story. The full 28 pages must be released, so my family can have closure as well as all the other 9/11 families.
Thank you very much.
ABRAHAM SCOTT: Good morning. My name is Abraham Scott. I'm a retired Army officer. I lost my wife, Janice Marie Scott, in the Pentagon, along with the Carver sister. They were in an office—there were over 40 members of that organization that were killed that day—and I stand before you in full support of the initiative of declassifying of the 28 pages, as well as passing JASTA. And thank you, and God bless.
REP. JONES: Let me make one quick comment, and then we're going to take questions. You can ask anyone. I wanted the families who have suffered so badly, who just spoke, to be on one side, so you can see them, and take the picture. Any of you from the press, make sure you get this picture of pain. That's all I ask you to do.
This resolution that we have put in to call on the President, to do what is right for the American people and the 9/11 families. Senator Graham being here is just absolutely, just absolutely what we need to get the Senate to join us with a companion resolution, in the Senate, and to hold a news conference, and let's put the pressure on the President. I do not know why, after I read these 28 pages, why there's anyone who is reluctant to release the 28 pages. Steven Lynch and I—and I have a copy of this letter if you want it before you leave today—wrote the President in April, asking him to declassify the information. He's told the families on two separate occasions, I will declassify the 28 pages. That's been in the press!
We wrote him a letter in April, asking him to please declassify the information. Today, we have not received a response. We have called the White House numerous times. They've been responsive to this point: "We're working on a response. We've got to let different agencies look at the response."
It is time that the Senate joined the House, and joined the wishes of the American people, and the wishes of the 9/11 families.
If you'd like to ask questions, please just say who you are, and which person you'd like to come up, and we'll be glad to answer your questions.
I'll go here; who'd you like to ask?
JEFF STEINBERG: Senator Graham. Jeff Steinberg, Executive Intelligence Review.
Senator, you mentioned that beyond the 28 pages, there are other materials that have been withheld. I know that there's a situation right now before a Federal court in Florida, and I wonder if you'd say something about that, because I think it's indicative of the idea that this was not something localized to only the issues raised in the 28 pages, involving San Diego, but this is a whole other dimension that really is suggestive of the magnitude of what needs to be told to the American people.
SEN. GRAHAM: Let me just briefly tell the story of Sarasota.
It was not until almost 10 years after 9/11 that we became aware that there was a prominent Saudi family, one member of whom had been an advisor to the Royal family, living in Sarasota. There were also three of the hijackers had done their flight training, at a small school near Sarasota. And during the period that those three were living there, they had extensive contacts with that Saudi family.
Less than two weeks before 9/11, under what law enforcement described as "urgent conditions," the Saudi family left Sarasota, and returned to Saudi Arabia, raising the question, did someone tip them off that there was an event about to occur, and it would be better that they not be in the United States?
Through a press group in Florida, we've been trying to get released the FBI investigation that occurred, which probed the role of the family, and the hijackers.
The FBI initially said, they could not respond to our Freedom of Information request because there was nothing to respond with. There were no documents relative to the investigative.
Fortunately, there was a strong Federal judge, who would not accept that as truth. And he and the plaintiffs pursued, and today, 80,000 pages have been turned over by the FBI to that Federal judge, in the face of their original statement that there was no information, and that judge has, for the past several months, been reviewing the 80,000 pages, in order to make a judgment as to which of those warrant continued classification, and which can be released to the public.
I cite that as an example of the fact that this is not a narrow issue of withholding information at one place, in one time. This is a pervasive pattern of covering up the role of Saudi Arabia in 9/11, by all of the agencies of the Federal government, which have access to information that might illuminate Saudi Arabia's role in 9/11.
Q: Fox News, Washington. I realize the importance of releasing these in terms of giving the families closure, and the more principled fact that the 28 page be released so that the American public will know, but I sense that your persistence about this suggests that maybe there's more. Do you think that it would impact foreign policy, or changes in national security at all, what's in the details of these 28 pages?
REP. JONES: I will respond. My answer would be "no." I do not understand how you can have a strong foreign policy when you are trying to hide the truth from the American people. How can your policymakers make foreign policy? That, to me, Joe, is just not fair. Because as Senator Graham has said, through the history of America, going back to his point of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, that America's strength is the truth. And No, I do not think this would have any negative effect, I mean, to our foreign policy at all! I think it would strengthen our ability to have a sound foreign policy, that would be good for the American people.
I don't know if anyone — Stephen, or Senator Graham wants to speak to that.
Q: Patrick Terpstra with the Cox Media Group. I guess for Senator Graham: Since we have not seen the 28 pages and I know you can't give us all that's in there, of course because it's classified, but can you give us as much information as precisely as you can, as to exactly what it says about the Saudi involves in 9/11?
SEN. GRAHAM: 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. The two congressmen have read the report much more recently than I and if they have any further comments...
REP. LYNCH: I think we would be tiptoeing up to the line of — there's a reason this is classified. I think the proper role for the government would be to have the President declassify the report. Let it speak for itself. I'll just leave it at that.
Q: Just one quick followup. When you speak of Saudi Arabia, Senator, are you talking about the government of Saudi Arabia, or are you talking about private actors in Saudi Arabia?
SEN. GRAHAM: Given the nature of the Kingdom, I'm speaking of the Kingdom. In fact, in the litigation that these good people have been involved with, when any institution, whether it's a financial institution, a charitable or religious institution is raised as a possible coconspirator in 9/11, the Kingdom throws the blanket of sovereign immunity over every entity. So it is a society in which it is difficult to make the kinds of distinctions between public, private, religious, that we would in the United States.
Q: Steven Nelson from U.S. News. A question to the sitting Congressmen. You have the ability to ability to release these pages with immunity. Have you considered doing that? Might you be able to do that some time in the near future, if the President doesn't declassify?
REP. JONES: Walter Jones from North Carolina; I'll speak first. When you have a President, Democrat or Republican, who has the authority to release the declassified information, or to determine that it should be the declassified — what we're trying to do is to put pressure on the White House. We're trying to say that the House of Representatives, I don't think it will happen within the House of Representatives, no, no. This is too — the President has the authority to declassify this information and I think that what we're trying to do, we hope, with this news conference today, that there will be a Senator, who will say, "by God, it's time. Let's declassify the information," and put in the same type of resolution that Stephen Lynch and Thomas Massie and I put in on the House side, yesterday.
REP. LYNCH: I don't think I can add to that, other than, you know, one of the other hats I wear is, I'm the ranking Democrat on the National Security Subcommittee on Oversight; and the proper way for this to become public information is for the President to declassify it. And that's the way our government should work.
It's interesting that we are not hearing strong arguments from the White House as to the reasons that they refuse to declassify. It's silence, inertia. So, I just think we need to keep on pushing. We've got 50-some odd new Members of Congress that just came in; we'll educate them, we will try to make government work the way it's supposed to work. And I agree with the Senator and the Congressman, that this'll make us stronger, this will definitely make us stronger.
The release of the report will influence our national security policy and to some degree our foreign policy as well.
REP. JONES: The lady from... you had a question.
Q: Eleanor Clift, Daily Beast, for Senator Graham. Have you had any interest from any Senators and are you actively trying to pursue cooperation on this? And secondly, many of the reports say that the pages aren't being released because of embarrassment. Embarrassment by whom? Of whom? If you could shed some light on that.
SEN. GRAHAM: Well, it has been my experience over the ten years that I was on the Intelligence Committee, and chair in 2001 and 2002, that much of what passes for classification for national security reasons is really classified because it would disclose incompetence. And since the people who are classifying are also often the subject of the materials, they have an institutional interest in avoiding exposure of their incompetence. So I believe that it is important that all of the information about foreign involvement in 9/11 be disclosed.
In answer to your first question. No, in fact, Congressman Jones and Lynch and I have been huddling on this over the past couple of days, and I will be making contacts with Members of the Senate to encourage them to introduce companion legislation.
REP. JONES: Okay, let me take — these will be the last four questions. Start with this young man, then I'll come to you in that corner and that'll be it for the day.
Q: William Hicks from the Daily News Service. This for the two representatives. Is there any organized pushback in Congress about this resolution? I know it failed to move forward last year?
REP. JONES: The problem is, and I understand this: Most members in Congress, we have great respect for each other, forget the party affiliations, we trust each other; but when you're asking someone to sign on a resolution that they have not read, it's pretty tough, really. The names that we had last year, every one but two had read the pages. The two that did not read the pages, said that they trust us enough, and that was all — everyone, not just Stephen, and Thomas, and myself — that they would go ahead and go on the resolution, with the hopes of reading.
Now, let me explain: It's not the easiest thing to read. It's not like going to the Library of Congress. You have to write a letter to the chairman of the House Intell Committee, and make a request that you be given permission, to go to a classified room and to sit there; you take no notes, you just sit there with somebody watching you read. So it's not the easiest thing to read the 28 pages, you've got to really want to push for it, and you're going to demand that you get the right to read it.
But we think if Senator Graham and the families can get some other Senators to really put the pressure on, and you have members that will say, well, the issue is the kind that I would do this just for the families if nothing else; because the resolution is just very simple, it just says, "Mr. President, please do your job. You have the authority to do it."
REP. LYNCH: Yeah, I agree with everything that Walter said. I would say, that, you know, this is 28 pages. Now, I think a lot of folks voted on the health care bill without reading it, but [laughter] that was 2400 pages, so they probably had a good excuse on that one!
But, I'm at a point where, I'm getting a little frustrated, and it is a cumbersome process: You've got to go, you've got to write the letter, you've got to get permission, you've got to sit down; you do have maybe a couple of Intelligence Committee staffers on the other side of the table, watching you while you read.
From my own experience, after I read the 28 pages, I told the two people that were observing me, I said, "I'm going to file legislation on this," I told them, "you can go back to your bosses and tell 'em that after I read the 28 pages, I said, I'm going to file legislation to make this public." So, I just wanted to be completely honest with them.
And I think that's the response most Members will have, if they sit down and read this report. So we'll keep pushing on it. But I'm going to try a different tack this time: I'm going to work the floor and just have Members take my word for it, "You need to sign this. We need to get this disclosed to the American people," rather than asking them, you know — "you can read it after it's made public, you know." Kind of like the health care bill [laughter]...
But I think we're beyond the point where we've been patient enough with folks, and we need a big push in the House, and then, with the Senator's help a big push in the Senate as well.
REP. JONES: We have three more, and that'll be it, we're going to have to cut it off. You can meet with anyone when it's over, and that will be it. Go ahead, with the tan coat on first.
Q: You know, our standard for the truth is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or else you are lying. Not to release the whole truth is to perpetuate a lie and a lie about the greatest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. And like any lie, this one grows like a cancer, and the consequences of what happens from not revealing this, perpetuate themselves with things like ISIS, and as was mentioned today the terrorist attack in France.
But also, we're in a situation of economic warfare, and we see the Kingdom participating in a major way to lower the price of oil which may harm some of our enemies, but it maybe harm us and may take down our financial system.
It is urgent that this be released so that we have a public hearing of exactly the consequences of what these people are up to, because those consequences grow every day and threaten this nation more every day.
And I just want to end by saying this: That we really owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the Congress people here, and to the families, because they are the patriots of this Republic that have stood for the truth, not only then, but now and in our future, that threaten us directly. [applause]
REP. JONES: Thank you very much.
Q: Les Jameson with hr428.org. We're working to help the cause to generate as much energy as possible to get the congressmen to read the 28 pages, because after hearing your reactions and how it transformed your understanding of 9/11, then that alone I think will be a huge accomplishment to move forward. And we soon heard that Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida attempted to get access and was denied.
Could you speak to that please and say what you would suggest as a reaction from the public?
REP. LYNCH: I know some of us have responsibilities that require top secret clearance and that might be a situation — I know he was member, and then he was not a member, and then he got re-elected. It may be just a non-continuity of his status, but I think he can repair that. I think he'll have an opportunity to read it at some point. His classification may not have been reestablished when he went in there to read. I've seen that amongst some staffers. I think each congressional office, including their staffers have two people I think that are entitled to top secret clearance, but they've got to go through that whole process. So that may be the situation with Mr. Grayson.
Q: Karl Golovin, jfkvigil.com. I'm a retired U.S. Customs agent and in the Fall of 2001, myself and many other agents were assigned to Fresh Kills landfill, where the rubble of World Trade Center 7 was brought, and we were tasked with sifting through WTC7, the 47-story third tower that collapsed that day, and combing out computer components that other agencies didn't want left in the landfill. And I can just testify from my perspective as an investigator that those three towers were not brought down solely by two airplanes and their jet fuel. That there is abundant evidence of controlled demolition of those three towers.
My question is whether these 28 pages will point at all towards that reality and the potential of true false-flag terrorism in this event.
REP. JONES: Senator, why don't you answer that? I've got an answer, too.
SEN. GRAHAM: My answer is no.
REP. JONES: That's it. The 28 pages does not deal with that issue at all.
John and you will be the last.
Q: Jack Larson, iamthefaceoftruth.com. My question is, I've heard before that there is multiple foreign governments that could be actually implicated in the pages? Is it just totally Saudi Arabia, or is there other active governments that could be involved?
REP. LYNCH: I personally think that the report speaks for itself. And there's one thing that needs to be said here: Once these 28 pages are released, the press will do their job. We've got some smart folks out there on the part of the press. They will investigate this and I think there will be a collective debate and discussion about the implications of these 28 pages, and your question and others will be answered. And that's the whole process here. We'll do a deep dive on this collectively, with the full focus of transparency that it deserves. And I think there will be — you know, I'll learn from the debate. Even though I've read the 28 pages, I'm sure there'll other sets of eyes that will look at that same 28 pages and come up with things that I did not immediate recognize.
So I think all of this is an important understanding process and that transparency from all of these different angles will really enlighten our understanding of this whole terrible and tragic event.
REP. JONES: Terry, do y'all want to say anything before we close?
STRADA: No, I think we're fine. No, actually, there's also another organization, 28pages.org that the American people can access and go on there and learn how to reach out to their Congress people, and their Senators and make their phone calls, and move this movement along. That's another very important element.
REP. JONES: I want to thank Senator Graham and the families for being here today; my dear friend and good friend Stephen Lynch. Thank you, the press, because the only way we're going to get this done, quite frankly, is your help. You've got to help us continue to beat the drum! We're going to do everything within the House and Senate that we can do with our friends, many of them here today. But when it really comes down to it, it's your interest that will help us get this done.
Thank you so much for being here, today. Thank you. [applause]