The intelligence committees of the U.S. House and Senate released an 800-page report in 2002 entitled, “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.” The inquiry identified failures by the U.S. intelligence community to connect dots of relevant information available to them before 9/11.
The original report was classified top secret; the declassified version includes some redactions of names and methods scattered throughout the report.
The report is divided into four main parts: 1) overall findings and conclusions, 2) a narrative about the 9/11 attacks, 3) special topics about the attacks, and 4) “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters.” It is Part Four that was redacted for the declassified version—that section constitutes the now infamous “28 pages” which has never been revealed to the public (corresponding to pages 416 to 443 in the original, top secret report; pages 396 to 422 in the declassified print version; and pages 428 to 454 in the PDF versions available online).
The first page of Part Four is un-redacted, and states, “Through its investigation, the Joint Inquiry developed information suggesting specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers while they were in the United States.”
In 2003, the New York Times reported that people who read the 28-page section of the top secret version said it indicated that two probable Saudi spies had links with 9/11 hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. One of the likely spies, Omar al-Bayoumi, may have received money as a “ghost employee” of a Saudi civil aviation contractor from an unnamed Saudi official to disperse to al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi in San Diego in 2000.
Providing further details, KPBS San Diego’s investigative reporter Amita Sharma reported on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 that, “Before al-Bayoumi helped the hijackers, he received $465 per month from the Saudi contractor. After he helped them, he received $3,700 a month. I spoke with [former] Florida senator Bob Graham who co-chaired the congressional inquiry into 9/11, and here’s what he thought about the jump in pay to al-Bayoumi: ‘The interpretation that we gave to it was that Bayoumi was a conduit of financing for the two hijackers while they were in San Diego.’”
Characterizing the 28 pages publicly, Graham later said, “that was the chapter that largely dealt with the financing of 9/11. Who paid for these very complex and in many instances expensive activities that were the predicate for 9/11?”
The formatting of the published report, which uses strike-throughs in place of the original classified text, indicates that Part Four includes bullet point findings, narrative paragraphs, and block quotes from FBI and CIA reports and testimony before the joint committee.
The final paragraph of Part Four is also un-redacted. There we learn that FBI director Robert Mueller testified before the joint committee that findings about foreign support for the hijackers while in the U.S. “would not have come to light had the [Congress’s] staff not probed” into the subject.
In 2003, 46 senators (including Democrats Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Republican Sam Brownback) supported declassification of the 28 pages in a letter to Pres. Bush. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Pres. Obama told 9/11 victims’ families in 2009 and 2011 that he would declassify the section. Currently, 10 members of Congress (seven Republicans and three Democrats) are co-sponsoring House Resolution 428, which would call upon the President to declassify the redacted pages.
A renewed effort is being supported by former presidential candidate and congressman Ron Paul (hat tip @TheNewSpy) to pass HR 428. The website 28pages.org is pushing a social media campaign to declassify the details about Saudi Arabia’s role in the 9/11 attacks. The conservative website Redstate.com and the editorial board of the liberal Miami Herald have also recently endorsed declassification.
Money Jihad predicted in January that declassification could take place this year.