WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) — Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan says the release of 28 redacted pages from a 9/11 Commission report will prove the Saudi Arabian government was not involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
In an interview Saturday with Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV network, Brennan said “there was no evidence” of Saudi involvement despite claims in the report that the country’s wealthy citizens and the nation financed the terrorists.
He said the pages were a “preliminary” joint inquiry published in 2002 that tried to “pull together bits and pieces of information reporting about who was responsible for 9/11.”
After that report, he said the 9/11 commission “looked very thoroughly at these allegations of Saudi involvement, Saudi government involvement and their finding, their conclusion was that there was no evidence to indicate that the Saudi government as an institution or Saudi, senior Saudi officials individually had supported the 9/11 attacks.”
He said the information doesn’t prove the Saudis were involved.
“People shouldn’t take them as evidence of Saudi complicity in the attacks,” he said. “Indeed subsequently the assessments that have been done have shown it was very unfortunate that these attacks took place but this was the work of al-Qaida, [al-Qaida leader Ayman] al-Zawahiri, and others of that ilk.”
He said it’s “good” for the pages to be released to the public.
But last month on NBC’s Meet the Press he opposed the release because it contains “unvetted information.”
In May, Tim Roemer, a former member of the 9/11 Commission, urged the release of the classified pages.
“I am strongly in favor of declassifying this information as quickly as possible,” Roemer told a House committee. “The 9/11 families deserve it, the American people deserve it, and justice deserves it. We have the right to transparency and sunlight — not the darkness.”
The Senate passed a bill in May that would allow the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks to sue Saudi Arabia.
President Barack Obama has vowed to veto the legislation, which still needs House approval.
“If we open up the possibility that individuals and the United States can routinelystart suing over governments, then we are also opening up the United States to being continually sued by individuals in other countries,” Obama said last month.
The Saudi government has has also warned of impending troubles if the legislation becomes law.
Brennan, in the interview, said the country is relatively safe from terrorists.
“I’m confident that over the past 15 years, the United States government, the intelligence, security and law enforcement services have done I think a great job trying to protect this country so it is much more difficult for terrorist groups to carry out attacks here in the United States,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we are impenetrable. That’s why our law enforcement, FBI, homeland security experts are continuing to be very, very vigilant but I believe this country has come a long way since 9/11.”
But he’s aware of the intent of al-Qaida and the Islamic State.
“I think they’re both determined to carry out terrorist attacks and to kill innocent men, women and children,” he said.