Saudi Arabia will be absolved of any responsibility for the 9/11 attacks based on 28 classified pages of a US congressional report into the incident which will be published in the future, says CIA Director John Brennan.
“I think the 28 pages will be published and I support their publication and everyone will see the evidence that the Saudi government had nothing to do with it,” Brennan said in an interview with Saudi-owned al-Arabiya news channel on Saturday.
“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-Qaeda, [al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman] al-Zawahiri, and others of that ilk,” he added.
The Office of the US Director of National Intelligence is currently reviewing the pages to decide whether they can be declassified.
In April, former US Senator Bob Graham, who co-chaired the congressional inquiry into the September 11, 2001 attacks, said that the White House would likely make a decision by June on the issue.
The undisclosed section of the 2002 report is pivotal to a dispute over whether the US should be able to sue the Saudi government, one of its key allies, for damages caused by the tragic event.
According to a bill passed by the US Senate on May 17, the families of 9/11 victims are able to do so. The bill set up a showdown with the Obama administration, which has threatened to veto it.
Riyadh has also vehemently objected to the bill and said that it might sell up to $750 billion in US securities and other American assets if it became law.
Brennan described the classified section merely as a “preliminary review,” noting that “it was found later, according to the results of the report, that there was no link between the Saudi government as a state or as an institution or even senior Saudi officials to the Sep. 11 attacks.”
However, a former US member of the 9/11 Commission has said that Saudi Arabia was deeply involved in supporting the 19 hijackers who carried out the attacks.
John Lehman, who served as the US Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, made the revelation on May 12 and became the first of the 10 commissioners who had publicly discussed Riyadh’s role after issuing their final report in 2004.
In that year, the congressional panel’s final report was largely viewed as an exoneration of the kingdom.
“There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” said Lehman. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.”
Saudi Arabia has been denying it provided any support for the hijackers - most of whom were Saudi citizens - who killed almost 3,000 people in the attacks.
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