CONGRESSIONAL PRESS CONFERENCE
Release the Secret 28 Pages of the 9/11
Congressional Inquiry Report!
Congressmen Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Steven Lynch (D-Mass.), and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), joined by family members of those killed on Sept. 11, 2001, held a press conference in Washington, D.C., Sept. 9, to demand the declassification of the suppressed 28 pages of the 9/11 Joint Inquiry Report. The three members of Congress are co-sponsors of H.R. 428, calling for release of the 28-page section of the report, which reportedly exposes the role of the Saudi kingdom in supporting the 9/11 terrorists. EIR has produced this transcript of the press conference. A video is available on the LaRouche PAC website.
Rep. Walter Jones: We're going to begin the press conference. Let me give those of you in the press the order of the speakers: I'm Walter Jones/ I represent the 3rd Congressional District [of North Carolina]; the next speaker will be Congressman Stephen Lynch from Massachusetts, a very dear friend of mine; and if he gets here on time, Congressman Thomas Massie from Kentucky.
We have been very much the drumbeaters for this effort of declassifying this information. After Thomas speaks, I will come back to the podium and I will introduce Terry Strada, who will be the first speaker, then Kaitlyn Strada and Justin Strada; and then Matt Sellitto, father of Matthew Sellitto, will speak; Abraham Scott, Abe Scott, will speak, widower of Janice Scott; and Miss Ellen Saracini. And I will let them, after I introduce Terry Strada, I want them to re-introduce themselves, even if I've called out their names, and let them tell you why they're here today, and what their pain might be, and how Mr. Obama can help soothe the pain.
So let me start now with just a few comments. This Thursday will mark the 13th anniversary of this horrible attack of 9/11, that creates so much pain for all the American people, but especially—especially—the families who lost so much.
It's been kind of amazing, when you know that the Saudis have called on the American government to declassify this information, and yet, under President [George W.] Bush, he decided that the 28 pages should remain classified. I am pleased to say that those of us in the House made up our minds that we needed to give the families relief, and give the American people the truth. We have read the 28 pages; other members of Congress have read the 28 pages. We are not at liberty to share any of the information that has already not been publicized. [Former Senator] Bob Graham deserves so much credit: He's been out front on this issue, calling for the declassification.
Yesterday, Jake Tapper of CNN did a magnificent 15-minute piece, that if you have not seen it, please go on the website and look up the Jake Tapper show.... It was excellent. Anyone that did not lose a loved one should see it, and understand why these people are here today....
We have been reaching out to the Senate; we have had very little help from the Senate. I don't know how the Senate can say no to these families that are standing here today, and the families that are not here today. With 9/11 coming about on Thursday, there would be no other way to bring a little bit of relief to the heartache of these families than for President Obama to announce that he is going to declassify the 28 pages.
At the end of those who will be speaking today, we will be glad to take questions at the podium, that will help those of you who have cameras here today. With that, both of my colleagues, first to speak will be Stephen Lynch, Congressman from the state of Massachusetts—Stephen?
Terrorism Remains a Real Threat
Rep. Stephen Lynch: Thank you, Walter. First of all, I want to thank Walter for his leadership on this issue. He's been fantastic. He's been like a rock for a lot of us, in making sure that other Members get a chance to read the 28 pages; I also want to thank the families for your strength. I really think that's where we get it, the insistence on getting these 28 pages made public, it really comes from the strength of the families, who are obviously trying to honor their loved ones by getting the whole story out there. And also, Congressman Massie, thank you, as well, for your support in keeping the heat on, and asking for a full accounting.
It's often been said that there is loyalty in the simple act of remembrance, and as we approach the 13th anniversary of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, we pause to remember the loved ones, the beautiful Americans who died that horrific day. We hold in our hearts and our prayers, the memories of those innocent victims and the families they left behind. But the measure of our loyalty as Americans for those innocent victims extends beyond the promise to never forget. It also requires us to provide a full accounting of the events and circumstances surrounding the tragedy of 9/11.
It's also important to recall that 28 pages of the 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry, a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional inquiry, continue to be classified and withheld from the public. This wasn't a mere redaction of a few specific words or sentences, which is common in many classified documents. This was a wholesale excising and removal of a full section, 28 pages in length. It is inexplicable today, why we are still censoring this information from the American public. It may have been a matter of national security to classify these pages in 2002, but it is now a matter of public interest and good government to release them in 2014.
Last December, my friend Congressman Walter Jones and I, joined by Congressman Massie, introduced a bipartisan House Resolution 428, which urges President Obama to declassify the redacted 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry Into the Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001. It's also known as the 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry.
Today, I join with Congressman Jones and Congressman Massie, the gentleman from Kentucky, in renewing our call for the release of the 28 pages of the 9/11 Joint Congress Inquiry. We are joined today by representatives from the [[9/11 Families]] United for Justice Against Terrorism [[http://www.justiceagainstterrorism.org/news.php]], and families of the victims killed during the terrorist attacks; also from the airline pilots as well, who lost friends and colleagues during those attacks.
Transparency in government is very important. Enough time has passed that we can digest the information without worrying about the visceral passions and security implications that might have existed in the days immediately following the attacks.
These families, and our nation, experienced a profound and personal loss. There are many questions that remain, and these families and our nation deserve to have those questions answered. The declassification of the 28 pages is an important step toward answering those questions, and after reviewing the 28 pages, we believe, myself and Walter and Mr. Massie, we believe that they can be declassified without harming U.S. intelligence sources and methods. Indeed, we firmly believe that the information contained therein can be instructive in framing our current anti-terrorism policy going forward.
Terrorism remains a real threat to the United States, no doubt. And the better informed we are, the better we will be able to ensure that we are doing everything possible to protect Americans at home and abroad.
Again, I want to thank the families for being here. I want to thank them for their strength and their support, and collectively, we respectively the White House to make these 28 pages available to the American public. Thank you.
'Specific Sources of Foreign Support'
Rep. Thomas Massie: Thank you Representative Lynch and Representative Jones for leading this. I'm here today primarily for two reasons: for the families that suffered the loss of loved ones in the attacks on 9/11, and also for our country, for our national security, and so that we can have a full discussion about foreign policy.
You know, I renewed my push for the release of these 28 pages this Summer. When we started talking, in the national discussion about having a third war, ostensibly, to prevent another 9/11, it occurred to me—I woke up one morning—we'd basically had two wars to prevent the next 9/11, and we're talking about a third war—we need to get these 28 pages into the discussion, and that's what renewed my efforts to release these pages.
It occurs to me that the page before the 28 pages is important. People want to know what we are we referring to. We can't say what's in those 28 pages, but we can talk about the first sentence on the page before those 28 pages. And it says, "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." Now, these hijackers received financial support; that's what this is saying, and wouldn't it be good to know where that came from? Because it occurs to me that there's culpability. Whether that support was an act of commission or omission, there's still liability for enabling somebody to carry out an attack so atrocious on our country.
I want to keep my comments short, and I want to finish with a call to action. The President can release these 28 pages tomorrow. He can hold his press conference and say what we've said: that the families deserve to know, and that this is important to our national security and the national policy debate on foreign policy, to get this out. But the other way that we can bring pressure to bear, is following Congressman Jones' leadership and Congressman Lynch's leadership, and that is, to get other Members of Congress to read these 28 pages.
If you're watching this press conference, and your Congressman has not read those 28 pages, you need to ask him or her, "Why haven't you done it? Do you not have the time? Are you worried about what's in there?" Ask them, "Would you please do this for me? Would you do this for the families? Would you do this for our foreign policy debate?" Because I think what we've found is that after Congressmen read these pages, they agree with us: It will not compromise our national security to release them; it will inform our foreign policy discussions; and I think it will help the families.
And so, I leave it with that call to action: Please ask your Congressman to go read these 28 pages and join us on House Resolution 428. Thank you.
Jones: Thomas I want to thank you and Stephen for your comments. And I would like to mention, before I introduce Terry Strada, that Michael McCaul, who's chairman of the Homeland Security Committee on the House side, has read the 28 pages, and he has promised me that he will meet with me to have a discussion of how we can interest other Members of Congress to join us.
With that, I want to ask Terry Strada if she'll come forward, and her daughter Kaitlyn and [son] Justin will stand with her. And then from there, I want to ask the other members of the families to come forward. I've got Matt Sellitto, Abe Scott, Ellen Saracini, and I think there's one other.
So Terry, if you and your children would come before us?
A Growing Fear in the Country
Terry Strada: Thank you very much.
Hello, my name is Terry Strada. I am the national co-chair of 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism. On Sept. 11, I lost my husband Tom Strada. It will be 13 years in just two short days. Here is a picture of my husband, Tom; he was the love of my life. His parents, siblings, and our three children miss him each and every day. He was only 41 years old, and our three children were 7, 4—Kaitlyn was 4—and Justin was 4 days old—when he was brutally murdered by terrorists, while working to provide for his family.
I spoke to Tom twice that morning. His second call was to tell me a plane had hit the building. Within seconds, the horrible images came on my television, and I saw what we all witnessed. The billowing smoke from the North Tower, and then the second airplane, coming in like a missile, pierced into Tower 2. Both towers imploded, one by one; then the Pentagon was struck. And, finally, horribly, Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa. It all happened in a matter of hours, but has left its emotional scars on my children, Tom's family, and me, for a lifetime.
Terrorism kills innocent people who don't deserve to suffer unspeakable horrors before they die. It frightens you to your core. How could it not? The nightmares and sleepless nights continue to this day. But this is not just my legacy, it belongs to our nation as well. There is a growing fear in this country. America—Americans' fear of the atrocities happening in the Middle East and the threats being made towards us. We fear how and when we will be attacked again. I do not know if it will be as catastrophic as 9/11, where terrorists will attack us more methodically, or randomly, but I am certain, Islamic radicals with terrorist ties are here in this country.
I fear a terrorist attack will come from within our borders, exactly like it did on 9/11.
No matter how many airstrikes we launch, drones we use, or troops on the ground we deploy, as long as there are well-funded terrorist organizations that continue to vow to murder and destroy us, we will never be able to stop future terrorist threats. My children and yours live in a world where there are videos posted on social media, of ISIS beheading American hostages, and declaring they will hang their flag on the White House.
How did we get here? And what does our future hold?
Part of the narrative of how we got here is in these 28 pages: Who finances the world of terror? Who gave financial and logistic support to the 19 hijackers? That truth has been kept a secret from my family and the American people for 13 long, painful years. We and the American public deserve to know the truth. As long as the bankrollers remain free with impunity, they will continue to finance terrorist organizations, like al-Qaeda, ISIS, and countless others. We stand here, today, calling on each and every Member of Congress to please read those 28 pages, and join Representatives Jones, Lynch, and Massie, in urging President Obama to declassify these pages, now.
Without the truth, we cannot take all the steps necessary to protect ourselves from those who wish to annihilate and slaughter us.
We're not alone in our request for the release of these 28 pages. As far back as 2003, Senators Chuck Schumer and Sam Brownback authored a letter to then-President Bush, signed by 44 other Senators, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and current Secretary of State John Kerry, asking for the declassification of the 28 pages, and I quote: "As you are aware, Saudi Arabia banks and charities have been used to funnel money to al-Qaeda; its madrasa schools spew hateful anti-American rhetoric to would-be suicide bombers across the Middle East, and 15 of 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Given these facts, protecting the Saudi regime by eliminating any public penalty for the support given to terrorists from within its borders would be a mistake."
And now a private citizen, Brian McGlinchey, has taken on our cause and created a website called [[www.28pages.org,]] urging all Americans to get involved and join us in asking President Obama to do the right thing and declassify the 28 pages for all America to see who really was behind 9/11, so we can protect ourselves and our children from future terrorist attacks.
But no matter what else is said here today, remember this: We all know a massive and brutal crime was committed on 9/11. Keeping it a secret about those who facilitated it must end now. Thank you, Congressmen Jones, Lynch, and Massie for your support, in introducing House Resolution 428, and as always, thank you former Sen. Bob Graham, for his relentless work in declassification of the 29 pages. Thank you.
And now I'd like to introduce my daughter, Kaitlyn.
Many Unanswered Questions
Kaitlyn Strada: My name is Kaitlyn Strada. As a child who lost her father at the age of 4 on 9/11, I have a different perspective than all of you here today. Terrorism not only killed my father, it robbed me and my two brothers of our innocence and sense of security. I'm growing up in a world that I don't trust. I've grown up without a father, because of terrorism. I've had many experiences taken away from me, because of terrorism, and I have many unanswered questions.
For years, with tears in my eyes, I watched my friends dance with their fathers at their Bat Mitzvahs and Sweet 16 celebrations. I will never have a father-daughter dance. My father never got to see me compete on my horse, cheer me on on the lacrosse team, or hear me speak at my middle school graduation. My life is, and always will be bittersweet.
When I dream of my wedding day, I will carry his picture and wish he were there with me, walking down the aisle and taking me by the hand onto the dance floor. Because of terrorism, I turned from a happy-go-lucky little girl with no worries, to one who couldn't leave her mom's side for fear of the "bad guys" coming back. Terrorism does exactly what it's meant to do: It terrorizes you and leaves you somewhere deep down inside, always feeling afraid. It will be 13 years in two days, and I still struggle with anxiety and fear.
Losing your sense of security, innocence, and being afraid is not the way any child should have to grow up. Due to the work my mom does, I realize really how much I don't know about my father's murder. Why should I, and thousands of other 9/11 children, live without answers to who was behind the murder of our parents, and why they were taken away from us?
I am 17 years old, almost the same age as President Obama's two children, Sasha and Malia. I am grateful they have both of their parents in their lives, and have never suffered a loss like mine. I wouldn't wish this life of pain on anyone.
Mr. President, please declassify the 28 pages that hold truths regarding who was behind my father's murder, for me, and for the other 3,000 children who lost a parent on 9/11. As a father, wouldn't you want your children to not have to live with unanswered questions without ever knowing the truth? I plead you, Mr. President, to declassify the 28 pages, for me and the other thousands of 9/11 children, for peace and closure of that horrific day. Thank you.
I'm going to introduce my younger brother, Justin.
Justin Strada: My name is Justin Thomas Strada. I was born on Sept. 7, 2001. Four days later I lost my father, on Sept. 11. I never got the chance to know him, and he never got the chance to know me. My mother has raised me to always tell the truth. She tells me my father was an honest, hard-working man, who would also want me to tell the truth and to keep our promises. I would like to hold my government to the same standard and ask the Members of Congress, to support me and the other 9/11 victim family members and survivors. Thank you.
Mr. President, I Call You a Liar!
Matthew T. Sellitto: Good afternoon. My name is Matthew T. Sellitto. My son, Matthew C. Sellitto, was murdered, Sept. 11, 2001. Matthew called me at 10 minutes to 9 [a.m.], Sept. 11, telling me a plane had just hit the building. I said to my son, "Get out of the building." He said, "Dad, you don't understand." He was on the 105th floor: He couldn't get out of the building. He just called to say, he wanted to let us know he loved us.
What a message to get as a parent! To know the last thoughts that your child has, knowing that he's going to die, he wants the message out, he loved you. Think of that. What a thought!
After that happened, my wife and I were chosen to be lead families on the 9/11 Commission, because that 9/11 Commission had to come out with a report to give to the American people, on what exactly happened that day, and how it happened, what were the causes. We donated our time, we were parents of a child that was old, and we have another child that was in college; we didn't have young children that we had to take care of, so we thought it our duty, and we took on that duty. Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton led that Committee. They were chosen by our government, by lead people in our government, because they were entrusted by our government. Our government chose them because they said, we think these people are good people, and we know they will do the right thing. They will have transparency, that magic word, "transparency."
I've met with Tom Kean, I know Tom Kean. I've met with Lee Hamilton. Both gentlemen tell me, there's no reason these 28 pages should not be turned over to the public. There is no security risk to our country, if these 28 pages are turned over to our country.
I want to thank Senator Graham; I want to thank Congressmen Lynch, Jones, and Massie. Why? They're trying to do the right thing, because they know there's no "security risk," if the rest of the country knows.
But our President is telling us, there's a "security risk"!
So, if I spoke to Tom Kean and I spoke to Lee Hamilton and they told me there's no security risk, and if the people that gave them the power to run this 9/11 Commission, trusted them, and they tell me there's no security risk, then, Mr. President, when you tell me there's a security risk, and that's the reason you're not making these public, Mr. President, I call you a liar! And my son's dead, and I don't know all the facts, because, Mr. President, you're lying to me.
'Know Thy Enemy'
Abraham Scott: Good afternoon. My name is Abraham Scott. My wife, Janice Marie Scott, was killed in the Pentagon. I would [like to repeat] a famous quote from a famous Chinese philosopher, Sun Tzu: "Know thy enemy." We immediately knew our enemies, the 19 terrorists when the attack occurred on 9/11. But we are still hazy in terms of who financed those attacks, and I do believe, with the declassification of those 28 pages, the truth will come out.
Having spent 20 years in the military, I know the power of the military, but there's another option involved in dealing with this type of war, terrorism: And that's hurt them where they really hurt, and that's their pocket. The Charlebois, the parents of co-captain of fatal Flight 77, they died before the Pentagon memorial was completed. [9/11 widow] Beverly Eckert, a very good friend of mine who was killed in a Continental flight in Buffalo a few years ago, she passed. My two grandchildren, they want to know the truth, my two daughters want to know the truth. The souls of the Charlebois, as well as Beverly—Beverly is crying out for Congress to pass a bill to the President to declassify those pages. Also, the nearly 3,000 victims, as well as the family members, to include 184 victims at the Pentagon, these souls are crying out to release those pages.
I beseech you, President Obama, as well as the Senate and the House of Representatives, to act, not as a partisan or a political issue, but do the right thing, and release those 28 pages before I go home and see my Lord and Savior. Thank you, and God bless.
Emanuel Lipscomb: My name is Emanuel Lipscomb. I didn't think I was going to say anything, because on that day, I didn't think I was going to have to do anything. I'm a civilian survivor, rescuer, of the World Trade Center. I just happened to be across the street from the building, and was there for the entire attack, when the relatives of these families, with their backs against the wall, did not worry about other things, did not worry about themselves, but instead thought to help other people; they stood—I want to let the world know!—they stood unafraid! They were proud Americans. And because they were proud Americans, they did what had to be done. By the time the police and the rescuers and the fire workers came there, there was no crowd of people fighting to get anywhere, because of relatives that stood in the gap, and made sure others got free. I was under the Tower when it fell, and I just happened to witness all the people....
Today, the threats of things going crazy in the world are just like they were before. It's been quiet here. Things just kinda seem like nothing's going to happen, but they didn't seem like they were going to happen then.
So right now, don't think our backs aren't against the wall; don't think we don't have to do everything that needs to be done. President Obama, you hear us! Senate, you hear us! Everyone else, you hear us! Get on the phone! Call the people that need to be called! Read the pages, if you have access to the papers! Don't play games, be serious, just like this Senator and these Representatives are: Do your part. This is our country, land of our birth. This is our country, the proudest on Earth! We stood as children, pledging the Allegiance, said, "We're America the bold." But this is our country, only if we have it as our country, and we hold onto that liberty and strongly do what needs to be done.
President Obama, I ask you again: Just do the right thing.
\Ellen Saracini: My name is Ellen Saracini. My husband, Victor, was the captain of United Flight 175, that struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, at 9:03 a.m. Ever since that day, my life, and the lives of my two daughters, Kirsten and Brielle, has not been the same. We don't know a normal life. I was a stay-at-home mom, and I turned into a safety advocate and an advocate for Sept. 11, because there are a lot of issues out there that are not allowed to be brought forward.
This is what we're talking about today. It's just very simple: What do we need to know? We need to know who aided and abetted the terrorists? And why do we need to know that? So that it's not repeated again, because if it's repeated again, then we didn't learn history's lessons, and we paid a painful price for this lesson that we learned, and it was called Sept. 11. There isn't anyone who doesn't have a reaction to Sept. 11. There isn't anyone in this room, or anywhere else, who doesn't remember exactly where they were on Sept. 11. And that is because it was devastating, and we cannot allow it to happen again!
And the simple truth is, is that we don't know all of what happened until we read these 28 pages, and when we do, then we are going to be able to have them be held accountable. And only when they are held accountable, does that mean that we will not repeat this again. So, we all are asking President Obama: It is his turn now, to be the one in charge, to say we need to let this out into the public. We need to let everyone know who aided and abetted, and hold them accountable.
And I thank you all for being here, today, and your support. And you really should be applauding everyone standing behind me. They are working very tirelessly, making sure that when you go home at night, you and your families will be safe. These are the ones who are doing it. Thank you.
Questions from the Press
Jones: If there are any questions, if you would hold your hand up, identify yourself, and which Member of Congress or family member that you would like to answer questions, they'll come so that you can hear it clearly. We'll go here, and then to the gentleman, and then Jeff [Steinberg], you be third. Young lady.
Q: Leandra Bernstein, RIA Novosti. This is question for Representative Lynch. You mentioned that reviewing the contents of the 28 pages would potentially change our policy moving forward. I'd like to know more of your thoughts on that.
Lynch: Well, you know these pages are classified, which is why we're here. I can't go into too much detail, without violating my oath of office to honor that classification, but I think it definitely would be instructive, going forward, for us to see the complicity behind the long-term planning, and very deliberate steps taken to reach that day of 9/11. There was a great deal of planning beforehand, there were individuals that I think, in the 28 pages, that are, I have said, stunning in their clarity, in terms of how demonstrative they are in showing the planning beforehand, the financing, and the eventual attacks on that day.
So I think it would be instructive to Members of Congress to understand the scope of this, the involvement of individuals, whether or not they were working in league with governments or not. I think it would be very instructive, and especially today, I think we all realize that terrorism is with us, still, and that we have to have a comprehensive, and serious, serious response to that.
So I think this would be helpful to Members of Congress, and to the American people who choose those representatives; I think it would be helpful at a number of levels.
Q: And then, just a brief followup, because with the threat of the Islamic State, the U.S. government talks about building regional partnerships, often names Saudi Arabia, whether or not they're going to help militarily or whether they're just going to clamp down on terrorist financing or oversight over how their government is financing different groups. So how could that regional partnership be—could it be altered by the contents? Not specific, just...
Lynch: Well, absolutely. I think in a way you've sort of answered your own question. The complexity here, again, goes to the question that Congressman Massie asked in a recent—I think it was the New Yorker—where he said he was not sure—and I agree with him—whether individuals were acting as part of a government, or whether they were acting sort of as rogue agents. But certainly, there is an overlap in what you are talking about. The complicity of certain individuals on 9/11 and in the months before that, and groups that are still active in funding some elements of the Sunni insurgency, or Sunni militant groups, in the Middle East right now, acting against the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria, and also acting against Iraqi government.
So, yes, there's plenty of overlap and it's very complex. And I think it would be helpful to have all this information out there, so that we could—I think it would inform that whole issue, as well as being valuable in a retrospective sense on Sept. 11, 2001.
Q: Herman Russell, with Inter Press News. This is for you Congressman Jones, or any Members of Congress who can speak to this. The August 2003 letter was signed by, I think, 46 Senators, most of them, if not all perhaps, Democrats; I'm wondering if the fact that there is now a Democratic President, is really the reason why the Senate hasn't shown more interest in jumping—or more members of the Senate haven't shown interest in jumping on this, recently. I mean, is it possible that this is just kind of an issue of partisan politics?
And also I was wondering if you could speak to the idea, when Saudi Arabia has now said that they want to see it declassified, do you think that may be a little bit of a smokescreen? Maybe they're telling the administration, no don't do it, but then publicly saying they would like to see it? Because saying it publicly would absolve them.
America Will Fall if We Don't Uphold the Truth
Jones: Let me very quickly speak before Stephen [Lynch]: that there is no reason, that any of the Senators that signed the letter when President Bush was in office, should not be just as adamant today, if they're still in the Senate, to release this information. Because, again, this is about the families who have suffered so much; it's about an America which was attacked. And as far as I'm concerned, the Senate owes it to the families, and especially those Senators up in the Northeastern part of the United States of America, and here in Virginia, where we had the Pentagon [attacked], they owe it to the families and the American people. Everyone else has spoken articulately, and well, about why this should be done, and there is no excuse. There is no excuse.
American will fail, and fall, if we don't uphold the truth on this issue and other issues! A republic will not stand without the truth, and that's all this is about.
Stephen, do you want... ?
Lynch: Just briefly. I associate myself with the gentleman from North Carolina. But you asked also whether or not the Saudis might be playing both sides, calling for disclosure, but yet behind the scenes, asking for the information to remain classified? I could not see, if I was part of the Saudi royal family and government, I would not be calling for the disclosure of this information—let's put it that way. So, I guess, I suspect duplicity, let's put it that way.
I want to say something, too: You know, as a dad, I just want to say how proud I am of these kids.
Q: Jeff Steinberg with Executive Intelligence Review. I have a question for Terry and Matt, and any of the other family members that would like to comment also:
After the excellent 15-minute broadcast on CNN last night, and I believe that Jake Tapper said that the White House refused to comment for the show, but, I understand that later, in one of the news broadcasts, there was a statement from the White House claiming that the matter had been referred to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for review. That seemed to be in stark contrast to at least two occasions I'm aware of, where the President directly promised the families that the 28 pages would be released. I'd like to get both of your comments on that White House statement that was on the news later in the day, yesterday. Are they starting to feel the heat, finally, to maybe have to act on this?
Strada: I didn't see this, so I can't...
Sellitto: I didn't see the report, but I think I made my point very clear. He [President Obama] made this promise to the families twice. So, in conjunction with him saying it's [declassification of the 28 pages] against national security, and I told you, I spoke to Lee Hamilton, I spoke to Tom Kean. We both know Tom Kean personally, and he tells us, it's not against national security. I tell you this, and what you just said, "Mr. President, you're a liar!" I can't make it more clear than that! He's lying to us. And he's using the ploy of national security, the blanket of national security. Now, why he is, I don't know! It's what's in those 28 pages.
If you noted, well—he went right over to Saudi Arabia, right after he gave them a pass, and didn't want to go into this whole releasing of the 28 pages. I mean, we can go after one question after another, why all this happened, but the simple answer is, he's using national security and he's lying to you. Terry?
Strada: Well, I believe strongly that not declassifying is more a threat to our national security, than de-classifying them.
Scott: Totally agree.
Strada: That's the truth. We need to know what's in there, because of the state the world is in right now, and if there are relationships with other foreign countries, and we're talking about Saudi Arabia, today, well, we need to know what role they played. And I believe when you said, that they are asking for them to be released, I think that happened shortly after 9/11. I don't think they've publicly come out and asked in the past decade, that we release the 28 pages. I think that happened over a decade ago.
So, again, not releasing them is more of a threat, and makes it harder for our foreign policy and everything going forward.
Q: My name is Len Mallon. I just want to thank everyone here. And I think the families and the Congressmen, that it's essential that the Congress, for our system to work, be able to give public airing to vital issues and have a discussion. And the thing that comes so clear to me in this press conference is that not only is this report so important for what happened on Sept. 11, but it's important for us to understand what's happening today, and threatening our vital interests and our security. And there can be nothing more important than that, and so, I applaud the families, especially, for standing up for the future, as well.
Is Our Government Protecting the Saudis?
Jones: We're going to take one more question and then we're going to bring this to an end. And I want to thank all the press that's here today, all the friends that are here today, the families, and, as Steve Lynch says, especially, the children. This has to be very difficult for you; you did a magnificent job in remembering your father in such a loving way.
We'll take one other question. Yes, sir.
Q: [ID inaudible] It's been mentioned that this is the most important alliance for the United States and Europe. Obviously, also it's known that Saudi Arabia is financing those terrorist groups that are causing unrest in that region now. Is Saudi Arabia the ally of our government who has the dirty job that our government doesn't—it cannot do—because regular citizens are opposed to those activities? And now, by not declassifying those 28 pages is our government protecting the Saudis, instead of protecting their citizens, like those families who have lost loved ones?
Jones: Let me state it very quickly and then, anyone else from the members—if you remember, that this report came out when President Bush was President of the United States, his administration reviewed the report. He's the one that recommended that the 28 pages be classified. It was President Bush, remember that, because that's very important. And I can't say a whole lot more than what I've said, Stephen's said, or Thomas has said. But quite frankly: Remember who was the President of the United States when this report came out, and rmember that that President decided to classify the 28 pages.
Lynch: No, I think you've said it.
Jones: Okay. I said it. Would anybody else like to say... ? Then we're going to bring it to a close.
Lipscomb: You said it perfectly, sir.
Jones: Thank you, I appreciate that.
Lipscomb: And he said it perfectly, but one thing that we have to remember, it's not about the United States, it's not about the Saudi Arabian government. It's about the relationships that we start to establish. And we have no relationship truly, if we go out into this world weak. We have to come out into this world strong. Because by being strong, a lot of problems won't happen. By being strong, a lot of terrorist activities will not occur. So, I'm saying, let's preserve the relationships. Let's do what needs to be done, and like you all have said: Let's be in truth.
Scott: I would like to say one thing, being a military man. "Strong," you can interpret that differently. It doesn't have to be strong militarily, it would be strong in other ways.
Jones: Thank you very much, for being here.