The Obama administration is expected to release a 28-page set of classified documents that reportedly discusses the potential support role to some of the 9/11 hijackers played by Saudi officials, in preparation for the 9/11 attacks. Release of the documents had previously faced opposition by both the Bush and Obama administrations, on national security grounds.
The documents in question were originally part of a chapter from the report prepared by the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, originally released in December 2002. The chapter in question was classified as secret by the Bush administration, on the grounds that it could compromise intelligence sources and methods, but calls from both the public and government officials to release them appear to have been heeded.
Sources that have read the documents say that their contents aren’t an outright indictment of the Saudi government, but read more like a preliminary police report. "There were clues. There were allegations. There were witness reports. There was evidence about the hijackers, about people they met with — all kinds of different things that the 9/11 Commission was then tasked with reviewing and investigating," explains former joint congressional inquiry member Tim Roemer.
"We did not discover … Saudi government involvement at the highest level of the 9/11 attacks," Roemer continues. But, "We certainly did not exonerate the Saudis. … Saudi was a fertile ground for fundraising for al-Qaida. Some of these issues continue to be problems today. That’s why we need to continue to get to the bottom of this." Saudi officials are also calling for the release of the documents, so that they can directly address any accusations put forward in them.
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence member and California Representative Adam Schiff has also reviewed the documents, and feels that releasing them might do more good than harm, saying that it will end speculation over the documents’ contents: "As is often the case, the reality is less damaging than the uncertainty."