Al Qaeda member’s testimony implicating Saudis fuels calls to declassify 9/11 documents

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Fresh testimony by convicted Al Qaeda member Zacarias Moussaoui implicating high-level Saudi royals in the 9/11 attacks is fueling congressional calls to declassify an official report that may point to similar conclusions.

Two lawmakers, who spoke with, said they hope the testimony will be a catalyst to make the information public.

Reps. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., each have seen the 28 classified pages of the full 2002 report and have tried for years to get the U.S. government to release it, arguing Americans have a right to know the full truth.

Though he cannot reveal details of a classified government report, Jones suggested Moussaoui's recent testimony -- in a civil suit filed by families of 9/11 victims -- was similar to what he saw in the redacted pages. The joint House and Senate report is titled, "Inquiry into Intelligence Activities Before and After the Terror Attacks."

Lynch went so far as to say Moussaoui's information "mirrored" what he had read in the classified pages about the Saudis' financial connections to the attacks.

Jones told on Wednesday that Moussaoui's testimony was more "justification" to release the pages and expressed hope it will help keep the pressure on President Obama to declassify the information.

"This is all the more reason to declassify the information," Jones said. "Let the people see the 28 pages."

Moussaoui testified that he had high-level contact with officials of the Saudi Arabian government before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, in which nearly 3,000 people were killed when terrorists hijacked four U.S. commercial airliners, crashing one into the Pentagon and two others into the World Trade Center towers. The fourth plane crash-landed in Pennsylvania.

Moussaoui reportedly named three Saudi princes with diplomatic and business ties to the United States -- Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former Saudi ambassador to the U.S.; Prince Turki al-Faisal, who replaced Bandar as the Saudi ambassador in Washington in 2005; and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the grandson of Saudi Arabia founder King Abdulaziz. He also said Saudi princes discussed shooting down Air Force One, according to The New York Times.

A House proposal by Jones to declassify the pages has support from Lynch and 20 other House members, but the effort has yet to garner Senate backing. Jones said Wednesday he was "frustrated" that the Moussaoui testimony had resulted in limited interest on Capitol Hill.

Nevertheless, he was working the phones and the halls of Congress, learning that Delaware Democratic Sen. Tom Carper, a former Navy officer and Vietnam veteran, was expressing "renewed interest."

Said Lynch: "There has been some [new] discussion in Congress. I'm hoping that testimony supports our effort."

Jones and Lynch have been joined in their effort by former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, a Democrat and former chairman of the Senate's intelligence committee.

The pages were classified by then-President George W. Bush.

Obama White House officials have said that agencies within the administration are reviewing whether to make public the information. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, asked Thursday about the new developments, said the intelligence community is still reviewing the material in the classified document. As for Moussaoui's claims, he said, "I'm not going to comment on those assertions."

Some Saudi connections are already well-known, including that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabian citizens -- and that Usama bin Laden was the son of a wealthy Saudi Arabian contractor with close ties to the Saudi royal family.

Graham and the congressmen suggested last month that the 28 pages point to Saudi government ties and repeatedly said the U.S. continues to deny the truth about who principally financed the attacks -- covering up for Saudi Arabia, a wealthy Middle East ally.

"The Saudis know what they did. We know what they did," Graham, who for more than a decade has pushed to get to the bottom of the attacks, said last month on Capitol Hill. He made clear he was referring to "the Kingdom," and not just Saudi operatives inside the country.