28 Pages Later

By J. Michael Springmann and Barbara Honegger.  Michael Springmann is a former diplomat in the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service, with postings to Germany, India, Saudi Arabia, and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research in Washington, D.C. Springmann was the head of the U.S. consular official in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia . The published author of several articles on national security themes, Mr. Springmann is now an attorney in private practice in the Washington, D.C.area.

Barbara Honegger has served in high-level positions in the U.S. Federal Government, including White House Policy Analyst and Special Assistant to the Assistant to the President. From 2000 to 2011, Ms. Honegger served as Senior Military Affairs Journalist at the Naval Postgraduate School, the premiere science, technology and national security affairs graduate research university of the U.S. Department of Defense.

In 2002, a Joint House-Senate Intelligence Committee investigated U.S. intelligence service failures leading to the September 11, 2001 “terrorist” attacks. The Congressional report totaled 836 pages, of which the final chapter — 28 pages in length — was and still is completely classified.

For over a decade, family members of the 9/11 victims, the co-chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee investigation itself former Senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.), a majority of the members of the 9/11 Commission and other individuals and organizations have urged declassification of these pages, arguing that what is known about them from members of Congress who have read them and gone public indicates that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and possibly also Israel are named as having been involved in organizing, financing and protecting at least some of the “hijackers” of the September 11 plot. High level calls for the declassification and release of the 28 pages took a quantum leap on April 10, 2016, with a special edition of CBS News’ award-winning investigative journalism program 60 Minutes dedicated to the topic as well as Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the longest-serving Democrat on the House of Representatives’ Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, calling for their release in an official statement.

However, no American politician wants to bell the cat. And few influential citizens do, either. The cries we hear are for President Barack Obama to “declassify” the 28 Pages, and before leaving for his recent trip to Saudi Arabia he did say that he “favored” their release. Unspoken in this statement, however, are two important facts: 1) if the pages were from an executive branch document, President Obama himself is the highest declassification authority in the executive branch and could — and should — declassify and release them immediately; but 2) the pages are part of a Congressional branch document and so are “owned” by Congress, which has the sole authority to declassify and release them, which has been unequivocally stated in writing on CIA letterhead; and as Congress as a body has delegated such decisions to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, the very Committees who wrote the report containing the 28 Pages have the sole authority to declassify and release them at any time — and the president, as the head of the executive branch, does not. The executive and congressional branches are therefore playing a cynical game of ‘good fed, bad fed’ with the 9/11 victims’ family members and the American people.

But even if President Obama had the authority to declassify and release the 28 pages, we don’t believe he would do so. Campaigning on ending the war in Iraq, he has, instead, continued it. He has also warred against Libya, Syria, Pakistan, and, by Saudi proxy, Yemen. So, there is little reason to expect that he will let American citizens and the world see how he and the George W. Bush administration have protected countries which have supported international terrorism.

BUT ” There really is a better way, and one that Congress has used before.

1. Senators and Representatives can read the contents of the 28 Pages in camera in the House and Senate Intelligence Committees’ Secure Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) and then openly recite from memory and discus their contents and meaning on the floor of either House. In 1971, then-Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) placed 4,100 of the 7,000 pages of The Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record, partially by reading from some of them on the Senate Floor and, later, by inserting the remainder through an aide into the record of a meeting of his Senate Subcommittee on Buildings and Grounds. (The Pentagon Papers was the informal name given to a secret Department of Defense study of U.S. political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967.)

There is constitutional and legal justification for this.

2. Article 1, Section 6 of the U.S. Constitution states:

The Senators and Representatives…shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place. [emphasis added]

3. In Gravel v. United States, 408 US 606 (1972), the U. S. Supreme Court rejected the executive branch’s argument and those of lower courts that Senator Gravel and his aides had broken the law. In upholding the immunity of members of Congress under the Speech or Debate Clause, the court clearly stated that the clause “… was designed to assure a co-equal branch of the government wide freedom of speech, debate, and deliberation without intimidation or threats from the Executive Branch. It thus protects Members against prosecutions that directly impinge upon or threaten the legislative process. We have no doubt that Senator Gravel may not be made to answer –either in terms of questions or in terms of defending himself from prosecution–for the events that occurred at the subcommittee meeting.”

And, in fact, for almost a year now former Senator Mike Gravel has been calling for just one courageous member of Congress to step forward and become “The Mike Gravel for the 28 Pages.” He has personally met with Representatives and Senators who have already read the pages asking them to step forward and do what he did, and has sent a law review article detailing how Gravel v. United States and the multiple subsequent court rulings upholding it continue to ensure members of Congress near-absolute immunity should they recite from memory what they have read of the 28 pages on the floor of the House or the Senate.

It’s time to end the “good fed, bad fed” game that’s been going for almost 15 years over whether to, and who can, declassify the 28 pages of the Joint House-Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the Sept. 11attacks. Let’s not hear any more calls to “Let George do it” — for the President to declassify the pages which he doesn’t have the authority to do. Let’s have Rep. Nancy Pelosi or Sen. Rand Paul or any other member of Congress read the 28 Pages and summarize them from memory on the floor of either House into the Congressional Record. Let’s finally hear some common sense, truth and wisdom from the courageous member of Congress who steps forward to be “The Mike Gravel for the 28 Pages”.

Springman Letter

 

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  • jadan

    So, release the 28 pages and add that much more to the total accumulation of bullshit to date. It’s a red herring. The WTC complex, consisting of 7 buildings, all of which were destroyed, were not brought down by two airliners hijacked by terrorists. Anyone who believes this nonsense is a fool, and there is a very large number of fools in the world. The number of people in the world who retain their common sense is vanishngly small.

    • sveltesvengali

      What about the people who believe that seven buildings in the complex were destroyed as opposed to three (WTC 1, 2 and 7), such as yourself?

      Even if you consider a controlled demolition to be a contributing cause to the collapse of one or more of these three buildings and/or scoff at the notion that two airliners and some office fires could have brought these three buildings down in the manner that they collapsed (as many people do), the fact that only three buildings collapsed on 9/11 is an incontrovertible fact, though WTC 4 was also damaged beyond repair and later demolished as a result of the incident:

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collapse_of_the_World_Trade_Center

      • diogenes

        troll blowing smoke, vanish! Poof! You’re gone!

        • sveltesvengali

          Calling someone a troll is trolling in and of itself, absent qualification for why someone is a troll.

          In any event, trolls do not generally post verifiable information (as I did), but deal exclusively in insults and ad hominem designed to provoke people.

        • wunsacon

          C’mon, diogenes. That’s a little “too harsh, too quickly”, IMHO.

          I, for one, am not a troll — I check every morning — and didn’t know about “all 7 collapsing”. I, too, will check jadan’s recommendation.

      • jadan

        You haven’t seen the photographic evidence. ALL of the buildings collapsed, some more completely than others. You don’t know what you’re talking about, Svengali. The public does not know what actually happened, nor do they have a clue about how it happened. You are no better informed than the American public. If you’re a troll, you’re a dumb troll.

        • sveltesvengali

          May I see the photographic evidence, or at least evidence that said photographic evidence exists?

          • jadan

            The best collection of photographic evidence that I know of can be found in “Where Did the Towers Go” by Judy Wood, BS,MS,PhD.

          • sveltesvengali

            Thank you!

            I will take a look.

          • jadan

            Then you are a scholar!

          • sveltesvengali

            I try to be.

        • sveltesvengali

          By the by, I do agree about the motivations for the release of the twenty-eight pages being suspicious, and likely a political ploy at present (see above: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/05/56554.html#comment-2665186238 ).

          However, this has nothing to do with my critique of your stated hypothesis about 9/11.

        • wunsacon

          C’mon. That’s rude, jadan.

    • Jim G

      No. Not entirely red herring. Saudi Arabia was certainly one of the players. That is the point of the 28 pages. We already know the contents – it lists Saudi private individuals and charities that contributed to Bin Laden’s efforts to justify the overthrow of – well it looks like the entire Arab world. Graham and others have said that much. We just don’t know which members of the royal family, or which charities.

  • colinjames71

    And take time out of their busy fundraising schedule? During election season? Also the number of people who could actually memorize a significant amount of text probably isn’t that big. That said, I don’t disagree with getting the info out there, and this plan is the best I’ve heard. The information about who exactly can declassify the 28 pages is news to me and probably everyone else reading this. That’s important. Whether or not it’s bombshell stuff remains to be seen, as well as if Israel is named- which is likely since the pages are known to specify more than one country. And therein lies the problem- our two key allies in the ME? One arguably more or less in control of United States foreign policy, in addition to being the most effective congressional career killer for crossing them? I don’t see it happening. At least not until the elections are over, at minimum.

  • wunsacon

    I care a little but less and less about the “28 pages”, because:
    – If it’s released now, it’s to justify a new war with a different colony.
    – There’s no telling if the 28 pages contains true information.
    – Even if they contain true information, the 28 pages will not contain but a glimpse of the horrible truth.

    • sveltesvengali

      Indeed.

      What a coincidence that attempts to release the twenty-eight pages are only being given widespread coverage right now, as opposed to around thirteen years ago (see here: http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=17006), right? While we are at it, how about the higher profile suddenly being given to the legislation backed by Senator Murphy, Senator Paul, Congressman Lieu, Congressman Yoho, etc. to restrict the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia in the context of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen (which probably still will not go anywhere at this time)?

      I am not saying that I am opposed to the Saudis ostensibly being exposed by such a release or toward the prospect of the Saudis being cut off from their ability to wage war and commit human rights abuses at their current levels (far from it!), but it is quite obvious that the timing for all of this seems rather selective.

      • wunsacon

        >> This goes hand-in-hand with the BRICS having something of a recent flirtation with Saudi Arabia as well, no doubt.

        IMHO, that explanation fits!

    • Jim G

      Remember Graham, of Graham Dodd, was one of the first to suggest the release of the 28 pages. The idea is to claw back our money that the central banks and politicians gambled away. Saudi Arabia owns the US and European central banks, which is obvious from their threat to sell $750 billion in US treasuries. They also own Apple, probably most of our successful internet businesses, and much of our stock market. Graham Dodd gave the US taxpayer full responsibility for the derivatives market losses. In fact, we (the taxpayers) have already paid $200 billion to save Freddy and Fannie Mae to pay the bonds so there is no default on the Credit default swaps – the derivatives. They lost the most recent version of the ponzi scheme, the derivatives market, and put it on our (the taxpaying American citizen) shoulders. As the “end game” approaches, Graham and everyone else is desperate to essentially save the US from financial collapse. They are even willing to give Saudi Arabia and Turkey control over an area equivalent to the old Ottoman Empire. Saudi Arabia is third on the list for “defense spending,” behind only the US and China and quite a bit above Russia, which seems to do pretty well with 1/10th the budget of the US but leading in electronic warfare and denial of access technology. I would prefer that is few as possible people would live under the Wahhabi religious dictatorship that requires female genital mutilation, sex slavery, and crucifixion of protesters. I just a soon go after all the beneficiaries and criminals who did 911. Get them, maybe we get our (the taxpaying American citizen) money back, or at least know that it has all been a fraud.

    • Genessender

      Implicating the Saudis creates the risk that American and/or Israeli coconspirators will be implicated as well. It seems unlikely that the deep state would allow this, no matter how high the economic stakes, because it would delegitimize the entire state.

      • sveltesvengali

        Of course, deep state interests and the military-industrial-media complex associated therewith may (wrongly?) assume that people have become like Pavlovian dogs, trained to reflexively isolate their “Two Minutes Hate” to whomever The New York Times, 60 Minutes, Morning Joe, and/or The O’Reilly Factor make insinuations about at any given time, and not ask more substantive questions.

        However, just because they may be insidious schemers with an agenda does not necessarily always make them omnipotent or infallible in their judgment. While I speculate that an agenda may be at play regarding the current coverage lavished on how bad Saudi Arabia is and their probable role in 9/11, positive externalities may yet arise from it (e.g. “Say, even if we take them at their word, they have been hiding this information for an awful long time! What else might they be hiding, mm?”).

  • Sempper

    “28 pages”= CIA’s PSYOP

    No evidence as of today on KSA’s involvement in the destruction of Building 7 (WTC7 or Salomon Brothers’ Building): no planes hit this skyscraper and collapsed on its own footprint @ 5:20 pm on 09/11/2001 – controlled demolition is the most reasonable and valid explanation, supported by hundreds (if not thousands) of architects and engineers.

    Only gullible and incapable to think for themselves people will swallow the upcoming government-sponsored bullshit (and GW Blog helps to cement that stupidity).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKMt0kpk0VA