President Obama is apparently thinking about his presidential library. So now might be a good time to ponder whether anyone will want to visit it.
If he cared about revivifying his brief reputation as a good-guy outsider ready to shine light on the hidden recesses of our governing apparatus (remember his election-night victory speech that brought tears and rare hope to America?), Obama could certainly start at this late date by taking a stand for transparency.
Here’s how: Two Congressmen, a Democrat and a Republican, are asking Obama to declassify the congressional report on 9/11, which the Bush administration heavily redacted.
The two members of the House of Representatives have read the blacked-out portions, including 28 totally blank pages that deal largely with Saudi government ties to the alleged 9/11 hijackers.
This is apparently major connect-the-dots stuff—much more significant than what one may remember from Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 911, about Saudi royals and other Saudis studying and living in the US, who were allowed to go home without being interviewed in the aftermath of the attacks. This is about actual financial and logistical support of terrorism against the United States—by its ally, the Saudi government.
As a Hoover Institution media scholar wrote in the New York Post (normally no bastion of deep investigative inquiry):
The Saudis deny any role in 9/11, but the CIA in one memo reportedly found “incontrovertible evidence” that Saudi government officials — not just wealthy Saudi hardliners, but high-level diplomats and intelligence officers employed by the kingdom — helped the hijackers both financially and logistically. The intelligence files cited in the report directly implicate the Saudi embassy in Washington and consulate in Los Angeles in the attacks, making 9/11 not just an act of terrorism, but an act of war.
Congressmen “absolutely shocked”
The two outspoken Representatives, Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass) would be violating federal law if they offered any specifics about what they know, or even named any countries mentioned—but did say they were “absolutely shocked” by revelations of foreign state involvement in the attacks. Now, they want a resolution requesting Obama declassify the entire document.
If the media were to do its job and create the kind of wall-to-wall coverage it bestows upon, say, inter-spousal murder trials, Obama might feel he had to release the full 9/11 report. He’d have to concede there is a public right to know, or at least explain in detail why he doesn’t think so. Either way, there would be major fireworks. But we’re not betting on either the president or the media doing the right thing.