CIA chief John Brennan said on Sunday that he believes 28 classified pages of a U.S. congressional report into the 9/11 attacks on the United States will prove that Saudi Arabia had no involvement.
“So these 28 pages I believe are going to come out and I think it’s good that they come out. People shouldn’t take them as evidence of Saudi complicity in the attacks,” Brennan said in an interview with Saudi-owned Arabiya TV, according to a transcript provided by the network.
Reuters reported that the withheld section of the 2002 report is central to a dispute over whether Americans should be able to sue the Saudi government, a key U.S. ally, for damages.
The U.S. Senate passed a bill on May 17 allowing the families of Sept. 11 victims to do so, setting up a potential showdown with the White House, which has threatened a veto.
It has said it might sell up to $750 billion in U.S. securities and other American assets if it became law.
Brennan called the 28-page section merely a “preliminary review.”
“The 9/11 commission looked very thoroughly at these allegations of Saudi involvement … their conclusion was that there was no evidence to indicate that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually had supported the 9/11 attacks,” he added.
The Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence is reviewing the material to see whether it can be declassified.
Former U.S. Senator Bob Graham, who co-chaired the congressional inquiry into the attacks, said in April that the White House will likely make a decision by June on whether it would release the classified pages.
CNN reported that the families of those killed in the attacks have long wanted the pages from the 2002 report – officially titled the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 – made public.
But whatever was actually contained in those 28 pages was ultimately redacted from the report, and the families have been waiting 14 years to read the government’s conclusions.