National Security

Ryan stresses stronger Saudi ties in reflecting on secret 28 pages

Speaker Paul Ryan has not yet read 28 secret pages from a joint congressional inquiry into 9/11, he said in an interview on Tuesday, but is planning to soon.

Still, the Wisconsin Republican — who has expressed support for releasing the pages — indicated to Fox News that the contents will not undermine the United States’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.

{mosads}“I’m going to read it,” Ryan said in the interview. “I’ve met with other people in the intelligence community about it.”

“The way you should look at Saudi Arabia is there’s the Saudi Arabia then, and then there’s the Saudi Arabia now,” the Speaker added. “And this was written by the 9/11 Commission a decade ago, which is talking about the Saudi Arabia then.”

Now, Saudi Arabia is “helping us go after terrorist financing,” Ryan said on Fox.

“They’re helping us with this new emerging 39-nation consortium of Islamic states — moderate Muslim nations who are putting together a group to go after terrorism — and they’re beginning to understand and take the lead on preventing radical Islamic terror from metastasizing and growing,” he added.

“Going forward, we need to have more cooperation with Saudi Arabia to make this work.” 

The blacked-out pages from a 2002 congressional investigation have long been alleged to contain details implicating members of the Saudi government or royal family for supporting al Qaeda in the months before Sept. 11, 2001. Lawmakers in both parties have pushed for them to be released, claiming that declassification will finally shine a light on the kingdom’s role in the terror attacks.

Others say that the results are far less damning, but nonetheless have said that the paged should be released to end years of speculation about what they might contain. 

Ryan’s office has deferred to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who has said the pages ought to be made public.

The matter is currently in the hands of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and may be decided by this June, spy chief James Clapper told reporters on Monday.   

— Scott Wong contributed.

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