May 12, 2004

Wyden, Lott Support 9/11 Families' Call to Declassify Entire Commission Report

Senators' letters to Commission, White House urge "full access" to facts

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.) today called on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, more commonly known as the "9/11 Commission," to declassify and make public all sections of the Commission's upcoming report on the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. Wyden and Lott, members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, made the request after speaking with leaders of the 9/11 victims' families groups about their concerns that some appendices and annexes to the Commission report are to be kept under wraps as classified material. The Senators believe that the entire report can safely be made public with appropriate redactions for national security. "Nearly three years after the tragedies in New York, Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia, families of the victims are still looking for answers about how these attacks could have happened," said Wyden. "I believe they deserve the fullest accounting possible of the government's action to confront the terrorist threat before, during and after the horror of 9/11." The text of the Senators' letter is below. **************************************** May 12, 2004 The Honorable Thomas H. Kean, Chairman The Honorable Lee H. Hamilton, Vice Chairman National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon The United States - Room 5125 301 7th Street, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20407 Dear Commissioners: We look forward to learning the results of your final deliberations this summer. It is our view that the value of the Commission's report to the American public and policymakers would be enhanced by the subsequent public release of all elements of the final report of the Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, including the declassification of any classified appendices or annexes. It is our understanding this request has already been made by the 9/11 victims' families and we fully support their request. Although declassification may involve additional time and effort, we believe the full measure and import of the Commission's work will not be fulfilled unless the complete report is available to the public. We believe that the report declassifications can be accomplished through redactions consistent with the protection of intelligence sources and methods to protect national security. The 9/11 families deserve no less than full access to all the information regarding the murders of their loved ones and on which the Commission based its findings and recommendations. Without a complete, declassified accounting of the Commission's conclusions it is unlikely the American people and their policymakers will be able to comprehend how the September 11th attacks occurred and how best to respond to prevent future attacks. We appreciate your attention to this matter and await your response. Sincerely, TRENT LOTT U.S. SENATOR RON WYDEN U.S. SENATOR