Decorated US Counter-terrorism Expert: Declassify the “28 Pages” to Heal Saudi-American Relations
May 10, 2016
Edward A. Turzanski is a Life Member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), having served with the U.S. Intelligence Community in postings throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe during the Reagan Administration. He was also a member of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Anti-Terror Advisory Committee throughout the George W. Bush Administration. He currently serves as the Templeton Fellow and Co-Chair of the Center for the Study of Terrorism at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. He is also Professor of Political Science and History at La Salle University in Philadelphia, where his research focuses include Intelligence and Espionage, Terrorism and Counterterrorism, U.S. National Security Policy, the American Presidency, and Social and Cultural Commentary.
What is your view of the controversy over the release of the classified 28-page portion of a Congressional report on 9/11?
I think it is very important that the secret portion of the “9-11 Report” be disclosed in its entirety — because at this point, having the “28 pages” lurk as a phantom invites people to supply their own narrative, which in the long term is much more damaging to US-Saudi relations than disclosing what we believe to likely be in the report and then dealing with the aftermath. Let’s also keep in mind that there’s a broader context to the US-Saudi relationship — and of greater concern to those people who respect that very long, consequential relationship is the Administration’s position vis a vis Iran, which to my thinking, has been damaging to the US, to Saudi Arabia, and to other allies that the US has in the Middle East.
What is publicly known about the content of the unreleased “28 pages”?
What we have been told most frequently in the US media is that the Government of Saudi Arabia is not implicated. Getting the information out is important, and we need to deal with any fallout there might be. Each side is going to deal with justice on its terms. But again, I do stress that, keeping the information out of the public view has the corrosive effect on American confidence in Saudi Arabia and in the relationship with Saudi Arabia. I believe that is more dangerous in the long term than disclosing what’s in the report, dealing with the aftermath, and then moving on — recognizing that we do have some common interests. And those interests are not being served by the Administration’s tilt toward Iran.