President Bush refused today to declassify a 28-page chapter of a Congressional report on the Sept. 11 attacks. He said disclosure of the deleted section, which centers on accusations about Saudi Arabia’s role in financing the hijackings, “would help the enemy” and compromise the administration’s campaign against terror. [From NYT Article]
This makes no sense. There are two possibilities here that I can see.
1. The report is acurate. If the information in the report is correct in detailing what countries are directly supporting terrorists then releasing the information to the public can in no way benefit our “enemies.” Why? Because our enemies already know who is supporting them. I am confident that the report can be redacted to remove any concerns of methods and just state the basic facts.
2. The report is inaccurate. If the report is false, and the countries listed are not supporting terrorist activity, releasing that information will not aid the terrorists because those countries won’t help them anyway.
So either way, the report could not help the terrorists. So why refuse to release it to the public. My guess is that option 2 is more likely. If option 1 were the case, there would be no negative effects to the current administration as it would show they had quality intelligence. But given option 2, it would give the named countries a solid base of information to contradict. Saudi Arabia has already made this request and seems to be confident they can dispute the facts if only they are made available.
The current refusal allows the administration to look good by saying “we know who helped the terrorists” but not actually having to prove it.
Next time I play poker, I will be taking the tactic of announcing I have a royal flush every hand but refuse to show it. Give me your money.