Pt. 17 of the "Post Constitutional Election" series is here.
This is getting interesting.
Donald Trump is now the only candidate running for president of the United States to call for the release of the 28 redacted pages in the 9/11 commission report. These pages, which are believed to implicate Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks, were hidden away by the Bush administration, and continue to be withheld from public view by the Obama administration.
Sen. Rand Paul also supports releasing the 28 pages. While still a presidential candidate, Paul introduced a Senate amendment in June 2015 to declassify the 28 pages.
As the Daily Beast reported last year, Paul received zero support for his amendment from his fellow Republicans in the Senate, including presidential candidates Cruz and Rubio. But that's not all. There is not only very little interest among our elected representatives in releasing the redacted pages to the public; they themselve have very little interest in reading them.
As of June 2015, Sen. Cruz, for example, admitted in an interview that he had not read the 28 redacted pages -- even though, as Rep. Thomas Massie noted at a press conference supporting Sen. Paul's amendment:
“Some of the best intelligence we have in the war on terror is in these 28 pages, and most of our colleagues in the House have not read them, yet they’re pretending to be informed on these issues and having a discussion on how to prevent the next 9/11, yet turning a blind eye to the 28 pages.”
With the 28 redacted pages in the news again, along with Trump's support for their release, it is worth knowing whether Ted Cruz supports declassifying them, too. To be sure, he has advisors who do (for example, Clare Lopez), but I haven't seen a recent statement from the candidate himself.
UPDATE: Ted Cruz said on Hannity, April 15, 2016, that he has "reviewed" the 28 pages, and they "should be made public."
Here, for the record, is Cruz's reply last year on being asked about the declassifying this secret Saudi section of the 9/11 report.
"Look, I think we need far more attention on radical Islamic terrorism, on the financing of it, on the forces behind it.
(Not what he was asked.)
I have not reviewed those 28 pages so I don't want to give you an answer not knowing what's in there. There is a reason we have classified information; we should not be revealing information that undermines our national security. So not having seen those pages, I can't give you a definitive answer. I do think we should make everything public that is possible without undermining our national security."
I suppose we should be grateful that Ted Cruz knew what the pages were. At a town hall in New Hampshire last summer, Jeb Bush was also asked about declassifying these same pages that his brother's administration placed under lock and key. He professed total ignorance -- and then made a joke out of the question. This reaction was odd, to say the least, particularly given the Bush family's close ties to Saudi Arabia.
Jeb Bush has since endorsed Ted Cruz; much of the Jeb! finance committee, including Neil Bush, has now come over to Team Cruz.
As for the remaining presidential candidates, a see-no-28-redacted-pages mindset prevails. Sen. Bernie Sanders reports that he hasn't read them, either. His extremely lame reason? According to CBS, the Vermont senator explained:
“The difficulty is, you see then, if you read them, then you’re gonna ask me a question, you’re gonna say, ‘You read them, what’s in them?’ And now I can tell you honestly I have not,” he said.
Back in 2003, former Sen. Hillary Clinton was among 46 senators who signed a letter calling on then-President George W. Bush to declassify the 28 redacted pages -- but maybe that was before the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ponied up something like $25 million for the Clinton Foundation. On being asked this week, whether she had ever read the 28 redacted pages, Clinton replied: "I'm not commenting."
Why ever not? Isn't commenting exactly what presidential candidates are supposed to do -- after reading the lousy 28 redacted pages?
See no Islam, see no 28 redacted pages, welcome to Washington. I think we better plan for Saudi business as usual in any administration but Trump's.