Walter Jones: Obama should keep his word to 9/11 families

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Kurt Wallace: This is Kurt Wallace and our guest today on Rare is [Rep.] Walter B. Jones, representative of the 3rd district of North Carolina and Congressman Jones thanks for being with us today.

Rep. Walter B. Jones: Kurt thank you. You have given me this opportunity several times and I’m delighted to be on your show again today.

Kurt Wallace: Congressman, you’ve introduced HR 42 with Congressman Lynch and Massie to declassify the 28 pages of the report on 9/11. What made you become interested in these documents?

Rep. Walter B. Jones: Well Kurt, first I want to give credit to Senator Bob Graham now retired from Florida whose been way out front on this issue of declassifying the 28 pages. I read a book that he had written that had perked my interested. And I decided that I wanted to delve more because of the tragedy of 9/11. We all remember it if we were adult and living at that time. And then from my interest I had a couple of phone calls with Senator Graham. Then a year ago I decided to make a request to read the 28 pages which I did in a classified setting it’s still classified. And my decision after that was that the families of 9/11 and the American people have the right to see the 28 pages.

Because there’s nothing in the 28 pages that now classified that have anything to do with national security. It is about relationships and it does go back to the Bush administration and relationships with foreign countries in this case particularly Saudi Arabia. The American people need to see it, make their own judgements and that means if they have that opportunity it helps to strengthen our republic.

Kurt Wallace: Now you read these documents. Talk about how that worked in being able to have access.

Rep. Walter B. Jones: Well Kurt, on the house side, and I’m sure it’s probably very similar on the senate side, the documents that are classified are under the jurisdiction of the House Intel Committee. It is chaired by Mike Rogers from Michigan and the co-chair is Dutch Ruppersberger the democrat from Maryland and you have to write a letter and ask permission to go down to read the 28 pages. You go down to a private room. The outside door has a guard sitting there in uniform that you have to show him your voting card and leave any devices that you might have that you could record anything or take pictures of anything. You leave that out at the front desk and then you go into a room where there’s a civilian dressed gentleman. In our case that provided, Frank Wolf and I ended up going together not intentionally it just worked out that way. So, then you go into the room and the gentleman again makes sure you don’t have any pens or pencils or pads and he watches you read the 28 pages.

Kurt Wallace: Now you spoke about relationships. Are there concerns among those interested in keeping these documents classified either politically or otherwise. Are there concerns that they should have?

Rep. Walter B. Jones: Well, let’s go back very briefly. The 28 pages were in the 9/11 Report. The Bush administration is who made the decision to classify the 28 pages. That was not in the recommendation by the 9/11 Commission. Because Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton just recently said that the 28 pages should be declassified. The decision to classify the 28 pages was made by the Bush administration. That should tell your listeners something that why would a president won’t to classify certain information. And again I’m only saying this is about relationships. And maybe things that were not done that should have been done unintentionally.

But that is again why I think the American people and the 9/11 families have been crying for this information to be declassified for the last 10 years. They believe and I believe that America’s strength is the fact that America believes in the truth and letting the American people see the information and make their own decisions.

Kurt Wallace: President Obama was supposed to be the most transparent President. Any speculation as to why he hasn’t taken the lead on declassifying these documents?

Rep. Walter B. Jones: Kurt, you’re exactly right. Sadly, and this came out at the news conference that we had two days ago that President Obama has twice met separately with the members of the 9/11 families. And told each group that he would declassify the information. That’s why Steve Lynch and Thomas Massie and I have taken the lead on this in the house. Because we believe sincerely that the president should have no qualms none so ever to declassify this information. And especially when you tell the families who are still suffering still in pain that you will declassify the information. President Obama should keep his word to the families and to the American people on this issue.

Kurt Wallace: Congressman Jones you held a press conference this week with the families could you tell us about how that went?

Rep. Walter B. Jones: Well, it was very heart wrenching. This was the second news conference. We held one in March and this news conference we had two more family members that came to speak at the news conference. Calling on the President Obama to keep his word to them. Let me give you two examples. One Mr. Sellitto from New Jersey whose son called him that day he was in the towers. And his son called from the hundred and twentieth floor. And said to his father ‘I will not see you again but I want you to know I love you’. That in itself just touched your heart. Truthfully to hear that father tell that story about his son. Then we had a lady who brought her daughter who was fourteen and the daughter and the son who was born one month after his daddy was killed in the towers. The daughter’s name is Kaitlyn and the boy’s name is Justin. And she talked about how she would never have her first dance with her daddy. How her daddy would never walk her down the isle to be married. The little boy was just as hear wrenching that he never knew his father. That he was born one month after his father was killed. And we had a lady Mrs. Saracini who husband was the pilot of one of the planes that hit the towers.

All of these people, Kurt, in just a very heart wrenching way called on the president to keep his word. That’s why Steve Lynch was there to speak briefly, Thomas Massie was there to speak briefly and I spoke briefly. That’s why we’re going to stay on top of this. Why I wanted to do your show. I want your listeners to get in touch with their members of the house and the senate. Tell them to go read the 28 pages. Tell them to join in an effort to demand that the president keep his word to the families.

Kurt Wallace: After reading these 28 pages, do you think that these documents will change the way people see the history of this last decade plus.

Rep. Walter B. Jones: My answer would be, it will help yes. I think that if when you have a tragedy of this magnitude and people still have questions. The questions will still exist. But if we declassify the 28 pages at least some of the questions will be answered. And that is what needs to happen. Now I will tell you Steve Lynch and Thomas Massie and I working with the families and we are working with the families. We know this is an ongoing project until we get it done. That’s why I was so pleased to be asked to be on your show today. We’re going to keep doing everything that we can do to keep this drum beat going. Because there is no reason when you hear the families talking about their pain 13 years later it’s just as deep today as it was 13 years ago.

Kurt Wallace: Congressman Jones we appreciate your time today thanks for being on today with Rare.

Rep. Walter B. Jones: Kurt, thank you so much and please tell your listeners to get involved on this issue America will not survive without the truth. Thank you Kurt.

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