Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared before the House Judiciary Committee at the “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation” public hearing. The full Judiciary Committee hearing can be found at: https://judiciary.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=4581 During this hearing, Judiciary Committee members requested that Director Wray focus resources toward the declassification of 9/11 records. Congressman Ted Deutch, asked Director Wray to commit to a full and complete declassification review of the events of 9/11. In addition, Congressman Thomas Massie asked Director Wray to prioritize the expedited search, review and declassification of records related to operations relevant to terrorist preparations for 9/11. Congressman Massie urged Director Wray to work with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to declassify as much information as possible from the records related to 9/11 in light of the 20th anniversary of the attacks.
The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) recently held a virtual public meeting where it invited officials from the National Commission on the Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) to discuss records relating to the terrorist attacks. Former 9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick and 9/11 Commission Executive Director Phillip Zelikow discussed their experiences working with the Commission and the records collected and created in the analysis of the tragic events. Ms. Gorelick and Dr. Zelikow spoke at length about the importance of the 9/11 Commission records and those that they thought were of extraordinary historical interest that should be prioritized for declassification as their declassification and public release would add significantly to the historical understanding of the events surrounding 9/11.
The PIDB has long advocated for prioritized declassification. In our 2014 report to the President, Setting Priorities: An Essential Step in Transforming Declassification, the PIDB included records related to the 9/11 attacks as a topic for expedited and prioritized declassification.The review and declassification of the remaining classified records related to the events of 9/11 aids government transparency and assists citizens in receiving information to hold its officials accountable.