DUBAI (Reuters) - CIA chief John Brennan said on Sunday he expects 28 classified pages of a U.S. congressional report into the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States to be published, absolving Saudi Arabia of any responsibility.
“So these 28 pages I believe are going to come out and I think it’s good that they come out. People shouldn’t take them as evidence of Saudi complicity in the attacks,” Brennan said in an interview with Saudi-owned Arabiya TV, according to a transcript provided by the network.
The withheld section of the 2002 report is central to a dispute over whether Americans should be able to sue the Saudi government, a key U.S. ally, for damages.
The U.S. Senate passed a bill on May 17 allowing the families of Sept. 11 victims to do so, setting up a potential showdown with the White House, which has threatened a veto.
Saudi Arabia denies providing any support for the 19 hijackers - most of whom were Saudi citizens - who killed nearly 3,000 people in the Sept. 11 attacks. Riyadh strongly objects to the bill.
It has said it might sell up to $750 billion in U.S. securities and other American assets if it became law.
Brennan called the 28-page section merely a “preliminary review.”
“The 9/11 commission looked very thoroughly at these allegations of Saudi involvement ... their conclusion was that there was no evidence to indicate that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually had supported the 9/11 attacks,” he added.
The Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence is reviewing the material to see whether it can be declassified.
Former U.S. Senator Bob Graham, who co-chaired the congressional inquiry into the attacks, said in April that the White House will likely make a decision by June on whether it would release the classified pages.
Reporting By Noah Browning, Sami Aboudi and Ali Abdelatti; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Paul Simao