Brian Kilmeade: Twenty-eight pages, that's how much classified material was left out of the 9/11 Commission Report when it was released in 2004. Now the information is triggering a debate on whether it should be released to the public or not released to the public.
Pete Hegseth: That's right. Out next guest is one of the few people who has read those pages, and says the American people need to see them. Former Chairman of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee and former Michigan Congressman Pete Hoekstra joins us now. Congressman, thanks for joining us this morning.
Pete Hoekstra: Thank you. Good morning.
Hegseth: So you've seen these 28 pages. I know it's classified, you're limited in what you can say, but what do the American people need to know about what's in those 28 pages, that you can tell us?
Hoekstra: Well I think number one, the American people need to know that this was a report that was developed by Congress back in 2004. If I remember correctly, Congress wanted this information declassified and wanted to make it available to the American public. It's an issue of transparency. And at that point in time you know the Bush administration, the executive branch controls all classification, they said no, keep the information secret. They wouldn't even let us share the information with our colleagues in the House.
Kilmeade: So the Daily Mail, I know you have a, you're under lock and key now, but there was this report in the Daily Mail that there was this Saudi official that was linked to the embassy, that is now at Gitmo, became a bomb maker, who had a pilot's license, had lied about having that pilot's license, and interacted with the hijackers. There's something with this one guy that is troublesome and might risk our I guess intelligence apparatus. Was there something about that Daily Mail story that was correct?
Hoekstra: Well Brian, I really can't talk about it. If, you know I'd love to take you to my secret private server and share the information with you, but I don't have the latitude to do that. It's still classified, so what I can talk about is you know what's in the press and say you know it's kind of interesting, but we've had two administrations, they're trying to protect something, you know diplomatic relations with Saudi, diplomatic relations maybe with Iran, that they think may be jeopardized if this information becomes public. It's, I don't see any reason why at this point, 12, 13 years later, 15 years after 9/11, why the American people should not have full access to this data today.
Hegseth: Well Congressman, I think the American people feel much the same way. I appreciate someone who still cares about classification and classified information. We live in a world where a lot of that is given away. Why is this an issue right now? Why has this bubbled to the surface, these 28 pages? And again, I know you've answered a little bit, but why would both administrations hold back? What's to hide?
Hoekstra: Well I mean they may have had different objectives here, the Bush administration perhaps to protect its relationships with Saudi; this administration has obviously leaned much closer to Iran than Saudi. It's bubbling up now because the president just went to Saudi Arabia. Saudi is furious with the United States. They believe we sold them down the river in the Iran deal, and these kinds of things. And so you know relations are very delicate right now in the Middle East. That's why these kinds of things start, keep coming back. Plus, the 9/11 families, they've always been great advocates for transparency, they're pushing this issue.
Kilmeade: Right, and the Saudis don't want it, they don't want that lawsuit. Congressman Hoekstra, thanks so much.
Hoekstra: Thank you.