Survivors Lead Fight To Declassify 28 Pages Of 9/11 Report
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
Survivors of the September 11 attacks and family members of those who were killed have a long-standing interest in the content of those 28 pages. 9/11 survivor Sharon Premoli says those papers should be declassified, and Sharon Premoli joins us now. Welcome to the program.
SHARON PREMOLI: Thank you.
SIEGEL: 9/11, 2001 - where were you? What happened?
PREMOLI: Well, I was on the 80th floor of the north tower when the first plane hit, and it was a very traumatic and frightening experience. I consider myself very lucky. We got down to the lobby and were taken across the concourse and up to number five.
However, just as I placed my feet on that floor, number two came down. It was the first building that collapsed. And unfortunately, it broke through the plate glass window and lifted me up into the air and blew me into a plate glass window. I had full frontal impact with the plate glass window. I was actually knocked out, and when I came to, I found myself on top of a body. And that has been an image that is seared into my memory.
SIEGEL: Well, you're a plaintiff, and you're one of those who is...
PREMOLI: Yes, I am a plaintiff, yes, and an activist, yes.
SIEGEL: And suing the government of Saudi Arabia.
PREMOLI: It's not just the government. There are charities. There are individuals. There were banks. And yes, it is the government, yes.
SIEGEL: Some members of the 9/11 commission have agreed that these 28 pages from the earlier congressional inquiry should be declassified. I should add, Senator Bob Kerrey - former Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska told us here that he thinks they should be let out. He doesn't expect any big bombshells. What might be in those 28 pages that you think could alter the course of the lawsuit that you and other survivors are a part of against Saudi Arabia?
PREMOLI: I don't know that it would alter the course. I believe it will corroborate what we already know. But more importantly, those 28 pages and several other documents are critical to the understanding of how our foreign policy should be shaped today and in the future.
Our members of Congress and the American public are completely in the dark as to what the nature of the relationship really is with these so-called allies. And we've been allied with them, and they've been operating with impunity all these years. So the 28 pages really, I think, would open the eyes of our legislators who are making those decisions.
SIEGEL: That you think that they would show that there was more contact with the 9/11 hijackers from people who themselves had contact with the Saudi government than we might know already.
PREMOLI: It would show that they knowingly aided and abetted and enabled 19 hijackers in the murder of 3,000 innocent people.
SIEGEL: Senators Schumer and Cornyn, a Democrat...
SIEGEL: ...Of New York and a Republican of Texas, have introduced a bill that would allow family members of victims and survivors - people like you - to sue the Saudi government.
SIEGEL: It sounds like you would want to see that law passed.
PREMOLI: Yes. And it's not just for us. It would enable every American who was the victim of terrorism in the United States to have the right to do that.
SIEGEL: It's been almost 15 years since...
SIEGEL: ...Since the 9/11 attacks. We've had investigations. There has - there's been compensation. To what extent do you feel justice has been served or not?
PREMOLI: None whatsoever. There's none in Guantanamo and none here regarding our lawsuit. I would like to say that it is very painful not only for the families - and it is for the survivors as well because there's no closure. And those who we believe who financed the murder of these people and the injuries of many others have operated with impunity. And in fact, it has actually emboldened them since 9/11 because they know that the United States government won't act.
SIEGEL: Sharon Premoli, thank you very much for talking with us.
PREMOLI: Thank you very much.
SIEGEL: Sharon Premoli is a 9/11 survivor from the World Trade Center and one of those who is suing Saudi Arabia.
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