White House to make decision on 9/11 report by June: Bob Graham

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White House may release classified 9/11 pages by June: Bob Graham

WASHINGTON, April 24 (Reuters) - The White House will likely make a decision by June on whether it will release some classified material withheld from the public 9/11 Commission Report, a former U.S. senator who co-chaired the congressional inquiry into the attacks said on Sunday.

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The withheld section of the official report on the 2001 attacks is central to a dispute over whether Americans should be able to sue the Saudi Arabian government for damages. The Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence is reviewing the material to see whether it can be declassified.

Former Sen. Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat, has been pressing for the release of the information and said that it may shed light on the financial backers for 19 hijackers who killed nearly 3,000 people on Sept 11, 2001.

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White House to make decision on 9/11 report by June: Bob Graham
NEW YORK, USA - SEPTEMBER 11: Loved ones pay their respects at the 9/11 memorial for those killed on the 14th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks at the site where two of four hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center towers in New York, USA on September 11, 2015. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Army Sgt. Edwin Morales prays during a ceremony at the World Trade Center site in New York on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. With a moment of silence and somber reading of names, victims' relatives began marking the 14th anniversary of Sept. 11 in a subdued gathering Friday at ground zero.(AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)
Retired New York City firefighter Joseph McCormick visits the South Pool prior to a ceremony at the World Trade Center site in New York on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. With a moment of silence and somber reading of names, victims' relatives began marking the 14th anniversary of Sept. 11 in a subdued gathering Friday at ground zero. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)
NEW YORK, USA - SEPTEMBER 11: Loved ones pay their respects at the 9/11 memorial for those killed on the 14th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks at the site where two of four hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center towers in New York, USA on September 11, 2015. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - SEPTEMBER 11: Loved ones pay their respects at the 9/11 memorial for those killed on the 14th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks at the site where two of four hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center towers in New York, USA on September 11, 2015. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - SEPTEMBER 11: Loved ones pay their respects at the 9/11 memorial for those killed on the 14th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks at the site where two of four hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center towers in New York, USA on September 11, 2015. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - SEPTEMBER 11: Loved ones pay their respects at the 9/11 memorial for those killed on the 14th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks at the site where two of four hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center towers in New York, USA on September 11, 2015. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: A New York City firefighter participates in a memorial service for firefighters killed on September 11, 2001 at the New York City Fire Museum on September 11, 2015 in New York City. Three hundred and forty three firefighters, some viewed on the pictured memorial wall, were killed on September 11. Throughout the nation today people are holding somber gatherings and memorial events to reflect on the day 14 years ago that resulted in the loss of nearly 3,000 people. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - SEPTEMBER 11: Loved ones pay their respects at the 9/11 memorial for those killed on the 14th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks at the site where two of four hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center towers in New York, USA on September 11, 2015. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - SEPTEMBER 11: Loved ones pay their respects at the 9/11 memorial for those killed on the 14th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks at the site where two of four hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center towers in New York, USA on September 11, 2015. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - SEPTEMBER 11: Loved ones pay their respects at the 9/11 memorial for those killed on the 14th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks at the site where two of four hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center towers in New York, USA on September 11, 2015. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
An Origami crane is left at the 9/11 memorial before the ceremony to commemorate the 14th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks, on September 11, 2015 in New York. AFP PHOTO/KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: New York City firefighters participate in a memorial service for firefighters killed on September 11, 2001 at the New York City Fire Museum on September 11, 2015 in New York City. Three hundred and forty three firefighters, some viewed on the pictured memorial wall, were killed on September 11. Throughout the nation today people are holding somber gatherings and memorial events to reflect on the day 14 years ago that resulted in the loss of nearly 3,000 people. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Family members of a 9/11 victim embraces each other as they attend the 14th Anniversary ceremony of the terrorist attacks at the 9/11 memorial on September 11, 2015 in New York. AFP PHOTO/KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Johnell Santiago plays Amazing Grace on a street in lower Manhattan at the time of the attacks on September 11, 2015 in New York City. Santiago, who is from Waterbury, Connecticut felt the need to come to New York as a patriot. Throughout the nation today people are holding somber gatherings and memorial events to reflect on the day 14 years ago that resulted in the loss of nearly 3,000 people. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Lower Manhattan is viewed on September 11, 2015 in New York City. Throughout the nation today people are holding somber gatherings and memorial events to reflect on the day 14 years ago that resulted in the loss of nearly 3,000 people. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - SEPTEMBER 11: Loved ones pay their respects at the 9/11 memorial for those killed on the 14th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks at the site where two of four hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center towers in New York, USA on September 11, 2015. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Riders participate in the 9/11 Memorial Motorcycle Ride in New York on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The ride pays tribute to the first responders who led recovery efforts during and following the September 11th terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)
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Graham told NBC's Meet the Press that he believed that some of the withheld classified material could soon be released.

"The president's staff at least has said that they will make a decision by June, and I hope that decision is to honor the American people and make it available," Graham said.

Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said last week that he also supported releasing the material.

"The release of these pages will not end debate over the issue, but it will quiet rumors over their contents," Representative Adam Schiff said in a statement. "As is often the case, the reality is less damaging than the uncertainty."

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Alan Crosby)

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