A presidential candidate is calling for the release of 28 pages from the 9/11 Commission Report that could alter the race and the way Americans view the event.
Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, will introduce the Transparency for the Families of 9/11 Victims Act this week alongside Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Wyden has allied with the Kentucky Republican previously on privacy and government secrecy issues. The legislation would declassify 28 redacted pages of the report.
Another of Paul's Democratic cosponsors, Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, has said in the past:
"The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier."
Declassifying the pages of the report has long been an objective of conspiracy theorists, but also government transparency activists. One of Paul's House allies, U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), has made the declassification of these pages a legislative priority.
Jones has read the pages in question and says that their release would not harm national security. Thomas Massie, another of Paul's GOP allies, said in 2014 that the pages changed his "understanding of history."The bill is only the latest move Rand Paul has made that may separate him from his fellow presidential aspirants. He recently led a
quasi-filibuster, bringing attention to the lack of privacy safeguards in the Patriot Act. His efforts paid off at least temporarily as he forced an expiration of some of the legislation's powers on Sunday.
However, the issue has also exposed divisions between Paul and several others in his party. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a rumored candidate, said Paul's foreign policy pronouncements are the "most liberal Democratic" positions and they make Paul "unsuited" to serve as commander-in-chief.
John Sununu, former chief of staff to President George H. W. Bush, recently said that any GOP candidate should be supported against Hillary Clinton except Paul. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have both offered similar statements in the past.
When debates and noteworthy straw polls begin to occur, the rift between Paul and other candidates may come to the fore. However, Americans by and large have desired a reform to government secrecy. An ACLU poll earlier this year found that 60% of respondents thought the Patriot Act should be reformed while more than 80% were "concerned" the act was too powerful in "collecting and storing" personal information.
Early polling collected by Real Clear Politics also shows Paul and Sen. Marco Rubio running the closest to Democrat Hillary Clinton. Though Rubio and many other Republicans usually represent different outlooks from Rand Paul, the Kentucky senator's latest move could become one of the factors that separates the candidates.