News reports about the recently released 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks are typically dismissive: this is nothing new, it's just circumstantial evidence, and there's no "smoking gun." Yet given what the report actually says – and these news accounts are remarkably sparse when it comes to verbatim quotes – it's hard to fathom what would constitute a smoking gun.
To begin with, let's start with what's not in these pages: there are numerous redactions. And they are rather odd. When one expects to read the words "CIA" or "FBI," instead we get a blacked-out word. Entire paragraphs are redacted – often at crucial points. So it's reasonable to assume that, if there is a smoking gun, it's contained in the portions we're not allowed to see. Presumably the members of Congress with access to the document prior to its release who have been telling us that it changes their entire conception of the 9/11 attacks – and our relationship with the Saudis – read the unredacted version. Which points to the conclusion that the omissions left out crucial information – perhaps including the vaunted smoking gun.