9/11: New Declassified Records Released by FBI
After President Joe Biden signed an executive order ordering the declassification of documents related to September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, records start to be released.
“Information should not remain classified when the public interest in disclosure outweighs any damage to the national security,” said Biden.
The first investigative report released by the FBI entails contacts the hijackers had with Saudi associates in the U.S. but does not provide proof that senior Saudi government officials were complicit in the plot.
According to reports, the 16-page document is a summary of an FBI interview done in 2015 with a man who had frequent contact with Saudi nationals in the U.S. who supported the first hijackers to arrive in the country before the attacks.
The Saudi government has long denied any involvement in the attacks. The Saudi Embassy in Washington has supported the full declassification of all records as a way to “end the baseless allegations against the Kingdom once and for all.” The embassy said that any allegation that Saudi Arabia was complicit was “categorically false.”
However, families of the bereaved have long sought evidence to link the Saudi government to the deaths of the victims in the 9/11 attacks. The families even threatened to skip Memorial Day services if Biden refused to release the investigative documents.
Upon signing the declassification order, Biden reflects on the promises he made during his campaign, saying, “When I ran for president, I made a commitment to ensuring transparency regarding the declassification of documents on September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. As we approach the 20th anniversary of that tragic day, I am honoring that commitment.”
Families of the victims said that the release was a significant step in their efforts to connect the attacks to Saudi Arabia and accelerates their pursuit of truth and justice.
“The findings and conclusions in this FBI investigation validate the arguments we have made in the litigation regarding the Saudi government’s responsibility for the 9/11 attacks,” Jim Kreindler, who was a lawyer for the victims’ relatives, said in a statement.
“This document, together with the public evidence gathered to date, provides a blueprint for how Al Qaeda operated inside the US with the active, knowing support of the Saudi government.”
A representative from the justice department has previously said that the FBI will disclose more information about the investigations “on a rolling basis as expeditiously as possible”.