WASHINGTON-On Friday, President Joe Biden instructed to declassify certain documents related to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This is a gesture of support for the families of victims who have long sought records and hopes to be implicated in the Saudi government.
The order was issued a little more than a week before the attack occurred 20 weeks ago, and it was an important moment in a multi-year dispute between the government and family members. Last month, when many relatives, survivors, and first responders publicly opposed Biden’s participation in the 9/11 commemorative event, if the documents remain confidential, the conflict has manifested itself.
Biden said on Friday that he fulfilled his campaign promise by ordering a declassified review and promised that his government “will continue to engage in respectful contact with members of the community.”
The executive order stated: “The major events discussed occurred 20 years ago or more. They involve a tragic moment that continues to resonate in American history and the lives of many Americans.” “So ensure that the US government Maximizing transparency is critical, relying on classification only when strictly customized and necessary.”
The order instructed the Ministry of Justice and other administrative agencies to begin declassification review and required the release of declassified documents within the next six months.
Brett Eagleson’s father, Bruce, was one of the victims of the World Trade Center and an advocate for the relatives of other victims. He praised this action as a “critical first step.” He said that the family will pay close attention to this process to ensure that the Ministry of Justice implements and takes action “in good faith.”
“The first test will take place on 9/11 and the whole world is watching. We look forward to thanking President Biden in person next week, because he will be with us at Ground Zero to commemorate the people who died or were injured 20 years ago.” Gerson said.
Nevertheless, the actual impact of the executive order and any new documents that it may produce is unclear. Public documents issued in the past 20 years, including those issued by the 9/11 Committee, described in detail many entanglements with Saudi Arabia, but did not prove that the government was complicit.
A long-term lawsuit in the Federal Court of New York seeks to hold the Saudi government accountable and claims that Saudi officials provided important support to some hijackers before the attack. The lawsuit has taken a big step forward this year. Former Saudi officials were questioned after being sworn in, and their families have long regarded the disclosure of declassified documents as an important step in filing the case.
The Saudi government denied any connection with the attack.
The 15 hijackers were Saudis, as was Osama bin Laden, and his al-Qaeda network was behind the attack. The special review focused on the support provided to the first two hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar who arrived in the United States, including a Saudi national with ties to the Saudi government who helped these people find and lease in the United States Apartment. San Diego and who earlier caused the FBI’s review.
Although many documents examining potential relations with Saudi Arabia have been published, US officials have long believed that other records are too sensitive to disclose. On Thursday, families of victims and survivors urged the inspector general of the Justice Department to investigate the FBI apparently unable to find the key evidence they had been looking for.
The Justice Department revealed last month that the FBI recently completed its investigation of certain 9/11 hijackers and potential accomplices and is working to provide more information.
According to the terms of the executive order, the FBI must complete a declassified review of the investigation file before September 11, which it calls a “sub-file investigation.” Other documents, including any telephone and bank records and reports with findings, will be reviewed in the next six months, with an eye on disclosure.