FBI releases newly declassified document on 9/11 attack

Published : September 13, 2021 16:06 IST

The Twin towers in New York burning after two hijacked planes crashed into them on September 11, 2001. Photo: AP

The FBI has released 16 heavily redacted pages that describe contacts some of the hijackers had with Saudi associates in the U.S. However, it offers no evidence of the government in Riyadh being complicit in the plot.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released a newly declassified document pertaining to logistical help provided to two of the Saudi hijackers before the 9/11 attacks. The 16-page document was released late on September 11, on the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

Biden declassifies documents

The report, which is partially redacted, chronicles contacts the hijackers had with Saudi associates in the U.S., but gives no evidence of the government in Riyadh being complicit in the plot. The document is the first investigative record to be disclosed following an executive order by President Joe Biden for a declassification review of materials that have remained out of the public view in the last two decades.

The pages, which are heavily redacted, outline a 2015 interview with a person who was applying for U.S. citizenship and years before had repeated contact with Saudi nationals who investigators said provided "significant logistical support'' to several of the hijackers.

Families of the 9/11 victims had called on Biden to miss Saturday's 20th anniversary events if he did not declassify documents that they have asserted will show Saudi Arabian authorities supported the terror plot which killed nearly 3,000 people.

Saudis deny al-Qaeda links

The pages were released hours after Biden attended memorial events in New York, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia. Families of the victims, businesses and several insurers, have sued Saudi Arabia seeking billions of dollars.

The Saudi government has continued to deny any involvement. On September 8, the Saudi consulate in Washington had said that it supported the full declassification of all records to "end the baseless allegations against the Kingdom once and for all.''

The embassy maintained that any allegation that Saudi Arabia was complicit was "categorically false.'' On September 11, a statement released on behalf of the organization 9/11 Families United said that the 16 pages released by the FBI put any doubts about Saudi complicity to rest.

"Now the Saudis' secrets are exposed and it is well past time for the Kingdom to own up to its officials' roles in murdering thousands on American soil," the statement read.

dvv/tc (AP, Reuters)

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