FBI declassifies documents around the 9/11 attack
The FBI declassified the first of many secret files revealing more information about the 9/11 investigations.
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Twenty years after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, early Sunday morning, Sept. 12, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a document analyzing possible connections between several Saudi nationals in the United States and two of the 9/11 attackers.
The file is part of a line of investigation that concluded in 2016 and points to the involvement of Saudi officials in the organization of the attacks. However, according to the New York Times, the declassified content is not conclusive, but may serve to calm the anger of the 1,800 victims — mostly relatives of the victims, but also survivors and members of the rescue teams — who have long called on President Joe Biden to release the documents to the public.
Relatives of the victims of the World Trade Center attacks had been calling for years for the release of these files, arguing that Saudi officials had prior knowledge of the attack and did not try to stop it.
What does the document say?
The only document declassified over the past weekend is a 16-page transcribed interview conducted in November 2015 with a Saudi, identified as PII. The document describes contacts between several Saudi nationals and two of the hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar.
The FBI file also states that there were links between the two hijackers and Fahad al-Thumairy, a Muslim leader of the King Fahad Mosque in Los Angeles, who is described by the sources as having "extremist beliefs."
According to the AP, both Bayoumi and Thumairy left the United States weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Saudi Arabia's embassy in Washington said on Wednesday, Sept. 8 that it "welcomes the release" of the FBI documents, but that "any allegation that Saudi Arabia is complicit in the Sept. 11 attacks is categorically false," it told CNN.
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said they have been "asking for more than a decade for their release and we are confident that the information will confirm that there is no connection of the kingdom to the attacks."
Previous administrations, those of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, had refused to declassify the documents, citing it would undermine national security.
Current President Joe Biden ordered the release of as many files as possible over the next six months.