Justice Department Will Review 9/11 Files After Biden is Asked Not to Attend Memorials

The Department of Justice said it would reexamine the September 11, 2001 attacks after hearing that victims’ families did not want President Joe Biden to attend memorial services unless he declassified files showing the Saudi Arabian government was responsible.

The New York Post reports that approximately 1,800 people affected by the September 11 terror attacks signed a letter requesting that Biden stay away from ceremonies commemorating the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

Family members of victims, survivors, and first responders have said that since the 9/11 Commission issued its report in 2004, “much investigative evidence has been uncovered implicating Saudi government officials in supporting the attacks. Through multiple administrations, the Department of Justice and the FBI have actively sought to keep this information secret and prevent the American people from learning the truth about the 9/11 attacks.”

The families also claim that in October 2020, while running for president, Joe Biden told them he would ask the Department of Justice to “err on the side of disclosure” regarding the classified files. The letter goes on to say, “as we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and having been used as a political bargaining chip for two decades; our patience has expired. We had great hope that President Biden, who campaigned on bringing truth and trust back to the oval office, would value the lives and sacrifices of America’s citizens over diplomatic relations with a country accused of mass murder.”

The 9/11 commission report said the Riyadh government was a “problematic ally in combating Islamic extremism” but found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization.” In 2016, 28 pages of a 2002 Congressional report into U.S. intelligence activities were declassified, showing that some hijackers received support from people who may have been connected to the Saudi government but did not conclude that the government was complicit in the attacks.

While the Justice Department said they would review the files related to the 9/11 terror attacks, they did not specify which documents or information may be released following the review. The Department’s decision to review the files comes on the heels of the letter signed by 1,800 family members and first responders, as well as a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

President Biden said of the Justice Department’s decision, “as I promised during my campaign, my administration is committed to ensuring the maximum degree of transparency under the law, and to adhering to the rigorous guidance issued during the Obama-Biden administration on the invocation of the state secrets privilege. In this vein, I welcome the Department of Justice’s filing today.”

Of the 19 attackers, 15 were Saudi citizens, and Osama Bin Laden was born in Saudi Arabia. However, the Saudi government continues to deny any involvement. Several presidential administrations have kept the 9/11 documents classified, including President Trump, who invoked the state secrets privilege in 2019.

 

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