WASHINGTON — The Biden administration launched a newly declassified doc late Saturday describing connections the F.B.I. examined between the hijackers and the Saudi authorities within the years for the reason that Sept. 11, 2001, assaults, though it contained no conclusive proof about whether or not the dominion performed a task within the assaults.
The 16-page report, which was issued hours after President Biden arrived on the World Commerce Middle memorial in Decrease Manhattan, is the primary doc to be launched for the reason that president final week moved to declassify supplies that for years have remained secret.
Households of the Sept. 11 victims have lengthy pushed for a deeper investigation into any doable position the Saudi authorities had within the assaults. Mr. Biden instructed the Justice Division and federal companies in current days to release declassified documents over the next six months after a bunch of tons of of affected folks — together with survivors, emergency medical staff and victims’ kin — advised him to skip the memorial occasion at floor zero this 12 months if he didn’t transfer to reveal a few of these paperwork.
The doc, which was closely redacted, describes an interview carried out in November 2015 with a Saudi man, recognized solely as PII, who was making use of for American citizenship. He detailed his work on the nation’s consulate in Los Angeles and shared anecdotes about his private interactions with embassy management. Years earlier, that particular person appeared to have contact with individuals who investigators mentioned had offered “important logistic help” to 2 of the hijackers.
Some members of the fee that investigated the 2001 assaults believed that if the Saudi authorities had any position within the plot, it was prone to have concerned consular officers.
However the doc launched on Saturday offered no new conclusive proof in regards to the Saudi authorities’s position.
Hypothesis across the doable Saudi position elevated through the years due to the federal government’s refusal to declassify 28 pages of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11 assaults that particularly addressed doable connections between the dominion and the terrorist plot.
The doc was finally released in 2016, and it detailed quite a few suspicious conferences between Saudi officers and the Sept. 11 hijackers, and checks from Saudi royals to operatives in touch with the hijackers. It was additionally an unflattering image of the dominion’s efforts to thwart American operations towards Al Qaeda within the years earlier than the assaults.
The query of whether or not any Saudi officers performed a task within the Sept. 11 plot has festered for twenty years regardless of quite a few investigations into the assaults.
The Saudi authorities has lengthy denied any involvement. Its embassy in Washington issued a press release this week saying “any allegation that Saudi Arabia is complicit within the Sept. 11 assaults is categorically false.”
In its 2004 closing report, the Sept. 11 Fee mentioned it had discovered no proof that the “Saudi authorities as an establishment, or senior Saudi officers individually funded” Al Qaeda. However some former fee employees members have identified that the cautious wording of the report didn’t rule out the chance that lower-ranking Saudi officers had helped the hijackers. In addition they mentioned that the fee, working beneath excessive time strain, couldn’t run each result in floor.