WASHINGTON — Making good on a marketing campaign promise, President Biden directed the Justice Department and different federal businesses on Friday to oversee the overview and declassification of paperwork associated to the F.B.I.’s investigation into the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults.
In an govt order, Mr. Biden instructed Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to publicly launch the declassified paperwork over the subsequent six months.
“When I ran for president, I made a commitment to ensuring transparency regarding the declassification of documents on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America,” Mr. Biden mentioned in a press release launched earlier than the 20th anniversary of the assaults subsequent week. “We must never forget the enduring pain of the families and loved ones of the 2,977 innocent people who were killed during the worst terrorist attack on America in our history.”
For years, households of the victims of the Sept. 11 assaults have pushed the federal authorities to reveal extra details about any Saudi involvement in financing the assaults.
In 2019, William P. Barr, then the lawyer basic underneath President Donald J. Trump, declared in a press release to a federal court docket that paperwork associated to the assaults ought to keep categorized to shield nationwide safety. The transfer shocked the households.
As a candidate, Mr. Biden pledged final 12 months to “err on the side of disclosure in cases where, as here, the events in question occurred two decades or longer ago.”
It is just not clear what paperwork the Justice Department will launch when its overview is full. But the announcement was instantly hailed by some members of the family who’ve escalated stress on Mr. Biden to act.
Last month, a bunch of shut to 1,800 folks affected by the assault, together with survivors, emergency medical staff and members of the family of victims, instructed the president to skip the memorial occasion this 12 months at floor zero if he didn’t begin the method of reviewing the paperwork for potential declassification and launch.
“We are thrilled to see the president forcing the release of more evidence about Saudi connections to the 9/11 attacks,” Terry Strada, whose husband, Tom Strada, was killed within the World Trade Center, mentioned in a press release on Friday. “We have been fighting the F.B.I. and intelligence community for too long, but this looks like a true turning point.”
Some members of the family assume that the paperwork may element connections between the Saudi authorities and the hijackers who carried out the assaults.
The 9/11 Commission, which launched its ultimate report in 2004, discovered “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” Al Qaeda, which carried out the assaults. But that phrasing left some to speculate that there is perhaps proof of involvement by different, lower-ranking officers.