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 job within the assaults.
The 16-page report, which was issued hours after President Biden arrived on the World Trade Center memorial in Lower 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.
Families of the Sept. 11 victims have lengthy pushed for a deeper investigation into any potential function the Saudi authorities had within the assaults. Mr. Biden instructed the Justice Department and federal companies in latest days to launch declassified paperwork over the following six months after a gaggle of a whole bunch of affected folks — together with survivors, emergency medical staff and victims’ kin — instructed him to skip the memorial occasion at floor zero this yr if he didn’t transfer to disclose a few of these paperwork.
The doc, which was closely redacted, describes an interview performed 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. The doc additionally summarizes his contact with individuals who investigators stated had offered “significant logistic support” to two of the hijackers.
Some members of the fee that investigated the 2001 assaults believed that if the Saudi authorities had any function within the plot, it was doubtless to have concerned consular officers.
But the doc launched on Saturday offered no new conclusive proof in regards to the Saudi authorities’s function.
Speculation across the potential Saudi function 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 potential connections between the dominion and the terrorist plot.
The doc was lastly launched 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 job 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 an announcement this week saying “any allegation that Saudi Arabia is complicit in the Sept. 11 attacks is categorically false.”
In its 2004 ultimate report, the Sept. 11 Commission stated it had discovered no proof that the “Saudi government as an institution, or senior Saudi officials individually funded” Al Qaeda. But 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. They additionally stated that the fee, working beneath excessive time strain, couldn’t run each lead to floor.