9/11 families and survivors tell Biden to stay away from 20th anniversary commemorative events
More than 1,800 people affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks have called on President Biden not to attend ceremonies commemorating the 20th anniversary of the tragedy next month unless he orders the release of documents that he says them, could show links between the Saudi government and al-Qaeda.
The statement, first obtained by NBC News and signed by nearly 1,800 survivors, first responders and family members of the victims, says that since the 9/11 Commission released its final report in 2004, “there is a great deal of evidence investigation involving Saudi government officials were uncovered. by supporting the attacks.
“Through several administrations, the Department of Justice and the FBI have actively sought to keep this information secret and prevent the American people from learning the whole truth about the September 11 attacks,” he continues.
“Despite numerous requests from Democratic and Republican members of Congress and hundreds of members of the 9/11 family pleading with the previous and current administration to bring transparency to the issue, these efforts were rejected and the issue remained. inexplicably ignored. “
The signatories also claim that then-candidate Joe Biden told them in an October 2020 letter that he would ask the Justice Department to “be on the wrong side of the disclosure” in the case. However, with the anniversary of the attacks looming next month, they say, “having been used as a political bargaining chip for two decades, our patience has expired.”
“Twenty years later, there is simply no reason – unsubstantiated allegations of ‘national security’ or whatever – to keep this information secret,” the statement added.
What the Saudi government knew about the 9/11 plot and when it learned it remains one of the few unanswered questions about the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Shanksville, in Pennsylvania.
The summary of the 9/11 Commission report describes the Riyadh government as “a problematic ally in the fight against Islamic extremism”. However, the report concluded that it had found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials were individually funding the organization.”
In 2016, 28 pages of a 2002 Congressional report on US intelligence activities before and after 9/11 were declassified. The report named people who knew some of the 19 hijackers after they arrived in the United States and helped them secure apartments, open bank accounts and connect with local mosques.
Lawmakers also discovered that some hijackers had ties to people who could be linked to the Saudi government and received their support. The report adds that information from FBI sources suggests that at least two people who aided the hijackers may have been Saudi intelligence agents.
However, this report did not come to a conclusion about complicity in the attacks, claiming that it was possible that the interactions could reveal evidence of the Saudi government’s support for terrorism, but that there may also be more innocuous explanations for associations.
Earlier this year, two Saudis named in the 2002 report, as well as a former Saudi embassy official in Washington, were filed in a long-standing lawsuit filed by relatives of the victims. However, the transcripts of these sessions remain sealed and the US government withheld a wealth of other documents under a so-called “state secret” privilege intended to avoid jeopardizing national security.
Andrew Maloney, the plaintiffs’ lawyer in the case, told The Associated Press last month that they hope Saudi Arabia will compensate the families of the victims, accept responsibility and commit to eradicating terrorism.
In response to Friday’s statement, a White House spokesperson told NBC News: “Our hearts are with the families who lost loved ones on September 11, especially in the days leading up to the 20th anniversary of the attacks. … We can’t wait to have more to share. in the coming days on the steps we are taking to ensure greater transparency under the law.
With post wires