US President Joe Biden on Friday ordered the release of still-secret documents from the government’s investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks for the next six months.
Biden is responding to pressure from families of some of the approximately 3,000 people killed by al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001.
They have long argued that the classified documents could contain evidence that the government of Saudi Arabia, a close US ally, had ties to the hijackers who flew into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
“Today I signed an executive order directing the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to oversee a review of the classification of documents related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Sept. 11 investigations,” Biden said in a statement. a statement.
Declassification must take place “in the next six months”.
“We must never forget the enduring pain of the families and loved ones of the 2,977 innocent people who died in the worst terrorist attack on America in our history,” Biden said.
The move comes ahead of the 20th anniversary of the attack, which shortly after spurred then-President George W. Bush to order the invasion of Afghanistan, where the Taliban protected Al-Qaeda’s leadership.
Biden withdrew the last of US troops from Afghanistan this week and completed a dramatic evacuation of the Kabul airport after the Taliban defeated the US-backed government and returned to power.
The urge for more information is driven by families of victims who are suing Saudi Arabia for alleged complicity in the horrific attack. The families have long expressed frustration at the number of documents that remain off-limits.
The official 9/11 Commission, set up by Congress, said there was “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually” was funding al-Qaeda.
That wording has been interpreted by some as suggesting that unofficial or lower-ranking Saudi figures played a role.
Some of the research may still be considered too sensitive to release.
In an executive order initiating the declassification process, Biden noted that the “events in question occurred two decades ago or more, and they represent a tragic moment that still resonates in American history.”
“It is therefore critical to ensure that the United States government maximizes transparency…except when the strongest possible reasons advise otherwise.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)