9/11 attacks: US to miss deadline to release FBI probe documents
The US Justice Department has acknowledged it will miss a deadline set by President Joe Biden to review and release documents from the FBI investigation into the 9/11 attacks.
In a court filing on Thursday, the department said that "due to continuing co-ordination with a number of foreign governments and ongoing interagency review," the FBI would not be able to complete the release of all required documents until mid-April.
The FBI was also working to create separate "production sets" of the documents by mid-April, since the records produced in line with the order contained redactions required by the Privacy Act, the Justice Department said.
In September, Biden ordered the Justice Department to review documents from the FBI investigation and gave it six months to make public the declassified documents.
To date, the FBI has released over 700 documents and over 2,700 pages in accordance with the process outlined in the 3 September executive order.
The FBI also released a 16-page document unveiling a memo detailing "significant logistic support" that two of the Saudi hijackers received in the US.
Ultimately, however, the FBI concluded that there was no concrete evidence that the Saudi nationals supported or were involved in the plot, according to a memo that closed out the probe and was among the more than 700 pages released on Wednesday.
Families of the victims of 9/11 are party to a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia seeking billions of dollars, and have maintained their accusation that the kingdom was involved.
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. The kingdom, however, has long said it had no role in the attacks, in which hijacked jetliners crashed into New York's World Trade Center, as well as the Pentagon, and a field in western Pennsylvania.
9/11 Families United, a group that represents bereaved families and survivors, sent Biden a letter on Thursday raising concerns about reported plans to re-engage with Saudi Arabia amid soaring oil and gas prices.
'No reset of our nation’s relationship with Saudi Arabia can be successful without proper reconciliation for the attacks on September 11, 2001'
– 9/11 Families United letter to Biden
"We share Americans' 'pain at the pump,' and we recognize there are a number of important issues between our two countries, but any dialogue must include our years-long quest for justice and accountability," wrote the group's chair, Terry Strada.
"No reset of our nation’s relationship with Saudi Arabia can be successful without proper reconciliation for the attacks on September 11, 2001."
The group said that while thousands of pages of new evidence against Saudi Arabia had been released under Biden's executive order, the majority were not made available to the 9/11 Commission. The Commission investigated the attacks and found no evidence that Saudi Arabia directly funded al-Qaeda.
It left open the question of whether individual Saudi officials might have done so.
"Collectively, the nearly 3,000 pages of long-hidden evidence lay bare two decades of Saudi gaslighting, evasions, and outright lies," the group's letter said.
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