WASHINGTON — The Biden administration late Saturday launched a newly declassified doc describing connections the F.B.I. examined between the hijackers and the Saudi authorities within the years because the 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 Commerce Middle memorial in Decrease Manhattan, is the primary doc to be launched because the president final week moved to declassify supplies that for years have remained secret.
Households of the Sept. 11 victims have lengthy pushed for a deeper investigation into any doable function the Saudi authorities had within the assaults. Mr. Biden instructed the Justice Division and federal companies in current days to launch declassified paperwork over the subsequent six months after a gaggle of lots of of affected individuals — together with survivors, emergency medical staff and victims’ kinfolk — instructed him to skip the memorial occasion at floor zero this yr if he didn’t transfer to reveal a few of these paperwork.
The doc, which was closely redacted, describes an interview carried out 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. Years earlier, that particular person appeared to have contact with individuals who investigators stated had offered “important logistic assist” to 2 of the hijackers.
Some member of the fee who investigated the 2001 assaults believed that if the Saudi authorities had any function within the plot, it was more likely to have concerned consular officers.
However the doc launched on Saturday offered no new conclusive proof in regards to the Saudi authorities’s function.
Hypothesis across the doable Saudi function elevated over time due to the federal government’s refusal to declassify 28 pages of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11 assaults that particularly addressed doable 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 in opposition to 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 within the Sept. 11 assaults is categorically false.”
In its 2004 ultimate report, the Sept. 11 Fee stated it had discovered no proof that the “Saudi authorities as an establishment, or senior Saudi officers individually funded” Al Qaeda. However 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. Additionally they stated that the fee, working underneath excessive time strain, couldn’t run each result in floor.