On Monday, the Department of Justice announced that it would make an effort to provide families of the 9/11 terrorist attack victims with more information regarding the attacks. This comes as part of a federal lawsuit, aiming to hold the government of Saudi Arabia accountable.
In a two-page letter filed in a Manhattan federal court, the disclosure follows the longstanding criticism against the U.S. government by the families of the 9/11 victims. They claim that the government did not release crucial details of the probe as it is allegedly a risk to national security.
Almost 1,800 families, first responders, and victims collectively expressed their objection to President Joe Biden’s attendance at 9/11 memorial events last week. They claim that they will object to this as long as crucial documents and information are not released. The Justice Department’s efforts on Monday did not satisfy some of the families as they claim that the FBI and the DOJ have already had a lot of time to review the documents.
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“We appreciate that President Biden recognizes that long-standing questions about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the worst-ever terrorist attack on American soil remain unanswered, but nobody should be fooled by this half-hearted, insufficient commitment to transparency,” said Terry Strada, the widow of one of the victims inside a highjacked plane.
She said the Justice Department’s announcement only applied to some “cherry-picked documents that the FBI has already identified for review.”
There is a long-running lawsuit that claims Saudi Arabia was complicit in the terrorist attacks. The said suit advanced significantly in 2021, following the questioning under oath of several of Saudi Arabia’s former officials. The information gathered from this probe, however, is still classified. The U.S. government has also decided to keep under lock and key many documents that may be too sensitive to release to the public.
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In the Justice Department’s letter, it said that the FBI had recently finished an investigation examining some 9/11 hijackers and their possible co-conspirators. It also said that the agency would now make an effort to find out if the information it previously uncovered needs to stay classified. The letter, however, did not reveal any of the agency’s findings from the investigation.
“The FBI will disclose such information on a rolling basis as expeditiously as possible,” the letter from the Department of Justice read. It added that “The department said in a separate statement Monday that the FBI was newly reviewing the documents for information that could be shared with the families despite prior court rulings “upholding the government’s privilege assertions.”