On Saturday, the FBI released newly declassified documents pertaining to the planning of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and possible involvement the government of Saudi Arabia may have had in those attacks.
Many have long suspected at least peripheral involvement of the Saudis or the royal family – particularly since the great majority of the hijackers were Saudi nationals – but they have denied any involvement.
The document released on the 20th anniversary of the worst attacks on American soil came after an executive order was issued by President Joe Biden calling for release of some of the classified information.
This release is expected to be the first of several such documents the families of 9/11 victims have called to be released to the public.
The @FBI has declassified and released the first of what is expected to be several documents detailing effort to investigate whether Saudi Arabia government sources were complicit in the 9/11 attacks. #JustTheNews @jsolomonReports https://t.co/jpZSu5iqiM
— Just the News (@JustTheNews) September 12, 2021
New Information May Come To Light
9/11 families have long demanded the declassification of information about that fateful day. And more recently, they have been unsuccessful in so far suing Saudi Arabia for what they believe is involvement in the attacks.
The document released over the weekend from 2016 is heavily redacted, but details support such as travel assistance, lodging, and financing two of the hijackers, Nawaf al Hazmi and Kahlid al Midhdar, received from a man who worked in the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles, Omar al Bayoumi.
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Bayoumi was allegedly a student, however the FBI has long suspected him of being a Saudi intelligence agent. The document reveals that he was “deeply involved” in assisting the hijackers, according to CNN.
Bayoumi has insisted his meeting with Hazmi and Midhar was a “chance encounter.”
Declassified FBI documents show how 9/11 hijackers rented cars, opened bank accounts, dialed from pay phones and even took flying lessons in the months leading up to Sept. 11, 2001. https://t.co/cwY0jVIojd
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) September 8, 2021
9/11 Families Reactions
A group called 9/11 Families United stated on Saturday that the new document, “confirms that it was a group of Saudi government officials affiliated with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, the cradle of Wahhabi extremism within the Saudi government, who came immediately to their aid as they commenced their terrorist preparations.”
The group also stated,
“Even with the unfortunate number of redactions, the report contains a host of bombshell new revelations, implicating numerous Saudi government officials, in a coordinated effort to mobilize an essential support network for the first arriving 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar. The range of contacts at critical moments among these Saudi government officials, al-Qaeda and the hijackers is stunning.”
While no direct link to the Saudi ruling Royal family has been proven, Terry Strada, whose husband Tom was killed in the attacks, said the royal family must “own up to its officials’ roles in murdering thousands on American soil.”
Families of 9/11 victims have sought release of documents about possible ties between two hijackers and Saudi Arabia.https://t.co/easa5c7c9B
— Truthout (@truthout) September 10, 2021
Response From The Saudi Government
The Saudi government has always denied any wrongdoing or involvement in the attacks.
Of the 19 hijackers that carried out the attacks, 15 were Saudi nationals.
On Sunday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan repeated that Saudi Arabia welcomed the release of the documents, and added that they “would completely show that there was no (Saudi) involvement” in the attacks.
The Saudi embassy also said last week of the document release that the declassification was welcome in order to “end the baseless allegations against the Kingdom.”
The Biden administration has declassified a 16-page FBI report tying 9/11 hijackers to Saudi nationals living in the United States. The document, written in 2016, summarized an FBI investigation into those ties called Operation ENCORE.https://t.co/Nt25YvSt5f
— KOSU (@KOSURadio) September 13, 2021
The ’28 Pages’
The release of this classified document is perhaps the biggest revelation since the famed “28 pages” were released in 2016.
The pages – part of the official 9/11 Commission findings – had been classified since 2002.
The classified information began to paint a very different picture of what was known about the 9/11 attacks, which led to a 20-year war in Afghanistan and the disastrous war in Iraq.
As early as 2002, the 9/11 Commission knew “While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi Government.”
Far from creating an acrimonious relations with the Saudis, the State Department notes on their website that our government continues to sell the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars worth of the most advanced U.S. military weapons systems: “The U.S. has $126.6 billion in active government-to-government sales cases with Saudi Arabia under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system.”
State notes that current and past sales include:
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile systems; Patriot Advanced Capability-3 air defense systems; follow-on support for the Royal Saudi Air Force; M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks; High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs); Light Armored Vehicles; F-15SA, C130J, and KC-130J aircraft; AH-64D Apache, UH-60M Blackhawk, AH-6I Light Attack, MH-60R Multi-Mission, and CH-47F Chinook helicopters; Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships; Mark V patrol boats; Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) modernization; Phalanx Close-In Weapons System; modernization of the Saudi Arabian National Guard, and Javelin and TOW-2B missiles.
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