Washington (AP) — The FBI late Saturday in preparation for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a newly declassified 16-page document related to logistical support provided to two Saudi hijackers. Has been released. The document explains that the hijacker had contacted a fellow Saudi Arabian in the United States, but does not provide evidence that the Saudi government was involved in the plot.
Published on the 20th anniversary of the attack, this document is the first investigation record released since President Joe Biden ordered a declassification review of undisclosed material for years. Biden has faced pressure from the families of victims in lawsuits in New York in recent weeks claiming that Saudi officials are involved in the attack.
The Saudi Arabian government has long denied involvement. The Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington said Wednesday that it supported the complete declassification of all records as a way to “completely end unfounded claims against the kingdom.” The embassy said the allegations that Saudi Arabia had colluded were “resolutely wrong.”
Last week, Biden ordered the Justice Department and other agencies to conduct a declassification review of the investigation document and disclose what it could do in the next six months. Page 16 was released on Saturday night, hours after Biden attended a commemorative event in New York, Pennsylvania, and Northern Virginia on September 11. Relatives of the victims previously opposed Biden’s presence at ceremonial events, as long as the documents remained classified.
A heavily edited record released on Saturday reiterated with Saudis who were applying for US citizenship and said investigators provided “significant logistic support” to some hijackers a few years ago. Explains a 2015 interview with someone in contact.
The document was released at a politically sensitive time for the two strategic (albeit difficult) alliances, the United States and Saudi Arabia, especially on the issue of counterterrorism. In February, the Biden administration released an information assessment suggesting Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who killed U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, but from the Democratic Party for avoiding his own direct punishment. I was criticized.
As for September 11, there was speculation of official involvement shortly after the attack revealed that 15 of the 19 attackers were Saudis. Osama bin Laden, then al-Qaeda leader, came from a prominent family in the kingdom.
According to documents already declassified, the United States investigated Saudi diplomats and other diplomats associated with the Saudi government who knew the hijacker after arriving in the United States.
Still, the 9/11 Commission report found that al-Qaeda’s masterminded attacks “have no evidence of individual funding by the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials.” However, the Commission also mentioned the “potential” of a charity sponsored by the Saudi Arabian government.
Of particular scrutiny are the first two hijackers to arrive in the United States, Nawafal Hazumi and Khalid Almidar. Shortly after arriving in Southern California in February 2000, they helped find and lease an apartment in San Diego at a halal restaurant, and Omar Albayomi, who had a relationship with the Saudi government and had previously gathered FBI surveillance. I met a Saudi citizen named. ..
Follow Eric Tucker on http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP