The FBI has released a newly declassified 16-page document related to logistical support provided to two of the Saudi hijackers in the run-up to the September 11, 2001, attacks.
The document, released late on Saturday, describes contacts the hijackers had with Saudi associates in the United States but offers no evidence the Saudi government was complicit in the plot.
It is the first investigative record to be disclosed since US President Joe Biden ordered a declassification review of materials that for years have remained out of public view.
Biden had encountered pressure in recent weeks from victims’ families, who have long sought the records as they pursue a lawsuit in New York alleging that senior Saudi officials were complicit in the attacks.
Speculation of official involvement swirled shortly after the attacks when it was revealed that 15 of the 19 attackers were Saudis. Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda at the time, was also from a prominent family in the kingdom.
The Saudi government has long denied any involvement, however. The Saudi Embassy in Washington said on Wednesday it supported the full declassification of all records as a way to “end the baseless allegations against the Kingdom once and for all”.
The embassy said any allegation that Saudi Arabia was complicit was “categorically false”.
“As past investigations have revealed, including the 9/11 Commission and the release of the so-called ’28 Pages,’ no evidence has ever emerged to indicate that the Saudi government or its officials had previous knowledge of the terrorist attack or were in any way involved,” the embassy’s statement said.
Biden last week ordered the Justice Department and other agencies to conduct a declassification review of investigative documents and release what they can over the next six months. The 16 pages were released on Saturday night, hours after Biden attended September 11 memorial events in New York, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia.
Victims’ relatives – who are seeking billions of dollars from Saudi Arabia – had earlier objected to Biden’s presence at ceremonial events as long as the documents remained classified. Aljazeera