Declassified 9/11 document shows no link to Saudi government

FBI report of an interview regarding the connections of two hijackers was released on 20th anniversary of the attacks

The FBI has released a declassified document related to logistical support given to two of the Saudi hijackers in the run-up to the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The document details contacts the hijackers had with Saudi associates in the US but does not provide proof that senior Saudi government officials were complicit in the plot.

Released on Saturday on the 20th anniversary of the Al Qaeda attacks, the document is the first record to be disclosed since US President Joe Biden last week ordered a declassification review of material that had remained out of public view.

The partially redacted document is a summary of an FBI interview in 2015 with a man in frequent contact with Saudi nationals in the US who allegedly supported the first hijackers to arrive in the country before the attacks.

The document outlined contact between the hijackers and Saudi associates, but showed no evidence the government in Riyadh was complicit in the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

Saudi Arabia has long denied allegations that government officials were involved in the attacks.

The Saudi embassy in Washington said the kingdom welcomed and supported the full declassification of all records as a way to “end the baseless allegations against the Kingdom once and for all”.

“Since that horrific day 20 years ago, the leadership of Saudi Arabia has consistently called for the release of all materials related to the United States' investigation of the attacks,” the embassy said after Mr Biden ordered the Justice Department and other agencies to review and declassify the documents.

“The kingdom has always advocated for transparency surrounding the September 11 tragedy.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan reiterated the kingdom's position on Sunday, saying Saudi Arabia “demands the disclosure of all documents related to the events of September 11".

“The documents prove there is no relationship between the September 11 attacks and the kingdom,” Prince Faisal said.

The 9/11 Commission report in 2004 found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” the attacks, although it noted that Saudi-linked charities could have diverted money to the group.

The release of the interview summary on Saturday night came hours after Mr Biden attended September 11 memorial events in New York, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia.

Three previous US administrations refused to declassify and release documents related to the case.

Updated: September 12th 2021, 1:28 PM
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