US President Joe Biden on Friday signed an executive order directing the FBI to declassify documents related to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The Associated Press said that the executive order is a gesture of support for the families of the victims of the September attacks, who have long sought those documents in the hope of finding a connection to the Saudi government in those attacks.
However, the agency notes that it was not immediately clear what practical effect the executive order would have and any new documents it might produce.
And she added, “Previous investigations revealed a relationship between Saudi citizens and some of the hijackers, but they did not prove that the government was directly involved.”
On Friday, the White House said that Biden had ordered a review of the possibility of declassifying some FBI documents related to the investigation of the September 11 terrorist attacks, according to Reuters.
“When I ran for president, I committed to ensuring transparency regarding the declassification of documents from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America,” Biden said in a statement, adding that he would “respectfully treat” the families of those who died in the attacks.
And the American “News Max” website said earlier that President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday directing the FBI to release confidential documents related to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s relationship to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, quoting a source close to the Biden administration.
Biden’s decision, according to the site, to move to the executive order this week came after the families of the September 11th victims, Thursday, asked the attorney general in the Department of Justice to investigate their allegations.
The families of the victims suspect that the FBI “lied or destroyed evidence linking Saudi officials to the Al Qaeda kidnapper team.”
In the letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, the families alleged that “the circumstances make it probable that one or more FBI officials committed willful misconduct with intent to destroy or conceal evidence to avoid detection.”
Victims’ family members have long sought government documents, including classified law enforcement and intelligence reports, regarding whether Saudi Arabia aided or funded any of the nineteen al-Qaeda-linked attackers that the Taliban gave safe haven in Afghanistan at the time.
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.
A US government commission found no evidence that Saudi Arabia directly funded al-Qaeda.
He left it open as to whether Saudi officials had done so.
Saudi Arabia denies any link to the attacks.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed, including more than 2,600 at the World Trade Center, 125 at the Pentagon, and 265 on the four planes.
The families of nearly 2,500 of the dead and more than 20,000 people who were injured, as well as companies and various insurance companies, have filed a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia for compensation that could reach billions of dollars.
And last month, several families asked President Joe Biden not to commemorate the 20-year commemoration unless he declassified documents they claim will show Saudi leaders’ support for the attacks.
“My administration is committed to ensuring the maximum degree of transparency under the law,” Biden said August 9 in a statement.