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The FBI has released a newly declassified 16-page document related to logistical support provided to two of the hijackers in the lead-up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The document describes contacts the hijackers had with Saudi associates in the US but offers no evidence the Saudi government was complicit in the plot.
The document, released on the 20th anniversary of the attacks, is the first investigative record to be disclosed since Joe Biden ordered a declassification review of materials that for years have remained out of public view.
The Saudi government has always denied any involvement. The Saudi embassy in Washington said on Wednesday that 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 that any allegation that Saudi Arabia was complicit was “categorically false”.
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 9/11 memorial events in New York, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia. Victims’ relatives had earlier objected to Biden’s presence at ceremonial events as long as the documents remained classified.
The documents are being released at a politically delicate time for the US and Saudi Arabia, two nations that have forged a strategic alliance, particularly on counter-terrorism matters.
Still, the 9/11 commission report found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” the attacks that al-Qaida masterminded. — Agencies