On September 3, US President Joe Biden directed the declassification of key documents linked to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as a show of solidarity for victims’ families who have long sought the data in the hopes of condemning the Saudi government. The order came just over a week before the 20th anniversary of the bombings and therefore marking a turning point in a years-long battle between the government and the families over what classified information about the events leading up to the attacks can be made public. Mr. Biden stated on August 3 that by ordering the declassification review, he was following through on a campaign promise and that his administration “would continue to engage respectfully with members of this community.” The presidential order states, “The key events that are in question have occurred two decades or longer ago, and concern a tragic period that continues to resonate in American history and in the lives of so many Americans.” “It is consequently vital that the US government maximizes transparency, relying on classification only when it is narrowly targeted and necessary.” The Department of Justice and other Executive Office of the President agencies are authorized to conduct a declassification review as per the order and it also mandates declassified materials distribution over subsequent six months.
ACCUSATION AGAINST SAUDI OFFICIALS
A long-running lawsuit filed in court in NY seeks to carry the Saudi government accountable, alleging that Saudi officials assisted a number of the hijackers before the attacks. Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement in the attacks. Despite the fact that many documents probing possible Saudi ties have been made public, US officials have long considered some information to be too sensitive to be made public.