US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order that authorizes the release of certain documents related to the terrorist attacks on Sept.
The move was seen as a supportive gesture to the victims’ families, who have long sought access to the files in hopes of embroiling the Saudi government.
The order, signed just over a week before the 20th anniversary of the attacks, marks an important milestone in a year-long battle between the US government and families over what information was released about the accumulation of attacks.
The conflict made headlines last month when some 1,800 relatives, survivors and rescue workers opposed Mr. Biden’s participation in the 9/11 events, if the documents were left as they are.
“The momentous events in question occurred two decades or more ago, and they concern a tragic moment that reverberates in American history and in the lives of so many Americans,” the executive order states.
“It is therefore crucial to ensure that the United States government maximizes transparency and relies on classification only when it is tightly tailored and necessary.”
The order directs the Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies to begin a review of the release and requires that released documents be released within the next six months.
However, the practical implications of the Implementing Regulation and any new documents that might emerge from it were not immediately clear.
Previous research has shown links between Saudi nationals and some of the hijackers, but has not found that the government was directly involved. It is not known how the release of previously withheld documents could change this assessment.
The Justice Department announced last month that the FBI recently closed an investigation into certain 9/11 kidnappers and potential co-conspirators.
But, the families said Thursday, “no additional substantive material has yet been produced and the FBI has not agreed to make further efforts to find his missing documents.”
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