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Feds closed probe into 3 Saudi nationals suspected of helping 9/11 hijackers

The FBI closed the investigation on May 27 after re-examining the case file in 2019 and 2020, according to a newly released document.
The Rubble of the World Trade Center on September 12, 2001.
Firefighters walk through the rubble of the World Trade Center on Sept. 12, 2001.Porter Gifford / Corbis via Getty Images

Two decades after 9/11, federal investigators earlier this year formally closed their investigation into three Saudi nationals suspected of helping two hijackers prior to the attacks, according to a previously classified FBI document released by the Justice Department Thursday.

The three men were identified as Fahad Al-Thumairy, Omar Al-Bayoumi, and Musaed Al-Jarrah. According to the document, they allegedly provided or directed others to provide Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar with “assistance in daily activities, including procuring living quarters and assistance with assimilating into Southern California.”

Prior to closing the investigation on May 27, the FBI says it re-examined the case file in 2019 and 2020 “to identify any missed leads, opportunities, or investigative actions which may advance the case.” That effort, the FBI document says, included re-interviews of various individuals located throughout the United States. 

“No additional information was obtained as part of those interviews and no material contradicting statements were made as compared to the initial interviews,” says the document.

“After nearly twenty years after the attack, the FBI has not identified additional groups or individuals responsible for the attack other than those currently charged which is consistent with the final conclusion of the 9/11 Commission Report,” the document adds.

The FBI document says that federal prosecutors for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York concurred with the decision and both agencies agreed that they would reopen the investigation if any new “derogatory” or other pertinent information came to bear. 

The closing of the probe, known as Operation Encore, was not previously reported or known publicly. 

The three men are no longer in the U.S., according to the documents released Thursday. 

Al-Thumari and Al-Bayoumi are named in a lawsuit by 9/11 families accusing the Saudi government of being complicit in the attacks.

Lawyers for the two men declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. Al-Jarrah could not be reached, and it was not clear if he had a lawyer.

The FBI document was released alongside nearly 700 other pages of records about the FBI’s efforts to investigate the 9/11 attacks. 

The documents were released as a result of efforts by the families of 9/11 victims to gather more information about any possible Saudi Government involvement or support for the attacks. They represent the second set of classified documents released by executive order by President Biden. 

The Saudi government has long denied having had any role in the attacks.

Ahead of the first release of classified documents, the Saudi Embassy in Washington said that it welcomed the full declassification of records to “end the baseless allegations against the Kingdom once and for all.”