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FBI releases declassified document into Saudi 9/11 links after Biden order

The document's release "accelerates our pursuit of truth and justice," said Brett Eagleson, who lost his father in the World Trade Center attack.
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The FBI released a newly declassified document about the 9/11 attacks Saturday, revealing details about the logistical support given to two of the Saudi hijackers in the lead-up to the terrorist operation, as the world marked the 20th anniversary of one of America's darkest days.

The 16-page document is the first investigative record to be shared since President Joe Biden ordered a declassification review of files about 9/11 last week.

The document, which is heavily redacted, provides a summary of an FBI interview in 2015 with a man who had regular contact with Saudi nationals in the U.S. The man aided Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, the first hijackers to arrive in the U.S., once they arrived in the country.

It details contacts the hijackers had with Saudi associates in the U.S. It does not provide evidence that senior Saudi government officials were complicit in the attacks.

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The document was released shortly after Biden marked the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, with former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush joining him in a show of unity.

Victims' families issued a statement last month saying Biden would not be welcome at any memorial events as long as the documents remained classified.

Some of them welcomed the release. Brett Eagleson, whose father, Bruce, was killed in the World Trade Center attack, said in a statement shared through his attorney that the new information "accelerates our pursuit of truth and justice."

Jim Kreindler, an attorney for victims' relatives, said in a statement that he believed "the findings and conclusions in this FBI investigation validate the arguments we have made in the litigation regarding the Saudi government's responsibility for the 9/11 attacks."

He said that included Saudi officials' exchanging phone calls among themselves and with Al Qaeda operatives and then having "accidental meetings" with the hijackers while providing them with assistance to get settled and find flight schools.

"This document, together with the public evidence gathered to date, provides a blueprint for how Al Qaeda operated inside the US with the active, knowing support of the Saudi government," he said.

The Saudi government, which has long denied having had any role in the attacks, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Saudi Embassy in Washington said in a statement Thursday, before the document was released, that it welcomed the full declassification of records to "end the baseless allegations against the Kingdom once and for all."

It added that any suggestion that Saudi Arabia was complicit in the attacks was "categorically false."

The 9/11 Commission report did not find evidence that Saudi leaders were complicit in the attacks, but it did say Saudi nationals played key roles in funding Al Qaeda.

More information about the attacks could soon come to light, as Biden has ordered the Justice Department and other agencies to review which documents can be declassified over the next six months.

"We look forward to more transparency and releases of information from the administration that finally provide the American people the truth they have long deserved," Kreindler said.