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Top lawmakers on the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations are asking for the FBI and the Department of Justice to provide unredacted documents on Saudi Arabia’s “role” in 9/11 as numerous records on the subject have remained classified.
In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) ask for unredacted documents so they can better understand Saudi Arabia’s connection to 9/11.
“No one was more affected by these attacks than the families of those whose lives were lost on that day, and who have struggled to obtain accountability ever since. Our inquiry into Saudi Arabia’s attempts to influence U.S. affairs has underscored, yet again, the need for transparency, particularly regarding Saudi Arabia’s connection to the 9/11 attacks,” the senators wrote on Sunday, one day before the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people.
The senators said that they had previously asked in July for “the U.S. government finally provide full transparency into what it knows about the attacks, particularly as it relates to Saudi Arabia’s involvement,” but had not yet heard back.
They said that they asked again on August 8 for an unredacted copy of a record on “Operation Encore,” but had not yet received a single document from the FBI or the DOJ. “Operation Encore” was the name given by the FBI to describe links between Saudi nationals and the terrorists who crashed the planes on 9/11.
“Your failure to respond to our letter only adds to our concerns about the U.S. government’s longstanding refusal to provide full transparency to the American public, and particularly for the families of 9/11 victims, about Saudi Arabia’s role in the 9/11 attacks,” the senators wrote.
Blumenthal and Johnson said that if the federal entities did not respond to their new call for unredacted documents, they could turn to other methods to ensure compliance with their request.
Families and survivors of the 9/11 attacks have long pushed for more U.S. officials to press Saudi Arabia on the terrorist attacks. Ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July 2022, the families and survivors asked Biden to discuss the attacks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“Please stand where no other President since 9/11 has stood, with the September 11 community in our pursuit for justice, and prioritize a full and complete discussion of the Saudis’ continued denial of their complicity in the attacks,” the families said in a letter.
Although Biden has released some 9/11 documents, they have remained heavily redacted and lawmakers and victims have continued to push for more information.