The family members of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks are saying that President Joe Biden should not attend memorial events this year unless he releases classified information.
As reported by NBC News, the families will release a statement on Friday calling on Biden to declassify documents that they think may reveal a connection with Saudi Arabian leaders and the attacks on the United States that tragically took place almost 20 years ago.
“The group says that as a candidate Biden pledged to be more transparent and release as much information as possible but that his administration has since then ignored their letters and requests,” NBC News reported.
“We cannot in good faith, and with veneration to those lost, sick, and injured, welcome the president to our hallowed grounds until he fulfills his commitment,” they wrote in a statement obtained by the outlet.
“Since the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission in 2004 much investigative evidence has been uncovered implicating Saudi government officials in supporting the attacks,” the statement said. “Through multiple administrations, the Department of Justice and the FBI have actively sought to keep this information secret and prevent the American people from learning the full truth about the 9/11 attacks.”
“Twenty years later, there is simply no reason — unmerited claims of ‘national security’ or otherwise — to keep this information secret,” the group wrote. “But if President Biden reneges on his commitment and sides with the Saudi government, we would be compelled to publicly stand in objection to any participation by his administration in any memorial ceremony of 9/11.”
As the outlet reported, the George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump administrations also refused to declassify documents, pointing to concerns about national security.
Brett Eagleson’s father died in the attack on the World Trade Center. Eagleson and other victims’ family members filed a federal lawsuit against Saudi Arabia, saying that the kingdom was involved in the attacks.
“We are frustrated, tired and saddened with the fact that the U.S. government for 20 years has chosen to keep information about the death of our loved ones behind lock and key,” said Eagleson.
Eagleson said, “The buck stops at the president.”
He also claimed that he and other members of the 9/11 community have been “ignored” by the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the attorney general, and other senior members of the administration.
Biden “really needs to be the one to step up and take action,” Eagleson added, reportedly noting that the family members are hoping for a time when the president is “working with us and not against us.”
Saudi Arabia has been a problematic ally in combating Islamic extremism. Before 9/11, the Saudi and U.S. governments did not fully share intelligence information or develop an adequate joint effort to track and disrupt the finances of the al Qaeda organization. On the other hand, government officials of Saudi Arabia at the highest levels worked closely with top U.S. officials in major initiatives to solve the Bin Ladin problem with diplomacy.
The 9-11 Commission Report said, “At the level of high policy, Saudi Arabia’s leaders cooperated with American diplomatic initiatives aimed at the Taliban or Pakistan before 9/11.”
“At the same time,” it added, “Saudi Arabia’s society was a place where al Qaeda raised money directly from individuals and through charities. It was the society that produced 15 of the 19 hijackers.”
The Saudi government has reportedly denied that it has any connection to the attacks.
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