US President Joe Biden on Friday signed an executive order directing the declassification of certain documents related to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, reports The Associated Press.
The order, coming little more than a week before the 20th anniversary of the attacks, is a significant moment in a years-long tussle between the government and families of the victims over what classified information about the run-up to the attacks could be made public.
“The significant events in question occurred two decades ago or longer, and they concern a tragic moment that continues to resonate in American history and in the lives of so many Americans,” the executive order states.
“It is therefore critical to ensure that the United States Government maximizes transparency, relying on classification only when narrowly tailored and necessary.”
The order directs the Justice Department and other executive branch agencies to begin a declassification review and requires that declassified documents be released over the next six months.
Last month, US officials said they would review classified documents related to the September 11 attacks to see which could be made public.
The families of the victims have long contended that the Saudi government was an accomplice to the terrorist attacks.
The Saudi government has long denied involvement in the 9/11 attacks or support for the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization.
Congress passed legislation in 2016 opening the door to lawsuits against Saudi Arabia, prompted in part by evidence collected over 15 years, suggesting possible ties between the Saudi embassy and the 9/11 attackers.
In 2018, a US judge rejected Saudi Arabia’s bid to dismiss lawsuits claiming that it helped plan the September 11, 2001, attacks and should pay billions of dollars in damages to victims.
Under the terms of Friday’s executive order, the FBI must complete by September 11 its declassification review of documents from that probe, which it has referred to as the “Subfile Investigation.”
Source: Elad Benari – Arutz Sheva