Correspondent in New York
Late in the day marking the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the FBI revealed on Saturday night the first of the documents so far classified on the role of Saudi Arabia in terrorist attacks on US soil.
The document, although with a lot of censorship and studs, offers new data on the relationship of two Saudis with connections to the Government and who were related to some of the terrorists who hijacked the planes and crashed them into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and, unsuccessfully, against the Capitol or the White House (Passengers and crew confronted the hijackers and the plane crashed in rural Pennsylvania.)
It shows that the FBI investigated at least until 2016 the contacts between Nawaf al Hazmi y Khalid al Midhar -two terrorists who participated in the hijacking of the plane that was launched against the Pentagon- and individuals related to the Government of Saudi Arabia, such as Fahad al Thumairy, a former Saudi consular employee, and Omar al Bayoumi, who was investigated as a possible intelligence agent of the Arab country.
Al-Bayoumi was interrogated by the US in 2003 and claimed that he had a chance encounter with the kidnappers in a Los Angeles restaurant in 2000 and that they became friends. That he lent them a hand to manage in a country that was foreign to them, but that I was unaware of his terrorist plans.
Now the FBI document establishes that these statements by Al-Boyoumi “are in full contradiction with statements from eyewitnesses” and shows the investigators’ skepticism that this meeting was accidental. They also pointed out that it was highly suspicious that another Saudi individual under investigation had another chance encounter with kidnappers in the state of Virginia in a manner “uniquely similar” to Al-Bayoumi.
According to the FBI, the latter provided “logistical support” to the terrorists that included “translations, travel assistance, accommodation and financing.”
A broad group of families of 9/11 victims have been lobbying for years against the US Government. for you to declassify documents related to the Saudi Arabian paper. Especially after it emerged that the FBI had investigated him for ten years, until 2016. In 2004, the findings of the 9/11 Commission, created by the US Congress shortly after the attacks, claimed that there was no evidence that “the Saudi government or an individual institution or senior officials” financed the terrorists. At the same time, that conclusion “does not exclude the likelihood that Saudi government-sponsored charities diverted funds to Al Qaida.”
Those conclusions were not enough for the relatives of the 9/11 victims. On your own, they have sued Saudi Arabia so that the supposed supports of the terrorists are judged. And they have continued their fight for the declassification of documents. The expresidente Donald Trump He assured them that he would do so in a 2019 meeting. The next day, his attorney general decided that they would remain secret. Joe Biden made a promise to reveal the documents if he won the election. Once in the White House, he ignored the demands of the relatives.
Until a few weeks before the commemoration of the attacks, the families threatened to declare him unwelcome to the events and organize protests. Biden gave in to the pressure and just days before the anniversary, signed an executive order for the review and declassification of the documents.
“We hope this is a sincere step forward,” he said. Brett Eagleson, one of the spokespersons for the families, in a recent interview with this newspaper. “We will follow the process closely to ensure that the Department of Justice and the FBI comply, act in good faith and help our families reveal the truth in our search for justice against the Saudi Government.”
Following the disclosure of the first document, Eagleson has assured that it has “Special meaning” released on the anniversary date and celebrated the breakthrough: “Today marks the moment when the Saudis can no longer rely on the US government to hide the truth about 9/11.”