Crime & Justice

FBI declassifies new 9/11 investigation document

Washington, Sep 11 (EFE).- The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation declassified a secret document late Saturday that was part of its investigations into the Saudi Government’s possible involvement in the 9/11 attacks after strong pressure from the victims’ families.

The document, which dates from 2016, describes the contacts that the extremists had with Saudis in the United States, but does not offer clear evidence of a possible involvement of the Saudi Arabian government in the plan to attack the country.

The 16-page report, with multiple sections censored, was declassified as part of an order by US President Joe Biden to release previously secret documents about the FBI investigation into the extremist attacks on Sep. 11, 2001.

That investigation focused on the alleged logistical support Fahad al Thumairy, an employee of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, California, and Omar al Bayumi, a suspected intelligence agent of the Arab kingdom in the city, could have provided to the extremists.

The recently declassified document claims Al Bayumi provided “travel assistance, accommodation and financing” to two of the terrorists involved in the attacks, Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar.

Other reports declassified in recent years had already detailed those contacts and assistance from Al Bayumi, who after the attacks was detained in the United Kingdom and was one of the focuses of the official 9/11 investigation by a congressional commission.

That commission found no official evidence that the Saudi government had been involved in financing Al Qaeda or the attacks, and the question since then has been how much Riyadh knew about the activities of some of its citizens, such as Al Bayumi.

That alleged Saudi spy had contacts with Al Thumairy, who was a diplomat at the Saudi consulate at the time, and had phone calls with at least two future Guantanamo prison inmates, according to the document.

Al Bayumi, who was officially a student, was also in contact with Osama Bassnan, a Saudi national whose alleged connection to 9/11 had already been revealed and who spoke with “enthusiasm” of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

The report describes Al Bayumi as someone “treated with great respect within the Saudi consulate, well regarded by consulate staff, and who enjoyed ‘very high status’ when he entered the building.”

Although the censored parts of the report prevent confirming whether this means that it had the approval of the Saudi government, the association of relatives of 9/11 victims welcomed its publication and considered it further proof of Riyadh’s probable ties to the attacks.

“Now the secrets of the Saudis are exposed and it is time for the kingdom to recognize the role of its officials in murdering thousands on US soil,” Terry Strada of the association said in a statement.

In August, hundreds of survivors and relatives of the victims of the attacks asked Biden not to attend the events on the occasion of the 20th anniversary, unless his government published new files on the alleged role of Saudi Arabia in what happened.

Last week, Biden ordered the Justice Department to declassify new documents in the next six months, which convinced the families, who agreed to allow the president to finally attend the events Saturday. EFE


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