Nearly 1,800 survivors of September 11, 2001, family members of the victims and first responders tell President Joe Biden to skip memorial services this year unless he releases U.S. documents detailing Saudi Arabia’s role in the deadly attacks describe.
Next month will be 20 years since the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans in the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania.
The group argued that Biden had failed to keep his campaign promise to release as much information as possible about the attacks and ignored their numerous letters and requests asking him to do so.
“Twenty years on, there is simply no reason – unsubstantiated ‘national security’ claims or otherwise – to keep this information secret,” the group said in its statement.
“But if President Biden breaks his pledges and his side to the Saudi government, we would be forced to publicly protest against any participation by his government in a September 11th memorial ceremony,” the group said.
A White House spokesman said in a statement that the public relations bureau and National Security Council staff were with the families of the victims of Sept.
In his campaign promise, Biden promised to instruct his Department of Justice to investigate cases recommending disclosure of FBI information related to the 9/11 attacks. He said the publication of such information was “tightly tailored” to guard against the risk of national security being compromised.
“I intend to be a president to all Americans and I will hear all of their voices,” said Biden. “The 9/11 families are right to seek full truth and accountability.”
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The group said it had “high hopes” that Biden would depart from previous governments and said they were disappointed that he did not live up to his words after his inauguration.
They said that since the 9/11 Commission’s investigation closed in 2004, investigative evidence “implicated Saudi government officials in support of the attacks” has been found.
The 9/11 commission found it likely that Saudi government-funded charities were backing the attacks, but found no evidence of direct government funding, according to NBC News.
The group specifically called for FBI documents from a 2016 investigation into Saudi Arabia to be released. They said they believe the documents would reveal whether anyone associated with al-Qaeda, the group that perpetrated the terrorist attacks, received any support or funding from the Saudi Arabian government.
Fifteen of the 19 attackers in the 9/11 attacks were Saudi nationals and mastermind Osama bin Laden was born in Saudi Arabia, but the country’s government denies allegations that it was involved.
Several presidential administrations have cited “security concerns” in their rationale for withholding documents related to the terrorist attacks, the group said in a statement.
Most recently, in 2019, the Trump administration relied on the privilege of state secrecy to justify keeping documents secret, according to NBC News.