Several Democratic senators are asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI to declassify documents and intelligence about possible role the Saudi government played in the September 11 attacks.
Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who is the chair of Foreign Affairs Committee, alongside with New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal have addressed a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray urging them to review the decision made by the DOJ and FBI to withhold information about possible Saudi government’s role in the 9/11 attacks under the “states secret privilege” precedent, according to The Hill.
20 years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, victims and their families are still calling on the U.S. government to release information on what role Saudi Arabia played. https://t.co/rEYVWCEmXM
— Laura Kelly (@HelloLauraKelly) July 1, 2021
The classification prevents the victims and their families from accessing documents to support lawsuits against Saudi Arabia government for its alleged role in the attacks. 15 out of 19 terrorists were Saudi citizens and some of them have allegedly had connections to Saudi intelligence officers and diplomats in the US who after the attacks had their visas revoked. (RELATED: Trial Date Set For Men Charged With 9/11 Attacks)
“For years, these survivors and family members have sought information from the DOJ and, in particular, the FBI, which has been withheld, purportedly for national security reasons. Unfortunately, in fact, the reasons for continued concealment of this potentially critical evidence have never been credibly or adequately explained,” the letter obtained reads, according to the Hill.
“DOJ must not gratuitously stand in their way. If there is any credible reason to withhold facts, testimony, and documents concerning the attacks and the FBI’s handling of subsequent investigations twenty years after 9/11, the American people deserve to know it,” the senators continued.
A group of mostly Democratic senators and representatives sent a different letter in May addressed AG Merrick Garland to bring the case to his attention and last year a bipartisan group of senators have asked the DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate the FBI’s handling of the civil subpoenas concerning the 9/11 attacks.
The families of the victims were allowed to sue the Saudi government following the passage of Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) in 2016 and in 2018 U.S. District Judge in Manhattan dismissed the Saudi government’s request to dismiss the case allowing it to proceed for the first time.