9/11 Families: President Biden Must Demand Saudi Accountability for the September 11 Attacks

President Biden must ensure that renewed U.S. engagement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia prioritizes accountability for its role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks 

Washington, D.C. – Today, families and survivors of the worst-ever terrorist attacks on American soil sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to ensure that his administration’s engagement with Saudi officials, including a potential visit to the Kingdom, does not neglect long overdue accountability for the Saudi role in the rise of al Qaeda and 9/11 attacks.  Since President Biden’s Executive Order to declassify documents related to the 9/11 attacks was signed last Fall, thousands of pages of new evidence against the Kingdom have been released after being kept secret by the U.S. government for years, and the majority of which were not available to the 9/11 Commission.  

Full Text of the Letter: 

June 2, 2022

President Joseph R. Biden

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20500

Re: 9/11 Community’s Concerns with the Administration’s New Engagement with Saudi Arabia

Dear President Biden:

We write today in furtherance of our March 11, 2022 letter regarding our ongoing effort to secure justice for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s role in the rise of al Qaeda and the September 11 terrorist attacks. Reports suggest that a visit to the Kingdom next month, which may include a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is under consideration. It is imperative that you prioritize accountability for 9/11 in any conversations between members of your administration and Saudi officials up to and including your own with the Crown Prince or any other members of the Saudi royal family. 

9/11 Families United applauds your historic Executive Order requiring U.S. intelligence agencies to conduct a declassification review of thousands of investigative documents concerning Saudi support for al Qaeda and the 9/11 Attacks. It has led to documents coming into the public domain for the first time revealing that Saudi officials and agents of the Kingdom’s intelligence service were in contact with and providing material support for the hijackers. The evidence of this includes a document seized in the days after the 9/11 Attacks from a Saudi agent who is known to have provided substantial assistance to the hijackers, showing a drawing of a plane and formula used to calculate the rate of descent required of an aircraft to reach a target on the horizon at a given speed. The FBI assessed that the agent in possession of these materials, Omar al-Bayoumi, was likely to have advance knowledge of the hijacker’s intentions. Bayoumi was receiving a monthly stipend from Prince Bandar, who was at the time the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Bayoumi today is protected and free within the Kingdom. 

We would also commend to your attention this story from CBS News on April 27th – “Newly released video shows 9/11 hijackers with alleged Saudi intelligence operative” — which reported on these newly declassified documents and one key point in particular:

  • The memo continued, “Allegations of al-Bayoumi’s involvement with Saudi Intelligence were not confirmed at the time of the 9/11 Commission Report. The above information confirms these allegations.” 

Further, the intelligence documents declassified as a result of your Executive Order confirmed that the Saudi government established a vast and secret platform for the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to operate under official and unofficial cover from within the United States, and clerics deployed by the Saudi government to the U.S. as part of this illegal initiative had extensive and direct ties to notorious terrorists and jihadists, indicative of their own ideological and operational involvement in al Qaeda’s campaign to attack America.  

This new evidence reaffirms our long-held beliefs regarding Saudi Arabia’s deep involvement in the murders of our loved ones and underscores the importance that you do not reward the Kingdom and Crown Prince with a presidential visit that allows it to continue escaping responsibility for its role in the most horrific attack in our nation’s history. Accountability should be the cornerstone of any engagement, and the Saudi response should inform your approach to other concerns including energy production and regional security. 

Mr. President, if you were to omit September 11 from your discussions with Saudi leaders, it would signal to the world that you are willing to indulge years more of Saudi obfuscation and obstruction, and that America prioritizes the interests of foreign powers and economics more than the lives of its citizenry. We have watched presidents avoid the hard conversations required with the Kingdom for more than 20 years, and we continue to hope that you will be different. 

The historic failure to hold the Kingdom to account for aiding and abetting al Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers is the original sin in the U.S.-Saudi relationship and the source of the American people’s hostility to that nation. The American people know the Kingdom has moral and legal culpability for 9/11 and that Saudi wrongdoers have never been held to account. Americans’ view of the Saudi government, as unsavory and retrograde, has been amplified by the Kingdom’s more recent cruel and reckless acts, but September 11 looms over them all. No reset of our nation’s relationship with Saudi Arabia can or should be possible without proper reconciliation for the attacks on September 11, 2001. 

Please stand where no other President since 9/11 has stood, with the September 11 community in our pursuit for justice, and prioritize a full and complete discussion of the Saudis’ continued denial of their complicity in the attacks. We strongly suspect that you recognize the wisdom and justice in this request, and that you understand and support our efforts, but we need to see the actions, not just the words.

In gratitude and with great respect,

Terry Strada

National Chair

9/11 Families United


About 9/11 Families United: 

9/11 Families United is an organization consisting of family members of those murdered in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as well as many of those who survived, were injured in or sickened from the attacks, a community that numbers well over 10,000.  More information is at www.911familiesunited.org.