9/11 Families United Calls on President Biden to Prioritize Accountability in U.S.-Saudi Relationship

As President Biden considers visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, families and survivors of the 9/11 attacks want the President to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the Kingdom’s 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 requesting that he prioritize holding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia accountable for its role in the 9/11 terrorist 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. 

President Biden is reportedly considering visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Full Text Of The Letter: 

March 10, 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 regarding our ongoing effort to secure justice for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s role in the September 11 terrorist attacks, especially in light of news reports that you are considering a personal visit to that nation and are now open to direct conversations with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. We feel it is imperative that you include accountability for 9/11 in any conversations you may have with the Crown Prince or any other members of the Saudi royal family. Respectfully, the commitments you have made to us require no less.

As you recall, on September 3, 2021, you issued an 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. This was evidence that past administrations long hid from the public as part of a broader effort to protect the Saudis and to leverage those favors to secure accommodations from the Saudis on unrelated fronts. When you ordered the current declassification process, it was an important shift away from that accommodation and one towards truth and accountability. Now, having seen this new evidence, we can say that it only confirms our long-held beliefs regarding Saudi Arabia’s deep involvement in the murders of our loved ones.

Collectively, the nearly 3,000 pages of long-hidden evidence lay bare two decades of Saudi gaslighting, evasions, and outright lies. These intelligence records confirm that core elements of the Saudi government, including the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, were deeply intertwined with al Qaeda in the decade leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks, and provided al Qaeda with crucial support that enabled them to plan and carry out their mission. We see confirmation that the first-arriving hijackers received aid and comfort from Saudi government agents who were deployed to the United States to engage in anti-American, radical Wahhabi activities. Making it all the worse, these radicals were also serving as intelligence agents for the Saudi state. At least seven Saudi government agents were implicated in the FBI’s investigation of the support network for the first arriving hijackers, many of whom had other connections to al Qaeda and terrorism.

This new evidence is public because of your declassification order and it is now critical that you, as our President, insist that the Saudi Kingdom confront these issues honestly. We are reminded of your past commitments to the 9/11 families, as in 2019 when you called the Kingdom a “pariah” and said there is “very little social redeeming value in the present government in Saudi Arabia.” Your press secretary reaffirmed that view on March 7 in a White House press briefing, but in the same statement, also said nothing about the unresolved questions surrounding the Saudis and September 11. Instead, she listed a number of issues that your administration prioritized in dialogue with the Kingdom, including the war in Yemen, regional security, and oil. Our years-long effort to seek justice and accountability for the murder of our loved ones, and the recent U.S. government disclosures noted above, received no mention at all.

We share Americans’ “pain at the pump,” and we recognize there are a number of important issues between our two countries, but any dialogue must include our years-long quest for justice and accountability. To omit September 11 from your discussions is to signal to the world that you are willing to indulge years more of Saudi obfuscation and obstruction. We have watched presidents take this approach for more than 20 years, and we continue to hope that you will be different.

The 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 be successful without proper reconciliation for the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Please stand with the September 11 community 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.