Democrats call for DOJ, FBI to declassify 9/11 intelligence related to Saudi Arabia

The Hill

Laura Kelly

July 1, 2021

A group of Senate Democrats are repeating demands for the Justice Department and FBI to release key information about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that victims hope to use to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for alleged involvement.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) are urging the Biden administration to review the decision by the Justice Department and FBI to withhold information under the “states secret privilege,” which has blocked 9/11 victims and their families from accessing information as part of their lawsuits against the government of Saudi Arabia for its alleged involvement in the attacks. 

They requested a response within two weeks. 

“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,” the senators wrote. “Unfortunately, in fact, the reasons for continued concealment of this potentially critical evidence have never been credibly or adequately explained.”

The letter was sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray and comes months before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. 

Nearly 3,000 people were killed that day when hijackers associated with the terrorist group al Qaeda crashed planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Another hijacked flight crashed in Pennsylvania, killing all 44 people on board, including the four hijackers.

Victims and the families of victims are party to a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia alleging Riyadh’s involvement in organizing the attack, but have failed to uncover key information that is blocked by the DOJ and FBI under the guise of the “states secret privilege.” 

The Democrats said the 9/11 families deserve a “fair day in court” with “access to evidence.” 

Read the full article by The Hill here.