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Secret 9/11 Files May Be Coming Out

Victims' families, looking for links to the Saudi government, are piling on pressure
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2021 8:43 AM CDT
US to Review Secret 9/11 Files for Possible Release
Attorney General Merrick Garland, accompanied by Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke, right, speaks at a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(Newser) – Under pressure, the Biden administration plans to review classified information on the 9/11 attacks to determine what information might now, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the attacks, be safely released to the public. This comes days after more than 1,600 people affected by the attacks—survivors, relatives of those who died, and others sickened as a result—requested President Biden avoid events honoring the anniversary unless he fulfils a campaign promise to release the information some of the group believe will link the government of Saudi Arabia to the hijackers, per the New York Times. In a Monday court filing in a case brought by victims' families against Saudi Arabia, the Justice Department said the FBI would review documents that Bill Barr, attorney general under President Trump, decided should remain classified for national security reasons.

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A spokesperson said the FBI had "recently" finished a portion of its investigation into the attacks and "decided to review its prior privilege assertions to identify additional information appropriate for disclosure," with such information to be released "on a rolling basis as expeditiously as possible." Biden praised the move, noting his administration "is committed to ensuring the maximum degree of transparency under the law." But Brett Eagleson, an advocate for victims' families who lost his own father on 9/11, tells CNN that the move doesn't go far enough. "The DOJ/FBI ... can act immediately to produce the documents including the unredacted 2016 FBI Review Report of the bureau's years-long investigation of Saudi government agents who 'are known to have provided substantial assistance to' the hijackers, as well as phone records and witness statements," he says. (Read more 9/11 attacks stories.)

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