Faced with mounting pressure from 9/11 victims and their families, U.S. President Joe Biden on September 3 directed the Justice Department and other federal agencies to declassify documents from the FBI’s investigation into the attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. which killed about 3,000 Americans.
It remains unclear how much pivotal new information will be released under Biden’s order, since U.S. intelligence officials can still withhold key details based on privacy laws or so-called national security concerns.
The FBI has already said that it cannot account for key evidence in its long-running investigation into the hijackers and their associates. Relatives of the victims have called on the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate the FBI’s handling of the evidence.
“The 9/11 families certainly should know the truth about who is responsible for the murder of our loved ones, but the American people deserve to know … just as much as we do,” said Terry Strada, whose husband was killed in the North Tower, as quoted by USA Today.
Strada is among hundreds of relatives of the 9/11 victims, first responders and survivors who are suing the Saudi government in a U.S. federal court in New York over the kingdom’s alleged role in the attacks.
U.S .officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists but many experts and independent researchers have raised questions about the official account. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals.
For 20 years, both Republican and Democratic administrations have kept key documents and vital information from the public eye, in what critics have termed as a cover-up to shield the Saudi kingdom.
“We’ve had roadblocks for the last 20 years whenever the kingdom was involved. It’s time we expose the truth,” Strada said.
U.S. anti-war groups CodePink and Massachusetts Peace Action will host the webinar dubbed “Never Forget: 9/11 and the 20-Year War on Terror” to examine how “9/11 fundamentally altered the culture of the United States and its relationship with the rest of the world.”
A day after the webinar, CodePink and other peace activist groups will hold a rally outside the White House to launch a new 100-day national campaign, calling for efforts to “cut the Pentagon for the people, planet, peace, and a future.”
“Just like CodePink’s first vigil in front of the White House in 2002, we’ll use this event to begin to organize the movement we need to take on the war profiteers who oppose us at every turn,” Jodie Evans, the group’s co-founder, said in a statement.