The U.S. government on Friday released a once-secret chapter from a congressional report on the 9/11 attacks that addresses Saudi connections to some of the hijackers, a move sure to recharge speculation over what -- if anything -- Saudi government officials knew. Under wraps for 13 years, the report contains numerous redactions but states some hijackers "were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi Government." The documents were posted Friday by the House intelligence committee, after being declassified. The report questioned whether Saudis who were in contact with the hijackers after they arrived in the U.S. knew what they were planning. The document -- known as the so-called "28 pages" -- names people the hijackers associated with before they carried out the attacks.
In the months following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, FBI agents chased down tantalizing leads that a Saudi official and a princess in the Saudi royal family may have helped two hijackers settle in San Diego before the strike. But when a 2002 congressional inquiry into the hijackings was released, 28 pages of details about those leads were blanked out, leading to conspiracy theories that the U.S. government was trying to protect Saudi Arabia, its ally, from scrutiny. The Obama administration on Friday finally declassified those pages, and Congress released the documents to the public. Many of the allegations already have appeared in news reports, government reviews and court documents over the past several years. White House spokesman Josh Earnest stressed Friday that the pages, which were part of the 858-page "Joint Inquiry into the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001," reveal no evidence that the Saudi government funded Al Qaeda's plot.
The House Intelligence Committee has released 28 previously classified pages of a congressional investigation into the 9/11 attacks that detail the potential involvement of Saudi citizens and government officials. People including former members of the investigation, called the Joint Inquiry Committee, and lawyers for victims of the 9/11 attacks, have pushed for the release of the pages for years. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies had long resisted on national security grounds. The report (which contained some redactions), did not, as some critics suspected, implicate the Saudi government directly in the attacks. "Neither the CIA nor the FBI was able to definitely identify for these Committees the extend for terrorist activity globally or within the United States and the extent to which such support, if it exists, is intentional or innocent in nature," the report reads.
WASHINGTON – Newly declassified pages from a congressional report into 9/11 released Friday have reignited speculation that some of the hijackers had links to Saudis, including government officials -- allegations that were never substantiated by later U.S. investigations into the terrorist attacks. Congress released the last chapter of the congressional inquiry that has been kept under wraps for more than 13 years, stored in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol. Lawmakers and relatives of victims of the attacks, who believe that Saudi links to the attackers were not thoroughly investigated, campaigned for years to get the pages released. The lightly redacted document names individuals who helped the hijackers get apartments, open bank accounts and connect with local mosques. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals and several were not fluent in English and had little experience living in the West.
Under wraps for 13 years, the U.S. on Friday released once-top secret pages from a congressional report into 9/11 that questioned whether Saudis who were in contact with the hijackers after they arrived in the U.S. knew what they were planning. Later investigations found no evidence that the Saudi government or senior Saudi officials knowingly supported those who orchestrated the attacks. "Since 2002, the 9/11 Commission and several government agencies, including the CIA and the FBI, have investigated the contents of the '28 Pages' and have confirmed that neither the Saudi government, nor senior Saudi officials, nor any person acting on behalf of the Saudi government provided any support or encouragement for these attacks," Abdullah Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, said in a statement Friday. The commission's 567-page report, released in July 2004, stated that it found "no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded" al-Qaida.