Law & the Courts

Biden Orders Declassification Review of FBI 9/11 Investigation

The World Trade Center in New York City burns early on September 11, 2001. (Jeff Christensen/Reuters)

President Biden issued an executive order on Friday directing the Department of Justice to conduct a “declassification review” of documents concerning the FBI investigation of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The order requires Attorney General Merrick Garland to publicize all relevant documents over the next six months.

“We must never forget the enduring pain of the families and loved ones of the 2,977 innocent people who were killed during the worst terrorist attack on America in our history,” Biden said in a statement. “My heart continues to be with the 9/11 families who are suffering, and my Administration will continue to engage respectfully with members of this community. I welcome their voices and insight as we chart a way forward.”

The order comes after family members of victims asked the president not to attend any memorial events for the September 11 attacks this year unless he declassified more documents, which they say would implicate Saudi officials. The letter from families, released on August 6, has since gained over 2,000 signatures.

“Since the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission in 2004 much investigative evidence has been uncovered implicating Saudi government officials in supporting the attacks,” the letter reads. “Through multiple administrations, the Department of Justice and the FBI have actively sought to keep this information secret and prevent the American people from learning the full truth about the 9/11 attacks.”

The national 9/11 Commission indicated that senior Saudi leadership were not involved in the attacks, however it did note that al-Qaeda had received funding from Saudi nationals.

“The Commission staff found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or as individual senior officials knowingly support or supported al Qaeda,” the report states. “However, a lack of awareness of the problem and a failure to conduct oversight over institutions created an environment in which such activity has flourished.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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