Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

A woman at the 9/11 Memorial in New York

Family members of people killed in the September 11 attacks attend a memorial event on Septemer 11, 2020. (Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Release Details of Saudi Involvement or Stay Away From Memorials, 9/11 Families Tell Biden

"If President Biden reneges on his commitment and sides with the Saudi government, we would be compelled to publicly stand in objection to any participation by his administration in any memorial ceremony of 9/11."

Julia Conley

Nearly 1,800 family members, survivors, and first responders who were affected by the September 11 attacks are intensifying pressure on the federal government to declassify information that they believe points to Saudi leaders' involvement in or support for the attacks, with the group calling on President Joe Biden to stay away from next month's 20th anniversary memorial events unless he releases the documents first.

The family members and survivors say PENTTBOM, the FBI's investigation that wrapped up in 2016, uncovered support provided by Saudi officials for the attackers. The Obama and Trump administrations both declined to declassify documents from the probe, citing national security concerns. 

"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."
—9/11 Families

As a 2020 presidential candidate, Biden expressed support for the 9/11 families' search for "full truth and accountability" regarding the attacks and said he would direct his attorney general "to personally examine the merits of all cases where the invocation of privilege is recommended, and to err on the side of disclosure in cases where, as here, the events in question occurred two decades or longer ago."
"Twenty years later, there is simply no reason—unmerited claims of 'national security' or otherwise—to keep this information secret," the families wrote in a statement released Friday. "But if President Biden reneges on his commitment and sides with the Saudi government, we would be compelled to publicly stand in objection to any participation by his administration in any memorial ceremony of 9/11."
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) on Friday expressed his support for the families' demand on social media.
"Mr. President, honor the 9/11 families," Khanna wrote. "Americans deserve the truth."
Earlier this year, the president drew criticism from human rights groups and members of Congress after he stopped short of holding Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The 9/11 Commission, which concluded its work in 2004, said it "found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or as individual senior officials knowingly support or supported al Qaeda," but pointed to "a failure to conduct oversight" which "created an environment in which [terrorist] activity has flourished," and identifies Saudi nationals as a funding source for the group. 
Since the commission ended its investigation, the families said, "much investigative evidence has been uncovered implicating Saudi government officials in supporting the attacks."
"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," they said.
Brett Eagleson—whose father Bruce was killed in the attacks— is among the family members who filed a federal lawsuit against the Saudi government in 2017, in which the plaintiffs last month asked a judge to allow them access to government documents and Saudis' testimonies. Eagleson told NBC News on Friday that the families are "collectively are at our wits' end with our own government."
"Twenty years is way too long for anybody, especially thousands of American families, to learn the truth about what happened to their loved ones," Eagleson said.
The families have pointed to a 2017 sworn testimony by former FBI Special Agent Steven Moore, who led the Los Angeles Task Force Team for PENTTBOM and said, "Based on evidence we gathered during the course of our investigation, I concluded that diplomatic and intelligence personnel of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia knowingly provided material support to the two 9/11 hijackers and facilitated the 9/11 plot."
According to a New York Times Magazine report from January 2020, Moore also wrote in a statement supporting the families' lawsuit against the Saudis that a Saudi diplomat named Fahad al-Thumairy "was the primary point of contact for [two of the 9/11 attackers] in Los Angeles" and "was aware in advance of their arrival and, through the King Fahad Mosque, had already provided a place for them to stay in Los Angeles."
Moore added in his 2017 testimony that al Qaeda would not have sent the attackers to the U.S. "without a support structure in place."
Timothy Frolich, a bank executive who suffered severe injuries after escaping the World Trade Center attack, told the Times last year that the survivors and families are "fighting on two fronts: our own government and the Saudis."
The families' latest push for the declassification of the FBI's findings and related documents comes a day after several Democratic senators unveiled the September 11 Transparency Act of 2021. As co-sponsor Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) tweeted on Thursday, the legislation calls for a review of the documents to determine whether they still need to be kept hidden from the public.
"I don't care what the [United States'] relationship is with Saudi Arabia or any other country," said Sen. Chuck Schumer at a press conference introducing the bill. "If they did something that is bad and horrible, that should be brought to account."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.


'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·

Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·

'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·

'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·

80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo