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A woman at the 9/11 Memorial in New York

Family members of 9/11 victims pay tribute to their loved ones on the 19th anniversary of September 11 attacks in New York City on September 11, 2020. (Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Under Pressure From Victims' Families, Biden Orders Release of 9/11 Documents

Last month, nearly 1,800 family members told the president to stay away from anniversary events unless he ordered the declassification of documents.

Julia Conley

A group representing the families of some of the victims of the September 11 attacks applauded an executive order issued by President Joe Biden on Friday in which the president directed federal agencies to review and release documents related to the FBI's investigation of the attacks.
 
The order comes a month after nearly 1,800 family members, survivors, and first responders called on Biden to stay away from the upcoming 20th anniversary events unless he ordered the declassification of the documents.
 
"We are thrilled to see the president forcing the release of more evidence about Saudi connections to the 9/11 attacks," Terry Strada, national chair of 9/11 Families United, said in a statement.
 
Under Biden's order, agencies including the Department of Justice will review documents from the investigation and release those that can be declassified in the next six months. Some documents could be released as early as next week, according to CNBC, and the president directed Attorney General Merrick Garland to withhold only documents that pose a clear threat to national security.
 
The previous three presidents have maintained secrecy around the investigation, which ended in 2016.
 
In 2017, a sworn testimony by an agent who worked on the probe tied the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to material support that the 9/11 hijackers obtained prior to the attacks.
 
"Much investigative evidence has been uncovered implicating Saudi government officials in supporting the attacks," the families said last month.
 
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer applauded the executive order.
 
Strada said more work remains "to secure justice for our murdered loved ones and to rectify the immense damage the 20-year shroud of secrecy has caused."
 
"But we now are optimistic that President Biden will be helping us achieve those goals," she added.
 

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