Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are less than 72 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign and our independent journalism needs your help today.
If you value our work, please support Common Dreams. This is our hour of need.

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.

September 11 attacks

Smoke pours from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo: Craig Allen/Getty Images)

9/11 Families to Biden: No Detente With Saudis Without Accountability for 2001 Attacks

The president was reportedly considering a trip to Saudi Arabia to appeal for more oil production as the DOJ announced it would miss a deadline for releasing declassified documents about the 9/11 attacks.

Julia Conley

The chair of a coalition representing 3,000 families who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001 is calling on President Joe Biden to demand accountability from Saudi officials for the attacks should the president appeal to the kingdom regarding oil production.

White House advisers are reportedly considering arranregaging a trip to Saudi Arabia where the president would talk with officials about ramping up output to help ease prices that have risen following Russia's attack on Ukraine.

"To omit September 11 from your discussions is to signal to the world that you are willing to indulge years more of Saudi obfuscation and obstruction."

If Biden does go to Riyadh, wrote Terry Strada, whose husband was killed at the World Trade Center, he must "include accountability for 9/11 in any conversations" he has with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman or other members of the royal family.

"The commitments you have made to us require no less," Strada, who leads 9/11 Families United, wrote in a letter to Biden on Thursday.

After promising to make Saudi Arabia a global "pariah" during his presidential campaign over the killing of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi and under pressure from 9/11 families, Biden announced last September an order demanding that the FBI release declassified documents regarding the attacks.

The 700 documents—including more than 2,700 pages—that the FBI has released so far in accordance with the executive action confirmed "that core elements of the Saudi government, including the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, were deeply intertwined with al Qaeda in the decade leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks, and provided al Qaeda with crucial support that enabled them to plan and carry out their mission," Strada wrote.

The 9/11 Commission found no evidence that Saudi Arabia funded al Qaeda, but did not conclude whether individual government officials may have provided support to the group led by Osama bin Laden.

The documents released since September showed at least two of the attackers received support from a Saudi diplomat and a government employee.

"Now, having seen this new evidence, we can say that it only confirms our long-held beliefs regarding Saudi Arabia's deep involvement in the murders of our loved ones," Strada said.

The kingdom has continued to deny any involvement in supporting the attackers, the majority of whom were Saudi nationals.

"To omit September 11 from your discussions is to signal to the world that you are willing to indulge years more of Saudi obfuscation and obstruction," Strada told the president. "Any dialogue must include our years-long quest for justice and accountability."

Strada's letter came as the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would miss the six-month deadline set by the president in September for releasing the documents. In a legal filing the department said Thursday it would release most of the documents by mid-March but some would not be made available until mid-April.

"The failure to hold the kingdom to account for aiding and abetting al Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers is the original sin in the U.S.-Saudi relationship and the source of the American people's hostility to that nation," wrote Strada. "No reset of our nation's relationship with Saudi Arabia can be successful without proper reconciliation for the attacks on September 11, 2001."


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

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Markey, Bowman Join Climate Coalition in Urging SCOTUS Expansion

"We cannot sit idly by," said Markey, "as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution."

Brett Wilkins ·


Ocasio-Cortez Says US 'Witnessing a Judicial Coup in Process'

"It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Brett Wilkins ·


Critics Say Biden Drilling Bonanza 'Won't Lower Gas Prices' But 'Will Worsen Climate Crisis'

"President Biden's massive public lands giveaway in the face of utter climate catastrophe is just the latest sign that his climate commitments are mere rhetoric," said one campaigner.

Kenny Stancil ·


Grave Warnings as Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case That Threatens 'Future of Voting Rights'

"Buckle up," implores one prominent legal scholar. "An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great threats to elections."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Urged to Take Emergency Action After 'Disastrous' Climate Ruling by Supreme Court

"The catastrophic impact of this decision cannot be understated," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, but "we cannot accept defeat."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo