DOJ to release name of Saudi official allegedly involved in 9/11

DOJ to release name of Saudi official allegedly involved in 9/11

DOJ to release name of Saudi official allegedly involved in 9/11

The U.S. said Thursday that it will disclose the name of a Saudi citizen sought by lawyers for victims of the September 11 attacks who want to link the kingdom to the terrorist plot.

'The September 11 terrorist attacks were the most lethal in our nation's history, and the FBI has always been committed to providing the families of the victims with transparency regarding its investigation of the events of that tragic day, consistent with maintaining the national security and the FBI's overriding goal of preventing future terrorist attacks, ' the court filing states.

Most recently the Justice Department obtained a delay until Thursday, and several individuals with knowledge of the case said that the Justice Department would indeed announce its decision on Thursday.

It says the information will be shared with attorneys representing the victims' families.

The name will be disclosed to lawyers for the plaintiffs but they will be prevented from releasing the name to the public.

The case has long threatened to embarrass the Saudi government, which has repeatedly denied links to Al-Qaeda, and leave it exposed to claims of damages that could reach into the billions of dollars.

Almost 3,000 people were killed in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, and families have sued seeking damages from the Saudi government.

An official report into the attacks in 2002 said that some of the attackers had received funds from Saudi officials, "at least two" of whom were "alleged by some to be Saudi intelligence officers". The two men, Fahad al-Thumairy and Omar Ahmed al-Bayoumi, have been connected to the Saudi government previously in government reports. The two men he directed, both of whom have ties to the Saudi government, are described as providing support to two of the hijackers in a "highly coordinated, state-run-and-initiated covert operation", helping them find housing, get drivers' licenses, and otherwise settle in.

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The person's name was redacted in a 2012 Federal Bureau of Investigation report suggesting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been investigating three people in connection with aid to the hijackers.

Rumors have tied the individual to the Saudi royal family. But his identity has remained classified as Washington and Riyadh worked closely after the attacks to root out al-Qaeda's network across the Middle East and South Asia.

"The FBI recognizes the need and desire of victims families to understand what happened to their loved ones and to hold those responsible accountable", the Justice Department said.

There has been speculation of official involvement since shortly after the attacks, when it was revealed that 15 of the 19 attackers were Saudis and Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida at the time, was from a prominent family in the kingdom. That was only allowed after Congress passed a law in 2016 widening the ability for civil lawsuits to be filed against foreign countries accused of involvement in a terror attack.

The 9/11 Commission established by Congress said in 2004 that it had found "no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded" al Qaeda, although a number of commission members have since said, including in declarations that were submitted as part of the lawsuit, that the review did not include an exhaustive investigation of evidence of possible Saudi government involvement.

Al Jazeera's Elizondo reported that the lawyers of the victims expect more revelations and disclosures in the coming weeks.

Victims' relatives believe that name could help them in establishing a link between the Saudi government and the September 11 attacks, which is a matter of dispute.

She said that the information should have been made available to the families years ago.

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