Biden Administration Releases Long-Awaited Declassified 9/11 Documents

Owen Morris, Staff Writer

Over the 9/11 weekend, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released the first declassified document regarding the 9/11 terror attacks. It contains possible connections between the Saudi Arabian government and the terrorist group Al-Qaeda. 

The FBI report comes as part of an executive order signed on Sept. 3 by President Joe Biden. The order is intended to release declassified documents that could give closure to families who lost loved ones, as well as to uncover any Saudi Arabian connections with 19 Al-Qaeda plane hijackers that were responsible for the deaths of almost 3,000 Americans. 

The new documents would also shed light on the events before and after 9/11 and uncover details undisclosed by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, more commonly known as the 9/11 Commission during the George W. Bush Administration.  

Throughout the report, there have been several redactions of names, phrases and details made. The redactions are part of statutes and rules established by the U.S. government in order to protect the identities of FBI officials, confidential or strictly classified information and evidence specifically reserved for the federal grand juries involved. Despite the redactions, the families and attorneys of those who died on 9/11 have publicly stated their pleasure with the entirely unreleased documents. 

President Biden’s executive order dictated the release of multiple FBI declassified documents, starting with a partially redacted or blacked-out 16-page-long report summarizing Operation ENCORE. The FBI investigation, completed in 2016, covers the incidents of coordination of logistical support between multiple Saudi Arabian officials, one Jordanian citizen and two of the future hijackers while living in the U.S. 

The report provided an FBI interview from Nov. 12 and Nov. 13, 2015 with a person having multiple phone contacts with three Saudi Arabian nationals: Omar Al Bayoumi, Fahad Al Thumairy and Mohammed Muhanna. All three men worked as officials at the Consulate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Los Angeles, CA. 

Months before 9/11, the officials held discussions coordinating logistics at a Mediterranean restaurant in Los Angeles with Saudi Arabian hijackers, Nawaf Al-Hazmi and Khalid Al-Midhar. The report continued with accounts from witnesses about the actions of the Saudi Arabian officials at the Consulate and the whereabouts of the two hijackers. It showed that officials Bayoumi, Thumairy and Muhanna all played roles in the logistical support of the Al-Qaeda hijackers prior to 9/11. According to the report, Al Bayoumi had provided strong support in 2000. 

In federal investigation interviews, Al Bayoumi, who had repeated contact with the men, claimed he had never discussed Islamic prejudices, Jihadism or Islamic terrorism, nor the hijackers’ deadly mission. However, the report discusses several eyewitness statements and events claiming otherwise. 

In 2003, Scotland Yard, which is the British Police Department, detained Al Bayoumi in a raid of his home for his connections to the hijackers of 9/11, which revealed documents pertaining to Al Bayoumi’s ties with Al-Qaeda members that had repeated contact with Al-Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden himself. 

As expressed in the report, the terrorist hijackings and crashes into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and field in Shanksville, PAwere clearly orchestrated by Al-Qaeda in and outside the U.S. 

Operation ENCORE succeeded in revealing new information about the events preceding 9/11 and how multiple Saudi nationals facilitated the logistical support of several of the 9/11 terrorists. One important finding from the report shows that the Saudi Arabian government had no responsibility in  fundingAl-Qaeda before 9/11. The report also shows that several Saudi Arabian officials did not act at the behest of their government to support Al-Qaeda terrorism, which supports the Saudi Arabian government’s public statements that they had no involvement in 9/11 in the recent decades.