Washington: After a 13-year wait, the United States has released a once-classified chapter of a Congressional report about the attacks of September 11, 2001, that questions whether Saudi nationals who helped the hijackers with things like finding apartments and opening bank accounts knew what they were planning.
The 28-unreleased pages showed that the probe into the links between Saudi Arabia and the attacks found multiple suspicions but no proven ties. The report indicates links between Saudi Arabian government and those behind 9/11 but such links have been dismissed as preliminary allegations which could not be corroborated by subsequent investigations.
The findings however showed an inability to "identify definitively" Saudi links to attacks on US soil and global terror.
"While in the United States, some of the 9/11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi government," the declassified document said.
"These pages, while they don’t shed any new light or change any of the conclusions about responsibilities for the 9/11 attacks, they are consistent with the commitments to transparency that the administration has tried to apply to even sensitive national security issues," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
"This material was investigative material that was reviewed and followed up on by the independent 9/11 Commission that was formed outside of the US government to take a look at the attacks of 9/11. The conclusion of the 9/11 Commission is or was, as they wrote, they found, quote, no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded al-Qaeda," Earnest said in response to a question.
The redacted version of the unreleased-28 pages of the 9/11 report were released by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
"However, its important to note that this section does not put forward vetted conclusions, but rather unverified leads that were later fully investigated by the Intelligence Community," said its Chairman David Nunes.
Ranking member Adam Schiff hoped that the release of these pages, with appropriate redactions necessary to protect our nations intelligence sources and methods, will diminish speculation that they contain proof of official Saudi government or senior Saudi officials involvement in the 9/11 attacks.
Simultaneously, the Office of Director of National Intelligence released a declassified executive summary of a 2005 joint CIA, FBI memorandum prepared in response to a congressional directive on the same topic.
The publication of the report brings to an end years of effort to declassify these documents.
"As someone who has always advocated for providing as much transparency as possible to the American people consistent with protecting our national security, I am pleased that these documents looking into the 9/11 attacks have finally been declassified and made public," said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi, the longest serving Member of the House Intelligence Committee, is a former Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and was the top House Democrat on the Joint Congressional investigation looking into the 9/11 attack.
With PTI Inputs