WSJ: Saudi Official’s Name Involved in 9/11 Revealed
The Wall Street Journal revealed on Friday that the US administration turned over a key piece of new information to lawyers for 9/11 victims’ families, a move that could cast light on long-disputed reports of Saudi government involvement in the terrorist attacks.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation provided the name of a Saudi official contained in a 2012 report that the bureau has long sought to shield from full public view. But it declined to release any other information the families had sought, which could have further complicated already-tense relations between Washington and Riyadh.
The decision, revealed in a Thursday court filing, marks the latest turn in a long battle between the families and the FBI to get access to a copy of the report and other information. The families sought the document as part of a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia that accuses its government of helping coordinate the 2001 attacks.
Victims’ families had for months urged the government to provide the full report, telling Donald Trump in a letter recently that it would help them “finally learn the full truth and obtain justice from Saudi Arabia.”
The FBI, citing the “exceptional nature of the case” said it would only provide the name of the one Saudi official that the families had wanted most to obtain, but no other information. The name of the official won’t be made public, but would be given privately to lawyers for the victims’ families, according to the filing.
James Kreindler, an attorney for the families, said they intend to file a motion to lift the protective order, and would continue to fight for more information. He said the name that was revealed wasn’t a surprise but declined to characterize the person further.
The families celebrated the decision. “This was a key document, but by no means the only evidence we have been pursuing and securing from the FBI,” the families said in a statement, describing it as a “big victory and good result.”
An FBI official played down the significance of the information, saying that the document’s reference to the Saudi official at issue referred to an “investigative theory being pursued by the FBI at that time” and “does not represent an objective statement of fact.”
The official said the FBI was shielding additional information to protect classified information related to “ongoing investigations” and to protect its source and methods. Attorney General William Barr asserted the state secrets privilege to keep the other information secret, saying there was a “reasonable danger” that releasing it would “risk significant harm to national security.”