9/11 families ask Biden to stay away from ceremony unless documents are released

Families of those killed nearly 20 years ago in the September 11 terrorist attacks plan to send a letter to President Joe Biden asking him not to attend ceremonies marking the event unless he declassifies evidence about what happened on that day.

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According to a story from CNBC, nearly 1,800 first responders, survivors and family members of the victims of the attacks say they want Biden to declassify U.S. government evidence they believe shows a link between Saudi Arabian leaders and the attacks.

Brett Eagleson, son of Bruce Eagleson who died at the World Trade Center, said the families who sign the letter “collectively are at our wits’ end with our own government.”

“We are frustrated, tired and saddened with the fact that the U.S. government for 20 years has chosen to keep information about the death of our loved ones behind lock and key,” Eagleson told NBC.

Eagleson is one of a group of victims’ relatives who filed a federal lawsuit accusing Saudi Arabia of taking part in the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 and injured some 6,000.

“We cannot in good faith, and with veneration to those lost, sick, and injured, welcome the president to our hallowed grounds until he fulfills his commitment,” the group wrote in a statement obtained by NBC News.

“Since the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission in 2004 much investigative evidence has been uncovered implicating Saudi government officials in supporting the attacks,” the statement continued.

“Through multiple administrations, the Department of Justice and the FBI have actively sought to keep this information secret and prevent the American people from learning the full truth about the 9/11 attacks.”

Biden pledged in October 2020 that he intended “to be a President for all Americans and will hear all of their voices.”

“The 9/11 Families are right to seek full truth and accountability. ... I will direct my Attorney General to personally examine the merits of all cases where the invocation of privilege is recommended, and to err on the side of disclosure in cases where, as here, the events in question occurred two decades or longer ago.”

Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump all declined to declassify supporting documents in the 9/11 investigation. The Trump administration invoked the state secrets privilege in 2019 to justify keeping documents classified.

The Hill reported that on Thursday Democratic senators again called for the government to declassify and make available any documents related to Saudi Arabia’s role in the terrorist attacks.

“If the United States government is sitting on any documents that may implicate Saudi Arabia or any individual or any country in the events of 11 September, these families, and the American people, have a right to know,” Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, said.

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