The Department of Justice announced Monday that it will review what previously withheld information or documents related to the September 11, 2001, attacks it can disclose to the public as it faces public pressure ahead of the 20th anniversary of that tragic day.
The filing from the Justice Department comes less than a week after more than 1,600 people affected by the September 11 attacks released a letter calling on President Joe Biden to refrain from going to Ground Zero in New York City to mark the anniversary of the event unless he releases additional documents and information the government has previously blocked.
A Justice Department spokesperson said Monday that the government advised a federal court in Manhattan that the FBI had recently closed an investigation related to certain September 11th hijackers. President Biden released a statement praising the decision by the Justice Department, saying it follows through on a campaign promise of his to have the department work to release 9/11 records.
“As I promised during my campaign, my Administration is committed to ensuring the maximum degree of transparency under the law, and to adhering to the rigorous guidance issued during the Obama-Biden Administration on the invocation of the state secrets privilege,” President Biden said in the statement. “In this vein, I welcome the Department of Justice’s filing today, which commits to conducting a fresh review of documents where the government has previously asserted privileges, and to doing so as quickly as possible.”
New from @POTUS on DOJ filing related to 9/11 records:
"As I promised during my campaign, my Administration is committed to ensuring the maximum degree of transparency under the law … My heart and my prayers continue to be with the 9/11 families."https://t.co/P8IkKUJRtm
— Mike Gwin (@MGwin46) August 9, 2021
Brett Eagleson, who lost his father on 9/11 and is an advocate for many families of the victims killed in the attacks, criticized the Justice Department’s filing, saying it does not go far enough toward full transparency.
A scathing letter from 9/11 families to President Biden is pressuring him to fulfill a campaign promise of releasing now-classified documents related to the investigation. What could be in those documents, and why is it so hard to finally release them? @nancycordes reports pic.twitter.com/a1thqnvCwT
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 9, 2021
“The DOJ/FBI have already had three years to ‘review’ the files and can act immediately to produce the documents including the unredacted 2016 FBI Review Report of the bureau’s years-long investigation of Saudi government agents who ‘are known to have provided substantial assistance to the hijackers, as well as phone records and witness statements,” Eagleson said.