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Family members who lost loved ones on 9/11 hold up their photos during an event outside the U.S. Capitol to introduce the September 11th Transparency Act of 2021, bipartisan legislation to improve transparency regarding federal 9/11 investigations, in Washington, U.S., August 5, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

International

Providing closure: DOJ to give 9/11 families more details on attacks

Aug 10, 2021

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Monday, the Department of Justice announced it is going to try to give families of 9/11 victims more details on the attacks. The announcement was made in a two-page letter filed in federal court in Manhattan. The letter is part of a federal lawsuit that aims to hold the Saudi government accountable for the attacks.

The long-running lawsuit advanced significantly earlier this year, thanks in part to the questioning under oath of former Saudi officials. However, those depositions are sealed, and the United States has withheld a trove of other documents saying they are too sensitive for disclosure.

In the letter, the Justice Department wrote the FBI had recently finished an investigation into certain 9/11 hijackers and potential co-conspirators. The DOJ said it would consider sharing information that was not previously disclosed. That investigation is referred to as the “Subfile Investigation.”

“The FBI will disclose such information on a rolling basis as expeditiously as possible,” the DOJ wrote. In a separate statement, the department said the FBI was now reviewing the documents for information that could be shared with the families despite court rulings “upholding the government’s privilege assertions.”

Last week nearly 1,800 families, victims and first responders said President Joe Biden is not welcome at the September 11th memorial events marking 20 years since the attach, as long as, key documents remained classified.

President Biden praised Monday’s letter, saying his administration was “committed to ensuring the maximum degree of transparency under the law.”

“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,” Biden said.

Brett Eagleson, whose father was killed inside the World Trade Center, said while he appreciated Biden’s acknowledgement of the families, “We have heard many empty promises before.” “We hope the Biden administration comes forward now to provide the information the 9/11 community has waited to receive for 20 years, so we can stand together with the president at Ground Zero on 9/11,” Eagleson said.

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