Washington-Part of a Congressional report that had been kept under wraps for more than a decade, and was declassified on Friday, confirmed that the United States has no proof over the involvement of Saudi officials in the 9/11 attacks.
U.S. intelligence believed that Saudi officials may have had multiple contacts with some of the 9/11 hijackers.
However, the United States probed links between the government of Saudi Arabia and the 9/11 attacks, finding no proven ties.
Known as the “28 pages,” the secret document was part of a 2002 Congressional Joint Inquiry into the Sept. 11 attacks and has been classified since the report’s completion, despite repeated calls for its release.
After declassifying the documents, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said: “This material was investigative material that was reviewed and followed up on by the independent 9/11 Commission.”
“They don’t shed any new light or change any of the conclusions about responsibility for the 9/11 attacks.”
“Former president George W. Bush had ordered that part of the report be classified,” he said.
Bush’s administration had cited the need to protect the methods and identities of U.S. intelligence sources.
Nevertheless, there was also concern that the report could damage relations with an important Middle Eastern ally and oil exporter.
Yet, President Barack Obama had decided to declassify the so-called “28 pages.”
For his part, Saudi Ambassador to the United States Abdullah bin Turki Al Saud stated that Saudi Arabia has always requested the release of these pages.
He also affirmed that the Kingdom is working closely with the U.S. and other allies in order to eliminate terrorism and terrorist organizations.
“Several government agencies, including the CIA and the FBI, have investigated the contents of the ’28 Pages’ and have confirmed that neither the Saudi government, nor senior Saudi officials, nor any person acting on behalf of the Saudi government provided any support or encouragement for these attacks,” he said.
“We hope the release of these pages will clear up, once and for all, any lingering questions or suspicions about Saudi Arabia’s actions, intentions, or long-term friendship with the United States.”
The year-long Congressional investigation also expressed anger about gaps in U.S. intelligence about Saudi Arabia’s possible links to terror, deeming them “unacceptable” given the “magnitude and immediacy of the potential risk to U.S. national security.”
The lightly redacted document names individuals who helped the hijackers get apartments, open bank accounts and connect with local mosques.
The document mentions scores of names that the congressional inquiry believed deserved more investigation.
They included Omar al-Bayoumi, who allegedly helped two of the hijackers in California.
The 9/11 Commission report found him to be an “unlikely candidate for clandestine involvement” with extremists.