Status: 03.09.2021 11:10 p.m.
As a presidential candidate, Biden had promised to campaign for the publication of previously secret documents about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. As US President, he now instructed that the clearance be checked.
US President Joe Biden has instructed the Justice Department and other agencies to investigate the release of classified documents related to the September 11th terrorist attacks. An ordinance obliges Justice Minister Merrick Garland to publish relevant documents in connection with the investigation into the attacks within the next six months, said Biden.
Information should not remain classified if the public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to national security, the order said. “When I ran for president, I pledged to ensure transparency in the release of documents relating to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America,” Biden said in a statement.
Survivors demand the publication of documents
With a view to the 20th anniversary of the attacks, Biden now wants to keep his campaign promises. Previously, some families of the victims had threatened not to show up for the 20th anniversary commemorations if Biden did not release documents. They were primarily concerned with documents that shed light on the role of Saudi Arabia in the attacks.
Families of victims of the terrorist attacks have long wanted to hold the Gulf state accountable. The background to this are allegations against the country of having had connections with the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda. The majority of the attackers were also Saudi citizens.
In its report, the commission to deal with the attacks came to the conclusion that there was no evidence that “the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi representatives” had co-financed al-Qaeda. This formulation has been taken by some as an indication that government officials in lower positions may have played a role.
20th anniversary of the attacks
On September 11, 2001, Islamist terrorists piloted three hijacked aircraft into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. Another hijacked plane crashed in Pennsylvania. The USA is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks this year and commemorating the victims. “We must never forget the continuing pain of the families of the 2,977 innocent people killed in the worst terrorist attack in history against America,” said Biden. “For them it wasn’t just a national and international tragedy. It was personal destruction.”
The decree states that the government must display “maximum transparency”. Documents must therefore be published, unless there are very strong reasons against it.