Operation Encore: US releases previously classified record of FBI investigation into Saudi government’s alleged links to 9 /11 attacks
The FBI has released previously classified details of its own investigation – named Operation Encore – into alleged links between the 9/11 attacks and the Saudi government.
The document details contacts several of the 9/11 hijackers had with Saudi associates in the US. Yet, the information did not appear to provide conclusive proof that senior Saudi government officials themselves were complicit in the plot.
Saudi has always denied that its government or officials played any role in the plot, even though 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens.
A week after Joe Biden signed an executive order vowing to make public information the government had into the Al-Qaeda attacks in New York and Washington DC that killed 3,000, the FBI released a heavily redacted, 16-page summary of its own probe into possible links between the hijackers and Saudi officials.
He promised that an FBI electronic communication dating from April 4 2016, would be made public by September 11 2021, the 20th anniversary of the attacks.
While the document may not be the smoking gun some were hoping for given that so many names were banked out, lawyers representing survivors and relatives, claimed it was just that.
“With this first release of documents, 20 years of Saudi Arabia counting on the U.S. government to cover up its role in 9/11 comes to an end,” New York attorney James Kreindler said in a statement, first reported by the Florida Bulldog, a watchdog site.
“The findings and conclusions in this FBI investigation validate the arguments we have made in the litigation regarding the Saudi government’s responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. This document, together with the public evidence gathered to date, provides a blueprint for how Al-Qaeda operated inside the US with the active, knowing support of the Saudi government.”
Survivors of the attacks, along with relatives of those who died, had long expected the document could relate to Operation Encore, an investigation that the FBI continued, long after the 9/11 Commission issued its report in 2004, and which suggested America’s greatest error in not preventing the attacks had been a “failure of imagination”.
As it was, the previously classified document was slipped out with minimal fanfare by the Department of Justice shortly before midnight on Saturday, and in doing so just meeting Mr Biden’s promise. It was located on a part of the DoJ website called the “The Vault”.