President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday that could lead to the declassification of documents related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with victims’ families having long sought to make public such information.
“Today, I signed an executive order directing the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to oversee a declassification review of documents related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s September 11th investigations,” Biden said in a statement. “The executive order requires the Attorney General to release the declassified documents publicly over the next six months.”
A central question has been the role of the Saudi government, which has denied any involvement in the attacks. Last month, more than 1,800 Americans impacted by the 9/11 attacks signed a letter opposing Biden’s participation in 20th anniversary events unless he fulfilled a commitment to release the documents.
The release of documents has been an issue for years, and it will be highlighted in a number of the documentaries and retrospectives set to air next week in the days leading up to the 9/11 anniversary. Michael Moore dealt with the issue in his 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said in a statement, “As we near the 20th anniversary of that terrible day, the families of those who were killed, and all Americans, have a right to know the full story, and the passage of time has mitigated concerns over sources and methods. The House Intelligence Committee will closely oversee this process, to ensure that all agencies adhere to the president’s guidance to apply the maximum degree of transparency allowed by law when conducting the review.”