The FBI has released the first batch of certain documents related to its investigation of the 9/11 attacks which fortified suspicions of official Saudi involvement with the hijackers of the planes.
The families of the attacks’ victims have for years pushed the US government to declassify and make public more information about 9/11, which was a series of strikes that killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage in the United States.
US officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists, 15 of them Saudi nationals, but many experts and independent researchers have raised questions about the official account.
The latest release by the FBI comes after US President Joe Biden last week directed the Justice Department and other agencies to review and release the documents.
Among the documents released, a memo from April 4, 2016, which had been classified until now, showed links between Omar Bayoumi, at the time a student but suspected to have been a Saudi intelligence operative, and two of the al-Qaeda operatives who participated in the plot to hijack and crash four airliners into targets in New York and Washington.
In 2009 and 2015, a series of interviews were carried out with a source whose identity is classified. Citing the interviews, the document provides details about contacts and meetings between Bayoumi and the two hijackers, Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Midhar, after the two arrived in Southern California in 2000 ahead of the attacks.
The document also strengthens links, which had been already reported, between the two and an official at the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles as well as Fahad al-Thumairy, an imam at the King Faad mosque.
According to the document, telephone numbers associated with the source showed contact with a number of people who helped Hamzi and Midhar while they were in California, including Bayoumi and Thumairy, as well as the source himself.
Bayoumi, beyond his official identity as a student, had "very high status" in the Saudi consulate, the source told the FBI, according to the document.
"Bayoumi's assistance to Hamzi and Midha included translation, travel, lodging and financing," the memo said.
The document also shows that Bayoumi and Thumairy had meetings, phone calls and other communications with Anwar al Alaki, an important al-Qaeda figure, who, according to the US, was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
The document released was, however, significantly redacted and did not provide a clear direct link between the Saudi government and the hijackers.
It was released after Biden was pressured by family members of those killed on 9/11 who have sued Saudi Arabia for complicity.
Three successive US administrations have refused to declassify and disclose documents pertaining to the case in what appears to be a bid to avoid damage to the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia.
According to Jim Kreindler, one of the leaders of the lawsuit, the document validates the suit's key contention that the Saudi government helped the hijackers.
"With this first release of documents, 20 years of Saudi Arabia counting on the US government to cover up its role in 9/11 comes to an end," Kreindler said in a statement.
Independent researchers believe that rogue elements within the US government, such as former vice president Dick Cheney, orchestrated or at least encouraged the 9/11 attacks in order to accelerate the US war machine and advance the Zionist agenda.