A bipartisan group of senators is calling for increased transparency into federal 9/11 investigations, which they say contain documents that expose Saudi ties to the terrorist attacks.
Sens. Robert Menendez and Richard Blumenthal on Thursday introduced The September 11th Transparency Act of 2021, which would require a full declassification review of the 9/11 investigation and justification for any decisions to keep details out of the public eye going forward.
Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa also have signed on to the legislation.
“For 20 years 9/11 families and survivors have worked to hold the perpetrators of this attack responsible and bring them to justice,” Mr. Menendez, New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said during a press conference. “Yet year after year, their own federal government has refused to declassify documents that could shed light on any role that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or individuals from Saudi Arabia or from any country may have played in the 9/11 attacks.”
Previous attempts to uncover Saudi involvement in 9/11 have been met with pushback by previous administrations in an effort, some say, to prevent potentially explosive information from being disclosed and to preserve the U.S.-Saudi relationship.
Lawmakers and advocates have continued their push for transparency under the Biden administration, but have received little response to date.
In May, 22 members of Congress led by Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland challenging the previous administrations’ assertion of “state secret privilege” in blocking declassification of documents that many believe expose Saudi involvement in the attacks.
In June Reps. Ted Deutch, Florida Democrat, and Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, called on FBI Director Christopher Wray to release the documents.
Last month, family members of those that died in the attacks called on President Biden to release the documents pertaining to Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the attacks.
“The American people deserve the truth, even if it is embarrassing, and even if it causes liability to the Saudi government,” Mr. Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, said Thursday. “And there is mounting credible, significant evidence of Saudi government’s complicity in the 911 attacks. That evidence may be only the tip of the iceberg. The American people deserve to see all of it.”
Brett Eagleson, co-founder of 9/11 Community United, and an organization that advocates for 9/11 victims and their families, said the congressional support for their pursuit of transparency is encouraging.
“But frankly, this legislation should never have been necessary,” Mr. Eagleson said. “Four administrations have failed to provide the 9/11 community with answers we and the American public deserve, but this bill is a solid step toward giving us the truth about the murder of our loved ones.”