On Wednesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a trove of declassified documents about its probe into a possible connection between the Saudi government and the Sept. 11 attacks.
In an investigation that spanned more than a decade, agents looked into whether three Saudi nationals had advanced knowledge of the attacks.
According to an FBI memo from May that closed out the probe, ultimately, investigators didn’t find enough evidence to charge any of the three for illegally supporting the hijackers. The FBI noted that al-Qaida “did not make the attack plans known in advance to others.”
“Specifically, in relation to the 9/11 attacks, the hijackers knew there was a martyrdom operation, but did not know about the nature of the operation until shortly before the attack for operational security reasons,” the memo reads. Though, it’s not clear how the FBI reached this conclusion as all the hijackers died in the attack.
Families of victims and surviving victims of the Sept. 11 attacks have long requested the release of the documents as they sue in federal court to try to prove the Saudi government was complicit, which Riyadh officials have staunchly denied.
The documents reveal a years-long hunt for information on possible involvement by the Saudi government and scrutinize support given by Saudi nationals in the US to the first two hijackers to arrive, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar.
A lawyer for the victims’ families, Andrew Maloney, said the FBI “now released a substantial amount of very incriminating documents regarding the Saudi government’s role in helping al-Qaida and these two hijackers in particular.”