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U.S. Signals It Will Release Some Still-Secret Files on Saudi Arabia and 9/11


On Friday, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said that White House officials had met in recent weeks with groups representing families of victims, and that the document requests would “continue to be a priority” for Mr. Biden.

In the statement last week, the families group said that it could not “in good faith, and with veneration to those lost, sick and injured,” welcome Mr. Biden to the commemorations next month if he did not follow through on his campaign promise.

“It’s 20 years; this has gone on for too long,” Brett Eagleson, who was a 15-year-old sophomore in high school when his father, Bruce, died at the World Trade Center, said in an interview last week. “If you’re not going to release the documents and you’re going to continue with the process of covering up the Saudi role in 9/11, we’ll have to object to you coming.”

Mr. Eagleson, who is now 35 and works in banking, said that seeing the documents might offer him and other victims’ relatives some long-overdue closure.

He said on Monday that the F.B.I.’s review was a step in the right direction, but that it was not sufficient to assuage families’ anxieties about the documents.

“It sounds like it’s promising, but let’s see what they actually produce,” he said.

Mr. Eagleson is among the thousands of victims’ relatives who accused Saudi Arabia in a 2017 lawsuit of complicity in the attacks. They had successfully fought for years for the right to sue, gaining it in 2016 when Congress overrode a veto by President Barack Obama to pass into law a bill allowing such a lawsuit.

The suit has languished in the courts as lawyers for the kingdom fought it. On Friday, James P. Kreindler, one of the lawyers representing the families, said that 20 Saudi officials were recently questioned under oath, and added that a judge would decide next year whether the case advances.

Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting.

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