9/11 families press Biden to prioritize KSA accountability for attacks
A group representing the families and loved ones of 9/11 victims wrote an open letter to US President Joe Biden calling for accountability over the attacks.
The 9/11 Families United chief Terry Strada called on US President Joe Biden to "prioritize accountability for 9/11" in any talks he or his administration are to have with officials from Saudi Arabia or with KSA Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman when the president makes it to the Gulf state.
The open letter touched on an executive order issued by Biden to declassify a 3,000-page document related to the attack, which he said "confirms our long-held beliefs regarding Saudi Arabia’s deep involvement in the murders of our loved ones."
The unveiled documents, dating back to 2016, provide details of the FBI's work to investigate alleged logistical support that a Saudi consular official and a suspected Saudi intelligence agent in Los Angeles provided to at least two of the men who hijacked the planes that hit the Twin Towers on 9/11.
The families argued that the evidence uncovered in the declassified documents "underscores the importance that you do not reward the Kingdom and Crown Prince with a presidential visit that allows it to continue escaping responsibility for its role in the most horrific attack in our nation's history."
"Accountability should be the cornerstone of any engagement," the letter further read.
The families urged the US president not to marginalize talks about the attacks from his discussions, stressing that if he were to do so, "it would signal to the world that you are willing to indulge years more of Saudi obfuscation and obstruction and that America prioritizes the interests of foreign powers and economics more than the lives of its citizenry."
The group represents some 3,000 people who had friends or family members stolen from them by the attacks that targeted the two main trade towers in the World Trade Center and the US Department of Defense, claiming the lives of 2,996 people.
Outraged by the inaction of consecutive US administrations, the families said they have watched presidents avoid the hard conversations required with Riyadh for over two decades, "and we continue to hope that you will be different."
The open letter to Biden comes amid reports suggesting that the president is preparing to head his administration on a visit to Saudi Arabia in the near future as the US grapples against surging gas prices, exacerbated by a dry market caused by sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine war.
The potential visit could be a bid to convince the Gulf state to pump more oil.
Officials in West Asia and the US have said that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammad bin Zayed have declined US requests to speak to the US President in early March.
It appears that the Saudi and Emirati officials have become more critical of US policy in the Gulf and don't want to address US concerns amid rising oil prices.
US officials reported in April that the relationship between Washington and Riyadh had hit its lowest point in decades, especially after President Biden said Saudi should be treated as a "pariah" over various human rights issues, including Khashoggi's murder.