NewsNational Politics

Actions

9/11 victims demand investigation into why FBI files from that day are still secret

9/11 memorial
Posted at 3:30 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 11:47:19-04

MIDDLETOWN, CT — The 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks will bring more tributes than in recent years.

Brett Eagleson says many victims, like him, aren't interested in tears or emotional speeches from politicians.

"This is a story about how angry we are. We are done with the emotional side. We want our government to finally help us," Eagleson said from a 9/11 memorial in Connecticut.

Eagleson's father, Bruce, was killed in the twin towers.

All Eagleson wants now, he says, is more information about the attack and the ability to read all the secret government files related to that day.

"If my dad was gunned down in the streets of New York City, I would be able to walk into the nearest precinct, sit with the detective, and see all the files that existed," Eagleson said.

OPERATION ENCORE

Eagleson is specifically talking about the FBI files related to Operation Encore, which looked into Saudi Arabia's role in the attack.

Fifteen of the 19 terrorists from 9/11 were Saudi citizens.

As a candidate, President Joe Biden wrote to attorneys involved in an ongoing lawsuit about the files and said: "The 9/11 Families are right to seek full truth and accountability.”

However, since he has taken office, Eagleson says all President Biden has done is support a review of what is still classified.

"All the statement ended up saying was we will consider, reconsidering, what we can and can’t give to you,” Eagleson said.

As a result, Eagleson and others have told President Biden to stay away from lower Manhattan until the files are released.

Eagleson is planning protests if nothing happens.

On Thursday, lawyers representing Eagleson and others asked for an investigation by the Department of Justice's Inspector General as to why the FBI still hasn't released the files.

WHY THE SECRECY

Declassifying documents is a complicated process in Washington and experts say it doesn't happen immediately.

"The CIA, the Defense Department, State Department the whole host of acronyms across Washington get to decide whether releasing that information will somehow negatively affect their work,” Brett Bruen, the president of Global Situation Room and a former diplomat explained.

Bruen said, basically, every top government official is given the opportunity to say "no," and that makes releasing documents more difficult.

Bruen speculates that whatever is in the files would complicate the U.S.-Saudi relationship.

"We have a relationship with Saudi Arabia that’s very complex. We depend on them for a lot of our energy resources, we depend on them for support on terrorism," Bruen said.

Saudi Arabia's leaders have consistently denied any connection with the Sept. 11 attacks.

As for Eagleson, he just wants closure.

"Bring us the closure that we deserve," Eagleson said.