The coincidence in time has turned the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 into almost twin episodes. Overwhelmed by criticism of the chaos surrounding the withdrawal, President Joe Biden tries to win the favor of the families of the victims of the Al Qaeda attacks by signing, this Friday, an executive order ordering the review of documents still secret from the government investigation. of the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, with the intention of declassifying them.
The movement takes place on the eve of the commemoration, on Saturday next week, of the anniversary, but after the gesture it also encourages the intention to close the Afghan chapter. The link between the two events is indissoluble – the US intervened in Afghanistan in 2001 in search of Al Qaeda terrorists – although the decree signed today responds specifically to the request of more than 1,600 relatives of the almost 3,000 fatalities of the attacks. , to declassify confidential information. According to a statement issued by the White House, Biden has approached the attorney general, Merrick Garland, and other agencies involved to proceed with the declassification “within six months.”
“We must never forget the permanent pain of the families and loved ones of the 2,977 innocents who died in the worst terrorist attack in our history. For them, it was not only a national and international tragedy. It was a personal drama, ”Biden recalled.
Relatives and friends of hundreds of victims had warned the president that he would not be well received in New York, during the commemorative events, if he did not do so. The signing of the decree also obeys, according to the statement, one of his campaign promises. But the truth is that the judicial offensive launched by relatives of some victims against Saudi Arabia and other countries for alleged complicity with Al Qaeda had put the Biden Administration on the ropes. Successive US governments had stuck to state secrets to avoid publishing sensitive information.
The Democrat, who this week has added setbacks – such as the alleged collateral damage of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is added to the criticism of the Republicans for its management; or the controversial Texas abortion law – has stressed that his “heart remains with the 9/11 families who continue to suffer.” The Administration that he presides “will continue to be respectfully committed to the members of this community, which I thank for their opinions and vision as we chart the way forward,” the White House statement explained.
Exactly one month ago, the Justice Department announced that the FBI had decided to review the 9/11 documents to “find additional information that can be released as soon as possible.” The families of the victims had recently demanded the publication of all the documents that demonstrate the involvement of Saudi Arabia in the attacks. At the fore is the traditional alliance, not without tension, between the two countries, in which the Biden Administration seems to have made a turn.