DURHAM, Conn. (WTNH) – A five-year fight for 16 pages. President Biden just issued an executive order to release documents of an FBI investigation called “Operation Encore.” It’s redacted, but lawmakers and families who lost loved ones on 9/11 and their attorneys say it reveals Saudi Arabian officials helped the 9/11 hijackers.
News 8 spoke with Brett Eagleson just feet from Coginchaug High School, where he learned the World Trade Center was under attack.
“I think I was in math class when the announcement came over the loudspeaker,” Eagleson said.
His father Bruce died helping coworkers escape. Since then, Brett has been fighting to find out how these terror attacks happened and joined a lawsuit with thousands of other families against the government of Saudi Arabia in a U.S. federal court.
“They were logistically supporting these hijackers, two of these hijackers,” Eagleson said.
Just this week, the Biden administration released 16 pages of “Operation Encore.” It’s a 10-year long investigation that started in 2006. Eagleson and his attorneys believe it’s proof Saudi government officials were involved.
“These weren’t just nobodies. These were Saudis with diplomatic status [who] were having multiple contacts, calls, and meetings with the hijackers. They were cosigning leases. They were helping them find apartments. They were driving them around Southern California. They were signing them up for flight lessons,” Eagleson said.
“The argument the Saudi government is making is that the diplomats were acting alone,” said visiting Asst. Professor of Political Science at Quinnipiac University Genevieve Quinn.
Quinn says the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia can be tricky. The country is considered our ally, even though it doesn’t always fall in line with our values.
“We buy oil from them, they buy arms and military weapons from us. It’s also a political relationship. We see them as an ally in the Middle East for kind of maintaining stability,” Quinn said.
“We’re going to start the process of possibly calling for sanctions, possibly listing Saudi Arabia as a state sponsor of terror,” Eagleson said. “So, I think that the biggest piece of this first document production is that the government now has our back, but we need to continue to make sure that the FBI and the DOJ follow through on President Biden’s order.”
Eagleson says the documents for investigation could ultimately be 40,000 pages. The next document dump is supposed to be less than a month away.
The Saudi Arabian government has denied any responsibility in the 9/11 attacks.