WASHINGTON -- A U.S. congressional committee has released a long-classified section of the official report into the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States -- a section on the question of whether the hijackers had contacts with Saudi government officials.
The release on July 15 followed years of calls to declassify the 28-page section by some lawmakers and former intelligence officials who suspected that links between the terrorist hijackers and Saudi representatives were closer than administration officials had admitted.
The document names some people the hijackers associated with before they carried out the attacks. It also identifies individuals who helped them open bank accounts, get apartments, and receive flight lessons.
Of the 19 hijackers, 15 were Saudi nationals. Several were not fluent in English and had little experience living in the West.
The Saudi ambassador to the United States said on July 15 that he hoped the release would end persistent suspicions about official Saudi participation in the planning of the attack.