U.S. to miss deadline for release of 9/11 probe documents, court filing shows

WASHINGTON, March 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department acknowledged on Thursday it would miss a deadline set by President Joe Biden's executive order to review and release documents from the FBI investigation of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

In a filing, it told Judge Sarah Netburn in New York the FBI would have released most of the required documents by mid-March, but more releases would occur into mid-April.

This was "due to continuing co-ordination with a number of foreign governments and ongoing interagency review," it added.

In September, Biden ordered the Justice Department to review documents from the FBI investigation and gave it six months to make public the declassified documents.

The FBI was also working to create separate "production sets" of the documents by mid-April since the records produced in line with the order contained redactions required by the Privacy Act, the Justice Department told the judge.

To date, it said, the FBI has released over 700 documents and over 2,700 pages in accordance with the process outlined in the Sept. 3 executive order.

Relatives of the people killed on Sept. 11, 2001, have been pushing for years for more information about what the FBI discovered in its probe and have contended that the documents would show Saudi Arabian authorities supported the plot.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. The kingdom has long said it had no role in the attacks.

9/11 Families United, a group that represents families and survivors of the attacks, sent Biden a letter on Thursday, urging him to raise the Sept. 11 attacks in any meetings with the Gulf country as he pushes oil producers to boost output and ease price pressures sparked by Russia's war against Ukraine.

Media reports said Biden was considering a visit to the kingdom, but the White House has said there are no current plans for Biden to travel there.

The group praised Biden's actions to release more documents, but said no reset of U.S.-Saudi ties could succeed "without proper reconciliation for the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001."

It said thousands of pages of new evidence against Saudi Arabia had been released under Biden's executive order, but the majority were not made available to the 9/11 Commission. The Commission investigated the attacks and found no evidence that Saudi Arabia directly funded al Qaeda, the group led by Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

It left open whether individual Saudi officials might have done so.

The families of roughly 2,500 of those killed in the attacks, and more than 20,000 people who suffered injuries, businesses and various insurers, have sued Saudi Arabia seeking billions of dollars.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Lincoln Feast

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