On Friday, as reported by the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Miami Herald, Federal Judge William Zloch was expecting to receive FBI documents pertaining to the agency’s investigation of the Saudi family that abruptly left Sarasota just before the September 2001 attacks.
Late Thursday, the government asked for more time to submit the records, saying the materials that need to be searched comprise 23 boxes totaling 92,000 pages in the agency’s Tampa field office. Government lawyers proposed a May 2 deadline.
The judge instead granted the government a delay until April 25.
See LPAC’s BAE-9/11 page for further background on the Saudi and British involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The judge had ordered the FBI to turn over the materials as part of a lawsuit by a South Florida news organization that has been joined by both the Herald-Tribune and the Miami Herald.
“Defendants’ eagerness to assert exemptions and wooden method of interpreting Plaintiffs’ [Freedom of Information Act] requests essentially deprives the Court of its role in examining any relevant documents and independently determining whether any exemptions may apply,” U.S. District Court Judge William Zloch wrote of the FBI, the defendant in the case.
Zloch ordered a more exhaustive new search, with the resulting documents to be delivered—uncensored—to him for review Friday. Additional documentation is due in June.
The articles also point out that there is a growing drumbeat to make public a censored 28-page chapter about the terrorists’ financing by Saudi Arabia, pulled by unnamed government censors from the report of the Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 2001, and also report that a resolution has been introduced into Congress by Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (R-North Carolina). Jones and Rep. Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, are demanding that the 28 pages be declassified.
Watch Reps. Jones and Lynch’s ‘Declassify the 28 Pages’ Press Conference from March 12, 2014.
According to the article, it is anticipated that the Supreme Court will hear an appeal by attorneys for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in late June of a decision made by a federal appeals court in December, which determined that the family members of the victims of 9/11 can indeed sue Saudi Arabia.
Sharon Premoli, co-chairwoman of activist group 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism, is also pushing for all FBI documents to be made public.
President Obama has publicly promised to make the chapter public, but thus far has not done so. Premoli said: “We have a burning question. We would like to know if President Obama has read the 28 pages.”
In the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Fort Lauderdale’s Broward Bulldog—joined as friends of the court by the Herald-Tribune and the Miami Herald—the Justice Department acknowledged that it has tens of thousands of documents related to the Southwest Florida portion of its overall 9/11 investigation.
To date, the Bulldog and its media partners have received 35, heavily redacted pages out of 92,000 — 35 more than the FBI handed over to the Congress when it was conducting its investigation.
In his early April order, Judge Zloch described the FBI’s initial search as preemptively narrowed in scope, based on Bureau decisions that categories of documents are exempt, and thus, will not even be sought.
Zloch then ordered the Bureau to use its most advanced document search system, and provided specific search terms—including the family’s names—that the FBI was required to use.