Tulsi Gabbard
US Democratic Presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard on Tuesday called for the release of federal investigation documents related to the Saudi government's role in the 9/11 attacks. Speaking about the September 11 attacks at the 9/11 Tribute Museum in New York, she said families of the victims "want the truth and they deserve the truth". "We are 18 years removed from this terrible crime, and the victims of this crime, the families who are here today, the American people deserve all of the evidence to fully come to light," she was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

The Hawaii congresswoman has said that she would reintroduce House Resolution 663 from 2017 which is regarding the release of classified documents related to the 2001 attacks. She said she will push for resolution "to the greatest extent possible so as to provide answers to survivors, the families of the victims, and the people of the United States." Several reports over the years have suggested that the US intelligence had inputs about Saudi officials who had links with the 9/11 terrorists. 

While the Saudi government has repeatedly denied involvement in the attacks, 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals. Accusing the US government of 'protecting the Saudis', chairwoman of 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism, Terry Strada said: "Until there is an accounting, we will never go away." "Our government should not be invoking secrecy to keep its own mistakes hidden from the American people and should certainly not be used to protect the Saudis from embarrassment or, worse yet, accountability," Strada said.

Gabbard has criticised the Saudi government and US President Donald Trump's close ties with the country on several occasions including her Presidential debate stage and on Twitter where she accused Trump of awaiting "instructions from his Saudi masters."

"Incontrovertible evidence"

While the initial 2002 joint report released on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, did not explicitly indicate Saudi involvement. In 2016, it was revealed that the federal document contained information related to Saudi involvement that was redacted.An investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2012, as well as previous evidence, stated two Saudi nationals Fahad al-Thumairy, a former consular official based in Los Angeles and Omar Ahmed al-Bayoumi, another Saudi government official (also believed to be a spy), had allegedly helped the attackers.

The third person suspected had his name blacked out. While Thumairy had denied knowing Bayoumi, telephone records revealed 21 calls between them over two years, according to the New York Times.

World Trade Center attack
The second tower of the World Trade Center explodes into flames after being hit by an airplane, New York September 11, 2001 with the Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground.Reuters

According to a memo by the Central Investigating Agency (CIA), "incontrovertible evidence" suggested high-level Saudi diplomats and intelligence officials helped the al-Qaeda hijackers both financially and logistically, according to a New York Post report. The intelligence report also stated that since the Saudi embassy in Washington, as well as the consulate in Los Angeles, was found to have links to the 9/11 attacks, the nature of the case officially changes from an act of terrorism to an act of war.

Gabbard in the recent meeting with 9/11 victims said the September 11 attacks drove her to enlist in the military. She said that the resolution seeks "not a highly redacted version of this information that makes no sense but a declassified version that actually speaks the truth of what led to the attack on 9/11."

The Trump administration last month, stated that it would reveal the name of a Saudi government official accused of aiding the 9/11 hijackers. The court files stated that the identity of the official will remain a secret and will be shared with attorneys representing the families of the victims.