by Rachel Blevins, Activist Post:
President Trump’s change in attitude towards Saudi Arabia has apparently had a trickle-down effect, as a federal judge in Miami has reversed her decision to push for the release of crucial documents revealing information on the funding of the 9/11 attacks.
Judge Cecilia Altonaga is now ruling in favor of the FBI, granting the agency’s request to keep large portions of a slide show titled “Overview of the 9/11 Investigation” secret from the public.
The presentation Altonaga is now helping to keep private, includes sections on “Funding of the 9/11 Attacks,” “Early to Mid-2001 Additional Funding,” “Early to Mid-2000: Pilots/Intended Pilots Arrive U.S.,” “Investigative Findings” regarding hijacker “Identification,” and “Financial: Ample Financing was provided.”
This decision is the opposite of Altonaga’s ruling from May 16, in which she stated that the documents “should be largely opened for public inspection,” given the fact that the FBI failed to establish Freedom of Information Act Exemption 7(E), which applies when the release of the information would “disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions.”
According to Altonaga’s latest ruling, she changed her mind based on the fact that the FBI countered with a technicality. The agency insisted that the contents of “Document 22” reveal “a photo taken by a security camera, which itself does not discuss FBI techniques, but from which a careful viewer could deduce the location of the security camera at the site the photo was taken.”
The lawsuit was initiated by Florida Bulldog, a team of investigative journalists that has spent years probing the connections between the 9/11 hijackers and Saudi Arabia. According to the CIA’s database, 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, and when they first arrived in the United States, nine of them arrived in Florida.
Florida Bulldog sued the FBI in 2012 for details on the ties between the hijackers and a rich Saudi family that mysteriously left all of their belongings and abandoned their luxury home in Sarasota, Florida, just two weeks before the attacks. The lawsuit led to the release of materials from a 2002 FBI report, which found “many connections” between the Saudi family and “individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.”
The idea that a federal judge would go from supporting a group of investigative journalists and pushing for transparency, to supporting the FBI and insisting that protecting the location of a security camera was worth covering up the funding of the 9/11 attacks, may seem bizarre—but it is a common practice under the current administration.