Over DoJ Opposition, Florida Newspapers Allowed to Join Saudi-9/11 FOIA Suit

A federal judge has approved requests by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Miami Herald to join in the FOIA lawsuit to force the FBI to disclose details of its investigation of a well-connected Saudi family in Florida, linked to the 9/11 hijackers, which family abruptly left the United States shortly before the 9/11 attacks. The court granted friend-of-the-court status to the news organizations, allowing them file briefs, due by March 26, in the suit initiated by the Broward Bulldog. The Obama Justice Department filed a memorandum last fall, asking the court to deny the newspapers' requests for permission to join the case as amici curiae. See LPAC's London-Saudi Global Terror Axis page. Earlier, the Justice Department had acknowledged that the FBI's Tampa office has more than 15,352 documents, which probably contain "hundreds of thousands of pages of records related to the 9/11 investigation." The Tampa field office covers 18 counties in central Florida, including Sarasota. But, according to court documents, the FBI had previously provided no indication that the Tampa area had any significant connection with the 9/11 investigation. "Of particular interest," reports the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, "are agency documents that would shed light on the alleged interactions of a high-echelon Saudi family — living in Sarasota's Prestancia neighborhood just before the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon — and three hijacker pilots who trained at Venice Airport around the same time." Sen. Bob Graham, who chaired the Congressional Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks, has stated that Congressional investigators were never told about the FBI's investigation of the Saudi family. The Broward Bulldog is also seeking declassification of the 28 pages from Congressional Joint Inquiry, and FBI records relating to it.
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