CIA director says 9/11 report 'will clear Saudi Arabia'
The head of the CIA has said that the findings of a classified US Congressional report into the 9/11 attacks will clear Saudi Arabia of any blame.
John Brennan said on Saturday that the top-secret 28 pages of the report would likely be released to the public and that they showed no evidence of official Saudi complicity in the era-defining attacks.
The withheld section of the 2002 reports has recently been the centre of a controversial bill that allows the families of those who died in the attacks to take the Saudi government to court.
"These 28 pages, I believe they are going to come out, I think it's good that they come out. But people shouldn't take them as evidence of Saudi complicity in the attacks," Brennan said in an interview with Saudi media.
"The 9/11 commission looked very thoroughly at these allegations of Saudi involvement... Their conclusion was that there was no evidence to indicate that the Saudi government as an institution or Saudi, senior Saudi officials individually had supported the 9/11 attacks."
He added that the report was a "very preliminary review" produced just a year after al-Qaeda hijackers flew airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 people.
|Fifteen of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi [Getty]|
The 9/11 Commission, which was set up by then-president George W Bush, presented its report in 2004.
The Saudi government has long said it has been "wrongfully and morbidly accused of complicity" in the attacks, and is fighting extremists and working to clamp down on their funding channels.
The blacked-out pages were classified under the instruction of Bush, who was close to the Saudi royal family, leading to speculation they suggested Saudi involvement.
The US Senate approved a bill last month which could allow the families of those who died in the attacks to take the Saudi government to court.
The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act gives victims' families the right to sue the government of Saudi Arabia in US court for any role that elements of the Riyadh government may have played in the 2001 attacks, however, the house must still approve the legislation.
Saudi Arabia has already threatened to pull billions of dollars from the US economy if the bill is enacted.