Over the past several months, the FBI released thousands of pages of material relating to its investigation of Saudi government links to the 9/11 attacks.
This wave of declassifications was pursuant to Executive Order 14040, which President Biden issued on Sept. 3 under pressure from more than 1,800 survivors, family members and first responders who threatened to protest his presence at memorial events if he didn’t make good on a 2020 campaign promise to boost 9/11 transparency.
The published documents are riddled with redactions, but a Stark Realities review of the trove has uncovered two instances in which the FBI neglected to redact names of interest to FBI investigators—and to attorneys representing 9/11 victims and insurers in their civil suit against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The first inadvertently-published name is “Mana.” A sworn declaration from a former FBI agent suggests the full name is of this individual is Ismail “Smail” Mana, who worked at the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles at the time the first two 9/11 hijackers arrived in the city.
The FBI concluded that, on February 1, 2000, Mana met at the consulate with a Saudi man, Omar al-Bayoumi, who would—later that same day—meet Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, the first two hijackers to arrive in the United States, take them under his wing and facilitate their transition into American residency in San Diego.
The second mistakenly-published name is “Johar,” who’s described as having been “tasked” by Saudi consulate official Fahad al-Thumairy to pick up the same two hijackers at the airport and “take care of them during their time in Los Angeles.” The same former FBI agent’s declaration suggests the full name of this person is Mohammed Johar.
Each name is concealed on the first reference in a paragraph about them, but then left unredacted on a single subsequent reference.
According to the redaction key that accompanies the released documents, both names were to be withheld as “information restricted from public release under the Privacy Act of 1974.” The names were, however, to be produced in the 9/11 civil suit, with attorneys bound to maintain their secrecy. The Department of Justice has yet to respond to a request for comment; this story will be updated if it does.
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