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FBI Ordered to Disclose Details of 9/11 bin Laden Family Evacuation
Judicial Watch: Judge Orders FBI to Correct Disclosures
WASHINGTON, Nov. 20: Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Roberts of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to submit "proper disclosures" to the Court and Judicial Watch by December 15, 2006 concerning the U.S. government's evacuation of Saudi royals and members of the bin Laden family from the United States immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In an analysis of the FBI documents produced to date, Roberts criticizes the adequacy of redaction descriptions, the accuracy of the sworn statement submitted with the documents, the validity of exemption claims, and other errors in the FBI's disclosures. Roberts' order also denied the U.S. government's request for summary judgment in Judicial Watch's lawsuit filed under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (Judicial Watch v. Department of Homeland Security & Federal Bureau of Investigation, No. 04-1643 (RWR)) Judicial Watch filed its original FOIA request on Oct. 7, 2003.
"The FBI's 220-page annotated production and accompanying...Declaration together do not, as they must, provide sufficient detail or precision about the withheld information...the FBI's motion for summary judgment will be denied and the FBI will be directed to file disclosures that fairly meet the requirements of (court precedent)," wrote Judge Roberts, noting that one particular FBI exemption argument "strains credulity."
Judicial Watch previously released a declassified "Secret" FBI report, dated September 24, 2003, entitled: "Response to October 2003 Vanity Fair Article (Re: (Redacted) Family Departures After 9/11/2001)." The report contains many redactions that the Justice Department claims were made in the privacy interests of the Saudi subjects identified in the report. New information detailing flights of Saudis out of the U.S. from Las Vegas, and Providence, RI are also in the report, as well as FBI procedures in processing the Saudi flights. It is apparent from the report that Bin Laden family members and Saudi royals were subject to only cursory, pro forma questioning by the FBI prior to their evacuation from the United States.
"We're pleased the court refuses to allow the FBI to cover its tracks by playing games with the open records process," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "The American people have a right to know why Saudi royals and members of the bin Laden family received special treatment in the days after 9/11."
To read the court order, and all other documents concerning the Saudi flights, visit Judicial Watch's Internet site, http://www.judicialwatch.org.
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