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Joe Biden lays a wreath at the Shanksville Flight 93 Memorial on September 11, 2020. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden reiterated on Monday his campaign pledge to declassify documents pertaining to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, adding that he welcomed a new filing by the Department of Justice to conduct a "fresh review" of the available documents.

Why it matters: Biden's comments come days after families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks told the president in a statement to not attend next month's 20th-anniversary memorials unless he declassifies documents that they believe will show Saudi leaders supported the attacks.

  • "[W]e cannot in good faith, and with veneration to those lost, sick, and injured, welcome the president to our hallowed grounds until he fulfills his commitment," the families wrote in the statement.
  • "Twenty years later, there is simply no reason — unmerited claims of 'national security' or otherwise — to keep this information secret," they added.

What he's saying: Biden on Monday said he is committed to "ensuring the maximum degree of transparency under the law."

  • "[I] welcome the Department of Justice’s filing today, which commits to conducting a fresh review of documents where the government has previously asserted privileges, and to doing so as quickly as possible," Biden said in a statement.
  • "I know well the all-consuming grief of losing someone you love so suddenly. I can only imagine the added pain these families have endured, spending 20 years pursuing accountability and justice," he added.
  • "My heart and my prayers continue to be with the 9/11 families who are suffering, and my Administration will continue to engage respectfully with members of this community."

9/11 Community United, a group for families and survivors of the attacks, reacted to Biden's statement by saying they appreciated that Biden acknowledged the "long-standing questions" surrounding Saudi Arabia’s involvement but called the president's words "half-hearted."

  • "This announcement is a necessary but insufficient step towards transparency, accountability and above all, justice," per the statement.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden attends wreath-laying ceremony at Pentagon

President Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial on Sept. 11 in Arlington, Virginia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

President Biden participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon on Saturday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The latest: Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrived at the Pentagon after visiting the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and Ground Zero in New York City.

Updated Sep 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Bush alludes to Capitol rioters' “determination to defile national symbols” in 9/11 speech

Former President George W. Bush on Saturday warned of homegrown violent extremism while speaking at the Flight 93 memorial on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Driving the news: "We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within," said Bush, who joined Vice President Kamala Harris and others at the ceremony.

Updated Sep 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Harris, Bush preach unity at Flight 93 memorial, 20 years on from attacks

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a 9/11 commemoration at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris joined former President George W. Bush at a ceremony on Saturday to honor the lives lost 20 years ago on United Airlines Flight 93.

Driving the news: The vice president and the 43rd president devoted much of their remarks to remembering the unity that brought Americans together after the 9/11 attacks.