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Small airplanes sit on the tarmac at the Venice Municipal Airport, where three 9/11 terrorists took lessons. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Biden’s order to the Justice Department and other executive branch agencies to declassify documents related to 9/11 could help solve a mystery about a Saudi family who fled a gated community in Sarasota County just before the attacks.

What’s new: The FBI’s review was due Sept. 11, and additional documents, including reports with investigative findings, are to be reviewed over the next six months with an eye for disclosure, AP reports.

  • "Information shall not remain classified if there is significant doubt about the need to maintain its classified status," the order reads.
  • Those reports could shed light on what was happening behind the gates of a Sarasota community called Prestancia in the months before the attacks.

What we know: The family from Saudi Arabia — said to have ties to the Saudi royal family — fled two weeks before 9/11, leaving behind food, jewelry, clothes and cars, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune has reported.

  • Gate logs show that three of the hijackers — who learned to fly in nearby Venice — visited the family frequently in Sarasota, a city with perhaps more strange 9/11 connections than anywhere in America.
  • Within two months, Manatee County sheriff’s deputies interviewed a man from Tunisia who was seen tossing items into a dumpster in Bradenton — including a terrorism manual, a map of an airport, and a last will and testament.
  • The FBI connected the man to the vanished Prestancia family, a fact first made public by the Broward Bulldog in 2014.

Yes, but: None of that was included in the public 9/11 Commission Report.

What they’re saying: "As we relive the painful memories on the 20th anniversary, it is vital the federal government communicate all it has learned so we can do everything possible to protect Americans," Bob Graham, former Florida governor and senator, wrote to President Biden.

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Go deeper

Major Sarasota entertainment venues now require COVID vaccine or negative test

Jerry Lee Lewis in 2019 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota. Please don't give him COVID. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As fall theater season kicks off, nine of the leading arts and cultural organizations in Sarasota County — including the Asolo Repertory Theater, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and Sarasota Orchestra — announced they will require proof of a COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test starting Sept. 26.

Yes, but: A Florida law enacted earlier this year bars businesses from requiring proof of vaccination and threatens a $5,000 fine for each violation.

2020 was the deadliest year for environmental defenders

Engineer Sandra Cuéllar is one of many Colombians who've gone missing or been killed for their environmental activism. Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images

Latin America and the Caribbean is the deadliest region for environmental defenders, a violent record that has global repercussions.

Why it matters: The region has several of the most biodiverse areas of the planet, but they are constantly threatened by logging, mining or aquifer overexploitation.

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Senate offices closing ahead of "Justice for J6" demonstration

Security fencing outside the U.S. Capitol ahead of a planned "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C.. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Multiple congressional offices will be closed Friday amid security precautions ahead of Saturday's rally in support of jailed Jan. 6 rioters, aides who have been instructed to work remotely tell Axios.

Why it matters: As the U.S. Capitol faces its first large-scale security test since the deadly attack, House and Senate offices are taking precautionary measures to protect staff as well as lawmakers.