WASHINGTON - Saudi Arabia has welcomed the release of a long-classified document discussing suspected connections between Saudis and the hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, with the hope that the aspersions cast against the kingdom would now come to an end.

The 28 pages of the report on the 2002 investigation focus on potential Saudi links to the attacks on the United State were made public Friday by the House Intelligence Committee after being redacted by US intelligence agencies. The release followed years of wrangling in Washington between Congress and different administrations, Republicans and Democrats, and urging by families of those killed.

But the pages, part of a 2002 joint inquiry by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees into the al-Qaeda plot, do not appear to add significantly to information collected in subsequent investigations, including the 9/11 Commission report, published in 2004, and numerous other documents that have since been made public.

All of the Saudis named in the pages released Friday, including several who had been in direct contact with two of the hijackers during their time in the United States before the attacks, were investigated by the FBI and the CIA, with results detailed in later reports.

"The matter is now finished," Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a news conference in Washington. Asked whether the report exonerated the kingdom, he said: "Absolutely." He said Saudi Arabia hopes that, with the release, "aspersions that have been cast against the kingdom" in the past decade "will come to an end "and "we can focus on moving on."

The foreign minister said Saudi Arabia has acted to stop terrorists and terrorist financing, including shutting down organizations and mosques.

He said, as have others, that the suspicions listed in the pages reflect initial investigative leads at a time, immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when it was “natural for people wanting to pursue any lead. We welcomed it. We cooperated” with that pursuit, he said, and all the questions asked in the pages have long since been answered.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Friday that “we do not think” the 28 pages shed any new light on a Saudi role in the Sept. 11 attacks. He said release of the “investigative material” is in keeping with the Obama administration’s commitment to transparency even though he acknowledged that “it did take quite some time for the decision to be made.”

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters at the embassy in Washington Friday that his government welcomes the release of the 28 pages and has long called for doing so.

The 28 pages set out possible leads connecting various Saudi individuals, organizations, government officials and extremist figures. The congressional aides who wrote it said it was based on a review of FBI and CIA documents, though they "did not attempt to investigate and assess the accuracy and significance of this information independently.

The report focuses on those who it said had contact with two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, after they arrived in Southern California in 2000:

– Omar al-Bayoumi provided "substantial assistance" to the pair in San Diego, and the there were indications that his encounter with them "may not have been accidental," according to the report. During this same time, al-Bayoumi received financial support from a Saudi company affiliated with the Saudi Ministry of Defense.

– Osama Bassnan, a close associate of al-Bayoumi, also was in contact with al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi in San Diego. He had "many ties to the Saudi government" and had earlier been an employee of the Saudi Arabian Education Mission, according to the report. The report said the FBI called Bassnan “an extremist" and a supporter of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

– Fahad al-Thumairy, an accredited diplomat at the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles and the imam of a mosque in Culver City, who the report said may have had contact with the two hijackers.

The follow-up report released Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said “there is no information to indicate that either Omar al-Bayoumi or Osama Basnan materially supported the hijackers wittingly, were intelligence officers of the Saudi Government or provided material support for the 11 September attacks.”

The former chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, released a statement Friday saying that only al-Thumairy "turned out to be of continuing interest." The pair added that commission staff members interviewed him and "found no evidence" that he aided the attackers, but said he "is still a person of interest."

The 28 pages said that Saudi government officials in the U.S. may have had ties to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, while acknowledging that much of the information was “speculative and yet to be independently verified.” The report also said FBI and CIA agents complained about "the lack of Saudi cooperation in terrorism investigations both before and after the September 11 attacks.”

Saudi officials have pointed to statements from U.S. officials supporting their position, including an interview CIA Director John Brennan did with the Saudi-owned Arabic news channel Al Arabiya on June 12 in which he said the 28 pages were part of “a very preliminary review.”

"People shouldn’t take them as evidence of Saudi complicity in the attacks,” Brennan said. “Indeed, subsequently the assessments that have been done have shown it was very unfortunate that these attacks took place but this was the work of al-Qaeda, al-Zawahiri, and others of that ilk."

But Brennan also has addressed the underlying concern about the kingdom’s embrace, since its founding more than eight decades ago, of Wahhabism, a deeply conservative branch of Sunni Muslim theology that has proved fertile ground for terrorists.

“The Saudi government and leadership today has inherited a history whereby there have been a number of individuals both inside of Saudi Arabia as well as outside who have embraced a rather fundamentalist -- extremist in some areas -- version of the Islamic faith, which has allowed individuals who then move toward violence and terrorism to exploit that and capitalize on that," Brennan said in a speech in Washington on July 13.

While the U.S. and Saudis are longtime allies, relations have been roiled by the Obama administration’s participation in a nuclear deal with Iran and by Senate legislation passed in May that would let American victims and their families sue other countries over alleged involvement in the 2001 attacks.

In an interview with the Atlantic magazine published in April, President Barack Obama called the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia “complicated” and said the Sunni-led kingdom should “share” the Middle East with Shiite Iran, its chief rival.

Eleanor Hill, who served as staff director of the joint congressional inquiry, stressed that the panel itself never reached any conclusions about the material in the newly released pages and that the public should understand that they contain threads that were seen at the time as investigative leads for others to pursue.“People are thinking they’re going to see conclusions,” Hill said. “What people should remember was that this was information that was found in the files of law enforcement and intelligence agencies” by lawmakers and their staffs, and it was “being referred for further investigation.”

Former senator Bob Graham, a Democrat who chaired the committee that carried out the investigation and has been pushing the White House to release the pages, said Friday that he was “very pleased” the documents were released.

Graham said in a statement that the information in the pages “suggests a strong linkage between those terrorists and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Saudi charities, and other Saudi stakeholders.”

“My thoughts are with all of those who lost family members, loved ones and friends on that fateful September day in 2001,” he said. “But this is not the end. Like the removal of the cork at the end of the bottle, the release of the 28 pages should open the way to even more information that continues to be classified. Americans deserve to know the whole truth about the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history.”

But others said the released pages prove exactly what has been argued all along — that there was no new information to implicate Saudi Arabia.

The House Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat, Congressman Adam Schiff, said in a statement that he hoped the release of the pages “will diminish speculation that they contain proof of official Saudi Government or senior Saudi official involvement in the 9/11 attacks,” adding that the intelligence community and the 9/11 Commission investigated similar allegations and were “never able to find sufficient evidence to support them.”

That may not be the most welcome news to certain relatives of 9/11 victims, who are pushing for the House to take up a Senate-passed bill they hope would let them sue Saudi Arabia over its alleged support for terrorism. They also have been campaigning for the release of the previously classified pages.

Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat, said the release of the pages means that victims’ families “now will be able to go to court and sue” the Saudi government over its purported support of the hijackers.

“If the Saudi government was complicit in 9/11, they should pay the price to the families who deserve justice, and they should pay the price so no other government will think of playing footsie with terrorists the way the Saudi government may have done in 2001,” Schumer said.

This spring, the Senate passed legislation clarifying when courts can waive foreign immunity in cases involving terrorist acts on U.S. soil. But the House has yet to take up the bill, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, gave no indication Friday that he planned to hustle the measure to the floor.

“While this ultimately doesn’t change what we know, it marks an important step forward for transparency,” he said in a statement.