Alleged Saudi role in September 11 attacks

The alleged Saudi role in the September 11 attacks is the idea that the Saudi Arabian government was connected to the September 11 attacks in the United States. The final 28 pages of the December 2002 report of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, which were initially classified, were released on July 15, 2016 and provide details.

Origins of the 19 hijackers of 9/11 attacks
Nationality Number
Saudi Arabia
15
United Arab Emirates
2
Egypt
1
Lebanon
1

The 28 pages state that some of the September 11 hijackers received financial support from individuals connected to the Saudi Government. FBI sources believed that at least two of those individuals were officers in the General Intelligence Presidency, the primary intelligence agency of Saudi Arabia. The U.S. Intelligence Community believed that individuals associated with the Saudi Government had ties to al-Qaeda.

Although 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens,[1] the Saudi government had long had broad immunity from September 11 tragedy lawsuits in the United States, before a U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York judge allowed a suit against the government in March 2018.[2]

1999 preparationEdit

A 2016 article by Paul Sperry in the New York Post stated: Fresh evidence submitted in a lawsuit against the Saudi Arabian government reveals that it had funded flights to research security weaknesses.[3]

File 17Edit

In July 2016, the U.S. government released a document, compiled by Dana Lesemann and Michael Jacobson,[citation needed] known as "File 17", which contains a list naming three dozen people, including Fahad al-Thumairy, Omar al-Bayoumi, Osama Bassnan, and Mohdhar Abdullah, which connects Saudi Arabia to the hijackers. According to the former Democratic US Senator Bob Graham, “Much of the information upon which File 17 was written was based on what’s in the 28 pages.”[4]

AftermathEdit

The Saudi government has long denied any connection.[5] Relatives of victims have tried to use the courts to hold Saudi royals, banks, or charities responsible, but these efforts have been thwarted partly by a 1976 law giving foreign governments immunity.[6] According to Gawdat Bahgat, a professor of political science, following the 11 September attacks the so-called "Saudi policy of promoting terrorism and funding hatred" faced strong criticism by several "influential policy-makers and think-tanks in Washington".[7]

The US government has actively collaborated with the Saudis in suppressing the revelation of evidence of the Saudi government's responsibility for the attacks, denying FOIA requests and supplying inside information to the lawyers representing the Saudis involved. Graham characterises the strategy as not a 'cover up' but "aggressive deception".[8]

According to the New York Post in 2017, the Saudi government was accused of performing a "dry run" by paying two Saudi nationals, al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi, "living undercover in the US as students, to fly from Phoenix to Washington," two years before the attacks. Based on the FBI documents, Qudhaeein and Shalawi were in fact members of "the Kingdom's network of agents" in the United States. The documents also claimed that they were "trained in Afghanistan with a number of other al-Qaeda operatives that participated in the attacks."[9] In November 1999, they boarded an America West flight to Washington, reportedly paid for by the Saudi Embassy. During the flights they tried to access the cockpit several times, in order to "test out flight deck security before 9/11."[10] The pilots made an emergency landing in Ohio since they were "so spooked by the Saudi passengers and their aggressive behavior."[9]

JASTAEdit

In March 2016, Saudi Arabia threatened the Obama administration to sell US$750 billion worth of American assets owned by Saudi Arabia if the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) designed to create an exception to the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act was enacted, which caused fears of destabilizing the US dollar.[6] U.S. president Barack Obama also warned against "unintended consequences", while other economic analysts believed that this action would damage the Saudi government.[11]

The JASTA was enacted, after Barack Obama's veto was overridden by Congress, on 28 September 2016. Although Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton publicly supported the proposed legislation, due to 2016 campaign schedule conflicts, Sanders and Tim Kaine, Clinton's running mate, were the only two senators who refrained from voting to override Obama's veto. Senator Harry Reid was the sole "No" vote.[12][13][14][15]

In March 2018, a US judge allowed a suit to move forward against Saudi Arabia brought by 9/11 survivors and victim's families, that the government should pay billions of dollars in damages to victims.[16]

Operation EncoreEdit

Operation Encore was an FBI investigation into Saudi Arabian links to the September 11 attacks.[17][18][19] Circumstantial evidence was uncovered[clarification needed] but no direct links were established.[20] Potential leads were not initially pursued and some FBI agents believe that the CIA interfered with its attempt to place two Saudis under surveillance.[20]

The 28 PagesEdit

The alleged Saudi role in the September 11 attacks gained new attention after Bob Graham and Porter Goss, former U.S. congressmen and co-chairmen of the Congressional Inquiry into the attacks, told CBS in April 2016 that the redacted 28 pages of the Congressional Inquiry's report refer to evidence of Saudi Arabia's substantial involvement in the execution of the attacks,[21][22][23] and calls renewed to have the redacted pages released.

The panel's findings 'did not discover' any role by 'senior, high-level' Saudi government officials, said officials familiar with the report,[citation needed] but the "commission’s narrow wording", according to critics, suggests the possibility that "less senior officials or parts of the Saudi government could have played a role".[6] Florida Democratic Senator Bob Graham, who chaired the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at the time the report said in his sworn statements that "there was evidence of support from the Saudi government for the terrorists."[24]

In 2017 a New York lawyer, Jim Kreindler, said that he had found "a link between Saudi officials and the hijackers."[8][25] In January 2020, it was revealed that the FBI had an investigation named Operation Encore into Saudi Arabian government links to the attacks.[17][18][19][20]

FBI names Saudi diplomatEdit

In April 2020, the FBI neglected to redact one of several instances of the name of Saudi diplomat Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah (MAJ) in a court filing in the lawsuit brought by 9/11 families. In 1999-2000 MAJ was a mid-level Saudi Foreign Ministry official who was working in the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC. Former embassy officials said MAJ reported to the Saudi ambassador to the U.S, Prince Bandar, and managed the employees throughout the United States of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs at Saudi-funded mosques and Islamic centers.[26][27]

The October 2012 FBI "update" to the FBI's own investigation of possible Saudi involvement in the 9/11 attacks stated that FBI agents had uncovered "evidence" that Saudi diplomat Fahad al-Thumairy, a Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs official and radical cleric who served as the imam of the King Fahd Mosque in Los Angeles, and Omar al-Bayoumi (OAB), a suspected Saudi government agent, had been “tasked” to support the 9/11 hijackers by yet another individual, MAJ, whose name was redacted throughout the October 2012 "update" document in all but one instance.[28] FBI agents suspected that MAJ had directed crucial support for two of the 19 hijackers of 9/11: Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmihad, who participated on 9/11 in the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 77.[29][30] After Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmiand arrived in Los Angeles on January 15, 2000, and later took flying lessons in San Diego, they were allegedly assisted by Saudi diplomat Fahad al-Thumairy and by OAB. For example, OAB found them an apartment, lent them money, and set them up with bank accounts. Al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi were on the FBI's terrorist-alert list at the time. According to the court declaration of former LA-based FBI agent Catherine Hunt, who is now working with the 9/11 families, during the investigation by the 9/11 Commission, the FBI believed that MAJ was "supporting" and "maintaining" al-Thumairy.[31][32][33]

On September 11, 2020, US Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn ordered two members of the Saudi Arabian royal family including, Prince Bandar bin Sultan to answer the questions in raised under the 9/11 lawsuit. The victims have called it a turning point in a long-running lawsuit. Relatives of the September 11 attack victims claim that the agents of Saudi Arabia knowingly supported al-Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden, before hijacking and crashing the planes into New York’s World Trade Center Twin Towers.[34]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Thomas, Carls. "The Saudis channel the mafia: Fears of Saudi retaliation deter truth about 9/11". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on April 28, 2016. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  2. ^ "Saudi Arabia must face U.S. lawsuits over Sept. 11 attacks" Archived November 23, 2018, at the Wayback Machine Reuters. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  3. ^ Sperry, Paul. "Saudi government allegedly funded a 'dry run' for 9/11". NY Post. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  4. ^ Riechmann, Deb. "File 17 Is Glimpse Into Still-Secret 28 Pages About 9/11". Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 10, 2018. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  5. ^ Black, Ian; editor, Middle East; Smith, David; correspondent, Washington (April 20, 2016). "Obama faces friction in Saudi Arabia over 9/11 bill and Iran relationship". The Guardian. Archived from the original on December 1, 2016. Retrieved April 22, 2016.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ a b c MAZZETTI, MARK (April 15, 2016). "Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill". New York Times. Archived from the original on March 7, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  7. ^ Bahgat, Gawdat (January 1, 2004). "Saudi Arabia and the War on Terrorism". Arab Studies Quarterly. 26 (1): 51–63. JSTOR 41858472.
  8. ^ a b Hannan, Caleb. "One Man's Quest to Prove Saudi Arabia Bankrolled 9/11". POLITICO Magazine. Archived from the original on April 9, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Sperry, Paul (September 9, 2017). "Saudi government allegedly funded a 'dry run' for 9/11". New York Post. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  10. ^ Revesz, Rachael (September 10, 2017). "Saudi government 'funded a dry run' of 9/11'". The Independent. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  11. ^ Porter, Gareth (April 25, 2016). "The classified '28 pages': A diversion from real US-Saudi issues". Middle East Eye. Archived from the original on August 31, 2019. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  12. ^ Shabad, Rebecca. "Obama weighs in on 28 classified pages of 9/11 report". cbsnews. Archived from the original on April 22, 2016. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  13. ^ Tumulty, Bill J. "N.Y. primary highlights bill allowing 9/11-related suits against Saudi Arabia". USA TODAY. Archived from the original on August 9, 2017. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
  14. ^ Buncombe, Andrew (May 17, 2016). "Senate passes bill allowing victims to sue Saudi Arabia for 9/11 attacks". The Independent. Archived from the original on August 8, 2017. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  15. ^ Morrissey, Ed (September 28, 2016). "JASTA Rebuke: Senate Votes 97-1 To Override Obama Veto; Update: Override Succeeds In 348-77 House Vote". Archived from the original on September 11, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  16. ^ "Saudi Arabia must face U.S. lawsuits over Sept. 11 attacks" Archived November 23, 2018, at the Wayback Machine Reuters. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  17. ^ a b Golden, Tim; Rotella, Sebastian (January 23, 2020). "The Saudi Connection: Inside the 9/11 Case That Divided the F.B.I." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  18. ^ a b Tim Golden, Sebastian Rotella (January 23, 2020). "Operation Encore and the Saudi Connection: A Secret History of the 9/11 Investigation". ProPublica. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Operation Encore: The FBI's secret investigation into possible Saudi ties to 9/11". news.yahoo.com. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  20. ^ a b c Victor, Daniel (January 23, 2020). "Did the Saudis Play a Role in 9/11? Here's What We Found". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  21. ^ "28 Pages: Former Sen. Bob Graham and others urge the Obama administration to declassify redacted pages of a report that holds 9/11 secrets". CBS. April 10, 2016. Archived from the original on April 15, 2016. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  22. ^ Rachael Revesz (April 12, 2016). "Barack Obama urged to declassify report detailing links between 9/11 and Saudi Arabia". The Independent. Archived from the original on September 7, 2017. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  23. ^ "Top secret "28 pages" may hold clues about Saudi support for 9/11 hijackers". April 8, 2016. Archived from the original on April 12, 2016. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  24. ^ Hulse, Carl. "Florida Ex-Senator Pursues Claims of Saudi Ties to Sept. 11 Attacks". New York Times. Archived from the original on July 24, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  25. ^ Saudi Government Denies Funding 9/11 Attacks Archived April 15, 2017, at the Wayback Machine publication of the aforementioned letter written by Nail Al-Jubeir, director of the information office of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington DC, denying the charge that the government of Saudi Arabia had played a role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  26. ^ The Independent, 14 May 2020, Saudi Official Tied to 9/11 Attacks Accidentally Identified by the FBI: 'Third Man' Named in Document Explaining Why Government Can't Reveal Its Secrets"
  27. ^ Yahoo News, 12 May 2020 "EXCLUSIVE: In Court Filing, FBI Accidentally Reveals Name of Saudi Official Suspected of Directing Support for 9/11 Hijackers"
  28. ^ Yahoo News, 12 May 2020 "EXCLUSIVE: In Court Filing, FBI Accidentally Reveals Name of Saudi Official Suspected of Directing Support for 9/11 Hijackers"
  29. ^ "Remains Of 9 Sept. 11 Hijackers Held". CBS News. August 17, 2002. Archived from the original on September 30, 2008. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
  30. ^ Yahoo News, 12 May 2020 "EXCLUSIVE: In Court Filing, FBI Accidentally Reveals Name of Saudi Official Suspected of Directing Support for 9/11 Hijackers"
  31. ^ https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-terrorism-saudi-20160929-snap-story.html
  32. ^ Yahoo News, 12 May 2020 "EXCLUSIVE: In Court Filing, FBI Accidentally Reveals Name of Saudi Official Suspected of Directing Support for 9/11 Hijackers"
  33. ^ The Independent, 14 May 2020, Saudi Official Tied to 9/11 Attacks Accidentally Identified by the FBI: 'Third Man' Named in Document Explaining Why Government Can't Reveal Its Secrets"
  34. ^ "US judge: Saudi royals must answer questions in 9/11 lawsuit". The Associated Press. Retrieved September 11, 2020.