On Friday, Saudi Arabia asked a judge to reject a lawsuit from the families of the 9/11 victims. Lawyers representing Saudi Arabia filed papers in a Manhattan federal court claiming that no evidence exists linking the nation to the attacks. The family members of the 9/11 victims point to testimony from the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, as evidence that Saudi Arabia did not cut ties to al-Qaeda members in 1994.
In February, Moussaoui released a statement from prison detailing the role of Saudi Arabia’s royal family in financing terror attacks, including the 9/11 attacks. Moussaoui, a former Al Qaeda operative, discussed Saudi royalty funding terrorists attacks, including a plan to shoot down Air Force One. The Saudi Embassy released a statement denying any involvement in the 9/11 attacks and claimed the 9/11 Commission found the Saudi government and officials were not involved.
Lawyers representing the Saudi Kingdom continue to deny involvement and requested the judge disregard any claims made by Moussaoui, calling his comment “colorful but immaterial hearsay statements.” Moussaoui was previously found to be a paranoid schizophrenic by a psychologist testifying in his trial. He is currently serving life in prison for plotting attacks on America.
Just weeks ago the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a report that attempts to discredit a previous report that hinted at connections between a Saudi family in Prestencia, Florida and the 9/11 hijackers. The FBI 9/11 Review Commission told Congress that a 2002 report from the FBI “was poorly written and wholly unsubstantiated.”
An agent with the bureau originally found that the Saudi family left in a hurry two weeks before 9/11, leaving behind cars, furniture, clothes, and other items. The information was revealed in a 2010 Freedom of Information Act request which found that an unidentified family member was a student at the same flight school that two of accused 9/11 hijackers attended.
The FBI 9/11 Review Commission largely ignored any evidence of Saudi involvement. The New York Post notes, “The review panel highlighted one local FBI report generated from the investigation that said Abdulaziz and Anoud al-Hijji, the prominent Saudi couple who “fled” their home, had “many connections” to “individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.”
The current legal battle is not the first. A previous lawsuit from the families was rejected when a judge found that Saudi Arabia was protected because of sovereign immunity. The decision was reversed by a federal appeals court and the families continue their fight.
Despite the denials from Saudi officials, former Senator Bob Graham said he is convinced the Saudi government funded “at least some of the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks.” Graham is the former co-chairman of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into the attacks. He recently told the New York Times that he was not giving up his pursuit of finding out who was funding the 9/11 attacks.
“No. 1, I think the American people deserve to know the truth of what has happened in their name. No. 2 is justice for these family members who have suffered such loss and thus far have been frustrated largely by the U.S. government in their efforts to get some compensation.”
The former Senator also told the Times that several years ago an agent with the FBI told him to give up the investigation and to “Get a life.”
“To me, the most simple, unanswered question of 9/11 is, did the 19 hijackers act alone or were they assisted by someone in the United States?”, he told the Times.
Graham is also involved in the efforts by current representatives and 9/11 family members to declassify 28 pages of the official government report on 9/11, which point a finger at the Saudi Arabian government. In January, congressmen Stephen F. Lynch and Walter B. Jones, stood with Graham and families of 9/11 victims as they announced the introduction of a new House Resolution which calls on President Obama to declassify 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 2001. Although the final report amounts to over 800 pages, the 28 pages were classified by former President George W. Bush shortly after the report was released.
The Representatives introduced a similar resolution in 2013 and received bipartisan support. Now Jones, Lynch, and Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie are pushing House Resolution 14 which states that “declassification of the pages is necessary to provide the American public with the full truth surrounding the tragic events of September 11, 2001, particularly relating to the involvement of foreign governments.”
Jones said he chose to introduce the resolution “because the families deserve peace, the American people deserve the truth, and the release of these pages will not harm our national security.” He encouraged the Senate to introduce a companion resolution. Congressman Lynch said “enough time has passed that we can digest the information they contain without worrying about the visceral passions and security implications that existed in the days immediately following September 11th, 2001.”