Last week a U.S. District court judge rejected a request by Saudi Arabia to dismiss lawsuits accusing the nation of being involved in the 9/11 attacks.
So what does this mean for the families of 9/11 victims?
Does this mean that Saudi Arabia’s immunity in the case has run out? And will the public finally get to read the 28 pages of the 9/11 report without redactions?
Let’s give it a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.
Families of 9/11 victims will get the chance to try to prove that Saudi Arabia is liable for helping to fund 9/11 hijackers. That, according to a ruling by a district court judge last week.
According to U.S. District Judge George Daniels, the plaintiffs’ allegations of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in 9/11 “narrowly articulate a reasonable basis” for him to assert jurisdiction under JASTA.
JASTA, or the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, provides a legal exemption to the principle of sovereign immunity, thus allowing foreign governments to be held liable in U.S. courts.
This is a big deal because, until now, Saudi Arabia had broad-based immunity from 9/11-related lawsuits in the United States.
In 2016, then-President Obama attempted to veto JASTA, claiming that it “could expose U.S. companies, troops and officials to lawsuits in other countries,” according to Reuters. But the Senate overrode the veto by an overwhelming margin to adopt the legislation.
From Reuters: “Daniels’ decision covers claims by the families of those killed, roughly 25,000 people who suffered injuries, and many businesses and insurers.”
While the current lawsuit is moving forward, it is not the only fear the Saudis have over 9/11. The Saudi government also is reportedly worried about the possibility of the release of the un-redacted “28 pages” which have long kept secrets about the alleged connection between the Saudis and 9/11.
So what are the 28 pages?
They are 28 pages of the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11 report that had been classified, until a redacted version was declassified 2016.
Yet, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, and the heads of the Congressional Joint Inquiry, have indicated that if the redactions of those 28 pages were made available to the public, it would completely change everything you think you know about the 9/11 attacks.
The implications revealed so far in the redacted 28 pages are deeply concerning. According to page 424 of the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11, the FBI received “numerous” reports from individuals who believed Omar al-Bayoumi, the man who co-signed an apartment lease in San Diego for two of the 9/11 hijackers, was a Saudi intelligence officer.
It also reads that Al-Bayoumi also introduced the two hijackers to a translator in San Diego, who helped them get driver licenses and locate flight schools.
We also know that, according to the Miami Herald, FBI records released in 2013 show a Saudi family living in Florida directly tied to the Saudi Royal Family, had “many connections” to two other 9/11 hijackers and then fled the country in a “sudden departure” only days before the attacks, leaving valuables and personal effects behind as if they left at a moment’s notice.
Additionally, according to the New York Post, leaked information from the redacted 28 pages, details a transfer of “some 130 thousand dollars from then Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar’s family checking account to yet another one of the [9/11] hijacker’s Saudi handlers in San Diego.”
What you need to know is that the lawsuit against the Saudis may still be blocked… that’s because, a last-minute amendment was inserted into the JASTA legislation called the “Stay of Actions Pending State Negotiations,” which allows the U.S. attorney general or secretary of state to simply “certify” that the U.S. is “engaged in good-faith discussions with the foreign-state defendant concerning the resolution of claims against the foreign state.”
And even though Candidate Trump had said that he would consider releasing the un-redacted 28 pages of the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11, based on how close he is with the Saudis, that is not likely to actually happen, as much as the families of 9/11 victims deserve to know the truth.