Nearly 800 families of the victims of 9/11 have sued the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia several times in federal court for its alleged support of the al-Qaida terrorist network, NBC News reports.
The families allege the Saudi government supported the terrorist network with logistical support, and highlights the role of Saudi charities connected to terrorism funding. The starkest claim in the suit alleges the Saudi government helped 9/11 hijackers in the U.S., even helping facilitate their travel. These claims have not been verified by the U.S. intelligence community or the 9/11 Commission.
The lawsuit is allowed under the 2016 Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which permits U.S. citizens to sue terror sponsors in civil claims court. The law was primarily intended to aid 9/11 families who were previously stymied by U.S. sovereign immunity laws for foreign governments.
No definitive link between the Saudi Government and the 9/11 hijackers has been found, but the tenuous connections are troubling. The U.S. government declassified 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission report in July 2016, which found senior al-Qaida operative Abu Zubaida, who was captured in the U.S. in 2002, had phone numbers tied to the same company that managed the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.’s Colorado residence. Zubaida also had a phone number for a bodyguard at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C.
“While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi government,” the report says. The report found two of the 9/11 hijackers, al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi, received financial assistance from a man named Omar al-Bayoumi.
The report stated “the FBI received numerous reports from individuals in the Muslim community….alleging that al-Bayoumi may be a Saudi Intelligence officer.” Bayoumi was found to have received a salary from a company connected to the Saudi Ministry of Defense and that “reportedly had ties to Usama bin Laden and Al Qaida.”