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Judge Still Skeptical of Claims that Saudi Arabia was Behind the 9/11 Attacks

— January 26, 2018

A district judge who’d rejected claims that Saudi Arabia was behind the 9/11 attacks seemed skeptical after a congressional action revived a dying series of lawsuits.

According to U.S. News¸ the latest arguments swung into being after Congress passed the 2016 Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. Originally vetoed by then-President Barack Obama, its newfound success means the victims of September 11th can pursue Saudi Arabia for financial damages.

Nevertheless, U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels, of Manhattan, remained cautious. Listening to the appeals and stories of survivors and the families of the deceased last Thursday, he expressed his doubts that anything had changed from the last case.

Speaking on behalf of the suit’s plaintiffs, attorney Sean Carter claimed that al-Qaeda was propped up by millions of dollars and years of support from Saudi authorities.

“Over the course of a decade, it was Saudi Arabia that enabled al-Qaeda to build its network,” said Carter.

But Daniels, says U.S. News, challenged Carter’s claims, speculating that Saudi Arabia couldn’t be held responsible for funds which may have been inadvertently funneled toward Osama bin Laden’s terror network.

uthor Abdul Rahman bin Laden (son of Osama bin Laden) took the photo and released it to Hamid Mir, a Pakistani news reporter at the time.CC-BY-SA-3.0

“If I gave you $10 and you went and bought $5 of ice cream, why is it that I gave you $5 to buy ice cream?” asked Daniels.

Later, Daniels wondered, “So every terrorist act al-Qaeda commits, Saudi Arabia is responsible for?”

Throughout the course of the 15-year litigation, hundreds of 9/11 survivors have maintained that the Saudi government had direct knowledge of the attacks. Employees, they claim, “knowingly assisted hijackers” by donating charities which passed along proceeds to Osama bin Laden.

Despite al-Qaeda being an international terror network – holding bases in South Asia, the Middle-East, and Africa even before September 11th – 15 of the 19 hijackers were of Saudi origin.

But the 9/11 Commission report found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” the attacks.

However, the Commission did note “the likelihood” that Saudi-government-sponsored charities were well-aware of where they were putting their money.

Attorney Michael Kellogg, representing the Gulf kingdom last week, repeatedly referred to the 9/11 Commission report, saying, “All rejected Saudi Arabia was responsible.”

Though still skeptical, Judge Daniels left some hope for the survivors to cling onto, suggesting that the report and its findings weren’t a definitive, end-all argument.

“I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to do with the report’s ultimate conclusion or the facts, whether they’re sufficient for this court to independently reach those conclusions,” remarked Daniels last Thursday.


Judge Remains Skeptical Sept. 11 Saudi Claims Can Proceed

Saudi Arabia: No evidence shows it had a hand in 9/11 attack

Saudi government allegedly funded a ‘dry run’ for 9/11

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