Alleged Saudi role in September 11 attacks

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The alleged Saudi role in the September 11 attacks gained new attention after two former U.S. senators, 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,[1][2][3] and calls renewed to have the redacted pages released. 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens.[4]

Origins of the 19 hijackers of 9/11 attacks
Nationality Number
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates

The panel's findings 'did not discover' any role by 'senior, high-level' Saudi government officials, said officials familiar with the report,[5] 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."[7]

In 2017 a New York lawyer, Jim Kreindler, said that he had found "a link between Saudi officials and the hijackers."[8][9]

1999 preparation[edit]

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.[10]

File 17[edit]

In July 2016, the U.S. government released a document, compiled by Dana Lesemann and Michael Jacobson,[11] 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.”[12]


The Saudi government has long denied any connection.[13] 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".[14]

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."[15] 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."[16] The pilots made an emergency landing in Ohio since they were "so spooked by the Saudi passengers and their aggressive behavior."[15]


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.[17]

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, Sanders and Tim Kaine, Clinton's running mate, were the only two senators that refrained from voting to override Obama's veto. Senator Harry Reid was the sole "No" vote.[18][19][20][21]

In March 2018, a US judge allowed a suit to move forward against Saudi Arabia brought by 9/11 survivors and victim's families.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "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.
  2. ^ Rachael Revesz (April 12, 2016). "Barack Obama urged to declassify report detailing links between 9/11 and Saudi Arabia". The Independent.
  3. ^ "Top secret "28 pages" may hold clues about Saudi support for 9/11 hijackers". April 8, 2016.
  4. ^ Thomas, Carls. "The Saudis channel the mafia: Fears of Saudi retaliation deter truth about 9/11". The Washington Times. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  5. ^ "Saudi Arabia was involved in 9/11, Rudy Giuliani suggests as Obama visits King Salman - Daily Mail Online". Mail Online. April 21, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c MAZZETTI, MARK (April 15, 2016). "Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill". New York Times.
  7. ^ Hulse, Carl. "Florida Ex-Senator Pursues Claims of Saudi Ties to Sept. 11 Attacks". New York Times. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Hannan, Caleb. "One Man's Quest to Prove Saudi Arabia Bankrolled 9/11". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  9. ^ Saudi Government Denies Funding 9/11 Attacks 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.
  10. ^ Sperry, Paul. "Saudi government allegedly funded a 'dry run' for 9/11". NY Post. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  11. ^ "File 17: Fresh documents hint at possible Saudi ties to 9/11 hijackers". Russia Today. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  12. ^ Riechmann, Deb. "File 17 Is Glimpse Into Still-Secret 28 Pages About 9/11". Associated Press. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  13. ^ 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. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  14. ^ Bahgat, Gawdat (January 1, 2004). "SAUDI ARABIA AND THE WAR ON TERRORISM". Arab Studies Quarterly. 26 (1): 51–63. JSTOR 41858472.
  15. ^ a b Sperry, Paul (September 9, 2017). "Saudi government allegedly funded a 'dry run' for 9/11". New York Post. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  16. ^ Revesz, Rachael (September 10, 2017). "Saudi government 'funded a dry run' of 9/11'". The Independent. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  17. ^ Porter, Gareth (April 25, 2016). "The classified '28 pages': A diversion from real US-Saudi issues". Middle East Eye. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  18. ^ Shabad, Rebecca. "Obama weighs in on 28 classified pages of 9/11 report". cbsnews. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  19. ^ Tumulty, Bill J. "N.Y. primary highlights bill allowing 9/11-related suits against Saudi Arabia". USA TODAY. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
  20. ^ Buncombe, Andrew (May 17, 2016). "Senate passes bill allowing victims to sue Saudi Arabia for 9/11 attacks". The Independent. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  21. ^ Morrissey, Ed (September 28, 2016). "JASTA Rebuke: Senate Votes 97-1 To Override Obama Veto; Update: Override Succeeds In 348-77 House Vote". Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  22. ^ "Saudi Arabia must face U.S. lawsuits over Sept. 11 attacks" Reuters. Retrieved 2018-11-22.