Two former American senators involved in federal inquiries that dealt with the September 11 terrorist attacks are asking the US to re-examine the possibility that Saudi Arabia played a pivotal role in the tragedy.
Both Bob Graham and Bob Kerrey, two former senators for the states of Florida and Nebraska, respectively, have filed statements with the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York in which they suggest that the Saudi government had a substantial role in the 9/11 attacks. Senator Graham previously served as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on 9/11 and Kerrey was a member of the bi-partisan National Commission on Terrorist Acts Upon the United States, commonly referred to as the "9/11 Commission.”
Explaining his renewed involvement in the matter, Senator Graham says, “I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia.” Graham adds that an "…issue deserving of further attention and investigation concerns the involvement of Saudi based charities in the provision of financial and other support to al Qaeda, and the precise character of the relationships between those charities and the government of the Kingdom."
In a statement filed with the court this week, both senators say the US was too quick to exonerate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi High Commission from involvement in the terrorist attacks. The District Court in New York will hear arguments later this month to see if it is viable to reintroduce the Saudis as a defendants in the In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001 litigation. That case, which concluded in 2008, ended with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, several Saudi princes, a Saudi banker and a Saudi charity being removed from charges that they were involved in the terrorist attacks.
Despite allegations of Saudi involvement in 9/11, the US government has remained close with the country since they were exonerated from any connection. As recently as this past December, the Obama administration announced plans to move $30 billion worth of fighter jets and other weaponry to the kingdom. Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, told reporters at the time, “This sale will send a strong message to countries in the region that the United States is committed to stability in the Gulf and broader Middle East.”
Shapiro added that the Saudis faced a powerful threat with Iran;in recent weeks the US has allegedly plead with the Saudis to sell surplus crude to India in hopes of weakening Iranian oil exports.
Three years after the case against the Saudis was thought to be closed for good, both senators now say that the US needs to pursue alleged involvement further. According to Kerrey and Graham, who were among a select few with access to top-secret information while involved in their inquiries, they believe that those exonerated by the US government may have indeed played a role in 9/11.
"Significant questions remain unanswered concerning the possible involvement of Saudi government institutions and actors in the financing and sponsorship of al Qaeda," explains Kerrey in the new affidavits, adding that "the American public deserves a more comprehensive inquiry into the issue."
The declarations from both ex-lawmakers were filed on behalf of The 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism, a group more than 6,600 family members who lost loved ones during the national tragedy. Since 2002, the group has been pursuing justice against parties alleged to be affiliated with the events through a multibillion-dollar lawsuit.
"The families and survivors of the atrocities of 9/11 have not given up hope for justice.We are determined to expose the truth," Beverly Burnett, the mother of a United Flight 93 passenger, adds in a press release. Her son Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. was killed on September 11 when his plane was hijacked and crashed in a field outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Sharon Premoli, administrator of the JusticeAgainstTerrorism.org website, adds in the statement her own support for the former senators. "Finally someone who knows some of the truth about 9/11 is standing up and saying 'wait a minute, we didn't give those guys the all clear' as Saudi Arabia has been saying for several years.Exonerated, I don't think so!" she says.
Of the 19 hijackers involved in the four planes commandeered on September 11, 2001, 15 of them were citizens of Saudi Arabia. Just last month, the Daily Mail reported that Abdulaziz al-Hijji, a former resident of Florida alleged to have ties with the terrorists, is now working for the Saudi’s state-run oil company in London, UK.