Saudi Arabia says there’s no proof it backed Sept. 11 attack
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday asked to be dropped from a Sept. 11 lawsuit that victims’ families filed, saying no evidence links it to the deadly terrorist act.
Lawyers for Saudi Arabia made the request in papers filed in Manhattan federal court, saying lawyers for Sept. 11 families and survivors of the 2001 attack had failed repeatedly for the last 14 years to generate sufficient evidence to subject the U.S. ally to the $100 billion lawsuit brought against numerous governmental and non-governmental defendants. Defendants Iran, the Taliban and al-Qaida already have been found in default.
The lawyers said purported new evidence, like “the thousands of pages they unsuccessfully presented before,” are hearsay and speculation and are “insufficient to support the findings required for jurisdiction over Saudi Arabia.” They added that the plaintiffs had reached “grandiose conclusions” that far exaggerate the importance of “threadbare allegations and nonexistent evidence.”
In the lawsuit, hundreds of victims’ relatives and injured survivors, along with insurance companies and businesses, claim that employees of the Saudi government directly and knowingly assisted the attack’s airplane hijackers and plotters and fueled al-Qaida’s development into a terrorist organization by funding charities that supported them.
Fifteen of the 19 attackers were Saudis. Now-declassified documents show U.S. investigators looked into some Saudi diplomats and others with Saudi government ties who had contact with the hijackers after they arrived in the U.S. The 9/11 Commission report found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” the attacks al-Qaida masterminded, but the commission also noted “the likelihood” that Saudi-government-sponsored charities did.