Saudi Arabia: FBI closed 9/11 probes without charges, no reason to believe it will reveal powerful new evidence

saudi arabia
Saudi Arabia

By Dan Christensen,

The U.S. government’s recent reset of its position to consider declassifying many FBI secrets about 9/11 is being strongly resisted in court by Saudi Arabia.

Lawyers for thousands of 9/11 family members who are suing Saudi Arabia in federal court in New York, citing the “extraordinary circumstances” arising from the government’s about-face, asked the court late last month for an extension of a Sept. 15 deadline to submit reports from experts who have reviewed the evidence.

“It is imperative that plaintiffs’ experts be afforded an opportunity to review this additional evidence before serving their reports,” wrote members of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committees in an Aug. 26 letter to U.S. Magistrate Sarah Netburn. “The documents and information in issue include many of the most critical documents relating to the government’s investigation of the support network provided by the Saudi government’s agents for the first arriving hijackers, and thus go to the very heart of the transactions, events, relationships and roles at issue.”

U.S. Justice Department attorneys seemed to agree, notifying lawyers for the 9/11 Families that “the United States believes an extension [of the deadline] would be in the interests of justice” as it considers what now classified documents to make public.

The plaintiffs’ concerns were further heightened by President Biden’s executive order on Friday instructing the FBI and other federal agencies to conduct “declassification reviews” with an eye toward significant document disclosures. The only specific document the President ordered to be immediately reviewed for public release “no later than September 11, 2021” is an April 4, 2016 “electronic communication from the subfile investigation” of the FBI that’s also known as Operation Encore. That report is said to be a 16-page summary of Encore’s findings about possible Saudi complicity in 9/11.

Later that day, the plaintiffs renewed their call for a stay of the deadline, attaching a copy of the President’s order and asking Judge Netburn to “convene a conference to address today’s developments and how they impact the litigation.”


The kingdom’s lawyers have not responded to Friday’s developments, but earlier asked Netburn to deny the 9/11 Families any deadline extensions.

“Saudi Arabia respectfully disagrees with the [U.S.] government’s position … that an extension ‘would be in the interests of justice,’” wrote Washington, DC attorney Michael Kellogg in an Aug. 31 letter to Netburn. “The interests of justice favor the final close of discovery in this matter and the presentation of the contemporaneous documents and the testimony of witnesses with personal knowledge that were the focus of more than three years of fact discovery. Those interests do not favor delaying closure of this case to sift through the records of a closed investigation so that material of dubious relevance may be presented to experts who will then act as mere conduits for introducing hearsay.”

According to Kellogg’s letter, as of June 30, which marked the close of “fact” discovery in the case, “the FBI has produced 28 tranches of documents, containing 9,939” pages. Florida Bulldog has reported that the FBI’s Tampa Field Office alone – which investigated the abrupt departure of a Saudi family with apparent ties to the hijackers from their Sarasota-area home two weeks before the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington – has more than 80,000 pages of records concerning 9/11.

Kellogg’s letter went on, “Having exhausted their legal avenues, Plaintiffs then commenced a public-relations and political push to obtain additional documents, including a well-publicized threat to disinvite President Biden from the memorial commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks if more documents are not released.”

The letter notes that on Aug. 9 “shortly after that threat” the Justice Department informed the court that the FBI had recently closed “the Subfile Investigation,” also known as Operation Encore, which examined allegations that “the circle of 9/11 conspirators may be broader than reported in the 9/11 Commission Report,” including “individuals who provided or may have provided substantial assistance to 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al Hazmi or Khalid al Mihdhar.”


“Neither the Plaintiffs’ political campaign to obtain more documents from the FBI nor the government’s voluntary decision to comply after the close of both document and deposition discovery in this case provides good cause for an extension of the limited, targeted jurisdictional discovery period set by the court,” Kellogg wrote.

Further, “the court has no reason to believe that anything new the FBI produces will yield material new evidence rather than matter that is immaterial, nonevidentiary, or both,” the letter says. “There is no reason to believe the FBI’s new production will include anything more. To the contrary, the FBI has closed its investigation with no new charges or final conclusions. Its decision to do so leaves uncontradicted the findings of the 9/11 Commission and the 9/11 Review Commission of no evidence that Saudi Arabia was complicit in the 9/11 attacks.”

Kellogg’s letter concludes with a challenge regarding the central factual question at issue: whether a pair of Saudis living in Southern California – diplomat and religious leader Fahad al Thumairy and suspected Saudi undercover agent Omar al Bayoumi – provided witting assistance to the two 9/11 hijackers.

“When discovery ends, the record will show no support for Plaintiffs’ baseless allegations that al Thumairy or al Bayoumi received or gave any directions to assist the 9/11 hijackers,” Kellogg wrote. “Counsel for one group of Plaintiffs has recently, publicly claimed that depositions in this case contained multiple ‘smoking guns’ and have described confidential deposition testimony as ‘lots and lots of people inculpating every Saudi official.’ Let Plaintiffs show the Court the evidence they purport to have, let Saudi Arabia respond, and let the Court determine who is correct. That will serve the interests of justice better than indefinitely prolonging discovery.”

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  • Osama Bin Laden was unofficially convicted of the 9/11 attacks within a time frame that could not possibly have allowed any intelligence to have been gathered which supported the accusation. That is, it would be impossible if they did not already have that information. How could they have had no warning of an operation, which must have been very difficult to keep under wraps, but then be able to name the culprit in less than a day? And if they had some forewarning of the attack, even if it was not specific, then it raises even more questions about government agencies’ complicity.

    From day one, there has not been a shred of publicly available evidence against Bin Laden. Up until December of 2001, there was nothing but the continued repetition of his name. The official documents detailing allegations against Bin Laden provide no convincing evidence. Of the 69 points of “evidence” cited, ten relate to background information about the relationship between Bin Laden and the Taliban. Fifteen relate to background information regarding the general philosophies of Al Qeada, and it’s relationship to Bin Laden. None give any facts concerning the events of 9/11. Most do not even attempt to directly relate anything mentioned to the events of that day. Twenty-six list allegations related to previous terrorist attacks. Even if they were convictions of previous terrorist attacks, everybody knows that this isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, in terms of evidence for involvement of September 11th.

    Within 20 minutes of the attacks taking place, the media were fed comments, which assumed Bin Laden’s guilt, comments made on the basis of events, which could not possibly have occurred. The Pentagon and the Department of Defense used dialogue attributed to Bin Laden, in an effort to incriminate him, while refusing to release all of the dialogue, and refusing to issue a verbatim, literal translation.

    Dan Rather’s interview with Jerome Hauer at 1pm on 9/11, just 2 hours after the attacks took place:

    Rather: What perspective can you give us? I mean, there have been these repeated reports that, well, yes, Osama Bin Laden, but some think he’s been over-emphasized as, as responsible for these kinds of events. I know many intelligence people at very high levels who say, listen, you can’t have these kinds of attacks without having some state, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, somebody involved. Put that into perspective for us.

    Hauer: Yeah, well I’m not sure I agree that, umm, this is necessarily state-sponsored. Umm, it, as I mentioned earlier, certainly has, umm, the, uh, fingerprints of somebody like Bin Laden.

    In the months leading up to the Septmber 11, 2001 attack, it is reported, the Taliban “outlined various ways bin Laden could be dealt with. He could be turned over to the EU, killed by the Taliban, or made available as a target for Cruise missiles.” The Bush administration did not accept the Taliban’s offer.

    On September 16, 2001, CNN reported that in a statement issued to Al Jazeera, bin Laden said, “I would like to assure the world that I did not plan the recent attacks”.

    “On September 20, 2001,” according to the Guardian, “the Taliban offered to hand Osama bin Laden to a neutral Islamic country for trial if the US presented them with evidence that he was responsible for the attacks on New York and Washington. The US rejected the offer.”

    Bin Laden, in a September 28, 2001 interview with the Pakistani newspaper Ummat, is reported to have said:

    “I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children and other people. Such a practice is forbidden even in the course of a battle.”

    October 3, 2001: Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, in an interview with The New York Times, said administration officials had been briefing allies on what he called “pretty good information” establishing the link between the airplane attacks and Mr. Bin Laden. But, he added, “it is not evidence in the form of a court case.”

    One Western official at NATO said the briefings, which were oral, without slides or documents, did not report any direct order from Mr. Bin Laden, nor did they indicate that the Taliban knew about the attacks before they happened.

    A senior diplomat for one closely allied nation characterized the briefing as containing “nothing particularly new or surprising,” adding: “It was descriptive and narrative rather than forensic. There was no attempt to build a legal case.”

    George W Bush’s speech at UN, November 10, 2001: “We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty. To inflame ethnic hatred is to advance the cause of terror.”

    9/11 Commission Report stated in 2004 “that bin Laden was a financier with a fortune of several hundred million dollars is an “urban legend.”

    “Some within the government continued to cite the $300 million figure well after 9/11, and the general public still incorrectly gives credence to the notion of a ‘multimillionaire bin Laden.”

    “To date, the US government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks.… Ultimately the question of the origin of the funds is of little practical significance.”

    In 2005, when asked why there is no mention of 9/11 on the FBI’s web page, Rex Tomb, the FBI’s Chief of Investigative Publicity, is reported to have said, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Osama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”

  • “To date, the US government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks.… Ultimately the question of the origin of the funds is of little practical significance.”

  • The 911 attacks were planned and ordered by the Pakistani ISI, who raised funding for the Taliban and 911 via a Pakistani ISI heroin distribution network in the United States (comprised of both Pakistani and Afghani heroin kingpins). Ultimately, the heroin addicts of America funded the 911 attacks. Biggest secret that the DEA is hiding about 911, with help from the FBI and CIA. While the vase majority of the heroin distribution proceeds went to fund the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 (probably to the tune of approximately 50 to 100 Million dollars from 1991 to 2001), and a small portion of that money (I think it was less than 500k) was diverted from heroin proceeds to fund 911. Pakistan planned the attack and never once told Bin Laden or the Taliban what they were planning (because they knew both Bin Laden and the Taliban would reject it). My understanding is that when the 1998 Embassy bombings were being planned, they also kept Bin Laden in the dark about the actual plan but asked for his blessing, which he gave it. After they bombed the Embassies and killed numerous innocent Africans, Bin Laden was upset and demanded that any future operations must only target military targets. So when the USS Cole bombing was being plotted, Bin Laden only gave his approval for that plot because he was informed that the plot would target military BEFORE he approved it, and so then he approve it. Then when Pakistan again started planning the 911 attacks, they again inform Bin Laden that their plan is to attack military, but they never told him the actual details of the plan (for him to approve it). Pakistan knew that Bin Laden would never approve the “planes plot” because it is not in accordance with the Islamic principles that allowed him to approve the USS Cole bombing, and so they hid the plot from him and lied to him claiming that they are plotting to attack a military target!!! Up until 911, Bin Laden and the Taliban never knew what the Pakistani ISI was planning, and never approved it. The person who actually approved the attack on America, did it without Bin Laden approval (and the Taliban and others in New York also witness this fact directly).

  • Richard Zelikow is quoted in an NPR interview today saying “ZELIKOW: We did have this suspicion, which we couldn’t prove, that there was a support network. We actually feel just as strongly as any victim’s family that if we thought we could nail one of those people, we would love to do that. But we never felt we could get to the bottom of it.” That’s not exactly consistent with p. 172 and “Ultimately, the question [of the origin of the funds] is of little practical significance.” See

  • Philip, not Richard, sorry

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