The lawyer for the families of 9/11 victims is asking President Donald Trump to declassify government files in the aftermath of a phone campaign led by victims’ families calling for access to information which may reveal Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the terror attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
The families began making calls to the White House as part of the campaign on July 4, ending on July 9 after showing up on the White House’s radar.
Jim Kreindler, a New York-based lawyer who’s representing the families in an ongoing lawsuit against Saudi Arabia for damages stemming from the attacks, said the campaign’s goal was to urge Trump to shed light on past U.S. government cover-up of the investigation into Saudi Arabia and its officials and to turn up documents showing Saudi Arabia’s ties and assistance to the 9/11 hijackers.
The case, which has been in the works in one form or another for 17 years, is now in discovery, and the pieces are starting to come together. As part of the discovery process, Saudi Arabia has two weeks to begin producing documents and intelligence files on the attackers held by various government agencies which could help the suit move forward.
Of the 19 attackers on 9/11, 15 were Saudis.
But for Kreindler, the real key is hidden in thousands of U.S. government documents spread across the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, Treasury Department, and the State Department, which according to Kreindler not only show Saudi Arabia’s culpability, but also show evidence of a cover-up by President George W. Bush and then-Director of the FBI Robert Mueller, who now runs the Special Counsel investigation into Trump. This cover-up, Kreindler says, also extended into President Barack Obama’s administration and included former FBI Director James Comey.
“There’s this treasure trove of documents that has been classified for 17 years, including thousands of documents in the 9/11 Commission, which were supposed to be declassified in 2009,” Kreindler told The Daily Caller. “Even Director Mueller’s testimony in October 2002 before Congress has been classified.”
“Documents are important for us because they reveal the extent of Saudi Arabia’s involvement with the terrorists and the attacks, and those documents also reveal the way in which both U.S. presidents and top officials quashed the investigation and covered up the Saudi role,” he added.
Three former FBI agents have filed affidavits in the case stating that Saudi Arabia aided the terrorists in preparing for the attack.
“I concluded that diplomatic and intelligence personnel of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia knowingly provided material support to the two 9/11 hijackers and facilitated the 9/11 plot,” said David Mitchell, a former FBI terrorism investigator, in one of the affidavits.
Former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, who served as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also stated in an affidavit that he believes the attack was directly supported by Saudi Arabia.
“This domestic support network was organized and coordinated by employees and agents of the Saudi government, acting within the hierarchy and scope of the roles assigned to them by the Saudi government,” Graham said.
Graham stated in an interview with Harper’s Magazine in 2017 that he believes Mueller obstructed the investigation into Saudi connections by refusing to let investigators interview FBI informant Abdussattar Shaikh, who lived with two of the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar. Mueller even went so far as to move Shaikh to an undisclosed location to avoid investigators armed with a congressional subpoena.
While there are thousands of classified documents germane to the 9/11 case, Kreindler said that he’s submitted a list of the first 4-5 documents he’d like to see declassified—one of the documents is Mueller’s testimony to Congress in 2002. As part of that request, Kreindler wants Trump to publicly affirm that he stands with the 9/11 victims and is willing to begin the declassification process on a rolling basis.
“You can be the farthest right-wing Republican or the farthest left-wing Democrat and still want to see the cover-up here exposed,” Kreindler said. “Whatever your political stripes, everyone has to be behind this.”
Back in March, U.S. District Judge George Daniels rejected an attempt by lawyers working on behalf of Saudi Arabia to have the case thrown out of court. Daniels stated there was a “reasonable basis” to the legal action, also adding that the court has narrow jurisdiction over Saudi Arabia, due to the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. Congress passed the legislation in 2016 after overriding a veto from then-President Barack Obama.
Michael Kellogg, a lawyer for Saudi Arabia, argued in January that the 9/11 Commission failed to turn up any proof that Saudi Arabia was involved in any way in the attacks.