Federal Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York issued a ruling in late March that means that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia may be facing a day in court for their assistance to at least two of the September 11, 2001 hijackers who carried out the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil in history. In a two-part March 28 ruling, the Federal Judge rejected a Saudi motion to be dismissed from the case, which was first filed by family members and survivors of the 9/11 attack in 2003. Judge Daniels found that the Saudis could not claim sovereign immunity as the result of the passage in September 2016 of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which voided sovereign immunity if there was evidence that "agents" of a foreign state had aided in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Although President Barack Obama vetoed JASTA, both the House and the Senate overrode his veto by a near-unanimous margin.
Judge Daniels found specifically that the Plaintiffs had presented compelling evidence two Saudi individuals, Omar al-Bayoumi and Fahad al-Thumairy, provided critical material support to the first two 9/11 hijackers to arrive in the United States in January 2000, and may have been acting on behalf of higher-ups in the Saudi regime. The Judge ordered new discovery to determine more evidence of the Saudi involvement.
Al-Thumairy was employed by the Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs, working out of the Los Angeles consulate. He met with al-Bayoumi, a longtime employee of the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation in February 2000 and from that point on, both men provided crucial support to 9/11 terrorists Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, giving them money, arranging their housing, obtaining fake identification, arranging their pilot training and designating other Saudis to provide logistical support.
Some of the critical evidence cited by Judge Daniels in ruling in favor of the discovery motion came from the 28 page chapter from the 2002 Joint Congressional Inquiry Report on 9/11, which was only finally released, in redacted form, in July 2016, after a lengthy battle, led by the 9/11 families, and members of Congress led by North Carolina Republican Walter Jones, Massachusetts Democrat Steven Lynch and Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie.
The court ruling came just as the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin-Salman was conducting a two-week coast-to-coast "meet and greet" with Trump Administration officials, members of Congress, Wall Street executives, defense industry CEOs and Silicon Valley billionaires. As a consolation prize to the wanna-be absolute monarch, Judge Daniels did dismiss the case against the Saudi High Commission for Bosnia Herzegovina, a Saudi "charity" that funneled an estimated $125 million to Al Qaeda during the 1990s and early 2000s. The Judge ruled that it was insufficient to prove that the Saudi "charity" funded Al Qaeda. The Plaintiffs needed to show that the SHCBH had explicitly funded the 9/11 hijackers for that specific attack. The head of the SHCBH at the time of the money transfers was Prince Salman, now the King of Saudi Arabia and the father of MBS.