It is altogether fitting that on the 19th anniversary of September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon a Federal Magistrate has ordered the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to produce 24 current and former officials for deposition by attorneys representing survivors and families of the 9/11 attacks. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn issued the order compelling the Saudis to produce the witnesses.
Among those ordered to testify is Prince Bandar bin-Sultan, who was Saudi Ambassador to the United States at the time of the attacks. Bandar's daughter is the current Saudi Ambassador in Washington. The Magistrate Judge included Bandar and his former embassy chief of staff Ahmed al-Qattan on the list of Saudis to be depositioned, because there is evidence in still-classified documents showing that both men were aware of the activities of two Saudi diplomats on the west coast who were aiding two of the 9/11 hijackers from the moment they arrived in the United States from Malaysia in 2000.
This is a dramatic development, perhaps the most important breakthrough in the case since the July 2016 declassification of the 28-page chapter from the original Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11. That chapter was withheld from the public by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama until a pressure campaign, led by the families and survivors and Representative Walter Jones (R-NC) forced the release. It detailed the role of Saudi officials, including diplomats and security personnel close to Bandar in providing material support to the two west coast hijackers.
A 2012 FBI document partially declassified through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the Florida Bulldog online news organization revealed that an official of the Saudi embassy in Washington was directing two other west coast Saudi officials to support the two hijackers. The name of that embassy official, which was under seal, was inadvertently released in an FBI affidavit last year. That official, Mussaed al-Jarrah, was a Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs official with oversight over Saudi religious officials operating in the US with diplomatic credentials.