FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Alicia G. Ward
June 6, 2013
(843) 216-9548 office
(843) 532-7011 cell
On Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism
9/11 Family Members Demand FBI to Come Cleanabout Sarasota Saudis Suspected of 9/11 Ties
Former Senator and 9/11 Congressional Investigation Co-Chair
Bob Graham, Says the FBI Never Gave Information
to Congressional Investigation or 9/11 Commission
The Steering Committee of the 9/11 Families United To Bankrupt Terrorism publicly endorses the efforts of investigative reporters Dan Christensen and Anthony Summers and calls on the FBI to come clean regarding an investigation involving a Saudi family, former residents of Sarasota, Fla., who may have provided aid or assistance to the 9/11 hijackers. Broward Bulldog, Inc., a Florida non-profit corporation, and Dan Christensen, founder, operator and editor of the BrowardBulldog.org website, have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to gain access to documents they have been denied and are suing the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida.
On Wednesday, June 5, former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham (D-FL), who also co-chaired the Joint Inquiry of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence into intelligence community activities before and after 9/11, filed a declaration in support of the FOIA request, in which he wrote, “I am troubled by what appears to me to be a persistent effort by the FBI to conceal from the American people information concerning possible Saudi support of the September 11 attacks.”
Graham further declared:
“I have contacted the co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, Republican Thomas Kean and Democrat Lee Hamilton and I have asked them if the 9/11 Commission ever learned of the FBI’s Sarasota investigation. Both advised me that they were unaware of it. Kean told me that if the 9/11 Commission had learned of the Sarasota investigation it would have worked it hard because it seemed implausible that the hijackers had completed the planning of the September 11 attacks alone. Phil Zelikow, the 9/11 Commission’s executive director, also told me that the 9/11 Commission did not receive any documents from the FBI concerning the Sarasota investigation.”
“I also contacted Porter Goss, chairman of the U.S. House of Representative Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 2002 and co-chair with me of the Joint Inquiry, and Eleanor Hill, staff director of the Joint Inquiry to ask them if he ever had become aware of the FBI’s Sarasota investigation. They said they had no awareness of that investigation.”
Citing the fact that vehicles used by the 9/11 hijackers apparently had visited the home of the Sarasota Saudis as recorded in the gated community’s security logs, and the sudden departure from the U.S. of the Saudi family just before the attacks, the 9/11 family members are also seeking information that would shed light on alleged Saudi financing of the terrorist attacks in their lawsuit, In Re Terrorist Attacks of September 11. However, instead of coming clean, the FBI continues to try to block a request under the Freedom of Information Act in Christensen’s case, claiming it would somehow damage national security. This continues a pattern of obstruction lasting more than a decade, including failure to disclose this information to Congress and to the 9/11 Commission.
“After almost 12 years, the time has come for the Department of Justice, the FBI and this administration to give the American people access to the truth about who financed the murder of 3,000 people on 9/11,” said Sharon Premoli of Dorset, Vt., who was pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center and maintains the advocacy website, www.JusticeAgainstTerrorism.net. “It is simply implausible that release of this information would interfere with any current national security investigation. Rather, the FBI’s obstruction creates at least the perception of a cover-up to protect Saudi potentates. We owe Bob Graham a debt of gratitude for his persistence.”
“I wholeheartedly believe these documents will lead us to our ultimate goal of truth, accountability and justice we so desperately seek. This administration owes the families, survivors and those sick and dying from 9/11 the transparency they so passionately talk about. We will never be a safer America if we can’t stop the financial support to the terrorists who continue to plan and plot against us. I applaud Bob Graham for his dedication and action he is taking in exposing the FBI and DOJ's lies and deceit,” said Terry Strada of New Vernon, N.J., widow of Tom Strada, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Graham recently had the opportunity to review certain documents related to the FBI’s Sarasota investigation — documents that had never been provided to the Joint Inquiry.
In his declaration to the Court, Graham wrote that these documents, “contradicted the FBI’s public statements concerning its Sarasota investigation. To me, the documents reflected that the investigation was not a robust inquiry concerning suspicions related to Saudi nationals who resided in Sarasota before September 11, 2001, that an important investigative lead was not pursued, and that unsubstantiated statements were accepted as true.”
“First President Obama promises me personally to release the 28 pages removed from the congressional committee’s report and doesn’t and now the FBI is pulling this stunt,” said Bill Doyle of The Villages, Fla., father of Joseph M. Doyle who died in the World Trade Center. “The FBI keeps contradicting itself. On one hand, they say they found no evidence connecting the Sarasota Saudis to 9/11. On the other hand, they say releasing the information would threaten national security. But they can’t have it both ways. And the Courts should not let them get away with it.”
The 9/11 family members and survivors praised Graham for his leadership in seeking to reveal the truth about alleged Saudi involvement in 9/11, and for his support of their litigation to hold accountable all those who helped finance the murder of their loved ones and injury to countless others.
The original FOIA claim was filed in September 2011 to declassify certain documents regarding a “closed anti-terrorism investigation into the activities of Saudi nationals who lived in and/or owned a residence at 4224 Escondito Circle, near Sarasota, Florida prior to 9/11.” The residents were Abdullazziz Al-Hijji and his wife, Anoud. The homeowners were Anoud AI-Hijji's parents, Essam and Deborah Ghazzawi. The FBI investigation began in the fall of 2001 and continued into at least 2003.
The 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism
This group is comprised of over 6,600 family members of those killed and injured in the attacks of 9/11. They are united in the cause of pursuing justice and deterring future terrorist attacks. To do so, they are using the civil legal system to pursue those who financed and provided support for those cowardly terrorist attacks. The case is In Re Thomas E. Burnett, Sr., et al. v. Al Baraka Investment & Development Corp., et al., Case No. 03-CV-9849 (GBD); In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, 03 MDL 1570. The families are represented by complex civil litigation firm Motley Rice LLC.
(843) 216-9548 office
(843) 532-7011 cell
On Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism
SENATORS TAKE BOLD STEP FORWARD TO ACHIEVE JUSTICE FOR 9/11 FAMILY MEMBERS
AND ALL AMERICANS ACCOUNTABILITY FOR TERRORIST BANKROLLERS
JASTA bill approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 20, 2012 – In a bold move to empower 9/11 family members and
survivors to achieve justice by holding accountable all who aid and abet terrorism, the Senate Judiciary
Committee today approved the bipartisan Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA/S. 1894).
Members of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism present at the mark-up praised Chairman
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), lead sponsor Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), bill co-sponsors and the other committee
members for strengthening America’s security and sending the message that terrorist financiers will no
longer be able to hide from the long arm of American justice. Co-sponsors of JASTA include Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Amy
Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).
The family members urged the full Senate and the House to move swiftly to enact JASTA before Congress adjourns for the year.
“We’re thrilled with the swift action of the committee,” said Terry Strada of New Vernon, N.J., widow of
Tom Strada, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. “My children were four days,
four years and seven years old when they lost their father. I promised them we were going to get the bad
guys. Osama bin Laden was just one piece of the puzzle. Until we get everyone who financed and
supported 9/11, including the Saudis, we are not going to stop.”
“The financiers are just as guilty as the hijackers,” said Robert Kobus of Morristown, N.J., whose sister,
Deborah Kobus, was killed in the World Trade Center. “Today moves us one step closer to justice. We
urge Congress to take the next step now and make JASTA the law of the land.”
“I was happy to see that the committee made a wise decision and amazed at how swiftly the bill was
passed,” said Allison Vadhan of Atlantic Beach, N.Y., who lost her mother, Kristin White Gould, on
United Flight 93. “This makes it clear that anyone who finances and supports terrorism against Americans is just as responsible as those who performed the act, and that foreign officials should never be considered immune for their role in terrorist activities in the United States. I hope Congress has the good sense to move forward swiftly to prevent the financing of terrorism.”
“We’ve had to wait 11 years for our family members to have their day in court and seek justice and now
we’re one step closer to that goal,” said Sylvia Carver of White Plains, Md., who lost her sister, Sharon
Ann Carver, in the attack on the Pentagon. “We’re so proud to be Americans.”
Enactment of JASTA would correct a 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that no one can be held
accountable for financing or supporting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil if they provided the money or
support from outside the United States. As a result, terrorist financiers and supporters can literally stand at our borders setting in motion horrific acts in the U.S. while thumbing their nose at the rule of law.
Instead, JASTA corrects this grievous error by making clear that those who support terrorism against the
United States can be held accountable no matter where the money was given or support was provided. In so doing, it upholds the longstanding intent of Congress to empower private citizens to take legal action against those who provide financial or material support to acts of terrorism in the United States, as a way to achieve justice and to strengthen our national security by cutting off the terrorists’ money pipeline.
This legislation has also been introduced in the House (H.R. 5904) by Reps. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). Members of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism pledged a full court press to win passage of JASTA in both chambers in the waning days of the 112th Congress.
The 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism
This group is comprised of more than 6,600 family members of those killed in the attacks of 9/11 and
those injured as well. They are united in the cause of pursuing justice and deterring future terrorist attacks. To do so, they are using the civil legal system to pursue those who allegedly financed and provided support for the cowardly terrorist attacks. The case is In Re Thomas E. Burnett, Sr., et al. v. Al Baraka Investment & Development Corp., et al., Case No. 03-CV-9849 (GBD); In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, 03 MDL 1570. The families are represented by civil litigation firm Motley Rice LLC.
SENATOR SCHUMER INTRODUCES BIPARTISAN BILL ALLOWING 9/11 VICTIMS TO SUE SAUDI ARABIA AND SAUDI CHARITIES FOR ROLE IN SPONSORING 9/11 TERROR ATTACKS
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2011
Senator Charles E. Schumer today introduced the bipartisan Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) that would change existing law to allow victims of terrorism in the United States to hold foreign sponsors of terrorism accountable in American courts. While existing law was designed to enable victims of terrorism to bring suit against foreign states and entities that sponsor terrorism in the United States, the Second Circuit Court has throw out claims made by victims of the 9/11 terror attacks against Saudi Arabia and charities based in the country, that evidence suggests had a direct role in helping to finance the attacks.
Schumer's bill would modify existing law to ensure that victims have the unequivocal right to sue the Saudi government, or any government against which a claim of terrorism sponsorship can be made. Schumer, joined by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Orin Hatch (R-UT), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) introduced JASTA in to ensure justice for victims of 9/11 and other acts of terrorism on US soil and deter states from sponsorship of terrorism in the future.
"No individual or country should be shielded from being held accountable for their role in the most heinous act of terrorism to ever occur in the United States," said Schumer. "This bill will send a clear message to Saudi Arabia and other sponsors of terror: if you attack the United States, you will be held accountable. It will also allow the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks to receive some justice for the losses they experienced on that fateful day."
The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FISA) and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) were designed to allow victims of terrorism to bring suit against foreign states and organizations supported terrorism against the United States. In 2002, survivors of the 9/11 attacks attempted to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, several Saudi officials, and charities with roles in financing the attacks, under authority granted in FISA and ATA. The Second Circuit threw out the case, however, based on its interpretation that FSIA and ATA did not allow victims and their families to sue foreign sovereign sponsors of terrorism.
Schumer's bill would make changes to FSIA and the ATA to ensure and clarify that the victims of terrorism in the United States, including victims and their families of the 9/11 terror attacks, can sue foreign sponsors of t terrorism in American courts. The bill would allow 9/11 victims to reinstate their case against the Saudis by restoring Congress' original intent behind these laws to allow victims of acts of terrorism in the United States to sue foreign states and organizations that gad a role in the attack. Schumer's bill would also cut off the flow of money to terrorists by serving as a deterrent to would-be state sponsors of terrorism.
The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act would specifically do the following:
- Restore Congressional intent by making clear that the FSIA's tort exception applies to acts of terrorism, extrajudicial killing, and torture, in the United States;
- Clarify that the tort exception requires only that the injury occur in the United States, and that FSIA jurisdiction is available for torts carried out in part from abroad that produce foreseeable injury or property damage in the United States;
- Authorize causes of action pursuant to aiding and abetting and conspiracy theories under the ATA;
- Establish a 15 year statute of limitation under the ATA (it is currently 4 years), consistent with the period governing claims under analogous statutes like the TVPA and ATS; and
- Counter judicial second-guessing of Congress' views regarding the relationship between the sponsorship of terrorism and the conduct of terrorist attacks, by expressly finding that foreign sponsors of terrorist aggression against America necessarily direct their conduct at the United States.
SCHUMER: TEN YEARS LATER, VICTIMS DESERVE THE JUSTICE THEY ARE OWED
JASTA bill commended for its goals and bipartisan introduction
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 17, 2011 - On Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism
Hailing it as a victory for justice and accountability, the 9/11 Families praised the introduction of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) today. JASTA was introduced by Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) with broad bipartisan support of original cosponsors Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
“This legislation has become necessary due to flawed court decisions that have deprived the victims of terrorism on American soil, including those injured by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, of their day in court. Unfortunately, and contrary to the clear intent of Congress, some courts have concluded that Americans who were injured due to terrorist attacks in the United States have no recourse against the foreign states that sponsor those attacks. This conclusion is contrary to the plain language of the FSIA (Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act) and ATA (Anti-Terrorism Act), and it is bad policy,” said Senator Schumer.
“While existing law was designed to enable victims of terrorism to bring suit against foreign states and entities that sponsor terrorism in the United States, the Second Circuit Court has thrown out claims made by victims of the 9/11 terror attacks against Saudi Arabia and charities based in the country, that evidence suggests had a direct role in helping to finance the attacks,” he added in a statement to the press.
“I am so grateful for the leadership shown by Senator Schumer and his fellow Senators. Over two years ago, a federal court ruled in a twisted misinterpretation of anti-terrorism laws that many of those who funded the 9/11 attacks could not be held liable in a U.S. civil court,” said Mrs. Beverly Burnett of Bloomington, Minn., mother of Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., one of the heroes of United Flight 93. “All those whom we allege provided financial and material support for the attacks that killed our son and 3,000 other innocent people, no matter their position or family lineage, must be brought to justice if we are to stop the terrorist financial pipeline and make America safer.”
“JASTA corrects egregious errors and a complete miscarriage of justice that was created by the ruling of the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in 2009,” said Sharon Premoli of Dorset, Vt., who was trapped by the collapse of the World Trade Center and maintains an advocacy website, www.JusticeAgainstTerrorism.net. Premoli also noted that the Second Circuit’s ruling held that no one could be held accountable for financing or supporting a terrorist attack in the United States as long as the money or support was given outside the United States.
“This bill corrects that ludicrous reading of current law. It also deals with the other part of the court’s interpretation, that sovereign immunity which does not extend to a sovereign killing someone accidently but wrongfully – e.g., killing someone in a car wreck – is extended to someone who has supported a terrorist act that kills someone intentionally,” says Premoli. “That defies both logic and justice.”
“JASTA is not designed to use the legislative process solely to overturn a court ruling that terror victims disagree with,” said Terry Strada of New Vernon, N.J., widow of Tom Strada, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. “What it does, first and foremost, is makes clear to the courts what Congress always intended. Beyond that, it resolves disagreements among different U.S. Courts of Appeals, some of which have ruled consistently with the core principles of the law. Basically, it restores common sense.”
“We have great hope that this bill becomes law. The only way to effectively stop terrorism is to dry up the money,” said Linda and Martin Panik of Mingoville, Penn., parents of Lt. Jonas Panik who died in the Pentagon. “The courts need to be directed to understand that we do not care what someone’s rank is in another country If they give money to terrorists and their networks, we’re coming after them.”
“I want justice, I want my day in court,” said Bill Doyle of The Villages, Fla., father of Joseph M. Doyle who died in the World Trade Center. “It is time for Congress to clarify its intent on anti-terrorism law. Osama bin Laden may be dead, but a lot of the people that provided the money and support are free and never had to answer to anyone. That cannot stand.”
“JASTA will restore the rights of the victims of terrorism and deter international terrorist financing, and it will have the related benefit of enabling the victims of the September 11 Attacks to proceed with their case, as Congress had intended. And it does so without in any way threatening sensitive national security or diplomatic priorities of the nation. In fact, it makes the nation stronger,” said Schumer.
Senator Schumer Press Release: http://schumer.senate.gov/Newsroom/record.cfm?id=334885
The 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism
This group is comprised of over 6,600 family members of those killed in the attacks of 9/11 and those injured as well. They are united in the cause of pursuing justice and deterring future terrorist attacks. To do so, they are using the civil legal system to pursue those who financed and provided support for those cowardly terrorist attacks. The case is In Re Thomas E. Burnett, Sr., et al. v. Al Baraka Investment Development Corp., et al., Case No. 03-CV-9849 (GBD); In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, 03 MDL 1570. The families are represented by complex civil litigation firm Motley Rice LLC.