An enormous class action lawsuit submitted against Saudi Arabia by 1,400 family members of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks has brought new details to light, while claiming that the Saudi embassy in the United States financed a "dry run" for the attack carried out by two Saudi agents. The claim made in the suit was revealed on Monday—the 16th anniversary of the attacks.
The suit includes FBI documents alleging the Saudi government sent the agents on a flight from Phoenix to Washington DC two years before the attack took place, and that their airfare was paid for the Saudis, as well.
The documents claim the pair was sent to examine the plane's security arrangements and find out ways of breaking into the cockpit. The Saudi agents supposedly tried reaching the pilot and "grilled" the flight crew on technical matters.
Their questions aroused suspicion and caused the pilot to make an emergency landing. They were detained for questioning by the FBI when the plane landed and were later released without any charges being pressed.
"We've long asserted there were longstanding and close relationships between al-Qaeda and the religious components of the Saudi government," said Sean Carter, representing the plaintiffs.
The Saudi government has denied collusion with the terrorist who carried out the 9/11 attacks—and ties to terrorism in general—for years. It should be noted many of the perpetrators of the attacks were, in fact, Saudi citizens.
In Sep. 2016,the US Congress passed a law allowing to file suits against countries for aiding and abetting terrorism in American courts, despite the Obama administration's significant efforts to block it.
The FBI documents filed as part of said suit note that the two Saudi agents, Mohammed al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi, were trained in Afghanistan along with other al-Qaeda operatives before the Sep. 11 attacks.
Hundreds of thousands of documents supposedly delineating Saudi Arabia's involvement in the attack and its ties to the hijackers still remain confidential. Their censorship has drawn a great deal of criticism and is considered by some to be an attempt by the US government to cover up Saudi involvement in terror, in an effort not to harm the two countries' relations.