The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) was signed into law last year to give recourse to the victims of terrorism to actually sue the alleged perpetrators. This has put Saudi interests under the gun for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as a multi-billion dollar lawsuit has been filed against them.
Over two dozen U.S. insurers affiliated with Travelers Cos (TRV.N) have filed a massive $4.2 billion dollar lawsuit against the Saudis, according to a Reuters report. Defendents include Al Rajhi Bank 1120.SE, National Commercial Bank 1180.SE, aviation contractor Dallah Avco, the Mohamed Binladin Co, the Muslim World League, and other philanthrophic organizations that supposedly “aided and abetted” the culprits of the 9/11 attacks.
According to Reuters, the Saudi government has a direct controlling interest in one of the organizations being sued. Through the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi Arabian government and its affiliates have a majority stake in National Commercial Bank. 15 of the 19 culprits for the Sept. 11 attacks hailed directly from Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi government was put in the spotlight after 28 pages from a joint congressional inquiry about Sept. 11 were released to the public last year. Despite being partially redacted, those pages outlined a multitude of connections between the Saudi government, royal family, suspected Saudi intelligence, and the 9/11 hijackers.
Liberty-minded Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) has emerged as a strong an advocate for increased transparency related to the Sept. 11 attacks. He said, “We have to decide how to prevent another [Sept. 11] type event from happening, and until you have the full picture of what actually happened… How can you participate in that debate? How can we know what we will do will prevent another [Sept. 11] from happening?”
With alleged culprits of terrorism such as the Saudi government now being held accountable in the court of law, this new legal mechanism may emerge as a harsh deterrent against foreign governments supporting these types of attacks.