Motley Rice commends declassification of investigatory documents on the role of Saudi Arabia in September 11, 2001 attacks
Only days ahead of the 20th memorial of September 11, President Biden took a bold step toward transparency and accountability unprecedented in the two decades and three preceding administrations since 9/11, signing an executive order today declassifying documents that are expected to provide a window into the extent of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the terrorist attacks.
Biden signed the executive order just shy of a month after Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) introduced The September 11th Transparency Act of 2021 on August 5, 2021(S. 2654/H.R. 4958). Closely tracking the terms of that bill, the Executive Order requires a declassification review of documents from the U.S. governments’ investigation into the 9/11 attacks, sets a process for that review, and creates oversight and accountability reporting obligations for the “justification for each decision not to declassify information.” Notably, Executive Order, like the Transparency Act, sets an expedited deadline, September 11, 2021, for the review of the April 2016 FBI Review Report concerning the FBI’s “subfile investigation” described in chapter V of the 2015 Final Report of the Congressionally-directed 9/11 Review Commission. Whereas the bill pending in Congress would have taken time to enact, the E.O. fast-forwards all of these obligations.
Motley Rice represents more than 6,600 family members and survivors of September 11 in litigation that seeks to hold alleged financiers and material supporters of al Qaeda accountable in U.S. Courts for their role in the attacks, In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001. Firm co-founder Ron Motley (1944-2013) led the charge by filing civil action in August 2002, vowing to leave “no stone left unturned” in the families’ and survivors’ quest for answers.
“This move will finally free up critical relevant factual evidence about September 11th, 2001 attacks and those sponsoring Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda in the days, months and years leading up to the hijackings and terror attacks, said Jodi Westbrook Flowers, who represents more than 6,600 family members and survivors of September 11, 2001, in a pioneering civil action to hold al Qaeda’s sponsors accountable and cut off the terror support pipeline and is co-lead counsel of the Steering Committee for wrongful death and personal injury and a member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for the In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001. “The importance of this step cannot be overstated, and clients are extremely grateful to President Biden. We will continue to press for lifting of the secrecy orders in the case.”
Through the litigation, the families and survivors have repeatedly demanded full transparency from the U.S. Government for nearly 20 years, including pressing for the release the 28 redacted pages that were withheld from the Congressional 9/11 Joint Inquiry Report and kept locked in a vault beneath the U.S. Capitol for 14 years until their release in 2016. The families and survivors also pushed for the passage of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which allows for foreign sponsors of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil to be tried in U.S. courts. Most recently, the families and survivors joined Sens. Menendez, Blumenthal and Majority Leader Schumer in a press conference announcing The September 11th Transparency Act of 2021, during which they called for President Biden to do what previous administrations failed to do by embracing transparency and declassifying pertinent documents.
“I commend President Biden and his administration for this declassification order,” said Motley Rice lawyer Don Migliori, who also represents more than 6,600 family members and survivors of September 11, 2001 and is co-lead counsel of the Steering Committee for wrongful death and personal injury and a member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for the In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001. “I thank the families of those killed or seriously injured on September 11th, 2001 for their relentless advocacy on the release of these critical documents. It’s a major milestone in what has been a long and winding road to the truth in the case we began back in August of 2002. Motley Rice has been and will continue to be equally relentless in seeking a fulsome trial on the merits against Saudi Arabia.”
About Motley Rice LLC
Motley Rice is one of the nation’s largest plaintiffs’ litigation firms. With a tradition of representing those whose rights have been violated, Motley Rice attorneys gained recognition for their pioneering asbestos lawsuits, their work with the State Attorneys General in the landmark litigation against Big Tobacco, and their representation of September 11 families in the ongoing lawsuit against terrorist financiers. The firm continues to handle complex litigation in numerous areas, including securities fraud; antitrust; consumer protection; mesothelioma; environmental contamination; prescription and over-the-counter drugs; other medical devices; human rights; aviation disasters; and wrongful death. Motley Rice is headquartered in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., and has additional offices in Connecticut; Washington, D.C.; New Jersey; New York; Pennsylvania; Missouri; Rhode Island; and West Virginia. For more information, contact Motley Rice attorney Jodi Westbrook Flowers (SC) at 1.800.768.4026 or visit www.motleyrice.com. Motley Rice LLC, a South Carolina Limited Liability Company, is engaged in the New Jersey practice of law through Motley Rice New Jersey LLC. Esther Berezofsky is the attorney responsible for New Jersey practice. Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.