Court Orders Long-Sought 9/11 Testimony

Plaintiff from Middletown Calls Ruling "Amazing"

Dave Mager
September 11, 2020 - 1:33 am
President George W. Bush meets with Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi Arabian ambassador, August 27, 2002 at Bush's Ranch in Crawford, Texas. Bush promised to consult Saudi Arabia and others as he reaches a decision about whether to attack Iraq.

Eric Drapper-White House/ Getty Images

"What I think is infuriating to a lot of the families... is that it's 19 years, and still nobody from 9/11 has been held accountable outside of Osama bin Laden, but bin Laden was operating with a Saudi support network here in our country." --Brett Eagleson of Middletown, whose father, Bruce, was killed at Ground Zero

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In the hours before today's anniversary of the most devastating terrorist attack in the U.S., victims' families got a federal court ruling that could change the course of their landmark lawsuit against Saudi Arabia.

In Manhattan, U.S Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn ordered long-sought depositions from 24 Saudi government officials who've never been interviewed by U.S. investigators. 

Thousands of plaintiffs have long believed that Saudi Arabia bankrolled the 9/11 attackers.

One of the lead plaintiffs, Brett Eagleson of Middletown, has paid a lot of attention to the former Saudi ambassador to the U.S., who is one of those ordered deposed by Judge Netburn: Prince Bandar bin Sultan, known in the U.S. as "Bandar Bush" for his close friendships with President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush.  

Eagleson's statement on the case, made in a phone interview with WTIC reporter Dave Mager:

"He (Prince Bandar) was the head of the embassy in Washington at the time of 9/11. He's the one famous for being on the balcony of the White House having cocktails and smoking cigars on 9/12 with President (George W.) Bush, And, that's when they're rumored to have been talking about flying all of his cronies out of America on these private chartered flights. So, when every American flight was grounded for the next four days, Prince Bandar and Bush were working together to get dozens of Saudi royal family members and dozens of Saudi citizens out of this country before anyone could be rounded up by the FBI. It was thought that Prince Bandar was directing lower level operatives in the Saudi intelligence supporting the 9/11 hijackers."

Saudi Arabia has flatly denied any involvement in 9/11.  

Eagleson also believes the U.S. federal government is protecting Saudi leadership from prosecution, as the White House has also been accused of doing in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the CIA believes was ordered by Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS:

"If you would have asked me 19 years ago if the United States government would ever side with the Saudis over you, I probably would have called you crazy. What's humiliating and adding insult to injury to all of the family members is that for the past 5 years of our lawsuit, the U.S. government has continually sided with the defense, with those that are standing accused of supporting theses 9/11 hijackers."

At a White House meeting with President Trump last year, Eagleson and other victims' families say they were promised the government's help with their civil case. But in April, Attorney General William Barr denied the families access to critical documents that would help them make their case. Barr cited national security, and, according to Pro Publica, said any further explanation of why those documents are being kept secret is also classified.

It's unclear when or if the depositions ordered on Thursday will be conducted.