Tim Sumner and Debra Burlingame

Congress should override Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA)

Congressional Republicans and Democrats have vowed to override President Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, S.2040, known as JASTA, and both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have stated they would sign the bill into law if they were president. It would allow 9/11 family members to bring a lawsuit in federal court against Saudi Arabia. The lawsuit seeks justice; Islamists slaughtered 3,000 men, women, and children on our soil.

It is also a quest for truth. Here’s some: former Senator Bob Kerry refuted claims that the 9/11 Commission cleared the Saudi government of complicity in the September 11 attacks:

Stated most simply, our investigation found substantial evidence that one or more Saudi government employees located in the United States provided direct aid and support to the 9/11 hijackers. Those Saudi government employees were associated with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, the same arm of the Saudi government that had primary responsibility for implementing the Kingdom’s global efforts to propagate the radical Wahhabi stream of Islam, and that was responsible for supervising Wahhabi proselytizing organizations that directly sponsored al Qaeda, like Al Haramain.

[See here and here for State Department terror designations of Al Haramain.]

Andrew J. Maloney, Liaison Counsel at Kreindler & Kreindler LLP for the plaintiffs, added (in response to our request for comment):

“While the International Islamic Relief Organization [the IIRO is Saudi Arabia-based] has been deeply involved with al Qaeda since the founding of al Qaeda in Pakistan in 1988, over the past few years our investigation has led us to the bigger picture role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs. While the MOIA has provided oversight of the al Qaeda charities, it has also trained and deployed al Qaeda members and supporters worldwide. And that is just the tip of the iceberg!”

Indeed, the plaintiffs’ 157-page complaint should easily meet JASTA’s litigation threshold requirements. Read it and, in small part, you will discover:

* “In 1993, [Saudi] King Fahd established a new “Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowment (Waqf), Guidance and Da’awa” (the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Da’awa). … With its formation, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Da’awa assumed primary responsibility for supervising and directing the activities of Saudi Arabia’s charity alter-egos, including among others the MWL, IIRO, WAMY, and al Haramain, in keeping with the new ministry’s authority over all Saudi da’awa activities outside of the Kingdom.”

* “In addition to the support that flowed to al Qaeda from the Kingdom’s charity agents and alter-egos, investigations by the United States and its allies have confirmed that officials within the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Da’awa collaborated directly with al Qaeda members, and that agents of the Saudi government, including representatives of the Islamic Affairs Departments in the Saudi embassy in Berlin and the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, provided direct assistance to the September 11th plotters and hijackers, which was essential to the success of the attacks.”

* “As the 9/11 Commission correctly observed, the two hijackers [Hazmi and Mihdhar] were “ill prepared for a mission in the United States. Their only qualifications for this plot were their devotion to Usama Bin Ladin, their veteran service, and their ability to get valid U.S. visas. Neither had spent any time in the West, and neither spoke much, if any, English.” … The Commission concluded it was therefore “unlikely that Hazmi and Mihdhar – neither of whom, in contrast to the Hamburg group, had any prior exposure to life in the West – would have come to the United States without arranging to receive assistance from one or more individuals informed in advance of their arrival.””

* “On February 1, 2000, Bayoumi and Caysan bin Don (a/k/a “Isamu Dyson”) got into Bayoumi’s car and drove nearly two hours from San Diego to the Saudi Arabian Royal Consulate in Los Angeles. Bayoumi had previously disclosed to friends at the ICSD that he had friends at the Saudi Consulate. Although the stated purpose of the trip was to resolve a visa issue and obtain Islamic religious materials and Korans, Bayoumi had told at least one other person prior to the trip that he was going to Los Angeles to pick up visitors.”

* “Upon arriving at the Saudi Consulate, Bayoumi met for an hour with an official from the Consulate’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs office, Fahad al Thumairy. U.S. officials have concluded that Thumairy and Bayoumi discussed the recent arrival of future 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar in the United States, and Bayoumi was tasked with getting them welcomed and assimilated into the San Diego Muslim community. … Thumairy, who was twenty-nine years old at the time of the meeting with Bayoumi, graduated with a degree in Islamic studies from the Imam Muhammad Bin Saudi Islamic University in the Kingdom and immediately joined the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs.”

* “Thumairy was an accredited diplomat at the Saudi Consulate from 1996 to 2003, and further served as a religious leader at the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, CA, a mosque that had been built with financial assistance from the government of Saudi Arabia. As of January 2000, Thumairy acted as the Saudi Consulate’s liaison to the King Fahd Mosque, per the request of his superiors at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. After arriving in the United States on January 15, Hazmi and Mihdhar reportedly spent time at the King Fahd Mosque until their move to San Diego a few short weeks later.”

* “Bayoumi (a/k/a “Omar Ahmad Mustafa Al-Baioomi”), was a long-time employee of the Saudi Arabian government … a top FBI official has stated that “We [the FBI] firmly believed that he [Bayoumi] had knowledge [of the 9/11 plot], and that his meeting with them [Hazmi and Mihdhar] that day was more than coincidence.””

* “Evidence further indicates that an additional source of Saudi government funding used to support the activities of Hazmi and Mihdhar while in the United States came by way of Bayoumi’s relationship with Osama Yousef Basnan, another agent of the Saudi government who was being groomed to replace Bayoumi in San Diego. Basnan, known as a vocal al Qaeda sympathizer and further described by U.S. intelligence as an “ardent UBL [Osama bin Laden] supporter” who “has been in contact with UBL family members,” was a target of FBI investigations as early as 1992.”

* “… on October 17, 1992, Basnan hosted a party in Washington D.C. for Omar Abdul Rahman (a/k/a the “Blind Sheikh”) who is currently serving a life sentence following his conviction for his role in supporting the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and for plotting a “day of terror” in which he planned to attack the United Nations in New York City, bomb the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, and assassinate then-Senator Alfonse D’Amato. … FBI sources further report that in September 2000, Basnan was in phone and email contact with senior al Qaeda member and key facilitator for the September 11th attacks, Ramzi Binalshibh. Binalshibh himself confirmed his relationship with Basnan during interrogations by U.S. officials following his capture in Karachi, Pakistan on September 11, 2002.” [Binalshibb is alleged to be the 9/11 plot coordinator, then located in Germany, and is currently awaiting trial by Military Commission at Guantanamo Bay alongside Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.]

* “The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs is further implicated in the September 11th terrorist attacks by virtue of the relationship between the 9/11 plot’s “Hamburg cell” and the head of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs office in the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Berlin, Germany, Muhammad Jaber Hassan Fahiki. The “Hamburg cell” consisted of key operatives in the September 11th attacks, including Mohammed Atta (the ringleader of the 19 hijackers who piloted American Airlines Flight 11), Marwan al Shehhi (piloted United Airlines Flight 175), Ziad Jarrah (piloted United Airlines Flight 93), Ramzi Binalshibh, Mounir el Motassadeq, Said Bahaji, Zakariya Essabar, Abdelghani Mzoudi, and others.”

Congress should override Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.

9/11 family members deserve the opportunity to present their case in federal court. Yet every American needs to know if and when Saudi Arabia replaced Iran as the number one state sponsor of terrorism.

CIA saved lives; Senate’s partisan enhanced interrogations report endangers Americans

It was infuriating watching outgoing Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein on the Senate floor Tuesday vividly describe, “the sound of bodies striking canopies at ground level as innocents jumped to the ground below from the World Trade Center,” and within seconds state, “In 1990, the United States Senate ratified the Conventions Against Torture.”

There was no mention by Senator Feinstein that CIA Directors under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama are all on the record stating enhanced interrogations worked.

During all her years on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Feinstein never introduced legislation to ban enhanced interrogation techniques. Her report made no recommendations which is the main oversight function of the Intelligence Committee.

Successive DOJ investigations by the Bush and Obama administrations brought no charges related to the use of OLC-approved EITs. Does any rational person truly believe Attorney General Eric Holder would not have prosecuted CIA officers and contractors had he found evidence of torture?

We are still at war; Americans are getting their heads cut off by terrorists driven by the same ideology that drove 19 hijackers to slaughter 3,000 men, women, and children on 9/11.

As The Washington Free Beacon illustrates, the Islamic State immediately began using Senator Feinstein’s 5 1/2-year, American taxpayers funded handiwork to incite further atrocities and recruit to their bloody and vile jihad:

This tweet from Abu Bakr #Caliph (undoubtedly a reference to IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi) urges outraged Muslims to curb-stomp their offenders: “From now on when someone accuses your Muslim brother of terrrorism, stick the #torture_report on the heel of your shoe and shove it in his mouth.”

The Twitter user Mus’ab al-Iraqi justified torture of Americans: “The #torture_report says that torture was necessary to prevent possible attacks, I hope for reciprocity and we say that torture was necessary to prevent American attacks.”

If you only read the opening letter in rebuttal to the Senate “study” by the current Director of Central Intelligence John Brennan, you will begin to know the CIA’s detention and interrogation program worked. And make no mistake about Mr. Brennan’s politics; he served as President Obama’s chief counterterrorism advisor from day one of this administration before being appointed as the DCI:

“Notwithstanding the above areas of agreement, there are several areas of disagreement as well. In particular, the Agency disagrees with the Study’s unqualified assertions that the overall detention and interrogation program did not produce unique intelligence that led terrorist plots to be disrupted, terrorists to be captured, or lives to be saved. The Study’s claims on this score are inconsistent with the factual record, and we provide detailed comments in TAB C on where and why the Study’s assertions and representations are wrong.”

In part, DCI Brennan added: “I have carefully reviewed and concur with the Agency’s comments…”

The CIA’s TAB C rebuttal ‘Information on the Courier that Led to the UBL Operation‘ and all 20 of it’s detailed debunkings are stark evidence that Senator Feinstein’s “study” is a $40 million dollar pack of deliberate distortions.

9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America stands with those who did what was necessary to prevent further attacks. We know that the CIA saved lives.

We are saddened by the political partisanship that divides, and fear for our homeland and those that serve it abroad in harm’s way. More bitter days may lie ahead; America can and must rise together as a Nation once again.

Post updated at 11:16 a.m. December 11, 2014. The spelling of Dianne Feinstein’s first name was corrected.

Senate should oppose D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Caitlin Halligan


In 2009, current D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Caitlin Halligan donated her legal services pro bono and co-authored amicus brief which argued that the 2001 AUMF did not authorize indefinite military detention of captured unlawful enemy combatants.

The Honorable Senator Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
Washington, D.C.
March 4, 2013

Dear Senator McConnell,

We are writing today to express our strong opposition to the appointment of Caitlin J. Halligan to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. We do so because we have seen, first hand, how judicial activism can thwart efforts by the executive and legislative branches of government to protect this nation in matters of national security. We have observed judges on the D.C. Circuit inexplicably dismiss compelling evidence in Guantanamo detainee habeas cases and order the detainees released, only to have those same cases overruled at the appellate level. As the threat of terrorism by groups and individuals inside the U.S. homeland continues to rise, it is essential that the American people continue to be protected through laws crafted and enacted by their sworn representatives, not by unelected judges who serve lifetime terms, accountable to no one.

The D.C. Circuit Appellate bench has jurisdiction over military commission appeals. Ms. Halligan has a public record dismissing military commission as inferior courts. Indeed, the New York City Bar Association Committee on Federal Courts, on which she served, published a report which she signed, describing military commissions as outside the “rule of law.” As you well know, the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commissions Act were nothing less than the result of a vigorous, hard-won bi-partisan effort to create a fair, reasonable, and effective legal framework within the confines of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that dealt with an unconventional, asymmetrical existential threat to this nation. Despite the fact that the MCA and indefinite detention was upheld by the United States Supreme Court, Ms. Halligan, working pro bono, submitted an amicus curiae brief in the 2009 case of Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri v. Spagone, arguing that the AUMF did not authorize the seizure and indefinite military detention, without criminal trial, of a resident alien who allegedly conspired with Al-Qaeda to execute terror attacks on the United States.

We regret that the Constitutionally-required process of Advice and Consent has become politicized, and that activist nominees to the bench try to thwart exposure of their legal philosophy through ambiguous or incomplete testimony. But Ms. Halligan has taken this to a whole new level. She has attempted to remake herself entirely. We believe that she has affirmatively misrepresented herself to the Judiciary Committee, thus lowering the bar on candor and honesty even further. If the Senate votes to affirm her nomination, in our view, it will be complicit in this deception. Worse, the American people, who count on our representatives to act on our behalf, will be even more discouraged. We are tired of political expediency in matters that affect our lives, and the lives of our children and grandchildren. When judges take these matters away from the people, where do we then go?

We urge you and your fellow senators not to allow President Obama to wear you down. As you have before, we urge you to vote “no” against cloture in the nomination of Caitlin Halligan.

Respectfully submitted,

Debra Burlingame
Tim Sumner
Co-founders, 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America

Related reading:

File – Caitlin Joan Halligan, Nominee, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, January 19, 2011 (document file)

THE INDEFINITE DETENTION OF “ENEMY COMBATANTS”: BALANCING DUE PROCESS AND NATIONAL SECURITY IN THE CONTEXT OF THE WAR ON TERROR The Association of the Bar of the City of New York Committee on Federal Courts February 6, 2004 (pdf)