But the family members of 9/11 victims are still pursuing accountability from another country — Saudi Arabia — as well as seeking more information hidden by the US government in US courts.
Suspicion of Saudi Arabia has persisted, however, and the dogged efforts of 9/11 families over the past two decades have forced the US, bit by bit, to share early leads that tied the hijackers to Saudi officials but were shrouded in secrecy and hidden from public view as classified information.
Persistence has yielded results. More details on those investigations could be forthcoming as a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia proceeds in court.
A military commission case proceed at Guantanamo. Separate from the 9/11 families lawsuit, there has been movement this week in military commissions at Guantanamo Bay for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others accused of having a hand in the attacks.
Justice takes a very long time. That both the 9/11 lawsuit and the military commission are still ongoing 20 years after the attacks is proof of the difficulty of achieving justice and accountability for a terror plot that not only brought down skyscrapers in Manhattan, left a gaping hole in the Pentagon and brought down four jetliners but also changed the way Americans live and travel.
The only part of the report kept secret, the 28 pages were kept classified for years until they were released, under public pressure, during the Obama administration.
They included the stunning revelation that the phone number of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who was then Saudi ambassador to the US, was in the phone book of Abu Zubaydah, who is currently held at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay and was an associate of bin Laden.
In addition to Bandar’s number, Zubaydah had the unlisted number of a guard who worked at the Saudi Embassy in the US. The 28 pages also described Bandar’s financial support for a man, Osama Bassnan, who had been in contact with two of the hijackers.
US presidents have sought to shield Saudi Arabia from US lawsuits, citing the need for national security and to protect Americans from retaliatory lawsuits.
The Trump administration fought against the release of al-Jarrah’s name, for instance.
Obama vetoed a congressional effort to authorize 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia in federal court.
It was the only time during his presidency that Congress overrode an Obama veto.
“The concern that I’ve had has nothing to do with Saudi Arabia, per se, or my sympathy for 9/11 families. It has to do with me not wanting a situation in which we’re suddenly exposed to liabilities for all the work we’re doing around the world.”