From [CourthouseNews] Nearly two decades after the deadly Sept. 11 attacks, a lawyers’ group claims the federal government did not properly assess evidence known to the FBI but left out of the 9/11 Review Commission findings, including reports of pre-placed explosives at the World Trade Center.
The Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry and Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth filed a complaint Monday against U.S. Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray, claiming the FBI failed in its federally mandated duty to assess all the evidence available that previous 9/11 commissions may have missed.
“The FBI’s 9/11 Review Commission, and the FBI itself, failed to assess and report to Congress, as mandated, several other categories of significant 9/11 related evidence known to the FBI via reports in the press, via the web, and via public events and/or reflected in the FBI’s own records,” according to the lawsuit filed in Washington, D.C., federal court by lead attorney Mick Harrison.
Although the 9/11 Review Commission’s 2015 report details several avenues of evidence explored in its investigation, the plaintiffs argue that investigators failed to address a few key points of evidence, including potential explosives placed before the attacks, individuals seen celebrating the attacks nearby, certain surveillance videos and phone calls, and alternative Saudi Arabian funding sources for the attackers.
Regarding the pre-placed explosives, the lawsuit claims that testimony from over 100 first responders describes “sights or sounds of explosions on 9/11 which due to the circumstances and timing and specific details observed and reported could not be explained by plane impacts or resultant office fires.”
These allegedly included “‘bombs,’ ‘explosions’ at the lowest level and the highest level of the buildings before the collapses, flames being blown out, a ‘synchronized deliberate’ kind of collapse, like a ‘professional demolition,’ ‘pop, pop, pop, pop, pop’ sounds before the collapses.”
Following a 2014 mandate from Congress, the FBI appointed former Attorney General Edwin Meese, former congressman and ambassador Tim Roemer, and Georgetown counterterrorism expert Bruce Hoffman to head the 9/11 Review Commission.
The commission’s tasks, under executive director and former CIA Deputy Director John Gannon, involved reviewing the FBI’s preparedness for modern, global threats as well as analyzing the bureau’s “analysis of institutional lessons learned and practical takeaways” from other high-profile counterterrorism cases.
It was also tasked with reviewing any evidence from the Sept. 11 attacks that was may have been known by the FBI but not considered during the first 9/11 Commission in 2002.
The complaint asks a federal judge to compel the government to finish carrying out its mandate by “undertaking a new thorough external independent assessment of any evidence known to the FBI that was not considered by the 9/11 Commission related to any factors that contributed in any manner to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.”
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Harrison, told Courthouse News that he is “cautiously optimistic” they’ll see the injunction they’re looking for. He said the complaint isn’t about any one particular theory regarding the attacks, but simply “to force the FBI to do its job” and present all the available evidence to Congress as required by its original mandate.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond Tuesday morning to a request for comment.