There's an interesting federal lawsuit that's been filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan by family members of the victims of 9/11.
It alleges that Iran had foreknowledge of the attacks, materially assisted al-Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers and was complicit in the attacks.
This is by no means new material. Even the 9/11 commission said in its report that there was "strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of Al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers." There's more than just strong evidence that Iran allowed members of al-Qaeda into Iran after we invaded their stronghold in Afghanistan, which is how so many of them got to Iraq so easily via Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran.
The 9/11 commission urged further investigation at the time, but neither the Bush Administration or the Obama Administration has seen fit to follow up.
Representing eight law firms from across the United States, the attorneys and their team of investigators have turned up some convincing evidence, including the testimony of two defectors from the Islamic regime's intelligence service as well as from members of the 9/11 commission and US intelligence agents and terrorism experts
The attorneys in the case claim to have taken sworn testimony former Iranian intelligence operatives describing the direct participation of top government officials of Iran in the planning of, and preparation for, the 9/11 attacks. These witnesses also describe the roles of top Iranian officials in assisting al Qaeda leadership and operatives to escape from Afghanistan after the U.S.-led invasion in the wake of 9/11.Iran then provided safe haven and support for these al Qaeda members inside Iran.
"There is an I-Spy aspect to all this," Dennis Pantazis, a partner at Wiggins Childs said. "But the information the defectors provided is direct and their documentation is direct."
"The big picture in a case like this is knowledge," he said. "We can't change history and we can't prosecute anyone, all we can do with a civil suit is reveal truth and knowledge."
According to the filing, Iran facilitated travel for the al-Qaeda members by directing border guards not to impede their ingress into Iran or to stamp their passports. If that's true ( and it likely is) Iran had foreknowledge of the attacks. And given that Iran has been in a state of war with America since 1979, it would hardly be out of character.
Another piece of the puzzle is our old friend, the late and unlamented Imad Mugniyeh.
Mugniyeh was one of the superstars of jihad. He was a Lebanese Shi'ite who started his career as a member of Yasser Arafat's Force 17 back when the PLO was trying to put together its own little reichlet there, and later became a founding member of Hezbollah.
He masterminded the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut that killed 63 people and the truck-bomb attacks in Beirut that took the lives of 242 U.S. Marines and 58 French troops and personally tortured to death CIA agent William Buckley, recording the proceeds on video and sending it to the CIA HQ in Langley. He also made the FBI's most wanted list for ordering the murder of US Navy diver Robert Stethem during the June 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847.
Mugniyeh later joined al Qaeda as one of Osama bin-Laden's chiefs of operations while maintaining his connections with Hezbollah, the Palestinians and Iran, and was unique in that he was a trusted link between all the parties.
According to the lawsuit, Mugniyeh was the direct liaison between al-Qaeda and Iran,something that's entirely plausible given that he performed the same role in other operations like the Karina-A arms shipment the Israelis hijacked, which involved Iranian arms sent to Arafat via Hezbollah with a Palestinian crew.
There were already some tentative links to Mughniyeh by the 9/11 Commission, which cited evidence that "a senior Hezbollah operative visited Saudi Arabia to coordinate activities there" and that this senior Hezbollah operative and his associate were on the same flights as several of the future hijackers who were traveling to and from Iran between October 2000 and February 2001.
The lawsuit says it has what it describes as 'compelling evidence' in the testimony of the Iranian defectors that the senior Hezbollah operative described was Imad Mughniyeh.
Iran is not bothering to mount a defense and neither are the Iranian officials named in the suit. The plan will likely be to get a judgment and then pursue Iranian assets overseas in foreign courts that honor US judgments.
What other fall out happens from this will likely depend on how compelling a case the plaintiffs make. Establishing Iranian complicity in the 9/11 attacks will likely lead to a resurgence of the question some of us have been asking for a long time - exactly why did we go after Saddam Hussein and ignore the real threat in Iran?
As I told you a long time ago, it was about the Saudis.