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NEWS

Unfinished Business

Bill Doyle is on a mission to prove that Saudi Arabia bankrolled the 9/11 attacks

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On May 2, 2011, a United States Navy SEAL shot and killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, ending a manhunt that had lasted nearly a decade.

Three days later, President Barack Obama flew to New York City to commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, which were orchestrated by bin Laden. After laying a wreath at the former site of the World Trade Center complex, the president entered the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site to meet with 60 of the victims’ families over lunch. The president spoke briefly at a podium with a faulty microphone, then made his way through the hall to talk with those in attendance.

Eventually, Obama reached a heavy-set man with a combover. The 64-year-old, deeply tanned from half a decade of faithful attendance at the golf course, was Bill Doyle, a retired stock trader who lives in The Villages, a Central Florida retirement community. Doyle’s youngest son Joey died on 9/11, after being trapped in the smoldering North Tower.

Doyle congratulated the president on the kill: “You got the mission accomplished,” he said, only half-jokingly. Then, with the sort of bluntness typical of a native New Yorker, he admonished the president: “You said that you were going to let those 28 pages be known,” he said. “I’m waiting for them.”

The pages Doyle refers to are part of a heavily redacted portion of a report published in December 2002 by the bipartisan congressional inquiry that investigated the 9/11 attacks. Leaks to the press following the report’s publication established that the subject of those pages was the nation of Saudi Arabia, America’s oldest ally in the Middle East and its second-largest source of oil. Though the 9/11 Commission (which picked up its investigation where the Joint Inquiry left off) later cleared Saudi government officials of alleged links to al-Qaida in a 2004 report, the Joint Inquiry’s findings on the Saudi connection remain redacted to this day, and to many interested parties, including Doyle, this suggests that they may contain key information about who was truly behind the 9/11 attacks.

Since the summer of 2002, Doyle and a group called 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism have been pressing to shut down the alleged financiers of al-Qaida through a trillion-dollar lawsuit filed by one of the rock stars of the trial attorney world, Ron Motley. Many of the original defendants in the case are from Saudi Arabia, including three prominent princes who held important positions within the Saudi government. The case is awaiting a trial date.

In their efforts to bring these Saudi officials and businessmen to trial, however, Doyle and his allies have encountered a formidable foe: the U.S. government, which has urged the courts to drop the charges against the case’s most powerful defendants and has yet to give up the 28 pages that Doyle wants to see. So when Doyle had his chance to talk to President Obama, the conversation ended on a cautionary, rather than a congratulatory, note. “I’m going to stay on you on this,” Doyle said. “I promise you, I will.”

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