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'Not Giving Up' 20 Years Later, Families of Maryland 9/11 Victims Still Demanding Answers About Who Funded Terror Attacks

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- For two decades, some Maryland families who lost loved ones on 9/11 have been fighting for answers. They want access to currently secret U.S. government documents that they believe will provide a link between the hijackers and the Saudi Arabian government, which they allege provided financial and other support to carry out the attacks.

"They are very concerned there has not been a full airing of the facts," Towson-based attorney Keith Franz told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren.

Franz represents 14 families. Most of them are from Maryland, and many of their loved ones died in the attack on the Pentagon. They are suing the Saudi government for damages, claiming the Saudis helped finance and support the Al Qaeda terror plot.

"They want to know how it was possible for these 19 hijackers—15 were Saudi nationals—how was it they were allowed to integrate into American life? How did they get their logistical support to carry out deeds on September 11th?" Franz said.

In the weeks leading up to 9/11, some of the hijackers were secretly training in central Maryland for the terror attack.

"Yes, in Laurel for an extended period of time. They improved logistics and reconnaissance during that period," Franz said.

The families got a break when the Biden Administration, fulfilling a campaign promise, ordered the review and possible release of classified FBI documents.

"We're going to be able to fill in the blanks with this previously state-secret, privileged information," Franz said. He noted some of the documents could be released as early as the 9/11 20th anniversary this weekend.

The Saudi government said in a statement to CBS News that they "had nothing to do with this terrible crime" and they support the "full declassification of any documents."

The 9/11 Commission also found no direct link between the Saudi government and the attacks.

But Franz and his clients are undeterred.

"These families aren't going to give up," he said.  "Under U.S. law, those who support terrorists, financial or otherwise, are culpable for the crimes themselves."

Franz told WJZ his clients could receive settlements of $25 million to $35 million each through the U.S. Victim of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund if a link can be proven. But he said this is not about money.

"Accountability has always been the watchword. It is necessary the American public knows exactly what were the connections— how were the Saudis implicated. This is not just for the benefit of the 9/11 families. It's for the benefit of all United States citizens, and it should help shape our foreign diplomacy as well."

In response to the president's decision to declassify some of the documents, the FBI said in a statement to CBS News that it will "continue to work in coordination with the Department of Justice and other agencies to declassify and release documents related to the 9/11 investigation."

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