A bill that would have allowed the families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia over the terror attack was vetoed Friday by President Obama.
The “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” had received strong support in the House and Senate from both Democrats and Republicans, and congress has pledged to try to override his veto next week. The bill needs two-thirds of the vote in both the House and the Senate in order to override the veto, and if accomplished, it would be a first in the Obama presidency, reported the Daily Mail.
In defense of the bill, NY Republican Peter King said foreign governments “cannot look the other way if terrorist activities are being plotted or launched from inside their borders.”
Almost 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks, and 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens. However, the Saudi government has denied any link to the terrorists. Many families of the 9/11 victims have pushed hard for the bill to go through, based on several details that point to a strong possibility that some of the terrorists may indeed have been receiving support and assistance from officials within the Saudi government.
CNN reported found evidence in August of a link between an al Qaeda official and a company connected to a member of the Saudi royal family, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi Ambassador to the U.S.
One prisoner being held at Guantanamo Bay, bomb-maker Ghassan Al-Sharbi, has stated that he believed a member of the Saudi royal family was involved with trying to recruit him. Reportedly, Al Sharbi learned how to fly with the 9/11 hijackers, but he was not part of the attacks. Interestingly, when he was arrested in 2002, his flight certificate was found in an envelope, sent from the Saudi embassy in Washington.
Obama said the reason he vetoed the bill is because if approved, it could allow other countries to sue the U.S. government as well. He said “the bill would be detrimental to US national interests by chipping away at the concept of sovereign immunity,” and that it could open up American diplomats and servicemen to lawsuits from foreign governments.
Just this week, the Senate approved a $1.15 billion sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia.
According to Daily Mail:
Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband died in 9/11, told the New York Times: ‘It is reprehensible that one man is standing between justice for the murder of 3,000 people and this legislation becoming law.
‘The president and the Congress should be listening to American citizens, not a bunch of lobbyists who represent a foreign nation,’ she said, in a reference to the powerful figures the Saudi government has turned to for support.
Both presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump said they would have signed the bill if they were in office.
The Clinton Foundation disclosed in 2008 that it had accepted up to $25 million from the Saudi Kingdom that year.
In June it was reported that the Saudi deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman had stated that Saudi Arabia had provided with “full enthusiasm” 20% of the total funding for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
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