Can Obama Save Saudi Arabia from 9/11 Suits?
Today U.S. Senate passed landmark legislation that allows the families of Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia’s government for damages, setting up a potential showdown with Obama.
The Bill called the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” or JASTA, passed the Senate by unanimous voice vote.
JASTA would remove the sovereign immunity, preventing lawsuits against governments, for countries found to be involved in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. It would allow survivors of the attacks, and relatives of those killed in the attacks, to seek damages from other countries.
Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat and a JASTA co-sponsor, said the bill is overdue.
“Today the Senate has spoken loudly and unanimously that the families of victims of terrorist attacks should be able to hold the perpetrators, even if it’s a country, a nation, accountable,” Schumer told a news conference.
Republican Senator John Cornyn, also a sponsor of the bill, said JASTA does not target the Saudis, although he alluded to a still-classified section of a report on the Sept. 11 attacks that Saudi critics say might implicate Riyadh.
“We have yet to see the 28 pages that have not been yet released about the 9/11 report, and that may well be instructive,” Cornyn said at the news conference.
Other lawmakers who have seen the 28 pages have said releasing them would quiet such rumors.
Obama has threatened to Veto the legislation.
Saudi Arabia deny responsibility for the 2001 attacks, have strongly objected to the bill.
Saudi Arabia has threatened to sell up to $750 billion in U.S. securities and other American assets in retaliation if it became law.
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