Published: Wed, September 28, 2016
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Obama vetoes bill to let 9/11 families sue Saudi Arabia

Obama vetoes bill to let 9/11 families sue Saudi Arabia

Using his veto power the US President Barack Obama on September 23 vetoed legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia over its alleged ties with the terrorists who carried out the September 11/2001 attacks in the US.

The Obama administration has argued to Congress that the legislation would set an worldwide precedent that risks exposing the US government and American soldiers to lawsuits or other legal action by foreign governments.

Speaking to the press on Friday, hours after Obama vetoed the bill, White House spokesman Josh Earnest pointed out that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad had accused the United States of supporting terrorist activities in his country just days earlier. They say the measure is narrowly tailored and applies only to acts of terrorism occurring on US soil.

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) bill, passed by both the chambers of the Republican controlled Congress, would have jeopardized the long standing global principles regarding sovereignty and would have made adverse impact with usa interests and nationals overseas, Obama said yesterday. President Obama said he had "deep sympathy" and a "deep appreciation" for the families of the victims, adding his administration was committed to "pursue relentlessly" the "terrorist group" behind the attacks, Al-Qaeda.

The move though has not gone down well with many congressional leaders, who now plan to override President's veto in the coming days.


"This veto denies Americans the opportunity to hold those evil extremists accountable through the very system of justice that they tried - and failed - to strike down", Blumenthal said.

President Obama said he felt "deep sympathy" for the families but that the law would be "detrimental to United States national interests".

According to the White House, the legislation could expose USA diplomats and servicemen to litigation in other countries.

The legislation unanimously passed on September 9 by both houses of Congress would allow the families to sue the Saudi Arabian government in a U.S. federal court.

Even so, the separate 9/11 commission, chaired by former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, concluded, "Saudi Arabia has always been considered the primary source of al Qaeda funding, but we have found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization". He has vetoed nine bills during his eight years in office, but has never been overridden.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is at odds with Mr Obama over the legislation, saying through a spokesman she would sign the Bill if she were president.

Even so, some lawmakers are having second thoughts about the legislation, which was passed by voice votes in both chambers over vigorous objections by the Saudi government. Hillary Clinton, who represented NY in the U.S. Senate on 9/11, "would sign this legislation if it came to her desk", spokesman Jesse Lehrich told CNN. Because of the unanimous nature of support for the bill, it is possible that the president's veto might be overridden. "She would sign this legislation if it came to her desk".

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