On Friday, the House passed a bill that would authorize families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia. The approval of this landmark bill comes days before the 15th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
The Senate passed the legislation unanimously and House leaders called it a “moral imperative” to allow victims’ families to seek justice for the deaths of loved ones as the country marks the 15th anniversary of the attacks.”
However, the bill still needs to be approved by President Barack Obama. Many expect the President to veto the bill because it could A.) harm the relationship with Saudi Arabia, and B.) set a legal precedent that would also allow victims of military action of the U.S. in foreign countries to sue the United States. With the regularity of American drones bombing overseas, it might invite a swarm of lawsuits against the United States and come back to bite the U.S. in the ass. The U.S. government says that the death toll of enemy combatants from January 20, 2009 to December 31, 2015 by U.S. drone airstrikes are 2,372 to 2,581. You would have to imagine that there was probably an innocent civilian or two accidentally killed in those attacks. Last year, a man in Yemen sued the U.S. for the “unlawful deaths” of his brother-in-law and his nephew. The U.S. never entertained the lawsuit, but the government of Yemen paid his family $155,000 in cash for compensation.
When asked about the Obama administration vetoing the legislation, House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “this bill passed overwhelmingly in the U.S. Senate so I think that those concerns have been taken under consideration and members are acting accordingly and that’s why this bill will pass.”
The reason the families of 9/11 victims want to sue the Saudi government is because it appears to be some sort of tie between the Gulf nation and the terrorists. There were 19 al-Qaeda-linked hijackers involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 15 of which were citizens of Saudi Arabia. Recently, 28 pages of a 9/11 investigation were unclassified and connect the hijackers of the deadly attack that killed 2,996 people to the Saudi government. The document raises suspicions about ties between the Saudi royal family and al Qaeda, but nothing has been verified.
Saudi Arabia has denied all accusations that they were involved in the multiple attacks. The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, has threatened that his country will sell off billions in American assets if the bill is passed. He said that Saudi Arabia was willing to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States if the bill is passed.