Legislators override President's veto, despite concerns over unintended consequences to foreign policy.
The United States Congress just voted to allow the families of victims of 9/11 and other terrorist attacks to sue sovereign nations for documents and other evidence that may show the subject nation supported or otherwise assisted the terrorists that perpetrated the attack.
The bill, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), amends a law from 1976 that granted broad immunity from American lawsuits to foreign countries, and was so overwhelming supported by the lawmakers that it even received enough votes in favor of the provision to override President Obama’s veto. In fact, in the Senate, only one senator voted to sustain the veto.
Of course, any measure that benefits the victims and families of such horrific tragedies must be in the best interest of all, it would seem. But in this case, that may not be the truth, and it is not likely to motivation behind the governing body’s enthusiasm.
Saudi Arabia, which is the one of the primary targets of those seeking to sue, has repeatedly denied any involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, despite the terrorists being Saudi nationals. The Saudis have opposed the legislation and have threatened to sell off billions in assets located in the US if such a measure was allowed to be enacted. Economists think that move would hurt the Saudi economy more than it would the American economy, but it could have some great impact, if followed through.
Of course, as the President has argued, the sword cuts both ways, and this could lead to foreign governments taking action against American interests around the globe. Director of the CIA, John O. Brennan, released a statement that said the risks of our own national security could be impacted by any legislation that affected sovereign immunity of other nations.