In the same month that the country commemorated the 15th anniversary of the terror attack, the legislature will force through a bill allowing families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudia Arabia for any involvement in the plot.
Senators voted overwhelming to override the veto, 97 to 1, with Minority Leader Harry Reid the only senator voting against.
It is almost guaranteed that the House’s veto override will also be successful, given the bipartisan nature of the initiative. “This is a decision I do not take lightly” Senator Chuck Schumer said, “because it would allow the victims of 9/11 to pursue some small measure of justice, finally giving them a legal avenue to pursue foreign sponsors of the terrorist attack that took from them the lives of their loved ones.”
The legislation will amend a law from 1976 granting countries broad immunity from American lawsuits, the exception being those listed by the State Department as state sponsors of terrorism. Though Saudi Arabia is not on the list, it is widely believed to be a source of funding for terrorism worldwide, even as its government is considered an American ally in the fight against terror.
A New York Times editorial from today highlights the risk such a bill would cause to American diplomacy, with the European Union already warning that “if the bill becomes law, other countries could adopt similar legislation” and sue the U.S. government in turn. A valid concern given the fact that the U.S. has military bases, drone operations, intelligence missions, and training programs all over the world.