President Barack Obama today opposed the Congressional legislation bill that would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia, arguing that this would expose the US to similar lawsuits in other countries, hours after White House threatened to veto the proposal.
“I’m opposed...this is not just a bilateral US-Saudi issue. This is a matter of how generally the United States approaches our interactions with other countries,” Obama told CBS News.
“If we open up the possibility that individuals in the United States can routinely start suing other governments, then we are also opening up the United States to being continually sued by individuals in other countries,” he said.
Authored by Senators John Cornyn and Charles Schumer, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act would allow victims of the September 11, 2001, massacre and other attacks to sue nations supporting terrorism.
Obama said the 28-unreleased pages of the 9/11 report would be released soon. “Hopefully that this process will come to a head fairly soon,” he said.
“I have a sense of what’s in there, but this has been a process which we generally deal with through the intelligence community and Jim Clapper, our director of national intelligence, has been going through to make sure that whatever it is that is released is not going to compromise some major national security interest in the United States,” Obama said.
“There are just reams of intelligence that are coming through constantly. Some of them are raw and not tested. Some of that may be in the 28 pages. I don’t know. But the point is that it’s important for there to be an orderly process where we evaluate this because what can end up happening is if you just dump a whole bunch of stuff out there that nobody knows exactly how credible it is, was it verified or not, they could end up creating problems,” the President emphasised.
Earlier, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that, “It’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which the President would sign the bill as it’s currently drafted.”
“Our concerns about this law are not related to its impact on our relationship with one particular country. In fact, our concern is about an important principle of international law, the whole notion of sovereign immunity is at stake,” he said.