Obama to Veto 9/11 Lawsuit Bill

Says US Is At Risk to Lawsuits as Anyone

White House officials continue to insist that President Obama intends to veto the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which unanimously passed in both the House and Senate, claiming that the weakening of the principle of sovereign immunity is a danger to the US.

JASTA is designed to allow victims of 9/11 to sue Saudi Arabia over the attack, based on Saudi government involvement in the scheme, as detailed by the 9/11 Report’s 28 pages. Saudi Arabia has threatened to collapse the US Treasury market in retaliation.

While the Saudi threats are believed to play a significant behind the scenes role in the White House veto threat, today they insisted that the chief concern was that the weakening of sovereign immunity is as much a risk to the US as anyone “given the way the United States is engaged in the world.”

Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine that insists governments cannot commit any legal wrongs, and are thus immune from civil lawsuits. The US largely supports this, except for a few hand-picked exceptions, like allowing 9/11 victims to sue Iran, even though Iran had nothing to do with the attack.

The Obama Administration argument boils down to the idea that the US commits so many atrocities abroad itself that opening this Pandora’s box could really open the US government up to similar suits from its assorted victims. In that regard, they’re probably not wrong, though the US has tended to pick and choose with sovereign immunity, protecting its allies from lawsuits while setting up suits against international rivals.

The White House also faces the very serious possibility of a veto override, which would be the first in Obama’s presidency, since both the House and Senate unanimously passed the bill, and many are likely to continue to do so even in the face of presidential opposition.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • John McCarthy

    The 911 Commission Report is full of errors and invalid conclusions plus ignoring irrefutable evidence focusing on the consumption of 90% of the missing concrete and steel from the WTC Complex. Continuance of such criminal ignorance allows mass murderers to walk among us with immunity. Does America deserve this political coverup?

    • tom

      “Crimnnal ignorance”? I don’t think so! It is WILLFUL obstruction of justice!

  • Way to end a presidency Obama. Why not just take a hot steamy piss on the 9/11 memorial while your at it.

    • masmanz

      This bill will just help greedy lawyers make money at the expense of US economy. Obama’s veto will be appreciated by all sane people.

      • The Saudi’s funded and supported the slaughter of thousands of innocent Americans. I don’t think justice is to much to ask for. Go to New York. Talk to the families who remain shattered by that attack and then tell me how f**king “sane” Obama’s veto is. They deserve justice. We all do.

        • masmanz

          Even Bush knew Saudis had nothing to do with it. They invented crazy conspiracy theories to insinuate Saudi’s involvement.

  • O rly

    a veto is actually the best possible option

    because overriding a veto will require a roll call instead of the voice vote done to pass the bill

    unanimous does not mean lots of people abstained.

    and finaly dont forget this is not a bill aimed at saudi arabia, but its a blanket change in the law that allows one to sue any state or organization,

    for instance, rachel corrie

    this should overturn the decisions of the ninth circuit court of appeals ruling that the united states does not have jurisdiction.
    but i have no education in law.

  • Chris Randolph

    This story has been driving me nuts, among other reasons because just last year the US allowed citizens to sue Iran for 9/11, and they won.


    Of course it makes no sense that Iran would work with a radical Sunni terror group, sure. But how do we come to a point that the press serially fails to note this in either questioning the Obama Administration or mentioning this pertinent fact in any story about the issue, ever? The supposed rationale for opposing allowing suit isn’t to protect Saudi but to shield the US government from (badly needed) lawsuits from citizens of other countries.

    With the Iran verdict… late to close the barn doors, no?

  • Bastiat

    Obama is in the pocket of the Saudi regime just like Bush was. Obama is nothing more than Bush with a tan.

    • Hank

      Funny how many Americans still treat 911 unlike the fairy take it is! While Americans are observing a day in remembrance of the people lost on 911, “their” government is busy doing 911’s all over the globe, just like it did with Israel on 911 in New York City! 911 is like a grownup’s Santa Claus belief!

  • john g

    It’s a distraction.

  • curmudgeonvt

    “…“given the way the United States is engaged in the world.””

    I’m actually surprised that the WH toadie actually said this – validating the fear that they understand that “what goes ’round, comes ’round.” The US, led by the kind of mental midget morons (no intended slight to midgets or morons, btw) has flagrantly thumbed their collective noses at the rest of the world for a very long time. They knew it eventually would come back to bite them on the arse. They just didn’t figure, of course, that it would happen in their lifetimes. Sometimes, in error, they actually let a little of the truth slip out.

    And in regards to allowing the 9/11 suit against the Iranians go though, no one should be surprised the media at the presser didn’t/couldn’t put the pieces together. That would require an independent, cognitive mind.

  • jeff_davis

    We shall see what we shall see.

    I can only hope that this action by Obama will the blunder that stains his legacy forever. Call it the “Oblunder”. Surely the Republican-dominated Congress will override this veto. The long-concealed 28 Pages now revealed, show that the world’s leading State sponsor of terrorism is in fact Saudi Arabia and they were the enablers, directly or indirectly, of the 911 attacks. Suppressed for over a decade, the 28 pages now reveal not only the Saudi role, but also the corruption of the American government, the Bush/Cheney, MIC venal treachery, the capture of the American Nation by the ruling class, a the corruption of a variety of special interests and American institutions.

    The truth of the Saudi origins of both the 9/11 attacks and worldwide Wahhabi terrorism, stand now in clear view of the American people. Obama must be insane to imagine that this will be “missed” by the American people. It’s too glaring, no matter the blind eye turned to these facts by the fawning MSM.

    My guess is, that this is Obama’s signal to the establishment that he is one of them, that he will do the necessary damage control. It’s his ***REAL*** job after all. Obama knows he has to carry this off if he is to earn that plush post-presidential position in the old-boys club and his imprimatur as an elder Statesman in the Kool-Aid history books.

    Personally, I hope he is more appropriately rewarded for his failed presidency. History should stamp him with the weakness and cow for his failure to remove the Bush/Cheny neoconservative appointees from their positions in the foreign policy establishment, and for his appointment of the monster Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State with the eternal scorn of History.

  • Bill Rood

    Glad Jason mentioned the hypocrisy — and prior precedent — of allowing 9-11 victims to sue Iran, which had nothing to do with that atrocity. Let’s see now whether Congress will put its money where its mouth is and override.