03:40 GMT +312 November 2019
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    In this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo, the twin towers of the World Trade Center burn behind the Empire State Building in New York.

    Vowing Veto: Will Obama Concede to Saudi Blackmail on 9/11?

    © AP Photo / Marty Lederhandler
    Middle East
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    White House sides with Saudi Arabia over the families of 9/11 victims, despite mounting evidence that implicates the Saudi royal family with funding and directing the September 11, 2001, attacks.

    On Tuesday, President Obama took to the morning cable news circuit to reiterate his vow to veto legislation allowing victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack to sue Saudi Arabia, arguing that it would expose the United States to similar lawsuits.

    "If we open up the possibility that individuals and 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," Obama told Charlie Rose on "CBS This Morning."

    The objection rests on the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity, which bars individuals from suing governments and their leaders on the grounds that it would both risk impacting diplomatic relations between countries and that it would impair the ability of governments to carry out their functions.

    The 9/11 bill, advanced by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) would grant families of 9/11 victims the right to sue, in a United States court, the Saudi government and members of the Saudi royal family for funding and providing material support to al-Qaeda terrorists.

    The 9/11 bill gained momentum after former US Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) took to the Sunday news circuit on April 10, calling on President Obama to release 28 redacted pages of the 9/11 Commission Report that Graham, a member of the commission, alleged implicated members at the highest levels of the Saudi royal family in both funding and directing terrorist activities, including the September 11 atrocities.

    President Obama sounded noncommittal during the interview regarding the likelihood that the 28 missing pages of the 9/11 report would be released, despite White House officials reaching out to Graham on April 11, informing him that they planned to release the documents shortly.

    "I have a sense of what’s in there," Obama told Charlie Rose, referring to the contents of the redacted sections.

    "This has been a process which we generally reveal 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 of the United States. My understanding is that he’s about to complete that process."

    In recent days the White House has argued that releasing the documents, as well as advancing Schumer’s 9/11 bill, would impair US national security interests. These warnings and assessments came on the heels of April 15 threats by the Saudi government to divest over $750 billion in US Treasury assets that, according to some, would cascade the US into an immediate financial crisis. 


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