On Tuesday, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), reiterating White House concerns that a new law would expose the US government to foreign lawsuits, moved to block legislation that would allow family members of victims of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks to sue Saudi Arabia.
"I want to make sure that anything we do doesn’t come back to bite us," said Graham in a statement.
"Anything we can do in this bill can be used against us later, so let’s say there’s a situation where you’ve got an American in a consulate or an embassy that’s got their own grudge against a government," speculated Graham. "We want to make sure that we’re not liable for that."
The pushback comes after the Obama Administration vowed to veto legislation that would give the families of victims of the 9/11 attacks the right to sue the Saudi regime in a US court.
The issue gained steam on April 10, when former US Senator Bob Graham took to the Sunday television news circuit to demand that the Obama Administration release 28 redacted pages of the 9/11 commission report. Graham, who served on the 9/11 commission that developed the reports and has read the contents of the 28 pages, alleged that the missing pages implicate high-ranking members of the Saudi government in providing direction and support to the September 11 hijackers.
Last Wednesday, Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and John Cornyn (R-TX) advanced legislation based on the expected release of the 28 pages, that would allow the families of the 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi Arabian government and key officials within the House of Saud.
Last Friday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir warned that if the legislation was signed into law the Saudi Arabian government would immediately dump its $750 billion in US Treasury bonds, triggering what some suggest would be a financial crisis in the United States.
Many have called the Saudi Arabian kingdom’s threat blackmail, putting the interests of state sponsors of terrorism over the interests of American citizens. One such voice, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), denounced the Saudi threat, saying the "US cannot be blackmailed!"
Obama is joined by establishment Republican leaders, including Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Lindsey Graham, who have all sworn off the measure as contrary to US interests.