The US House of Representative makes its first move to authorize lawsuits against countries supporting terrorism on the US soil, a measure whose immediate victim is said to be the Saudi royal family.
During a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, Democratic and Republican lawmakers blasted Riyadh for its possible role in September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to the Hill.
“If a foreign country — any country — can be shown to have significantly supported a terrorist attack on the United States, the victims and their families ought to be able to sue that foreign country, no matter who it is,” said Representative Ted Poe (R-Texas), the head of the subcommittee on Terrorism and a co-sponsor of the bill. “Like any other issue, we should let a jury decide that issue and the damages, if any.”
Some Family members of the 9/11 victims were also present at the hearing.
A deeper look
Representative Brad Sherman, a Democrat from California, went further to portray the Saudi role on promoting terrorism from a broader perspective.
Sherman (pictured below) slashed the monarchy for “violence and murder against those whom they disagree with,” in the name of Islam.
“It is time for Saudi Arabia to come clean,” Sherman said. “They can’t say they don’t support terrorism; all they do is fund hundreds of millions of dollars a year for those who plant the seeds of terrorism around the world.”
The hearing came after the Republican-controlled Senate unanimously voted for the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which would allow any victim or surviving family members of a terrorist attack on the US soil to take legal action against the foreign nation-states behind the measure, if passed by the House.
US President Barack Obama has already said he would veto the measure over security concerns.
Representative Darrell Issa, a Republican from California, also voiced concerns over the possible repercussion of opening the can of worms, particularly because the US is already busy interfering in other countries’ businesses around the globe.
“If we look at it and allow discovery — the poking-around of a typical trial lawyer’s look-see — then the rest of the world will likely respond,” Issa said.
The bipartisan measure does not recognize the White House’s concern that it may undermine the US national Security.
The Saudis’ role in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which left nearly 3,000 people dead, has recently been highlighted in the backdrop of partisan rows in the US political system.
Riyadh also fears possible release of 28 pages of a congressional report, kept secret so far, that implicates their government in the attacks.