Obama Faces Humiliation After House Unanimously Passes Bill Allowing Sept 11 Lawsuits Against Saudi Arabia

Tyler Durden's picture

Two days before the 15 year anniversary of the September 11 attack, moments ago the House unanimously passed - to thunderous applause - legislation allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts,   The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously in May, now heads to President Obama’s desk. And that's where things get tricky for Obama.

The White House has fiercely opposed the bill, arguing it could both strain relations with Saudi Arabia and also lead to retaliatory legislation overseas against U.S. citizens. Obama has lobbied fiercely against the bill, and has hinted strongly it will veto the measure.

He is not alone: the Saudi government has likewise led a vocal campaign in Washington to kill the legislation. Those efforts have been fruitless in Congress, however. Meanwhile, the legislation saw broad support from both parties, and Congress could override an Obama veto for the first time if he rejects the legislation. Such an outcome would undoubtedly embarrass Obama and divide Democrats ahead of the 2016 elections and a crucial lame-duck session of Congress

For now, Obama is adamanat: "The Saudis will see this as a hostile act," said Dennis Ross, Obama’s former Middle East policy coordinator. "You’re bound to see the Obama administration do everything they can to sustain a veto."

How Obama will spin such a pro-Saudi, and anti-US decision, which may be overriden anyway, to the US population is unclear.

To an extent, Obama finds himself between a rock and a hard place. As we reported in April, Saudi officials threatened the enactment of the law could lead them to sell off the kingdom’s U.S. Treasury debt and other American assets, which the officials told lawmakers and U.S. officials totaled $750 billion, according to the New York Times. The Saudi government held $117 billion in U.S. Treasury debt in March, according to Treasury figures obtained by Bloomberg. The kingdom may have additional holdings not included in the data on deposit with the New York Federal Reserve Bank, in entities in third countries, or through positions in derivatives.

According to the Hill, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are unsure whether Obama will actually use his veto pen on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.  “I presume they would have to think very carefully about a veto because it might very well be overridden,” said Nadler.

To override the president, supporters would need a two-thirds majority in each chamber. “I think the votes will be there to override it,” said Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), who introduced the bill in the House.

As a result of potentially facing a lose-lose outcome, many on Capitol Hill do not believe that the veto is a done deal. The White House has not issued an official position on the bill and spokespeople have been careful with their language, stopping short of issuing a full veto threat. “We have serious concerns with the bill as written,” a White House official said Wednesday.

“We believe there needs to be more careful consideration of the potential unintended consequences of its enactment before the House considers the legislation,” the official said. “We would welcome opportunities to further engage with the Congress on that discussion.”

The president has 10 days to either sign or reject the legislation before it becomes law. 

Meanwhile, supporters of the legislation see it as a moral imperative.

“The victims of 9-11 and other terrorist attacks on US soil have suffered much pain and heartache, but they should not be denied justice,” Schumer said in a statement Wednesday. Under current U.S. law, victims may sue a country designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, like Iran. The bill would allow citizens to sue countries without that designation — like Saudi Arabia.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 hailed from Saudi Arabia. Critics have long suspected that the kingdom’s government may have either directly or indirectly supported the attacks.

Congress in July released 28 previously secret pages detailing suspicious Saudi ties to the 9/11 hijackers, which made it very clear - according to a closer read of the document - that Saudi officials did indeed help plan and organize the attacks, even as the White House downplayed their involvement. 

Saudi officials have for years denied that their government had any role in plotting the attacks and the Saudi government has led a quiet campaign in Washington to kill the legislation.

Despite its popularity in Congress, some prominent national security advisors have also pilloried the bill.

Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton and ex-Attorney General Michael Mukasey, both of whom served under President George W. Bush, this week warned that the legislation “is far more likely to harm the United States than bring justice against any sponsor of terrorism.”

* * *

The real question, however, is not so much what Obama - who could potentially be branded a traitor if he proceeds with a veto as suggested, against the wishes of every single member of Congress, and the US population - will do, but how the Saudis, some of the most generous donors of the Clinton Foundation, will respond if the law indeed passes. As a reminder, in an epic media blunder, in early June, the Saudi Crown Prince admitted that Saudi Arabia had funded 20% of Hillary's presidential campaign, and will surely demand a quid pro quo in exchange. What Saudi vengeance may look like, should the generous Clinton donor's will not be obeyed, will be something Hillary's campaign will surely be very interested in.

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Soul Glow's picture

Man the Bushes must be furious.  They love their Saudi Royals!

Looney's picture


Yes, but if both Chambers pass the bill by 2/3, let alone unanimously, doesn’t it override the Veto?


Overfed's picture

It kinda begs the question of why we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq rather than Saudi Arabia?

mototard's picture

Business before pleasure?   LOL

manofthenorth's picture

O-bombem's business is pleasure, self pleasure mostly.

How do you humiliate a guy who's favorite pastime is being Reggie's bitch ?

bamawatson's picture

you make him complete ANY task, alone, from-get-to-go, in publc

Vatican_cameo's picture


It would actually be a lot easier to sue the CIA, but when you can blame others for forwarding your own agenda, it's a good thing.

Harlequin001's picture

Maybe history will record that he is Americas' most treasonous bastard, ever...

and maybe the Nobel committee will finally strip this disgraceful cunt of his joke of a 'peace prize'...

Nobel would be turning in his grave if he knew what these wankers have done to his ideals...

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

This does present some interesting questions. Failing to block this, will Obama have to repay the House of Saud for the education they bought him? Will it now become dangerous for him to travel to Mecca on a hadj after he leaves the Oval Office? Will he refuse to sign the bill claiming it was interrupting his tee times? Will he have to marry off Malia to a Saudi prince to make amends? The answers are never easy for the first Muslim president.

Save_America1st's picture

“We believe there needs to be more careful consideration of the potential unintended consequences of its enactment before the House considers the legislation,” the official said. “We would welcome opportunities to further engage with the Congress on that discussion.”


But, but, but all you have to do is pass the bill before you read what's in it, right?  This fucking arguement didn't stop you treasonous fucking scumbags from passing O-Fuck-You-Care

Chupacabra-322's picture

As if the Petro Dollar didn't have enough problems.

conscious being's picture

Sue KSA? Better hurry up. They're going out of business.

Sue Israel? After all, they ran "security" at Logan Airport. No f'n way. All family member lawsuits against Israeli security at Logan were killed off by the same dual-citizen judge.

Bibi, say hello to the Dancing Israelis for me when you get a chance.

Verloren's picture

Well, Nobel was an arms manufacturer, so it is
actually fitting in a very perverse sense.

Colonel Klink's picture

hahaha I think everyone missed the sarcasm.

Obuttbuddy has been a humiliation to this nation for almost 8 fucking years.

Come January, GOOD.FUCKING.RIDDANCE!  Hope the guy dies in a tragic ball washing accident when he falls off.

Bush Baby's picture

Hmmmm .. what will the Muslim-in-Chief do?

FireBrander's picture

So the Saudi's take down the towers and we're "worried" they'll be upset if that FACT becomes so plain to see that even the average moron gets it?


"To truly stop terrorism, the US would need to strike at the very source of their arms, cash and political support. Since it is clear that this source resides in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia ), Amman(Jordan), Ankara(Turkey), Doha(Qatar) and even Washington itself(USA!,USA!,USA!), it is obvious why the scourge of terrorism appears “unstoppable.”"



roadhazard's picture

I was asking that in 03'.

813kml's picture

I still wonder how complicit the Saudis were in 911, why allow its citizens to be involved if they knew the true scope of the plan?  They had to know there could be eventual blowback, why not at least give them fake passports?  Is it possible that the indestructible passports were faked by Cheney and gang for eventual use as a trump card over the Saudis?

The timing of all this is fortuitous and smells like pretext for another military adventure.  But what if the Saudis let slip some inconvenient truths about who really planned and carried out 911?  I think the House of Saud is about to get a whole lot friendlier with Russia.

On the bright side, it only took Congress 15 years to recognize the obvious.

photonsoflight's picture

LOL. I don't think they can afford to be friends with Russia.

Can you say "burning lake of fire for the rest of eternity" ?

813kml's picture

Why not?  The US is obviously no longer a friend and Syria is a lost cause.  The Saudis can make nice with Russia by slowing down the pumps so the price of oil can stabilize.  Putin is a rational and practical man, he forgave Erdogan for shooting down his plane (even though it probably wasn't Erdogan's call) and aiding and abetting ISIS.

Politics makes strange bedfellows.

813kml's picture

I haven't been paying attention to recent events but it looks like the Saudis and Russians just started playing nice.  Putin would love to see the petrodollar collapse and the House of Saud is in survival mode now that the US has turned on them.

It has been a long time since I looked at any of the 9/11 stuff but on further refresh I don't think the Saudis had anything to do with it.  There is no convincing evidence that any of the hijackers boarded the planes and besides pilots are unnecessary when planes are flown via remote control.  Most of the dead hijackers were shown to be alive and well but at least Cheney was able to create a rainy day conspiracy that could be used against the Sauds and it looks like things are about to pour.

WillyGroper's picture

CTM interviewed Rebekah Roth Wed.

Could it be as she alluded...what we saw was a holographic image?

Aluminum wings would not have left us with the image of slicing thru that building like butter.

Clashfan's picture

Too much f'ing perspective.

brain_glitch's picture

I hope someone in the media will ask it hahaha

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

"Why did we invade Afghanistan?", you ask?

It was to stop the Taliban from having an East-West pipeline being built: Iran --> Afghanistan --> China. Which would have traded with CNY, not USD/Petrodollars. Duh!

Our guys (DOS, DOD) were pushing for a North-South line:
Turkmenistan --> Afghanistan --> Pakistan. Which would have traded in USD/Petrodollars, plus denied the Iranians and Chinese their East-West line.

So far, since 2002, the US (its Neocons, MIC, Big Oil and the Fed) have succeeded in stopping Iran and China -- even if they did not succeed in getting their own line built.

Moral: If in doubt, follow the OIL, GAS and PETRODOLLAR. All else are subsets of these. (Rhetorical: "Is that simple and clear enough for everyone? Or do you need Tyler or another ZH writer to rehash it for you?")

Chupacabra-322's picture

Spot on. However, there's no stopping the $500 Billion Dollar Russia --> China Gas pipeline

checkessential's picture

Yep.  The $750 billion is just a poke in the eye.   They will threaten the petrodollar.      

Cacete de Ouro's picture

It is actually Tel Aviv that should have been invaded, and one of the boardrooms in the City of London

Heavy's picture

Pentagon's recent prefernce for war crimes?

Hal n back's picture

unanimous is a big number in DC  :-)


time for Saudis to sell dollars to settle the claims, but not before lawfirm cronies of the DC lawyers in Congress get signed agreements from clients for their 40% plus expsnses.

Soul Glow's picture

Looney, Obama could veto then Congress would have to once again vote with a 2/3rds majority, thus over riding the veto.

Hal n back's picture

Congress goes into recess again soon. Obama needs to hold the bill till then, then veto.

Looney's picture


No, he’s got 10 days. If he doesn’t sign or provide a written detailed objection, the Bill becomes Law.


BTW, kudos to SoulGlow!  ;-)


Lumberjack's picture

Is there a back room (money/land) deal with the other perps? 

LetThemEatRand's picture

"Yes, but if both Chambers pass the bill by 2/3, let alone unanimously, doesn’t it override the Veto?"

If Obama reveals himself once and for all to be a puppet of foreign interests and vetos the bill, Congress has to vote again.  I think the strategy would be to try to get just enough Congressmen to change their vote to reach 1/3.  Seems unlikely, though, that anyone is going to want to have the vote haunt them for the rest of their careers.  Obama doesn't care because he's on his way out anyway, and probably plans to give some million dollar a pop speeches to the Saudis over the next few years.

FireBrander's picture

Sophie's choice:

Sign it; and fuck himself.

Veto it; and fuck Hillary.

Choices, choices...

My money is on the veto!


Where does Hillary stand on this?

How about Trump?

FireBrander's picture

Where's Jebra on this issue?

Has to be against it; it was his state the issued the 911 guys drivers licenses so they could get to those flight lessons...

Doom Porn Star's picture

Barack WILL veto it.

Securing HIS new job in February depends on it.

Barack cares much more about guaranteeing some money for not-so-rich Barack than Barack cares about guaranteeing a some more money for very-much-rich Hillary.

Pew Pew Pew's picture

OK, I'll be the one to ask:

What else is in the bill?

HowdyDoody's picture

Approval of $115 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia?


WayPastCaring's picture

"Yes, but if both Chambers pass the bill by 2/3, let alone unanimously, doesn’t it override the Veto?"

No, not on the original passage of the bill. If you were correct then the presidential veto would be useless here. Whether or not the Founders intended it, the mere threat of a veto is often used to get the President's own party members in Congress to toe the line and not cast a vote for a bill. However, in this case if the fcking azzhole ccksking narcissicist actually does veto the bill then the Senate and the House will have another vote, this time solely on whether to override the veto as they are not allowed to change the original bill. This extra time gives the Muslim-in-Chief time to visit his favorite mosque, seek guidance from Mohammed or his favorite terrorist cleric and then put political pressure on Democrats not to override. Whether this lame duck POS will still have any sway is doubtful, given the unanimous House passage, but keep in mind the Democrats are absolute scumbags and no doubt a considerable number of them only voted for the bill because they're up for reelection and hope somehow they can weasel out of actually supporting the bill, perhaps by Obama somehow delaying the veto override votes until after the election. It's hard to know when you're dealing with low lives of this magnitude exactly what will happen.

Lorota's picture

Obama is Jewish. House of Saud is a bunch of crypto Jews and Mossad did 911.

wcvarones's picture

Dems will vote yes the first time around for show, then fall in line behind Dear Leader on the veto.

Dude's the Messiah.

Things that go bump's picture

If a bill is passed by both the House and Senate, then it arrives on the President's desk. He has 10 days to either sign it or not sign it. If he doesn't sign it it becomes law after the 10 days. He may instead choose to veto it. If he vetos it, it goes back to the legislative branch to be voted on to override the veto. It takes a 2/3 majority in both the House and Senate to override a veto. Just because a bill has passed unanimously doesn't mean a vote to override a Presidential veto would get similar support. Remember, if a bill is politically a problem for international policy, but it's politically expedient to pass because of voter sentiment it costs the legislative branch nothing to pass it with great hoopla and advertising. If the President vetos it, and it can't get the votes to override, well gee, they gave it a good try, didn't they?

GunnerySgtHartman's picture

Yes, but if both Chambers pass the bill by 2/3, let alone unanimously, doesn’t it override the Veto?


But you can bet your bottom fiat dollar that Dirty Harry Reid will strong-arm enough Democrats to avoid the political embarrassment of an override, especially going into Obama's final (thank God!) months in office.

The Wizard's picture

Why would Barry be against it? It helps divert attention from the domestic terrorists who were complicit and connected the House of Saud.