What Just Happened to Pres. Obama and the 9/11 Families Could Make History

September 28th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

It's time to update President Barack Obama's stats.

"Summary of Bills Vetoed, 1789-present"

The zero that used to be next to his name in the "overridden" column is now a 1.

For the first time ever, Congress passed an override of President Barack Obama's veto power. Wednesday's big move came because of a historic bill that could bring some hidden information to light and answer lingering questions about the role of the Saudi Arabian government in the 9/11 terror attacks.


The override means that families who lost loved ones during 9/11 may now be able to sue the Saudi Arabian government for alleged ties to the attacks. The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act will make it possible for courts to waive the immunity of a "foreign state, or of any official, employee, or agent of that foreign state while acting within the scope of his or her office, employment, or agency, regardless [of] where the tortious act or acts of the foreign state occurred."

But, the bill is about than seeking financial compensation, activists say.

Brian McGlinchey, director of the 9/11 advocacy organization 28pages.org, said that the families of victims are interested in justice more than money and that a trial could bring new information about who financed the terror attacks.

"For the 9/11 families that I've talked to, this is not about money, but it's about the pursuit of justice," he told ATTN:. "It's them wanting to get to the bottom of the financing that made 9/11 possible. They've been frustrated for 15 years now."

He continued: "I think if it goes to trial we'll learn a whole lot more about whatever ties they did have," he said. "There were terror cells all around this country and there could be much more information out there about hijackers and who supported them."

Both houses of Congress overwhelmingly exceeded the two-thirds super majority needed to pass the override. The Senate passed by a massive 97 to 1 margin, with Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) the only member siding with the president, according to The Hill. The House passed the veto override 348-77, with 18 Republicans and 59 Democrats supporting the president's position.


Last week, Obama used only his twelfth veto as president in an effort to kill the bill.

Observers said Obama used his veto power because he fears the law will create a legal mess for the U.S. that opens the government up to lawsuits in foreign courts.

"What the president is imagining is this will create an environment where every court system in the world starts bringing the United States up on charges in foreign courts, and the United States has to defend itself," Jon Alterman from the Center for Strategic and International Studies told The Washington Post. "And when you go down that road, you spend all of your time dealing with judgments from courts that are not often honest."


The intelligence community criticized the legislation as well. CIA Director John Brennan said that the bill will have "grave implications for the national security of the United States," according to The Washington Post.

9/11 families say the fight isn't over yet.

Politico reported that Saudi Arabia spent big money trying to kill the bill, at a price of $250,000 per month to lobbying firms.

"I'd say that for the 9/11 families and the people pursuing justice, this is a victory, but now they have to turn from offense to defense, because any law that Congress makes they can subsequently change," he said. "Already the Saudi government has been lobbying."

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