House to vote allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudis

House of Representatives to vote Friday on bill that would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts.

Ben Ariel ,

September 11 attack
September 11 attack

The House of Representatives is set to vote Friday on a controversial bill that would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts, The Hill reported Wednesday.

The legislation, which the Senate approved unanimously in May, is expected to pass the House and head to President Barack Obama’s desk.

Obama, however, has already signaled that he would veto the measure, which is fiercely opposed by the Saudi Arabian government and leading national security figures in both parties.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) voiced reservations about the bill's approach in April, saying it needed to be reviewed "to make sure we are not making mistakes with our allies and that we’re not catching people in this that shouldn’t be caught up in this.”

Critics argue that the bill would undermine an important relationship with Saudi Arabia and open the door for other nations to pass similar policies that would expose the U.S. to costly lawsuits in foreign courts.

Lawmakers, noted The Hill, are under pressure to act from victims’ families as the 15th anniversary of 9/11 approaches and suspicion lingers that Saudi Arabia was in some way supportive of that day's terrorist attacks.

Despite Obama’s opposition, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton came out in support of the bill in April, just days before the New York presidential primary.

Original sponsors of the Senate version of the bill included a handful of high-powered Democrats, including Sens. Charles Schumer (NY) and Dianne Feinstein (CA).

British media recently reported that evidence uncovered in 2002 links the Saudi Arabian government with the 9/11 attacks.

American authorities discovered the flight certificate of would-be hijacker Ghassan Al-Shrabi in an envelope from the Saudi embassy to Washington during the latter's 2002 arrest in Pakistan, officials revealed at the time.

Details about the certificate and other documents were quietly released by officials in 2015, in a memo entitled Document 17 from back in 2003.

Congress in July released 28 previously secret pages of the report detailing suspicious Saudi ties to the 9/11 hijackers, but it failed to include a smoking gun definitively linking the kingdom to the terrorist attacks.

House Intelligence Committee leaders have cautioned that the findings were preliminary, noted The Hill.