The US Congress has voted to override President Barack Obama’s veto of a bill allowing relatives of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabian officials.
Its the first time in his eight-year presidency it has ever happened and it means the bill will become law.
The White House has described it as “embarrassing”.
Obama had argued the bill known as Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism or JASTA would undermine US-Saudi relations. He also warned of tit-for-tat lawsuits against US servicemen in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
“If we eliminate this notion of sovereign immunity, then our men and women in uniform around the world could potentially start seeing ourselves subject to reciprocal loss,” said Obama following the vote. “It’s a dangerous precedent”, he added.
President Obama says Congress made a 'mistake' overriding his veto of 9/11 lawsuit bill – CNN https://t.co/cePfqVlmlv— Breaking Politics (@breakingpol) September 28, 2016
But supporters of the bill said the government was more interested in diplomacy than the bereaved families and justice and that the legislation only applies to acts of terrorism that have occurred on US soil.
Some media outlets have gone further in expressing their opinion of the government’s position:
POTUS</a> veto of 9/11 Victims Lawsuit Bill.<br><br>9/11 families deserve justice!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JASTA?src=hash">#JASTA</a> <a href="https://t.co/mMH5WVLTVs">pic.twitter.com/mMH5WVLTVs</a></p>— Tennessee GOP (TEN_GOP) September 28, 2016
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attacks were Saudi nationals, but the oil-rich kingdom has denied any role in the attacks, which left nearly 3,000 people dead.
Investigators have said there is no proven link to support claims that Saudi officials provided financial support to the hijackers.
Following the vote the CIA’s chief warned of “grave implications” for national security.