Published on Apr 20, 2016
On Monday, the Obama administration and the State Department said the release of the papers detailing Saudi involvement in the 9/11 attacks and its support for al-Qaeda would damage US national security and endanger citizens living abroad.
Both the Obama and Bush administrations have refused to release the papers stored in a guarded vault beneath Washington DC. The FBI has also refused to unseal the documents. “It needs to be classified,” former Director of the FBI Robert S. Mueller said in a secret meeting.
The White House has threatened to veto legislation that would release the documents. “It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where the President would sign it,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Monday. He said the bill would jeopardize international sovereignty and put the US at “significant risk.”
Obama allies on Capitol Hill, including an unnamed Republican senator, have vowed to prevent the Senate from taking up the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. The bill would remove Saudi Arabia’s immunity in federal court and allow victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue the kingdom.
In order to have the bill move forward, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would need to file procedural motions. 60 votes are required to have the bill move forward. “I think part of the concern is that somehow this is a thumb in the eye to Saudi Arabia, a valuable ally,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said.