Saudi Arabia has paid tens of thousands of dollars to US army veterans in an attempt to kill a recently-passed law allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi nationals for their alleged role in facilitating the September 11, 2001 attacks that killed thousands of Americans, a report says.
The US Congress overwhelmingly voted in September of last year to override then President Barack Obama’s veto of the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which allows relatives of the victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi campaign includes paying American military veterans to visit Capitol Hill and warn lawmakers about what they said could be unintended consequences, The Associated Press reported on Thursday.
Some of the recruited veterans said Saudi Arabia’s government was largely paying for the effort, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The veterans’ lobbying effort began within a month after the September vote. Apparently, after failing to fight off the bill in Congress and Obama’s White House, Saudis have hired 75 foreign agents across the US to fund lavish trips to Washington for veterans, which included lodging them at new Trump Hotel near the White House.
The veterans however told the New York Post in March that they were misled and openly lied to by trip organizers Qorvis MSLGROUP.
According to the vets, an organizer denied any “Saudi involvement” in sponsoring the trip, despite the fact that federal filings show the organizer had struck a $100,000 contract with the Saudis and is registered as a foreign agent for the regime.
The Saudi lobbyists, who posed as veteran advocates, had told the vets that JASTA exposes them, as well as “150,000 [US] military personnel stationed in over 150 countries,” to “retaliatory lawsuits” in foreign courts.
JASTA, however, deals only with the immunity of foreign states and poses little risk against individuals.
The September 11, 2001 attacks, also known as the 9/11 attacks, were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage.
Of the 19 hijackers that allegedly carried out the attacks, 15 were Saudi nationals and available evidence suggests some of them were linked to high-ranking Saudi officials.