Gary Bauer / Apr. 19, 2016

The Saudis & 9/11

There is legislation pending in Congress that is creating an international uproar. The bill is called the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act and it would allow victims of terrorism "to sue foreign states and financial partners of terrorism." That seems reasonable enough. Who could possibly object? Well, our Saudi "friends" for starters and the Obama administration, which is lobbying against the bill. The legislation is a key priority for 9/11 victims and their families. It has moved through all the relevant committees, enjoys bi-partisan support and could be voted on any day now.

There is legislation pending in Congress that is creating an international uproar. The bill is called the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act and it would allow victims of terrorism “to sue foreign states and financial partners of terrorism.”

That seems reasonable enough. Who could possibly object? Well, our Saudi “friends” for starters and the Obama administration, which is lobbying against the bill.

The legislation is a key priority for 9/11 victims and their families. It has moved through all the relevant committees, enjoys bi-partisan support and could be voted on any day now.

The legislation gained additional attention after news broke about a classified portion of a 9/11 report commissioned by Congress. The classified 28-pages suggest that some of the 9/11 hijackers received material support from Saudi Arabia while they were in the United States.

Former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL), who served as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CBS News, “I think it is implausible to believe that 19 people — most of whom didn’t speak English, most of whom had never been in the United States before, many of whom didn’t have a high school education — could’ve carried out such a complicated task without some support from within the United States.”

Investigative journalist Paul Sperry details many of the allegations against Saudi Arabia that are allegedly contained in those classified 28-pages. Sperry writes that the missing pages provide “‘incontrovertible evidence’ gathered from both CIA and FBI case files of official Saudi assistance for at least two of the Saudi hijackers who settled in San Diego.”

If the allegations are true, there has been a bi-partisan, 15-year cover-up, spanning two administrations.

Riyadh Threatens To Retaliate

President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Ash Carter are going to Saudi Arabia this week. The purpose of the trip, initially at least, is to discuss ways of countering Iran with our Arab partners in the Persian Gulf. But the legislation pending in Congress and recent media attention to the classified 9/11 report are likely to dominate private discussions.

The situation became even more complicated when Saudi Arabia threatened to sell off $750 billion in U.S. assets if the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act passes.

According to The New York Times, “Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington.” He told lawmakers that Saudi Arabia will sell U.S. bonds and “other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.”

Do you remember the controversy surrounding the picture of George W. Bush holding hands with then-Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah in 2005?

How about President Obama bowing to the Saudi king in 2009?

Riyadh’s threat is another example of the many dangers posed by our runaway federal spending. That fault lies mostly with the left, but neither party has particularly distinguished itself on spending.

Our debt has made us dependent on unsavory characters running nations like China and Saudi Arabia. The economic blackmail we are now facing is a clear indication that the way we have conducted the nation’s business for decades is completely wrong.

The United States v. Texas

The Supreme Court [listened to] arguments [yesterday] in a case challenging President Obama’s authority to unilaterally change U.S. immigration law. The case was brought by the state of Texas and joined by 25 other states after Obama issued executive orders in 2014 shielding more than four million illegal immigrants from deportation.

A federal judge ruled against the White House on narrow, technical grounds and blocked the program. The administration appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled against Obama on broader grounds.

How the Supreme Court will rule on this case is anyone’s guess. A tie vote — 4-to-4 — would leave the appellate court decision in place.

But conservatives are concerned that Chief Justice Roberts might decide to dodge the questions of immigration enforcement and executive power completely and dismiss the case over the issue of standing, whether Texas has a right to sue the federal government in this particular case.

There are also the usual concerns about Justice Kennedy, who is unpredictable even on his good days. In 2012, Kennedy authored the 5-to-3 decision striking down much of Arizona’s law that cracked down on illegal immigration.

Kennedy wrote that while “Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration,” enforcement of our immigration laws was a power reserved almost exclusively to the federal government. Kennedy was joined in that opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts.

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