Senior Bush officials write to oppose Saudi 9/11 bill

A pair of senior officials from the George W. Bush administration on Tuesday publicly protested legislation on Capitol Hill that would allow victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia.

Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton and ex-Attorney General Michael Mukasey wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal expressing deep concern about the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which sailed through the Senate earlier this year and could be on tap for the House this autumn.

The bill “is far more likely to harm the United States than bring justice against any sponsor of terrorism,” the two former GOP officials claimed. “Counterterrorism policy in the past eight years has been a failure, but this bill won’t fix it.”

JASTA would change U.S. law to allow victims of terror attacks to sue countries suspected of supporting those activities. The legislation has primarily been discussed in the context of Saudi Arabia and lingering suspicion that the kingdom from which 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers hailed was in some way supportive of the attacks.

Currently, victims of terror attacks are permitted to sue countries designated as sponsors of terrorism, such as Iran, but not countries without such a designation.

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