Saudi Arabia Threatens US Economy Over 9/11 Bill

It says it would sell up to $750B in American assets if the bill passes
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2016 2:39 PM CDT
Saudi Arabia Threatens US Economy Over 9/11 Bill
President Obama meets with King Salman of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office of the White House in September.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Saudi Arabia is threatening to sell $750 billion worth of American assets if Congress passes a bill that could lead to it being tried for the Sept. 11 attacks, the New York Times reports. According to RT, the bipartisan bill, which passed the judiciary committee in January, would tweak the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, nullifying the immunity granted to some countries when terror attacks in the US are involved. If passed, the bill could allow the families of Sept. 11 victims to bring the Saudi royal family and Saudi charities, who they believe funded the attacks, to court. Saudi Arabia claims it would need to sell its US assets if the bill is passed, lest the US government freeze them. Some economists are skeptical the Saudi government would follow through on the threat, as it would destroy its economy.

The Obama administration, warning it could lead to legal retaliations by other countries, has been trying to stop Congress from passing the bill. It's a move that's upsetting some families of Sept. 11 victims. “It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens,” the Times quotes a woman whose husband died in the World Trade Center as saying. Meanwhile, Obama is also deciding whether or not to declassify 28 pages of a 2002 report allegedly containing information tying Saudi officials to the Sept. 11 attacks, Fox News reports. Both Bush and Obama have said those pages would be harmful for national security, but others say the government is trying to hide the involvement of a longtime ally. (More Saudi Arabia stories.)

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