The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has now joined Saudi Arabia in actively lobbying the United Stated government against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). JASTA empowers the victims and surviving family members of terrorist attacks on American soil, such as those of September 11, 2011, to pursue lawsuits against state sponsors of terrorism.
JASTA was overwhelmingly approved by Congress in 2016. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have both been identified in JASTA claims as state sponsors of terrorism relating to 9/11 — two of the hijackers were from the UAE and 15 were from Saudi Arabia. In the summer of 2016, un-classified Congressional reports revealed coordination between the hijackers and Saudi officials.
Saudi Arabia has spent millions lobbying against JASTA in the U.S. The country has even used lobbying firms to recruit U.S. vets to speak against JASTA before Congress, at times without transparent and required disclosure to the vets or the U.S. government. According to a June article in The Telegraph, the UAE has now joined in the anti-JASTA lobbying and has threatened to withhold intelligence cooperation as part of their efforts to sway U.S. government officials (telegraph.co.uk).
The Telegraph received leaked emails between Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the U.S., senior U.S. officials and Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister. These emails discuss the process of asking senators to stand against JASTA, particularly through co-sponsoring legislation to weaken or “fix” JASTA. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced such a proposal in November 2016, which would narrow and specify the application of the law. In a related press release, the 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism group stated the two senators were bowing to Saudi lobbyists and attempting to “torpedo” the vital anti-terror legislation.
According to The Telegraph, Mr. Al Otaiba wrote to a senator that he understood “the desire to provide justice for those who were affected by 9/11.” But, he warned, JASTA could put U.S. intelligence relations at risk: “If a foreign sovereign nation is at risk of being sued in a U.S. court, even if it’s an ally, that nation will be less likely to share crucial information and intelligence under JASTA.” These threats to withhold international security intelligence are the most recent manifestation of the persistent lobbying campaign against JASTA, carried out first by Saudi Arabia and now by the UAE.
The Miller Firm’s skilled terrorism lawyers have secured substantial compensation for terror victims and their families. If you suffered injuries or the loss of a loved one on 9/11, we offer our deepest continuing sympathies. The Miller Firm is presently accepting clients who were injured or families who experienced terrible loss on 9/11. Please call 1-800-882-2525 and ask to speak to attorneys David Dickens, Timothy Litzenburg, Michael Miller or Nancy Miller about these matters. They can also be reached at [email protected] or [email protected].