CIA Director John Brennan warned against the national security risks of legislation that would allow families of victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks to sue the government of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
“I think the legislation is badly misguided and doesn’t take into account the negative impact on U.S. national security,” Brennan told Jeffrey Goldberg at the Washington Ideas Forum presented by The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute. Brennan added: “We all recognize that the emotions associated with 9/11 are still quite palpable [and] …. the victims’ families are still seeking justices, but the 9/11 commission report said that there was no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials, individually, were responsible for the 9/11 attack.”
Congress voted to override the president’s veto on Wednesday, paving the way for the bill to become law and marking the first successful veto override of the Obama presidency.
The CIA director cautioned that the implications of the legislation extend far beyond potentially damaging the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. “I think there’s a very, very dangerous slippery slope that we’re going to get on,” Brennan said, adding that “foreign governments are going to start to pass similar type of legislation that is going to haul the United States into court overseas, even for the most frivolous charges and allegations for what the U.S. has done overseas.”