US Defense chief: 9/11 bill could be devastating to US military

By RICHARD LARDNER | Associated Press | Published: September 27, 2016

WASHINGTON — Legislation that would allow the families of Sept. 11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for allegedly backing the terrorists who carried out the attacks could be devastating to the U.S. military, according to Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Carter’s admonition, detailed in a letter to a senior member of Congress and released Tuesday, comes as lawmakers prepare to vote to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the bill. Carter said he’s sympathetic to the intent of the measure, but cautioned the legislation could lead to the public disclosure of American secrets and even undercut counterterrorism efforts by sowing mistrust among U.S. partners and allies.

The Senate is scheduled to hold an override vote Wednesday, and the House is expected to follow despite deep misgivings among a number of lawmakers about the bill’s effect on the United States. They fear the measure will boomerang and further complicate relations with a longstanding U.S. ally in the Middle East.

“I’ve got concerns about what this bill is going to mean to America,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. “It’s the blowback to us because we’re the most involved in the world. You end up exporting your foreign policy to trial lawyers.”

The Senate’s top Democrat, Harry Reid of Nevada, predicted Tuesday Obama’s veto would not be sustained. If the House also overrides, the bill would become law. During his nearly two full terms in office, Obama has never had a veto overridden by Congress.



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