Obama Vetoes 9/11 Bill, Defends Saudi Arabia from Lawsuits

US President Barack Obama smiles alongside King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia during meetings in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, June 29, 2010. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has vetoed a bill that would have allowed the families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia.

The move sets Obama up for a possible first veto override by Congress. Both chambers passed the bill by voice vote. The House sent Obama the bill just before the 15th anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.

Obama says the bill would “upset longstanding international principles regarding sovereign immunity.”

The bill would have given 9/11 families the right to sue in U.S. court for any role that elements of the Saudi government may have played in the attacks.

Fifteen of the 19 men who carried out the attacks were Saudi nationals.

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