I have mixed emotions about this, but as unaccustomed as I am to agreement with anything coming from this White House, I believe that President Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) was the correct decision. It is difficult to conceive of a more sympathetic cause than with the 9/11 victims’ families who would be provided the authority to sue the Saudi Arabian government for complicity in terrorism. And there is no doubt that our relationship with the Saudis is in need of a serious review of the tactics of this repressive and duplicitous regime. But the potential for enormous unintended consequences in retaliation in kind against not only our widespread network of military assets, diplomatic, and intelligence forces, but simply ordinary citizens, is too much to contemplate. In addition, the principle of sovereign immunity, however limited in its dilution by this law, is worth preserving intact.
The conduct of foreign policy is and should remain the purview of the executive and legislative branches, and we do not need to provide a legion of plaintiff lawyers an opening for a mountain of litigation, which will entail some very risky and dangerous discovery involving highly sensitive matters. Unfortunately, I am afraid that the veto override will open these gates.