Sanders, Clinton back away from Obama over 9/11 bill

Xinhua News Agency


U.S. Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are distancing themselves from President Barack Obama, also a Democrat, over a bill that would allow 9/11 victims to sue foreign governments.

The terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people mainly in New York and Washington D.C., left in their wake thousands of bereaved U.S. family members.

Now, some in U.S. Congress are pushing a bill that would allow victims' families to sue in court foreign governments for playing a role in financing or otherwise supporting al-Qaida, the radical Islamist group that staged the deadly attacks.

Republican senators are split over the bill, and in an unusual twist, Democrats strongly support the bill, even though it puts them at loggerheads with the U.S. president.

But while Obama has threatened to block the bill on fears of repercussions from some foreign governments, Sanders and Clinton have pledged their support for the bill, in an apparent bid to woo the voters who support it.

Speaking in a live interview Monday on the state of New York radio station WCBS 880, Clinton said: "If there are people or institutions or governments who should be held accountable, that should be part of the bringing to justice anyone or any state that had any role in the horrors of 9/11."

Obama is against the 9/11 legislation because it is upsetting relations with allies, Brookings Institution's senior fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.

Still, several presidential contenders support the bill because they want to give families who lost loved ones the opportunity to sue foreign governments that some say are shown to have some involvement in the terrorist attack, West said.

Indeed, Sanders said earlier this week that he supports the legislation "that would allow Americans, including the families of victims of the 9/11 attacks, to use U.S. courts to determine if foreign entities are culpable for terrorist attacks in the United States and seek restitution for the damage and lives lost."

Sanders continued that he believes "it is time to declassify the 28-page section of the 9/11 Commission Report on the potential sources of foreign support received by the hijackers."

He was referring to the classified part of the official U.S. government report that shows potential sources of support for the group of men that hijacked four commercial airplanes and flew them in a suicide mission into buildings in New York and Washington in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

"The families of those lost on that terrible day have the right to review any evidence that connects the hijackers to foreign supporters," Sanders said.

"If no such connection exists, then our country deserves the information necessary to put that speculation behind us," he added. Enditem