Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan: Saudis Must be Held Accountable

Apr 20, 2016
Press Release
Victims of 9/11 Terror Attacks “Deserve Justice”

“Our Leaders Need to Stand up for America”  

WASHINGTON – Saying America should “never buckle to the threats of a foreign government,” Congressman Vern Buchanan today called for swift passage of legislation to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for any involvement in the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Saudi Arabia has threatened to sell off American assets and rattle the U.S. economy in retaliation if the legislation passes. President Obama, who is in Saudi Arabia this week to discuss security issues, has threatened to veto the bipartisan bill. 

“Even an ally like Saudi Arabia needs to understand our country will never compromise when it comes to keeping Americans safe and punishing those behind terrorist attacks,” Buchanan said. “If they were involved the truth needs to come out and they need to be held accountable. The time for justice is long overdue.” 

Buchanan said he was disappointed at the president’s veto threat. The legislation was introduced in the Senate by Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York.

Buchanan noted that former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee when it issued a joint report on the 9/11 attacks, testified “I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia.”

Buchanan is a co-sponsor of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (H.R. 3815), to allow victims of terrorism, including the families of the 9/11 attacks, to pursue foreign states and sponsors of terrorism in federal court. Buchanan also co-sponsored the legislation in the 113th Congress and wrote a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) in support of the bill.

“It’s disgraceful that victims’ families cannot get into court to prove what senior intelligence officials believe to be true,” Buchanan said. “Our government should never put Saudi Arabia’s interests ahead of the American people.”

Saudi Arabia has admitted that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals, but the country has not been formally implicated in the attacks to date.

Florida’s 16th District has a tragic connection to the 9/11 attacks. President George W. Bush was reading to children in a Sarasota elementary school when he learned that a second airliner had crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City. In addition, two 9/11 hijackers – Mohammed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi – took flight lessons in Venice, Florida beginning in the summer of 2000.