As Americans pause to remember the dead from the 9/11 attacks 12 years ago, the Broward Bulldog reminds us that legislation to help victims and their families go after terrorist enablers in court is about to be introduced in Congress.
The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act will be introduced by New York Congressmen Peter King, a Republican, and Democrat Jerrold Nadler in the House. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., offers the Senate version. It's the result of court decisions applying sovereign immunity to foreign governments and people who may have provided financial and other support to the 9/11 hijackers and therefore, U.S. courts have no jurisdiction.
If passed, however, it could be applied to any terrorist attack in which Americans are victims.
"The problem can best be understood by example," Terry Strada, whose husband died in the World Trade Center's North Tower, told the Bulldog. "If we discover someone intentionally gave aid or money to the Boston Marathon bombers and that money had been given to them outside our borders – no accountability from a civil action would be possible," she said.
Similar legislation was offered in 2009 and 2011 but did not get passed.
The Bulldog, a non-profit investigative reporting site, has uncovered connections between several hijackers and a Sarasota family which hastily fled the country in the weeks leading up to the attacks. It continues to fight in court to obtain FBI records that have not been released. The reporting indicates that the hijackers may have enjoyed additional support within the United States that was not previously known. In addition, former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, who led the Senate Intelligence Committee and a congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks, wants the government to declassify 28 pages from his inquiry.
Those classified pages likely point to Saudi support for the hijackers.
"The public still does not know the whole story about who bankrolled the attacks. It is still a secret," Strada told the Bulldog.
For more on the proposed legislation, click here.