Obama Calls 9/11 Victims Bill Vote “a Mistake”

President Barack Obama said Congress made “a mistake” Wednesday when it overwhelmingly overrode his veto of the 9/11 victims bill, allowing families of victims of terrorist attacks committed on US soil to sue foreign governments suspected of aiding the attacks. Speaking Wednesday night at a town hall meeting with US military members and their families at Fort Lee, Va., Obama expressed concern that because of the 9/11 bill, US military personnel serving abroad could find themselves “subject to private lawsuits in courts where we don’t even know exactly whether they’re on the up and up in some cases.” He also said the bill was unnecessary. “If we know that a country was helping a terrorist, then we call them a state sponsor of terrorism, and they don’t have immunity, and you can sue them anyway.” Pointing to political pressures to explain the overwhelming support for the bill in both houses of Congress, Obama said, “Sometimes you have to do what’s hard, and frankly I wish Congress here had done what’s hard. I didn’t expect it, because if you’re perceived as voting against 9/11 families right before an election, not surprisingly that’s a hard vote for people to take, but it would have been the right thing to do.”