Democratic US presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders waves at the start of the Democratic U.S. presidential candidates' debate in Flint, Michigan, March 6, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday said that America has to get to the “root cause” of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, explaining that unanswered questions concerning Saudi Arabia need to be addressed.
During an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sanders voiced support for Senate legislation that would allow victims of terrorist attacks to sue foreign governments in federal court.
The proposed bill has caused consternation among Saudi officials, who fear they could be held partly responsible for the 2001 event and have threatened to take action if such legislation becomes law.
At least 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks were Saudi nationals, and questions still remain whether officials within the Islamic kingdom financially supported the perpetrators.
Twenty-eight pages of an 800- page report commissioned by former US president George W. Bush to investigate the 9/11 attacks have been redacted.
Those pages allegedly implicate a number of Saudi officials in the terrorist attacks. In 2003, Saudi Arabia asked for the documents to be released, saying it would give those implicated an opportunity to defend themselves.
The Bush administration refused, citing national security reasons.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told US lawmakers that the kingdom would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in Treasury securities and other US assets in response to the bill if it passed.
“I think there’s a lot about Saudi Arabia that we don’t fully understand. And I want to get to the root cause of it,” Sanders told the show’s moderator, Chuck Todd.
In a campaign stop in Baltimore on Saturday, Sanders compared poverty in areas of the city to conditions “in the West Bank in Palestine.”
“Poverty in Baltimore, and around this country, is a death sentence,” Sanders, the Independent governor of Vermont, said Saturday. RealClearPolitics published a video of the speech on its website.
“Fifteen neighborhoods in Baltimore have lower life expectancies than North Korea. Two have a higher infant mortality rate than the West Bank in Palestine… Baltimore teenagers between the ages of fifteen and nineteen face poorer health conditions and a worse economic outlook than those in distressed cities in Nigeria, India, China and South Africa,” Sanders said.
Maryland is one of five states holding primary elections on Tuesday. In addition to Maryland, voters will go to the polls in Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.Reuters contributed to this report.