South Dakota GOP Chair Dan Lederman Worked to Protect Saudi Arabia From 9/11 Liability
Pending civil lawsuits by families of 9/11 victims are renewing focus on the Saudi Arabian connections of South Dakota GOP Chair Dan Lederman, who admitted working as an agent of the Saudi Arabian government lobbying against legislation seeking full transparency of the 9/11/2001 terror attacks, opposing the ability of 9/11 victims and their families to seek legal recourse for damages suffered in those attacks.
Department of Justice documents filed as part of damage claims by the 9/11 families reveal an elaborate and lucrative operation by the Saudi Arabian government to employ American legislators, political lobbyists, military veterans and their families as advocates against the 2016 law known as JASTA, or Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act which virtually erased concepts of diplomatic and jurisdictional immunity enjoyed by foreign governments and anyone working in their behest.
Passed by both houses of Congress and made law by overriding a veto by then President Barack Obama, JASTA virtually eliminates previous conditions of immunity for foreign governments and proven agents against civil liability for injury, death or damages from an act of international terrorism, paving the way for the wave of civil litigation now pending by the victims of 9/11 and their families, and more importantly, public disclosure of the real story of the 9/11 terrorist attacks including material evidence regarding cooperation of the Saudi Arabian and United States governments in facilitating those attacks.
JASTA also authorizes U.S. Federal courts to extend jurisdiction over any foreign state’s support for acts of international terrorism, a dimension vehemently and energetically opposed by the Saudi Arabian government during legislative wrangling surrounding the formulation and passage of the act.
Published documents filed as part of legal discovery in the 9/11 compensation lawsuit show the Saudi Arabian government hired an army of American lobbyists to recruit War on Terrorism era American military veterans and their families to lobby and speak against JASTA, convincing military veterans and and their national network of affiliated service organizations that JASTA could be used to implicate and arrest American service personnel as war criminals in the countries where they fought. Dozens of American service members have since come forward admitting they were used as unsuspecting pawns in advancing the coverup of the truth of the 9/11 attacks.
Filed documents and United States Foreign Agents Registry disclosures show that more than 100 lobbyists and at least 300 American military veterans were employed and compensated for their willingness to oppose JASTA and to speak openly in the failed Saudi Arabian effort to stymie damage claims by the 9/11 families.
Longtime Saudi Arabian lobbying firm Qorvis MSLGROUP oversaw and engineered that effort, according to disclosed documents, spending as much as $1.3-million per month on salaries, travel expenses and accommodations for military veterans and lobbyists who were shuttled in and out of Washington D.C. and elsewhere convincing former Afghanistan-Iraq service members that if other nations were to pass corollaries to JASTA, American service members could face civil litigation and liability for fulfilling their combat duties during U.S. military operations in those nations.
On October 12, 2016, South Dakota Republican Chairman, Dan Lederman registered with the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act office as an agent of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, disclosing a fee of $8,500 for his services in working against JASTA on behalf of the Saudi Kingdom.
A former South Dakota legislator and SDGOP Chairman, Lederman registered with the FARA office in 2016, citing his capacity as a senior advisor at LS2group, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, a firm paid $76,500 in the Saudi Arabian campaign against JASTA in the interests of preventing litigation by the victims of 9/11.
In the legislative scrum surrounding JASTA, key American officials dutifully advanced the narrative that the act must be defeated to protect U.S. service members from repercussion by foreign entities, a concept critics maintain was complete fabrication that ignored the distinction between acts of terrorist aggression on American soil and the deployment of U.S. military forces acting subject to the Geneva Convention rules of warfare. Despite public opposition by President Barack Obama and U.S. Senator John McCain, the JASTA act received unanimous approval in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and in September, 2016, was passed into law via override of a veto by President Barack Obama.
JASTA’s modifications of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act directly established the legal framework allowing imminent litigation for compensation by 9/11 victims and their families against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Saudi government officials, and anyone connected to the financial and logistical operations of the 9/11 attacks, carried out by 19 Saudi Arabian hijackers and their accomplices.