JASTA is bad for America

Until now, it has been the sovereign prerogative of the U.S. Government to determine where and when it will seek monetary damages for victims of terrorism.

Such prerogative has furthered our national security interests by enabling our diplomats and military representatives to shape the political-military environment, as well as to determine how and where we will engage in coercive diplomacy.

Meanwhile, historically, the Congress has also played a key role in “shaping the environment” by providing legislative oversight over the State Department; particularly with regard to State Department declarations of “state sponsors of terrorism.”

Thus, through reasoned analysis of our sovereign interests, the USG has determined the timing and the countries US citizens may sue for terrorist actions. JASTA will take these valuable tools out of our hands, thereby injecting uncertainty and capriciousness into already complicated diplomatic relations; all with potentially deleterious consequences.

For example:

— JASTA will undoubtedly “boomerang” on us, with our allies (and other countries) reciprocating by enacting similar legislation, thus degrading long-standing principles of US sovereign immunity. Such degradations of US sovereign immunity will directly impede our military and put our soldiers further risk of “Lawfare”;

 

– JASTA will also have a chilling effect on the global war on terrorism by diminishing the willingness of nations to share information and intelligence with us knowing that such information may well be discoverable in court;

 

– Further, in order to protect their assets from judicial judgments, JASTA will almost certainly lead to sovereign capital flight from, and disinvestment in, the U.S.; and

 

– Finally, at a time when we are seeking to maximize our influence in the Middle East (and elsewhere), by enacting JASTA we will be injecting uncertainty into foreign perceptions of American intent and leadership; we will be gratuitously alienating key allies, and we will be pushing them away from us and into the political orbit of our enemies and peer competitors.

At a time of great uncertainty, destabilization and danger, the United States needs every “tool in our toolkit.”  Enacting the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act eliminated these critically important tools and will diminish our ability to build the world in which we wish to live. Therefore, when Congress returns to session after the election I urge it to repeal JASTA, or at a minimum, restore sovereign immunity protections for our brave men and women of the military, intelligence community and our diplomatic corps.