Military/September 11 Family Support for the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA)

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Dear Senator or Representative:

We write to you as family members of those murdered in the September 11 Attacks who have a special, personal connection to the United States armed forces. We include families of military personnel killed in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, members of the military who survived but were severely injured in the Pentagon attack, family members of veterans killed in the 9/11 attacks, veterans who lost loved ones in the attacks, and close relatives of men and women who are active duty or retired military. Our purpose for writing is to urge you to stand firm in support of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act and to protest the absurd suggestions that this law puts members of our armed forces in jeopardy.

This letter became necessary because the Saudi Government is spending more than $1.3 million monthly on a massive lobbying and public relations campaign to spread misinformation about JASTA so that Congress is fooled into gutting the law before it has a chance to work. These Saudi foreign agents have been engaged in many grotesque distortions of what JASTA does, but none of those lies has been more offensive than the claim that JASTA puts American troops at risk by limiting the sovereign immunity of foreign nations for terrorist acts. These false Saudi claims are inimical to the interests of the United States, and the Saudi campaign to promote them should be viewed as an act of aggression towards America.

The fact is that JASTA does absolutely nothing to put U.S. troops at risk, nor does it make any dramatic changes to sovereign immunity law. It provides a small exception to the limited sovereign immunity of foreign states where Americans are injured in the United States due to an act of international terrorism caused by the tortious act of a foreign state, and it expressly preserves foreign state immunity where the claim might be for an omission or act that constitutes mere negligence. In other words, JASTA is extremely narrow.

The Saudi-funded campaign would have you believe that other nations are going to enact “reciprocal” laws that target our troops, but the terms of JASTA are clear. JASTA has nothing to do with the immunity of individual foreign officials or employees, but instead is about foreign countries. It has nothing to do with foreign nations’ military actions, specifically excluding any “act of war” from its scope, and defining “international terrorism” narrowly. Neither the United States generally – and certainly not our armed forces – have anything to fear from other nations enacting JASTA laws.

Moreover, the Saudi lobbyists are surely aware that it is the official policy of the United States to negotiate Status of Forces Agreements applicable to U.S. military personnel stationed abroad that are carefully crafted to protect U.S. military personnel from being subject to claims in foreign court systems. These agreements are the tool the United States has employed since World War II to protect U.S. troops stationed abroad from the risk of suits in foreign courts – a risk the U.S. has been dealing with effectively for decades and that has nothing at all to do with JASTA. Nothing in JASTA will have any impact on their enforceability.

This outrageous Saudi claim is even more offensive given that the main threat our military men and women face is the spread of violent Islamist extremism around the globe. The Saudis have long supported the corrupt religious ideology that provided the fuel to the September 11 hijackers and continues to inspire terrorists worldwide, including ISIS. Our troops are not at risk because U.S. terrorism victims are holding foreign nations to account for supporting terrorists. They are at risk because they must fight to protect us against the Islamist fanaticism that has long found its home in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Our family members who died in the September 11 Attacks deserve better than to see Congress cowed by distortions from foreign agents of the very nation so heavily responsible for this phenomenon.

JASTA is good for America, including those serving in the armed forces. Congress was wise to ignore the Saudi distortion campaign earlier this year, and it will be even wiser to allow JASTA to work as intended.

Sincerely,

John B. Lynch
Bronx, NY
U.S. Army (ret.)
Father of Michael Frances Lynch, killed at WTC (FDNY).

Judi Reiss
Yardley, PA
Mother of Joshua Scott Reiss, killed at WTC (Cantor) and daughter of WWII veteran and granddaughter and great-niece of WWI veterans.

James S. Gray, Jr.
Manalapan, NJ
US Army (1966-68; First Lt. Military Police Corps)
Father of Christopher Gray, killed at WTC (Cantor).

Laurie Laychak
Manassas, VA
Wife of David William Laychak, civilian employee of U.S. Army killed at Pentagon and
daughter to career officer of U.S. Navy.

Edgar B. Wooley III
Rock Hill, NY
U.S. Navy (1961-1965)
Brother of David T Wooley, killed at WTC (NYFD and former U.S. Army).

David W. Carpenter, Jr.
Clayton, NC
9/11 Survivor (FDNY) and former U.S. Army.

Cheryl O’Brien
Lexington, MA
Daughter of Thelma Cuccinello, killed on Flight 11 and daughter of Albert Cuccinello, former U.S. Marine.

Douglas Connors
Quincy, MA
Brother Kevin P. Connors at WTC (EuroBrokers), who was a graduate of U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis (1969) and son of a WWII twice Purple Heart recipient in the Battle of the Bulge.

Harold Meyers
Hilton Head Island, SC

William Sergio
Lake Grove, NY
9/11 Survivor (FDNY) and Father of Active Duty US Coast Guard, William Sergio Jr.

Sylvia Carver
White Plains, MD
Sister of Sharon Ann Carver, civilian employee of U.S. Army, killed at Pentagon and sister of retired U.S. Air Force TSgt Sergeant.

Veronica Carver
White Plains, MD
Sister of Sharon Ann Carver, civilian employee of U.S. Army, killed at Pentagon and sister of retired U.S. Air Force TSgt Sergeant.

Reginald Carver
Spotsylvania, VA
Brother of Sharon Ann Carver, civilian employee of U.S. Army, killed at Pentagon and brother of retired U.S. Air Force TSgt Sergeant.

Janet Carver
Oxon Hill, MD
Sister of Sharon Ann Carver, civilian employee of U.S. Army, killed at Pentagon and sister of retired U.S. Air Force TSgt Sergeant.

Tangela Wilkes
Arlington, VA
Daughter of Sharon Ann Carver, civilian employee of U.S. Army, killed at Pentagon and sister of retired U.S. Air Force TSgt Sergeant.

Albert P. Petrocelli
Staten Island, NY
US Army (1967-1968, VietNam)
Father of Mark James Petrocelli, killed at WTC (Carr Futures).

Sarah Carrington
Devon, UK
Sister of Jeremy Carrington, killed at WTC (Cantor) and daughter of retired British Army Officer.

Devora (Pontell) Kirschner
Woodstock, MD
Wife of Lieutenant Darin H. Pontel, US Navy, killed in the Pentagon.

Rosaleen Shea
Bellerose Village, NY
Sister of Mary Yolanda Dowling, killed at WTC (AON) and niece of former U.S. Navy.

David Sedacca
Brewster, NY
9/11 Survivor (FDNY) and former U.S. Marine.

Rev. Craig W. Sincock, PhD
U.S. Army (Retired) and
Husband of Cheryle D. Sincock, killed in the Pentagon.

Joseph Ianelli
Monroe, NJ
U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Father of Joseph A. Ianelli, killed at WTC (Marsh & McLennan).

Maureen Roma
Sister to Keith Roma, killed at WTC (NY Fire Patrolman) and former wife of U.S. Air Force Major.

Theresa M Frakes
Palmyra,VA
Sister of Robert Fangman, killed on Flight 175 and daughter of WWII veteran, sister of U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force veterans, and sister-in-law to two U.S. Army veterans.

Hector L. Hernandez
U.S. Air Force (ret.) and civilian contractor
Brother of Norberto Hernandez and brother-in-law of Claribel Hernandez, both killed at WTC.

Ralph Pepe
Staten Island, NY
9/11 Survivor (FDNY)
Former USMC and father of USAF.

Jim D. Richards
East Meadow. NY
Brother of Det. Claude Daniel Richards, killed at WTC (NYPD), who was also U.S. Army Airborne Ranger, and brother of U.S. Army Vietnam veteran and U.S. Navy veteran.

Bill McGinly
Vienna, VA
Father of Mark Ryan McGinly, killed at WTC (Carr Futures) and father of Andrew M. McGinley, U.S. Navy.

Renato C. Olaes
The Villages, FL
Husband of 9/11 Survivor, Dalisay S. Olaes, U.S. Army (ret.).

Holly Miller
Bigfork, Montana
Widow of Master Special Officer Craig J Miller, killed at Pentagon (U.S. Secret Service, and honorably served in the U.S. Army).

Martin Toyen
Boynton Beach, FL
U.S. Army (ret.)
Father of Amy E. Toyen, killed at WTC.

Desiree E. Bernstein
Brooklyn, New York
Former U.S. Navy
Sister-in-law of William Bernstein, killed at WTC (Cantor)

Christopher Whitford
Rock Tavern, NY
U.S. Army Reserves (Command Sergeant Major) and Brother of Mark P. Whitford, killed at WTC (FDNY)

Roger Fernandez
Manasquan, NJ
9/11 Survivor (WTC) and father of U.S. Marine.

Cheryl Desmarais
Short Hills, NJ
Wife of Mark Charette, killed at WTC (Marsh & McLennan), who was U.S. Navy veteran.

Sharon Schultz
Great Neck, NY
Wife of Karamo Trerra, killed at WTC and daughter of U.S. Army veteran.

Michael A. Conner
Boca Raton, FL
U.S. Air Force (1967-1970)
Husband of Margaret M. Conner, killed at WTC (Cantor).

Diana Winuk
Salem, SC
Former U.S. Marine
Sister-in-law of Glenn Winuk, killed at WTC (Holland & Knight).

Lisa Inzerillo
Kings Park, NY
Wife of William Krukowski, killed at WTC (FDNY) and former U.S. Marine.

Julie Chapa Field
Whispering Pines, NC
Daughter of RoseMary Chapa, DIA, killed at Pentagon.

Richard R. Field
Whispering Pines, NC
Son-in-Law of RoseMary Chapa, DIA, killed at Pentagon.

Joseph McAuley
Smithtown, NY
9/11 survivor (WTC) and Father of US Army veteran.

Natalie C. Conners
Woodbridge, VA
Daughter of Retired LTC Robert J. Hymel, USAF, killed in Pentagon.

Ed Russin
Morganville, NJ
U.S. Army National Guard
Father of Steven Russin, killed at WTC (Cantor).

Martha Carden Gilchrist
Sevierville, TN
9/11 Survivor, Pentagon
Department of Army Civilian, 35 yrs.

Robert Kobus
Morristown, NJ
U.S. Coast Guard Reserve (2000 -2012) and
Brother of Deborah Kobus, killed at WTC (Chuo Mitsui).

Joaquim T. Dearaujo
Watertown, MA
Former US Naval Reserve and
Son of Dorothy A deAraujo, killed on flight 175.

David M Yancey
Alexandria, VA
Former U.S. Navy and Husband of Vicki L Yancey, former U.S. Navy and a U.S. Navy contractor killed on Flight 77.

Joseph Shontere
La Plata, MD
Father to Angela Houtz, civilian employee of Navy, killed in Pentagon.

Patrick J. Keane
Quincy, MA
Son of Richard Michael Keane, killed at WTC (Marsh & McLennan), who was U.S. Marine (Captain).

Alice Bertorelli
Oceanside, NY
Sister to John Talignani, U.S. Army (ret.), killed on Flight 93.

Michael J. Wholey
Stony Point, NY
Father of Officer Michael T. Wholey (NY Port Authority), who was former U.S. Navy.

Paul Kirwin
New Rochelle, NY
Former U.S. Marine (Captain)
Father of Glenn Davis Kirwin, killed at WTC (Cantor).

Anthony Scolavino
Brooklyn, NY
9/11 Survivor (FDNY) U.S. Army (1979-1982) and father of Christopher Scolavino, Cadet (United States Military Academy -West Point).

Julia Shontere
La Plata, MD
Mother of Angela Houtz, Civilian employee of the Navy, killed at Pentagon.

Frank V. Racaniello
Little Neck, NY
Former U.S. Army (Active and Reserve in Vietnam era, assigned to JAG) and Father of Christopher Racaniello, killed at WTC (Cantor).

Sandra L. Racaniello
Little Neck, NY
Wife of Frank Racaniello, former U.S. Army (Active and Reserve in Vietnam era, assigned to JAG) and Mother of Christopher Racaniello, killed at WTC (Cantor).

Anne Wodenshek
Ridgefield, NJ
Daughter of Robert K Gerne USN(Ret).

Anthony Morabito
Omaha, Nebraska
Navy Submarine retired (lost his brother-in-law in WTC).

Barbara Jackman
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Husband USAR (Ret).

Charles Clyne
Lindenhurst NY
USN (Ret).

Colleen Amato
Maspeth, NY
Granddaughter of U. S. Air Force WW II veteran
Niece of U. S. Navy Officer (retired)
Niece of U. S. Army Vietnam veteran.

Curtis F. Brewer
New York, NY
Spouse of Carol Keyes Demitz (South Tower) Proud Daughter/Grandaughter of West Point Graduates; Colonel Robert S. Demitz and General Jeffrey Keyes.

Donald E. Paris
Irvine, CA 92614
Captain, USMC(Ret)
Son-in-Law of James A. Trentini, Major USAR(Ret) and Passenger on American Airlines Flight 11.

Eileen Tallon
Yonkers, NY
Mother of Sean Patrick Tallon USMC(Res) and FDNY (WTC).

Jacob D. Adams
Delphi, Indiana
USMC (2005-2014).

Jasmine Victoria
Austin, TX
Cousin (Deceased’s Nephew), US Army(Ret)
Grandfather (Deceased’s Father-in-law), US Army(Ret).

John Ashton
Woodside, NY
Son of U. S. Air Force WW II veteran
Brother of U. S. Navy Officer (retired)
Brother-in-law of U. S. Army Vietnam veteran.

Lt Col. John F. Shull, US Army (Retired)
Annapolis, MD
Brother-in-Law to Captain John Fischer, killed in NYC Trade Center rescue effort.

John V. Quigley
Fredericksburg, VA
U.S. Navy Commander (retired) Brother to Patrick J. Quigley, killed on UA75 on 9/11
Son of Patrick J. Quigley Sr (retired U.S. Army).

Kathleen Ashton
Woodside, NY
Daughter-in-law of U. S. Air Force WW II veteran
Sister-in-law of U. S. Navy Officer (retired)
Niece of U. S. Army WW II veteran
Sister-in-law of U. S. Army Vietnam veteran.

Lowell Bell
Colorado Springs, CO.
Colonel, USAF Retired.

Mary Buckley
Woodside, NY
Granddaughter of U. S. Air Force WW II veteran
Niece of U. S. Navy Officer (retired)
Niece of U. S. Army Vietnam veteran.

Manuela Nita-Vazquez
Whitestone NY
Wife of USMC(ret).

Pamela B. Trentini
Danvers, MA 01923
Daughter of James A. Trentini, Major USAR(Ret) and Passenger on American Airlines Flight 11.

Patti J. Trentini
Irvine, CA 92614
Daughter of James A. Trentini, Major USAR(Ret) and Passenger on American Airlines Flight 11.

Rosaleen DaRos
Yonkers, NY
Sister of Sean Patrick Tallon USMC(Res) and FDNY First Responder WTC.

Susan Hutchins
East Meadow NY
Aunt of active duty Marine stationed in Persian Gulf.

Thomas Gitto USMC
West Palm Beach, Florida
(lost my brother in WTC).

William Deverson
Margate, Florida
US Army (lost his Brother-in-law in WTC).