President Barack Obama is poised to veto legislation exposing Saudi Arabia to court action over the 9/11 attacks, stepping in to defend legal precedent and an awkward ally, but inviting election-time opprobrium.
White House officials say Obama will reject the "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act" by a Friday veto deadline, after a little over a week of deliberation.
The administration is worried the bill -- passed unanimously by Congress -- would undermine state immunity, setting a dangerous legal precedent.
Obama's aides tried and failed to have the legislation substantially revised, and now face the prospect of Republicans and Democrats joining forces to override the presidential veto, a relatively rare rebuke of White House power.
Families of 9/11 victims have campaigned for the law -- convinced that the Saudi government had a hand in the attacks that killed almost 3,000 people.
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens, but no link to the government has been proven. The Saudi government denies any links to the plotters.Passed unanimously by Congress?