Bob Graham Highlights Urgency of Exposing Saudi Role in 9/11 Today

If the role of Saudi Arabia in supporting the 9/11 attacks were to be exposed, it would have enormous consequences for U.S. policy today, when Saudi Arabia is pressuring the U.S. for military intervention in Syria, and opposing the easing of tensions between the U.S. and Iran, declared former U.S. Senator Bob Graham, in a recent interview with the Real News Network.

Graham noted that right now, there is a lot of discussion about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and what was the actual role of Lee Harvey Oswald in the killing. But, Graham asked, “What difference does it make? …. how is that relevant to any decision we would be making today?” Graham then pointed to why exposure of the Saudi role in 9/11 is so important:

“In contrast, the issue of whether the 19 hijackers acted alone or whether they had a support network has enormous current consequences. If in fact the Saudi government was the source of financial, logistical support, provision of anonymity that allowed these people to stay in the country such a long time and go undiscovered, if they were part of the system that made that happen, think of what it would mean to U.S.-Saudi relations today. It would be a complete overturning of the premises upon which we have been dealing with Saudi Arabia, that it was a loyal ally of the United States, to now being seen as a country which was prepared to sell its soul to the worst in the world, even if that meant putting the United States in jeopardy and the loss of life of 3,000 people.”

When asked why would the Saudis do this, “what’s in it for them,” Graham answered by pointing to his novel The Keys to the Kingdom, which he said was written out of frustration that every-time there was a suggestion of what had actually happened in the 9/11 attacks, “it was immediately classified and rendered out-of-bounds.” Graham related how another former high-level government official had gotten around this “by writing exactly what he would have written in a nonfiction book, but [he] put the word ‘novel’ on it, and it got by the censors.”

In his novel, Graham continued, “I suggest some answers … and I don’t think they are far-fetched or extreme.” He explained:

“One of those is that we know that at the end of the first Gulf War, [Osama] bin Laden was very angry at the [Saudi] royal family for having allowed U.S. troops, foreign troops of any nationality, to essentially occupy a portion of Saudi Arabia. His anger was deepened by the fact that he had offered to come to the defense of the Kingdom using several tens of thousands of war-hardened troops that had fought with him in Afghanistan against the Russians. That anger upset the royal family. And so I project: what if bin Laden had said to the royal family, ‘if you won’t deal forcefully with the Americans, we will do it, but we need your help in terms of being able to assist, support, maintain our operatives who are going to be in the United States, and if you refuse to give us that support, then I’m going to launch civil unrest inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and your monarchy will be under the same threat that the former Shah of Iran was, when he was toppled from power.'”

Graham went on to say that “I’m suggesting that something like that may have been the motivation, the excuse, the rationale, that the Saudis look to, to say, ‘all right, we will in fact provide assistance to the 19 hijackers, or at least significant numbers of them, in order to avoid this credible threat of civil unrest.'”

When asked how the Saudis could be so confident that the U.S. would not target them for sponsorship of the 9/11 attacks, Graham said that “they had a high, and what has thus far turned out to be credible, expectation that their role would not be exposed,” adding: “Everything that the federal government has done since 9/11 has had as one of its outcomes, if not its objectives—and I believe it was both outcome and objective—that the Saudis’ role has been covered.” They had to be confident, Graham said, that “they are immune, that the United States is going to take its vengeance out someplace else,” such as Iraq.

Graham said it would be speculation to assume that Prince Bandar knew that the U.S. would go after Iraq, but, he emphasized, “I believe what we do know, or are capable of knowing, is: what was the full extent of the Saudi role,” and in this regard, he pointed to the Saudi protection of two of the hijackers in San Diego, the “very suspicious case in Sarasota, Florida,” where three of the hijacker/pilots were getting flight training and at the same time were closely connected to a Saudi family which was itself close to the royal family. What we don’t know, Graham, added, is what was going on in Falls Church, Virginia, or in New Jersey where there were substantial numbers of hijackers.

Graham concluded this portion of the interview that he had discussed this with the co-chair of the Congressional Joint Inquiry on 9/11, and the two co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, and asked them: “what do you think were the prospects of these 19 people being able to plan, practice, and execute the complicated plot that was 9/11 without any external support?”

“All three of them used almost the same word, ‘implausible,’ that it is implausible that that could have been the case,” Graham stated.

We will report on the conclusion of this explosive interview, as soon as it becomes available.

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