LPAC Press Release
Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), the former head of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the co-chair of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, addressed a room full of media at the National Press Club in Washington today, and made some explosive statements about the Saudi Royal Family’s role in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The former Senator has been a driving force behind the recent release of the long-suppressed 28 page chapter from his Dec. 2002 report, and he has now called for the total declassification of all of the government’s investigative files on the 9/11 attacks.
Sen. Graham detailed the fight, now underway in Florida, to declassify 80,000 pages of FBI documents on a prominent Saudi businessman who was tied to three of the 9/11 hijackers, including the alleged ring-leader Mohammed Atta. The FBI covered up the existence of that investigation for a decade, and it took a Federal Judge to order the Bureau to turn over the investigative file on their probe of the Florida cell, in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
Sen. Graham highlighted the role of Prince Bandar bin-Sultanin providing financial and logistical support to the 9/11 hijackers in San Diego, Cal. and reviewed some of the now-declassified details about Bandar’s private security links to a leading Al Qaeda figure Abu Zubaida. He made a strong case for the House to immediately pass the Justice Against Supporters of Terrorism Act (JASTA), to give the 9/11 survivors and families their long-overdue day in court to actually put the Saudi Royals on trial for their complicity.
Graham spelled out three powerful reasons why the full government files on the 9/11 attack had to be made public, even 15 years after the fact. He made clear that first and foremost, the families of those killed in the 9/11 attacks, and the American people as a whole, deserved the full truth as a matter of justice. Second, the national security of the United States demands a full airing of the Saudi role. And third, the cover-up of such a crime breeds cynicism in the American people, and you cannot maintain a Republic if the citizens distrust their government and cease to participate in the political process. Graham cited Benjamin Franklin, who told an inquiring citizen during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia that “We have given you a Republic—if you can keep it.”
During the extensive question and answer period, Sen. Graham gave some startling answers. He blasted both President Bush and President Obama, and particularly President Obama, who had no personal interest in covering up the Saudi role in 9/11, but suppressed the 28 pages for nearly eight years. He also assailed the FBI for conducting what he called an “aggressive deception” over the Sarasota files, and provided a detailed account of his own Dulles Airport encounter with the Deputy Director of the FBI, who pressured him to “get a life” and drop his inquiries into the Sarasota 9/11 cell.
Asked to explain how the Saudi Royal Family, ostensibly close allies of the United States, could have been complicit in the 9/11 attacks, Sen. Graham gave his own hypothesis: He noted that the Saudis were very insecure about the stability of the Kingdom, after the U.S. had supported Iraq during the long war with Iran in the 1980s. After the U.S. intervention against Saddam Hussein in 1991, the Kingdom was even more unstable, and Osama Bin Laden was calling for the ouster of the Royal Family. In return for Bin Laden backing off of the threats, the Saudis agreed to provide material support in the United States for the planned Al Qaeda terror attack. He made clear that he had no “proof” of that theory, but found it very credible.
There are undoubtedly hundreds of thousands of pages of FBI and other government investigative files on the 9/11 attacks that remain hidden from the public, and Sen. Graham made clear that all of this had to be made public. Along with the immediate passage of JASTA, he put priority on opening up the files on places like Paterson, New Jersey and Falls Church, Virginia, where hijacker cells were operating, and where the FBI and other agencies no doubt conducted exhaustive investigations that remain secret.