Sunday, September 5


Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) is releasing a new book on Tuesday, in which he reveals that two of the 9/11 hijackers had a support network that included agents of the Saudi government, and that the Bush administration sought to keep that information under wraps.

The discovery of the financial backing of the two hijackers ''would draw a direct line between the terrorists and the government of Saudi Arabia, and trigger an attempted coverup by the Bush administration,'' the Florida Democrat wrote.

And in Graham's book, Intelligence Matters, obtained by The Herald Saturday, he makes clear that some details of that financial support from Saudi Arabia were in the 27 pages of the congressional inquiry's final report that were blocked from release by the administration, despite the pleas of leaders of both parties on the House and Senate intelligence committees.
When the staff tried to conduct interviews in that investigation, and with an FBI informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, who also helped the eventual hijackers, they were blocked by the FBI and the administration, Graham wrote.

The administration and CIA also insisted that the details about the Saudi support network that benefited two hijackers be left out of the final congressional report, Graham complained.

Bush had concluded that ''a nation-state that had aided the terrorists should not be held publicly to account,'' Graham wrote. ``It was as if the president's loyalty lay more with Saudi Arabia than with America's safety.'' [emphasis mine]
He reserves his harshest criticism for Bush.

Graham found the president had ''an unforgivable level of intellectual -- and even common sense -- indifference'' toward analyzing the comparative threats posed by Iraq and al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

When the weapons were not found, one year after the invasion of Iraq, Bush attended a black-tie dinner in Washington, Graham recalled. Bush gave a humorous speech with slides, showing him looking under White House furniture and joking, ``Nope, no WMDs there.''

Graham wrote: ``It was one of the most offensive things I have witnessed. Having recently attended the funeral of an American soldier killed in Iraq, who left behind a young wife and two preschool-age children, I found nothing funny about a deceitful justification for war.''


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