Former US senator and governor of Florida, Bob Graham, has gone on air to say the hijackers who carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks had “some support from within the United States” and were “substantially” backed by Saudi Arabia.
“I think it is implausible to believe that 19 people, most of whom didn’t speak English, most of whom had never been in the United States before, many of whom didn’t have a high school education– could’ve carried out such a complicated task without some support from within the United States,” Graham said in an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes”
He said he hoped the 60 Minuets’ latest report – “28 Pages” – would help in a prolonged battle to declassify one of the country’s most sensitive documents called “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters.”
The controversial file, which has been locked away in a secret vault within the White House for 13 years, has 28 pages worth of information on the 9/11 attacks, including damning information on a possible Saudi support network for the hijackers who flew airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that day, killing nearly 3,000 people and causing about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage.
Graham was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and co-chairman of a joint congressional commission that investigated the 9/11 attacks and wrote the full 838-page report.
The Joint Inquiry reviewed a half a million documents and interviewed hundreds of witnesses to produce the report. The administration of former President George W. Bush blanked out the last chapter for reasons of national security. Former Senator Max Cleland called the omission a “national scandal” and resigned from the 9/11 Commission.
President Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, reportedly told the commission that they would not be formally interviewed in relation to the 9/11 attacks.
“I remain deeply disturbed by the amount of material that has been censored from this report,” Graham said on the CBS program.
Graham, along with some other former and current members of Congress, US officials, and 9/11 commissionaires are now pushing for release of the missing pages. On Monday, Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, joined the fight to open the records with a call for disclosure.
In the CBS interview, Graham did not discuss the contents of the “28 pages,” but said they contain information that outline individuals who supported the hijackers. “People would be surprised by the information,” he said.
The former senator said the hijackers were “substantially” supported by elements within the Riyadh regime, as well as rich Saudi individuals and charities. Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were Saudi citizens.
Graham and others believe the Saudi involvement has been whitewashed to protect a delicate alliance with a kingdom that shares little or no value with the United States.
“The 28 pages are very important, and will…inform the American people and, in so doing, cause the American government to reconsider the nature of our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” he previously said.
Thirteen years on, the incident is still shrouded in secrecy, with many scientists, experts, and independent investigators questioning the official US narrative that al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked airplanes to carry out the attacks.
A CIA watchdog report in 2015 said there was no evidence that the Saudi government “knowingly and willingly” supported the 9/11 attacks.
Saudi Arabia was legally cleared from paying damages to families of the 9/11 victims last year, after New York District Judge George Daniels dismissed accounts that the Persian Gulf monarchy provided material support to the terrorists and ruled that Riyadh had sovereign immunity.
In a surprising move last month, Judge Daniels ruled that Iran was liable for damages in connection with the 9/11 attacks, saying the country must pay nearly $11 billion in compensation to families of the victims and insurance companies that covered those suffering damages in the attacks.
The 9/11 incident is expected to overshadow US President Barack Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia on April 21.
While putting up a public show of affinity with the United States, Saudi officials are privately angry about what they see as the Obama administration’s outreach to Iran following the internationally-negotiated nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic last year.