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A Senator, A Reporter and the Sarasota Saudis | Florence Snyder

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A Senator, A Reporter and the Sarasota Saudis | Florence Snyder

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A Senator, A Reporter and the Sarasota Saudis
Thursday, September 20, 2012 — Florence Snyder

FT. LAUDERDALE — As a writer of spy novels, Bob Graham is no threat to Ian Fleming. As a statesman, the former three-term U.S. senator and two-term governor is the best of the best.

Graham’s novel, Keys to the Kingdom, is the Hail Mary pass of a dedicated public servant working way beyond the call of duty and well outside his comfort zone to tell the world the unvarnished, uncensored truth about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

As chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and co-chair of the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11, Graham became convinced that the Saudi government has the blood of September 11th on its hands. 

Specifically, the Saudis created a social and financial infrastructure stretching from Sarasota to San Diego that made it possible for the 19 hijackers -- who had no fluency in English, no ties to America and no visible means of support -- to live in anonymity amongst us as they prepared to shatter our domestic tranquility. 

Graham is chillingly persuasive in making the case that this infrastructure is still here and remains capable of unleashing new horrors on American soil.

Censors armed with “classified” stamps redacted the best evidence from the official reports. But as a work of fiction, Keys to the Kingdom is beyond the reach of the government’s power to trample on truth, Graham said at a recent fundraiser for the investigative reporting website Broward Bulldog.

Broward Bulldog has, almost single-handedly, kept alive the story of what Graham calls a “bipartisan cover-up” of the Saudis involvement in the attacks. Last year, Bulldog editor Dan Christensen, working with Anthony Summers, co-author of The Eleventh Day, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for History, revealed that the FBI withheld from Congress the fact that it had investigated the “Sarasota Saudis.”
Responding to Bulldog’s reporting, the FBI claimed it had disclosed to Congress everything it knew about 9/11. Graham, a Harvard-educated lawyer not given to casual cursing, calls that claim “total B.S.”

In the recent past, a highly reliable source like Graham bearing stories about Saudi nationals living large in Sarasota and raining death upon thousands of our countrymen was raw meat for watchdog journalists in Florida’s notoriously aggressive newsrooms.

Not anymore. As the Journo-pocalypse of layoffs and furloughs grinds on, Broward Bulldog pretty much owns this story.

Graham, whose late brother Philip and sister-in-law Katharine built the Washington Post into one of the world’s great newspapers, understands better than most people the importance of investigative reporting. He heaped praise upon Christensen’s stories about “the Sarasota Saudis” and other truths about terrorism that President George W. Bush and his successor, Barack Obama, have stuck in the “state secrets” drawer.

Like Graham and Christensen, Bulldog’s pro bono First Amendment lawyer, Tom Julin, cut his professional teeth in an era when every news organization fought for every story and took no guff from government. This month, Julin filed suit in federal court in Ft Lauderdale against the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice. The lawsuit cites the Freedom of Information Act and demands release of records that will tell the truth behind the fiction in Keys to the Kingdom

Graham with his “fiction” and Christensen with his website are the new faces of The Lonely Pamphleteer. If you want to know the whole truth about September 11, buy Graham’s book, support Christensen’s website and tell President Obama to declassify the documents.

Florence Snyder is a Tallahassee-based corporate lawyer who has spent most of her career in and around newspapers. She can be reached at [email protected]

© Florida Voices

Editor’s Note: Florence Snyder is a member of the Board of Directors of Broward Bulldog.

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