There are "unanswered questions" surrounding Saudi Arabia's role in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham
tells Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.
"There was very strong evidence that the Saudis had provided significant support to the first two of the 19 hijackers who entered the U.S. in January of 2000," contends the three-term Florida Democrat. "It's unclear as to what the motivations of Saudi Arabia were."
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Graham decided to explore those questions and motivations in the form of a novel. His new book, “Keys to the Kingdom,” is a suspense thriller that draws on real-life security concerns and an intelligence insider’s perspective to weave a fictional story about a conspiracy linking the Saudis to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.
In a career of public service spanning four decades, Graham served two terms as governor of Florida before spending the next 18 years of his political life in the U.S. Senate. He’s respected on both sides of the political aisle inside and outside Washington, D.C.
"I thought there were some important unanswered questions, most of which revolved around Saudi Arabia," says Graham, reflecting on his time as co-chair of the Joint Inquiry into the intelligence activities before and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In a recent op-ed article, Graham wrote that he tried to examine the Saudi questions in his 2004 non-fiction book, "Intelligence Matters." But he claimed it was “censored by authorities in the intelligence community, particularly on the role of the Saudis in 9/11.”
Graham tells Newsmax.TV that he “decided several years later that the best way to tell the story, and to have a more lenient standard of censorship was not to represent it as truth, but as a work of fiction.” He estimates that 40 percent of "Keys to the Kingdom" is factual, 40 percent is fiction, and the rest is a mixture of both.
Graham adds that Saudi Arabia's record on fighting terrorism is mixed. "Their record tends to be a reflection of how specific actions contribute to their central security goal, which is survival — survival of the country of Saudi Arabia."
He warns that the Muslim Brotherhood could possibly take over Saudi Arabia and other nations in North Africa and the Mideast. The United States should be mindful of this threat and help foster democracies in the region, he says.
Assessing the threat of al-Qaida in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death, Graham feels the terror network is now "more of a threat" to the United States.
"On September 11th, al-Qaida was a very centralized organization with bin Laden making most of the decisions," explains Graham. "Today al-Qaida has become a franchise with operations in 60 or more places around the world. And some of those franchises, and particularly the one in Yemen and the one in Somalia, have become almost as competent as big al-Qaida in terms of carrying out terrorist operations.
"That decentralization means there's not just one leader, there are now dozens of leaders of significant terrorist organizations, most of which have as their primary goal to attack the United States."
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