Former Senate Chair Declassifies Intel in Novel Way

Bob GrahamA former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Commitee announced Aug. 1 that he wrote his spy thriller Keys to the Kingdom in part to educate the public on vital national security information that he considers over-classified. Three-term Senator Bob Graham of Florida told a National Press Club audience that he is “angry” that the government keeps so much information secret. But he said, he can’t speak out about many of the specifics because of security restrictions on him even after his retirement in 2005 from the Senate.

So, he wrote a novel in order to receive clearance for his writing from the Central Intelligence Agency.  “Forty percent of the book is fact," said Graham, above, in a photo by the Press Club's Noel St. John. "Forty percent is pure fiction. Twenty percent is a combination.” Graham is a Democrat who chaired the Senate’s oversight committee during the 9/11 period. He said that government secrecy regarding the role of Saudi Arabia is one of his major concerns. Thus, his book describes a fictional senator writing an  op-ed saying:

The congressional inquiry in the 9/11 attacks left several secrets unanswered.The top three are Saudi Arabia’s full role in the preparation for and the execution of the plot; the Kingdom’s willingness and capacity to collaborate in future terrorist actions against the United States; and why this and the prior administration conducted a cover-up that thus far has frustrated finding the answers to the first two questions. Now, there is an even more ominous unknown: Does Saudi Arabia have the bomb?

Graham, a former Florida governor related to the Graham family long controlling the Washington Post, said that U.S. national policy is to treat the Saudi leadership as “friends even when they have taken actions that have been harmful.”

During Q&A, I asked how post-9/11 anthrax attacks on some Senate offices via letter in 2001 affected lawmakers who were then considering the hard restrictions on civil liberties in the Patriot Act. “The mood was one of enthusiasm driven by fear,” he responded. As a follow-up, I asked if he were satisfied by the controversial findings of authorities that they had identified in the late scientist Bruce Ivins, their second suspect, the one and only perpetrator. Our Project recently published a column Doubts Raised on Probe of Anthrax Killer, excerpted below. President Obama threatened a veto of the annual Defense Department appropriations bill if it included any provision for more investigation now that authorities have closed the case.

Graham, however, dissented from that Presidential view. The former senator said the national interest is that the public continue to have more information about such matters. He said, “I think the investigation should not be closed.” 



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MSNBC /Raw Story/ Washington's Blog, Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry Into 9/11 – and Former Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee – Calls for a New 9/11 Investigation, Sept. 13, 2011. The Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and former Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham, today called for a new 9/11 investigation. As Raw Story notes: "Graham on Monday called on the U.S. government to reopen its investigation into 9/11 after a report found that links between Saudi Arabia and the hijackers were never disclosed by the FBI to the 2002 joint Congressional intelligence committee investigating the attacks."

Huffington Post / MSNBC, President Obama, End the Saudi Mystery Around 9/11, Dylan Ratigan, Sept. 13, 2011. I think it's time the government came clean with us about the true face of petro-politics. That face is very, very ugly, and extremely dangerous, but it's time we learn the truth. For ten years, the U.S. government has kept secret the Saudi connection to the 9/11 hijackers.


Below is a column on the anthrax case mentioned above, along with significant articles for this week on legal reform and related political, security and media factors. The articles, including a strong representation from independent blogs and other media, contain a sample of news. See the full article by clicking the link.

Graham Speech

Bob GrahamNational Press Club, Graham's book casts Saudi Arabia as central 9/11 character, Joe Motheral, Aug. 3, 2011. Former Sen. Bob Graham asserts in his new thriller, Keys to the Kingdom, that Saudi Arabia had more to do with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks than has been revealed. “I’m upset that these facts have been withheld from the American people,” Graham said on Aug. 1, as he discussed his latest novel at a National Press Club event. “Osama bin Laden saw the (Saudi) king and said he would lead a revolution in Saudi if the king didn’t agree.” Graham believes the king capitulated. Was there Saudi complicity in the attack on 9/1?  The Saudi government has denied any connection with the Sept. 11 attacks.

Anthrax Probe

Bruce IvinsJustice Integrity Project, Doubts Raised on Probe of Anthrax Killer, Andrew Kreig, July 20, 2011. PBS Frontline has identified a big flaw in the official FBI account closing its case on suspects in the deadly anthrax letters in 2001 to congressional leaders and prominent journalists. Those letters frightened the nation's leadership and prompted passage of the Patriot Act curtailing American freedoms. The official view from the FBI and other authorities is that the leading suspect, Bruce Ivins, right, acted alone and then killed himself in 2008 after an award-winning career as a researcher at the Army's advanced research laboratory in Fort Detrick, MD. But his lab area did not contain the right equipment need to turn liquid anthrax into the powder used to frighten recipients in Congress or the news media, according to FBI disclosures July 15 in a related legal dispute. Among the handful of letter recipients were Senate Majority Leaders Thomas Daschle (D-SD) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT).The two led the Democratic majority to rush passage of far-reaching laws curtailing civil liberties, with the stated purposed of stopping such attacks. Congress renewed those laws this spring with scant debate.

News Corp. Hacking Claims

Adweek, Rupert's Worst Nightmare Come True? 'Guardian' reporter Nick Davies arrives in U.S., Lucia Moses, Aug. 1, 2011. Here's Rupert Murdoch's worst nightmare: Nick Davies, the tenacious investigative reporter for the Guardian who has broken much of the Hackinggate story, comes to the U.S. in search of News Corp. crimes and coverup. Well, it's come true. Davies arrives in New York today. He'll be there until Friday, and then he's going to Los Angeles in pursuit of hacking-type practices that might have been carried out on U.S. soil by Murdoch’s U.S. reporters, by his U.K. reporters working in the U.S., or by private detectives hired by News Corp. If such crimes were committed here, that could mean real trouble for News Corp.—the legal system here is more tenacious and remedies more draconian than in the U.K.

Huffington Post, Liberty And Justice For Some: State Budget Cuts Imperil Americans' Access To Courts, Amanda Terkel, Aug. 2, 2011. Brian and Patty Baxter's daughter wasn't even two years old yet when they moved into their place in New Hampshire in 1996. The Baxters filed suit in 2001, when the effects of the lead poisoning became more apparent in their daughter. Ten years later, their case still hasn't been heard.  "My clients are besides themselves," said attorney Chris Seufert of Seufert Law Offices, who is representing the Baxters. "Their child is ready to graduate from high school. She was poisoned when she was 18 months, and now she's going to be a high school graduate! I mean, come on!"  And this sort of lag time is not unique to the Baxters or the state of New Hampshire. But it is becoming increasingly common, a trend that worries everyone from judges to legal aid workers to businesses who want to bring their own claims to court. The American Bar Association and has established a Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System, which has been conducting hearings and gathering stories for a report about the funding crisis facing the courts.