Bob Graham, Tallahassee, FL
Caption (optional): Senator Bob Graham speaks at the Village Square Annual Members Appreciation Reception in Tallahassee, FL on September 22, 2014. Photo credit: Village Square / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0 DEED)

Former Florida senator and governor Bob Graham was a true champion when it came to shedding light on Saudi Arabia’s involvement in 9/11.

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Saudi Arabia can breathe a bit easier Wednesday following the announcement of the death of former Florida senator and governor Bob Graham. While long out of politics, Graham had remained one of the highest-ranking critics of the Arab kingdom… especially pertaining to its role in the 9/11 terrorist attack. 

And he was certainly in a position to know a bit about that. 

Graham served as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee before and after 9/11 and co-chaired the joint congressional investigation into intelligence failures ahead of and following the attack. 

As such, he had access to information that was kept from the public … for example, the infamous “28 pages” that were withheld for years before a redacted version was declassified in 2016.

These 28 pages describe financial ties between the terrorists and people connected to the government of Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of the 19 terrorists, as well as al Qaeda head Osama bin Laden, came from the kingdom. 

WhoWhatWhy has been at the forefront of covering this issue. For example, Editor-in-Chief Russ Baker spoke to Graham in 2015, when the former senator told him that a “very senior” FBI official had asked him to stop pursuing connections between the attacks and Saudi Arabia’s royal family.

He did not.

After the declassification of the 28 pages, Graham continued to call on the federal government to release all information regarding the link between the terrorists and Saudi Arabia that its various investigations had turned up (for more on this, see this WhoWhatWhy story from 2016).

The three-term senator, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 as a critic of the Iraq war, even took his concerns to the world of fiction. 

In 2011, his novel, Keys to the Kingdom, was published. It is a thriller about a retired US senator who was murdered after writing an op-ed about the 9/11 investigation. His daughter and an ex-Special Forces investigator then team up to stop a plot involving the detonation of a nuclear weapon in the US that Saudi Arabia had supplied to al-Qaeda.

Take all of Graham’s efforts and it is as though he kept screaming to the world: “Look at Saudi Arabia!”

Few other than WhoWhatWhy listened.

Following news of the former senator’s death, Baker said,

The term “great American” is a cliche, but I can honestly say that in my experience, Bob was indeed a great American. Although head of a senate committee that often had to kowtow to the intelligence establishment, he showed considerable bravery and worked hard to hold it accountable — and to dig deep into mysteries where the answers were not forthcoming. Wish there were more like him.

Graham passed away in Gainesville, FL, on Tuesday. He was 87 years old. 


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