Home>News Center>World

Graham says US shielded Saudis from 9/11 links
Updated: 2004-09-06 08:21

U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, intelligence committee chairman in the run-up to the Iraq war, said on Sunday the Bush administration had "taken every step" to shield Saudi Arabia from links to the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Florida Democrat in 2002 helped launch a joint inquiry with the House Intelligence Committee that produced a report on intelligence failures related to the Sept. 11 attacks.

He told NBC's "Meet the Press" that his new book, "Intelligence Matters," makes the case on "the extent to which Saudi Arabia was a key part of making 9/11 happen."

"Yet this administration has taken every step to obfuscate, avoid and cover up Saudi Arabia's actions," he added.

Saudi officials have repeatedly denied ties to the Sept. 11 hijackers, and publicized their efforts to combat al Qaeda.

U.S. President Bush's presidential re-election campaign called the former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman's allegations baseless.

Excerpts from Graham's book, which goes on sale on Tuesday, showed that at least two of the hijackers had support from Omar al-Bayoumi, whom the senator called a Saudi government spy and said was a "ghost employee" of a Saudi contracting firm, Erean. The owner of the firm, Graham said, was thought to be a supporter of Osama bin Laden.

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry called for an immediate investigation into Graham's allegations.

"If the White House and the FBI did in fact block an investigation into the ties between the Saudi government and the 9/11 hijackers, then this would be a massive abuse of power," Kerry said in a statement.

The Bush campaign dismissed the issue.

"John Kerry is flailing about making baseless attacks founded on the assertions of a failed presidential candidate," Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

Graham dropped out of the Democratic presidential race in October 2003.

The U.S.-Saudi alliance has been strained since the devastating Sept. 11, 2001, hijack attacks by Saudi-born Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda group. Most of the hijackers were Saudis.

U.S. officials say efforts by the oil-rich kingdom on fighting al Qaeda have increased dramatically.

  Today's Top News     Top World News

Asian political parties pledge co-operation



55 dead in Sichuan floods, 52 missing



ASEAN recognizes China as market economy



Russians burying attack victims, 350 dead



Saddam's top aide Ibrahim captured



Britain still waiting for Chinese tourists


  Russians begin burying victims of attack
  Iraqi govt confused on whether Saddam aide caught
  Frances floods Florida, leaves three dead
  Graham says US shielded Saudis from 9/11 links
  Second quake hits Japan, evacuations ordered
  Gunmen briefly seize Gaza governor's office
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
US 9/11 commission formally disbands
Kerry: 'I can fight more effective war on terror'
9/11 report highlights US Government's failure
Sept. 11 report unlikely to aid Kerry - analysts
  News Talk  
  Are the Republicans exploiting the memory of 9/11?