Dylan Ratigan Show   |  September 12, 2011

What the US knew about the 9/11 hijackers

A Dylan Ratigan Show panel talks about the Saudi link to the terror attacks.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> well, remembrance and speculation, as our nation honors the victims of september 11th and once again mourns their passing. new questions emerging about who we really can trust. good monday afternoon to you, i am dylan ratigan in new york. and today, the ground zero memorial officially opened to the public. tonight, congress will gather on the steps of the capitol, just as they did after the attacks. and while the psychological scars do remain, so too do questions, too many and too abundant, about the actions of our government both before and after the attacks. you and i both know there's been a lot of conspiracy talk about 9/11 over the past decade, but there is one theory that has hard evidence to back it up. it involves the saudi royal family . an unrelated saudi family connected to it, a quick getaway, a secret investigation that no one, not congress, not the 9/11 commission, no one knew about, was never introduced into the research field until now, it was mentioned on this program first on friday. i wanted to amplify it today, as our lead. with us to expand, former senator bob graham , who co-chaired the congressional 9/11 inquiry, which sent its report to the 9/11 commission. he was ultimately forced to write this book, which i suggest you read. it's called " keys to the kingdom ." it was written as a fiction to avoid being forced through intelligence and security forces to redact his saudi concerns to connections to terrorist funding. joining us from friday, the man who broke the story of the never-reported saudi family in florida tied to the terrorists, anthony somers. his recently published book, "tlech "the eleventh day," it is a pleasure to welcome both of them back to this program. please clarify what exactly you discovered and why it's relevant.

>> in a nutshell, i was following up a lead that i had during the writing of "the eleventh day," but could only write a little on. after the book was published last week, i got to florida and located the counterterrorism agent who explained to me that there was a major investigation that involved very much the fbi , which has been completely concealed. the investigation concerned a saudi can couple who lived in a gated couple near sarasota who left just two weeks before 9/11, leaving their house as if they'd just gone out to get the groceries or go to a movie. they'd completely abandoned it, leaving a newly bought pt cruiser in the drive, cars in the driveway.

>> what's the relevancy of a given saudi family being home or not?

>> because when the fbi investigated, according to multiple sources, including my counterterrorism agent, they found that the phone records, when analyzed, and most important, the gate records at the gated community --

>> physical visitors?

>> yes. of cars that had come and gone and had to say who they were going to see.

>> understood.

>> that they photographed their registration plates, took their names in some cases, and discovered from these sources that three of the pilot hijackers involved in the 9/11 attacks had all been in touch with the soaudis at that house.

>> was there evidence that that family had any relationship to the administration or government of saudi arabia ?

>> the wife -- there was a couple, and the wife of the couple talked extensively to a neighbor, saying that they were very important people in saudi arabia , and they were connected to the royal family .

>> congressman graham, the information that we just heard, there's another family, i understand, in california , that had association with the terrorists themselves. this information about saudi families in america was not included or revealed to you at the time of your inquiry, is that correct?

>> that's correct, dylan. actually, in san diego , there was a man and a circle of his friends. the man was described by the fbi as being a saudi agent. his purpose in san diego was to monitor saudi students to assure that they weren't plotting to overthrow the monarchy. but in january of 2000 . he got a second assignment, which was to provide protection for two saudis who had just entered the country. he was encouraged to invite them to come to san diego . they did. he provided them money, a place to live, flight lessons, and an infrastructure of muslims in san diego to give them protection and anonymity. these two individuals were on the plane that flew into the pentagon.

>> the two individuals --

>> in california .

>> -- that were the host family in california perished on the pentagon airplane, is that correct?

>> no, no. the two saudis who had entered the country --

>> but where are the families?

>> and then the -- well, that's similar to the situation in sarasota . shortly before september 11th , with the man, the agent, whose name is omar byumi and his family left san diego and went to birmingham, england, where they -- he was allegedly going to be a student. they stayed there for a few weeks and then left and went back to saudi arabia .

>> but was any of the information at the time of the 9/11 inquiry that you ran or that you cochaired, excuse me, or the 9/11 commission, which then took the input from your inquiry and then was drafted through the white house under president george w. bush that was published, did either of those documents, the research document that you who chaired or the published document that resulted from that research after editing include references or interviews with either of the saudi families in question that were clearly associated with the terrorists?

>> as to sarasota , no. as to san diego , yes, but not because the fbi gave us the information. we had a very curious and effective investigator who found all this information about how two of the future hijackers had been invited to and sheltered in san diego .

>> at the end of the day , anthony, we know 15 of the 19 hijackers were of saudi arabian decent. we know that osama bin laden was a member and inherited a portion of the oil money of the saudi royal family and explicitly argued for a wealth transfer in that nation, as a robinho hood like figure of the impoverished of saudi arabia early on. and now we have all these other relationships. but the american people have never been given a clear resolution of the america/ saudi arabia / osama bin laden relationship and instead have been focused, obviously, and been told to focus, on afghanistan and iraq. that has always confused me. do you have any understanding as to why it is we cannot get an explicit res resolution of the obvious association between saudi arabia and these terrorists?

>> one can speculate as to the reason as to why president bush wanted the the saudi information covered up. the reason, i think, is that the oil connection proved more important than finding out the truth about 9/11. but what's important now is that what we know has been redacted, has been withheld, should be released.

>> and this is where i want to end it. there is more information available about what the relationships are. so we're not all subjected to my idle speculation or anybody else's, senator graham, tell us what information is that actually exists and how we might acquire it?

>> well, one, in the final report of the congressional inquiry, there was a chapter which primarily related to the saudi role of 9/11 that was totally censured. every word of the chapter has been withheld from the public. some of the other questions that we ought to be asking is, if we know that the saudi who is lived in san diego and now apparently in sarasota , received substantial assistance, what about the saudis who lived in phoenix, arizona, or arlington, virginia, or patterson, new jersey, or delray beach , florida , which were other major sites of extended hijacker residence. what was happening in those places?

>> and you're saying you believe that the information exists in either redacted fbi documents or censured documents to answer those questions?

>> yes. i believe that these are questions for which there are definitive answers, but the american people and largely their elected representatives have been denied that information.

>> and who has the power to release that information and what can an average citizen do to encourage the increased visibility that we might all benefit from?

>> the president of the united states , and i have called his terrorism adviser, laid out what we now know as to what occurred in sarasota and urged him to pursue an investigation of these matters, both in sarasota and elsewhere, where there are unanswered questions, and then hopefully release that information to the american people .

>> well, you have my assurance, both of you, that i'll maintain my attention and my spotlight on this subject. i hope that both of you will keep me apprised of the progress, and please let us know if there's anything we can do journalistically to rattle the government cage, as it were, to see if we can get a little more information off the tree to see what we're actually dealing with. congratulations to you on the book, and thank you, senator graham, for continuing to be such a vigilant and focused voice on this critical american issue. thank you, sir.