Last Saturday, the London-based Daily Telegraph published an article by Anthony Summers, Neil Tweedie and Dan Christensen titled “London-based oil executive linked to 9/11 hijackers.” The same day, the independent Florida-based Broward Bulldog published a related article by Christensen and Summers, titled “FBI informant says Sarasota Saudi praised bin Laden; knew Broward County Qaeda suspect.” And then on the next Monday morning, the Broward Bulldog put out another article by Summers and Christensen, titled “Graham: FBI’s public statements are in conflict with still secret records of Sarasota 9/11 probe.”
The “Graham” in the third title is Senator Robert Graham of Florida. Graham served in the U.S. Senate for 18 years, where his tenure included ten years as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. That committee led the Senate’s contribution to the Congressional Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks, published in late 2002, a report whose public contents were heavily redacted.
Summing up, some good journalists have unearthed new leads on one of the worst crimes in history, and a leading Senator is raising new questions about the integrity of the government’s investigation. But the U.S.media, outside of the dogged, independent Broward Bulldog, doesn’t see fit to report on it.
The Daily Telegraph story tells how the journalists tracked down Abdulaziz al-Hijji, living in London. This person left his home inFlorida rather hurriedly in late August, 2001. And law enforcement records based on information from the gated community where he lived indicate that several alleged 9/11 hijackers, including Mohamed Atta, visited his house in Sarasota, which was less than 20 miles away from an airport where they were taking flying lessons.
The house in which al-Hijji lived was owned by his father-in-law, Esam Ghazzawi, a person who the article reported had been placed on an FBI watch list soon before 9/11. (Some background on Ghazzawi can be had in this September 2011 article by Mark Levey, titled “Florida al-Qaeda fugitive Esam Ghazzawi linked to BCCI and two dead Saudi Princes.”)
In the Broward Bulldog story that came out the same day as the Daily Telegraph story, Senator Graham was cited for calling the news about the local law enforcement records as “the ‘most important’ development on the background to the 9/11 plot in years.” This story went on to note some tension between those records and past statements from the FBI on the case. And in the Monday, February 20 article follow-up, Christensen and Summers reported that Graham had seen documents from within the FBI itself that were at odds with their past public statements that there was no connection between the hijackers and Saudis then living in Sarasota, and quoted him directly as saying “There are significant inconsistencies between the public statements of the FBI in September and what I read in the classified documents.”
The February 20 Broward Bulldog article also reported the following, rather shocking, developments.
Last September, FBI spokesmen also disputed Graham’s assertion that Congress was never told about the Sarasota investigation.
That prompted Graham to ask the FBI for assistance in locating in the National Archives the Sarasota-related files that were allegedly turned over to Congress. Instead, after what Graham said were two months in which the FBI was “either unwilling or unable” to help find the records, the Bureau suddenly turned over two documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which Graham once headed and where he still has access. It is those documents that Graham has said are inconsistent with the FBI denials.
Graham shared this development with the Obama White House, which responded by setting up a meeting between Graham and FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce. Joyce told Graham he “didn’t want to talk” about the Sarasota episode. Graham was assured, however, that he would shortly be shown material that supported the FBI’s denials, and a further meeting was arranged with an FBI aide.
In December, Graham said, the scheduled meeting was abruptly canceled and he was told he would be allowed no further access to FBI information about Sarasota.
Speaking of the “Obama White House,” this chain of events brings to mind what happened after Kristen Breitweiser, a 9/11 widow, asked President Obama if he could make public the redacted material in the above-noted Congressional Joint Inquiry. Obama assured her he would work to that end, but Breitweiser, and we, the American people have yet to see it. And speaking of Anthony Summers, a co-author on all three of those articles that have come out in the past week, he reported on this and related matters in a good article in Vanity Fair last year, titled “The Kingdom and the Towers.”
And the mainstream media dutifully sleeps.